One of the things that the pandemic has meant is that there have been almost no elections taking place in the UK since March. This was changed a little bit last month with the lifting of the ban on council by-elections in Scotland but so far we’ve not seen the regular weekly data showing what is happening when real voters cast real ballots in the rest of the UK.
Coming up in May will be a very big election day with the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland parliaments as well as all the council elections that should have taken place this year. This will be on top of all the elections in England scheduled for 2021. Included are a lot of significant mayoral elections particularly the defence by Sadiq Khan of his position in London.
It is in this context that Boris Johnson’s comments to Tory MPs about devolution have to to be seen. Whether he meant it in the way that is being reported we don’t know but you can be sure that those who are opposed to the Tories in Scotland are going to work hard to remind people of what he said.
In recent times Scotland has been a success story for the Tories. During the Blair years the party got zero Scottish MPs. That’s all changed and by 2017 the Scottish Conservative Party won 13 of the 59 seats north of the border. Last December that slipped to 7 but it is still a significant number and far better than what has happened in the past.
One thing that Joe Swinson would no doubt attest to is that the SNP are formidable campaigners and will use everything to further their cause. A big victory for the party next May will lead to more pressure for another Indyref.