Storm clouds over Labour conference

Written by Lindsay McGarvie                                                 

LORD Ashcroft’s latest poll of some of the safest Labour seats in the country will cast a very long shadow over the party’s Scottish Spring Conference in Edinburgh tomorrow.

It would appear that the more Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy and his comrades say a vote for the SNP is a vote for the Tories, the worse the opinion polls are for them.

While the outcome of the General Election is too close to call, in Scotland, all polling indicates a probable SNP landslide that most commentators agree is almost unstoppable.

With just over two months till polling day, Lord Ashcroft’s poll of eight seats show that even in areas where No votes in the referendum were cast iron, it’s the SNP who has the upper hand.

That includes the Kirkcaldy seat soon to be vacated by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, home of one of the party’s largest Scottish majorities.  Even Mr Murphy’s safe Renfrewshire seat has been thrown into the mix, hanging on as it does on by the thinnest of margins (in this survey, by a statistically irrelevant one point).

Extrapolated nationwide, experts predict that the SNP could go from its current crop of 6 MPs to hauling in 56 of the 59 Scottish seats – wiping out nearly every other party in the process.  For the rest of the UK, that means a potential seat for the nationalists at the bargaining table in post-election talks, a scenario that former Prime Minister Sir John Major was quick to warn of this week.

So as Mr Murphy takes to the stage to rally his troops on Saturday, he is certain to send out the message that only a Labour government can deliver a fair deal for ordinary Scots on issues like the living wage, zero hours contracts and banker’s bonuses.

But the reality is that in his three months in charge of the party north of the border the polls have remained stagnant or worsened for him.

Never known for its patience with Scottish leaders, Mr Murphy’s party gather in the capital tomorrow praying for an electoral rabbit to confound the pollsters, bookies and the dogs in the street.

Latest Scottish Poll (Lord Ashcroft, weighted voting intentions) – Lab 32%, SNP 39%, Con 20%, Lib Dem 3%, Others 6%



Lindsay McGarvie is a Director at 3×1 Public Relations with over two decades experience in journalism/communications (former Scottish Political Reporter of the Year). He is a PR and public affairs consultant with unrivalled UK media contacts and extensive crisis/reputation management experience and is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.