Gloomy times for Scottish Labour

The threat of a nationalist landslide to Labour’s traditional hegemony shows no signs of abating.

Another week, another set of damning poll results for the Labour party north of the border. Survation, in association with the Daily Record, have released a poll that spells disaster for Jim Murphy and his aim of holding on to all the Scottish Labour constituencies.

Based on the percentages, our ScotlandVotes election predictor tool suggests the SNP will be sending over 50 MPs to Westminster in May with Labour holding on to just 5 seats.

In the wake of the recent Lord Ashcroft polling, my colleague @andrewgill1984 pointed out here  how the result in Scotland will impact on the overall UK result. Which begs the obvious question; why are the SNP riding so high in the polls given their (convincing) defeat in the independence referendum?

The ‘movement’ that is modern Scottish nationalism shows no signs of withering.  In the months following the No vote, membership of the SNP has grown to around 100,000. As Alex Massie points out, Nicola Sturgeon’s party has more members than the British Army has soldiers.

As it currently stands, the 45% who voted for independence in September remain committed to the cause. The theory goes, if you voted Yes, why would you back any of the traditional unionist parties at this election? The 55% who voted No will split their vote for whomever their traditional allegiances lie with, leaving the SNP with the stronger numbers.

In addition, despite Jim Murphy being energetic since being elected Scottish Labour leader, the SNP drive the political agenda in Scotland. Everyone else plays catch up. To use an oft repeated communications cliché, the SNP ‘own the narrative’ and their opponents currently don’t look like they can wrench it off them at the moment.

On the 19th September, the Prime Minister declared that the constitutional question had been settled. Sitting in Edinburgh today, it looks like his claim was a touch premature.