Friday, May 13, 2016

James Mackenzie : "As I correctly predicted...er...oh wait..."

You've got to hand it to the Greens' former PR man James Mackenzie, he's brazen if nothing else.  He's updated his Better Nation blog for only the second time since October (so it's probably safe to say that something is really bugging him), and his main aim seems to be to convince us all that his pre-election "predictions" about wasted SNP list votes were not in fact the cynically misleading propaganda claims that the election result demonstrated them to be, but were somehow proved accurate.  Specifically, he prays in aid this tweet about the final Ipsos-Mori poll of the campaign in late April -

"And, as with previous polls, this would see the SNP win list seats only in Highlands and Islands and South."

Which, of course, sounds uncannily accurate unless you bother to take the obvious step of checking what came before the "and"...

"The three questions for this election would be answered thus: another SNP majority, Tories beating Labour, Greens beating Lib Dems."

Ah.  I see.  So the whole basis for Mackenzie's "prediction" that the SNP would not win list seats in six out of eight regions was that they would win an overall majority on constituency seats alone.  To state the bleedin' obvious, that isn't even close to what actually happened.  In reality, the SNP fell well short of winning 65 constituency seats - but they would have been compensated for that on the list if their share of the list vote had help up.  Instead, it fell.  With 44% of the list vote in 2011, the SNP were topped up with list seats until they reached 69 seats overall.  With 42% of the list vote in 2016, they were only topped up to 63 seats - two short of a majority.  That small drop made a big difference.  And why did it happen?  Ooooh, we can only speculate, but one obvious possibility is the sustained propaganda campaign (from the Greens, RISE, Solidarity, and parts of both the mainstream and alternative media) that sought to persuade people that SNP list votes would be wasted no matter how many of them there were.

Mackenzie can huff and puff about "correctly predicting" that the SNP would fail to win list seats in six out of eight regions, but the reality is that this was an aim successfully realised, not a passive prediction.  None of us ever said that the SNP would win a barrel-load of list seats if there weren't enough SNP list votes.  The whole point we were making is that there was a path to an SNP overall majority, even without 65 constituency seats - but only if enough people voted SNP on the list.  A comparison between the 2011 and 2016 results demonstrates that point to be indisputably true.  Mackenzie and others used the false claims about the voting system to successfully reduce the SNP list vote and to strip Nicola Sturgeon of her overall majority.  No-one can doubt that he's extremely pleased about doing that, because it was in his own party's best interests, but is he proud of misleading people to get what he wanted?  I suspect he probably is, actually.  For an ideological zealot like Mackenzie (I've never come across anyone else quite like him in Scottish politics), the end often justifies the means.

Elsewhere, he completely misrepresents the concerns that have been raised about the Edinburgh Central result -

"There’s been a moderate amount of mumping and moaning from the wilder fringes of Nat-dom online about the Greens’ candidacy in Edinburgh Central. Those were our 4,644 votes, they say, and we’d have held Central if the Greens hadn’t stood the wonderful Alison Johnstone."

Sorry, but who the hell has been saying that the Greens' votes in Edinburgh Central were "ours"? The only claim I've heard anyone make is one that is, again, utterly indisputable - that if the Greens had followed exactly the same practice in Edinburgh Central that they did in virtually every other constituency in Scotland, Ruth Davidson would not have been elected a constituency MSP (thus depriving the Tories of a propaganda coup), and the SNP would have been only one seat short of a majority, not two. And as it happens, we wouldn't have been deprived of Alison Johnstone's "wonderfulness" anyway, because she would still have been elected on the list. It was perfectly legitimate for the Greens to stand a candidate wherever they liked and for whatever reason they liked, but it's a cop-out for them not to acknowledge that the decision to stand in that particular constituency has had certain consequences for the pro-independence movement. Perhaps they feel that an election is every man or woman for themselves, and every party for itself - but if they do feel that, why did they spend so much time lecturing SNP voters about putting the movement first by switching to a different party on the list? They really can't have it both ways.

Incidentally, don't even bother to alert Mackenzie to this blogpost.  He won't address the substance of what I've said - he'll just boast that he isn't going to read it, but then still attempt to delegitimise it as the ramblings of a "misogynistic Wings-loving tube/zoomer/rocket". If you've ever wondered why dyed-in-the-wool left-wingers like myself would think twice about voting Green even if the SNP didn't exist, look no further than the abusive Mr Mackenzie.

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UPDATE : In the comments section below, someone has objected to the notion that the RISE/Solidarity end of the propaganda campaign could possibly have contributed to the loss of the SNP's majority, because RISE and Solidarity "didn't actually receive any votes".  This is another myth that needs to be knocked on the head.  As poorly as they performed, those two parties in combination received 1.1% of the list vote - up from 0.6% five years ago.  The SNP's list vote only fell by 2.3%, so the vote-splitting message from the radical left can conceivably explain a fair chunk of that drop.

*  *  *

Kezia Dugdale has called upon the SNP to make a positive case for remaining in Europe, instead of complaining about the UK government making a negative case.  Today I'm calling on Kezia Dugdale to make a positive case about why the SNP are bad, rather than complaining about the SNP's complaints.

*  *  *

There's talk that the Leave campaign are deeply unhappy that Nigel Farage has been invited to put the anti-EU case in two high-profile TV debates, and that's entirely understandable.  Even when George Galloway took part in the indyref debate in the Hydro and made the fraudulent promise of "Devo Super Max" if Scotland voted No, he did so (incredibly) as the official nominated representative of Better Together.  So it does seem odd that the designated Leave campaign can't choose its own spokespeople for the most important debates.  But what I find most interesting is Farage's own motivation for taking up the invites.  It must be one of two things - either a) he doesn't care about losing the referendum as long as his own profile is boosted, or b) he genuinely doesn't have enough self-awareness to realise that Leave is less likely to win if he refuses to take a back seat.

59 comments:

  1. "one obvious possibility is the sustained propaganda campaign (from the Greens, RISE, Solidarity, and parts of both the mainstream and alternative media) that sought to persuade people that SNP list votes would be wasted no matter how many of them there were."

    This would be more persuasive if RISE or Solidarity had actually received any votes...

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    1. But they did. They received 1.1% of the list vote between them - up from 0.6% five years ago. The SNP's list vote only fell by 2.3%, so the success of the RISE/Solidarity vote-splitting propaganda can conceivably explain a significant chunk of that drop.

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    2. I think the more realistic result from the RISE / Solidarity vote splitting campaign, with help from the media, was to promote a sense of complacency all round, and discourage turnout rather than persuade anyone to come out and actually vote for them instead.
      The Greens had a bit more success to the cost of the SNP.

      It's hard to see how it can be countered as they will do the sam next time. I would have liked to have seen a single issue independence party on the list for the central and West of Scotland urban areas where it looks like SNP has replaced Labour.
      Not directly affiliated to the SNP, but SNP friendly. But it's a more complicated message to promote SNP tactical voting in only 3 or 4 regions.

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    3. RISE also contributed heavily to propagating the notion that a split vote was the smart way to go. People reading this and then realising how hopeless RISE's prospects were could easily have decided to vote Green. They were another voice added to the chorus advocating Russian roulette.

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  2. Just as I start to feel sorry for Dugdale she goes and blows my sympathy by reminding me of all the reasons she grates - she's a whiner with nothing more to say than SNP Bad.

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2May 13, 2016 at 5:57 PM

      But they are bad and con merchants. They are going increasingly to the right of the Tories.

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    2. Comedy gold, 23. Labour stopped being left-wing when it elected the war criminal as leader.

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    3. Glasgow Working Class 2May 13, 2016 at 10:32 PM

      The present Nat si government in Scotland is the most right wing in my lifetime. Harold MacMillan was a liberal compaired to this shower of Nat si shit. And diversifying to Blair is a normal Nat si tactic to deviate the heat from them. Nat si shite rolls down hills and covers the working class.

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    4. Anon, I love your Alien3 reference for our lovely troll here.

      And how are the SNP more right wing than the tories, when they've basically stolen Labour's policies from 30 years ago? (Which were LibDem policies 50 years ago)

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    5. Our squatting crayonista thinks anything that doesn't fit his perception of Labour is right-wing. Put it down to excessive crayon chewing.

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  3. To play devil's advocate, James could ask in response, What impact do you think your own and others concerted SNPx2 campaign had in regions like the North East, South and Central to potential SNP1/Green2 switchers who now have 2xTory and 1xLab list MSPs instead of potentially 3 more Greens? ;-)

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    1. Simple answer : I didn't run an SNPx2 campaign. I simply pointed out that the list vote couldn't be gamed, and urged people to vote for their first choice party on the list ballot. It was only the smaller parties that asked people to vote for their second-choice party.

      The other obvious point, of course, is that we've got a pro-independence majority. What we lack is a single-party SNP majority, and it's yet to be explained to me how fewer people voting SNP on the list could possibly have resolved that problem. But feel free to try.

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    2. It means that the SNP voters of Aberdeenshire West would still not have an SNP MSP, constituency or regional, to represent them at Parliament for the first time since Devolution. Neither do the Greens, but they haven't had an MSP in North East since 2007.

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  4. I do find the debates about second votes, rather pointless and counter productive, particularly after the election. We are where we are, with a pretty decent result by any normal standards, and the important thing is to move forward. And that relates to everyone on the pro-independence side.

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    1. I'm sorry, Anon, but for as long as the likes of Mackenzie continue to misrepresent what happened last week, it'll be necessary to set the record straight. He's not musing in an idle way - he's making a calculated effort to establish a narrative about the meaning of the election result, and to lay the ground for the next vote-splitting campaign in five years' time. Unless you're 100% confident that Scotland will be independent by 2021, then this stuff matters - and it matters big time.

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    2. There were some Unionist commentators talking about how independence supporters splitting their votes, with the hope of spreading division and acrimony. I do understand your point, but it would also seem a shame to play into their hands, when we ought to be thinking about how we move forward.

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    3. I'm not sure I understand your own point. The most important part of moving forward (assuming Scotland doesn't become independent in the next five years) is ensuring that we win the next election. The James Mackenzie narrative, if left unchallenged, directly threatens our chances of doing that. Sticking our heads in the sand and singing Kumbaya for the next five years won't make that problem go away.

      To the other Anon whose comment I have just deleted : I suspect you're the same person I've issued several previous warnings to. Comments of that sort are no longer welcome here and will ALWAYS be deleted, so you're just wasting your own time (and mine). Pack it in.

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  5. There's a third possibility for Farage's logic:

    He's well aware that he's toxic for leave, but he doesn't want his wife to lose her residency, so he knows that by fronting for leave, he'll prevent it.

    Yeah, the logic of that gets a bit twisted for me too, and I just wrote it!

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    1. teeth in the glassMay 13, 2016 at 5:33 PM

      Plus if the Leave campaign is successful he will be redundant?

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  6. I didn't like the greens second vote strategy but if they hadn't stood a candidate in Edinburgh then Wightman wouldn't have got in on there list.
    The greens should be looking at their listing though. How on earth Greer got in ahead of more experienced people I'll never know.

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    1. "I didn't like the greens second vote strategy but if they hadn't stood a candidate in Edinburgh then Wightman wouldn't have got in on there list."

      That's true, but it happened by complete accident. If the strategy had been to free up more list seats by splitting the SNP constituency vote and letting the unionists in, then logically they would have put up constituency candidates across the board.

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    2. It does show though that this system will always throw up slightly random 'accidental' results.

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    3. The greens should be looking at their listing though. How on earth Greer got in ahead of more experienced people I'll never know.

      I'm guessing the Greens use OMOV to rank their lists just like all the other non-UKIP parties (and Labour, who stick their leader and deputy leader at the top of their respective lists regardless of what the membership want). What would you suggest they could do differently?

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    4. Going by Greers' attitude in the Indyref. campaign and his antipathy towards the SNP, I think the Greens may have cause to regret their choice of candidate.

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  7. I have had a look at the results using a simple spreadsheet to look at the possible effect of SNP supporters giving their list vote to the Greens, and posted my conclusions on my own blog (lescunningham.wordpress.com/2016/05/11/bad-tactics/). It is just possible that in West Scotland tactical voting may have given a list seat to the Greens which otherwise would have gone to the SNP. However, an SNP win would have required more than 11% of all those who voted Green on the list vote to have voted SNP instead, and I find it hard to believe that more than 11% of Green list votes were tactical votes by SNP supporters. On the other hand, there are four regions where more tactical voting could possibly have given the Greens additional seats, at no cost to the SNP. I doubt if tactical voting actually made any difference at all to the number of list seats won by the SNP and the Greens.

    As for RISE and Solidarity, I would imagine that pretty well all their list votes came from their own supporters, as I cannot imagine that any SNP supporters who wished to vote tactically would have given their votes to parties with so little chance of actually winning any seats.

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    1. Your latter claim is extraordinary. Why on earth would RISE and Solidarity have expended so much energy pitching for "tactical" list votes from SNP supporters if there was no realistic prospect of anyone listening? The aim of the exercise was to exploit public ignorance about the voting system, and to some extent it seemed to work.

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  8. I voted SNP/Green and I don't regret it at all. I am disappointed that the SNP didn't get a majority, but I know you can't always get what you hope for in any election.
    Nobody who I have spoken to who voted the same way as me has expressed any regret about their decision.
    Maybe there's just not many of them, maybe they're embarrassed to say, maybe I'm just missing them.
    Is there anyone on here who voted SNP/Green who regrets their vote?

    I could be wrong but it seems to me that it's mostly people who voted SNP/SNP who are annoyed about it.

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    1. I'm not really sure what you're referring to here. Were the Greens your first choice? Were they the first choice of the like-minded people you've spoken to since last week? If so, I wouldn't expect you to regret your decision.

      I'm referring only to people who cast a "tactical" vote for their second choice party on the list, because they were misled about the voting system and about the SNP's prospects of winning a majority on constituency seats alone.

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    2. I have sympathies with both the Greens and SNP and misgivings about both too.

      How many of the people that you're referring to have you actually come across?
      I'm not saying they don't exist, but I can't say I've met anyone who feels duped.

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    3. How many people have you spoken to? What's your anecdotal sample size and has it been appropriately weighted? It does seem fantastically improbable that a tactical voting campaign has been relentlessly waged for months and that NOBODY VOTED TACTICALLY, but that's apparently what we're now expected to believe!

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    4. Glasgow Working Class 2May 13, 2016 at 11:15 PM

      James I seem to recall that you said sometime in the past that people should vote with their conscience. I vote Labour because Labour and the trade unions fought the class struggle. The Tories fought against the struggle and the Nat sis are now Tories. So the struggle will have to continue.

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    5. Fought and lost, 24, fought and became the enemy.

      Also, since Labour became tories, the SNP picked up their policies from 30 years ago, and seem to have had some success from them. Maybe that's why Labour are so bitter - the SNP showed that they didn't have to abandon their morals after all.

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    6. Glasgow Working Class 2May 14, 2016 at 1:38 AM

      Do not know what you mean by morals however I suppose you need to have them to abandom them.

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    7. Indeed. Labour once had a moral core, but it got in the way of the expense accounts and brown envelopes.

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    8. I like the way James cuts to the bone of some bloated myths,i.e. list votes wasted? really wasted by voting which party were they wasted? which party would not have wasted the votes and improved the overall seats it took? I know,but who can and who will admit it? I'd like to add anybody who has been duped never likes to admit being fooled,I know I would keep quiet about being tricked/fooled made an ass of,conned,believed "fibs" perhaps those that said that you could vote against your first vote,and that would help the independence movement.I voted for the SNP candidate on the constituency and for the SNP party on the list,I looked at it like this,I voted SNP first vote second vote I could vote again for SNP or vote against them,voted SNP all of my voting life so far hoping for a longer life to see independence.One other wee point comes to mind,the Scottish left have for years separated,split and divided their own votes and voters some appealing voices sometimes sound logical,because it seems nice and a good way to go,then they decided not to like somebody,to me it looks like a lot of jealousy they could do something if they just held back on the ego and helped each other instead of all wanting to be chief,of clan with no people.

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  9. If anyone voted 'tactically' thinking it would boost the total pro-indy party tally, they are now being laughed at by the pro-union MSM, even though the result is fine overall. No SNP majority being screamed by the Tories and the BBC should ensure any future tactical voting silliness will not happen again. Thanks to the pro-UK camp for making this as clear as they can.

    Not much more to discuss really.

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  10. Glasgow Working Class 2May 13, 2016 at 11:23 PM

    Skier, good people will vote against this vile new Nat si Toryism that has energed in Scotland. The blue Tories are liberal compaired to you Nat sis. I am now collecting my pension but will hang around to see the collapse of Nat si ism for as long as it takes.

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    1. Seriously 24, you're living proof of Godwin's Law.

      (I like our new nickname for GWC2, it suits him)

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    2. Glasgow Working Class 2May 13, 2016 at 11:54 PM

      Our! So you Nat sis are a colletive Nat si project! Hilarious collection of fuckwitts indeed.

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    3. Chin up, 23. Must have hurt when Labour gave up the class struggle for sinecures and warmongering.

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    4. GWC2/24 his/her use of language to try and insult folk looks very childish,and as 24 says it has the pension I can only assume its the second childhood,or not telling it like it really is.Surely after using it once or twice is OK afterwards being repetitive shows lack of thinking ability,I know its hard being daft (from experience)I notice some others also this same problem 24 being obvious.




















































































































































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  11. Hi James.

    Can you provide a break down of list votes region by region for us readers to make sense of please? I think it would make an interesting topic and would help silence some disputes on the tactical vote issue.

    Most specifically, I am interested in determining the outcome of the list vote if there had been no tactical voting. ie. no natural SNP voters had decided to vote Green on the list in an attempt to benefit yes, and had instead just stuck with voting SNP.

    I think the best way of assessing this is by considering two examples.

    The first one is an extreme example in which all Green list votes are gifted to the SNP. This is obviously unrealistic as a substantial proportion of Green voters, if given the opportunity, will always be Green voters. However, it's a worst (or perhaps best) case scenario for what could have happened in the election and should be explored only for aiding understanding of the the potential difference in results.

    The second scenario that should be explored is the more realistic one - determining the percentage of Green voters who are natural SNP voters ( tactical voters) and applying the change had their been no tactical voting. It's obviously more difficult to determine and I suggest a simple comparison with pre-referendum Holyrood elections to help determine this. It seems the best option to me but there may be better ones and I am open to other suggestions.

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    1. First Scenario:
      -Central Scotland: No change. Net 0.
      -Glasgow: SNP +1, Greens -1. Net 0
      -Highlands and Islands: SNP +1, Greens -1. Net 0.
      -Lothian: SNP +2, Greens -2. Net 0.
      -Mid Scotland and Fife: Greens -1, Labour +1. Net -1.
      -North East Scotland: No change. Net 0.
      -South of Scotland: SNP +1, Tory -1. Net +1.
      -West of Scotland: SNP +1, Green -1. Net 0.

      Second scenario. The effect SNP to Green would have had in each region.

      Central Scotland.
      0 to 12,722 No change.

      Glasgow.
      0 to 11,172 No change.
      11,173 to 23,398 Green -1, SNP +1.

      Highlands and Islands.
      0 to 3,608 No change
      3,609 to 7,787 Green -1, Tory +1*
      7,788 to 14,781 Green -1, SNP +1

      Lothian.
      0 to 530 No change.
      531 to 17,540 Green -1, SNP +1
      17,541 to 34,511 Green -2, SNP +2

      Mid Scotland and Fife
      0 to 736 No change.
      737 to 17,860 Green -1, Labour +1.

      North East Scotland
      0 to 15123 No change.

      South of Scotland
      0 to 14,122 No change.
      14,123 to 14,773 SNP +1, Tory -1

      West of Scotland
      0 to 1,913 No change.
      1,914 to 17,218 Green -1, SNP +1


      Those are the numbers, make what you will of them.

      My take is that the SNP were 2,445 votes short of a majority.
      531 in Lothian and 1,914 in West Scotland, which would mean goodbye to both Andy Wightman and Ross Greer.

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  12. James, a bit O/T, but I note that at 8.57 you mention that you have deleted a post by an Anon.
    Perhaps you could think, and I know it's been said before, of doing the same for GWC.
    As someone who lost his father in WW2, in 1945, I am sick of his constant f*n nat sis shtick. I guess he thinks it makes him come over as smart. I would think, face to face, he would not be so f*n brave.


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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2May 14, 2016 at 12:21 AM

      James knows I am honest truthfull and in no sense derogatory and if you want tae fight then vote Labour. Normally I only go face to face with my intellectual equals but I am always prepared to meet Nat sis.

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    2. "In no sense derogatory"? You call us Nazis and fuckwits and it's "in no sense derogatory"? Nul points for self-awareness there, 23.

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    3. "only go face to face with your intellectual equals?" Must be hard finding a face on those sea slimes.

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  13. GWC. What a shit you are. Labour f**kr. No, just a f**kr.

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    1. Having met GWC in real life, you wouldn't stand a chance. This guy is as hard as they come.

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    2. Comedy gold.

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  14. Glasgow Working Class 2May 14, 2016 at 12:46 AM

    Listen you Nat sis I can assure you if you walk 500 miles singing you will not fall over the planet Earth. Honest there are other workin class people beyond the horizon. Have you heard of Issac Newton, King Billy the Glorious Revolution, the Enlightenment and David Hume. Fred Dibnah Steeeplejack.


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    1. Have you heard of Keir Hardie, John Wheatley and James Maxton? Each doubtless birls in his grave at what Labour has become - warmongering, reactionary and Establishment.

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    2. Didn't Newton do most of his work at Edinburgh Uni?

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  15. "Don't raise your voice , improve your argument "
    DESMOND TUTU
    You could do likewise GWC , up your game ! .

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    1. The troll isn't interested in improving his argument, hence the crayonist ravings about Nazis.

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  16. Isn't it gloriously ironic that Scottish No voters are measurably more pro-EU than Yes voters.

    The UK unionists in Scotland may yet combine with the right in England to hand the SNP a new iref on a plate, even though the former two end up voting in completely opposite ways in June.

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    1. I always thought that's because the Yes voters who are anti-EU are mostly like that because they'd rather Scotland be in the EFTA, or similar, instead of the EU proper.

      I might be projecting with that one though.

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    2. Sure, I'm a fan of Norway and might be persuaded of that model in the future. It depends on the EU. If I did vote to leave the EU it would be because it had disappointed me because in principle I think it's a great thing.

      No f'in chance I'm voting British nationalist in June though. Even if that's not your intention, it's what the UK MSM will say it is.

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