Good Evening Lord Ashcroft,
Although possibly not a natural follower of your blog (I am rather apolitical), I do very much enjoy it. I was particularly interested in the Scottish Independence referendum.
At the moment I am very interested in the so-called "SNP surge". I just don't understand it. I reside in the constituency of Ochil and South Perthshire. This constituency in its older guise (Clackmannanshire) has only every voted SNP once and that was when the candidate was a local man (George Reid). Otherwise it has been staunchly Labour since the election of 1931. Also note that seat voted 46% "Yes" in the referendum. Given that (i) 16 & 17 year olds were predominantly yes but will not be voting in May, (ii) that the 46% contained SNP core but also people from outside the party who supported independence (like myself), and (iii) the turnout in the ref was extremely high, it will naturally reduce in the GE and constituencies will shrink back to their core voters, I feel that the "surge" has been overstated.
I recently listened to Tom Devine say that he was seeing Labour being stung by the "toxic brand" of the Tories. I think this may well be the case but more importantly Labour need to acknowledge the fact that their Scottish team has declined in quality for years. Gone are the days of men like Donald Dewar, John Smith and Robin Cook who seemed to have been universally respected.
What I am basically saying is that I have a hunch that Ochil and South Perthshire will stay Labour. If this one goes SNP (and it is likely that it will be an early returner) then we could be seeing 50+ SNP MPs in Scotland - and a possible Labour wipe out.
P.S. Labour couldn't have picked a bigger turn-off for the Scottish voter than Ed Milliband. Cancer is more popular. Scotland still sees itself as a "macho" country. Milliband makes Alan Carr look macho.