A FEELING of zen-like calm hangs over SNP MPs in the midst of two polls which either show them to be haemorrhaging seats or rapidly losing grip of their poll lead against an apparently resurgent Scottish Labour.

That’s what the party would like you to believe. MPs were scarce on the ground in Westminster on Wednesday, some up the road while others were tucked away in their parliamentary offices.

One SNP MP predicted to lose their seat responded to the poll: “Meh… They hold no weight either way for me tbh.

“I’m fairly relaxed that it’s all to play for giving the percentages at play and a helluva long way to go before anyone is casting a vote yet.”

This is a common refrain from SNP MPs when confronted with declining polls – and Labour smell blood.

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A party source told The National the SNP had to get a grip of the “ground shifting” in Scottish politics or they would be booted out.

A Scottish Labour insider said: “What all the recent polls in Scotland make clear is that voters are up for play in a way they haven’t been for years.

“The SNP seem to think they can just keep relying on people to turn out with the promise of jam tomorrow or resting on past success.

“But Yes or No – people are looking for something different and that means voters are looking again at Labour.

“SNP MPs might need to spend less time in Westminster and more in their constituencies to get a sense of the ground shifting beneath them.”

Nobody talks, everybody walks

No SNP MPs spoke after Stephen Flynn at Prime Minister’s Question. This is the first time that has happened since January 11.

Flynn has to ask two questions of the Prime Minister, that is convention. Others have to enter a lottery and it is perfectly possible that, as one SNP source puts it “sometimes [it] works in our favour sometimes doesn’t”. The National has been told 30 MPs put in for questions.  

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The SNP have gotten at least one other question in at the weekly session since the beginning of January, making this seem like a moment of good luck when they stood to benefit from keeping their heads down.

A YouGov poll published on Wednesday morning put the party on course for an electoral routing in the Central Belt of Scotland – losing seats from Inverclyde to Edinburgh.

The party have tried to spin a second poll, published by Ipsos later the same day, as good news for the SNP, putting them on course to lose just one seat.

But dig into the numbers slightly and you find the SNP are predicted to lose 14 points in their lead over their next nearest opponent – with Labour up from 25% to 29%.

An SNP press release put out in Mhairi Black’s name was sober: "This is obviously a very encouraging poll – but we take nothing for granted.”

Why are the SNP so relaxed? 

Behind the scenes, SNP insiders insist the party will remain the dominant party north of the Border. They stress that Keir Starmer offers nothing for Scottish voters and reject accusations of complacency.

They also say the party has to keep the heid and that the agenda Humza Yousaf is expected to set out in the coming months on how to tackle poverty will win back those who appear put off by SNP scandals in recent months.

This, along with the 18 long months until the next General Election, could reasonably give the SNP grounds for optimism. But if they’re serious about staying top of the tree, they have to combine optimism with a plan.