Labour only has itself to blame

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WE should be grateful for Raymond Paul’s guide to tactical voting (Letters, 18 April) – any ten-year old would understand its ramifications. However, we voters are not ten-year olds – we are quite capable of rationalising how to vote.

Describing the SNP as a one-issue, independence-supporting party is like describing the Labour Party as supporting socialism, if he sees the irony.

Labour had 21 parliamentary years from 1997 to 2010 at Westminster and Holyrood, with every conceivable power at their disposal and unlimited opportunities to sort all the ills of the nation.

Money was no problem, with the exponential increase in credit-driven sales driving up tax proceeds, more than 100 stealth taxes, the £8 billion-per-year national insurance contribution hike on employers and their very own hard-working families from 2003, the then £5bn annual windfall tax on pension funds, and, as if that were not enough, they left an accumulated budgetary deficit of £160bn from annual borrowing at the rate of some £30bn per year.

Of course, they failed – otherwise they would still be in office, wouldn’t they? We are all paying the price of that. And they remain in denial that they did any wrong.

The SNP filled the vacuum they left. In effect, Labour handed power to the dreaded SNP!

Contrary to Mr Paul’s assertion, the current trend seems to be: “Anything but a return of Labour and Miliband and Murphy.” And I managed to avoid using the term “toxic”, but I did take the precaution of deleting a variety of expletives!

Douglas R Mayer

Thomson Crescent

Currie

While at a UK-level Labour must be content with its performance in the polls, your report (18 April) is correct to conclude that the situation in Scotland is less positive for the party.

However, one must view the polls closely before writing off Scottish Labour.

The most recent Scotland-wide poll (TNS, 13 April) puts support for the SNP at an impressive 52 per cent. However, this number excludes undecided voters.

Once they are included, the SNP vote share is only 29 per cent – considerably less than the 37 per cent of the electorate which voted Yes, but more than the 23 per cent of the electorate that voted for the SNP in 2011.

Within this context, one can conclude that undecided voters will decide the outcome of the general election in Scotland. Indeed, TNS estimates 29 per cent of Scots are undecided, with the proportion rising to 39 per cent in Glasgow.

A proportion of these undecided voters will no doubt be scunnered with politics after the referendum. However, one can not doubt that more still are simply waiting for information upon which they can base a tactical voting decision.

Perhaps the largest group of undecided voters will be left-leaning working-class people who are weighing 
up Labour’s progressive 
platform against the SNP’s rhetoric.

They will be comparing Labour’s costed plan to reduce the deficit with the SNP’s pain-free anti-austerity nirvana.

They will be choosing between a Labour Party that will help the vulnerable by investing in education with the SNP government which has cut teaching jobs and the grant for the poorest Scots.

Nobody can really predict how Scotland’s undecided electorate will vote, but I am sure they will vote and decide the outcome of the election.

One thing is certain: Scotland will get the government it votes for.

(Dr) Scott Arthur

Buckstone Gardens

Edinburgh