Every day until the election we will profile all 59 of Scotland’s contests. Can the SNP hold what they have or win any new seats? James Kelly of ScotGoesPop has the answers


Winner in 2017: Paul Sweeney (Labour)

Another seat that was assumed (albeit on an entirely false premise) to be out of the SNP ’s reach prior to the 2015 landslide was Glasgow North-East. Of the 41 seats held by Labour in Scotland, it was the one the SNP required the biggest swing to take, and even some of the most apocalyptic polls suggested that the national swing wasn’t going to be quite big enough. It seems peculiar in retrospect, but the local MP Willie Bain received a lot of attention in the media as potentially Labour’s last person standing.

What actually happened in the 2015 election is a useful reminder that we shouldn’t expect the swing to be uniform across the country when changes in public opinion are being driven by attitudes to a big constitutional question. Willie Bain didn’t come closer to holding his seat than any of the other Glasgow Labour MPs. He was swept away by a swing that was hugely in excess of the national average – indeed it was the biggest swing in UK General Election history. Paradoxically, the actual sole survivor for Labour was an Edinburgh MP who had been defending a marginal seat. The baseline numbers from the previous election barely seemed to matter – Labour were destined to lose Glasgow North-East because of the large number of Yes voters determined to make a bold statement after indyref.

READ MORE: General Election analysis: Cause for SNP optimism in Orkney and Shetland

READ MORE: Tory advantage over the SNP plummeting in north-east seat

But the commentators who had expected Bain to hold on perhaps felt a sense of belated vindication two years later when the constituency was the only one in Glasgow to be reclaimed by Labour, albeit by a tiny margin with the victory of Paul Sweeney. Did this suggest that as memories of the indyref faded, the old order was gradually reasserting itself and Labour’s particular strength in Glasgow North-East hadn’t been an illusion after all? Well, perhaps, but the reality is that the unexpected Corbyn surge during the 2017 campaign turned all seven of the Glasgow constituencies into marginals, and three of them into coin tosses decided by fewer than 250 votes. The SNP were fortunate that two of the coins came down in their favour, and Glasgow North-East was simply the place where their luck ran out.

None of that seems likely to matter now. Opinion polls suggest the SNP’s Scotland-wide lead over Labour is twice or even three times as high as the 10% gap recorded on polling day in 2017. With Yes voters still Labour’s biggest Achilles’ heel, there’s no reason to expect the pro-SNP swing in Glasgow to fall significantly below the national average, which means that only a dramatic change in the state of play over the course of the campaign can prevent Anne McLaughlin from winning back her old seat, and once again delivering a clean sweep in Glasgow for the SNP.