Labour struggles to hold on in Scotland

EDINBURGH — As a Labour Party MP seeking reelection in Scotland, Danielle Rowley is hoping to beat the odds.

Once the country’s dominant political force, the Scottish Labour party finds itself fighting for its life ahead of the U.K. general election on December 12.

According to the polls, Labour is on course to lose six of its seven Scottish seats, including Rowley’s, to the Scottish National Party (SNP) on Thursday — marking the virtual collapse of a political organization that was once said to weigh its Scottish ballots rather than count them.

Rowley’s gamble: that her party’s anti-austerity message will resonate with the Scottish electorate.

“From Day One, people have been open, asking questions, and listening,” the 29-year-old MP told POLITICO between rain-lashed canvassing sessions in her constituency of Midlothian, on the southern outskirts of Edinburgh, where she is defending a majority of just 885 votes.

To some extent, the rivalry that exists between Labour and the SNP represents “the narcissism of small differences,” said Coree Brown Swan, a constitutional researcher at Edinburgh University.

“This is the fastest-growing area in Scotland, but we’re suffering from a lack of investment,” she said. “We want to get things running again after years and years of Tory cuts.”

Rowley’s optimism is admirable. Whether it’s justified or not is another question.

For decades,

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