Cost of living

The one issue that affects practically everyone across Scotland today is the cost of living crisis.

Most will be noticing their disposable income has dropped since the energy price cap rose at the beginning of this month as well as their national insurance contributions.

Coupled with skyrocketing inflation, expected to rise to 7% this summer, it is a perfect storm and only the very rich will be unaffected.

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Council budgets – intended to be spent on funding schools, road repairs and paying the wages of vital employees such as binmen – are increasingly stretched as local authorities dealing with the impact of years of austerity spend more and more on feeding poor schoolchildren and paying emergency grants to the worst-off.

The Treasury has been slammed for its response to the crisis which has amounted to a 5% cut in fuel duty for drivers next year and a loan to help people pay some of their increased energy bills. Opposition politicians and poverty campaigners are warning more must be done to combat the tightest squeeze in living standards for 60 years.

The issue looms large in the election manifestos of all parties other than the Tories and is surely to do so in the minds of voters come polling day.


The Prime Minister broke Covid rules he imposed on the entire country, he was fined by police for it and now he faces a parliamentary investigation into whether he lied to parliament about it, the threat of being fined again and a civil service report which is said to be so damning he will have no choice but to resign.

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Most UK voters – especially Scots – believe the Prime Minister lied and the word they most associate with him is “liar”.

It has seen support for the Scottish Tories nosedive, with the party predicted to lose their second-place spot to Labour in what will be a humiliation for the party’s leader Douglas Ross. He is facing the prospect of not only overseeing a devastating result for the party but more questions over why he decided to retract his calls for the Prime Minister to resign.

Ross’ position is extremely unlikely to be a vote-winner, though he has pledged to cling on even if their predicted misery comes to fruition.

The usual suspects – bins, cycle lanes, planning

Away from political intrigue and once-in-a-generation threats to living standards, the same old things will be annoying people about their local councils. The pandemic saw enormous disruption and changes to council services. Many ploughed huge sums of cash into creating better bike lanes and some cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh were prompted into major rethinks of what cities are for. The administrations in the country’s two biggest cities aim to make their areas more pleasant to live by building better parks and reducing car traffic.

But these aims are not without their casualties – drivers annoyed by having their primacy taken away on some roads while potholes go unfixed. The SNP’s workplace parking levy has been weaponised by the Tories and Labour hoping to win over commuters who fear having to pay to park where they work.

The pandemic also disrupted bin collections, with huge numbers of binmen being absent at various points in the pandemic. The gradual return to normal has seen many re-enter city centres or town high streets filthier than they remember them being before the first lockdown. Tory candidates in cities like Glasgow are trying to capitalise on voters’ frustration about cleansing issues and the SNP incumbents are also pledging a rethink of municipal waste collection.


Nicola Sturgeon has told voters at this election it is a chance to “cast a verdict” on Boris Johnson. While she has not said it outright, the unspoken aspect of this is it is also a chance to “cast a verdict” on the Union. More votes for Yes parties will make the argument for a second referendum that bit stronger.

On the flipside, the Tories and Labour are struggling between themselves to take the position as the true defenders of the Union and both have made pitches about the election as a chance to express discontent with the SNP.