Sunday, April 24, 2011

The polls shine on the Scottish Greens

There's always a danger that polls can mesmerise, hypnotise and discombobulatise the political class. As the saying goes, there's only one poll that counts and that's on election day. You could drive yourself mad playing with Scotland Votes, you could. However, whilst the barometer may not be the same thing as the storm they still give an indication of what's happening on the ground outside the fetid party HQs and squalor of the news rooms.

Today's Scottish polls build on the steady results the Greens have been getting throughout the election that we should be doubling or tripling our representation - which would be very welcome, if replicated on the day. In today's polls it puts the Greens on 7 MSPs, equal with the Lib Dems, which brings closer the tantalising thought that we could shove the yellow devils into fifth place.

For more on the number crunching see Jeff Breslin and LPW but Jeff reckons that today's polls would mean 62 for the SNP, 38 Labour, 14 Tory, 7 each to Greens and the Lib Dems and 1 independent.
  I'm not counting my chickens before they hatch, particularly because the national vote has to be spread the right way across the regions for us to get the best possible result. We have eleven days to go and I'd be happy with any increase in MSPs, although if we were to hit, say, the magic number eight I wouldn't send any of them back for a recount.

In fact the poll shows two 'nice' things for the Greens. One that we're doing well enough to see a likely increase in representation and two that the gap between the SNP and Labour is looking unbridgeable - which means any third party squeeze shouldn't be too significant a factor on the day. Iain Gray is likely to resign as Scottish leader of the Labour Party directly after the election (shall we pencil in Monday the 9th for that?) as much of the blame for Labour's poor performance has been laid directly at his door, which is probably unfair even if understandable.

Certainly those who usually vote Labour (or Lib Dem for that matter) for leftist reasons would be making good use of their second vote by lending it to the Greens at this election without it going to waste.

The Greens are explicitly pushing progressive taxation, where we expect the greatest contribution from those most able to pay, renationalising the rail, retaining Royal Mail in public hands, a focus on affordable, warm housing including tackling fuel poverty with a large scale home-insulation scheme, investment in public services rather than cuts and we're even talking about fan ownership of football clubs. Not policies any Labour vote will get you anyway, no matter how left leaning your intention.

With Patrick Harvie still excluded from the leaders' debates (sign the petition) it's all down to the last leg of the campaign on the ground now. Certainly the feeling out on the streets is good for the Greens and we're a distinctive voice among the shades of grey that are the other parties. Let's see what we can make happen on May 5th. If you live in Scotland feel free to get involved with the Scottish Greens campaign.

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