2009 Inverness West Ward By-election

Dr Sheila McLaughlan was the Scottish Christian Party candidate for Highland Council - Inverness West Ward By-election on Thursday 23/4/2009.


Sheila lives in Scorguie.  She has been in Inverness for 30 years where she brought up five children, many foster children, and is a happy grandmother of 13 grandchildren.  Not surprisingly, Sheila has a lot of experience with troubled teenagers and she helps many of them with their court appearance.  She has first hand experience of the need for role models for young people and will work in the Council to bridge the gap between children leaving care and developing independence and maturity, which will benefit them and the whole community in which they live.

She is a prison counsellor and has been a welfare adviser with the police.  She works with divorcees, the families of the bereaved.  Sheila was the manager of the Homeless Shelter in Waterloo Place in 2000.  She wants more openness in the Council and a better use of public money.   

Sheila is a frequent guest speaker at various functions.  She says: “Living in Scorguie I share your concerns. After a lifetime of helping people, I am keen to use this experience to serve you in the Highland Council to the very best of my capacity.”

Sheila intends to visit as many homes in the Ward as possible before Polling day.  Why not phone Sheila to discuss your concerns? You can contact her at 01463 236029 or by email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) if you have a question.

Click here for Sheila’s Leaflet.

By-Election Results

Inverness West Ward By-election Results held on 23/4/2009

The Inverness West Ward by-election was won by the Liberal Democrats who beat the SNP by 1503 votes to 556 votes – almost 3:1.  The turnout was 38.35%.

Labour was third with 210 votes, the Scottish Christian Party was fourth with 115 votes, beating the Conservatives who were fifth with 111 votes, and Solidarity who were last with 27 votes.

The SNP reckon that they were defeated by
1. the failure of the SNP Scottish Government to fund the west end of the Trunk Link Road over the River Ness and the canal; and
2. by a unionist alliance of the Lib-Dems, Conservatives and Labour against Scottish Independence.

The former is probably correct, and the evidence for the latter is that there was virtually no campaigning by Conservative nor Labour, whose posters were notable by their absence, whose candidates could not be seen, far less heard, and who had no supporters manning any of the Polling Stations on the day of the election.  What appeared to be a death-wish by Labour and the Conservatives was probably tactical voting for the Lib-Dem candidate to dent the Scottish Independence vote, and this tactic was successful.  Thus national politics impacted on the result and the other candidates were squeezed in this two horse race to make a point in Scottish national politics.  The Inverness West Ward was used as a stalking horse to see which way the national wind is blowing.

This was the first time that the Highland Council had used the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system, but as the Lib-Dems reached the 50% +1 quota of 1262 votes using only first preference votes, the second preference votes were never counted.  We know from being present at the count that the Scottish Christian Party would have picked up many more votes if it had gone to second preference votes because those who gave their first preference to the front runners would not vote for rival major parties.

The poster campaigning and physical presence in the Ward was between the two front runners and the Scottish Christian Party.  The local branch of the Scottish Christian Party has learned a lot from this pilot study which the Lord put in our path.  Our local activists leafleted all the houses in the Ward twice during the campaign period and we received positive feedback from elected members in other parties at the counting of the vote.

One frustration however is that the second and subsequent votes were never officially counted.  We have only our own estimate from viewing the ballot papers.  We know that a lot of people voted for us with their other preference votes, but many of these voted for the Lib-Dems or the SNP as their first vote.  One effect of this is that the Scottish Christian Party in the Highlands remains below the radar, building support while the Lord’s providence does not publicise what these numbers are.  He has His own reasons for this.

The Lib-Dem candidate has been a councillor in the past and has strong credentials in working for people as the manager of the Inverness Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

Dr Sheila McLaughlan and Dr Donald Boyd, her election agent, would like to thank the enthusiastic team who helped at this election, and the team join them to thank all those who prayed for and those who voted for a distinctly Christian Voice in the Highland Council.  This has been a valuable learning experience and some internal governance issues are being streamlined through engagement in the political process.

The local branch encourages Christian Councillors already in place to speak up on Christian issues, and one of our campaigning concerns about the closing of Huntly House and homelessness in Inverness is receiving attention.

If you would like to make a donation click here for a Donation Form (pdf)

Anyone who would like to be more involved can contact Dr Donald Boyd on 01463 796952.

For those of you interested in numbers, the total electorate in the Inverness West Ward was 6623.  It seems the Lord is teasing us with numbers.  You may recall that the Scottish Christian Party obtained 6332 votes in the Highlands and Islands Region in May 2007.

Preparing for Inverness West Ward By-election

Come along and join in the action.

The Scottish Christian Party will be fighting the By-election in the Inverness West Ward of the Highland Council scheduled for 23/4/2009.

Those who are interested in helping the campaign are invited to come to our regular monthly meeting on Monday 9/3/2009 at 7.30 p.m. in the Kingsview Christian Centre, Inverness. Details can be found here.

This coming By-election is an opportunity for Christians in Inverness to work together to have a distinctly Christian voice in the Highland Council.

The prospective candidate is Dr Sheila McLaughlan who lives in the Inverness West Ward. Sheila was recently invited to become a member of the Muirtown Community Council located in the Ward.


Anyone who would like to help in the campaign can contact Dr Donald Boyd on 01463 796952.