Scottish Labour: Could it all go wrong?

It was therefore at first sight somewhat surprising to note a prediction by Labor Party lady Jackie Baillie that clearly falls into the perspicacious category.

She said: “The polls are increasingly clear. The age of SNP dominance is over.” People turned to the Scottish Labor Party.

Of course, this is not really a fortune-telling prediction. Rather, it is an attempt at a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The deputy leader of the Scottish Labor Party portrays the SNP as in trouble. She also hopes that the word ‘dominance’ in public opinion will be linked to Labour’s constructed narrative that the SNP has become arrogant and complacent.

Finally, she hopes that by positioning Labor as a ready alternative, she paints a picture of potential change – which may seem attractive when voters are as anxious and anxious as they are at the moment.

In short, it is a strategy for achieving an outcome, not a prediction of what that outcome might be.

Read more from Brian Taylor: Is the SNP imploding – and can Humza Yousaf find a solution?

However, put that aside. There appears to be growing support for Labor and a concomitant decline for both the Conservatives and the SNP.

The Liberal Democrats and the Greens, on the other hand, might be relatively encouraged by their position. But only relatively. A lot to do.

Let’s focus on the work first. A survey published this week provided interesting analysis by Sir John Curtice. The psephological expert suggested that under current limits, Labor could expect to win 22 Westminster seats in Scotland, while the SNP would fall to 26, with the Tories retaining their six seats despite a slight drop in support and the LibDems would win one to keep five.

On the one hand, one might remark that in this scenario the SNP would manage to maintain its leadership, even in the face of the enormous problems it faced as a party and as a decentralized government.

But the story also has dynamics. A huge leap forward for the Scottish Labor Party, potentially playing a crucial role in securing the keys to number 10 for Sir Keir Starmer.

A significant drop for Humza Yousaf that adds to the difficulties he is already facing. The forthcoming Rutherglen-Hamilton West by-election is unlikely to ease his worries.

In such circumstances, the skeptical observer is generally inclined to ask: where could it all go wrong for Labour?

To put it bluntly, that is also the question endlessly and sensibly asked in Labor circles.

First, there could be a British Conservative revival. We don’t yet know when the next UK general election will be, but autumn next year is a pretty good choice. That gives the Tories more than a year to improve the economic outlook and calm angry voters.

Enough time? Probably not, given the deep and ongoing concern about the cost of living. Nevertheless, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor will try to slowly and steadily restore trust.

READ MORE: Will the Scottish Government be prevented from working towards independence?

Would that alone be enough? Maybe not. Rishi Sunak has a story to bury.

He needs voters who forget Partygate and Boris Johnson. Every time it reappears, for example in the House of Commons inquiry into Mr Johnson’s conduct, voters lose confidence in the Tories.

He also needs the electorate to get through the difficult situation Liz Truss faced as Prime Minister. Short yet terrifying.

The Labor Party is aware of this and strives to upset the populace as little as possible by minimizing anything that might appear radical.

Brexit? Don’t ask, don’t tell. OK, experts say it has done serious damage to the UK economy, as noted by Ian McConnell in a thoughtful article in the Herald this week. English voters don’t want to hear it – and Labor will comply.

gender self-identification? The British Labor Party continues. Advantages? Labor will maintain the two-child cap and associated rape clause, despite past disregard for this policy.

To be fair, Sir Keir said during a visit to Scotland this week that it doesn’t mean giving up on poverty reduction efforts. There would be a concrete plan. Scotland would notice an improvement.

But this strategy of appeasing the population does not exactly make things easy for the party in Scotland.

Forgive the theatrical hint, but hey, it’s Edinburgh Festival time.

The Traverse has an outstanding Dundee Rep production called The Grand Old Opera House Hotel. The spooky residence in question goes by the name of Scomodo Hotel. When I asked, I found out that it means “uncomfortable”.

Anas Sarwar and Jackie Baillie have been “taken aback” by their British Prime Minister’s comments. Not easy to find in Scotland, where politics tends to be more left-leaning and their big enemy is the SNP.

Nonetheless, Mr. Sarwar is a serious and confident political leader. He knows what his British leader must do. He is ready to do his part, but at the same time expresses hope that measures on issues such as the two-child limit could be implemented relatively quickly.

For now, Mr. Sarwar is pursuing his policy of triangulation. Blame both the UK and Scottish governments. Blame the Tories primarily for the economy and the SNP primarily for the health care woes.

But could the fate of the SNP recover? That could well be the case, although they depend in part on external factors such as police investigations into party finances.

They could revive if the party succeeds in restoring internal unity and developing a coherent, realistic strategy for pursuing independence.

Also, they might revive under different circumstances. Suppose Labor wins power in Britain, either alone or in partnership with the LibDems.

It was long thought that a Labor Party victory in Westminster would ease the pressure for independence.

Perhaps that would indeed be the case. But let’s say Sir Keir fights at Downing Street. Suppose the economy doesn’t bounce back quickly.

In such circumstances, is it possible that Scottish voters would return to the SNP – and perhaps even to independence?

I know, I know, too many hypotheses. Things are looking pretty good for Labor north and south of the border at the moment.

But these are troubled times. Scomodo is the buzzword.

Grace Reader

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