‘Out of touch, incompetent and boring’ - voters’ verdict on Scottish Labour

Johann Lamont: Still has much work to do to convince voters. Picture: Robert Perry
Johann Lamont: Still has much work to do to convince voters. Picture: Robert Perry
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SCOTTISH Labour is seen as “out of touch”, “incompetent” and “boring”, a YouGov poll has shown, exposing the mountain party leader Johann Lamont has to climb if she is to seize back power from the SNP at Holyrood.

Asked to pick out three words they felt best described the party, only 5 per cent chose “efficient” while just 8 per cent opted for “trustworthy”.

By contrast, 35 per cent of people said it was “out of touch”, 29 per cent “incompetent”, 26 per cent “boring” and 35 per cent “untrustworthy”.

Labour sources said last night that the poll – which asked for views only about their party – was notable for catching the “anti-politics” mood in the 
nation, and claimed that other parties would have also been viewed negatively had they been analysed.

But the Fabian Society, which commissioned the poll, said the findings showed Labour needed to come up with some fresh thinking if it was to eat into the SNP’s huge lead in voting preferences at Holyrood.

In a separate series of questions, the survey also confirmed that large numbers of voters who backed Labour at Westminster switched to the SNP because they believed the Nationalists had performed well at running the devolved government and had better policies.

By contrast, fewer than one in five people who switched their vote from Labour at Westminster to the SNP at Holyrood did so because they wanted an independent Scotland.

The findings come after a series of polls on voting intention for Holyrood has shown Alex Salmond’s SNP is still way out in front of Scottish Labour, following its landslide victory last year.

It illustrates that, while Labour has extended its lead over the SNP at Westminster elections and despite no momentum behind independence, the SNP remains dominant as the party of choice to run a devolved Scottish Government. A recent poll found that, on the constituency vote at Holyrood, the SNP is at 47 per cent, Labour is at 32 per cent, the Conservatives at 12 per cent and the Liberal Democrats at 6 per cent.

As The Scotsman reported yesterday, the Fabians’ poll found that support for independence is now at 30 per cent, down three points compared with the beginning of the year.

Daniel Johnson, co-ordinator of the Scottish Fabians, said: “All this is good news for Scottish Labour since the launch of the ‘Better Together’ campaign, but our polling also reveals the challenge for Labour is to engage the Scottish electorate with fresh thinking and ideas.”

He added: “In a week of bad news for the SNP, it is clear Labour has much to think about too. Scottish Labour clearly must work to build new ideas and approaches if it is to capitalise as the Yes campaign falters.”

An SNP spokesman said last night: “The poll is extremely bad news for Labour, and it also underlines the breadth and strength of support for the SNP government’s record, team and vision for Scotland.”

A Scottish Labour spokesman added: “We knew when we lost the Scottish Parliament elections in 2011 that people wanted us to change. That’s why in the past year, we’ve seen real change in our party that’s helped us get closer to people and communities across the country.”