Sunday, March 27, 2011

Events, dear boy, events - but which ones really count?

When I was posting on Political Betting about ten days ago, I noticed something peculiar. A couple of people went out of their way to ask me what effect I thought the crisis in Libya would have on the Scottish election, but it never seemed to occur to anyone that the concurrent nuclear crisis in Japan had a much more obvious read-through, given the SNP's long-standing anti-nuclear stance. I can't help feeling that's rather symptomatic of the right-of-centre unionist mindset - constantly scouring the international terrain for random events that will 'turn the tide against Scottish nationalism' and convincing themselves they've found some (eg. the banking crisis), while overlooking the fact that random events can just as easily move in the opposite direction and that there are one or two of those staring them in the face. It's probably also symptomatic of the state of denial so many find themselves in at the moment about just how fundamentally the nuclear lobby's credibility has been tarnished.

Curiously, Scottish Labour seem to be caught in that trance as well. On recent form, I naturally expected them to react to the changed situation by declaring, 1984-style, that "they are at war with nuclear power, they have always been at war with nuclear power, and frankly they demand to know when the Johnny-come-latelys in the SNP are going to join Labour's glorious crusade". But not a bit of it - it seems from the Herald that Labour's nuclear stance hasn't budged one inch...

"A spokesman for Labour said: “We will remove the presumption against new nuclear for the future.""

Well, one thing can be said for them - that is, in the immortal words of Sir Humphrey Appleby, a thoroughly "courageous" stance.


The leading Lib Dem candidate on the Central Scotland regional list (Hugh O'Donnell MSP, as was) has abruptly departed the party but "will not be missed", according to an unnamed source. Which begs the obvious question - if he was widely recognised as such a liability, what was he doing at the top of the list in the first place? The Lib Dems will be "more united without him", the source goes on. Hmmm. More narrowly-based, some might suspect.


Returning to the subject of Political Betting, on Monday I decided to try my luck and submitted a second potential guest post to the site, this time about recent Holyrood poll trends and the possible implications for post-election negotiations. Mike Smithson initially seemed to like it and said he'd probably use it the following day. When it hadn't appeared by Friday, I sent an email to see if it was still in the pipeline, but I haven't received a reply. So I'm now in limbo - if he's not going to use it, I'd quite like to post it here or somewhere else before it gets completely out of date, but I've no idea how long I should wait! Maybe one or two days more.


  1. Goodness!

    The Eds' stance on nuclear obviously hasn't changed. But I suppose they had to have one constant policy, otehrwise they might as well all just join the SNP.

    Well people, you now have another good reason not to vote Labour. It could be in your back yard!

    I share your surprise that someone who made it to the top of a regional list will not be missed now that they have gone. If they have so little regard for people so highly ranked, it begs the question, what do the Liberals think of the people towards the bottom of their lists?

    On the subject of your article on post-election negotiations, I'm impatient to read it. If you get no confirmation of publication from PB, please do publish it here. If for some reason you wanted to post it elsewhere, it goes without saying that I'd be chuffed to host a guest post from Scot Goes Pop. :)

  2. Thanks very much, Tris! I've sent Mike another email, so if I don't hear back from him by tomorrow I'll admit defeat on the PB front. The only reason I feel a bit strange about posting it here is that because I was writing it specifically for PB I was doing my level best to be non-partisan - it doesn't really fit the 'tone' of this blog somehow!

  3. what's your thoughts on the coalition setting up a commission on the west lothian question? will anything come of it...

  4. It's a classic case of the coalition parties having conflicting interests - what emerges may well be a fudge, like Rifkind's suggestion of non-binding votes by an English Grand Committee.