This is a crucial election involving, no less, Scotland’s constitutional future and a likely collision course with the UK government. An impressive overall majority would make the Scottish National Party’s call for another independence referendum almost impossible to deny. Given the unpopularity of the Johnson government in Scotland and widespread opposition to Brexit, there is growing support for independence.
The increasing voter approval of the First Minister and Scottish National Party leader, Nicola Sturgeon, is largely due to her handling of Coronavirus. Nevertheless the polls predict a knife-edge result, with the unionist parties doing all in their power to deny the SNP an overall majority. Given Scotland’s system of proportional representation, this isn’t an easy task. While the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats scrap over the unionist vote, the SNP has had the independence vote pretty much to itself and the Greens. Now former SNP leader, the formerly charismatic Alex Salmond, is leading the small pro-independence Alba Party. While it will only contest the list votes in every region, Alba may still attract sufficient support to spoil the SNP’s chance of an outright win.
After 14 years in power, the SNP remains Scotland’s largest party. Labour, which ruled the roost in Scotland for nearly half a century, has lost so much of the social democratic vote to the SNP and the Greens that it may even end up in dismal third place, behind the Conservatives.