The truth may harm Sturgeon's chances more than unionists could hope for

The truth may harm Sturgeon's chances more than unionists could hope for

by Dr Sutherland MacNeill
article from Friday 1, November, 2019

AND WE'RE OFF, again, into a snap General Election. It could have come soon enough for many of us who simply want the result of the 2016 referendum respected.  Polls predict the SNP will regain much of their 2017 losses in the chaos of Boris' Brexit deal and of the sagging fortunes of the once mighty Labour party.

A week is a long time in politics, five weeks can be an eternity. Theresa May lost her own majority with a manifesto of terrible promises and later her crown because of promises she broke.

For the Tories and the SNP this is not 2017. It won't play out that way. The government has learned the lessons of the grey May years. The manifesto will be slicker to present and quicker to read.

Something else has happened since 2017.

The Scottish Tories have been a much better opposition to Sturgeon's government and have started to land bruises on her reputation that seemed impenetrable a few years ago. People are tiring of the SNP's excuses and incompetence. A shipyard with no ships built, a hospital so unsafe it cannot ensure power to its ITU or even keep flooding at bay. It adds up and this snap GE is a chance for many floating Scottish voters to make their voice heard.

Jeremy Corbyn has moved from hopeless to outright harmful to Scottish Labour. Mixed messaging on Brexit and on indyref2 has sapped the party's chances by demoralising members and supporters because everyone in the party has been involved in some referendum campaign of late. To turn around and say none of it really matters and that everything is for sale is disastrous. Voters sickened by anti-semitism will have no patience for such dithering and results will show. With that the SNP's strongest suite, of forming a coalition, is toast.

The Liberal Democrats have made serious headway into marketing themselves as a credible remain party even if this risks a second indyref down the line. This hurts the SNP on the biggest issue of the day and Ian Blackford, the humble crofter of outstanding charm, is under serious threat of losing his seat to the party of his predecessor the late Charlie Kennedy.

When such seats are under threat then resources are diverted from more marginal seats. The Liberal Democrats have long used their so-called decapitation strategy to sow havoc in the enemy ranks and they're on course to do it again.

In former Labour strongholds like Lanark and Motherwell East, and even in Edinburgh North & Leith this is creating three way marginals where even now Tories could punch through the divided left and gain new seats.

So the chief mammy is facing a tripple whammy of a stronger PM, her own record weakened and Labour is disarray. Given most of the pro-indy Labour vote has already gone to the SNP there is really two directions the remainers can go, Lib Dem and Tory, of course to Brexit candidates.

This election may yet prove rewarding for the SNP, but an each-way bet on a few unionist candidates surprising us all will make it much more interesting than 2017. 

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