Billy Connelly once said that there are two seasons in Scotland, June and Winter. It has been winter in Scotland for the Conservative Party for a very long time. At the last election I wrote a similar election countdown. Last time on day minus 25 I stayed “The last time the Conservative had a majority of MPs in Scotland was 1955. They lost all their Seats in 1997 including the then Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind’s seat. They regained 1 seat by 2001 and that was sustained through 2010 (Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale). I predict they hold this seat by about 1000 votes. This will continue to be their only constituency in Scotland.” Well I was nearly right. The Conservatives did only win one seat, but their margin of victory was cut by over 3000. David Mundell’s victory was just two votes short of a majority of 800 with the SNP hot on his heals.
2015 was significant for Scotland because that year the Conservatives were joined by the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats as one MP parties. This was the year that the SNP dominated Scottish parliamentary elections. They won 56 out of 59 on a turnout of 76%. Now why is this important? Will the SNP be able to replicate or improve upon their 2015 performance. The short answer is probably not. This is certainly part of the calculation of choosing now to call a general election. You can’t fight a war on two fronts. The hope will be that the SNP cannot perform as well as they did and therefore any loss of seats or votes will be the death knell of any hopes of a second referendum.
Even though the polls are suggesting a resurgence for the Conservatives in Scotland and a possibly a Tory revival in the handful of constituencies that have Brexit sympathies. Chris Hanretty points out that there were a handful of 49% leave constituencies as well as the only “leave” majority constituency of Banff and Buchan.
The SNP are likely to lose a number of seats but not to any one party. Swing won’t be uniform to the Conservatives. The LDs will pick up a few and even Labour is likely to gain. In fact I will stick my neck on the line now and say the Conservatives will win less than either the LDs or Labour.