Labour winning big in England – SNP and Labour neck and neck in Scotland


By Russell Bruce

The UK wide polls show Labour easily winning big time in England. The Tories have decided their latest strategy is to warn of mass dominance of Labour after the election in the hope that will move former voters and undecideds to turn out for Rish who didn’t have a dish. (Sunak was deprived as a child as he didn’t have a Sky dish) Nothing else has moved the dial so far and the FT’s Stephen Bush thinks it is probably the only strategy the Tories have left to pull back a little bit from the precipice into the depths of a result of a Tory mass wipeout with less than 100 survivors.

Things are different in Scotland as the SNP and Labour are in a tight contest. SNP dominance in Scotland has slipped and they will lose Westminster seats to Labour. All Scottish polling shows Labour is making a comeback and the latest IPSOS poll shows the SNP and Labour neck and neck as the IPSOS diagram illustrates.

Does this mean the Tories would be helping the SNP?

The Tories in all their 6 seats that are a staight fight with the SNP have been sending out mail shots over and over again that only they can beat the SNP. Conversely that message tells their constituents that only the SNP can beat them. They are beating that same drum on social media still half way through the six week campaign. Predictions of Tory loses vary from 3 seats to all 6 in Scotland. Douglas Ross has tipped that closer to wipeout this week with his appalling treatment of David Duguid.

The Westminster Conservative campaign is mainly concerned with what happens in England and suggestions of mass Labour dominance could well save a few seats as the public are indeed wary about the over dominance of any one party. That allows the SNP to push for the interests of Scotland because the Tories are telling England political ‘balance’ is in danger. There is no doubt – Labour is going to win big in England and will form the next government with a substantial majority.

The latest YouGov poll that gave Reform a 1% lead over the Conservatives in England may well be an outlier but Farage will make much use of it to help his far right agenda and it could further influence more relunctant Tory voters to back Farage, England’s Donald Trump. Even if the 18% scale of the rise in Farage’s vote does not come to pass the impact of a mass move from Sunak to Farage would result in Starmer winning an even bigger majority in England.

Is there any good news for the SNP and independence?

The growing sense that Starmer is set for a majority of hundreds in England provides the opportunity for the SNP to build on their case that the centre ground of politics in Scotland is very different with a long established position of centre left dominance that Labour no longer fills.

Ipsos found that 42% of likely voters could change their mind. The motivating factor was to vote against the party they most wanted to get out. There is a clear determination in Scotland to get the Tories out that is encouraging the move to Labour. None the less the SNP are holding their own, so increasing evidence of a Tory wipeout in England sets the game in the context of what is best for Scotland. Ipsos thinks the advantage on vote shifting lies with Labour. Labour also will benefit from their vote being more concentrated in some central belt seats. That Labour will pick up Westminster seats from the SNP is not in question. The issue for the SNP is to limit those loses by continuing to promote an ‘in Scotland’s interest agenda‘ in the face of Labour’s impending dominance in England.

Backing for independence in the IPSOS was modestly positive with 51% backing independence and 49% against. That is a long way from where support needs to be to force Westminster to agree to another referendum but it is a holding position to build on. Scotland will only become independent following a successful referendum. The SNP Scottish Government is committed to bringing about independence but it is a government that is part and parcel of the British state whether we like that or not, that was what the devolution settlement delivered.

Another important SNP advantage though is the policy to join the European Single Market which Labour have firmly ruled for ever again yesterday. Scotland’s economy is doing relatively well with a lot of growth in the industries of the future from satellites and rockets to pharmaceuticals as promoted by Scotland’s economic agencies for the last 14 years. Access to the Single Market would be growth positive for Scotland.

Who would make best First Minister?

An interesting plus point for the SNP is the answer to ‘Who would make the best First Minister. John Swinney wins clearly with 36% support from all voters against just 23% for Anas Sarwar. Of 2021 voters 68% of SNP voters chose Swinney joined by 15% of Labour voters and even 10% of Conservative voters.

Can the SNP hold on to the majority of Scottish Westminster seats?

That is the question we have been exploring based on the IPSOS Scottish poll and some other UK wide polls. The conclusion is it is possible if the SNP can get across the importance of voting for a Scottish perspective in the face of the collapse of the Tory vote UK wide and England’s impending massive Labour vote that makes voting Labour in Scotland a redundant strategy. Many of the results will be extremely close in Scotland. Penny numbers wins?

The NHS is a major issue with the electorate and all parties across the UK. The 1945 Labour government created the NHS for all nations of the UK in 1948. Labour today are intent on reprivatisation of the NHS as a dangerous part of Starmer’s move to the right. That would have dangerous implications for the distribution and allocation of funding for the NHS in Scotland. As long as Scotland is attached to Westminster funding is Westminster controlled with only limited ability to change spending priorities at the margins of the Scottish budget.

The simple story very few people understand

The overwhelming amount of tax collected in the UK goes direct to the Treasury in London – VAT, excise duties, National insurance, inheritance tax and more. The Treasury and UK government decide how this money is allocated to the UK nations and regions based on THEIR priorities. With independence Scotland would collect all it’s own taxes and would have total control over how they would allocate tax income to priorities determined solely in Scotland.

This article was updated with some additional information and observations at 19.59 on 14th June