David Blackburn

Delicately poised in Scotland

Delicately poised in Scotland
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Despite a week of international codemnation, a YouGov poll shows that 42 per cent of Scottish voters still agree with Kenny MacAskill’s decision to release al-Megrahi, whereas 51 per cent oppose it. Channel Four’s Gary Gibbon notes that this undermines Labour’s arguments that the SNP’s decision is not backed by the Scottish working class, and that Labour will find the Glasgow North East by-election hard going.

I’m not so sure. Clearly it’s going to be tight, but Labour will take heart from this poll, which also reveals voting intentions. The SNP is down 6 points to 33 per cent and Labour is up 5 to 33 per cent. It was expected that the al-Megrahi decision could end up doing the SNP more harm than good. Although MacAskill emerged unscathed on Monday, there'll be a debate next Wednesday suggesting that al-Megrahi’s release was “not in Scotland’s name”, which this poll would support; it is clear that the SNP are not out of the woods yet. Labour may still be behind, but they have gained some much needed momentum ahead of the Glasgow North-East by-election.