When the General Election campaign kicked off there was some general enthusiasm for the notion that Boris Johnson could actually lose his seat in parliament to the Labour Party. Heck some even thought Jeremy Corbyn’s seat was in some jeopardy to the Lib Dems as the Remain wave swept over London. Some even thought Ian Blackford could lose his seat as the Lib Dems. None of these things are likely to pass but one other party leader that no-one is really talking about is actually in real danger of losing their seat and that is the Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson.
The more I look at the seat from a betting angle the more the SNP at 9/4 is a real play. The Nationalists will be looking to bounceback from a surprisingly disappointing 2017 performance by pointing out that Brexit is a fucking disaster and the quicker they are removed from the shackles of Westminster, the better for the country of Scotland. Considering what is going on down in the House of Commons then you can see it as a winning strategy.
Jo Swinson has of course lost this seat before to the SNP in 2015, when the independence referendum was still firmly on everyone’s minds and the Lib Dems were in a deeply unpopular coalition government. Even in this scenario, she only lost by just over 2,000 votes and came back to win by 5,339 two years ago, so why could she potentially be in trouble this time?
Well there are 7,500 odd Labour voters out there who can be squeezed. They’ll squeeze towards the SNP because Labour voters hate the Lib Dems more than ice hates fire but also because the SNP have clearly stated they would support Labour in the House of Commons should deals need to be done.
Add to that independence is back on the agenda so those whose primary goal is to get away from the rest of the UK as fast as possible will see that it is tantalisingly close. This should harden up the SNP vote.
Around 7,500 voters last time voted for the Tories and they will probably improve on that number with lots of the older generation who may well like and respect Jo Swinson departing the Lib Dems to vote for the party most likely to deliver Brexit. These numbers won’t be massive but they’ll have some impact.
The Scottish Greens have chosen to put up a candidate with the hopes of stealing 1,000 odd votes that would without them skew more Lib Dem than elsewhere.
East Dunbartonshire voted 71% to Remain in the European Union, which in England would probably mean Jo Swinson would be incredibly safe. In Scotland with another party who could very well be more likely to help keep Scotland in the EU being in play however, that is not the case here.
I don’t think anyone can say with their hand on heart that this election campaign has been a raging success for the Lib Dems. Maybe not even a success. Maybe not even good. Maybe not even adequate. Oh wait is that a clusterfuck I see on the horizon or is the 2019 Lib Dem General Election campaign I see on the horizon? To be honest it is hard to tell them apart.
With eight days to go before people go to the polls, the expectations for the Lib Dems are rapidly diminishing by the day. What better symbol for the disaster that is impending but for the woman who stated very confidently that she could be the next Prime Minister to herself lose her seat?
At the start of the campaign the Lib Dems had a tonne of momentum and good will. That soured early when Swinson stated she could be the next PM and people scoffed at the very notion. It wasn’t as big of a punch to the gut as Tim Farron’s pondering about what God would think about gay people having sex but it set the wheels in motion for what history will no doubt regard as a pretty bad campaign. I am all for being ambitious but that was a ludicrous notion and had the party set a realistic target that they could help Stop Boris winning an outright majority and therefore do whatever he liked, it would’ve played a whole lot better.
A month ago I thought Jo Swinson would hold on to her seat without too much of a fuss. Now I see it as a toss-up. Dominic Raab must be hoping that the Lib Dem leader goes down because that might well be the scalp of the night and he might be able to escape the Portillo ridicule moment.
Who would’ve thought a week or so out from Election Day that the Lib Dems would be in serious trouble to lose their leader? Well here we are and from the outside with absolutely no constituency polling data this is a very real possibility.
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