Race for Holyrood: Your daily election briefing for Wednesday, April 14

A light-hearted look at the Scottish election campaign.

Soapbox

@ScottishLabour: “The pandemic has changed the way we come together.

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“As we emerge from lockdown it is essential that our older people aren’t left behind. That’s why Scottish Labour will save the free TV license and offer over-75s help with their broadband bills.”

Scottish Labour today pledged to establish a “Staying Connected” fund offering grants to every household with someone aged 75 and over, up to the current £159 value of the TV licence.

The party said the grants could go towards either paying licence fees or other digital connectivity bills.

Caption This

Do you have a good caption for this photo of Alex Salmond and some of his fellow Alba Party candidates outside Stirling Castle?

ALBA Party leader Alex Salmond alongside the Mid Scotland and Fife candidates Neale Hanvey MP, Jim Eadie and Eva Comrie at Stirling Castle.

Let us know in the comments.

#FakeNews?

John Swinney made headlines on Wednesday after promising to take the UK Government to court for “blocking” legislation that enshrined the rights of children and young people.

The Deputy First Minister accused the Conservative Government of taking issue with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill so that it could “continue doing things which violate the rights of children”.

His comments came after Scottish Secretary Alister Jack announced he would refer the bill to the Supreme Court on Monday.

But Mr Jack has repeatedly stated his issue with the legislation is actually based solely on concerns over possible overreach of the Scottish Parliament, not the contents of the Bill.

He said the law could potentially put legal duties on UK ministers, which would be outwith the remit of the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Jack wrote to the Scottish Government about his concerns before MSPs passed the Bill unanimously in March, but none of his requested amendments were made to the legislation.

Campaign Trail

•Digital opinion site UNherd put its foot in it on Wednesday, after publishing an op-ed penned by Ruth Davidson that described her as “Leader of the Scottish Conservatives”. The gaffe comes after the party’s actual leader, Douglas Ross, was forced to fight off claims he had been sidelined by strategists at Westminster when Ms Davidson was chosen to front a prominent Conservative party political broadcast last week.

•In her piece for the site, Ms Davidson took a less-than-veiled swipe at Alex Salmond, George Galloway and Laurence Fox when she wrote: “Voters would be forgiven for wanting men of a certain age to deal with their mid-life crises by buying a sports car, rather than launching a new political party." Ouch.

•Last month, Kenny MacAskill – one of Alba’s two MPs – declared the party would put “some clear blue water” between itself and the SNP’s record on education. But the pledge to improve Scotland’s literacy scores appeared in doubt on Tuesday afternoon, when several candidates, including Alex Salmond, were photographed struggling to hold cards bearing the four letters of the party’s name in the correct order.

Battleground

Galloway and West Dumfries

•Winning party (2016): Scottish Conservatives

•Second place (2016): SNP

•Swing to lose: 2.27%

This seat – and its predecessor, Galloway and Upper Nithsdale – has been the subject of an ongoing struggle between the Scottish Conservatives and the SNP. The latter won the seat fairly comfortably in 1999, but were pipped at the post by the Tories by a tiny margin in 2003 – just 99 votes separated winner Alex Fergusson from Alasdair Morgan.

Mr Fergusson went on to win the newly-formed Galloway and West Dumfries in 2011, before Finlay Carson succeeded him as the Tory MSP in 2016. This time around, Mr Carson is defending a fairly plump majority of just over 1,500 – but with the SNP running rampant in polls of constituency voting intention, Emma Harper might fancy her chances.

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