IS FORMER prime minister Gordon Brown the less than secret weapon that will revive Labour’s fortunes in Scotland? No doubt his arguments about the financial arithmetic on austerity(Perspective 4 April) can be countered by the SNP’s media team. The question is how will the force of his analysis register with the crucial “grey vote”.
Most pensioners will not concern themselves with the technicalities of social security transfers, Barnett allocations, fiscal autonomy and the rest. But there is some evidence – forcefully demonstrated in last September’s referendum – that they are concerned about the impact of change on their incomes, their access to health and care – simply whether they will be able to cope. For better or worse they do not like uncertainty. Some are even old enough to remember the pre-welfare state indignities suffered through means testing and discrimination against women. Mr Brown is particularly adept at tapping into these sentiments. The SNP had better have an answer for it. If not there is a real possibility of a late swing back to Labour.
Whether the SNP has done enough to win over the over-sixties is a moot point. There is little doubt that those on lower incomes were swayed by Mr Brown last autumn. It would be wrong for the party to rest on the laurels of Nicola Sturgeon’s recent television debate performance. It needs to think quickly about how to get the elderly vote on its side.
I CANNOT but fear that the two excellent articles in your Saturday edition (Brian Wilson and Gordon Brown) will fail to have the logical effect of totally undermining the objectives of the SNP and its fellow travellers.
Many face a bleak future as a consequence of the misplaced idealism, cynicism or gullibility of those prepared to sacrifice the interests of impoverished fellow-citizens in the cause of independence or fiscal autonomy.