Brown leads Labour bid in Scots poll

THE CHANCELLOR has become a dominant force in Labour's bid for control of the Scottish Parliament, in effect leading the campaign for the elections on 6 May.

Unlike Tony Blair, who, although born and educated in Scotland is considered very English, Mr Brown is widely liked by his country folk. He represents Dunfermline East and has made Labour north of the border very much his own fiefdom. Donald Dewar, Scottish Secretary and would-be leader of the parliament, has won respect but little ground against the Scottish National Party.

The Chancellor has a personal interest in ensuring Labour wins since, if the SNP gets enough seats to take Scotland down the road to independence, his long-term hopes of succeeding Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street will be dashed.

Delta House, Labour's new Glasgow headquarters, has largely been restaffed by "Brownies" under the general secretary Alex Rowley, former leader of the Chancellor's native county of Fife. Beavering away there this weekend was Douglas Alexander, Mr Brown's aide and speechwriter, whose loyalty was rewarded when he got the Paisley South seat ahead of a Blairite candidate.

Fife has seen a lot more of its favourite son. He has been photographed visiting businesses in the "wee kingdom", kicking a ball around at Raith Rovers and meeting Hector Chawla, the doctor who saved his right eye after a rugby accident at Kirkcaldy High School. The rumour is Mr Brown will be in his home town in July to marry Sarah Macaulay, a PR executive.

His Budget tax cuts were seen in Scotland as election giveaways for modest- income working families - once loyal to Labour but toying with the leftish SNP - and scarcely a day goes by without the promise of more goodies, from mobile phones for health workers to laptops for teachers and extra millions to cut crime. Mr Brown's campaign seems to be working in his, and Labour's, favour. Two polls yesterday give Labour some 40 per cent of the vote in the first ballot and just under that in the second, proportional, one. Those figures would give Labour about 60 seats in the 129-member Parliament, compared with 39 for the SNP, 18 for the Liberal Democrats and 12 for the Tories.

While on the face of it that represents a reopening of Labour's lead on the SNP, the figures are too close for comfort and Mr Brown has been briefing reporters from London on the SNP's extra taxes for Scots. Party strategists can see the advantages of allowing Mr Dewar to bathe in the limelight of the Chancellor's efforts while keeping clear of bruising encounters with the SNP.

The coming week will see the campaign for Scotland's first legislature in 300 years under way in earnest, with the parties holding glitzy launches and starting daily press conferences.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...