The last time Labour lost a seat in Glasgow at a general election was in 1983. At this election, bookmakers forecast they will lose five out of seven; constituency polls forecast it will be six.

Labour’s collapse in the city is the most acute symptom of a wider malaise across Scotland, where the Scottish National party has managed to make defeat at September’s independence referendum look like the beginning of a bigger victory.

Polls put the SNP on course to win 47 of Scotland’s 59 seats under a uniform national swing — although the actual results are likely to vary regionally.

Glasgow South West is a heartland within a heartland: Labour’s Ian Davidson won 63 per cent of the vote here in 2010, giving him a majority of more than 15,000.

Now he could be about to lose it. The latest poll by the Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft puts him three points behind with two months to go until polling day.

Mr Davidson says the problem is a long-term one. “A lot of people who are disillusioned and unhappy with Blair, and unhappy with the Iraq war, feel that there’s a simple solution just by voting nationalist,” he tells the Financial Times.

But he thinks this has been brought to a head by the sight of Labour MPs campaigning alongside Tories in the independence referendum.

“I don’t think we did actually campaign [all] that closely with the Tories [but] the SNP are using this.

“They have got a very, very good propaganda machine, which is able to tar us with this brush . . . It is undoubtedly damaging, which is why they use it.”

That sense of irritation at all the No parties is palpable among voters. Owen Fenn, who works with asylum seekers in Govan and Craighton, says: “The three amigos of Miliband, Cameron and Clegg — I don’t think Scotland particularly like the three of them coming together.”

Many of Labour’s core voters feel neglected by the party. They say that as Labour tacked right during the 1990s and 2000s, it forgot its working-class roots and abandoned its commitment to social justice.

Mr Fenn says: “My parents were long-time Labour voters, but I don’t feel the same kind of connection to the party or their policies . . . The Scottish Labour party was taking Scotland for granted.”

Sitting around the kitchen table at the GalGael community centre not far from the Ibrox football stadium, a group of volunteers tucks into minestrone soup and complains about the party many of them used to support.

But unlike elsewhere in Britain, they have not been turned off politics altogether: they feel positively enthused about the prospect of voting SNP.

Vic Brown, an artist who uses GalGael as her studio, says: “I’ve never really been too politically minded but I made the mistake of investing quite a lot of emotion in the referendum.”

She adds: “I’m even more determined to vote SNP after what happened last year in the referendum . . . I will be voting SNP — not necessarily forever, but to get Scotland free from Westminster — we have to.”

Chris Stephens, the SNP candidate for Glasgow South West, wants to capitalise on that enthusiasm.

Speaking while out campaigning in Pollok, where voters turned out heavily for Yes, Mr Stephens says: “Across the constituency we had just over 200 members [before the referendum].

“We now have 1,103 . . . We have activists who are very keen, leafleting every day and the results are very, very encouraging.”

Labour has three reasons to hope that May’s result will not be as bad as feared. The first is that for all the SNP’s campaigning zeal, they are not yet particularly well organised — Mr Stephens only found an office from which to work in February.

This is especially important given pollsters believe that those who say they will vote SNP are less likely to turn out on election day.

This phenomenon accounts for the wider than expected gap in the independence referendum last September, according to Ben Page, chief executive of Ipsos Mori.

The second is that Labour still has strong links with unions and large employers, such as those that run the enormous Clyde shipyards, which provide much of the local employment.

Billy McKay is a union convener on the BAE shipyard, where workers are putting the finishing touches to the UK’s next aircraft carrier.

Mr McKay says he will never vote anything other than Labour. “I’m a working-class guy and I’ve always voted Labour. I’ve got concerns about how the party is run at times, but I always stick to my values — my father taught me that.”

Labour’s final hope is that it can turn the contest into a straight shootout between them and the Conservatives for who will control the Westminster parliament. For that reason, Mr Davidson hopes Labour does not slip behind the Tories in the final stages of the campaign.

He says: “If we are 20 points behind, and it is clearly hopeless to vote Labour, then many people will then vote for the SNP.

“They will see that as being the best way of expressing a spirit of resistance.”

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