Catherine Emslie (Brush up on your arithmetic; SN, 6 September 2019) may be good at simple arithmetic but there are factors other than just raw numbers to be analysed in the by-election result.
The actual number of votes cast for the Lib-Dem candidate may well be more than in some recent Scottish elections but that is a result of the exceptionally high turn-out in the by-election at 66.5 per cent.
Again there was a plethora of candidates but only three of them achieved significant support.
The candidate for the Conservative & Unionist party, the largest opposition party at Holyrood (formerly the Ruth Davidson party) polled a derisory 3.6 per cent losing his deposit as a result.
The Labour candidate did even worse attracting a mere 152 votes.
Apparently Whalsay voted overwhelmingly for the pro-remain Lib-Dem candidate rather than the pro-leave Tory and UKIP candidates.
It is clear to me from the above that there was tactical voting on a massive scale, much more than the polarisation you normally get in a two-horse race.
That was certainly a success for the Lib-Dem’s negative campaigning slogan that ‘only the Lib-Dems can beat the SNP here in Shetland’.
We will have a rematch in 18 months time, so let’s hope for a more positive campaign from the Lib-Dems on that occasion.