Six weeks to go: can Jim Murphy’s Labour beat the SNP?

Jim Murphy

The SNP are set to dominate Scotland in just over six weeks, but can they be stopped?

The latest Guardian-ICM poll put the SNP ahead in Scotland, reiterating the findings from other polls since the referendum in which the Yes side lost 55% - 45%.

The results from the poll are as follows:

SNP 43%. Labour 27%. Conservatives 14%. Liberal Democrats 6%. UKIP 7%. Greens 3%. Others 2%.

Such results, if repeated in May would see the SNP surge to dominate the Scottish part of the House of Commons and reduce the number of seats held by Labour MPs and Liberal Democrat MPs dramatically.

Can Jim Murphy, the Scottish Labour, stop this surge in support?

By May this looks unlikely. Unless something changes dramatically then Scotland is set to turn yellow in this year’s general election, but after that the Scottish Labour leader will have a year until the Scottish election, a year until Scotland goes to the polls and the SNP could lose their majority - if other parties play their cards right.

Scottish Labour have a whole year to prepare until the 2016 election; in the mean time they can seek to mitigate the damage caused to them in this year’s general election. If they do not do as badly as suggested in 2015 then they will have a better chance next year.

Furthermore, if Labour do lead the government formed after this year’s general election then they can be in the driving force of giving new powers to Scotland, showing the country that they are ‘the party of devolution’. However, with the SNP likely do hold some balance of power in the parliament they will be able to take credit for such changes, and also criticise Labour for not going far enough.

Additionally, if the party wants to win it must position itself as the party of more powers. The referendum is over and the question of independence - for now - is settled, meaning that right now the debate is about new powers within the United Kingdom. Labour was the party of devolution in 1997 and it can be that party again if it makes the case over the next year.

Scotland has changed, and May 2015 will highlight this for sure. The SNP are surging, but Scottish Labour still have a chance of beating them next year, even if it’s a small one.

But as for 2015, Jim Murphy and his party have very little hope.

The full results of the ICM poll can be found here.


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