ALTHOUGH Glasgow is losing one of its seven constituencies at this election, that’s partly misleading because bits of the city have been transferred into neighbouring non-Glasgow seats.

Glasgow South West has lost a substantial chunk of territory, including Cardonald and Hillington, to Gavin Newlands’s Paisley and Renfrewshire North seat. But in compensation, there has been an expansion towards the heart of the city to take in a large parcel of Alison Thewliss’s Glasgow Central constituency, which is being completely scrapped.

The net effect of those changes has been to bolster the position of the incumbent SNP MP for Glasgow South West, Chris Stephens, but only by the tiniest smidgeon. He had a winning margin of 13 percentage points over Labour at the 2019 General Election, and it’s estimated that his advantage would have been 14 points if the new boundaries had been in place.

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That makes the seat fairly middle-of-the-road in Glasgow terms, and on paper at least means it would be expected to fall in line with any general sweep that occurs for either Labour or SNP in the city.

Nothing in the independence referendum or EU referendum results leap out as wildly out of the ordinary either, or at least not in a way that is likely to be of assistance to the local SNP in bucking any large city-wide swing to Labour.

The overlapping Holyrood constituency of Glasgow Pollok voted in favour of independence by a margin of 53.9% to 46.1%, which was obviously far better for Yes than the national average but was pretty much bang in line with the average for the Yes city of Glasgow.

And on its old Westminster boundaries, Glasgow South West only voted against Brexit by a margin of 59.1% to 40.9%. That makes the seat somewhat less pro-European than Scotland as a whole, and considerably less pro-European than most of the other Glasgow seats.

If anything, that is likely to work in favour of a Labour party under Keir Starmer that has embraced Brexit and probably has greater appeal than the SNP to socially conservative or anti-immigration voters.

But one distinctive feature of the constituency that may offer Chris Stephens the hope of a partial firewall against a Labour surge is its ethnic composition – 17.5% of the population is Asian, a higher percentage than in any other Glasgow constituency after the boundary revision. Well over two-thirds of the Asian community is of Pakistani origin.

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In spite of Starmer’s recent attempts to repair the damage caused by his initial support for Israel’s military offensive in Gaza, anger towards Labour among Muslims remains high.

A particular advantage for the SNP locally is that the MSP for Pollok is Humza Yousaf, who during his short period as SNP leader and First Minister became renowned as one of the most eloquent and prominent voices in UK politics calling for an end to the killings of Palestinian civilians, thus drawing the clearest possible distinction in the minds of voters between the SNP’s and Labour’s positioning on the issue.

Alongside his Glasgow East counterpart David Linden, Stephens has been one of the SNP candidates criticised on social media by sympathisers of the Netanyahu government for supposed “sectarian” behaviour in tailoring his messaging on Gaza specifically for the Asian community.

But attacks from that sort of source, if they have any effect at all, are likely to do him more electoral good than harm.

Nevertheless, it has to be remembered that the vast majority of the constituency’s voters are not Asian, and it may be that Palestine will only be the decisive factor if the race is relatively close anyway.

On a uniform swing, Labour would gain Glasgow South West if they are as much as 12 points behind the SNP nationally.

So there’s a danger Stephens could effectively be beaten before any local factors come into play at all, and his best hope may rest with the SNP being able to mount a significant Scotland-wide recovery between now and polling day.