Scottish Election 2021: SNP majority could come down to the fate of just one seat – Angus Robertson

Thursday’s elections for the Scottish Parliament are the most important since the start of devolution.

Monday, 3rd May 2021, 4:45 pm

At stake is continued trusted and competent leadership in Scotland as we emerge from coronavirus, re-electing Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister and having a choice about our national future.

Opinion polls on the last weekend of campaigning had the SNP in a commanding lead ahead of the Tories and Labour, with the very real potential of an SNP majority. This was splashed on the front pages as “SNP dream could depend on a single seat” but that is just polling projections not real votes.

Scotland has, of course, recent history of results turning on one seat. In 2007, when the SNP won power for the first time, it was with a plurality of a single seat, and in one of those seats there was a majority of just 48 votes.

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In 2021, eyes are turned on the most marginal seat in the Capital, where Edinburgh Central has a tiny 610-vote Tory majority in what is a two-horse race with the SNP.

Perhaps because she could see the writing on the wall, the outgoing Conservative MSP Ruth Davidson has given up on her constituents and turned her back on democracy to take up a seat in the House of Lords.

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For months as the SNP candidate, I have been explaining that a vote for any other party, unwittingly helps Boris Johnson’s Tories. Many Green, Labour, Lib Dem and independent-minded voters know that Edinburgh Central is a straight choice between the Conservatives and the SNP.

Nicola Sturgeon with Angus Robertson and his daughter Saoirse during campaigning in Edinburgh ahead of the election on Thursday (Picture: Russell Cheyne/PA Wire)

The tiny Tory 610 majority is dwarfed by the 7,200-plus EU and international electorate in Edinburgh Central. For the first time ,residents from around the world will join their neighbours from Commonwealth and EU countries in voting in Scottish Parliament elections. These new voters have made clear to me that they will not be supporting the pro-Brexit Tories and their “hostile environment”.

Also voting this Thursday for the first time will be 16 and 17-year-olds, the age-group with the highest level of support for Scottish independence. At stake for them is the continuation of the Young Person’s Guarantee to ensure that everyone aged between 16 and 24 in Scotland has the opportunity to go to university or college, secure a job, an apprenticeship, or training programme, or take part in a formal volunteering programme.

With the SNP abolishing council tax for under-22s and extending free bus travel to the same age-group, there are strong positive reasons for young people to vote SNP.

As we begin rebuilding Scotland from the pandemic, at stake is who will shape our country’s future and determine the life chances of this and generations to come.

Should it be Scottish governments – of whatever party – elected by the people of Scotland and with the priorities and interests of Scotland at heart? Or Westminster governments that time and again we have rejected?

If you want to make sure that we re-elect the SNP Scottish government and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon please make sure you cast both votes for the SNP. If you live in a swing seat like Edinburgh Central, please make doubly sure that you cast your vote on Thursday. Vote like the result depends on it.

Angus Robertson is the SNP candidate for Edinburgh Central

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