Race for Holyrood: Your Scottish Election briefing for Tuesday, April 27

A light-hearted look at the Scottish election campaign.

Soapbox

@scottishgreens: “The Scottish Greens have unveiled plans that would see at least two national parks created.”

The party suggested seven potential sites for the new parks, including Wester Ross, Galloway, Glen Affric, Harris and Ben Nevis.

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Co-leader Patrick Harvie also pledged to create a National Parks Service to support the management of parks across Scotland.

In addition, current national parks, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the Cairngorms, would see their funding double under the Greens’ plans.

Caption This

Do you have a good caption for this photo of Anas Sarwar’s visit to a mother and toddler group at a community centre in Maryhill?

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Anas Sarwar spends some time with Ariah Gilliland, 4 from Maryhill, during a visit to a mother and toddler group.

Let us know in the comments.

#FakeNews?

In a column for The Scotsman, Labour leader Anas Sarwar claimed the legal 12-week waiting time guarantee for NHS Scotland patients has never been met since it was introduced in 2012 – and has been breached over 380,000 times.

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That claim is accurate. According to Public Health Scotland, 330,143 patients waited longer than 12 weeks since October 2012. As of December 2020, a further 54,327 patients were stuck on waiting lists who had already waited over the legal limit.

Campaign Trail

•A new Panelbase poll suggests Scotland is heading for an exact repeat of the 2016 constituency vote result, with the only changes coming from the reallocation of regional MSP seats. The news will be bittersweet for the SNP, which is projected to miss out on a Holyrood majority by just two seats – though pro-independence parties would take almost two thirds of seats in the chamber.

•Despite the polling, the prospect of a pro-independence coalition remains highly unlikely. Last week, Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater, whose party is projected to return around a dozen MSPs, ruled out joining forces with the SNP, citing “significant policy gaps” between their two camps, including the SNP’s “catastrophic” plans to retain the pound after independence. Since Nicola Sturgeon has already bluntly rejected the idea of a coalition with her former mentor Alex Salmond, the First Minister could yet be set to battle on as leader of a minority Scottish Government for the next five years.

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•Meanwhile, Alba has accused Channel 4 of being “anti-democratic” after the broadcaster decided not to include Alex Salmond in the line up for its leaders’ debate on Tuesday night, despite the party set to win three more seats than the Lib Dems, according to the Panelbase survey. The party’s lead candidate for West Scotland, Chris McEleny, complained: “These so-called news hounds wouldn't know a story if it bit their hand off.”

Battleground

Ayr

•Winning Party (2016): Scottish Conservatives

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•Second place (2016): SNP

•Swing to lose: 1%

Originally a Labour seat in 1999, Ayr has since been held at every Holyrood election by the Scottish Tories’ John Scott But Mr Scott’s majority has been whittled down in recent ballots by his SNP challengers. He now sits on a lead of around 700 votes.

With Nicola Sturgeon’s party well ahead of rivals in constituency vote polling, toppling Mr Scott in one long-standing Tory stronghold would be the cherry on top of what is likely to be a strong election performance for the SNP.

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