Jim Murphy pic.twitter.com/rsChNCPY8q
— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) December 17, 2014
Why I’ve now become an SNP seller
It is worth recapping why we are where we are in Scotland. Back in early 2011 it looked as though Scottish LAB was in a position to make a return to power in Holyrood ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections that May. At the start of the year all the polling had the party well ahead so that by the March, with only eight weeks to go, you could have got a bet on the SNP at odds longer than 3/1 that they’d win most MSPs.
Then at the start of April there was the first TV debate of the campaign and it was totally apparent that the then SLAB leader was simply not a credible alternative to Alex Salmond who was then running a minority government.
Suddenly the election became one of leadership not of parties – a recent precedent that should cause Ed Miliband and his team some concern.
As we got closer to polling day LAB and the other parties faded while the SNP rose and in the election the party was returned with an overall majority. It was that election victory that paved the way for the referendum.
It is into that context that Murphy comes into the picture. He did himself a power of good during the IndyRef campaign being seen as someone ready to take on the Nats. His controversial tour that attracted do much attention and protest from YES campaigners helped build up his profile.
Since the referendum on September 18th the SNP threat to the unionist community has never appeared so great and for the first couple of months LAB appeared impotent. Now that has changed.
A key part of Murphy’s approach in the coming weeks will be to galvanise pro-union tactical voting which could just help LAB save some seats.
GE2015 in Scotland is starting to look totally different and I’ve had a punt that the SNP will fall short of 21. They currently have 6 Westminster seats.