This article appears as part of the Unspun: Scottish Politics newsletter.

Earlier this month, my local Labour councillor was out canvassing ahead of the next general election.

The door-knocking session in Pollokshields had not gone well, he told me. 

People in the Glasgow Southside district – home to Scotland’s largest Muslim community – were really angry about Gaza, he said, and livid with Sir Keir Starmer.

Boundary commission changes have done away with the old Glasgow Central constituency, currently held by the SNP’s Alison Thewliss. 

At the next election, Pollokshields has been subsumed into Glasgow South West, currently held by the SNP’s Chris Stephens. 

According to last month’s massive YouGov poll, this is one of those central belt seats that should easily switch from SNP to Labour. It only needs the slightest swing.

It's a big constituency and Pollokshields only makes up a bit of it, but there’s enough of a Muslim vote here that Gaza could make a difference. 

Sir Keir has struggled with how to respond to the Israel-Hamas war. For a leader so characterised by caution, he has made several missteps.

When asked by LBC last October if Israel was right to cut off the enclave's water and power, he replied. “I think that Israel does have that right, it is an ongoing situation, obviously everything should be done within international law.”

He later attempted to clarify the remarks, insisting he had been talking about Israel's right to defend itself, and was not endorsing the collective punishment of Gazans. 

But it was too late.

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That comment about water in particular caused a huge amount of upset. Add to that his unwillingness until this week to call for an immediate ceasefire, and a bizarre moment where he “gravely misrepresented” a meeting with Muslim leaders in Wales.

Polling by Survation for the Labour Muslim Network found that about 60% of Muslims will vote for Labour at the next general election, down from 86%. 

When undecideds were added, it fell even further to 43%.

When asked how critical it was for Muslim voters for Labour to support an immediate ceasefire, Ali Milani, National Chair of the Labour Muslim Network, told the BBC’s Newsnight: “This is it. This is it. I think we have shown the significant decline in Labour's support from a community that historically has been amongst the most loyal supporters of Labour. 

“If they see the Labour Party not supporting the ceasefire now, I think what they will see is their own children's lives not being supported, our humanity not being looked at and they'll think why should we support Labour?”

The Herald:
A new campaign group called is encouraging Muslim voters to use their vote strategically at the next general election.

Their website went live in December with some of the key seats where tactical voting could make a difference. 

They will not back anyone who voted against or abstained at either of the Commons’ votes on a ceasefire. 

Abu Bakr from the group tells me it’s not just the situation in Gaza that has inspired the new group but a wider feeling of disenchantment with both Labour and the Tories. 

He points to well-known cases of Islamophobia in both. Labour also haemorrhaged Muslim votes following the war in Iraq.

“We want to ensure local communities are empowered,” he says. “The MPs are there to represent us.”

Bakr says that they have identified three or four Scottish constituencies where they believe tactical voting by Muslims could make a difference. 

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Details of the seats will be made public soon, but it seems likely Glasgow South West will be one of them. 

At the start of the week, the health ministry in Gaza said 29,092 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the war.

Most of those killed are reported to be women and children.

Even if MPs vote for a ceasefire tomorrow, the war, which began when Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel from Gaza on October 7, killing some 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostages, looks set to continue.