Intriguing election story with one last chapter to write

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Doors have been knocked, pamphlets posted and babies kissed ... now the voters finally get their say.

Today (Thursday) they go to the polls, and the only absolute certainty is Kirkcaldy will get a new MP in the wee sma’ hours of the following morning.

The question is - who?

The polls reflect the Scottish trend and a possible unprecedented swing to SNP, but no-one - not even the SNP - are saying it’s in the bag.

Like two canny football managers, Kenny Selbie and Roger Mullin are taking it one doorstep at a time.

Ask anyone for a prediction and the best you’ll get is ‘‘it’ll be close’’ - and in a constituency which gave Labour one of its biggest majorities, that’s the real story.

When Gordon Brown was returned in 2010 he took 64 per cent of the vote; a massive endorsement from his home town that put Kirkcaldy into the ‘‘ultra safe’’ category.

Then came the referendum. Things haven’t been the same since.

The SNP has enjoyed a surge in membership and that has allowed it to hit the ground with more teams of volunteer canvassers than ever before.

It HAS made inroads, so much so that at a recent Labour rally at the Old Kirk one stalwart commented wryly ‘‘it’s hard being a Labour supporter in Templehall these days...’’

In speeches, even the party has used the term ‘‘underdog’’ - unthinkable five years ago.

But can the nationalists really turn round a 23,009 majority and send Mr Mullin to Westminster? Can it really take a seat Labour has held since 1935?

There is absolutely no doubt it covets this constituency. It’s a chance to give Labour a bloody nose in the heartland of their bete noir, Gordon Brown - the man credited with saving the union and who wrote ‘The Vow.’

If the SNP wins here then Labour is in deep trouble across Scotland.

But this isn’t SNP v GB or a replay of the referendum. It’s Mullin v Selbie - an academic versus a councillor.

And while the national media have fixed their TV cameras on Kirkcaldy, the constituency stretches far beyond the Lang Toun, and votes cast in Kelty, Lochgelly, and Cowdenbeath are crucial to the outcome.

For Kenny Selbie, this will be the toughest election he will ever face.

If he wins tonight - even by the smallest of margins - then he has a mandate to go on and build a decent majority regardless of the shifting political sands.

He was the favoured candidate in the selection process, and, to Labour, represents the passing of the baton from the old guard to the new.

A relative newcomer to the Council chamber, he has impressed many with his commitment and contributions - he is clearly earmarked to go far.

He and his team have been out and about every day, convincing, persuading and debating the issues.

But there is no more that he - or Mr Mullin - can do. The campaigns have run their course. After six long weeks, the voters now get to have their say.

A result is expected anytime bwtween 1.00 and 3.00 a.m. but there are three constituencies being counted at the one venue, and Fife tends to take its time, so it could be a long night at the Michael Woods Leisure Centre.

On the eve of the polls, still no-one is prepared to call it. The final chapter of this intriguing, possibly ground-breaking story, has yet to be written ...