Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Game On

I got a bit of a shock this morning. For the past couple of weeks, there has been talk of some constituency-by-constituency polls conducted by Lord Ashcroft in Scotland, that were expected to shed some light on what's happening in Scotland in some more detail. The first batch of results are now available, and as expected they're not pretty reading for Labour.

But what shocked me especially is that my old constituency of Coatbridge, Chryston, and Bellshill gave a result suggesting it might switch from Labour to the SNP.

The reason that this was shocking is that this is considered one of, if not the, safest Labour seats in Scotland. Tom Clarke has been MP there, effectively, forever, and the scale of his majority was such that I would have expected him to be there until the day he retires.

If the SNP are in a position where they even have a chance there, then they're in a position where they have a chance to take any seat in Scotland. The only really comparable stronghold would be Alistair Carmichael's hold on Orkney & Shetland.

And it means that, probably for the first time ever, it's actually relevant how people there vote.

Not that I expect it to make any real difference. Whether the SNP take 20, 40, or 59 seats in Scotland, I expect them to do well enough to prevent Labour from being the largest party. And while a Labour/SNP arrangement of some sort could theoretically give a stable government, I don't expect that to happen - I suspect Labour would actually rather deal with the Tories, or even accept another five years in opposition. So my prediction is still a Tory minority administration after May.

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