Jeremy Corbyn’s mission to win back Scotland: can he do it?

Jeremy Corbyn in Parliament

While the thirteen seats won by the Tories in Scotland was one of the main election stories, Labour went from one seat to seven. What next for Labour?

Saying Labour won seven seats in Scotland would not have been that impressive even three years ago, but now, after they lost forty seats in 2015, going from one seat to seven in just two years was an major win. The reason? Jeremy Corbyn.

Yes, the SNP remain the largest party in terms of seats and votes, but there are growing signs of a return to the traditional battle between the reds and the blues. Ruth Davidson, and her passionate case for the union, and Jeremy Corbyn with his fight against equality, can be thanked for that. In June’s election, the SNP lost 21 seats, taking them down to 35. The nationalists received 37% of the vote while the Conservatives got almost 29% and Labour just above 27%.

Corbyn is looking more and more like a man who senses the time is almost here for him to govern. The BBC has reported that he plans to visit seats held by the SNP in August in an effort to win them back when the next election comes. Labour is currently 64 seats shy of an overall majority, and the news corporation has said that the party thinks that eighteen of those seats can be won north of the border.

Scotland's first minister Nicola SturgeonScotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon

So, what does Labour need to do to become Scotland’s second party, and then, ultimately, its first?

UK Polling Report provides a list of the closest marginals that Labour did not win.

The party’s top SNP-held target seat is Glasgow South West. The party required just 60 extra voters to unseat the SNP last month. Their next top is Glasgow East, where they were just 75 seats short taking the seat.

If Labour took both of them in 2022 – or whenever the next election takes place – as well as the next sixteen seats on his target marginals, it would win eighteen seats from the SNP, which could help it form the next government. In terms of swing required, the next sixteen SNP marginals are as follows:

Airdrie and Shotts, Lanark and Hamilton East, Motherwell and Wishaw, Inverclyde, Dunfermline and West Fife, Edinburgh North and Leith, Glasgow North, Glasgow South, Dunbartonshire West, Linlithgow and Falkirk East, Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Paisley and Renfrewshire South, Glasgow Central and Glasgow North West.

To put that into perspective, to win the least marginal of the eighteen, Glasgow North West, Labour would have needed an extra 2,561 votes there to take the seat in 2017.

Jeremy Corbyn Speech

The question then is, can Labour do it?

Jeremy Corbyn’s upcoming visits to the SNP-held seats points to a belief in the party that they can. The six gains in Scotland shows the party - led by Corbyn - is tapping into something it used to have when it dominated the political landscape north of the border.

If Scottish Labour’s Kezia Dugdale fully embraces Jeremy Corbyn’s vision then Scotland could turn red once again.