Race for Holyrood: Your Scottish election digest for Wednesday, May 5

A light-hearted look at the Scottish election campaign.


@TeamAndyW: “If there is one card you want in your hand, this is it. Don't leave it to chance.”

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Former Green MSP Andy Wightman unveiled a novel campaign tool on Tueday – a mocked-up Top Trumps card outlining his strengths.

Mr Wightman, who is standing as an independent candidate in the Highlands and Islands region, received a maximum score of 100 in the “Experience”, “Integrity”, “Passion” and “Local Democracy” categories.

But the 57-year-old received a score of zero for “Party Politics” – an excellent attribute for collaborative democracy, but a glaring Achilles heel in a real game of Top Trumps.

Als Couzens, the supporter of Mr Wightman who designed the card, sadly neglected to draw up any for other political figures. They might count themselves lucky.

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First Minister of Scotland and leader of the SNP Nicola Sturgeon, visits J Charles fish merchants in Aberdeen during campaigning for the Scottish Parliamentary election.

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Polling expert Sir John Curtice has claimed the election is on a knife-edge, with around a 50/50 chance of the SNP securing a majority in Holyrood.

While it might sound dramatic, the University of Strathclyde academic’s conclusion is fair. A spate of polls in recent days, including a Savanta ComRes survey commissioned by The Scotsman, suggest that Nicola Sturgeon’s party could fall short – while others, like Opinium and YouGov, predict the SNP will secure a slim majority.

With some results falling within the margin of error, one day out from the vote, the election really is too close to call.

Campaign Trail

•Scotland’s political leaders have revealed their favourite songs in a special episode of The Week in Holyrood radio programme. Among some ‘ear-catching’ choices was Douglas Ross’s profession of love for Atomic Kitten’s 2000 hit “Whole Again”, and straight-laced Willie Rennie’s penchant for “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden.

Anas Sarwar’s choices, meanwhile, might reveal something of his campaigning mindset. He told producers he identified strongly with “Where is the Love?” by the Black Eyed Peas.

•Willie Rennie kicked off the final day of campaigning on Wednesday with a call for voters to back Lib Dem candidates who will put recovery first. Quite why he needed to make the announcement on the tarmac of an East Lothian airfield remains unclear, but Mr Rennie was undeterred, and took to the skies in a microlight plane moments later.

•Scottish Labour was circling the wagons – literally – as its two election battle buses were joined by dozens of supporters in their cars at a drive-in rally on Wednesday. There campaigners heard from party stalwart Gordon Brown, who told the SNP to “stand aside” for Labour if it could not handle the current Covid crisis.


Coatbridge and Chryston

•Winning Party (2016): SNP

•Runner up (2016): Scottish Labour

•Swing to lose: 6.67%

Like so many other seats, Coatbridge and Chryston was, for decades, a Labour stronghold. Carried by Elaine Smith in 1999 by more than 10,000 votes, the party’s grip on the constituency weakened over successive elections, until in 2016 it was seized by the SNP’s Fulton MacGregor.

Mr MacGregor now defends a majority of more than 3,700. While his seat in Holyrood might be considered safe, political observers will keep a keen eye on the performance of Labour’s Michael McPake for any sign of rejuvenation in the party’s support under its new leadership.

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