THE conservatives and SNP were the overall local election winners in Scotland yesterday.
The Scottish Conservatives made significant gains over Scottish Labour, beating them into third place.
Of Scotland’s 32 councils, 29 are now under no overall control and three are held by independents. The nationalists have 431 councillors, while the Tories gained 164 seats to see a total of 276.
Scottish Labour has 262 councillors, down 133 seats across the country.
There were also 172 independents, 67 Liberal Democrats — down three — and 19 Scottish Green councillors, up five from the last election.
Labour lost overall control of former stronghold Glasgow City Council but the SNP failed to win an overall majority. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was a “fantastic, historic result for Glasgow.”
Unison Glasgow branch secretary Brian Smith said that industrial disputes between trade unions and Glasgow City Council such as the janitors’ strike had “played a part in painting the Labour council as hostile to the workforce, and clearly had an effect on the workers in the council and their families.”
But Labour losing control of the council is “part of a historical issue with the party in general, in the context of Blairism and its position in the independence referendum where it sided with the Tories,” Mr Smith added.
In Kilwinning, Labour leader Joe Cullinane, responsible for passing Scotland’s first “no cuts budget,” topped the votes in his ward.
Mr Cullinane said: “Our strong performance in North Ayrshire is down to our achievements in office, including the no cuts budget we set in March, and our municipal socialist vision of municipal bus services, a not-for-profit energy company and more council homes.”
North Ayrshire is a hung council with SNP and Labour having 11 seats each.
The Scottish Conservatives won seats in working-class areas including Shettleston in Glasgow’s east end, and Ferguslie Park in Paisley, two of the most deprived areas in Scotland which had previously been no-go areas for the Tories.
Campaign for Socialism spokesman Martyn Cook said: “Labour is being squeezed between two increasingly assertive nationalisms, neither of which is able to deliver for working people.”
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said the result was “obviously disappointing” but that Labour would “continue to play a major role in local government.”