There was a new poll Holyrood election poll that was published late last week: SNP 52% LAB 21% CON 16% LD 7% OTHER 4%. Other than seeing again the by now predictable massive Nats lead, what does this poll tell us? Principally that whatever else Corbynites are constantly saying about what Jeremy will do for the electoral prospects of Labour, the big one that isn’t happening at present (and given how long he’s been in post versus how far away Scottish elections are, won’t now happen) is a recovery for the party in Scotland.
This isn’t to be taken lightly. One thing we heard shortly before and after Jeremy became Labour leader was how his brand of left-wing politics would be just the thing to get all of those people who voted SNP at the general election but had been Labour voters previously to return to the fold. But let’s look back at the last poll on Scottish parliament voting intention prior to Corbyn becoming leader: SNP 53% LAB 22% CON 14% LD 6% OTHER 5%. One could look at this two ways. First is to say that the Corbyn effect thus far in Scotland has been minus one point. The more realistic way to puzzle this out however is to say that Jeremy Corbyn becoming leader of the Labour Party has had absolutely no effect whatsoever on voting intention for the May 2016 Scottish elections given they have changed since September 12th by what looks like a margin of error/rounding of figures.
Again, this cannot be simply dismissed by Corbynistas. The two groups which were meant to lead Labour to victory in 2020 according to their explanation was a renewal in Scotland and a mass army of non-voters rising up to vote Labour. One of them is being proved not to be working (while the entire history of British democracy weighs in against the other one). If Corbyn’s magic isn’t doing it for Scottish voters, one has to wonder: perhaps, just perhaps, Scottish Labour hasn’t been in decline because it wasn’t left-wing enough, but for other reasons? Just a thought.
I don’t really expect the fans of Corbyn to take any of this on board. To them, any problems with the electorate Jeremy faces is always down to the Murdoch press, or Blairite MPs, or some other bogeyman. But it isn’t just Scotland as an isolated case of Corbyn’s failure to win over voters, but rather something that should be extrapolated across the whole of the Momentum-fuelled Corbyn project. For while the Scots are a long way from the Marxist-Leninist hoarde the left-wing media often caricatures them as, they are as a nation statistically to the left of England. If the Scots aren’t falling for Jeremy’s charms, how will the English react when asked to vote en masse for or against him? We’ll see this May at the local elections for a start.