There is a sorry absence of Scottish voting intention polls these days. Once upon a time the Scottish press used to commission regular polls, often from TNS System Three. More recently they only really crop up in the run up to elections. All we have to go on are the published results from the SNP’s private polls carried out by YouGov.

As ever, polls commissioned by a political party need slight caution – the methodology should be exactly the same and if carried out by a BPC member the tables will be published, allowing you to check for any funny business with the way the questions are worded. If they are from reputably pollsters you can be confident that they are kosher polls (certainly the SNP have been regularly commissioning these polls from YouGov and they appear entirely legitimate). The one thing you should be wary of is that clients do not have to release all the figures from private polls – the SNP are presumably happy to publish these findings at the moment because they are positive. If somewhere down the line the polls stop being rosy for them, you might find them less ready to publish their findings.

Anyway, the lastest voting intentions for the Scottish parliament are, in the constituency section, CON 12%, LAB 29%, LDEM 13%, SNP 40%. In the regional vote support stands at CON 13%, LAB 26%, LDEM 13%, SNP 34%, Green 9%, SSP 3%. The poll was conducted between 28th and 30th of November, so was prior to Wendy Alexander’s recent funding problems.

Compared the most recent YouGov poll in Scotland that asked about Holyrood voting intentioned, conducted back in August for the Sunday Times, this has the SNP up significantly at the expense of Labour in the constituency section and Labour significantly down, presumably to the benefit of “others” in the regional section. However, I think there may well be significant methodological differences in the way voting intention was asked in the two polls, in terms of the blurb explaining the two votes and in terms of which parties were prompted for (the 9% support for the Greens seems quite high, I suspect YouGov prompted

Job approval for the SNP government in Edinburgh still seems to be riding high, with 63% thinking they are doing well and 26% thinking they are doing badly. The next figure of +37 is marginally up from the last poll at the beginning of October, which had the Scottish government on +33.


69 Responses to “Latest Scottish Voting Intention”

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  1. But worth comparing with the YouGov that came out the day before the May election.
    Dec Poll May Poll Change (all Constituency/Region)

    SNP 40/34 37/32 +3/+2
    Lab 29/26 31/27 -2/-1
    Con 12/13 13/13 -1/+0
    LD 13/13 14/10 -1/+3

    After six months of a new government in office, everybody is still within the margin of error from May

  2. No Westminster voting intention, presumably?

  3. Any question on independence?

  4. Sean/Philip,

    As Anthony has said elsewhere, he can only give us what the SNP choose to release and even if he knew anything else he can’t tell us.

    Oh and before you ask I don’t know if they were asked, although wrist slap or not I’d probably tell you if I did.

    I put these figures in to Scotland votes.

    http://www.scotlandvotes.com/

    That would give;

    SNP 51 seats (+4) Labour 37 seats (-9), LibDem 16 seats (0), Tory 15 seats (-2), Green 9 seats (+7) SSP 1 seat (+1) Ind 0 seats (-1).

    With a majority of 65 to form a government a rainbow coalition of SNP/green/SSP would be 4 seats short of a majority. An SNP LibDem coalition would be comfortable.

    Although with almost four years still to go I am sure this will all change.

    Peter.

  5. An SNP/Tory coalition could work too. ;-)

  6. It would strike me that a more accurate comparison with May results to today would be to compare the election results with the recent YouGov poll.

    Dec Poll May Elec Change (all Constituency/Region)

    SNP 40/34 33/31 +7/+3
    Lab 29/25 32/29 -3/-4
    Con 12/13 17/14 -5/-1
    LD 13/13 16/11 -3/+2
    others 6/15 2/15 +4/0

    All three of the unionist parties are down significantly and the combined support for the nationalist parties (SNP, GREEN, SSP) is now approaching 50% of the total.

    Unionist (Labour, Cons, LD)
    Constituency 54% Regional 51%

    Nationalist (SNP, GREEN, SSP)
    Constituency 46% Regional 49%

    in May, the unionist vote was two-thirds. Now it has fallen to a near dead heat (counting margin of error)

  7. re Westminster. The SNP doing well is good news for the Tories as it would mean Labour lose seats north of the border. It is a shame that no Westminster related questions were asked but, if commissioned by the SNP I understand why.

  8. Doonhammer, there is never any point comparing SNP poll figures with actual elections. The SNP were consistently polling 36-40 in the run up to May and got 32. It’s the same for every election, year after year. That’s why you should compare this poll with its “if there were an election tomorrow” question with the poll in May when there actually was an election tomorrow. Unless the SNP went from 37% to 32% overnight on May 2nd it suggests that they poll slightly better in YouGov that they actually ever get.

  9. Malcolm,

    I tend to agree we should compare poll with poll and election with election and not mix them.

    Having said that although the difference between now and May is within the margin of error, the gap between the SNP and Labour has gone from +6/+5 to +11/+8 which is a change of +5/+3.

    Even accounting for error I think that suggests that the SNP has probably improved it’s position marginally.

    It may not be hugely significant in percentage terms but there was a move back to Labour in the last week of the campaign, and it may well be that those who did so may not the next time.

    Perhaps more important in the long run than the SNP doing well in Government has been scorching the myth that an SNP government would lead to chaos and ruin.

    It hasn’t so the fear tactics that have been used in the past will not be as effective in the future.

    Philip,

    I just don’t see a blue tartan alliance ever working.

    I may be able to function as a government and might even deliver, but for better or worse a majority of Scots see the Tories as political lepers, so the dangers would probably out weigh the benefits. In electoral terms it would be a gift to Labour.

    In contrast WA’s new constitutional convention set up by the Parliament yesterday to include Labour ,Tory and LibDem, lets the SNP portray them as all the same. In addition I have a feeling that it may go the way of the cross party talks on Party funding and do the participants more harm than good.

    The very fact that it has been reported as being set up stop independence and to address concerns from the south, makes it look as if is a reaction and a reluctant attempt to stop something rather than a positive move.

    WA being politically wounded and fencing off scandal didn’t help either.

    Peter.

  10. The full tables are up.

    http://www.yougov.com/archives/pdf/2007%2012%2007%20SNP.pdf

    Westminster intentions are

    Labour 32%, SNP 32%, Tory 19%, LibDem 12%, others 4%.

    It also for the first time gives you Scottish regional breakdowns.

    Now as with UK regional breakdowns the sample size is small so margins of error are high but it does perhaps go some way to letting us see how some of the marginal seats might go if they follow the regional swing not the national one.

    The SNP is above the Westminster national average in;

    NE Scotland, S Scotland ( particularly strong), Mid& Fife, and Glasgow,

    It’s behind in;

    Highlands (where I live), W Scotland, Central and Lothians.

    On the surface of it at 23% to Labour and the SNP on 27% the Lothians looks like where the Tories may make a gain, although it depends on seats and candidates.

    The highest LibDem is 18% in the Highlands and Islands and even there they are in fourth place. Having said that Labour look to be top which is surprising.

    Now I am not that sure I am interpreting this correctly so I’d like comments please, when you compare the SNP vote for Westminster and Holyrood constituencies, you see that 95% of those who would vote for the SNP in Holyrood would vote for them for Westminster.

    In contrast for Westminster to Holyrood it falls to 77% just above the LibDems 72% and way behind Labour and the Tories on 93% and 97%.

    That suggests to me a substantial amount of tactical votes may come to the SNP at the next Westminster election.

    Looking at the Tories we see the opposite with only 61% of those who vote Tory at Holyrood voting Tory for Westminster, with the big winner the SNP picking up 21%. Indeed the SNP seems benefit most at Westminster from tactical voting by all parties.

    Final if an or referendum independence question was asked there is no indication of it here.

    Peter.

  11. many thanks for that Peter , an interesting set of Westminster results , as you say the Highlands/Islands Labour % looks very odd . If the LibDem differential between Yougov and other pollsters applies to Scotland only polls as it does to the UK wide ones then that would indicate LibDems at 16-17 in Scotland in a Westminster election at present which does not seem far off the likely position .

  12. Interesting that the SNP support seems so reliant on older voters (18-34 21%, 35-54 32%, 55+ 41%) . Problems for them for the future?

  13. Mark,

    I think 16% is probably about right maybe a bit lower, but it’s a long way below the 23% they got last time, and I think there is a real chance that they could get squeezed by tactical voting.

    The may not lose that many seats but I could say their share of the vote on or below 15%.

    Peter.

  14. If I were a Scottish Tory, I would be very depressed at the failure to increase popularity beyond the awful level of 12% or so. After 20 years of being extremely unpopular in Scotland, it’s about time the Tories found some way of improving their situation. Scotland needs a strong right of centre alternative in order to have a decent democracy.

  15. The regional results are interesting. The ones for the Highlands & Islands and South of Scotland look a bit strange though. The former certainly has Labour too high and I don’t think the SNP are as strong in the South as the figures suggest.

  16. “I don’t think the SNP are as strong in the South as the figures suggest.”

    Isin’t the south of Scotland the Tories strongest area? The samples must be too small.

  17. Peter , re your comment on interpreting the relationship between SNP Westminster and Holyrood votes I think you are not quite reading the figures correctly and I think the conclusion is the opposite of what you say ie of othose who say they will vote SNP at Westminster 95% would vote SNP at Holyrood and of those who would vote SNP at Holyrood 77% would vote SNP at Westminster .

  18. Anthony,

    Which one of us is right, Mark or I.

    I interpret it as the difference between the 77% SNP who would vote at Holyrood but not Westminster, as being mostly made up to close to 100% by the 21% of Tories who would vote Tory at Holyrood but switch to the SNP for Westminster.

    But Like I said I am not sure. I think it’s important because tactical voting come the next Westminster election could mean the difference between more of the same and something very different.

    Peter.

  19. Peter , my interpretation is :-

    SNP Westminster vote 32% made up of 77% of the 40% who would vote SNP at Holyrood = 30.8% plus 3% of 13% who would vote LibDem at Holyrood = 0.4% plus 1% of the 29% who would vote Labour at Holyrood = 0.3% plus 1% of the 12% who would for Con at Holyrood + 0.1% Total 31.6%

    SNP Holyrood vote 40% made up of 95% of the 32% who would cote SNP at Westminster = 30.4% plus 12% of the 12% who would vote LibDem at Westminster = 1.5% plus 11% of the 32% who would vote Labour at Westminster = 3.6% plus 21% of the 19% who would vote Conservative at Westminster = 4.0% Total 39.5%
    Presumably not shown there would be a small movement with Others .

  20. Mark,

    Actually I’ll go with that as apart from proving I can’t count, it intuitively fits with the tradition of SNP voters not turning out at Westminster the way they do at Holyrood.

    It also fits with Tories voting tactically on the constituency section of Holyrood but switching back on the list.

    So if we did this for other Parties for Westminster they would be

    Labour;

    32% made up of 93% of 29 =26.7% + 11% of 13% LibDem=1.4% no Tories (0% 0f 12%) and 9% 0f the 40% SNP= 3.6% which gives 31.7% or the 32% in the survey.

    Clearly this gives us what many here, including me, have suspected, a high number of SNP voters who will revert to Labour at Westminster. This makes it difficult even on these scores for the SNP to make big gains against Labour

    LibDems;

    12% made up of 72% of 13=9.4%, from the SNP 4% of 40%=1.6%, from the Tories 1% of 12%=0% and 3% of 29%=1% from Labour which gives
    12%.

    Again the big shift is away from the SNP but they get votes from Labour with the Tories solid.

    Tories;

    19% made up of 97% of 12% =effectively 12%, plus 3% of 29% Labour=0.8%, 12% of 13% LibDem =1.6% and 10% of 40% SNP= 4%, which gives us 18.4% plus bits from others etc.

    Yet again the big shift is from the SNP although they gain a lot from the LibDems. In some respects the SNP vote isn’t as soft as it looks as at more than double the size of the LibDem vote a smaller percentage can still give bigger shifts.

    Perhaps what we should focus on is what we might term the core votes for all four parties; SNP=30.8%, Labour=26.7%, LibDem=9.4%, Tories=11.6%, which all adds up to only 78.5%, with more than 1 in 5 votes in Scotland switching between Scottish and UK elections.

    I’ll just have to console myself with us probably right now being the largest party in Scotland.

    Thanks for sorting that out mark.

    Peter.

  21. The anti-Toryness of Scotland is remarkable, as I’ve said before. The Tories are no better off in Scotland than in 1997, and it is entirely insullated from teh Tory revial in England (and Wales as well).

  22. I think regional polls are interesting and really ought to increase in significance over time. They would expose these predictions of general election results based on uniform swings as ludicrous and futile, which they are.

    It would be interesting to see some Scottish polls for general election intentions. While Scotland remains very anti-Tory the latest YouGov regional breakdowns put the Conservatives ahead by 30% in the south outside London.

  23. Luke,

    It just shows how difficult it is to regain ground in an area where you have been totally wiped out in. The same is true for Labour in whole swathes of England.

    In the end the Tories can get a majority with no Scottish seats.

  24. This poll may be commissioned by a political party, but at least it is clearly about Scotland. I have pointed out that the UK polls report aggregate percentages for the entire country although this is statistically dubious: Scottish, Welsh and English voters are not a homgeneous population and there are problems calculating figures when only some parties stand in many seats.

    I also welcome the breakdown of figures for regions of Scotland. Glasgow, Edinburgh and North-East Scotland, for instance are quite as much distinct as, say North-East England and Yorkshire. In my view, even UK polls should subdivide Scotland rather than treat it as a single region.

  25. I think the only way to get any meaningful regional figures would be in a German style mega-poll.

    There was a short discussion on this during the Scottish elections but it became clear that in order to get balance across the sample the biggest that YouGov could do with the existing panel was about 2,500.

    The problem was that with regional samples of only 300 and limited ability to balance within regions the margin of error just didn’t make it meaningful. Although the overall size of the largest poll did give a small MoE.

    However, where YouGov might be able to trump everyone with Westminster is the ability to do a 20,000+ sample that is balanced from it’s 40,000 panel with a speed accuracy and at a cost no one else can match.

    A poll that size would not only tell us with huge accuracy where the parties were standing, but would also provide 1,500+ meaningful regional samples. Some work would need to be done to make sure each regional sample was itself balanced, but I suspect YouGov has the data to select the panel members appropriately,

    It would also represent a landmark in British polling, although like Yougov’s final poll of the Holyrood campaign there would be a commercial risk if they got it wrong.

    I suspect that they could and should test in a couple of times before the election, so hands up everyone who wants a 25,000 member YouGov “State of the Nation” poll for 1st Jan 2008.

    Peter.

  26. Interesting results; I find it especially interesting the continuing strength of the SNP government. A few years ago the SNP was not a contender for power but now seems to be having the longest honeymoon period of govt. ever…

  27. Jack,

    I don’t have any figures, but I think Blair’s initial period in office saw him doing well for more than seven months.

    Peter.

  28. In case anyone is interested the best poll analysis on the reent Australian election is at
    http://www.abc.net.au/elections/federal/2007/

    The most interesting aspects were (in no particular order)
    1) Howard was only the 2nd PM to lose his seat
    2) The Greens significantly outpolled the National Paty (A rural right wing conservative party)to legitimately be able to be viewed as the 3rd party in Australian politics on votes (and Upper House seats). The Greens delivered a lot of lower House seats to Labour.
    3) The general economy issue was rejected by the electorate as the closer to home aspect of ‘job security’ was more important- Howard had made it easy for employers to sack people for any reason.
    4) Worth noting Labour supports republic and withdrawal from Iraq.
    5) Should be interesting for Australia’s ties with China as Rudd is a fluent Mandarin speaker having worked in the diplomatic corps there.

    Basically one would have to view Rudd (the new PM) as being very aware of how Blair got into power and has followed the model.

  29. Peter, yes, you might be right- I just try to block Blair out of my memory sometimes! :) It’s still a decent honeymoon which Brown would like…

  30. It took three years and four months before the Conservatives were able to open up an opinion poll lead after Labour took office – that was courtesy of the fuel protests of September 2000. Labour then remained in the lead until 2003.

    I don’t know when this website was created but if it existed prior to 2003 it must have been very dull and repetitive unless you were a Labour supporter. These are more exciting and unpredictable times.

  31. The failure of the Tories to revive their fortunes across Scotland at the last Holyrood elections is rightly seen as the one major blot on their track record this past year. However one aspect of their performance at that election has too long gone unremarked and given the possible implications for the next Westminster election deserves to be flagged up. The Tories won the seat of Roxburgh and Berwickshire from the Lib Dems with a more than decent swing and they did so partly because they have at last learned to concentrate their limited resources in a few target seats and get out their vote. You can be sure that the lessons they have learned in Roxburgh will be repeated in future contests at parliamentary level.With YouGov now showing Tory support in Scotland at Westminster level only just under 20% it is perfectly feasible if still odds against that they could rise to 22 or 23% by say 2009 and make a gain of 4 or 5 seats. Argyll and Bute(Lib Dem),Dumfries & Galloway (Lab), Edinburgh South (Lab), Edinburgh South West (Lab), Ochil and Perthshire South (Lab), Perth and Perthshire North (SNP) and Stirling (Lab) would all be vulnerable to any Tory mini revival set against the backdrop of a Labour slump.It’s not impossible that most of these seats could go Tory…it’s just that I would’nt risk a second mortgage on it happening!

  32. Nick , you should not get carried away with the Conservative figure in one poll , it is the only poll we have to go on with a full size sample but the evidence from all the other pollster’s subsample Scotland figures is that Conservative support in Westminster voting is much lower than 19% . I would not put any money whatsover on most of your list of possible Conservative gains , the SNP will not lose Perth and Perthshire North and Ochil is a very probable SNP gain . D & G and Edinburgh South are the 2 best chances of a Conservative gain but it would not surprise me if a small Labour recovery by the time of the next GE led to no gains at all .

  33. Nick and Mark

    I think you Nick are on the right lines and with the exception of Perth the Tories are in with a reasonable chance of taking the seats you mention.

    While we should be cautious regarding the Tory 19% poll I don’t think one should put much weight on the subsamples which are subject to large statistical errors. We should also bear in mind that since 1997 the Tories have tended to do better in real elections than in newspaper polls. Also the recent poll does not fully reflect Labour’s weakness due to the Wendy A saga.

  34. Nick, Mark

    Firstly, it would seem the Tories do poll a bit higher for Westminster than Holyrood, but they are still only squeaking above the 17.5% they won in the Great Tory Wipeout of ’97. That’s not very promising.

    The list of possible Tory targets misses out East Renfrewshire. Although Jim Murphy has dug in, I’d be surprised if that saved him when the locals tire of Labour. The Tories ran Labour fairly close there in May.

    Having said that, I think there are quite a few seats on the list the Tories stand no chance of winning. It’s hard to see them snatching Perth & North Perthshire off a resurgent SNP. Ochil & South Perthshire may contain fertile Tory territory in the Perthshire part, but in Kinross the Tories have slipped away, and in the former mining area of Clackmannan they are all but non-existent. The pool of potential Tory voters is simply too small. And why would voters keen to throw out Labour not choose to back an SNP candidate only 688 votes behind?

    Edinburgh South West was made by swapping a couple of good Tory wards for 4 safe Labour ones. Even after his recent troubles, Darling can probably count on traditional Labour voters to keep the Tories out, especially as the Tories are set on spoiling Lib Dem hopes in next-door Edinburgh South.

    Edinburgh South itself is also a tall order – the resources flung at it in 2005 and 2007 have had no discernible effect, unless the Tories were aiming for 4th! ;-) A Lib-Dem meltdown might help, but it would have to be huge.

    Dumfries & Galloway could be a good bet, but I expect Labour will fight hard.

    The SNP wins in Argyll & Bute and Stirling in May won’t have helped the Tories position themselves as the best hope of unseating the Lib Dems or Labour. I know the boundaries are different, but do the voters?

    Fundamentally, the Tories have to offer the Scots a reason to vote FOR them, rather than just against Labour. There’s no sign they’ve done that, and whatever the merits of “English votes for English laws” (and personally, as an SNP voter I’m quite sympathetic!), that probably isn’t going to help.

    I’m sure the Conservatives can win by taking seats in the South and the Midlands, where they seem to be polling rather well. If I was David Cameron I wouldn’t give Scotland a second thought.

  35. There is a large margin of error in the small samples for regions, but what we don’t see is any real variations in them over the polls.

    If you look at YouGov for example the Tory share in Scotland has been stable for months.If sample size caused margin of error problems you would expect it to bounce about a bit.

    So where as I wouldn’t say that any one Tory figure for Scotland from a YouGov UK poll could be said to be accurate, the trend over the last year or two has them more or less static.

    I know I am always asking Anthony to add things, but what I think would be interesting to see (and perhaps not to difficult) would be graphs over the period since the election looking at changes in all YouGov’s sub divisions, not just Regional but also Class, Age and Gender.

    I think these would let us see the trends in the various divisions.

    Peter.

  36. I agree that the subsamples in the Comres/Mori/Populus polls are small and subject to higher M of E but say Yougov’s 19% was correct . You would then expect the subsamples in other pollsters to vary widely below AND above that figure but instead all the subsamples are below – well below varying from 10 to 16% recently . This would indicate that the odd one out is Yougov whose own subsamples in UK wide polls have been consistent with this large Scotland poll at 18-19% . It may be Yougov who are correct and the other pollsters who are all wrong but probability is not high .

  37. Mark,

    I think the fact that E-Polling probably does handle spiral of silence better, particularly with things Scots Tories, means that I wouldn’t be surprised if the actual election turn out would be something like 18% if held now.

    I’d argue that it’s low because of SoS and will climb 1% or 2% to around 18%, or YouGov are showing the true figure, but I just don’t feel it will be YouGov +2% come and election.

    That’s not statistical, just intuitive.

    Peter.

  38. Peter , fair comment , though I do not see why Conservatives should suffer from a spiral of silence in Scotland now as they almost certainly did prior to the last election .

  39. Mark: Because there is still a presumption that it is wrong/odd/different etc to be a Conservative in Scotland. Because so many people still view Conservatives as “beyond the pale”

  40. Philip,

    Spot on, as ever it’s about perception and like it or not it’s still not seen as smart to go around saying your a Tory in Scotland, in fact “Your just a Tory” is a jibe that’s still thrown around as an insult.

    It’s similar in some ways to the way liberal is seen as little short of a communist be American politicians even when they are advocating something that isn’t far away from what republicans are and even right wing by European standards.

    In some respects it’s unfair to the Tories as if they had proposed business tax cuts like the SNP many Scots wouldn’t have supported them or at least been suspicious of there motives. As it is the SNP has advocated them and it’s got us support.

    In a way that challenges the idea put forward here that “Scotland needs a strong party of the Right”.

    If the SNP as a “nationalist” party is able to put forward policies that are “Good for Business and Good for Scotland”, do we need to have a traditional set of right/left parties, or can we have parties that put forward appropriate policies which differ from area to area.

    The SNP has become, a pro growth, pro business, eco friendly, social justice party as it has adopted appropriate policies portfolio by portfolio.

    To some that makes it two faced rather than pragmatic, but is it that different from New Labour or the Green Blue Tories.

    Do we in the 21st century need parties that are definied Right to left, or indeed can parties with a right v left agenda even compete in a modern setting….

    Discuss…….

    Peter.

  41. Thanks, Peter Cairns, for your interesting follow-on the my previous comment.

    My hand is up as wanting a “State of the Nation” poll on 1st. January 2008.

  42. My predictions for Tory gains in 2009/2010:

    Dumfries & Galloway,East Renfrewshire, Roxburgh,Selkirk and and Berwickshire (I think it’s called.),and if they do really well and Lib Dems are in melt down then West Aberdeenshire. They should hold DCT.

    No gains from the SNP and Labour should be O.K in Edinburgh South West.

    However I have never been to Scotland so I really have no idea!

  43. I forgot. I think they should gain Stitling.

    By the way was East Renfrewshire the tories safest seat?

  44. This talk about Scotland is so irrelevent to any Tory victory in the UK – any gains in Scotland for the Tories will be a bonus only to them .

    It’s the Scottish who seem to be the most left wing “country” in Europe – out of 4 main parties there are 3 of them that are socialist parties – only the Tories seem to represent the centre right .

    Why there is still talk on here about coalitions with the Tories and any other party is mind boggling and shows a lack of knowledge about the Conservatives – it’s even more mind boggling that some on here actually talk of a coalition between the Tories and the left wing SNP – who not only aspire to socailsit ideology but want to break from the UK – the Tories have nothing in common with them as the Tories believe in the Union !!

  45. Mike,

    Currently, the “left wing SNP”, want to cut business rates, gain control of corporation tax so they can cut it to Irish levels, have called for 2% efficiency per annum in government spending, and are trying to recruit 1,000 extra police.

    As I suggested earlier, the SNP have adopted a mixed bag of policies depending on what needs to be done and to be honest the idea that you need to have parties on a right to left spectrum to have democracy, especially under PR seems out dated.

    We are, for better or worse, increasingly in an era where issue by issue parties need to bring forward policies that can command majority support depending on the publics concerns and mood, that winning policy may be to the right or left.

    So we have a left of centre Labour party cutting public service jobs and invading Iraq, while a right of centre Tory party is defending the NHS and opposing extended detention without trial.

    I such a situation even if some pine for real socialism or the return of Thatcherism, they will probably be disappointed.

    In some respects ideology seems to have been replaced by managerialism, which suits the SNP as although a left of centre party in UK terms we are very much in the centre in Scottish terms.

    The ability to be pragmatic on policy without being accused of betraying the parties traditions is a real advantage, with the Claim to do “What’s best for Scotland”, enabling us to move from right to left as required both in terms of individual policy and broad electoral appeal.

    Peter.

  46. Let’s admit it. The SNP are the most right-wing party of the big 4.

    If being a conservative means anything, it means not being dependent on others. The SNP want complete fiscal autonamy (through independence)so they are not dependent on England.

    They also want to cut business taxes hugely. They also belive in the NHS and the wefare state, but I don’t see the Tories arguing against the welfare state.

  47. 601,

    I think you are right about those seats being the most likely Tory gains. However a general election need not take place until 2010 and the SNP’s current popularity may have waned by then. Even in 2005 the SNP majorities in Perth & North Perthshire and in Angus were pretty tight. Those seats could come into play again.

  48. Have they gone yet…?

    Have they gone yet…?

    Have they gone yet…?

    [Yawn, you get the picture. God bless them…!]

  49. The SNP appears to have run into some golfing difficulties in Aberdeenshire. Is it me , or having been elected on a left-wing agenda is the SNP moving to the right? Will they announce support for Trident and nuclear power soon(after all that’s the path all the socialists in the Labour Party in England have gone?)

  50. Peter Cairns:-

    “In some respects ideology seems to have been replaced by managerialism,”

    Yes I agree-but you need to demonstrate that you can manage.
    I think New Labour set out with this philosophy under Blair-pragmatic policies implemented by “corporate” targets and micro-management.

    It failed because A) they are bad managers and B) because the things which can be really changed by Central Government are limited.

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