Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Congratulations to Tavish Scott - newly elected leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

One thing that does catch my eye, though, is that while he secured the position with a stonking 59% of the votes cast, this equates to a rather less than stonking 1,450 votes in total. Which, with a 61% turnout, by my reckoning puts the Scottish Lib Dem membership at (1,450/0.59/0.61) = 4029.

Back in the 2005 leadership election, Nicol Stephen triumphed with 2,108 votes, ahead of Mike Rumbles, who trailed on 642. Given it was a 65% turnout, the membership then would have been 4,231, or 202 members higher than today.

Back then, the Lib Dems were in government too, and Mr Stephen immediately took on the mantle of Deputy First Minister. A Lib Dem leadership election was therefore a matter of great national significance. Today, Mr Scott has simply been elevated to position of parliamentary leader of the fourth party in Scotland.

Progress, anybody?


Richard Havers said...

Richard, all elections for leaders of parties are a bit on the silly side when it comes to the numbers. Only about 6,500 voted in the election of the your own great leader - but I admit he got almost 76% of the vote.

Richard Thomson said...

Indeed, Richard, though I think our membership has gone up a fair bit since then.

Sadly, no parties can now claim to be mass membership. Maybe they never could, since Labour used to count many trade unionists as members, while membership of the Young Conservatives in their heyday was probably more a way to find a spouse rather than a conscious political choice!

Richard Havers said...

Mind you nothing is as daft as how we ended up with Gordon Brown!