Lib Dems could double Holyrood seats according to new poll

Well, this looks interesting…

I know, I know, it’s only a poll, but an almost doubling of support for us should encourage Scottish Lib Dems to get campaigning.

The Survation poll for the Daily Record shows what could be on offer for the Scottish Liberal Democrats and should give the party confidence. The findings echo what people are finding on the doorsteps.

For a few fraught years, we were getting a pretty hostile reception. Now people are willing to listen to us again and like what we have to day on independence, on Brexit, on mental health and education. We’ve put a lot of effort into opposing the SNP’s national tests for 5 year olds and have supported parents’ rights to withdraw their children from these tests.

The biggest losers in this are the SNP who stand to lose 11 seats if this were repeated in a Holyrood election. They can’t blame anyone else for the fact that virtually all public services are in a mess after nearly 12 years of SNP government.

The Tories seem stuck, presumably a reflection on what a horlicks they are making of Brexit.

There is, of course, no room for complacency in this. We have a lot of work to do to get ourselves back to the sorts of levels where we could get 16 or 17 MSPs again. But this is encouraging.

It’s partly down to the high profile of MPs like Christine Jardine and Jo Swinson and the relentless enthusiasm of leader Willie Rennie that people are now thinking that we could be the answer again. We need to remind people of the can-do spirit of the years we were in Government in Scotland, delivering on our key election pledges of free personal care and free university tuition. Every time someone in Scotland gets their eyes tested or gets a dental check up on the NHS, they get it for free – another Lib Dem achievement.

There could be a few rollercoasters yet in the polls, so now is the time to get out there and really work hard to get some footholds.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in News and Op-eds.


  • Laurence Cox 28th Oct '18 - 11:23pm

    We could be about to see in Scotland the same problems that already afflict countries like Germany where the two main parties have been losing support to the extremists of both right and left. With 129 MSPs, 65 are needed for a majority; a coalition of SNP+Green would reach 61, while Labour+LibDem (the only other coalition in Holyrood’s past) would only reach 39. Going into a coalition with both Labour and the Tories would be politically toxic, while none of the three Unionist parties could contemplate a coalition with the SNP. It seems to me that this scenario is a recipe for paralysis at Holyrood.

  • Can we not support a bit of democracy? The United Kingdom was of course that between England and Scotland. We need a vote of England as well as Scotland in order to change things. And incidentally, talking of referendums there are mixed reports about enthusiasm in the Republic to welcome the North back into the country. I know the constitution says they are one, but it does not say that they have to pick up the bill for expenditure in the north.

  • clive englisjh 29th Oct '18 - 2:53pm

    Re Germany. Too many conclusions are drawn about the march of extremism. When both of the largest parties are in government those parties that are not will inevitably flourish whatever the context. Sadly some in the media especially in Britain seem to be positively trying to create a right wing bandwagon, doubtless they will be shortly (again) promoting Rees-Mogg as the new Churchill as they did with Farage.
    If the Black Green and Gold coalition had in fact taken office the SPD might well now be looking to form the next government. Some perspective from UK commentators would be nice

  • IIRC a big reason for opting for PR in Scotland was precisely to prevent perpetual Labour control which, as Ian Sanderson says, seemed inevitable. As we now know, it didn’t work out like that!

    Obviously, when PR is introduced, smaller parties win seats proportional to their existing support thereby eroding the long-standing Tory-Labour duopoly.

    That would help Lib Dems, traditionally the main thrid party – but only initially and only if nothing else changes. In practice, support for each party evolves over several elections in unpredictable ways so the long-term winner will be the most effective competitor in the market for votes.

    And that’s potentially a problem for the Lib Dems if, as many think, around half their traditional support has actually been for ‘none-of-the-above’ – a big constituency in a moribund electoral duopoly.

    This theory has now been tested twice – in Scotland and in EU elections. In both cases after initially benefitting the Lib Dems have been overtaken by others – the SNP and UKIP respectively.

    The implication is that either the true Lib Dem core support is under 10% or that the Party is somehow failing to find and energise it. Either way, that’s food for thought.

  • Simon – this has been a really big issue in Scotland over the last year or so. The SNP introduced these tests in the teeth of opposition from the teaching unions and parents groups. The basic arguments against are that the tests put too much pressure on children so young, and formal tests are not a suitable guide to a child’s capabilities at that age anyway. This is the view we take.
    The issue has become even more charged in the last few weeks as the Tories – who had previously supported the tests – have u-turned and now oppose them. Thus the SNP lost a vote in the Parliament, but are refusing to drop the tests. So there is an issue of legitimacy now as well as the policy itself. See

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