This Week in Scotland: The Sturgeon Surge Continues

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Electoral wipe-out

The latest Ipsos Mori polling of Scots voting intentions ahead of next week’s General Election suggests that the so-called ‘Sturgeon Surge’ continues unabated. According to the figures 54% of Scots intend to vote for the SNP.

Labour, who has long considered Scotland as their backyard, have dropped four points to 20% – a mere 3% above the Tories. That’s not a statistic commonly found in Scotland for the past thirty years. When inputted into the Electoral Calculus website, the result is the SNP taking all of Scotland’s constituencies.

Despite the predicted clean sweep – a prediction the SNP are keen to play down – both the Liberal Democrats and Tory support is up a percent and five percent respectively. The Greens see their support down two to 2% and UKIP are recorded at 1%.

The poll also found that 80% of the Scottish electorate are certain to vote. This is five points down on the referendum, but up sixteen points on the last General Election (64%).

Sun v Scottish Sun

The Sun and Scottish Sun have endorsed different parties as we enter the final week of the campaign. The papers, which are the two biggest selling dailies north and south of the border, are both owned by News UK.

The Sun endorses the Tories and urges voters to “stop the SNP running the country” and warns of the “nightmare” of an SNP/Labour deal.

In contrast, the Scottish edition backs the SNP – as it did ahead of the Scottish Parliament Election in 2011 – describing Nicola Sturgeon as the “star” of the campaign and offering Scotland a “new hope.” Importantly though, despite its robust support of the SNP, the paper stops short of backing independence.

“No deal”

During a General Election Question Time special, Ed Miliband once again ruled out the possibility of either an informal or formal deal with the SNP in the event of a hung parliament.

Taking questions from the audience, Miliband stated that “if the price of having a Labour government was a deal or a coalition with the Scottish National Party, then it is not going to happen…..Let me be plain. We’re not going to do a deal with the Scottish National Party. We’re not going to have a coalition. We’re not going to have a deal

Although he did not rule out the possibility of some kind of vote-by-vote arrangement, his statement went further than before as it rules out any deal at all. The SNP are sure to spin his comments as effectively stating that he would rather see a Tory government than do a deal with them that would lock the Tories out of government.

Tories are “anti-Scottish”

Former PM Gordon Brown launched a scathing attack on David Cameron on Wednesday night branding the Prime Minister as turning the Conservatives into an “anti-Scottish” party and whipping up English nationalism through the controversial English Votes for English Laws proposals promoted by the Tories. Brown claimed that Cameron is “hammering a further nail in the coffin of the Union” by pushing the “imaginary” possibility of a Labour government propped up and controlled by the SNP.

Brown’s sentiments have been supported by many Scottish Tories, who are angered at the direction of the UK campaign. The Scottish Party who have spent decades trying to defend their own patriotism against accusations that the Tories are “nasty” and “anti-Scottish” have been forced at times to distance themselves from the rhetoric of UK campaign.

Assisted Suicide

Away from the General Election, the Scottish Parliament’s Health Committee has criticised the proposed Assisted Suicide legislation as being “seriously flawed” and require “significant amendment” if it were to proceed.

The legislation would allow individuals with terminal illnesses to legally obtain assistance in ending their life.

A majority of committee members opposed the general principals of the legislation but have decided to allow the whole parliament to determine its merits.

Patrick Harvie introduced the legislation following the death of long-term campaigner and MSP Margo McDonald past away earlier in the parliamentary term.

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