27 December 2014

Bad news for Labour

The Guardian reports:
Labour is on course for a bloodbath in Scotland in 2015, according to a special Guardian/ICM online poll.
The Scottish National party, which took only 20% of the vote in the 2010 general election, has subsequently more than doubled its vote to reach a commanding 43% of the prospective poll next May. Scottish Labour, which secured a very strong 42% in Gordon Brown’s homeland last time around, has since tumbled by 16 points to just 26%.
The Conservatives sink from 2010’s 17% to 13%, while the great bulk of the 19% share that the Liberal Democrats scored last time around is wiped out as they fall by 13 points to 6%.
On a uniform swing, these results – which are reinforced by a recent Survation poll for the Daily Record – would entirely redraw the political map. Labour’s band of 41 Scottish MPs would be reduced to a parliamentary rump of just 10 members, underlining that the Scottish party’s newly elected leader, Jim Murphy, has a mountain to climb.
The SNP, meanwhile, would storm ahead from the mere six MPs it returned in 2010 to take a crushing majority of 45 of Scotland’s 59 constituencies. The Lib Dems, who currently hold 11 seats, would lose all but three, and the Tories would continue to languish with the single seat they currently hold.
Scarcely believable, but the bad news gets worse:
... a unique analysis, conducted for the Guardian by Prof John Curtice, of Strathclyde University, suggests that the crude assumption of a uniform swing could actually be understating the catastrophe facing the party.
By breaking ICM’s data into four different categories of seat, Curtice reveals Labour’s decline is sharpest in those supposedly heartland seats where it previously trounced the SNP by more than 25 points.
Whereas Labour’s Scotland-wide vote drops by 16 points, it falls by 22 points in these constituencies while the SNP surges by 26. That combination is sufficient to wipe out majorities that were always assumed to be impregnable, and Scottish Labour’s Westminster caucus is left shrivelling to just three MPs.
“We are prospectively looking at the collapse of citadels that have always been Labour since the 1920s,” said Curtice. “That will seem incredible to some in England, but to those of us who paid close attention to Alex Salmond’s 2011 landslide at Holyrood, it would merely be the next chapter in the political transformation of a nation.”
He added: “It is becoming clear that the independence referendum has reset all the dials. Previously rock-solid Labour seats in Glasgow voted yes in the referendum, and this now appears to be giving rise to a particular surge of nationalist sentiment in those parts of Scotland where it was once assumed that the SNP couldn’t reach.”
With the nationalists also advancing by 20-plus points in the more competitive Liberal Democrat and Labour-held seats, they are on course to capture all the more obvious targets, securing a total of 53 seats under this more refined projection. The Lib Dems are again reduced to three and the Conservatives are wiped out entirely.
So, 53 seats for the SNP and three each for Labour and the LibDems.  Professor Curtice is not usually considered to be alarmist, but this is off the wall.  Even if the SNP were to secure 40 Scottish MPs next May, it would have all sorts of implications for Scotland's place in the UK.  And the prospects of either the Tories or Labour securing an overall majority at Westminster look ever more dim ...


No comments: