1 Local election lift off. All the opinion polls and local by-elections point to a landslide for the SNP on Friday's local elections. Labour are expected to lose four councils including its last bastion, Glasgow. Theresa May called on Scots to use the locals to “send a message” that they don't want an independence referendum. If so the message is going to be that Scots continue to support the party of independence. There could be no better start to the SNP’s general election campaign.
2 Rape Clause. Nicola Sturgeon should keep up the pressure on Ruth Davidson over the two child policy which has placed the Scottish Tories firmly on the defensive in Holyrood. The First Minister has a very wide following among women in Scotland and the SNP should hammer home that it is ordinary women who are bearing the brunt of the Tory welfare reforms. Ruth Davidson's claim that the Scottish parliament has the power to compensate the victims of measures like the rape clause, while technically correct, seems to most voters like an attempt to divert attention from a morally unsustainable policy over which the Scottish parliament has no control.
3 The Nicola Factor. The First Minister was the star of the 2015 general election. She was for a time the most popular leader in the entire UK, and in Scotland could hardly walk down the street without being besieged by admirers demanding selfies. She hasn’t lost her charisma, especially on TV. The fact that Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are hiding in their caves and refusing to do debates could be a great opportunity for her to maximise TV coverage of her brand of soft-left nationalism. But the BBC must not allow the Tories and Labour to lock down the election by their no-show tactics.
4 Queen May. Scottish voters need to be reminded that every vote for the Tories is a vote, not for Ruth Davidson but for Theresa May. The Prime Minister's “me me me” approach is already beginning to grate as is her contempt for parliament, and her vainglorious claim that only she can provide “strong and stable government”. May seems to be adopting the imperious mantle of Margaret Thatcher and she could be in power for another decade. Scots haven't forgotten the Iron Lady, but they could do with being reminded about her in a few selected billboards.
5 Election for Sale. This snap election is beginning to look like a panic reaction to the imminent charging, by the police, of up to 30 Tory MPs for breaking election expenses laws. Lacking a large membership in 2015, the Tories took to bussing activists around marginal constituencies, rather like flying pickets during the miners strike. The unlawful expenses incurred in this exercise led to the Tories being fined £70,000 by the Electoral Commission after its biggest-ever investigation. Nicola Sturgeon has made the running on the expenses scandal so far, and she should keep up the pressure.
6 Brexit. Scotland voted 62% Remain – and one of the most articulate spokespeople for staying in the EU was one Ruth Davidson. The SNP should keep on at her to justify her support for hard Brexit. Scottish farmers need to know what happens to their £500m in agricultural subsidies. Universities are losing students and staff. Tens of thousands of EU nationals doing valuable work in Scotland still have no secure future. Standard Life, the insurance firm that threatened to leave Scotland after a Yes vote, is now planning to move operations to Dublin. Ruth Davidson was right the first time: leaving the EU is a disaster.
7 Now is not the time. Theresa May should not be allowed to get away with her hypocrisy in calling this election after saying “now was not the time” for indyref2. This election is not directly about independence, but it is about Scotland’s constitutional future. Nicola Sturgeon’s attempt to retain Scotland's relations with the single market has been bluntly rejected by the Brexit Secretary, David Davis. The European Union President Donald Tusk has confirmed that a reunited Ireland would automatically become a member of the EU if it voted Yes in a border referendum. The claim that Scotland would be blocked from membership of the EU if it had voted Yes in 2014 was always bogus. The SNP should portray that false prospectus as part of a compendium of lies and half truths that mean Tories cannot be trusted to protect Scotland’s interests.
8 Holyrood Reduced. The repatriation of powers from Brussels in the Great Repeal Bill is going to cut a swathe through the Scottish parliament’s authority. It's clear that the Scotland Act will have to be amended or repealed and Holyrood's powers circumscribed. Ruth Davidson should be challenged to provide guarantees (that she cannot give) on the Scottish parliament retaining control over agriculture, fisheries, environmental and other responsibilities. All the non-Tory parties have to be mobilised against the threat to the Scottish parliament – it is a very real one and it should begin here and now.
9 Tactical voting. Scotland’s voters are very good at this, and used tactical voting to devastating effect against the Tories in the past. Labour and the Liberal Democrats are not going to support a progressive alliance in this election - there’s just too much bad blood. But the SNP should welcome the offer by the Green Party co-Convenor, Maggie Chapman, to stand aside in the Scottish Secretary, David Mundell's Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, where his majority of 798 is less than the Green vote last time. (PS: the SNP need to offer the Greens something in return).
10 Nasty Party. Ruth Davidson's success in Scotland has been built on denying the party of which she is a member. The party whose Defence Secretary says he's in favour of first use of weapons of mass destruction. That treats millions of EU citizens as hostages. Whose bumptious Foreign Secretary, announces wars on the Today programme. That has favoured Donald Trump over Europe. That comforts the wealthy while demonising immigrants, benefit claimants and pensioners who stand to lose the triple lock. The SNP alternative to the Tory mantra of “strong and stable government” should be: “They’re still the Nasty Party”.