Better Together alliance with Tories has damaged Labour


  By G.A.Ponsonby
Labour’s anti-independence partnership with the Conservatives has damaged the party in Scotland, according to a new survey.
The Panelbase poll found that the number of people who believe joining the Tories in the Better Together campaign has caused harm to Labour, is almost double the number who believe there has been no damage.

The survey, commissioned by Newsnet Scotland, asked respondents for their view on Labour’s decision to join with the Conservatives in the three party Better Together alliance.

Asked “Which of the following comes closest to your own view on how (if at all) this partnership has affected the Labour Party?”

Respondents were given four possible options:

  • The Labour party has not been damaged by being associated with the Conservatives
  • The Labour party has been damaged a little by being associated with the Conservatives
  • The Labour party has been damaged a lot by being associated with the Conservatives
  • Don’t know

Less than a quarter of respondents (24%) said Labour had not been damaged, whilst 45% said they thought Labour had been harmed by the Tory alliance.  Of those who said they thought Johann Lamont’s party had been damaged, 22% thought Labour had been damaged a lot.

Thirty one per cent of respondents said they did not know if Labour had been damaged or not.

Excluding those who said they didn’t know, the results show two thirds (66%) believe Labour has been harmed, with only a third (34%) saying the party has not been damaged.

Further analysis of the survey found:

  • Almost half (48%) of Labour voters surveyed said they thought their party had been damaged
  • 62% of Labour voters who gave an answer felt the party had been damaged
  • 75% of undecided voters who gave an answer to the question believe it has damaged Labour
  • Only 40% of No voters think it has NOT damaged Labour

Some senior Labour figures are believed to be uncomfortable with the party being seen to be working alongside the Conservatives against independence. 

In January, Labour MP Jim Murphy [On left of image] – who has appeared alongside Tory MSP Jackson Carlaw [Second right] promoting Better Together – described the Conservative party as “poisonous”.

Labour launched its own anti-independence splinter group last May in a bid at appeasing some traditional Labour organisations who had expressed dismay at the party’s role in Better Together.

Headed by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, United with Labour is a Labour only campaign group which campaigns using similar themes to that of the Better Together alliance, which is headed by Labour MP Alistair Darling.  United with Labour’s slogan is, “Working Together, Stronger Together”.

However new regulations issued today by the Electoral Commission makes it clear that both the Yes and the No campaigns can have only one official lead campaign.