Into the last but one lap and all four parties in East Lothian are pouring a blizzard of leaflets through letterboxes as the weather stays benign enough for them to get as many feet on the street as they can manage. Compared to so-called ‘target’ seats like Dundee West, there actually aren’t that many, as disillusionment and tight budgets are having an effect. In fact locally, the Lib-Dems are notable by their absence as those they can mobilise are drafted in to defend those seats they had in Edinburgh and the Borders. The Tories locally are playing their normal low-profile phone-oriented campaign of shoring up known supporters and ignoring half the county.
But Labour is scrambling. Not only is their candidate spending most of his time elsewhere—like the surprise appearance yesterday with Gordon Brown to try to win back Dunfermline—but voters are commenting on leaflets that are not only chaotic in both design and message but make bizarre assertions to the amusement of many even in Tranent and the Pans like “fighting for mining communities” when the last mine here closed half a century ago. But what really shows desperation is that candidate-signed “sorry you were out” cards are being put through doors not only when he wasn’t even around but without knocking the door in the first place.
All of which encourages the SNP greatly. Other than media appearances (East Coast FM this morning and Forth FM Tuesday morning) Dave and his team are now focussed following up with voters we had already spoken with, talking to the many we found who were fed up with the party they had once regularly supported but were not yet clear if they would vote SNP. There are so many of them, it’s a daunting task to get round all the doors but it’s most rewarding since half have made peace with whatever dilemma held them back.
Perhaps most telling is are the increasing isolation of solid Labour support. Chapping doors in Muirpark or the Bottom Pans ten years ago was a depressing experience: door after door was once “Nae chance; ah’ve aye been Labour” or even more galling “Ach, ah’d vote fur ye son, but yes’ve nae chance”. A week may be a long time in politics; ten years can make things totally unrecognisable.