Sunday, July 28, 2019

Memo to Boris Johnson: "awesome foursome" doesn't actually rhyme properly in Scottish and Northern Irish accents

Just to return briefly to the subject of Boris Johnson's bizarre appointment of the MP for Worcester as a junior minister in the Scotland Office, I think we can gain a little sense of the warped thinking behind the decision in Robin Walker's own tweet about it.

"A huge honour to be made Minister for the union working with @BorisJohnson @ScotSecofState & @NIOgov - our precious union deserves to thrive through brexit & beyond. I will work with colleagues all across the UK to ensure that it does"

So he's not describing himself as a Scotland Office Minister or a Northern Ireland Office Minister, but rather pompously as "Minister for the Union" (which is supposed to be Johnson's own new title, as it happens).  You can imagine the conversation: "Here's a wonderful way to bring together all the parts of our precious, precious union.  Let's merge a junior post at the Scotland and Northern Ireland Offices and give it to someone who represents one of the other nations of our glorious United Kingdom."  They probably barely even noticed that the actual optics of that wheeze was to install an English MP as a colonial Deputy Governor-General of both Scotland and Northern Ireland.  Two servings of imperialism for the price of one.  Maybe they'd have got on a little better if they'd tried a Welsh MP instead.  We could have done a completely fair swap and put Ross Thomson in the Wales Office.

Incidentally, the magnificent irony of Boris Johnson's characterisation of the four nations of the UK as the "awesome foursome" is that the rhyme doesn't actually work properly in Scottish or Northern Ireland accents.  Most English and Welsh accents are non-rhotic, meaning that the letter 'r' is effectively silent in certain circumstances, and the word 'foursome' is pronounced 'fawsome'.  But Scottish and Northern Irish accents are rhotic (unless your name is Alister Jack) meaning that the 'r' is fully pronounced.  Absolutely everything about this new government is dripping in unthinking Anglocentricity - its vocabulary, its jokes, its gimmicks, its colonial appointments, and its dogmatic obsession with forcing through a No Deal Brexit against the democratically-expressed wishes of the people of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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There's a new article by Alasdair Soussi on the Al Jazeera website in which I'm quoted a few times - it's titled 'Could Boris Johnson be the UK's last Prime Minister?', and you can read it HERE.

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Marcia has provided figures from the first YouGov Scottish subsample since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister, and on the face of it they're exceptionally good news for the SNP, and disappointing for Jo Swinson.  However, I'm going to ca' canny just for the moment, because I can't actually see any sign of the datasets yet.  (I may just be looking in the wrong place - the YouGov website is getting less user-friendly with every passing year.)

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Professor Roger Awan-Scully is known to millions as "the John Curtice of Wales" (well, that's how he's known to me, anyway) and he posted this tantalising tweet a few hours ago...

"A new Welsh Political Barometer poll by @YouGov will be published tomorrow by @ITVWales

The results go well beyond ‘gosh’ territory, or even ‘blimey’: by some way the most dramatic poll I have ever analysed.

And in some respects a genuinely historic poll for Welsh politics."

Given the Boris bounce that we saw in GB-wide polls last night, you'd be forgiven for thinking that he's hinting at a Tory lead.  But the thing is that the Tories have been in the lead in Welsh polls before, so in itself that wouldn't qualify as "the most dramatic".  So I'm wondering if we'll be looking at either an outright lead for Plaid Cymru, or Labour slipping to third place.

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UPDATE: Many thanks to Anon in the comments section below for providing the YouGov datasets, which confirm the subsample figures that Marcia gave us earlier...

SNP 47%, Conservatives 21%, Liberal Democrats 12%, Labour 11%, Brexit Party 5%, Greens 3%, Plaid Cymru 1%

This is the second YouGov subsample since Boris Johnson became Tory leader, but the first since he became Prime Minister.  That's a crucial distinction, because in GB-wide polls the Boris Bounce only occurred after Theresa May actually left Downing Street.  And sure enough, the Tory surge appears to have been replicated in Scotland - but not at the expense of the SNP, who are in an even more commanding position than usual.  What that would mean in Tory-SNP marginal seats is anyone's guess.

You wouldn't have expected the SNP to suffer directly from a Tory surge in any case - the greater concern would have been SNP voters drifting off to the Lib Dems.  That doesn't appear to be happening at all, although I remain of the view that Jo Swinson could yet be a small-to-medium-sized problem for the SNP.  People haven't really got to know her yet, but they will do courtesy of blanket coverage during the campaign proper, and that could be the danger point.

In case you're wondering why 1% of the Scottish subsample are backing Plaid Cymru, that's just one of the oddities that's sometimes thrown up by GB-wide polling.  It may be Welsh people living in Scotland temporarily, or it may even be people who selected the wrong option by mistake.

23 comments:

  1. Opinium Scots sample:
    23% Con
    14% Lab
    11% Lib
    46% SNP
    2% Green
    5% Brexit

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Polls are undemocratic and are like Cambridge Analytical. Rich people and fanatics are controllers. The political party manifestos should be read by the people, scrutinised and the parties held to account.

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    2. Polls are only believable if they support your cause. I guess you won't be seeing any SIU or Tory polls for now. I wouldn't doubt if they try to ban polls. 46% would mean 50+ seats...

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  2. Not just the /r/, but even the vowels of the two words are different in Scottish/NI accents

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The very few of you who are interested in linguistics / phonology may enjoy this paper, which is about Aitken's Law: https://t1p.de/teu5rq.

      The most remarkable thing about Aitken's Law, to my mind, is that it was formulated as recently as 1981.

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  3. Yougov data Polling 25-26 July

    http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/7jp5dz617c/SundayTimes_190726_VI_Boris_Brexit_w.pdf

    Subsample 159 unweighted/146 weighted

    SNP 47
    CUP 21
    Lab 11
    LD 12
    Plaid 1 (??)
    Brexit 5
    Green 3
    Other 1

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  4. Has anybody else noticed that Daniel Gravel is a Yoon shill who never writes anything but snarky attacks on Scotland in general and Scottish men in particular?

    Meanwhile labour in Scotland are still wailing and gnashing their gums over their Rally roon the Caley campaign. lest we forget they did the same with the Keep Calmac hysteria. Funnily enough now that Calmac is saved from being sold off by the evil SNP we've had months of anti-Calmac stories. Almost as though they are just virtue signalling dongle=brains.

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    1. SNP touch my forelock lacky.July 29, 2019 at 1:57 AM

      Any real Scotsman would support the jobs and permanent infrastructure at the Caley. The SNP are Tories no ifs and doubts about them. They are in the grip off the christian bus/rail people formerly known as Tory scumbags.

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  5. Offly topic. I've seen many a comment relating to the glorious Olympic opening ceremony and lamenting the comparison with the current evil state of englandshire.

    Did everybody remember to save for posterity all the yoon claims that Scotland can'd be independent because the Olympics. I remember them even if the perpetators would rather forget. Wee doogie Paisley was one.

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  6. ... excellent article & analysis, James (as usual !!) ... interesting times !!

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  7. I very much doubt swinson would stand again in her Scottish seat.

    For one it's not safe; not from a new snp surge. Secondly, she lives in England now right, so she'd be battered for that in local campaigning. Finally, due to EVEL, she can't be pm, not of England.

    If there's a snap GE, she'll be dumping scotland for England, much to BBC jockbread's disappointment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Won't any safe Liberal seats in England already be taken?
      Are there many safe Liberal seats there at all?
      Career carpetbaggers like Swinson won't care where their seat is as long as they get their expenses.

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    2. Scottish seats are no use. They can't hold cabinet positions as they can't vote on most English domestic legislation. That alone means she needs an English seat. Even if its as safe/unsafe as her Scottish one, at least if she wins she can be something other than just SoSfS.

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    3. None of the EVEL stuff really matters, because they'll just change the rules to suit themselves and the situation. I think in the long term you're right, though. It would be more convenient for Swinson to have a seat in England nearer work and home. Maybe Cable's, wherever it may be.

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  8. OK, with a new government in place, how many jocks are in cabinet now?

    I think just about every Tory has had a go at a cabinet position in the past few years.

    Except the jocks. Nope, as Boris says, they should not be allowed in a English, sorry 'British' UK government.

    Even Scotch Office posts are bring given to English MPs now.

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  9. I see plaid cymru are now the most popular party in Wales for national elections according to Yougov. Leading on the constituency and regional list.

    Meanwhile,huge marches for indy have begun.


    https://www.itv.com/news/wales/2019-07-27/thousands-march-in-caernarfon-calling-for-an-independent-wales/

    'Thousands march in Caernarfon calling for an independent Wales'

    ReplyDelete
  10. More details here and some fascinating commentary
    https://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/electionsinwales/2019/07/29/the-july-welsh-political-barometer-poll/

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  11. What 'ties' 'bind our United Kingdom' apart from 'No, you can't have a referendum'?

    Anyone know? Not languages / accents anyway, that's for sure.

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  12. I look forward to meeting you lame, lazy and idle Jock/Irish today. The EU will not pay your benefits.

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    Replies
    1. I am overcome with joy that you, the Glorious Leader, has deigned to comment in James's worthwhile but humble blog! Such grace, such condescension! Allow me to lick your boots, sir!

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    2. Thank you my fellow Brit your kind offer is appreciated and I look forward to being your PM for many many years after brexit.

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  13. Things are getting better could just be the time of the year with happy holidays but I think we will go well past the 55% +++, I think it really is a case of here we go here we go and we're gone.

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    1. I thought that was your celtic Park chant Mr O'Brien.

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