THE election in Scotland ain’t a done deal and whatever the story south of the Border, Labour are not guaranteed to win here – despite the polls.

The events of this week show why because they prove the SNP’s warnings about Labour have been absolutely spot on.

Last night London left-winger Faiza Shaheen announced she will run as an independent for Chingford and Woodford Green after being deselected as the Labour Party candidate.

What relevance for Scotland? Well, her move bears eloquent testimony to the SNP’s claim that Labour has shifted right in a desperate bid to win English Tory votes and no MP will be allowed to nudge Starmer back over the next five authoritarian years.

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Diane Abbott’s rocky road to reselection was jaw-droppingly stupid and badly handled, but Wes Streeting added insult to injury by saying Shaheen’s deselection was best done now lest Labour wind up with problem MPs like the Tories, one of whose number was caught watching porn.

This odious comparison was so insulting to Shaheen – her “crime” was being a leftie and complaining about Islamophobia in Labour – that she resigned and now has a healthy crowdfunder on the go.

She might well win. But her poor treatment and high-profile exit from Labour– along with other purges of the left – is definitely weakening activist morale.

Labour NEC member Jess Barnard wrote yesterday: “It is hard to take Starmer’s comments about ‘highest standards’ in good faith when candidates with years of experience and a deep understanding of their local area are frozen out of the process for someone with no connection to the area.

“The party previously came under fire for attempts to silence CLPs [Constituency Labour Parties] from passing motions on Gaza. It is no surprise, then, that membership numbers have suffered dramatically, with Labour [losing] 200,000 members since the 2019 election and 100 councillors.

“Decades of campaigning experience are being lost; less than a handful of people are turning out to once-bustling canvassing sessions; local CLPs are collapsing.”

Is this also happening in Scotland?

I’d guess it is.

I’d further guess Anas Sarwar’s (below) enthusiastic conversion to the usefulness of Trident – he confirmed Scottish Labour’s opposition to its renewal upon election as leader in 2021 – will also be making some Scottish activists uneasy.

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It adds to the growing perception that Starmer’s victory across the UK will quickly prove a massive disappointment to left-leaning Scots.

Actually, this week’s poll prediction of a near 200-seat Labour majority may also boost the SNP – lending weight to their argument that Scottish seats aren’t needed for a Starmer Westminster win.

If voters think Scotland needs progressive MPs who can’t be brought to heel there’s only one sensible way to vote.

And it ain’t Labour.

Tuesday’s ITV leaders debate brought more proof.

There was one moment that made me laugh aloud – and it wasn’t a riposte by either of the Big Two.

After the Starmer/Sunak head-to-head, ITV’s Anushka Asthana interviewed the small party “also rans” including the SNP’s Westminster leader.

At the end of a buoyant, interesting performance Stephen Flynn was asked: “If Scotland isn’t playing, will you support England in the Euros?”

His immediate, simple, one-word answer was – “No”.

Of course, the absence of (false) sympathy for the “auld enemy” generated pelters online but some unlikely praise too.

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London-based commentator Kevin Schofield of the Huffington Post told Radio Scotland he admired Flynn’s honesty and revealed that although he has an English wife and kids, nothing would make him support England either.

In truth, that moment singled the SNP speaker out amongst his fractious, predictable political peers.

Flynn appeared honest, immediate, unequivocal and funny exhibiting the deep-seated confidence that evaded every other leader on Tuesday night. Somehow, he managed to stay human.

Compare and contrast Keir Starmer (below) with his air of permanent foosty loftiness and Rishi “I understand your hardship” Sunak whose first flat apparently cost £20,000 in rent per month.

The National:

These two tried too hard and too nakedly to empathise with voters.

But with one spontaneous response Flynn proved he is like half the UK population (ironically) for whom this summer will be about footie, not politics.

There wasn’t time for his answer to be a shrewd calculation – Flynn is simply fitba crazy and plans to join the Tartan Army in Germany despite the impending election. His instincts are overwhelmingly “normal”.

This matters hugely.

After watching a pretty crap, wooden, unrelatable and woolly Starmer fail to demolish the patrician Tory bot that is Rishi Sunak, it’s become clear to me that Labour hasn’t sealed the deal with Scots.

Of course, Starmer will win overall but I’d guess many Scottish voters don’t warm to the man, aren’t convinced by his offer and might now heed the SNP when they warn that Westminster is a Scottish-interests-free zone if they are not on the case and in the room. Precisely that scenario played out on Tuesday night on primetime TV.

No mention of Scotland at all in the big debate – not a dicky bird.

And not the tiniest hesitation when the presenter focused on England’s chances in the Euros when Scotland is also playing.

READ MORE: Stephen Flynn calls out media's 'wall-to-wall Nigel Farage coverage'

Then there’s the strangely lacklustre performance of the PM-in-waiting himself.

Sunak claimed nine times that a Labour victory would cost the average person £2000 in higher tax, before Starmer finally woke up in the second half of the programme to dismiss that claim as rubbish.

Of course, yesterday civil servants also disputed the Tory claim and the Spectator calculated that Tory spending pledges would produce a £3000 tax rise per person. Did that get Starmer off the hook?

Not really.

As Spectator editor Fraser Nelson pointed out, his calculation wasn’t exactly rocket science and should have been done days ago by Labour minders – ready for Starmer to use as ammunition.

But his slowness to respond to Sunak’s tax lie betrayed something more damaging to Labour’s case.

Keir’s own internal world with its predestined game plans and assorted facts and figures is evidently more real and alive in his mind than political danger – even when it’s staring him in the face. And that’s weird. Under attack, most politicians will defend/clarify claims as swiftly and involuntarily as a patient’s knee tapped by a doctor.

In both cases, a failure to respond augurs badly.

Let’s face it, Starmer was utterly unmemorable against Sunak yet will still likely win the UK election. And that gives Stephen Flynn a big opportunity in the BBC’s seven-person Leaders’ Debate tomorrow where he should be able to sparkle.

Of course, there are caveats.

Who watches debates?

Maybe minds are already made up.

Glasgow voters might be influenced by their opinion of the city’s SNP-led council even though it’s a Westminster election.

This is all true. But still, this election is not a done deal.

On the doorsteps, it seems few voters feel warm about the Labour leader but do rate John Swinney who made a strong case for independence under pressure from three unionist rivals in Monday’s STV debate.

The National: The STV debate saw Anas Sarwar desperately trying to woo Tories and LibDems (Left) Anas Sarwar, John Swinney, Colin Mackay, Douglas Ross, and Alex Cole-Hamilton (right). 

Meanwhile, often critical commentators like Dani Garavelli have felt moved to point out that the SNP-led Holyrood government pays the Scottish Child Payment to all families on benefits in Scotland at £26.70 per week per child and offers free lunches for children in primaries one to five … while Keir Starmer will not even commit to abolishing the two-child benefit cap.

With a month to go, the Scottish election can still develop its own unique path.

And whilst memorable, the SNP’s current ABC strategy (austerity, Brexit and cost of living) might be weaker than pounding repeatedly on Labour’s Achilles heel.

Are they really progressive and Scotland-oriented enough?

Do they need Scottish seats?

The answer to both is no.