Monday, April 1, 2019

In a post-ideological world, what brings politicians together in a common endeavour? Apparently, it's the name "Alexander".

You might remember that after the launch of the Independent Group a few weeks ago, Chris "in the works" Deerin penned a notorious article that revealed the breakaway Labour MPs understood full well that they would need a "different strategy in Scotland" and that they had even invited Ruth Davidson to be their leader.  Obviously they had made the schoolboy error of believing the journalistic propaganda that Davidson is some kind of "centrist" bridge-builder, rather than the tribalistic zealot we all know and love.  Having got nowhere with an obviously doomed Plan A, we now know what the wacky Plan B for a "different strategy in Scotland" is - and it looks suspiciously like putting four political has-beens in a room together and calling them a political party.

Today's Scotsman reveals that Labour siblings Douglas Alexander and Wendy Alexander (former Shadow Foreign Secretary and Scottish Labour leader respectively), their Lib Dem namesake Danny Alexander (former Chief Secretary to the Treasury), and the former Tory MEP Struan Stevenson, have all left their parties to form a loose new grouping known temporarily as "the Scottish Independents", which will now seek formal registration with the Electoral Commission as a fully-fledged party, with a permanent name to be determined.  The Scotsman piece is predictably breathless in portraying the new outfit as more "heavyweight" than the Independent Group, boasting as it does two former UK Cabinet ministers and a former party leader.  Well...up to a point, Lord Copper.  What matters far more is that none of them are current elected representatives, which makes the whole "breakaway" concept a bit phony and very easy for the general public to ignore.

Douglas Alexander, who appears to be the group's unofficial spokesman/leader, has innocently dismissed any suggestion that they are a Scottish front organisation for the Independent Group, but admits that they were "inspired" by the actions of Chuka and co, and that it would be "prudent" for the Independent Group and the Scottish Independents to avoid standing candidates against each other, and that "it may be appropriate to consider" a CDU-CSU type relationship.  Decoded, that appears to mean that in the unlikely event that the Scottish Independents get candidates elected as MPs, they would sit as part of the Independent Group in parliament, but would be free to pose as a nominally separate party in their occasional forays home and in election campaigns.

As you'd expect, Alexander has also provided some vacuous, waffly quotes about people from different political "traditions" coming together to break free from the shackles of "increasingly outdated ideologies", although it appears the one dated ideology that hasn't yet outlived its usefulness for him is rabid British nationalism.  You do have to wonder: if these self-styled centrists truly believe we're living in a post-ideological world, what is the common denominator that will in future bring politicians together under the same umbrella?  In this case 'having the same surname' seems to be the only obvious commonality - which must leave poor Struan Stevenson feeling like a second class citizen.

My ears pricked up when Alexander mentioned a specially commissioned YouGov poll that supposedly shows considerable public appetite for a new centrist, anti-independence party in Scotland.  I've managed to track the poll down in an obscure corner of the YouGov website, and you won't be surprised to hear that the results are not quite as Alexander portrays them - just 18% of respondents say they would "consider" voting for the Scottish Independents, while 52% would not.  That's strikingly close to the percentage of people who said in a similar poll back in 2007 that they would "consider" voting for Archie Stirling's Scottish Voice party.  If you've never heard of Scottish Voice, there's a good reason for that.

I was particularly tickled by this supplementary question...

There is currently a fashion for the names of new political parties to echo the names of their founders.  For instance, the French governing party En Marche has the same initials as Emmanuel Macron, and the new British party Change UK has the same initials as Chuka Umunna.  Which of the following names for Scotland's new party do you prefer?

DA Party: 4%
Alexandria: 7%
Alexanders the Great: 2%

I do not believe that the name should be a nod to the fact that two of the party's founders have the initials DA, or that three of them share the surname Alexander: 61%

I have to say the Alexanders would be well advised to listen to the public on this one.  If they're crazy enough to call themselves "DA Party", they'll be inevitably dubbed "yer da".  And as for "Alexanders the Great"...well, where do you even start?

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Just a quick note to let you know that you can see a sneak preview of my column for the latest issue of iScot, along with information on how to purchase a digital or print copy, by clicking HERE.

29 comments:

  1. Of course, it is April Fool's day...

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    1. Its too hard to tell theses days. Is this piece the April Fool or the piece in the Scotsman it references (I won't go to heir website to check)? Both? Neither?

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    2. Not quite as good as last year's, but still fun!

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    3. Bravo, James. Bravo.

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  2. Dont think that can make too much of these as been a lack of polling and the question (as things stand at the moment) but the latest opinium EU election polling is:

    LAB: 30% (+1)
    CON: 24% (-4)
    UKIP: 18% (+1)
    LDM: 10% (-1)
    GRN: 8% (+2)
    SNP: 4% (=)
    PLC: 1% (=)

    https://twitter.com/ElectionMapsUK/status/1112501457188806659

    With the Scottish subsample at:

    Con: 21%
    Lab: 23%
    LD: 5%
    UKIP: 9%
    SNP: 40%
    Green: 1%

    Suppose the only things can get for it is that UK wide Conservatives are down and that on the Scottish sample Labour are ahead of the Conservatives which goes against the theme for Westminster /Scot Parl polling. SNP at 40% is same sort of figure seeing in the Westminster polls.

    If we do end up having to take part in the EU elections then the thing to look for is what direction the vote then shifts towards, pro or anti EU parties.

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    1. Not sure where you are getting your numbers from. UKIP on 18%?

      Latest Opinium UK is 35% Con 35% Lab 9% Lib 9% UKIP

      https://www.opinium.co.uk/political-polling-20th-march-2019-2/

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    2. these are for EU election polling.

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    3. Oops, yes, sorry!

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    4. Try to keep up.

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    5. Oh, the irony.

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  3. Lol, dumbass Scottish Tories unwittingly voting for the end of the UK.

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/backing-mays-deal-puts-union-at-risk-dup-tells-scottish-tories-rd8vqrk8v

    Backing May’s deal threatens union, DUP tells Tories

    The DUP has rounded on Ruth Davidson’s MPs, accusing them of all but guaranteeing Scottish independence by backing Theresa May’s deal...

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  4. DUP spokesperson says they fought a forty year war against the IRA dregs of humanity and May can bring her deal a thousand times and the will vote against it.

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    1. Cordelia there, getting all excited about its dinosaur denying overlords' latest ravings. Cordelia's bloodlust will only be satisfied by a resumption of hostilities in Northern Ireland.

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    2. Aren't the DUP the political wing of the British/English UVF/UDA terrorist groups which operate in the British/English occupied territories of the northern part of Ireland?

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    3. 'Dregs of humanity'

      https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/uvf-gang-linked-to-wholesale-distribution-of-illegal-drugs-in-parts-of-northern-ireland-37961037.html

      British UVF terrorist gang linked to 'wholesale' distribution of illegal drugs in parts of Northern Ireland

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    4. No response from the loyal colonial stooge.
      That must have smarted.

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    5. I expected you to bite skier but not in that way. Using the dastardly behaviour of the other mob to make a point but no condemnation of the IRA says it all about you.

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    6. It's not Skier's job to be as confused as Cordelia the loyal colonial stooge.

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    7. I've said it plenty of times, but worth repeating again for people with such shit for brains they can't ever remember that...

      I utterly condemn terrorism, whether it's those who wish to end English occupation of Northern Ireland (IRA) carrying it out, or the opposing British/English occupiers (UVF, UDA).

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    8. Do not believe you and England does not occupy NI. Tell the truth skier and pour out your hatred of the British. Now go and comfort your French Tart.

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    9. Cordelia the snivelling drunken bigot, screaming its pathetic hatreds again. I hope it didn't hurt itself on the way back to its sobbing cupboard.

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    10. England does occupy NI. The only reason that section of irish territory is part of the UK is because England wants it to be. It's naff all to do with what people in N. Ireland think*. If England decided it wanted rid of N. Ireland, the latter would be dumped overnight. A single motion in the commons and that would be that.

      ---

      *As brexit has shown, the English government couldn't give a shite what people in N. Ireland think. The latter have not been consulted once on brexit nor the backstop. Not even given a second thought.

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  5. So any chance of a piece on the Progress Scotland poll? The independence figures are wildly out of line with the norm, even allowing for the different question format.

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    1. Hi Anon, I'm not sure what you mean? Is there a direct independence question? I've checked the website and I can't see one.

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  6. Would be great if full free movement is the final compromise, and it just passes due to Scottish MP votes, in particular those of the SNP.

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  7. Seems to me that the DUP are intent on making sure brexit doesn't happen.

    They know it will lead to reunification, so they're just gonna keep May in power, but never vote for any sort of brexit deal. Hence their comments that the UK union trumps brexit for them in the end.

    If I was England, I'd go for independence. I mean that's the only way to have brexit. It's just a matter of whether England leaves the union before it, or Scotland + N. Ireland leave after it. It's just not possible to have yer British union cake and brexit it.

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  8. One thing is clear is that on Wednesday the voting method needs to change, either to some sort of transferable vote system or multiple run off votes or will prob end up in the same situation.

    As for Nick Boles, he has essentially nothing to close by quitting, he had been deselected. I wonder if his constituency association will feel quiet so clever if there is a VoC and the Government loose by his vote...

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  9. I know why people called Wendy Alexander "puddles" and si dies a taxi driver.

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