If you are reading this in England you may be wondering what I’m on about. You’ll be thinking that The Labour Party is getting ready to turf the Tories out and sort the upstarts of UKIP and the LibDims. If you were here in Scotland you would be looking out onto a political topography on which the lesser spotted Scottish Labour voter has diminished to a degree, which is nothing short of astonishing.
There’s a long way to go until May 2015 but at the moment polls are indicating that Labour are polling around 20-25% whilst the SNP are polling around 51% to 60%. No need to look at the figures for the other parties they are struggling to gain double figures.
During my stint leafleting on the run up to the Scottish Independence vote I met a few Labour voters. They all seemed to fall into the same sort of “type”. They started shouting fairly quickly, they tore up any leaflets or newspapers I was attempting to deliver.
Whilst a lot of Labour voters voted NO a lot also voted yes but not enough so why have so many Labour voters changed to the SNP now? Well it’s simple, very, very simple. Labour have not represented their historic support base since Tony Blair strode onto the world stage. The other reason is that Labour sharing the stage with the Tories and being so negative and wilfully telling porkies was just too much.
I can provide a great example of how inept Labour politicians have been. In the 80’s I had to visit a client in Greenock. I was surprised when I got there. On both sides of the road there were shipyards, heavy engineering, metal bashing and more. Step forward Maggie and her desire to stop metal bashing and go for services instead.
Jump forward to New Labour being in power. Almost all of the manual, metal bashing jobs and the other industries that supported them were gone. I had cause to visit Greenock a number of times and all of the yards were gone. Some housing and the odd supermarket replacing the yards. Not a huge amount of jobs on offer and a populace fighting over call centre jobs.
Blame Maggie? A good bit I’d suggest. But and this is a really big but, the Labour Party had made no real effort at all to help Greenock and many similar places throughout Scotland back to prosperity. And yet the people in these working class towns still kept on voting for Labour. It’s a disgrace many times over. Thankfully it’s now changing and the Labour vote is crumbling.
There isn’t a day that goes by that my twitter feed doesn’t contain a good few people saying they voted NO and they were wrong to do so. Too late, but not too late as in forever, just wait and see.
So all Labour has to do in Scotland is come up with policies which will appeal to their own traditional voter base and for the potential voters to actual trust them to deliver.