Friday, 6 March 2015

Cat amongst the pigeons

Lord Ashcroft's second poll results were announced on Wednesday evening, and they have put the cat well and truly amongst the pigeons.  This time in Scotland his poll was of constituencies which were strongly No voting in the referendum, and included those of people like Mags Curran, Jim Murphy and the Alexanders (Dougie and Danny), and the results are extremely bad news if you're a Labour, Tory or LibDem MP in Scotland.  If his findings are replicated at the poll, the Scottish political map will be a sea of yellow.  Even Jim Murphy's seat is by no means guaranteed.

Total panic seems to have ensued.  There are several grassroots campaigns being launched to steer people into who to vote for keep the SNP out. Labour have resumed their usual in-fighting and back-stabbing over how to fight the election, specifically on where their scarce electoral resources should be deployed to try and shore up their vote.  Meanwhile all they seem to be doing in baaa-ing the 'Vote SNP, get Tory' slogan.  Can't see how that'll work.  After all, we see from the past the 'Vote Labour, get Tory' is frequently the outcome.

The tactical voting campaigns are, I think, a bad move.  Labour voters being told to vote Tory in order to keep the SNP out?  I can't see that it will sit well with people who vote according to family tribal loyalties.  It also puts Labour in a logical conundrum.  Surely if you tell your supporters to vote Tory, it negates your slogan of 'Vote SNP, get Tory'?.   If you're going to tell people to vote for a Tory MP, that will give the Tories an extra seat if enough people do it. Labour have been caught in a very neat trap, and they didn't see it coming.

The prospect of  a Grand Coalition between Labour and the Tories has been mooted again, this time by Gisela Stuart, Labour MP for Edgbaston.  For Labour that really would be the death knell, not only in Scotland but also in England and Wales.  It would prove that there really are very few differences between Labour and the Tories and that all that both parties are interested in is power.  That wouldn't really harm the Tories, since they have never pretended to be anything else, but Labour would be finished.

So, in Scotland the general election seems to be turning into a rerun of the referendum, with SSP and Scottish Greens being encouraged to lend their vote to the SNP at UK level, and the Better Together parties encouraging their supporters to vote for whoever has the best chance of beating the SNP.  It will be interesting to see whether Yes or No win out this time.

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