Close? Who said it was going to be marginal, as Baillie beats the SNP by 1500 votes?

Jackie Baillie celebrates historic victory for Labour in Dumbarton.

By Bill Heaney

There will be many thousands of happy people in Dumbarton tonight celebrating the news that Labour’s Jackie Baillie has retained her seat to represent them in the Scottish Parliament.

And that the blow-in Toni Giugliano of the SNP and the mediocre naysayers who have supported him throughout this tough-fought election campaign have been forced to suck it up after all the insults they have thrown at the woman who has served this constituency for the past 20 years.

This was a dirty campaign by the SNP.  Jackie Baillie kept her dignity and that won out in the end.

Even Nicola Sturgeon, the high priestess of Nationalism, could not save Giugliano, who remained silent through two softly, softly visits by the First Minister to Dumbarton, which gave us in the media the message that she had nothing good to say about him.

Even after the result of the election was announced tonight, the long-faced Giugliano refused to speak to the Lennox Herald, which indicated he had nothing complimentary to convey to the people of Dumbarton. He hadn’t even a word of thanks to say to those who voted for him.

Toni Giugliano hasn’t spoken to The Dumbarton Democrat from the outset of this election, but he has now learned the hard lesson that silence is not the way to communicate with the electorate.

Contrary to what the SNP seem to believe, we neither want or need cover-ups or obfuscation in the Secret Scotland of the 221st century. That is not the way forward.

Jackie Baillie has been the opposite of the SNP, open, honest and transparent in the media and on the street. She is an excellent communicator as her many appearances on TV and radio last night demonstrated.

If Giugliano was taking his lead from Jonathan McColl, West Dunbartonshire Council’s SNP leader of the basket case administration in the Burgh Hall, then aren’t you delighted that we won’t have to put up with him for the next five years?

The local newspapers and TV and radio seemed content at the outcome.

The Lennox Herald reported: “Labour’s Jackie Baillie has retained the Dumbarton seat, INCREASING her share of the vote.

“The deputy leader of Scottish Labour, who has held the seat since the Scottish Parliament’s inception in 1999, defeated the SNP’s Toni Giugliano this evening.

Baillie recorded 17,825 votes to the SNP’s 16,342.

In her speech, Jackie said: “Can I thank the people of Dumbarton constituency. We had great conversations on the doorsteps with people.

“The Scottish Labour party in this constituency was listening carefully. The people want a recovery from the lockdown and pandemic. Thank you very much. Six in a row.”

SNP candidate Toni Giugliano went off with his face tripping him and his tail between his legs.

The Lennox Herald reported: “He refused to speak to us after the vote was announced.”

The Dumbarton Democrat has been banned and boycotted by the SNP – “we wear that as a badge of honour,” said the publisher of the digital news platform which covers the constituency.


Dumbarton Constituency

Verification Result

Dumbarton Constituency
Electorate 56,296
total number of ballot papers counted 38,565
Turnout 68.5 %

Votes cast for each candidate in this constituency

Dumbarton Constituency – Votes cast for each candidate in this constituency
Candidates No of Votes
Jackie Baillie (Scottish Labour Party) 17,825
Maurice Corry (Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party) 3,205
Andy Foxall (Scottish Liberal Democrats) 676
Toni Giugliano (Scottish National Party (SNP)) 16,342
James Morrison (Independent) 183
Andrew Joseph Muir (Independent) 94
Jonathan Rainey (Scottish Libertarian Party) 134
Total Number of Rejected Votes 106

Clydebank and Milngavie

The SNP’s Marie McNair wins Clydebank and Milngavie, which was held by the party’s Gil Paterson for 10 years before retiring at the end of the last parliament.

Labour, who also came second in 2016, were up 10% but were still 5,000 behind the SNP.

Marie McNair (SNP), Defeated Douglas McAllister (Labour) and departed Gil Paterson (SNP).

The first four Holyrood seats have been declared, including Clydebank & Milngavie,  which has been held by SNP despite a ten per cent swing to Labour.

The winner, the SNP’s Marie McNair is a former Labour councillor, whose brother Andrew White was at one time the leader of West Dunbartonshire Council, who resigned under a cloud after a public inquiry by Audit Scotland.

Andy White had also been accused of increasing the membership of the Constituency Labour Party in a manner that was not within the party rules in order to increase his support for a nomination to becoming a prospective Westminster candidate against Labour’s John McFall, who is now the Speaker in the House of Lords.

Cllr McNair is vice chair of West Dunbartonshire’s Health and Social Care Partnership, which has been at the centre of the controversy over the high number of deaths in care homes and care home visiting arrangements for relatives in the constituency.  The chair of that committee is the unelected accountant Donald MacLeod.

She was once an auxiliary nurse in the St Margaret of Scotland Hospice in East Barns Street, Clydebank,  from which she would have drawn significant support.

Marie McNair succeeds Gil Paterson, who has retired, and who has been featuring in politics with the SNP since the inception of Strathclyde Regional Council in 1974.

The Labour candidate Douglas McAllister, who is a former Provost of West Dunbartonshire and the son of Jack McAllister, the late Labour Provost of Clydebank, attracted a huge swing to Labour but was still defeated.

Turnout across Scotland is up by an average 8% on the last Scottish Parliament election in 2016.

Labour’s Jackie Baillie, pictured left, who is fighting Scotland’s most marginal seat, also acknowledges the high turnout. She adds: “We don’t know what that effectively means in marginal areas like mine.”

Scottish Labour’s recovery from years of decline “starts now,” she said.

Ms Baillie said new leader Anas Sarwar, who took over at the end of February, has provided fresh impetus that will see an upturn in Labour’s share of the vote when results are declared later today and tomorrow.

“Anas has literally been in post for 10 weeks,” she said. “We started at 14% in the polls and there was even talk of the Greens overtaking us, but now we have improved that position substantially.

“I don’t want to speculate at this stage but certainly turnout is up across the board. We don’t know what that will mean in marginal areas like mine (Dumbarton) and in other seats across the country.

“But I think Scottish Labour’s recovery starts now. We ran a very positive campaign and I think Anas Sarwar is building an alternative to the SNP. We have been very clear the priority is recovering from the pandemic.”

There is no result yet from the Dumbarton Constituency, but there was a kerfuffle last evening when I spotted a row of Nationalist flags in the form of bunting within the polling station at Braehead Primary School in Dumbarton.

The majority of constituency seats will be called on Friday with the full picture known by Saturday teatime.

The outcome of this election will decide who forms the next Scottish government, with powers over areas like health, education and income tax.

It will also have an impact on whether or not there is a second referendum on Scottish independence.

A total of 129 MSPs are elected to Holyrood.

  • Valeman Bob Doris held on to his seat when he was declared the winner in the Glasgow Maryhill constituency. He is a former pupil of St Patrick’s High School, Dumbarton, who was brought up in Bonhill.


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