Labour scorn as SNP launches 2010 campaign

By Alex Stevenson

Scottish voters finding themselves in the middle of intense campaigning by Labour and the Scottish National party (SNP) have found the parties unexpectedly concentrating on the Conservative vote.

Labour activists are worried that, in an election whose overall result will decide who forms the British government, those who back the SNP will only help David Cameron’s bid to get first past the post in the Commons.

SNP campaigners have responded by seeking to focus voters’ minds on Scottish politics as their bid to win 20 seats intensifies.

“The Labour/Tory fight is a phoney war,” the SNP’s campaign coordinator Stewart Hosie told

“Scots know that both parties would cut Scotland’s budget and weaken the ability of the Scottish economy to recover from the deepest recession.

“Only the SNP is determined to ensure that economic recovery is sustained and not strangled by the £800 million cut to the Scottish budget announced by Labour in London.”

But Labour’s MP for Dumfries and Galloway, Russell Brown, responded: “The reality is that Scots know a vote for the SNP will help the Tories in the back door.

“People here haven’t forgotten what the Tories did – but it their policies now that turn people off. Their threat to choke off the recovery whilst it is still fragile is a major turn-off for voters.”

SNP first minister Alex Salmond is launching his party’s general election campaign today in Edinburgh East, a seat won by the SNP in the 2007 Holyrood election.

Mr Hosie, who will join him at the launch as the party sends out its key messages to voters, said dissatisfaction with the government was paramount in their minds.

“The economic backdrop to the next election is that there is a deeply unpopular Labour government, unemployment is higher than under the Tories when Labour came to power in1997, we have lost one million manufacturing jobs under Labour before the recession and Gordon Brown has left us with a national debt approaching £1 trillion,” he claimed.

“The SNP, who won the Scottish elections in 2007 and beat Labour in the European elections by nine clear points only last summer, are very well placed to make significant gains. And the SNP government remains popular with Alex Salmond outpolling all of his political opponents.”

Recent polls have put the SNP well ahead of their position in 2005, although across Scotland they trail behind by at least five points. A YouGov poll from February 25th gave Labour an enormous 17-point advantage over the nationalists.

“We know the SNP have suffered severe organisational problems with their campaign infrastructure,” Mr Brown added.

“Since the Glasgow North East by-election, we have been developing new ways of targeting voters and the SNP is trying to play catch-up.”