Winner in 2019 – Patrick Grady (SNP)

THE elimination of the Glasgow Central constituency means Alison Thewliss is the Glasgow SNP MP left without a chair after the music stopped playing. Her former seat is being divided between five of the other six Glasgow constituencies.

The largest segment is going to Glasgow East, and Thewliss wasn’t chosen as the candidate there, largely because the incumbent MP David Linden put himself forward again. Instead, the deselection of the Glasgow North SNP MP Patrick Grady provided an opening for Thewliss to stand in his constituency.

On its outgoing boundaries, Glasgow North was distinctive in two respects. It was the most pro-European constituency anywhere in Scotland, and the fifth most pro-European in the whole UK, having voted to remain in the EU by the enormous margin of 78.4% to 21.6%.

And it was also one of the very few Scottish constituencies where the Greens had enough potential support to do well, albeit not win outright, in a first-past-the-post Westminster election.

That could be seen from the 10% vote share the Green co-leader Patrick Harvie took when he stood in the seat in 2017 – although the Green vote then slumped in 2019 to a deposit-losing 4% under a different candidate, suggesting the profile of the party’s standard-bearer may have mattered tremendously.

READ MORE: Meet the SNP's youngest election candidate inspired by the grassroots movement

Both of those unusual characteristics had, at least in part, the same underlying cause, namely the presence within the constituency of a very large population of university students.

The revised version of the seat still has the most youthful electorate of any of Glasgow’s constituencies, and also the city’s highest proportion of Remain voters.

That presents something of a double-edged sword to Thewliss.

On the one hand, it means the left-wing and centre-left voters the SNP and Labour will be battling over locally are in relative terms more liberal than their counterparts elsewhere in Glasgow, and are thus perhaps more likely to plump for the pro-European, pro-Palestinian, pro-immigration SNP than for the pro-Brexit, equivocal on Gaza and increasingly anti-immigration Starmerite Labour Party.

University students are also disproportionately likely to be “high information” voters who are less vulnerable to being duped by Labour about the true nature of Starmer’s positioning.

But on the other hand, the same factors that make the SNP more attractive to left-liberal voters in Glasgow North also make the Greens more attractive, and Thewliss will have to be careful that any SNP voters she persuades not to drift to Labour aren’t offset by votes she loses to the Greens.

That’s perhaps less of a danger than it might have been given that the 21-year-old Green candidate this year, Iris Duane, is much less well-known than Harvie was.

Nevertheless, persuading natural Green supporters to vote strategically for the SNP to prevent a Unionist gain may be a slightly tougher sell than in previous years due to Humza Yousaf’s (below) unilateral decision to terminate the SNP-Green coalition at Holyrood.

(Image: Gordon Terris)

Thewliss may end up having reason to be grateful that a rapid change of SNP leadership occurred before the election was called, and thus allowed the damaged relationship between the two parties to be at least partly repaired.

The notional results from the 2019 election suggest that the revamped Glasgow North seat would have given the SNP a winning margin of around 15 percentage points over Labour. That means it is no less vulnerable to being captured by Labour this year than any other Glasgow seat apart from Glasgow North East.

READ MORE: Patrick Harvie tears into UK media over platforming of Nigel Farage

Intuitively, its special demographic blend really ought to make it a bit more resistant to a Labour tide than most other constituencies in the city, and indeed Survation’s projection last weekend had the SNP eight points ahead there.

However, Survation’s numbers were unusually favourable for the SNP across Scotland, and many people may feel that the more recent YouGov projection putting Labour eleven points clear in Glasgow North should also be taken seriously.

The SNP could need an extremely effective ground campaign, or a major national recovery, or both, to see Thewliss home.