Amidst all the talk of a snap election this autumn, it is unwise to ignore the likely scale of an Scottish National party “win” in Scotland. All the recent polls show the SNP will romp home with a larger number of seats: not quite as high as the 56 out of 59 seats they won in 2015 but they’re on course to easily surpass 40, leaving the other parties trailing.
Those numbers will have significant impact on the prospects of both the Tories and Labour of winning a majority in the Commons, where the SNP is currently the third largest party.
The SNP are currently polling at around 40% for a Westminster election. Scottish Labour is in freefall under Richard Leonard’s lacklustre leadership, and is now below 20% – as are the Scottish Tories. That makes it impossible for Labour to win the 20 seats in Scotland it needs to gain a Commons majority; indeed it will struggle to hold the seven it won in 2017.
Now, we don’t know how many centrist and anti-Boris pro-UK voters will switch to the Lib Dems (which did very well in Scotland in the European elections and now have a young, female Scottish leader) but it’s quite possible the LDs will win a couple of more seats, more likely from the Tories in rural areas where farming will be heavily hit by a no deal Brexit.
And with those polling numbers, it is hard to see the Scottish Tories holding onto their current tally of 13 Scottish seats: the conflicts and contradictions between Ruth Davidson, a strong soft-Brexiteer who has built the Tory renaissance by appealing to centrist voters, and Johnson are too significant.
While there are pockets of strong pro-Brexit sentiment in Scotland, there are not enough pro-Brexit votes here to make the difference in first past the post seats other than in north east Scotland and, potentially, in the rural south west – areas where the Tories already have MPs. (It is also the case that with Johnson as Tory leader, the Brexit party has no chance of winning a Westminster seat in Scotland.)
And if the SNP clean-up north of the border, the constitutional crisis over Brexit will be amplified by a constitutional crisis over Scottish independence.