There has been a steady decline in the SNP vote in Scottish opinion polls during the General election campaign, and a steady recovery in the Labour vote from a very low base. At the same time, support for Independence has been stable or even growing – the latest Scottish poll asking the question puts support for Independence at 54%. And digging down into the data tables of recent polls, the concomitant is indeed true. A quarter to a third of those currently identifying as Labour voters in Scotland support Independence.
As I have frequently demonstrated, the Scottish electorate is indeed substantially to the left of the English electorate on economic issues. This is not a myth. What appears to be happening is that some Labour voters who deserted the party when the SNP were substantially to the left of Labour, are returning to Labour enthused by Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign.
I was down this weekend at the Merthyr Rising Festival and it is impossible not to be swept up in the joy that so many people feel at seeing a genuine alternative economic policy offered by Jeremy Corbyn at an election for the first time in a generation. Renationalisation and an end to austerity, and an ethical foreign policy, are things to be excited about. I get it – a sledgehammer is being taken to the blockwork surrounding the Overton window. Who would not want to show support for that?
The latest opinion poll shows
Not including this, the last poll of polls showed
(All polling referenced can be found on the Scot Goes Pop website linked above).
The iniquity of the first past the post system is such, that the drift of support from SNP to Labour risks handing up to a dozen seats to the Tories, while potentially gaining only 2 or 3 seats for Labour – and only from the SNP.
If Labour continues, despite Manchester, to advance in the UK wide polls it only requires a further swing of perhaps 2% from Tory to Labour before polling day before we are potentially in hung parliament territory. It therefore could be absolutely essential that the combined Labour/SNP MP’s outnumber the Tories. It would be a huge tragedy if the Tories were to get an overall majority simply because some Scottish voters who like Corbyn switched from SNP to Labour, and thus let the Tories in.
The case of Edinburgh South is arguable, but Edinburgh South aside, there is no constituency in Scotland where for Corbyn supporters to vote SNP risks helping the Tory. I realise that tactical voting is a complex ethical question, but if you want your vote to have practical effect, rather than act as a form of personal expression, it is essential that Scottish Corbyn supporters vote SNP, and most especially in rural constituencies.