In the 2012 council elections, in quite a few wards the SNP decided to improve their number of seats on the council by breaking the musical chairs rule: instead of having just one party representative per ward, they had two. They made a number of bad strategic decisions (not least, presenting themselves as the male pale stale party in the last election before they have to convince women voters in particular that independence is worth voting for) but this one was kind of obvious.
(The musical chairs rule, for those not familiar with it: in Scotland, there may be three or four seats per ward, and there are usually candidates from five major parties standing: Labour, Conservative, LibDem, SNP, and Green. In a ward with four seats, as people go down the list of candidates ranking the parties in order of favour, this can effectively be a game of musical chairs: when the votes are counted, four out of five of the main parties will have a seat.)
The SNP also made the mistake of assuming that voters would remember their individual councillor and vote for him specifically (in the SNP, it’s usually a him). In my ward, the SNP council election leaflets suggested voters put “1” next to the second candidate, new man Adam McVey. (They did suggest people put “2” next to the previous councilor, but people don’t rank the same party “1” and “2” on their ballots…) Consequently, Adam McVey got in, and the previous SNP councillor lost his seat. The same pattern seems to have repeated itself in Heldon & Laich ward in Moray, with variations typical of locality – the previous councillors had been three men, a Conservative, an Independent, and SNP. Carolle Roberts, who had been involved in the campaign to keep the local RAF base open, was chosen to run as the SNP’s “other candidate”. And won.