By a Newsnet reporter
As their party conferences in Scotland close, the Scottish National Party said that the more negative the Labour and the LibDems leaderships are about Scotland, the more negative the people of Scotland are about them.
SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson pointed to a breakdown of the Sunday Times YouGov poll which shows that Ed Miliband scores a minus 45% approval rating in Scotland (even worse than David Cameron’s -31%), while Nick Clegg is on minus 64% (17 points worse than his UK rating).
The poor showings of the anti-independence party leaders have not improved since David Cameron vowed to preserve the Union “with every fibre that I have”, a vow in which Labour leader Ed Miliband promised to support “100%”. Despite the inducement of promises to discuss further powers for the Scottish parliament, but only after a no vote has been secured in the referendum on independence, all three of the Westminster parties’ leaders continue to poll negatively.
The poor ratings of Ed Miliband will be of particular concern to Labour strategists. Even when opposed to an unpopular Conservative leader, Miliband continues to return worse poll ratings than David Cameron, even in Scotland which Labour once saw as a springboard to a return to power in Westminster. Miliband has struggled to make his mark on the party, which remains mired in internal disputes.
Many commentators believe that Labour faces another drubbing at the Scottish local elections in May this year. Labour may even lose control of Glasgow City Council, which would be a devastating blow to the party’s ailing morale. The party has been unable to escape its reputation for negativity and opposition to all policies espoused by the SNP, irrespective of their merits.
Nick Clegg’s poll ratings are the worst of all. Like Labour, Scotland was traditionally seen as a stronghold for Clegg’s party, however the party shows no signs of poll recovery from their near annihilation during May 2011’s election to the Scottish Parliament. Their coalition with the Conservatives in Westminster has led them to be perceived as a proxy for the Tories.
Mr Gibson said:
“The more negative Labour and LibDems are about Scotland, the more negative people in Scotland will be about them – that is why their leaders’ approval ratings are worse in Scotland than in the UK as a whole. Incredibly, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband have even worse ratings in Scotland than David Cameron does!
“For a Labour leader’s approval rating among Scots to be far below even an unpopular Tory Prime Minister shows just how unpopular London-led Labour are in Scotland – and the continued negativity at their conference will have done nothing to improve matters.
“Just as the LibDems have suffered for their alliance with the Tories, Labour face the same fate as they gang up with the Tories in opposing independence.
“It is clear that the people of Scotland are appalled by Labour agreeing ‘100 per cent’ with the Tories on Scotland’s future, and are equally unimpressed with the Labour/Tory alliance to vote against the Scottish Government’s budget, and against 25,000 Modern Apprenticeship places.
“Tory/Lib Dem and Labour Westminster governments have failed Scotland – which is why we need the powers of independence to build a fair society and prosperous economy.”