Monday, July 30, 2018

Any Blairite breakaway from Labour could be Christmas for the SNP

Subscribers to iScot magazine might remember that for my December 2017 column, I made a series of non-predictions for the year ahead.  That is to say, I made the point that the range of possibilities was much wider than the conventional wisdom would have you believe, and that there were a number of perfectly conceivable events being prematurely ruled out by pundits because of what the mood music happened to be at the end of the year.  For example, it seemed silly to me that the possibility of a Blairite/"moderate" breakaway from Labour at some point during 2018 was being completely excluded.

The small minority of you who bother trying to get past the New Stateman's intensely irritating registration-wall may have seen a recent piece by Stephen Bush in which he suggested that the prevailing private view among many Corbynsceptics is that a new party may well be necessary.  Now, admittedly there are only five months left in 2018, so if a breakaway does happen it's likely to be in 2019 or later.  But nevertheless this gossip (which should be taken seriously given Bush's track record) does go some way towards vindicating my point that the cowing of the Blairite tendency at one particular point in time did not tell you a great deal about what the position would be a few months later.  The rebels have cynically used the issue of antisemitism to breathe life back into their cause, and the question has reverted to being how to fight back against Corbyn rather than whether to do so.

If a new centre party emerges, would it be Christmas for the SNP?  Answer: probably, but not necessarily.  It's just possible that a fresh political force with a charismatic leader could ride the backlash against no deal Brexit and sweep all before it, including even the SNP in Scotland.  More likely, though, is that the new party would be strong enough to do severe damage to Labour, but not strong enough to come close to taking power itself.  The outcome would be a split and demoralised Labour and ex-Labour vote, which in a first-past-the-post Westminster contest would be a boon for any parties in competition with Labour in marginal seats.  That would obviously include the SNP.  There might even be limited benefits in a Holyrood election fought under proportional representation, because if either Labour or the new party fell below 5% of the list vote in any region, any votes they did receive in that region would be effectively wasted and would free up list seats for other parties.

It's worth bearing in mind, though, that the last time there was a breakaway from Labour, it was less widespread in Scotland than elsewhere.  It's no coincidence that George Robertson was one of only two members of the SDP's predecessor group in parliament who didn't ultimately join the new party.  Other Scottish MPs on the Labour right, such as John Smith, who would have been prime candidates to defect if they had represented constituencies south of the border, didn't even entertain the idea for a nanosecond.  There was a stronger cultural and emotional attachment to the Labour brand here than there was in parts of England.  Of course things have changed in the intervening few decades, and until the advent of Richard Leonard the Scottish party was almost starting to look like the last bastion of Blairism.  Many Scottish Labour MSPs will probably be sorely tempted to join a new party, but will sense deep down that by abandoning the Labour brand they would be giving up the one and only thing that makes them vaguely electable.  

Even if the history of the SDP breakaway repeats itself and Scottish Labour manages to basically hold together as English Labour falls apart, we can rest assured that the new party will still be beamed into Scottish homes courtesy of our wonderful homogenising broadcast media.  A split vote would effectively be imported from down south, and I suspect the SNP would still cash in quite heavily.

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Fundraiser: If you find Scot Goes Pop's polling coverage useful and would like to help it continue, donations can be made via the 2017 fundraiser page.  The initial £7000 target was reached last summer, but one year on that money has all been used up.  I know there are always lots of very worthy pro-independence causes looking for support, so I've held off for as long as I possibly could before actively seeking donations again.

58 comments:

  1. One negative for the SNP in such a party in Scotland is that it might prove attractive to those who voted Conservative/Ruth Davidson last time but who are aghast at the array of halfwits they have sent to WM. They might not go as far as a Corbyn-led Labour but a Tory Lite outfit might suit them nicely and they might give them a chance.

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    1. Something that needs mentioned is the united front between the Scottish Nat sis the BBC and the Westminster Liberal Elites who have eliminated the working class from debate.. Scotland is now top of the drug death EU league. And the MEPs rake in the dosh.

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    2. That's no way to speak about David Coburn.

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    3. Seems like a nice chap who would be comfortable with any Nat si party collecting a regular income without working for it.

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    4. "Something that needs mentioned is the united front between the Scottish Nat sis the BBC and the Westminster Liberal Elites"

      Hilarious. Railing against liberal elites makes you a hardcore conservative.

      "Scotland is now top of the drug death EU league."

      Post your evidence - you've been told before.

      "And the MEPs rake in the dosh."

      See our generous host's point about your beloved Coburn.

      "Seems like a nice chap"

      Speaks volumes about you.

      "any Nat si party collecting a regular income without working for it."

      Again, present your evidence.

      The same tired reheated cabbage from trolly.
      It's not even making the effort any more.

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    5. The massive ammount of politicians need to justify why they exist.

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    6. GWC has taken a massive amount of juisdeffosing after Wolfgang and Wilheim buckfasted the sunshine out of the little jock rentbuoy's natsis.

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    7. I think I broke GWC2 when I suggested they're LGBT and in denial.

      Either that or James is an *incredible* troll.

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    8. Its responses, and the obsessions it reveals within, are indicative of, shall we say, more specialised tastes...

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  2. Interesting reading - surely they would realise how mutually damaging it would be and a compromise would be struck instead?

    As for the SNP, too much power can be a bad thing for governance. They’ve been in charge in Holyrood, as a majority and minority, for so long now that they need to be careful not to run out of ideas and not to take their eye off the ball.

    They have a very decent job so far; I might even vote for them if it weren’t for the neverendum. As the SNP & Labour are so similar except for the obvious, I expect the Conservatives to be a closer challenger in future.

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    1. You might vote for the SNP if they abandoned their core and founding principle? I think you mean to say that they're embarrassing the lot down south because the SNP are actually competent, but you want Scotland to stay ruled from Westminster.

      Where's that "but they're doing it on purpose" quote?

      ---

      And you still haven't answered my question about what stable end you see for "the devolution journey" that isn't independence or subsumption into England. If you don't answer I'm think it's fair to assume you don't have an answer, and were just talking pish.

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    2. My answer to the stable end for the devolution journey: Full Fiscal Autonomy within a federal UK.

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    3. I'm interested to know how you think federalism would work considering that England has 86% or whatever it is of the population. Would you intend breaking up England into regions in order to make things fairer for Wales and Scotland, or would we have some kind of federal parliament where Wales and Scotland had a number of seats sufficiently out of scale with our population sizes to over-rule England's wishes if we worked together? And in either case, how would this be fair on England? A federal UK sounds like an improvement on the current set up, certainly, but how would the English (who due to their overwhelming numerical preponderance are the ones who get to decide everything) be persuaded to vote for it?

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    4. Where there’s a will there’s a way.

      Whatever you do with England (an English Parliament, regional English assemblies, city devolution or direct UK rule) the direction of travel for Scotland is for ever more powers, within a loose UK framework.

      It seems most English don’t want devolution yet though.

      However, if a Scottish party offered Full Fiscal Autonamy or even an FFA referendum I bet they’d be very popular. The UK govt couldn’t simply ignore that because it would lead to uproar.

      The UK already has asymmetric devolution as different countries have different powers, so this proposition is no more absurd than independence, in my opinion.

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    5. But again, why should England be broken up or over-ruled so that the Celtic countries can have fair play? That's the argument that would be made, that it's not fair on England, and it isn't. That's the beauty of independence, no country's wishes need to be ignored or steamrollered over.

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    6. Aye, but only one country-England has unfettered powers over defence macro-economics, foreign policy etc. Your fake union won't survive Brexit. You can spin all you like about FFA. Like the sleekit ploy of the VOW in 2014,It will be seen through as just another attempt to muddy the waters as Scots increasingly see full independence as the only way out of this abusive Union. Not to mention the huge opportunity that statehood will bring to Scotland. We have a lot of friends out there who now see that Scotland is not England.
      Opportunity knocks. This is our time.

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    7. But the UK is our country too - Why can’t we share defence & foreign affairs? And what about those of us who feel British too?

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    8. What happens if England wants to invade Iraq, but Wales and Scotland don't? That's right, we all invade Iraq. In this federal UK of yours would all foreign affairs and defence decisions have to pass the three national parliaments? Or every regional parliament if we're breaking England up into manageable chunks? Or will Wales and Scotland's foreign affairs be decided by the overwhelming majority of the population who live in England, irrespective of the views of the populations of Wales and Scotland?
      I do take your point about those of us who feel British, it's just that I fail to see why it can't be like the case in Scandinavia, where Norwegians feel Scandinavian, but don't have to be told what to do by the Danish parliament as part of that.

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    9. That’s a very fair point if you don’t consider the UK as your country as well as Scotland. But that is democracy - majority rules. If enough of the rest of the UK voted Remain they would have overruled England in Brexit. The Conservatives have a majority in England but not the UK etc etc.

      The problem is you could take that argument to break up Scotland itself because there are eg majority voting Lib Dem constituencies in Scotland that are outvoted.

      I’m suggesting a way to untie Yes & No with a third way.

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    10. Better Together had their chance to do that after indyref 1.
      Instead, they opted to play silly beggars.
      Too late now.

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    11. The problem is that labor treated Corbin etc like shit for years, now they are asking for favors. There is really not a lot of room between them. But the move is up to the losing side and one thing we know about Blair etc. Is that they are likeable but have no bullocks? Is that your word? Sarah Silverman has ignited a Twitter war over here over what to call them." Bullock" is a common name over here, so that is out.

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    12. Union 2.0: Will you please stop trying to convince us that the "compromise" between Yes and No is for Yes voters to abandon their support for independence? It's getting tedious beyond belief. Would you "compromise" by abandoning your opposition to independence? No you wouldn't. Away and stop being so daft. If you want to persuade people to stop supporting independence, actually do the hard work and make the case.

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    13. FFA has been described as ‘Independence Lite’ so I thought it would be a good compromise. Obviously not. I think the SNP are in favour of FFA.

      I’ve made the case for the union lots of times (stronger, safer, better off, cultural ties, shared services, sense of family).

      I was just trying to give ground; maybe I’m getting carried away sorry if it’s getting tedious I will stop.

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    14. James you are not doing a very good job at persauading moreso when you should be streaking ahead. The problem you nat sis have is deep down you do not really want independence. I suspect there are many Nat sis who want real independence and not being ordered around by the Brussels Mafia.

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    15. Sorry I'm late replying, lets cover all those points individually, shall we?

      "My answer to the stable end for the devolution journey: Full Fiscal Autonomy within a federal UK."

      That's not a stable end-point. That's a step on the way to New Zealand-style independence.

      "Where there’s a will there’s a way."

      But there's no will for this in England, who currently holds the majority of votes, and therefore all the power.

      "However, if a Scottish party offered Full Fiscal Autonamy or even an FFA referendum I bet they’d be very popular. The UK govt couldn’t simply ignore that because it would lead to uproar."

      The SNP are a very popular Scottish Party, and the UK gov seem perfectly able to ignore them.

      "The UK already has asymmetric devolution as different countries have different powers, so this proposition is no more absurd than independence, in my opinion."

      Except for the fact that it would require Westminster to voluntarily give up power. Which we know it will never do.

      "But the UK is our country too - Why can’t we share defence & foreign affairs? And what about those of us who feel British too?"

      I feel like a citizen of the Earth. I don't want Scotland ruled by America, Russia or China.

      "But that is democracy - majority rules."

      When nine wolves and a sheep are voting on who's for dinner, what should the sheep do?

      "I’m suggesting a way to untie Yes & No with a third way."

      No, you're arguing for Scotland to remain tethered to Westminster. Please stop lying about this.

      "I’ve made the case for the union lots of times (stronger,"

      LOL

      "safer,"

      ROFL

      "better off,"

      Brexit says hi.

      "cultural ties,"

      Who needs common government to maintain cultural ties?

      "shared services,"

      I'd quite like to not be dragged off to war because Westminster is feeling old and incontinent.

      "sense of family)."

      Do you still live with your mother?

      "I was just trying to give ground"

      No, you're not. Please stop lying.

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    16. Oh for the love of God. Whoever described FFA as 'independence lite' (you?) was demonstrably wrong because Scotland would stay inside the United Kingdom, ie. it would not be an independent state.

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    17. Illy, do you get a student grant?

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    18. Seek professional help. Immediately.

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    19. GWC2: No, but why would it matter if I did?

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    20. We have to be prudent and not waste public money on idiot Nat sis!

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    21. Please, keep a list of suicide hotlines in your wallet. I don't want you to kill yourself.

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    22. Illy pease don’t call me a liar that isn’t fair.

      James, I guess it’s a no goer as a compromise then so we stick with the status quo until a majority want independence.

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    23. Sigh. The whole point of the independence referendum will be to discover whether there is or isn't a majority for independence. That's probably a better idea than just taking your word for it, don't you think?

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    24. "Illy pease (sic) don’t call me a liar that isn’t fair."

      You're lying, therefore calling you a liar is totally fair.

      "Okay - should the SNP wait for opinion polls to show a majority first?"

      That's a strategic decision for the SNP, and talking about it openly would only help Westminster prepare for it.

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    25. Illy,

      Apologies for that typo.

      How do you know I’m not trying to give ground? What gives you the right to state that? You do need to be careful what you say. I’m a supporter of FFA, despite actually preferring the status quo, because believe it or not I do want yes and no to be united in some sort of settlement. If you don’t believe that, then fine, but imagine how poor it would sound if I called you, a reasonable and intelligent person, a liar because I don’t agree with you.

      We should probably stop debating if you have such a low opinion of me - it won’t do either of us any good!

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    26. How can FFA be a "final settlement" when half the population wants indepedence?

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    27. It might be enough for a good chunk of the 45% ‘soft nats’ and respects the referendum result of 2014 at the same time. The SNP could still campaign for full independence after. What do you think?

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    28. Better Together had their chance to do that after indyref 1.
      Instead, they opted to play silly beggars.
      Too late now.

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    29. FFA. Funny Fanny Alert.

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    30. Fetish freak, you were told to fuck off back to your Tommy Robinson appreciation site.
      Run along now.

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    31. Only if I can run along yor back passidge

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  3. Kangaroo says
    You will be able to vote SNP in an independent Scotland probably before Xmas 18. Things are looking on track to me.��

    No deal means sweet dreams Kingdom of England your on your own.

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  4. Union2 Aye,ye want tae unite YES and No dae ye? So dae I. Yes tae a democratic Scotland and No tae radges like you wi yer backstop concerns that always clings tae London rule.
    Away an play yer mind games in yer ain country.

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  5. The Shieldhall Sewage Tunnell has opened to evacute the Scottish nat sis. Sister Rose Anna opened the Tunnel, how very quaint.

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    1. Sling your hook.

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    2. You have to love sister Rose Anna who returned from the Colony to return Scotland to the Papist faith and subjugate women to the kitchen.

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    3. Mentaaaal!!

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    4. Brea king words in the mid dle (like Rose Anna and nat sis) is extre mely hil a rious.

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    5. weegingerdug.wordpress.com/2018/08/02/the-desperate-hysteria-of-british-nationalism/

      Sound like anyone we know?

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  6. Sounds like a whiffy jockistani nat si to me. One of the Fourth Reich brigade who wants to march through London in a SS uniform

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    1. I knew it was a fetish freak and the mention of SS uniforms merely reinforces evidence of its fetishistic obsession.

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    2. Yor the one as likes a man in uniform. Specially in the cream puff villa. So we hear. Shop ahoy Captan Pugwash

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    3. Stop fucking embarrassing yourself, uniform freak.

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    4. At least you dontd see me dressed in a British Telecom uniform hanging about cream puff villas smoking and saying 'Hullo Bright Eyes' to the men going in for a pugwash. But we've all heard about you.

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    5. Did ye, aye?

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    6. Yes. A Nony Mouse was embarrassing himself dressed as a hotel receiptonist outside a YouKnowWere winking at stranger's and saying Hello Bright Eyes.
      We looked away in shame.

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    7. People in the real world are urging me to change my name to Consuela Fleshwound. I'm resisting the pressure so far but don't know how long I can keep this up. Raymond Ellis said Stay strong my friend, Stay strong. I almost wept at the sincerity and Yes Raymond. I will stay strong.

      I have danced on television and represented my Nation. I shall stay strong. For Raymond and all the millions who support me.

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