Delighted as I am by the MORI poll this weekend that put the SNP ahead of Labour (55 vs 49 seats) for the first time in this contest, what seems far more telling is a series of major cracks in the monolith formerly seen as all-conquering.
First off, Labour published some blustering numbers of 5,000 activist contacting 5,000 voters a day, but nothing adds up. It would take 50 days to reach their 250,000 target—in other words they’d still be campaigning a month after the election. Then there’s the elementary mistakes they’re making that smack of panic and unco-ordinated campaigning, as when they claimed £80m would pay for a council tax freeze but forgot that, since this recurs annually, there would be a £240m hole after only 4 years.
But what encourages me most of all happens right here in East Lothian and belies the ‘5,000 activist’ claims—two lost Labour souls asking directions in one of our new estates; two councillors on Dunbar High St talking mostly (symbolically?) to each other; their Tranent alarm system that calls a squad out when the SNP dare to have a stall there—and then a half-dozen of them mill around in red jackets not quite knowing what else to do before they go home after 45 minutes.
Whereas in the West end of our county they used to weigh the Labour votes, they’re going to need every one they can scrape up this time. For my money, they should consider a new slogan like “Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be” because even its remaining members know that the Labour Party isn’t. “Things Can Only Get Bitter” has such a nasty ring to it.