Sunday 13 September 2015

Labour starts to climb out of its Scottish electoral hole

The TNS monthly Scottish polls are starting to show that the country now has a two party system with the SNP and Labour way ahead of all the minor parties. The SNP are obviously still dominating Scottish politics, and are riding high on around 60% in the constituency voting intention section and 50% in the list, but Labour are slowly climbing out of their hole and has reached just under 25% in both sections.

Labour still has a long way to go, but there is now clear blue electoral water between them and the Tories, who are the largest of the minor parties. Cameron's followers have been in steady decline since these polls began in May and now stand at just 12% in the constituency voting and 11% in the list. Given this, it seems plausible to speculate that more than a few Tories outside the border region might decide to grit their teeth and vote Labour as the only real Unionist outfit on offer.

The also-rans also include the Greens, who will not run in the constituencies, and I am pleased to see that their share of the list vote has fallen from 10% in May to a derisory 6% by August when the fieldwork for this latest poll was conducted. The election of Jeremy Corbyn should help Labour complete the kicking that the Greenies need and deserve and if that happens then it should add another couple of points to Labour's tally.

The Liberal-Democrats are the last minor party to feature, and they appear to be stuck at around the 5% mark in both constituency and list. If those scores represent their actual vote next May then the party would not hold any seats in Holyrood.

That the SNP will have an overall majority next year is still odds-on, and certainly I will vote for them in the constituency. However, if Labour continues to climb then it might be possible to envisage that majority being smaller than the SNP are dreaming about at present. In fact, Labour could very well end up by surprising a lot of people by holding on to some of their constituency seats.

To a great extent, Labour's future is out of its hands and in those of Jeremy Corbyn. If he can persuade people that Labour has at its heart the interests of the people in Central Scotland who have been left behind by the forward march of globalised capitalism, then it is quite likely that Labour will start to take bites out of the soft underbelly of the SNP vote. 

All that is for the future. For the present, Labour is now clearly the only credible challenger to the SNP, and Tories are invited to swivel on that fact and suck it up.

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