Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Thoughts on the upcoming Shetland by-election

So I've been asked by a few people to write a post about next week's parliamentary by-election in Shetland - a contest which has rather comically led the unionist parties to start talking as if Shetland is a foreign country.  (Nicola Sturgeon went campaigning there, and Labour propagandist Aidan Kerr's response was basically "how dare she leave the country on the day the GERS report is published!")  I'm not sure there's a huge amount I can usefully say, because the only people who have much chance of knowing the state of play are those with access to canvass data - but even they might not have the true picture, because there have been any number of by-elections in the past where canvass returns have proved to be misleading.  There was a "poll" of sorts in the Shetland Times at the start of this month which showed the SNP with a shock lead over the Liberal Democrats, but it had a tiny sample size of just 114, which means that even if it was conducted scientifically (and it sounds like it probably wasn't), it would have a very large margin of error.

I'd just make a couple of observations, though -

1) Nobody has ever made any money betting against the Liberal Democrats in the Northern Isles.  Pembrokeshire is known as "Little England beyond Wales", and perhaps we should call Orkney and Shetland "Westmorland and Lonsdale beyond Scotland".  Danus Skene did of course come astonishingly close to winning the Westminster seat for the SNP in the 2015 general election, but perhaps more to the point is that it was one of only three constituencies in the whole of Scotland that the SNP didn't actually win in that election.

2) There's no particular reason to expect trends in Northern Isles elections to bear much resemblance to Scotland-wide or UK-wide trends.  Two recent examples spring to mind.  In 2016, the year after Danus Skene's near miss, it was reasonable to expect that the SNP would be highly competitive in the Orkney and Shetland constituency seats for Holyrood, because their national vote had not fallen back much at all.  But Liam McArthur and Tavish "Two Hoots" Scott surprised everyone by holding the seats for the Lib Dems by landslide margins.  It was as if 2015 had never happened.  But then in the European elections in May of this year, at a time when the Lib Dems were riding high across the UK and you'd have expected them to be out of sight in their traditional heartlands, the SNP amazingly came within just 250 votes of outpolling them in Shetland.  So there's no real rhyme or reason to it, and that might be a point of encouragement for the SNP.  The people of Shetland might not be all that bothered one way or another about the media's fawning over the Lib Dems' shiny new Scottish school prefect.

If I was going to give you my gut sense of what to expect, it would be that the Lib Dems will hold the seat on a substantially reduced majority - it has that sort of feel about it.  But we won't really have a clue until the votes are counted.  If by any chance the Shetland Times poll is correct and the SNP gain the seat, it would be one of the most sensational by-election results in Scottish history, it would further boost the mandate for a pre-2021 indyref by increasing the pro-indy majority from 69-60 to 70-59, and it would reduce the Lib Dems to a humiliating all-time low of just four Holyrood seats at a time when they're supposed to be sweeping all before them.

69 comments:

  1. I expect you are correct and it will be a li-dem 'hold'. Naturally this menas the wheels will have come of the SNP bandwagon yet again...I've been considering starting a business to collect and re-cycle all those wheels. There must be a hell of a lot of them knocking around 'cos I've been hearing the phrase since October 1974 when the SNP did not win as many seats as many expected.

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    1. So you're bored pet,not half as bored as we are of you.

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    2. I am bored of you impersonating me but that is what fascist do.

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    3. is that you alistair ? uglyfatbloke .

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    4. No. It's Famagusta Lil.

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  2. Skier frau Merkel referred to ROI as EU territory today so why call it ROI? Hardly any point in so called Scottish independence if we are going to be EU territory!

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    1. It's simple GWC, The EU has no claim on UK oil/gas revenues.
      An indy Scotland will similarly have control of our sovereign land and marine territory.
      A big plus for Scotland.
      We're presently paying a share-
      Around 900 million and counting of funding for HS2 which goes nowhere near Scotland.
      A nation with the optimum population of 5.5 million would be quids in if it wasn't paying for nuclear weapons that we don't need.
      It's all about the radge tory toffs and their gigantic big boy egos.
      Naething at all tae dae wi the working class by the way GWC.

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    2. Why 3 tartan words in the last sentence. Patronising the Jocks again?

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  3. Skier net migration to the UK is unchanged although EU migration has fallen. Therefore the UK remains popular. The UK has taken in EU migrants from the EU Southern and Eastern States while Germany, France and Benelux prospers.

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    1. Not for attracting global talent.

      The number of people coming to work in the UK has collapsed since 2016 and continues to fall.

      https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/internationalmigration/bulletins/migrationstatisticsquarterlyreport/august2019#work-and-study-remain-the-most-common-reasons-to-move-to-the-uk

      Figure 6.

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    2. And that's before free movement has been ended and the new, much more restrictive 'points based' visa system is introduced to reduce immigration, including a £36k cap, ergo no nurses, post-docs, young graduate engineers, software designers etc.

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    3. There are more French people living in London than there are in Paris. That shows how popular UK is.

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  4. Hagar the HorribleAugust 21, 2019 at 11:57 PM

    Shetland should declare UDI. It is Scandanavian and they would do well with the oil revenues instead of feeding the Scottish welfare state.

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    1. That's right. They speak Norwegian and use Norwegian colleges, universities and hospitals.

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    2. Under international law conventions, an independent Shetland would only own mineral rights out to the 12 nautical mile limit.

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    3. Hagar the half daft.
      Holyrood disnae get a brass penny from Scottish Oil revenues.
      They're paid tae the London/UK treasury.
      Conveniently a UK resource.
      The EU has no claim on them, and under the Union England with 85% of the population gets a Union dividend to be embarrassed about.
      But they cannae take a ridder.

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    4. Pawky wee Erchie fear Glebe StAugust 23, 2019 at 10:27 AM

      Why do you use occasion Scots words in your Englush-langyage posts? Are you patronising the Jocks?

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  5. Agree with the prediction but didn't Skene win Shetland in 2015 - when support for indy was perhaps slightly lower than now?

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    1. The short answer to that would be no.

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    2. The long answer to that would be "No".

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  6. If the Lib Dems drop to 4 MSPs, does that mean they no longer have a say on Parliamentary business? I think you need 5 MSPs, seem to recall the Greens got a seat on the Parliament business committee after a couple of anti-NATO ex-SNP independents joined them a few years ago.

    Not that the Lib Dems will lose Shetland of course, a ridiculous notion!

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    1. You're related to the worst people in the world.

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  7. I also qualify for French citizenship; at least maybe with a few more lessons on Duolingo.

    Good on you Macron for standing shoulder to shoulder with Ireland.

    The English Tories just don't get it. Just because they shit all over Scotland, N. Ireland/Ireland, Wales, Gibraltar etc without a thought, doesn't mean the Germans and French will do the same to Ireland. And even if they actually wanted to, they'd need the other 24 to join them in that. And even then, Ireland could just veto.

    The EU is 'one for all and all for one'.

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    1. Well said dark tan yan. You love every nationality except the English. Macron is an anti working class shit of a Banker. But he has done hard brexit a favour

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    2. Of course Merkel and Macron are standing up for the people of N. Ireland too, as these want the backstop.

      Also the people of Scotland, Wales and England, all of whom are happy with the backstop based on polling data.

      Boris is only sticking up for the English Tories and the DUP.

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    3. And he is right we had a British referendum. Just because some Irish and Scots are overcome by personal greed does not nullify a democratic vote. I look forward to the EU fascists setting up border posts in what was formerly ROI now the EU. Poor Irish Republicans they have killed so many for so called independence and now their elites have sold them out.

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    4. The N. Irish working class want the backstop.

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    5. Reece Mogg and Eton John emancipating the workers.

      https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-economy-retail/uk-retail-sales-collapse-at-fastest-pace-since-2008-cbi-idUKKCN1VC11P

      UK retail sales collapse at fastest pace since 2008 - CBI

      LONDON (Reuters) - British retail sales plunged in August at the fastest pace since December 2008, according to a survey published on Thursday that added to signs of a slowing economy ahead of Brexit in just over two months’ time.

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  8. I've changed my mind - I believe Scottish independence is the only way

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    1. Of course it is.

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    2. I note Marcia your narrowing of the brain Op was successful.

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    3. I have one...................in your case, well the jury is out.

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  9. You have to love the Remainer BBC and Channel 4 who keep going on about
    potential violence when Brexit arrives. They actually no doubt want violence but will say they did not incite it. What idiot would fight for the rich man EU Club of rich parasites.

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    1. Socalist Reece Mogg and Boris Eton Johnston party soaring in the polls.

      Tories now getting an outright majority based on the latest polling. They could just dump N. Ireland.

      Brexit certainly looking very left wing.

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    2. The UK are actually rejecting the Brexit deal because of the EU fascist attempt to isolate NI from the UK. NI fought the Nazis when ROI was sucking up to Hitler. Not one allied soldier was allowed into ROI when the World was fighting the genocidal Nazis. Shame on ROI. Boris should tell them tae fuck aff and let them set up their EU border posts.

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    3. The N. Irish want to stay in the EU and, short of that, want the backstop. It's what they voted for.

      Anyway, 'work until you are 75 (if you live that long)' in the brexit 'socialist' workhouse.

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    4. I intend to work to I collapse in the Scottish Nat si socialist state to keep the MSPs in their lifestyles.

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    5. That's nice.

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    6. Actually far more Irish from ROI fought in British army in Ww2 than from Northern Ireland. 70 k to 50k. Tens of thousands more from ROI who had emmigrated to USA also fought, and hundreds of thousands of descendents.

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    7. Tarquella BedhopperAugust 23, 2019 at 5:09 PM

      As well as Castanets O'Reilly who danced his way through the Normandy landings dressed as a Maori.

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    8. They were USA citizens and were enlisted.

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    9. They were Irish citizens too. If you have a grandparent born on the island of Ireland, you are officially Irish automatically.

      My Irish gran volunteered. When she first traveled to London to enlist, nobody would give her a room because she was 'mick scum'. Eventually, a German lady married to and Englishman took her in before she was officially billeted.

      She served as 'Ack Ack girl' (anti-aircraft gunner) in the lowesoft area. Her barracks were hit in a raid, killing many of her friends. When there, she met my Scottish granddad who was military police. He, like her, was defending England / Scotland., France, Poland... He suffered some abuse too for being Scottish, but it was the abuse his new found love suffered that did a lot to make him end up supporting Scottish indy, along with her. She was even a 'proddy' from the North (born when it was still one Ireland).

      It's utterly revolting when British unionists try to use the memories of those that fought and died in the war for their own purposes, claiming they all fought for 'Britain'. Also when they accuse people such as my gran of cowardice. But then it's that kind of attitude that's pushed yes past 50%, so maybe I shouldn't complain.

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  10. Speaking to a LibDem recently.
    Definitely not happy at all the Tories joining up.
    Cannae imagine many Shetlanders saying
    'I agree with Jo'.
    Maybe they've become scunnnered like the rest of us at the Lib Dems po-faced attitude to the SNP govts achievements for the islands.

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    1. There you go again patronising the Jockistanis with the odd tartan word thrown in among the most eloquent Queen"s Englush.
      Nice nod to the Jocks.

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    2. The queen's English? Wha Kent.

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    3. Scottish people all speak fluent English. However, it's rare to find an English person that speaks any Scots or Scots Gaelic, even if they live in Scotland. Although, ironically, I bet Lizzie kens a wee bit.

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  11. I thought this was impossible and goods 'can't be brought to Scotland by ship', but instead must come via the England/France land border as per Ireland and Iceland?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-49438191

    Ferry route planned from Scotland to Netherlands

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    1. I thought we had a subsidised boat from Rosyth.

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    2. No, the subsidies are for the brexiter's ports.

      https://www.gov.uk/government/news/9-million-announced-to-get-ports-and-local-areas-ready-for-brexit

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    3. OK the Rosyth ferry was discontinued last year as it was not economic. Rather expensive things to run.

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    4. It was discontinued because people thought you'd be meeting them off the boat and farting a lot.

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    5. I travel by train to Brussels to get my allowances. Much more comfortable and at taxpayers expense. You Jocks do not realise how hard I work for doing nothing.

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    6. Luckily, as part of the UK, we are connected to Europe by land. If we go independent, we'll become an island nation.

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    7. We are all connected by land with some surrounding water.

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    8. Yes, the whole world is like that.

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    9. With some nasty fascists on either side of the water.

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  12. Just seen your tweet regarding GERS James. Why don't you and the other big voices in the Indy movement set up a petition regarding GERS - asking why the Scot Gov allows Chief Statistician to release such inaccurate figures.

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    1. I'm an accident waiting to happen.

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    2. The only upside of 'accepting' the GERS figures is as a benchmark to show Scotland's improving position.
      This year's greatly improved figures by 1.2 Billion was a blow to unionists.
      If we can advance our economic position with the restricted powers of devolution, what could we achieve with the full powers of independence.
      Meanwhile with Brexit the UK is throwing good money after bad (ours too) to make their crazy plans work.
      Manning the lifeboats. Oars ready.

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  13. This blog has never had the comments section it deserved, and it seems to have attracted even more trolls recently. I'm just going to make another plug for the bookmarklet method of removing the posts of the most prolific (and repetitive) one, along with those of the people who think it's funny to impersonate him:

    Step 1: Open your browser's bookmarks menu (this is where you would go if you wanted to delete or change the name of a bookmark).

    Step 2: Right click for a menu that will hopefully include an option to add a bookmark (it will say something like "Create bookmark", "New bookmark", or "Add bookmark"). If not, click around the Bookmarks menu until you find this option. Once you've found it, click on it.

    Step 3: Under name, type whatever you want—something like "ScotGoesPop Remove Trolls", for instance.

    Step 4: Copy and paste the following into the "Location" or "URL" space:

    javascript:(function(){function e(a){for(;(a=a.parentElement)&&!a.classList.contains("comment"););return a}var c,b,d,f=document.querySelectorAll(".comment-block"),g=window.atob("d29ya2luZyBjbGFzc3xnd2N8bmF0IHNpfGtuaWNrZXJsZXNzfGdsZXNnYSBmYWtlIG5ld3M=").split("|");Array.prototype.forEach.call(f,function(a){d=!1;c=a.textContent.toLowerCase().replace(/\s\s+/g," ");if(d=g.some(function(a){return-1<c.indexOf(a)}))b=e(a),b.parentNode.removeChild(b)})})();

    Step 5: Click "Add" or "Save" or whatever else is there to indicate that you want to create the bookmark. Don't worry about any fields you've left blank.

    Step 6: Whenever you load the comments section on this blog, click on the bookmark you've created here and enjoy your more peaceful commenting experience.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Fascist, yawn yawn do go back to your German Lederhosen sauerkraut und zweibel.

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    2. Impressive use of German words with the usual mistakes to suggest no knowledge of the language. Haben Sie in einem deutschsprachigen Land gelebt?

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    3. Thanks for that. Much better.

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  14. Latest Yougov Scottish sub-sample 20 -21 August.

    SNP 46
    LD 16
    CON 15
    LAB 9
    GRN 6
    BXT 4
    OTH 3

    UK Wide it is:

    CON 32
    LAB 22
    LD 20
    BXT 12
    GRN 7
    SNP 4
    PC 1
    OTH 1

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  15. Extremist right-wing separatist crash out brexit Tories now building up a healthy lead.

    #Bettertogether

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  16. At some point soon the polls will look good enough for Boris to dump the DUP and go for a general election, pre-empting any opposition driven VoNC. They are already suggesting a narrow majority for the Tories while their vote continues to soar.

    If he can pull off a Tory majority without the DUP just ahead of the 31st, he can pass the current deal with a modified backstop that would only ever apply to N. Ireland.

    In the end, English brexiters don't give a shit about N. Ireland. That's why they put forward the backstop in the first place; to dump N. Ireland. Problem was the DUP. They insisted on the backstop becoming UK-wide or they’d break the coalition. They knew this provision would stop the English brexiters dumping them, so sinking the deal. This would mean no brexit or a hard brexit; their 2 preferred outcomes.

    This of course infuriated the ERG etc, who then voted down the deal because they could never accept a UK-wide backstop. The English brexiters actually love the backstop for Ireland. They would vote for it in a second. However, they need to dump the DUP. When Boris says the backstop is ‘anti-democratic’ he means for English/Welsh voters.
    Ireland and the EU of course are absolutely fine with an N. Ireland only backstop. If Boris can pass the deal with that alone, then all is well.
    May and cabinet were British so were against a brexit that broke the UK; ergo for them the UK-wide backstop was also a way of delaying or cancelling brexit as they knew the ERG would never go for it. English boris is much less concerned about UK integrity. Why else would you make your visit to Scotland to Faslane? Only if you wanted to secure some Yes votes as polls were suggesting would happen. Remember, Boris truly believes the English are a superior race that subsidises the other home nations. He thinks ‘a pound spent in Croydon is far better than one spent on subsidy junkie GWC scum’.

    So, in an ideal world for Boris, he wins a GE just before the 31st that he has triggered. He dumps the DUP and immediately gets the new ‘N. Ireland only’ backstop deal passed (it’s ready and waiting with the EU). He sees off Corbyn and leads England out of the EU to the sunlight hard right capitalist uplands without empty shelves and riots.

    As for Scotland. I think, like Corbyn, he doesn’t really give a shit. He’s English through and through. He waves the flag of St. George. I don’t see him putting up much of a fight; not if his own voter base don’t care. And after all, he already has a majority in England right now. Scotland is a pain in the ares to him. May didn’t really want brexit so a shit load of SNP MPs voting down her deal was of benefit to her. Not for Boris. If he could be rid of Scotland + N. Ireland, then he could have a huge majority.

    Makes you wonder what he discussed with Sturgeon; something both described as ‘productive’. Might explain why the SNP are much cooler about the situation than indy voters.

    After all, both Irish reunification and Scottish indy are inevitable. They are the last empire dominos and they are already wobbling badly. Why let them ruin Boris becoming the man that led England to its rebirth as a nation.

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