Monday, July 22, 2019

She wants "Scotland in the Yookye, and the Yookye in the Eeyowe": now that the female Fraser Nelson is Lib Dem leader, what's next for Scottish politics?

So, as I feared, East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson has been elected leader of the Liberal Democrats at federal level (but rest assured that Willie Rennie of "Winning With Willie" fame is still very much leader of the Scottish branch).  The reason I say "as I feared" is partly because I'm not Swinson's greatest fan, and we'll now be subjected to her dripping-with-insincerity musings even more frequently, but it's also partly because there's some evidence from past history that having a Scottish leader can help the fortunes of a London party in this part of the world.  For example...

* In the only general election Gordon Brown fought as leader in 2010, Labour took a hammering south of the border, but in Scotland held all its seats and actually increased its share of the vote.

* The 1974 Liberal surge under Jeremy Thorpe wasn't fully replicated in Scotland, but the Alliance surge in 1983 was, and by that point the Liberals were led by a Scot (David Steel).  In 1992, the first election after Steel stepped down, the drop in the Lib Dem vote was greater in Scotland than it was elsewhere.

* In 2005, the Lib Dems under Charles Kennedy unexpectedly overtook the SNP to finish second in the Scottish popular vote.

The Kennedy example is interesting, though, because he was also leader during the 2001 election, when the Scottish Lib Dem vote increased but there wasn't the same scale of breakthrough.  He was also federal leader during the 2003 Holyrood election, when the Lib Dem vote more or less flatlined.  So that suggests any Swinson effect might be limited to Westminster elections, and might also depend to some extent on the platform she's given by the media.  The reason that Kennedy did better in 2005 than in 2001 is that in the intervening period he had emerged as the leading voice in opposition to the Iraq War.  If Jo Swinson similarly comes to be seen as the leader of the anti-Brexit resistance, that could be mildly worrying for the SNP.  The good news is that she's running out of time to reap that potential benefit - what does she do if Britain leaves the EU before the next election?  She may be able to get away for the moment with "wanting Scotland in the Yookye, and the Yookye in the Eeyowe", but unless she's going to argue for the Yookye to rejoin the Eeyowe (which nobody would believe anyway), she'll run out of road with that line after October.  Pro-Eeyowe Scots will have to start looking towards independence as the only realistic way forward.

In my forthcoming article for next month's iScot, I'll also be making the point that even if there's a Lib Dem surge in a pre-Brexit election, that could actually benefit the SNP if it falls short of a certain threshold.  For example, if pro-EU unionist voters in a seat like Gordon abandon the Tories and return to the Lib Dem fold, but not in sufficient numbers to actually take the seat, the obvious beneficiary would be the SNP. 

That said, I'd suggest the SNP should keep a close lookout for any indication that the broadcasters are going to stitch them up by running three-way Johnson-Corbyn-Swinson debates during the election campaign.  That would be almost impossible to defend, both on the basis of past precedent and the current state of the parties in the Commons, but you can guarantee that they'd try it if they thought they could get away with it.

52 comments:

  1. How can they really have a Scottish leader at Westminster under EVEL? Surely that won't play well...

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    1. she'll take a safe English seat

      Ronnie

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    2. She won't be going anywhere. East Dunbartonshire looks fairly solid for her, and it'll probably be even more solid with the usual leader's bonus.

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    3. Aye but practically how can they have a UK leader promoting policy they cant vote on. It just looked ridiculous, don't you think ?

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    4. The Twitter optimistas have absolutely convinced themselves she's going to lose her seat. It's tragic to see.

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    5. If she stays in a Scottish seat, it puts her in a very uncomfortable position for voting or even commenting on English matters, not that that stops the 'Scottish' Tories for pretending they have a vote on English matters. I suppose she'll just do the same. The recent polls don't look wonderful for her holding her seat, but I suspect she will anyway.

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    6. The recent polls all suggest that she would hold her seat easily. Let's be clear: the SNP are doing exceptionally well in recent polls, but the seats they look set to gain are all currently held by either Labour or the Tories. The four Lib Dem seats are probably out of reach, and it's also possible that the Lib Dems will gain Stephin Gethins' seat in North East Fife.

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    7. I doubt the LD would gain North East Fife if the SNP are doing well nationally . Stephen Gethins is a very popular MP and the local SNP aren't sitting on their hands.

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  2. In the elections previous the SNP got minimal time on news programme and were sidelined. That won't happen at the next Yookay general election. She comes over as leading the remain wing of the Tory party. Her voice is rather grating, especially to those with hearing aids.

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  3. She's the latest britnat Messiah. She'll go the same way as the others.

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  4. Dripping with insincerity, people of a similar nature to her will be pleased. What a bunch Swinson, Cole-Hamilton, Clippie Rennie, and that woman who is a LIbDem MP in Scotland.

    Mind you, Swinson does look stunning in the photo accompanying this article. slinky yellow dress, and holding a bookay o'floors. Poor headline grammar though - SHEIN.

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    1. The Liberals have turned into a horrible gang. They seem to be little more than Remain Tories with a Concerned Smile.

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    2. The liberals are a middle class semi Tory bunch just like the Tartan Tories. They raise their heads when threatened by Labour and the working class.

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    3. Robin of LocksleyJuly 22, 2019 at 11:47 PM

      Purse.
      Cordelia and purses.

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  5. Is Swinson Scottish?. Anglicised accent; lives in England; Main business HQ in England; leads an English based party; has an English husband; English born and raised children and English University educated.

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    1. Could be worse she could be a Scottish Protestant. That would upset the Bishop Devine Coatbridge Nat si Brigades.

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    2. Born in Scotland so yes Scottish, unless you are saying that those things disqualify you from being Scottish in some way?

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. It's wrong to force a scottish identity on Swinson. Just because you are born here does not mean you identify as Scottish.

      My wife was born in and lived in casablanca for a number of years but in no way feels Moroccan. She's french.

      Swinson could identify as English for all we know (and she does seem that way inclined), in which case she'd be no more 'scottish' than my wife is Moroccan.

      You can't force an identity on people like you are doing. It's up to her.

      Anyway, if come a snap GE she stands again for her Scottish seat, we'll start see where her heart lies. And if Scotland becomes independent, her choice of passports will reflect how she sees herself.

      It's not for you to decide.

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    5. Yup its up to her, so we should not be asking the question of if she is Scottish based on something on her accent or where she is choosing to live.

      I'm struggling to see how she seems inclined to identify as English. Maybe you have a very narrow view of 'Scottishness'.

      Like her I was born in Scotland but moved down from Scotland to England for Uni and have lived here ever since bringing up my family here. I also support an 'English' Party and support the UK and EU Unions, my accent has probably become less thick over the years too, but fully identify as Scottish and have never had anyone question that based on the choices have taken in my life.

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    6. If someone says to me e.g.:

      Quelle est votre nationalité?

      I, without thinking, just naturally say 'Scottish', just as my wife would say 'French'.

      I don't know what Jo Swindon would reply, but that would settle the question.

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    7. Skier, how can you feel nationality? Did you wife take part in the film with Humphray Bogart?

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    8. Robin of LocksleyJuly 22, 2019 at 11:49 PM

      Purse.
      Cordelia and purses.

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    9. Identities can be multiple. One can be Scots-Polish or Scots-Pakistani.

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    10. Yes, you can be more than one. Then you tend to reply both when asked. My daughter says Scottish and French.

      @gwc. I was talking about national identity, as per the census. That's all Joe Swinson can have to make her Scottish. There is no official documentation which bestows nscottishness. That needs indy, following which Scotland can set the rules for nationality. Even a Scottish birth certificate doesn't do that right now (you can have one but not be British), although it could be enough under independence. Depends what's decided.

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    11. Oh, and GWC, if you 'feel' neither Scottish nor British then that's a bit sad. I guess you are a citizen of nowhere?

      Most of us have an identity. It makes us e.g. care about our country, gives us that passion at international sports events...sends a shiver doon yer spine when the pipes play...

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    12. Away with you.

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  6. For the Lib Dems Scotland is a UK region. They refuse to recognise the SNP mandate for Indyref2.
    Until now they've flown under the radar.
    The British establishment will see Swinson as a useful anti independence rallying point
    She was too sleekit for Brewer on Sunday politics, but will cut no ice with the working class.
    Just another London party where the Scots are always an afterthought.

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  7. The Jocko Nat sis supporting the UK line over Iran and mentioning their sadness about the women illegally being held in an Iranian prison. The Jocko Nat sis should know the Iranians nationalised their oil resources during 1951. The woman held was perhaps working for MI 6. You have to laugh at the jockos.

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    1. From the Anglo-Persian oil company, which was exploiting there resources.

      In response, the British started a trade war to try and damage iran's economy. Then, with the US, they arranged a coupe to topple the Iranian government and install a puppet.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Persian_Oil_Company

      This would in part fuel the eventual Islamic revolution which gave the regime of today.

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    2. Historically the Persians gave many of their workers the thirty five hour week.

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    3. Incidentally it was the Attlee Labour Gov that started the damage.

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    4. Robin of LocksleyJuly 23, 2019 at 1:57 PM

      Purse.
      Cordelia and purses.

      Delete
  8. Meanwhile, what a dumb moment for the Lib Dems to pick for the finish of their leadership contest. Swinson won't even get a full round of tomorrow morning's interviews before attention switches back to the Tory result and ongoing psychodrama.

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    1. Poor old hapless Liberals. They never get anything right.

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  9. Late stage unionism article from the BBC.

    A few words from gwcs brexit voting 'mates' in England.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-scotland-49079023/english-nationalism-jog-on-scotland

    English nationalism: 'Jog on', Scotland

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  10. Has mundell quit?

    If not, I hope he's fired.

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    1. I predict Nadine Dorries as ScotSecy

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    2. Anyone with big tits will do

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  11. Well, it's 53% yes now according to panelbase.

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    1. Prediction: next poll will show the usual tiny No majority. Hope I'm wrong.

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  12. Oh my!, that will be the Onion man at the door, with a ber, berr, berry, berrae, beruit on.

    There!, that's it.

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  13. Today we move from 'late stage' to 'final stage' British unionism.

    'The British Trump' moving into No 10.

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    1. I suppose at least Trump was elected, unlike dear leader Johnson.

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    2. Tyrion LannisterJuly 23, 2019 at 6:46 PM

      I'm not sure why the SNP are pushing this "unelected" thing. Johnson isn't any less elected than Sturgeon was in 2014, and arguably more.

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    3. So you are saying johnson has no mandate?

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    4. And sturgeon was elected. In a PR Parliament to continue the same programme for government as her predecessor.

      https://www.ft.com/content/a3ba0b5c-7016-11e4-bc6a-00144feabdc0

      Nicola Sturgeon elected first minister of Scotland

      November 19, 2014

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    5. I do not recall getting a a vote.

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    6. That's because you obviously can't read and have a shit memory.

      Anyway, sturgeon was elected (defeating davidson) and just continued to carry out the snp 2011 manifesto, for which there was an electoral mandate. She also didn't e.g. have an unelected finger on the nuke button etc, nor did she believe she had the right to tell England whether it could be independent or not...

      Bozo has not been elected by either the people or their parliament and has no mandate for his entirely new programme for government.

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  14. Scottish Nat sis do not believe in democracy unless they win. They have set a precedent for anyone to ignore them if they win.

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  15. Independence for Scotland is the only way to get Scotland out of this mess.

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    ReplyDelete