At present the SNP have a very healthy lead over the Scottish Tories in the opinion polls. Bigger than Mrs May’s lead over Labour in England. Labour are in third place. Their polling share halved since 2015 while the Tories’ share has doubled. The figures are taken from What Scotland Thinks. I’ve omitted some small party shares so the percentages don’t add up to exactly 100%.
So, how might that play out on June 8th? I’ve been looking at how things stand in the 59 Scottish constituencies after the 2015 election. SNP: 56 Lab, Con & LibDems: one each 🙂 Can the SNP take a clean sweep? Probably not, is what I think. They may even lose a few seats. Mind you that would still give them a huge mandate in Scotland. Here’s why I think that:
First of all take Fluffy Mundell’s seat in the Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweedale constituency. I suppose he’s called Fluffy because he keeps fluffing his lines, the ones given to him from Conservative Office Central in London. It would chuff Scotland hugely to tip him out of his seat and he only has a teeny weeny majority over the SNP.
The Scottish Greens are talking about not putting up a candidate so as not to split the pro-Indy vote. So let’s say that the Green vote goes to SNP that brings them level with Fluffy. But he’ll likely get the nearly 1500 UKIP votes. I can’t see many LibDems changing to either Tory or SNP. So that leaves the election in the hands of those 7700 Labour folk. SNP would need about 4000 of those to edge Fluffy out. And hard though it is to imagine, some of the Labour folk may vote for Fluffy. The other factor is that people who didn’t vote last time, vote this time. But the turnout last time was pretty high anyway at 75%.
Then look at Ian Murray, Labour’s solitary MP in Edinburgh South.
A more respectable majority this time but also almost offset by Green votes should the Scottish Greens not field a candidate. Let’s add UKIP votes to the Tories. LibDems? they might go for keeping Labour in place so lets add 1800 votes to Labour. That leaves Labour majority pretty well unchanged so it depends on what proportion of the Labour vote has dropped away and where it has gone to. And whether any Tories will support Labour to keep the SNP out. But then it’s Edinburgh and the Tories are likely feeling optimistic about the vote veering their way. Turnout was 75% here too, just like for Fluffy. Who knows? Might as well ask the Sorting Hat to unpick that tangled weave.
And then the far north Orkneys & Shetland seat, currently still in the hands of the LibDems and Alistair Carmichael MP despite his shenanigans in the 2015 general election to discredit Nicola Sturgeon. He won the legal battle in court brought by four of his constituents on a point of rarely used electoral law which the judges had to uphold despite Carmichael in their view having “told a blatant lie”. And those same judges refused to award him any costs. So how is he placed?
Another very slim majority. Much the same as Fluffy’s. This time it’s hard to see UKIP voting for either Libdems or SNP. Let’s keep them as is. Tories probably going to opt for shoring up Carmichael, that gives him 2000 more votes. And even if all Labour switch to SNP that still leaves them behind with no Green vote to add in. The turnout was lower at 66% so maybe that leaves room for the SNP to sneak ahead especially if the previous non-voters were Labour people.
So that’s my take on the three seats currently not in the hands of the SNP. Are they likely to lose any of the 56?
Here’s how the SNP majorities look over all the Scottish seats
It’s hard to see how Labour can take any seat off the SNP when their vote has collapsed to 14%. The smallest SNP majority over Labour is still about 7%. Since 2015, the Tories have doubled their support but it’s been taken from Labour not the SNP. Their second lowest barrier to overcome is still a 12% deficit. The LibDems have a chance of taking back East Dumbartonshire where they are only 4% behind SNP and where the Tories might support them. Similarly with Tory support, they might take back Edinburgh West where they are 6% behind SNP.
So here’s my prediction for #GEScotland:
Labour : 1