IT really wasn’t that long ago that a Labour campaign stop would be more of an angry circus than a meet and greet. 

There’d be heckles, signs reading ‘Red Tories Out,’ and, memorably, on one occasion the Imperial March from Star Wars

The prospect of doing a walkabout, as Anas Sarwar did yesterday on the streets of Rutherglen, would have left a party spin doctor in a cold, cold, cold sweat. 

But those days, it seems, are in the past. 

To paraphrase those great heroes of the Labour movement, D-Ream, things have got a bit better.

That’s partly because it would have been almost impossible for them to have got much worse. 

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Do you remember in 2019 when they lost six MP of their seven MPs? When they plummeted to fifth place in the European elections, winning less than 10 per cent of the vote?

So when Sarwar managed to take the party into third place at the Holyrood elections just weeks after he replaced Richard Leonard, there was a palpable sense of relief. 

Speaking to Labour folk at the time, they felt that they were on a long road to recovery, but at least they were finally recovering. 

Turns out that road might not have been so long after all. 

Last year, the Scottish Fabians produced research that said if Labour could win over just one in five SNP voters at the next general election, they could win 20 seats. 

That seemed laughably optimistic at the time. Now, not so much.

It’s still far short of where they were in 2015, when Jim Murphy lost 40 of the party’s 41 MPs, but in Rutherglen yesterday, people were possibly even a little enthusiastic about speak to Sarwar and his activists.

Maybe that’s because of the particular set of circumstances in this particular constituency where voters really don’t like their incumbent MP. Or maybe it's because, as Jackie Baillie said over the weekend, Labour is “back in business.”

Perhaps Humza Yousaf can take some comfort from Sarwar’s turnaround. 

Speaking to journalists in Bute House on Thursday he admitted that the arrest of Peter Murrell and the police probe into the SNP's finances had been “difficult and bruising.”

Having party HQ raided, while police officers search the home and garden of his predecessor is probably not how he imagined his first fortnight as SNP leader would go. 

The problem for Mr Yousaf is he still has...

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