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Letters / Brush up on your arithmetic

Nicola Sturgeon’s words to Beatrice Wishart yesterday (Thursday) demonstrate that she has not grasped the significance of Ms Wishart’s win at the recent by-election (Wishart questions Sturgeon over ferry capacity; SN, 5 September 2019).

Our electoral history is littered with by-election losses by parties long associated with the constituencies concerned – and yet the result on 29August was a comfortable win for Ms Wishart.

Then there’s the fact that the percentage of votes Ms Wishart gained, 47.9 per cent, exceeds the percentage of Liberal Democrat votes gained in the Scottish Parliamentary elections of 2003 and 2011.

No mean feat for someone hoping to replace a long-standing and popular representative, particularly with so many other candidates keen to take the seat.

Raw scores may be less meaningful than percentages, yet those seeking to demean Ms Wishart’s achievement may be interested to know that the actual votes cast in her favour, 5,659, exceed the number of Lib Dem votes in three out of the five parliamentary elections previously held.

Either Ms Sturgeon has to brush up on her arithmetic – or her advisers do.

Catherine Emslie