It is not so long ago that Midlothian was seen as a Labour fiefdom. It was a constituency where Labour didn’t fight for votes, it weighed the votes.
Those times have suddenly gone and with the resignation of David Hamilton MP, Labour has found itself choosing a last-minute candidate in Midlothian.
The campaign team was suddenly thrown into disarray and it is a badly-kept secret that infighting over who will choose the candidate, nearly derailed Labour in Midlothian completely.
There is still worse news for Labour this week. The candidate will either be an outsider, selected by London HQ, who knows nothing about the constituency and its needs. Or it will be Kenny Young who recently became a councillor for Midlothian East.
The problem is, the people of Midlothian do not appreciate a councillor dumping them weeks after they elected him as their councillor. That will waste tens of thousands of pounds of council money running the by-election and it will force yet another expensive by-election. Kenny Young has stated he will continue to work as a councillor if he is elected as an MP. But nobody really believes this is possible. Such a statement is breathtakingly misleading. This could backfire badly for Labour.
Meanwhile, all major polls show the Labour vote collapsing and the SNP vote continuing to strengthen to almost 50 per cent. Labour is trailing with half the SNP poll.
The SNP has delivered on its promises on free health care, a protected NHS, free higher education and making sure no one pays the bedroom tax in Scotland. It has frozen council tax, delivered free prescriptions and established free universal services as a mainstream idea once again after Labour dumped this principle.
With Labour continuing to opt for austerity policies, it is difficult to see how the SNP wave can be stopped any time soon in Midlothian.
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