TO quote The Bard’s original, “the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, gang aft agley”.
These events require a fair bit of logistical planning. For sure, the exact fares for a battle bus will be made clear this time.
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Not without their own issues where cops and Crown are a factor, pressures on those organising campaigns in Scotland are a tad more immediate: who on earth is going to stand?
All parties have just concluded several months of nominating, vetting and selecting, the list of the perennials, the desperate and the bright young things all confirmed. Finding another 59 of your best may be tricky.
Labour’s problems are perhaps most acute. The Liberal Democrats and Greens regularly struggle to find the numbers but Labour’s barrier is the trauma of a likely fourth brutal defeat in just two years.
One party source told me: “It’s about who’ll be prepared to take one for the team.”
New candidates have until the close of play today to put their names and constituency choices forward. The party then scours Holyrood’s ranks before moving on to the unsuccessful Westminster 2015 contingent in search of hopefuls.
“A popular figure like Jackie Baillie taking a marginal is right now amongst the best hopes we have,” my insider added.
In Glasgow, the key really to a Labour revival, there are no immediate takers.
Former Scottish Executive minister and current Glasgow City Council leader Frank McAveety was an early rumour for Glasgow East. Perhaps a hiding to nothing (the SNP won by 10,000 votes two years ago) but with council power on a shoogly peg and clear run guaranteed, surely worth a punt? Nope. Mr McAveety has ruled himself out.
Another current plan may require revision. Labour’s key pitch to retain Glasgow is opposition to a second referendum, a risky strategy in a Yes city. But I understand there have been high-level but discreet discussions about fielding an independence-supporting Labour candidate. Sources say the name of former city council leader Steven Purcell is among those floated. Standing Mr Purcell would, a source claim, test the water for both a non-Unionist Labour vote and bring the candidate back in the public eye seven years after his fall from grace.
Meanwhile Mrs May’s announcement has triggered another milestone in Labour’s wholesale replacement by the SNP, culturally and politically.
Lanarkshire councillor Rosa Zambonini was prompted to announce a return to politics, six weeks after leaving it, with a pitch for one of just five available seats, Glasgow East. Local stalwart David Linden reacted with a move of his own. Others may follow. It’s a big prize.
Older readers will remember when a Labour candidate’s real battle was selection, not election.