ABERDEEN North is one of the small number of core constituencies the SNP can reasonably expect to retain on July 4 even if they have a poor election night nationally. And for that they have their more recent pioneers to thank, most notably Brian Adam.

There was certainly no sign of the seat being unusually favourable territory for the SNP during their original heyday in the 1970s. In both the February and October general elections of 1974, their local vote in Aberdeen North tracked very close to the national average, allowing Labour to hold the seat comfortably.

That’s why it was considered such a sensation when Brian Adam came within fewer than 400 votes of winning the equivalent Holyrood seat for the SNP in the inaugural devolved elections in 1999.

Having laid the groundwork, he actually gained the seat narrowly in 2003, making it one of only nine SNP-won constituencies in an election which saw the party’s national vote drop sharply.

He inevitably went on to rack up much bigger majorities in the 2007 and 2011 Holyrood elections which put the SNP in government, and he held the seat until his untimely death in 2013.

However at Westminster level, Aberdeen North seemingly remained unaffected by Adam’s breakthrough for many years. As late as the 2010 General Election, Labour were still defeating the SNP for the UK Parliament seat by more than 20 percentage points.

But once the SNP started thriving in Westminster elections from 2015 onwards, the work of Adam and his colleagues suddenly shone through. Kirsty Blackman gained the seat for the SNP in 2015 with an astounding 26.4% swing from Labour. Since then, it has looked like an impenetrable SNP fortress – at the 2019 election, the SNP won the constituency by a 33.9-point margin, making it their safest seat in Scotland in percentage terms.

New boundaries change the equation somewhat for this year’s election. About one-fifth of the current constituency is being transferred to Aberdeen South, while the new version of Aberdeen North will incorporate a substantial chunk of the old Gordon constituency plus a very small part of Aberdeen South.

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These changes are a double-edged sword, because they reduce the SNP’s notional majority over the Conservatives in the new seat, but they also make the terrain slightly tougher for Labour, who were in third place last time round and are the only conceivable challengers to the SNP this year.

Labour certainly haven’t forgotten their own heritage in Aberdeen North. Probably their most celebrated former MP for the seat was William Wedgwood Benn, the father of left-wing icon Tony Benn and grandfather of the more Blairite Hilary Benn.

Between 1929 and 1931, he combined his constituency duties in Aberdeen with being Secretary of State for India, at a time when such ludicrous things were possible. He also had the dubious distinction of, in 1931, being the last sitting Labour MP in Aberdeen North to be defeated by a Tory candidate, thanks to Labour prime minister Ramsay MacDonald disrupting normal political trends by essentially abandoning his own party and heading up a Tory-dominated “National” government.

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But in 1935, the seat was back in Labour hands by a margin of almost 3000 votes, and between 1945 and 1997 the Labour majority never fell below 9000 votes. Labour would therefore view a gain from the SNP this year as the constituency returning “home”. Could that happen?

It’s unlikely but certainly not impossible. Assuming a uniform swing, Labour would need to be around 13 points ahead of the SNP across Scotland to win Aberdeen North. No poll has yet shown that scale of Labour lead, but there was one YouGov poll that showed something close to it.

If the SNP do hold Aberdeen North, it’ll be a good indicator they’ve at least achieved their No 1 objective of ensuring that the wheels don’t come off completely.