A REPORT last week reminded me of how important it will be, come the General Election, for the SNP to get out those groups who have a history of not voting but who, ironically, have the most to lose if we can no longer develop and implement progressive policies on taxation and benefits that help them most in these difficult times.

The report came from Open Britain, which describes itself as “a grassroots movement hundreds of thousands strong, fighting to make democracy work for everyone”.

The organisation insists “voter ID is being wielded as a political cudgel by this Conservative government”, excluding certain demographics of voters, with 14,000 people turned away at May elections last year and the Government still refusing to widen the list of acceptable ID cards.

The Electoral Commission, too, is concerned. Its chair, John Pullinger, has expressed doubts about the real intentions of the policy, observing accusations of voter exclusion under the guise of reform and the stringent rules proving a significant barrier to voting for certain (often marginalised) groups.

I agree with both. This matters for all of us but matters more for the SNP than for the other parties, including Labour. Dishonest media campaigns on SNP finances and, more recently, on pandemic management have reduced support in polls, so we have a real task to get out those who, were they properly informed by that same media, would realise what is in their clear interests.

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We know this fairly certainly and objectively, based on repeated polls. In the most recent Ipsos MORI poll, in November 2023, SNP support was 3% higher among C2DE social class voters than among ABC1s but for Labour it was 7% lower. Interestingly, support for the Conservatives in this poll was 8% higher among the C2DE category.

This latter point highlights the need to inform this group of what is in their best interests economically and to counter notions of the Conservatives as guardians of traditional values.

A YouGov poll in October 2023 had almost exactly the same pattern of distribution, with the SNP ahead by 3% with C2DE voters, Labour ahead again by 7% with ABC1 voters and the Conservatives 3% ahead again with C2DE voters.

We see in both of these polls, evidence that Labour Party support is increasingly middle class. We know that this group turns out at elections. Is that why Labour are drifting so confidently to the right, to capture Conservative voters while trusting the ABC1 group to stay with them? And, contrary to their beginnings, are happy to abandon the C2DE group, knowing its apathy will make it less numerous on election day than the SNP need?

There is little likelihood that the SNP can persuade the hardcore of Conservative or Labour voters to switch to the SNP regardless of how much it would be in their economic interests.

Like poor Americans who vote Republican, “shooting themselves in the foot” economically speaking, because of hostility to minorities or to “liberal” values on women’s rights such as abortion, the Conservative but poor voters in Scotland are not listening.

And the Labour middle-class voters are either covering their ears when Keir Starmer speaks, have swallowed the need for some undefined change or have been duped by the media into believing an unfounded tale of SNP corruption.