They’ve elected an affable new leader. They’ve focused on covid recovery rather than the constitution – theoretically, that’s what the aggregate voter demands. And rivals are in turmoil: the Conservatives embroiled in corruption scandals; pro-independence parties suffering an acute identity crisis. Everything should add up to Scottish Labour success

Source Direct Election Profile: Scottish Labour

For the aspirational politico, fretting over Alba has convenient side-effects, giving the aura of a moral high ground without damaging your prospects among those with real power. True progressives should treat all such risk-free stances with a dose of scepticism.

Source Direct Election Profile: the Alba Party

Ruth Davidson capitalised on the anti-2014 backlash, but those fires are almost extinguished, and the new leader sounds so shrill that the Party seems tempted to relegate him from frontline campaigning. One party source said of Ross, “he needs to smile more”. So far, he’s had nothing to smile about.

Source Direct Election Profile: The Scottish Conservatives