Winner in 2016: Sandra White (SNP)

GLASGOW Kelvin has a different character from other constituencies in the city due to its relative affluence and substantial student population.

Nevertheless, it’s followed a fairly typical pattern since devolution, with Labour winning decisively in 1999 and 2003, and then more narrowly in 2007, before the SNP gained the seat in 2011 and saw their margin of victory dramatically increase in 2016.

Any obvious impact from the student vote has only been felt when the Greens have intervened by putting up a candidate, and before this year they had only done so twice.

In 2007 Martin Bartos took 12.6% of the vote for the Greens and leapfrogged the Liberal Democrats and the Tories into third place.

Given that Labour’s margin of victory over the SNP was only 5%, it’s theoretically possible that the Greens’ decision to stand robbed the SNP of a chance to make a landmark gain.

However, local election transfers over the years have shown that some Green supporters prefer Labour to the SNP, so the likelihood is that Labour would have narrowly held on even without Green involvement.

In 2016 the Greens ramped things up further by putting forward their very well known co-leader Patrick Harvie. He did roughly twice as well as Bartos, and remarkably overtook Labour to claim second place.

It looks like he ate into the SNP’s potential support, because at 38.5% the SNP’s vote share was very much on the low side by the standards of other Glasgow seats.

He’ll be standing again this year, and has the advantage of facing a relatively unknown SNP opponent due to the retirement of incumbent MSP Sandra White.

Some have suggested that the circumstances are perfect for him to win the seat outright. However, it’s possible that the 24% vote share he secured last time is close to the natural ceiling of Green support.

And despite the perception of a two-horse SNP-Green race, it’s by no means clear that he’ll be able to attract anti-SNP tactical votes, because a lot of the reasons unionist voters have for disliking the SNP also apply to the Greens.

In some ways it would be more logical for the Tories to be providing the main challenge to the SNP, given their strong tradition in the area. Kelvin is a successor to the old Westminster seat of Hillhead, which remained in Tory hands even later than Cathcart.

It wasn’t lost until Roy Jenkins took his famous by-election gain for the SDP in 1982, and therefore the locality might have been expected to be at the epicentre of any Glasgow Tory revival in Ruth Davidson’s breakthrough year of 2016.

Instead, the Tories continued to languish in a dismal fourth place in a constituency that Davidson herself had contested five years earlier.

So Harvie does look like the only viable alternative to the SNP – but his chances of victory may depend on the Greens taking the bulk of the pro-indy vote, and there’s no real precedent for that in a parliamentary election. The smart money remains on the SNP to hold the seat.