SNP take on survivors from a shrinking Scottish centre left…

Great piece by Jim McCormick on Stratagems website which includes what has to be the quote of the campaign…

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy’s campaign: professional and energetic, but “like a really good swimmer trying to escape a tsunami”.

It’s brilliantly accurate, and it may also point to the possibility that his sheer political athleticism may just get him through. It will be an unmitigated disaster if he doesn’t.

But he goes on…

The SNP’s ability to reach way beyond its core vote reflects two changes. Around one in three NicolaSturgeonLabour voters sided with Yes in the referendum.

This group is set to vote SNP. The suggested swing back towards Labour isn’t happening – instead the party seems to be falling further behind.

If this switch was the only force in play, the SNP would be just 6% ahead in this election. The surge is also built on a trend which began earlier, namely the collapse of Liberal Democrat support.

In 2011, the Lib Dems lost every one of its mainland seats, including the ‘heartland’ areas of Highland and the Borders. Former Lib Dems in England are veering Labour or Green. In Scotland, it’s a one-way exit to the SNP.

Although towards the end he also notes that turnout could be crucial…

Before any of this occurs, there’s one factor that might lead the SNP to fall short of current projections. Turnout in the referendum was an unprecedented 85%. Next week it might reach 70%, probably higher than in the rest of Britain reflecting a type of referendum ‘afterglow’.

But there would still be 600,000 fewer voters than in September, before adding in those no longer able to vote due to a change in the registration process. One closely-fought area in the west of Scotland has seen last year’s spike in voter registration unravel – 4,000 fewer people are now on the register.

We can speculate this will create a turnout bias against younger, poorer, Yes and SNP-voters, on top of the much higher turnout among older people.

Given the strength of SNP support in the 25-55 age range, this may not matter greatly. But, in a few of the most closely-fought seats, it’s possible this could put the brakes on an SNP wipeout.


  • Barneyt

    I think Thursday might be the night to pull an all-nighter 🙂 I don’t think its clear how this is going to work….and as a result, we may see some last minute scrambling towards the Tories, pushing them beyond 310 seats… may prove less interesting than we think and hope?

  • mickfealty

    Far be it from me to defend Jim, but they have suffered from the hubris of former big parties not understanding their actual shift in status. Failure to frame the IndyRef debate is what’s reduced them in the short term, but I also think the voters of Scotland are posing much much bigger questions about democracy.

  • kensei

    Murphy ran a professional and energetic campaign? The appalling hectoring of Sturgeon in the debates alone disqualifies him from the former description. Maybe the campaign elsewise has been good, but Labour have been a bit of shambles in Scotland for a long time – hence that this is only the _latest_ beating.

    The more interesting thing for me is that Stuart Campbell for all his faults predicted this outcome prior to the Scottish leadership election if they voted in Murphy. Murphy is on the Blairite wing of Labour and out of sync with his party in Scotland. The SNP was likely to get a bump from the referendum either way, going at the SNP from the Right was going to alienate his already annoyed electorate, and the fact he isn’t an MSP was going to make life difficult for him. He’s been bang on.

    There is some truth in the article but it’s seriously underselling that Scottish Labour have become out of sync with the Scottish electorate and are getting hammered for it, and it is at least in part due to the drift rightwards further South. It’s been happening for a while and they’ve been unable to handle it.

    It’s a neat study on how fissures can emerge – what’s happening to Labour is both effect and cause of small differences becoming bigger over time. I don’t think it’ll spin Scotland out of the Union – that’d need a perfect storm and I think the SNP are hitting their peak at the wrong time for them, but there is going to be very drastic changes to the relationship if things keep going as they are. Though for all that they are probably lucky that there is no serious challenge in Northern England too.

  • Gingray

    It’s going to be great fun! Only Wales is not too interesting 🙂

    I’ve the same view/fear, that the undecided voters in England will break for the tories and push them over

  • ted hagan

    There was a euphoria from the referendum that created a sense of community that the Scots seem loath to let go. But if they want the Tories out in the UK they will have to return to their senses and vote Labour. I think that with a voting turnout returning to more normal levels, then Labour will benefit in Scotland.
    SNP? 35 seats at the very most.

  • Slater

    Murphy may be a Blairite but he sounds like a Brownite in all his political utterances during the campaign. Just statism and scare-mongering.

  • Steve Larson

    You are the only person I have come across suggesting that.

    Anything below 45 seats will be viewed as a bit of a let down.

  • QuintinOliver

    Ditto (on defending Murphy)… but he is Glasgow-born, working class and apparently slept in a drawer (none of which i can claim):

  • Barneyt

    And that’s how it transpired. Unpalatable UKIP, fear of the SNP pulling the strings and perhaps a more England centric electorate swayed them towards the “better the devil” option. I don’t think Milliband helped himself with his position and the prospect of a deal with the SNP, but I can see he was between a rock and a hard place in many respects.

    All this talk of electoral reform will no doubt be parked for a while, however, my only hope is that any subsequent bye-elections that are held are mopped up and held by the Tories. I would hate to see the DUP hold them over a barrel. Much of this is however reminiscent of the 1992 Major win.