Polls panic: Labour ratchets up the politics of fear

The past week’s polls suggest nothing particularly shocking in England, Wales or Cornwall. The trends noted last week – the Ukip slide, Lib Dem recovery and Green fall-back, have all been halted in their tracks, at least temporarily. But one trend continues. Support for the Tories crept up again for the second week running and their slight lead over Labour widened a little.

w/e March 6 w/e Feb 27 change
Conservatives 34.0% 33.6% +0.4%
Labour 33.6% 33.4% +0.2%
Lib Dems 6.8% 7.6% -0.8%
Ukip 14.6% 13.8% +0.8%
Greens 6.2% 6.2% no change
SNP/PC 4.2% 4.4% -0.2%

While the polls are stable, this also means that the massive lead the SNP has enjoyed in Scotland since the referendum is stubbornly refusing to disappear.

Adding to Labour jitters, constituency polling last week suggested the SNP may be on course for a landslide win, not just taking a majority of Scottish seats, but demolishing Scottish Labour and Lib Dems in the process.

Cue increasing panic in the Labour ranks as we enter the last two months before the election. But instead of focusing on why it is unable to recover ground in England, the Labour leadership is resorting to dire warnings to the Scots. Apparently voting SNP will ‘wreak havoc’ and ‘allow David Cameron to regain power‘.

Really? This doesn’t seem particularly logical, given that the SNP, unlike other parties including Labour, has explicitly ruled out supporting a Tory Government after the election. That means that Cameron would be unable to cobble together enough votes for a coalition government even if the Tories emerge in May as the largest party.

Haven’t we been here before? Last summer, the unionist Labour-Tory coalition in Scotland was also spewing out dire threats in advance of the referendum as it feverishly ratcheted up the politics of fear. It worked then. So now they’re resorting to the same tactics. Labour doesn’t seem to realise that cosying up to the Tories in the unionist camp last year reduces the impact of its arguments that it’s somehow preferable to a Cameron Government. Labour no longer has a divine right to Scottish votes. But it’s only got itself to blame.


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