Saturday, 1 November 2014

Good news week

It's been a week of good news for the SNP.

First there was the news of the Ipsos Mori poll conducted by STV, which predicted a near-total wipeout for Labour in the general election in May.  Using the site Electoral Calculus and entering the figures from their poll, this shows only 4 Labour seats and 1 LibDem seat would be returned, with the rest being SNP.  According to their website this would have the following implications:

Those who would lose their seat include Jim Murphy, who is standing to be the next leader of Scottish Labour, Douglas Alexander and Margaret Curran, according to seat predictor electoralcalculus.co.uk. The site assumes uniform swings across constituencies.
The only Scottish Labour MPs who would survive would be Willie Bain in Glasgow North East, Tom Clarke in Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, Gordon Brown in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath and Ian Davidson in Glasgow South West.
The Liberal Democrats would lose all but one of their seats, with only Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael surviving and high-profile victims including Danny Alexander and Charles Kennedy.
The general trend is backed up by another poll from YouGov which  while not quite as dramatic as the Ipsos Mori poll, does still indicate a melt-down for Labour support..

The second bit of good news was from the by-election in North Coast and Cumbraes on Thursday, when the SNP's Grace McLean was elected as councillor, replacing Alex McLean, following his death. The results were:

Drew Cochrane - Independent
1190       
Toni Dawson – Scottish Conservative and Unionist
1125
Meilan Henderson – UK Independence Party (UKIP)
192
Grace McLean – Scottish National Party (SNP)
2021
Valerie Reid – Scottish Labour Party
691



In itself, the result merely showed the previous SNP councillor being replaced by another SNP councillor.  However, the showing for Labour, in a Labour held consituency at parliamentary level, is quite telling, and at council level is lower than in the previous council elections.


Lastly we had another result from the Ipsos Mori poll for STV showing 66% of Scots would support another independence referendum being held within the next 10 years, while 58% would support another referendum in the next 5 years.  Given that 45% of voters supported independence at the last referendum, this would tend to indicate that a fair proportion of No voters may be changing their minds on the subject.

The danger here for the SNP would be to allow a certain complacency to set in as a result of these stories.  It would be very tempting to see the fight for the General Election as being already won, and to sit back and coast.  This would be a mistake.  While there is nothing wrong with enjoying the good news for a couple of days, the hard work must begin again next week.  The SNP need to campaign as if they are well behind in the polls and must work hard to win the support of the Electorate.

Harold Wilson has often been attributed with the quote 'a week is a long time in politics'.  If that's the case, 6 months is an eternity in politics, and much could change between now and the General Election next May.  The SNP should take nothing for granted.



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