Scottish Labour chiefs are reminding activists to “keep a lid on it” as the party grapples with a feeling it has not experienced in some time – preparing for power.

Anas Sarwar was pretty blunt when he became leader of Scottish Labour in February 2021 - that it wouldn’t be a quick fix. He was spot on.

The Glasgow MSP had less than three months to prepare his weary Scottish Labour for the 2021 Holyrood election. Nattering about overtaking the Tories into second place didn’t materialise.

It has been a long journey, but things are starting to look pretty rosy for Labour in Scotland – with the party expected to make huge gains at this year’s general election.

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But party bosses are trying to calm everything down and play it cool. That task will become even tougher as we get closer to polling day later this year.

One senior Labour source said that “we have to keep a lid on it”.

They added: “The mood in the party is obviously good, it’s the best it has been for some time.

“Some people are getting a bit carried away.

“It’s hard not to look at the polls, but it means nothing until we follow through on election day.”

Another insider said that the atmosphere at the conference was “buzzing”.

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They added: “But we still don’t know when this election is happening, and a lot can happen in politics before it’s in the bag.

“So we need to make sure we have our own message and not just rely on the shambles the Tories and the SNP are going through.

“We also need to make sure we are standing up for Scotland – I think it is pretty clear that we are. But from now until polling day, that message of what a Labour government can do for Scotland has to be front and centre of everything we say and do.”

Asked if Keir Starmer is a liability to Scottish voters, the source said: “I don’t think that’s true.

“The UK desperately needs sensible leadership that will look out for everyone in this country and that’s what Labour is offering.”

Notwithstanding Labour positioning itself as a government in waiting, let’s not forget that at the last Westminster election, Labour returned just one MP, Ian Murray.

He has been joined by Michael Shanks who cruised to victory in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election which saw Scottish Labour double its tally of seats in the Commons.

Polling has varied wildly from Labour picking up between 13 or 14 seats to a potential 30 seats. Expectations are now pretty high – not something Scottish Labour has been used to.

This conference, although small in scale, is oozing with confidence.

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The size is pretty tiny, but it feels busy and full of hope. There are no rows of empty seats.

Mr Sarwar came out to give his keynote speech to a energetic and pretty over-the-top video – billing the party leader as a rock star.

His speech was delivered with plenty of gusto – choosing to shout over the clapping of delegates as he set out the need to remove the Tories from Westminster.

But his speech was thin on specifics and policies – the textbook ‘don’t do anything daft’ strategy in full operation - instead pointed to the Conservatives and once again, promising change.

Scottish Labour is clearly on its way up again, but this conference is, like every other political summit, a party speaking to itself. The only test worth caring about will be election day and whether the public is actually listening.