The YouGov poll showing Theresa May’s lead has halved in a week and now sits at a rather nervous nine points has been met with widespread wonderment. But should we be that surprised?
Theresa May has ran one of the most protective election campaigns ever witnessed. She refuses to engage with the public and responds only to questions she has had advance warning of.
Appearing on news broadcasts at the party’s secretive campaign events it is an awkward Tory leader who nervously parrots her pre-prepared sound-bites. May frequently stumbles over her words as the clip below demonstrates.
Her refusal to participate in the ITV debate was a massive blunder. The inclusion of UKIP’s Paul Nuttall meant she was there by proxy. Every blow landed on Nuttall, and there were many, was a blow landed on May.
Friday’s release of a manifesto that targeted pensioners risked alienating one of the Tory’s core constituencies. The elderly are unlikely to respond well to removal of the triple-lock, removal of winter fuel payments and the introduction of means testing.
It’s been a very poor campaign for May. It’s been the same North of the border where her Caledonian lieutenant has reduced her party to a single-issue group in Scotland. ‘No to a second referendum’ is Ruth Davidson’s only pitch.
We will have to wait to see just how impervious Ruth’s North British Nationalist campaign is to the UK manifesto policy gaffs. Will Ruth’s campaign take a hit?
And what if Jeremy Corbyn continues to eat into Theresa May’s lead? What if Labour eroded May’s advantage to the point that she was in danger of losing her overall majority? Well that brings the tantalising prospect of a hung parliament into play.
Could a Corbyn led Labour party assume power? Would Corbyn seek backing from the SNP in order to keep the Tories out? The answer to both questions is yes.
Any narrowing of the polls would have ramifications for Scottish Labour’s campaign. This weekend the hapless Kezia Dugdale signalled to Scottish Labour voters in the Highlands and the Borders that they should lend their vote to the local Tory candidate in order to keep the SNP out.
But what if UK polls indicate that the race for Number 10 is on a knife-edge? Dugdale would be campaigning against her own party taking power. She’d have to urge voters not to vote Tory under any circumstances. Whether her urging would be heeded is another thing.
If Corbyn did become the next Prime Minister, one thing would remain. Scotland would still face being dragged out of the EU against our will.
Jeremy Corbyn, like Theresa May, will implement Brexit … just not May’s version. Corbyn has though signalled he would not want to be a member of the Single Market.
Labour’s manifesto said only that the party would seek to keep the benefits of the Single Market.
Whether a Corbyn PM accedes to Nicola Sturgeon’s request for Scotland to be allowed to remain a member of the Single Market would remain to be seen. We can though be reasonably certain that Corbyn is unlikely to try to block a second independence referendum should he, like May, refuse Nicola Sturgeon’s Single Market request. He respects the will of the Scottish Parliament.
The coming week will be interesting. All eyes will be on the next poll to see if Jeremy Corbyn has indeed cut May’s lead further. If he can maintain this momentum south of the border then it really is game on.
The SNP will still win handsomely in Scotland. But how big a boost if they also hold the balance of power at Westminster. Where would that leave Ruth I wonder?
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