A new UK-wide poll has been published this week which gives figures which are utterly catastrophic for the Tories, and which gives some hope to the SNP that the outlook for the largest party of Scottish independence is not as dire as some are gleefully predicting.
The mega poll was carried out by Find Out Now and election experts Electoral Calculus for Channel 4 News and interviewed over 11,000 voters across the UK. The poll is devastating for the Tories, giving Labour a lead of 22%. To make matters worse for Sunak the poll appears to show that the Tories are performing poorest in the seats where they had been strongest in 2019. In very strongly Conservative seats their share of the vote plummets from the 64% the party won in 2019 to just 37%. Electoral calculus notes that this is an even worse picture for the Conservatives than Tony Blair’s landslide in 1997. In that election Conservative support held up better than the UK-wide average in their strongest seats.
The results of the poll, if replicated at a general election, would see the Tories left with the embarrassment of just 90 seats out of the 317 that they won at the 2019 general election while the Labour party would have its best ever result, winning a crushing landslide of 461 seats. Meanwhile the Lib Dems are forecast to win 37 seats while the SNP would win 38.
38 seats for the SNP would not be a great result, representing a net loss of ten of the 48 seats the party won in 2019. However it would not be the utter disaster that some have forecast, and the SNP would still comfortably remain the largest party in Scotland in terms of seats and vote share. It also needs to be taken into account that this poll will strongly discourage the Conservatives from going for an early election, particularly because it forecasts that Sunak and seventeen other cabinet ministers would suffer the humiliation of losing their own seats. Sadly the horrendous Suella Braverman is not amongst them but the Tories would lose the Viceroy General’s Dumfies and Galloway seat, so it’s not all bad. This would make Rishi Sunak the first British Prime Minister to lose his seat at a general election since Arthur Balfour in 1906. We could also be seeing the back of “but we’re family Penny Mordor, sorry Mordaunt, the woeful Greg Hands, and the personality free zone that is Oliver Dowden. Upon hearing that Mhairi Black would not be standing for re-election Dowden remarked that he entered the Commons at the same time as her, to which she retorted that he’d be leaving at the same time as well.
All this means that the Tories are likely to cling on as long as possible in the hopes of minimising their losses, so it’s unlikely that the election will be held until the end of 2024.
This gives the SNP over a year to turn their fortunes around in Scotland, by that time the interminable police investigation into the party’s finances ought to have long since concluded, hopefully with no charges being brought, in which case perhaps someone could recommend a good grief counsellor for BBC Scotland and the Herald’s Tom Gordon. Although no doubt the Scottish media will quickly find some other SNP bad issue to bang on about incessantly.
This poll proves that Starmer’s claim that he needs people in Scotland to vote Labour in order to kick the Tories out is complete nonsense. It was always nonsense but this poll ought to kill the claim off for good. Labour currently looks set to win a majority of well over 200 seats, and since there are only 59 Scottish seats in Westminster just now, a number set to be reduced to 57 at the next general election, you don’t have to be a genius at mental arithmetic to realise that the outcome of the election in Scotland will have no impact at all on the final result. It merely makes the difference between Keir Starmer having a massively overwhelming majority or a hugely overwhelming majority. But no matter how enormous the majority, you can bet that Labour still won’t abolish the House of Lords or remove charitable status from private schools.
Starmer wants to target Scottish seats for the simple reason that he wants to neutralise the prospect of Scottish independence, then he can enjoy his huge majority without troubling himself with Scottish demands.
What Labour will do is deny Scottish democracy every bit as much as the Tories currently do. Starmer doesn’t want people in Scotland to vote Labour in order to keep the Tories from power, an SNP vote is as effective for achieving that as a vote for Labour’s optional Scottish identity mark. Indeed the Labour party under Starmer proves the old adage that you should not listen to what someone says, you should pay heed to what they do.
What Starmer is very obviously doing is formulating policies designed to appeal to voters in Brexit supporting seats in the North and Midlands of England, the so-called Red Wall seats that fell to the Tories in 2019. He is not proposing policies which are in tune with Remain voting Scotland, and he is certainly not advocating anything remotely close to the federalism that Gordon Brown swore was just around the corner in 2014. What we are in for with Keir Starmer is Blairism on steroids, more Westminster centralisation, more privatisation in the NHS in England, more cruelty to those on benefits, migrants and asylum seekers. Plus of course the hard Brexit bequeathed to us by the Tories will remain intact as will the fetishisation of the monarchy, and the inequalities and injustices which characterise the British state.
Martin Baxter, CEO of Electoral Calculus noted: “With every month that goes by, Labour are edging towards a grudging landslide victory at the next general election. Without overmuch enthusiasm, the public look likely to reject the Conservatives and are mostly embracing Labour.”
This is true, there is little eagerness for Keir Starmer’s grey centre right managerialism but there is certainly widespread despair with the Conservatives and a desperation to get them out of office. We have probably reached the point where nothing Sunak can do will be able to rescue the Tories from the electoral thumping which awaits them at the next general election. But their politics shall live on in Starmer’s Labour party. Tory peer Zac Goldsmith one of Johnson’s allies who was criticised for colluding in Johnson’s campaign of abuse and intimidation directed at MPs on the Privileges Committee investigating his lies to Parliament said this week that he could see himself voting Labour at the next election. That’s how far to the right the Labour party has grown under Starmer.
But if Labour does get its landslide,after a few years the electoral pendulum will inevitably swing back to the Tories and the entire sorry cycle of the rightwards drift of British politics will take another turn, screwing down the misery, and Labour will yet again ape Tory policies in order to get back into power.
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