Friday, 22 April 2011

It’s looking black for Gray as Salmond leaps ahead

[This is the headline over a column in today's edition of The Herald by political commentator (and Rector of my alma mater, the University of Edinburgh) Iain Macwhirter. It reads in part:]

That old cliché about a week being a long time in politics has never been truer than in this Scottish election campaign.

This time last week, the poll of polls still indicated that Iain Gray [Scottish Labour Party leader] was on course for Bute House. Commentators were picking holes in the SNP’s election manifesto, with its fantasy forecasts for green energy.

Now, suddenly, Super Soaraway Salmond is a slam dunk for First Minister. The Sun is already saying it’s them wot won it. Changed days for the tabloid that, on polling day in May 2007, ran a hangman’s noose on its front page as a warning to Scots about the consequences of voting SNP. (...)

If there is a criticism of the SNP’s election campaign, which has gone like clockwork so far, it’s that the manifesto has landed them with a lot of unnecessary hostages to fortune.

But there’s no doubt the SNP have used this extended election campaign to maximum advantage. The latest Ipsos/Mori poll yesterday, showed the Nationalists with a 10 point lead over Labour in both the constituency and list votes.

That may be only one poll, but it follows the YouGov survey at the weekend which showed the SNP pulling ahead on the crucial constituency vote.

More importantly, it chimes with an unmistakable mood in the constituencies. (...)

For most of the last 18 months, Labour had a stable five to 10 point lead over the Nationalists. Polls tend to narrow during an election, but it is rare for such an established electoral trend to be reversed during a campaign, let alone in seven days. (...)

The SNP’s lead policy, independence, is unpopular in Scotland, but no one seems to take it seriously any more. The Megrahi affair was a non starter for Labour, and the SNP brushed off claims that its energy policy was a lot of pious greenwash. (...)

Of course there are still two weeks to go, and anything could happen. Iain Gray might locate his mojo. Perhaps the royal wedding will provoke an outbreak of sentimental unionism, or Mr Salmond will condemn the UN bombing in Libya. But the lights are fading in the Labour camp. They tried to fight a 1980s campaign in 2011, and they are nearly out of time.

[Because of a busy Easter long weekend at Gannaga Lodge, it is unlikely that I shall be in a position to make further posts on this blog before Wednesday 27 April.]


  1. I would still counsel Salmond to ignore the polls and some, if not all, the journalists writing about them. When many of them type the words "of course it could all change on the day" there is often the unmistakable sense that they have only just stopped themselves from adding "and let's hope so" to the sentence.

  2. MISSION LOCKERBIE, 2011, doc. nr.1249.rtf.:
    Mr. Jalil, where are the EVIDENCE for your FATAL STATEMENTS in the Pan Am-103 bombing ?

    Libyan rebel leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil answers questions during press conferences at the end of a meeting in France by President Nicolas Sarkozy and after with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in Rome on April 19, 2011.

    Mr. Jalil, a former justice minister who was critical of abuses under Gadhafi, could bring no tangible proofs that colonel Muammar Gadhafi orchestrate the "Pan Am 103 bombing", as he have claimed over the international Mainstream-Medias, *before !
    So its political career in a future democratic Libya, he will start with a sea full of lies ?
    The international press did not hurry to investigate these lies, why ?...

    *News paper "Expressens" reporter Kassem Hamadé got an exclusive interview with Libyas ex-justice minister, Mustafa Jalil, on 23 Feb 2011.
    The ex-minister revealed for Expressen that he´s got proof that Muammar Gadhafi personally ordered the Lockerbie bombing in 1988.
    He told me that he was going to tell everything, says Kassem Hamadé.

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Switzerland. URL:

  3. I'd repeat Jo G's advice to take nothing for granted. But look at this:

    "The SNP’s lead policy, independence, is unpopular in Scotland"

    Actually it has about the same level of support as the status quo. So I suppose we might equally well say that the Union is unpopular - no? - thus explaining why the right wing parties don't want a referendum on independence.

    "the SNP brushed off claims that its energy policy was a lot of pious greenwash."

    Admitting that we can't and mustn't carry on as we always have in the past isn't 'pious greenwash' it's blunt realism. The oil is running out, the planet is heating up, etc. and etc. The worst you might say of the SNP's energy policy is that it makes a virtue of necessity.

    I don't like McWhirter's disingenuous way of listing entirely spurious objections to SNP policies, with an air that he's 'only reporting' - he's getting his list out there anyway.

  4. Great post Vronsky.

    On the energy matter Scotland is fabulously placed to exploit the powerful natural resources we have at our disposal.

    The SNP is also the only Party to guarantee they have no plans to sell off Scottish Water. They are on record that it is not going out of public hands. That is a huge issue for many in Scotland according to one significant referendum held Strathclyde wide a few years back when 97% of us told Thatcher to keep her filthy hands off Scottish Water. All of the other main Parties currently favour using Scottish Water to raise dosh. Shame on them and especially the Labour Party in Scotland.