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This is all very positive, long may it continue!

For far too long the naturally pessimistic Conservative voice n scotland has been bleating about our lack of success. How refreshing to see someone highlighting what we are doing well. There may well be a rise in tactical voting this May with Unionist Tory voters switching to Labour to keep the SNP out, but it is clear that we are setting the agenda on a whole host of policies, from drugs rehabilitation, to double jeopardy to affordable housing.
A strong Scottish Conservative and UNIONIST voice at the next Holyrood Parliaent will be the sensibile centre right buffer to the socialist consensus

Perhaps there won't be a split after all... if Goldie pulls off a shock improvement in fortunes...

Although we're almost certainly going to lose Galloway and Upper Nithsdale, gaining Dumfries should mean that we at leat keep the same number of constituency seats.

One thing is certain, and that is that Galloway will hold. There might just be a tiny majority, but Alex Fergusson is a very hard working and locally respected MSP in a seat where the local candidate counts. He will have a huge popular vote. Besides the SNP candidate lives in remote Dunfermline....that certainly won't go down well.
It's those Lab/Con marginals such as Dumfries, Stirling and eastwood which will be the ones to look ot for. Alas, I fear Perth is lost for another year

Yes CDM i think you might be being a wee bit pessimistic. OK Galloway is in play due to the SNP's national advance but Fergusson did the hard bit last time by unexpectedly beating Morgan who would have been a fairly popular incumbent and i reckon fergusson will have added to his popularity as the incumbent MSP since then.

Also dont forget that although we lost Dumfries and Galloway at the general election we would have held the pre-existing Galloway and Upper Nithsdale. my guess is the result would have been about CON 15000 LAB 13000 SNP 4500 or thereabouts. The SNP will also be weaker there on the ground than we are so unwinding the whole of Russell Browns tactical vote will be a challenge for the SNP. Labours candidate is also a former cllr i seem to remember so i think he may be well known in LAB/SNP Stranraer but im not 100% sure about this.

We can be pretty sure from the SNP's collapse at the general election that the 38% they got at the last SP elections includes personals for Morgan and anti-Tory tacticals so i dont know if they can go that much higher than the low 40s but im quite hopeful they wont even get that much.

There was an article in the Scotsman i think saying labour are not confident theyll hold dumfries though i wonder if thats their tactic. mind you there was a similar leak in 2005 saying they had lost DCT and that was right. I live in West Renfrewshire and have heard on good authority that Labour expect to lose it and are worried about Paisley South to the SNP. I reckon in West Ren us, Labour and the lunatic crypto-communist SNP candidate will all be in the 27-33% bracket so we'll see, though i am a wee bit worried about the SNP ultra-geek. Seats like Eastwood may also come into play though the Labour vote is liable to turn out there so well c.

Also it should be borne in mind that our position on the lists is not as perilous as people assume. Most of our seats would require a fall of 3% plus to lose bar the Glasgow one where i reckon the ssp split n a snp win at govan will keep us in this time. we were within 2.5% ish of an extra list seat in Mid scotland and fife, lothians, central, south of scotland and the Highlands and Islands last time so an increase to the low 20's is quite achievable if we are up even a couple of points.

would be good to hear from other seats how people think we are doing 'on the ground' as they say.

We will hold Galloway, the SNP are well aware that they can't beat Alex and have focused on other seats.

Dumfries should be a gain, i don't think anyone in labour seriously expects to hold onto it.Our campaigning machione is superb down there and lab can't afford to lose a single vote to anyone.

Roxburgh and Berwickshire is on paperv not our most winnable seat, but the lib dems are in a real panic. John lamonts progress in 2005 against a high profile Lib Dem was fantastic (6.8% swing to troies) and he needs less than that to win this seat at Holyrood. the Lib dems think they have lost it.

Tweeddale Ettrick and Lauderdale is a tough one, the Lib Dems know they have lost the seat, but it will be so close between us and the SNP. However there have been some big fallings out in the local SNP and their campaign has ground to a halt, with ours fairly strong.

The rest of the region we will up our vote significantly. The aim is to return 5 MSP's on a mixture of seats and list seats-making us the biggest partuy in the region, but its very possible for us to win 6. (if we pick up f seats we can still get one on the list)

The south is where the magic is happening, and where the tories will be the main party.

I had high hopes for a 3rd list seat in the Lothiians, butI fear a pathetically lacklustre campaign from Iain Whyte in Edinburgh North & Leith has put pay to this! I expect McLetchie to hold Petlnads and Gavin Brown to move to second in Edinburgh South though to make up for it. Unfortunately, despite the enormous potetial in Edinburgh, it will be at least next time round for us to make any huge advance here.

I agree the South is one part of Scotland the Lib Dem vote seems to be melting away and coming towards us. A sign of things to come for the rest of Scotland perhaps? 6 members incl 4 FPTP

Aberdeen South should be an interesting result. With Lab/Lib unpopular there locally and naionally it should be us who benefit, there is certainly no SNP threat in the seat.

The H&I would be fantastic to get an extra member in. There have been some good active campaigns there over the last few months. it'll be interesting to see what happens in Moray following the by-election last year- Mary Scanlon has been pounding that seat ever since and is a lot more well known now - for better or for worse!

with the list system, we can still pick up seats if our vote stays the same, provided other parties pick up FTP seats and Labour are already overrepresented in the region to get 1 back. I expect cubernauld and Kilmarnock to fallto the SNP in central, which could give us an extra top up. Additionally, in West Scotland, the Paiseys and West renfrewshire might fall to the SNP with similar consequences

Not sure about an etra seat in Mid Scotland or Glasgow, even with a Govan/Kelvin win...I think we have just about milked all the support we can get there, for some time at least!

i think the one result too close to call just now is the race for 3rd place. Will it be us or will it be the Lib Dems? Interesting to see some polls putting them right down...only hope they turn out to be right!

Just remember that polls in Scotland are notoriously unreliable. They got it wrong in the last Holywood Election, and they're getting it wrong again. Conservative's have definately not LOST support; there's simply no way. So although the polls might be correct in predicting the level of SNP support in RELATION to Labour, they are both probably over-estimated.

This just in from the Scottish Tories...

"Commenting after nominations closed for the elections to the Scottish Parliament and Scottish local authorities, Peter Duncan, Scottish Conservative Chairman, said:

“The Scottish Conservatives have broken new ground at this election. For the first time, not only do we have candidates in every Parliamentary constituency in Scotland, we also have candidates in every local government ward on mainland Scotland. In another first, we are fielding local government candidates in Orkney and Shetland. Annabel Goldie and her fellow candidates are focusing on the bread and butter issues that matter most to people in Scotland. That message is going out the length and breadth of Scotland and we look forward to a successful election.”"

Annabel Goldie is doing a fantastic job on the campaign trail, lots of excellent coverage on the party's campaign launch and a good reception to the manifesto.
I have to say that this is some of the best media coverage I have seen for the Scottish tories!

"There may well be a rise in tactical voting this May with Unionist Tory voters switching to Labour to keep the SNP out"
I would disagree, everything I am hearing points to the opposite with tory voters giving their FPTP vote to who ever can oust Labour if the tories are not in contention.
People seem very angry with Labour at Holyrood and Westminster and they want to give them a drubbing in the polling booths.

yes no doubt about it south is our strongest region with a strong recovery since 1997. obviously the 8 list regions are the old FPTP European constituencies and in both 1999 and 2004 we would have won the South of Scotland region at european elections and so would have had an MEP even without the move to PR.

Im interested in what you say about Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale South Scotland Conservative. Ill be honest I had presumed that Jeremy Purvis's vote last time was depressed as he was a first time candidate - surely he's going to pick up some extra votes as the incumbent? I suppose though that parts of that seat are in DCT and BRS at the General Election and so we will be well-organised. U really think that one is winnable?

Also have the SNP done very little in G&UN? That would be good.

Central is a region where although we are around 2% off another list member on paper in practice we may need much less to take a second MSP. If as you say the Nats win Kilmarnock & Loudon and Cumbernauld & Kilsyth. Also got to hope we could get double the vote of one or more of the Lib Dems, SSP and SSCUP on the list there and we'll be home and dry.

MacTory u sound like ur from edinburgh right? are the Liberals going to take Edinburgh Central do u think? What about North and Leith are they doing much there?

Very much agree that Annabel is having a great campaign and dealt very well with Ponsonby who was so obnoxious to McLetchie in the 2003 equivalent. Bloody Liberal.

Yes MacTory the Nats could take West Ren but I live in their strongest village in West Ren where they win clearly and ive only had one leaflet from Bill 'come the revolution' Wilson so he'll be totally reliant on national swing which may or may not be enough.

How does anyone think we're going to fair in your local council elections?

BTW Editor there was a really excellent piece by Allan Massie in the Scottish Daily Mail today about the Scottish Tories which you could maybe be put up. He writes on this topic often and is always spot on.

Are you all living in a dream world somewhere south of the M25?

Tories, even the Unionist ones, are voting SNP to kick Labour - not the other way around. If more of you got off yer arses and talked to electors instead of pontificating on here, you might be getting somewhere, but thankfully you prefer the sedentary position and that lets SNP candidates like me wipe the floor with you. Long may it continue into the next General Election when we can chuck the hapless Mundell out as well.. (but then you would probably all cheer with me on that one as well).

SNP win DCT mmm yes what up from that glorious 9% you got there last time? think its you thats inhabiting the dreamworld pal.

And you obviously dont do irony in the SNP "pontificating on here" etc.

Oh yes one more time ITS TIME

Just imagine what it'd be like if they ever got their hands on power!!

I think the posting by Rab at 4 above is pretty well on the money. The real contests will be where we are lying second to Labour namely Dumfries, Stirling and Eastwood. I have visited all three recently and the mood is seriously up- beat. Murray Tosh is campaigning at fever pitch and one gets the impression that Labour have all but given up. Their lacklustre candidate Elaine Murray is defending a slender 1096 maj and Tosh barring accidents seems set to win. He is also benefiting greatly from the highly professional campaigning team installed by Mundell and of course Tosh is probably the best mathematician in the party and will have crunched more numbers that the BBC and Peter Snow put together.
In Stirling the talented Bob Dalrymple seems to savour every opportunity to go head to head with the disillusioned Sylvia Jackson who on paper is defending a 2880 majority. However as Dalrymple says last time there was the intervention of former local Tory Keith Harding who polled 642, almost certainly all Tory votes.( he defected to the SPA) This alters the arithmetic somewhat and if one nets Harding’s vote out Dalrymple needs only a 3.8% swing from Labour to win. Labour locally seem in crisis mode and are rumoured to have ordered a pulping of huge quantities of leaflets because of mistakes. Curiously the Tories need the Nats to do well in Stirling as they plummeted to a poor 4th in 2005 with a miserable 12%. Their candidate Crawford is already no1 on their Mid Scotland and Fife List and is therefore assured of his return and pension He can be expected to do significantly better than 12% but is being restricted as the real battle locally is in the next door seat of Ochil where retiring Presiding Officer George Reid’s slender majority of 296 is being defended by the SNP’s tedious Keith Brown. Crawford has been given the task of overseeing both fights and keeping an eye on their LG campaign as well. That campaign is peppered with Trots, whom along with Crawford bang on endlessly about Trident and local income tax.Dalrymple's canvas shows him neck and neck with Labour, and this is bourne out by Labour's recent decision drop one of their two LG candidates in the critical Forth and Endrick ward recognising the extent that their vote is evapourating.
In Eastwood former car salesman Jackson Carlaw has ceded the management of his campaign to the Westminster candidate Richard Cook, who looks set to break all records for the amount of paper he will get through letter boxes during the campaign. Cook, himself a veteran candidate of many elections and a by election has a Midas touch when it comes to campaigning and has the added incentive of having already been selected for the same Westminster seat, knows that every hour spent on Carlaw is an investment in his own future too. The defending Labour incumbent can at best be described as lacklustre and although sitting on a 3700 majority just doesn’t seem to cut it. The SNP are virtually off the radar in Eastwood as are the lib dems, but the twist for Carlaw is that last time a rogue health concern candidate polled just under 3200 mainly from Labour and only their redistribution between the SNP and the Lib dems will help. The L G campaign is also extremely focused and the Tories are set to become the largest party.

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