Thursday, August 29, 2019

Scottish Tories locate their Ruth-less streak

So there have been two big developments in Scottish politics today (so far - the day is young!).  One is unalloyed good news for the SNP, the Yes movement, and humanity at large.  The other is not-so-good news, but nuanced.

Let's start with the good news - the departure of Colonel Ruth.  It's very hard to see how this is going to be anything but electorally harmful for the Tories, and therefore electorally beneficial for the SNP.  Her popularity was always wildly exaggerated by her adoring fans in the media, but nevertheless she did have personal ratings that were much healthier than you'd expect for the branch office leader of the most toxic London party.  As baffling as it may be to us, there's no doubt that she was a net asset for her party, and even if she's replaced by someone reasonably telegenic and likeable, it'll take a long while to build up that person's profile.

The alternative to her being replaced by someone telegenic and likeable is of course for her to be replaced by Adam Tomkins, and his decision about whether to stand will tell us a lot about the man.  He comes across as a fanatical British nationalist, so the million dollar question is: does he care more about that nationalist ideology than about his personal ambitions?  If so, you'd expect him not to stand, because he'd be clear-sighted enough to recognise that he'd be a voter-repellent and that he'd make "the partition of Britain" more likely to happen.  But if he does stand, we'll know he's in this game for personal advancement.

The not-so-good news today is the Labour leadership in London changing their position on a Section 30 order for the 749th time.  This was probably inevitable, because the Scottish and London leaderships of the party were always going to have to come up with some kind of agreed position they could just about unite behind in a coming general election.  The silver lining is that it's a genuine compromise, and the Scottish leadership have had to cede some ground as well - Richard Leonard is now accepting the possibility, however reluctantly, of a Section 30 order after a "fresh mandate".  (What's supposed to be wrong with the current mandate remains a mystery.)

The new position contains an obvious contradiction - we're told that a Section 30 order will be denied in the "formative years" of a Labour government but would be granted if there was a fresh mandate, which doesn't explain what will happen if the fresh mandate occurs during or before those formative years.  Remember that the next Holyrood election is still  theoretically scheduled to take place before the next Westminster election, and could easily be brought forward even further if Nicola Sturgeon decides to call Corbyn's bluff and get a new mandate quickly.  If she does go down that road, I'd suggest it's imperative that the SNP and Greens get together in a sort of pre-election 'summit' and agree a shared wording about independence and a referendum to put in both parties' manifestos, so that this time there can be no pedantic or semantic quibbles about the quality of a shared mandate.  In an ideal world, smaller pro-indy parties would also use the same manifesto wording, because although the SNP and Greens are the only pro-indy parties likely to win Holyrood seats, smaller parties may contribute to a popular vote mandate.

28 comments:

  1. England is about to indulge in a civil war. Scotland must take advantage of England's confusion.

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  2. I said in the past that there won't be any pro-UK campaign when it came to iref2. Or at least all the 'big guns' of the past would have gone, taken out by the actions of their own English colleagues.

    We are on course with this. Ruth was the last one standing.

    There is nobody now to lead #BetterTogther2.

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    1. I do hope so. Like Boris, he was unlected and proceeded to trash the economy.

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    2. Ruth Davidson could still front BT2, in fact I would go far as to say that she will. She will not be constrained by party politics and she would have a mandate to create her own team and manifesto. She could be more of a threat outside of the Tory party than in it.

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    3. Is Ruth Davidson important? Is she a leader? Does she have some powers to make promises and implement these if Scots vote No?

      Scots have been wondering how Ruth would be in a time of crisis.

      They now have their answer.

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    4. Baron Splendid of FlippinghomeAugust 30, 2019 at 8:55 AM

      Surely some high profile big name like Pamela Nash or Danii Rowley will lead Better Together 2. Someone with instant recognition and charisma.

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  3. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-49510860

    I realise that anecdotes are not evidence but I am struck by how frequently I hear people all over the country saying that they have now changed their minds and would vote for independence if there was another referendum.

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    1. Or... On second thoughts I've been told I meant nothing of the sort. Too much swally at the Edinburgh Festival. Was that OK?

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    2. I see Sarah Smith is sneakily talking about indyref 2 being about 'remain' or 'leave' the UK.

      There will be no 'leave' the UK. The UK will cease to exist. How can there be a UK when one of its two signatories walk away?

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    3. That has to be nipped in the bud. They are trying to set the narrative before the campaign formally begins. Bloody BBC!

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  4. RD's demise probably won't do the SNP any favours in Shetland, as whatever Tory wets are left there move to the Libs.

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    1. Could make the difference if there are only a few tens of votes in it.

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    2. Aye but I reckon that most of the Shetland tories already vote tactically for LibDems anyway. "Anyone but SNP"!

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  5. Narrow hold for LibDems I expect. Jo still on her honeymoon. Her bubble will pop soon enough. :)

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  6. Surely the successor to Davidson as leader must be a person elected by their constituency? So who do the Tories have to meet that criteria? otherwise a List MSP?

    List MSP Annie Wells as the Tory leader? Oh please.

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  7. The agreement between Leonard and Corbyn pages the way for a labour/SNP alliance at a soon to come general election. Whether that will actually help them form a government and actualise their circa 2024 indyref2 is anther matter.

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    1. A Nat si right wing and Labour anti semetic lefty alliance is possible and not unusual in a historical context. However Corbyn is finished. We are leaving the corrupt fascist EU and the crawling Nat sis need to get of their knees and realise one million Scots are not slaves to the EU. It was minorities that opposed Nazi dictatorship in Europe and won with the USA. Now for a really big trade deal with Trump and Knickerless the tenement girl retiring to her mobile home in Irvine.

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    2. Hmmm. I'm sure there's an argument in there somewhere. Too long though, and folk can't be arsed to decipher.

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  8. One thing about Labour positions on anything is if you don't like it just wait until tomorrow...it will almost certainly be different by then.

    I can't see a viable contender to replace Davidson. The rest of the crew are either ineffectual, swivel eyed or just plain not up to the job.

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    1. Inbreeding by the Scottish ruling class my have produced swivel eyed offspring but they do own Scotland.

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    2. I can't disagree with any of that. I would say that it could happen to anyone, anytime, and complacency isn't a good idea for anyone at the moment.

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    3. Troubled MP Ross ThomsonSeptember 1, 2019 at 11:47 AM

      We have an excellent potential leader in MSP Annie Kelly. James Wells is splendid too.

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  9. SNP holds somewhere with46 % better than last time, labor loses som e redcluffey place to some local Indy party, high turnout in shetlabds

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  10. Shetland lib Dem hold. SNP did well, I am informed. Wonder if my sources are good??

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    1. No. The Conservative Labour candidate won it with 4.9% of the vote. S/he is called Jeremy Johnson. Thank you. See you.

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