With the election less than a week away, I have been thinking about what may or may not happen in Scotland regarding the Labour vote and the possibility that the SNP will take Labour seats. I say the ‘possibility’ because I don’t take opinion polls too seriously, as discussed in my last post!
Just over 7 months ago the Scottish Independence Referendum was coming up. Labour in Scotland rightly (in my opinion) sided with the No campaign. At the time many who voted Yes confused unpopular domestic policies (e.g. the bedroom tax) with the real issues surrounding independence. Although Labour would abolish this tax (for example) if elected, they may have lost support of some of the electorate now, simply because they were against independence. Add to this the fact that the areas that voted Yes contain several Labour seats (and are areas of high population density, which explains the number of seats), and the threat becomes clear. There is the distinct possibility that some voters in previously strong Labour seats will vote for the SNP because they still resent Labour’s support for the No campaign.
So, although I don’t believe anything can be predicted reliably in this election, if Labour lose seats in Scotland, there is no need for a serious post mortem. Instead they must campaign against the SNP on policies that will win them votes in future elections. Once the dust has settled on the Independence debate, the ‘progressive’ agenda of the SNP will come into focus, and its deficiencies hopefully exposed. It is difficult to do this at present, while Nicola Sturgeon rides on a tide of post-referendum hype. Scottish Labour needs to be patient; their time will come again.