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
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: ICT Infrastructure Manager

£27000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Edinburgh city centre Scho...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Assistant

£17900 - £20300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An enthusiastic Marketing Assis...

Recruitment Genius: Chef / Managers

£24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This contract caterer is proud ...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'