Friday, November 8, 2019

ITV dig their own grave even deeper with a comically Anglocentric justification for their rigged leaders' debate

A few hours ago, a reader of this blog alerted me to the standard reply ITV have been sending out in response to the avalanche of complaints they've been receiving about their proposal for a rigged leaders' debate featuring only two of the parties in this multi-party democracy.  Pretty much everything in the reply seems calculated as a legalistic justification that they hope will prevent Ofcom and the courts ruling against them.  By far the weakest point they make is that the two parties represented in the debate are the only parties that have supplied Prime Ministers since the Second World War.  Frankly, I'm not sure the result of the 1951 general election should be considered terribly relevant in determining the line-up for a leaders' debate in 2019.

But this is the bit that really caught my eye -

"the two parties that were by far and away the two largest in the last Parliament...Parliament's official website gives the current state of parliamentary representation as; Conservatives 298, Labour 243, Liberal Democrats 20 (SNP 35)"

On what planet do you try to justify the exclusion of the third-largest party by reference to seat numbers, and then present those numbers in a format that implies that the fourth-largest party's 20 seats are somehow more important than the third-largest party's 35?  I mean, just how seriously can we take ITV's commitment to the cold hard logic of arithmetic if they think 20 is a bigger number than 35 when it suits them?  "Oh, those are only Jock seats, they don't really count!  Just put them in brackets as an afterthought."  If our country's future wasn't at stake, this would be hysterically funny - the broadcasters are so hopelessly caught in their Anglocentric trance that they honestly can't see how ridiculous they're making themselves look.

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Actually, there's been precious little comedy value in this election campaign so far, so thank heavens for Ian Smart's latest intervention.  He's written a characteristically barking mad blogpost about Scottish Tory election chances that has somehow managed to receive no fewer than two glowing media endorsements - one from Katy Balls in the Spectator, and the other from Henry Hill in ConHome.  Ian is of course chiefly known for a couple of things - a) being temporarily suspended from Labour for using racist language on social media, and b) his long-running and bats**t crazy conspiracy theory about Kezia Dugdale being planted inside the Scottish Labour party by the SNP as a long-term sleeper agent.  Normally conspiracy theorists who use racist language find themselves cast out to the margins of society, but for some reason nothing that Ian says or does ever seems to tarnish the media's faith in him as a credible pundit and insightful thinker.

Basically what he's saying this time is that the conventional wisdom about the election in Scotland is wrong, and that the Tories will gain seats from the SNP, rather than the other way around.  Now, actually, I wouldn't dismiss that idea out of hand.  If the rigged TV leaders' debates go ahead as planned, the SNP will not be fighting the Tories on a level-playing field, and it's therefore not impossible that the current state of play could be turned on its head over the next few weeks.  The equation is really pretty simple - the SNP had a national lead over the Tories of eight percentage points on polling day in 2017, and so if the Tories can turn things around sufficiently to leave themselves less then eight points behind, they're likely to gain seats rather than lose them.

But that isn't really the point that Ian is making - he thinks the polls are wrong and that the SNP were never in a position to make gains in the first place.  His reasoning, if we can call it that, is based on a string of factual inaccuracies and magical thinking.  First of all he claims that the Brexit Party's voters should really be considered Tory voters, because the Brexit Party won't be standing in "most places".  Surely he can't have slept through Nigel Farage's announcement that candidates will he put up across the board?

Then he suggests that the only four seats that the Tories stand to lose once the Brexit Party's votes are reallocated will mostly be rescued due to unionist tactical voting.  In spite of the wide-scale tactical voting last time around, Ian still thinks unionist voters were "confused" in those seats about which party was best placed to beat the SNP, but that they won't be this time.  Which means, for example, that he's saying the resurgent Liberal Democrats will somehow lose even more votes in their former heartland seat of Gordon, in spite of the fact that they only took 11.6% of the vote in 2017 - a massive 21.1% drop on two years earlier.  As Sir Humphrey Appleby might have put it, that's a rather courageous prediction.

But Ian doesn't end there - he adds that, because the SNP are facing a Tory challenge in five of their own marginal seats where the majority is less than the Tory majority in Gordon, he can "see no reason" why the Tories won't gain most of those seats.  Well, OK, but can he see any particular reason why they will gain them?  If he can, he's not bothering to share it with us.  If tactical voting is his magic bullet once again, I have to tell him that if I was a budding unionist tactical voter in Lanark & Hamilton East, I wouldn't have a clue whether to plump for Labour or the Tories.  That constituency is an incredibly tight three-way marginal with just 0.7% separating the SNP in first place from Labour in third.  Yes, OK, technically the Tories are starting from second, but polls suggest the Tory vote will drop back, and it's Labour who have all the tradition in the seat.  Good luck sorting that one out.

Ian does have some good news for us - he fancies the SNP's chances of holding off the Lib Dems in Ross, Cromarty and Skye.  Just one snag - there is no such constituency, and there hasn't been since 1997.

47 comments:

  1. Brilliant! This well-researched and accurate piece hardly needs your ironic comments. The facts themselves are the ultimate in irony!

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  2. The Nazis refused to allow on air debates between different democratic parties and stood on a platform of rejecting Section 30s for all states under Reich control.

    This is where the current UK anti-independence strategy is coming from.

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  3. Britain is becoming a Greater English Reich under brexit; Brexit being all about England, driven by racist English 'we hate the piccaninnies with watermelon smiles' nationalism.

    It's now 'No Europeans, no dogs, no jocks' on signs in windows.

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    1. "Becoming"? The UK was ALWAYS Greater England, Skier. Haven't you ever noticed there's no such thing as an ENGLISH unionist? Why would there be? In the English mind, Scotland became part of England in 1707. "Unionism" is something Scots who go along with this invented to assuage their consciences about the takeover.

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    2. 'Becoming ever more apparent to Scots'.

      Apologies.

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    3. A friend of mine had a girlfriend who used to say words like "apogolise" and "miralucous". She thought 8t was funny. He dumped her.

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  4. I think Ian Smart, whom I had thought had drunk himself to oblivion, has surfaced like some ghastly moth from its chyrsalis as a fully formed Tory. Not for him concern that ordinary working people will face a 75 retirement age of a privatised NHS. The only political imperative that remains is "kill the SNP".

    Still comedy relief is short in supply with mass resignations/retirements and wild front stabbing from the likes of Hammond and Austen.

    Still no Scottish polls? I suppose newspapers don't have the cash they used to throw around with wild abandon.

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    1. I'm fortunate in not knowing who Ian Smart is and not really caring. Your last point is really interesting, about the absence of Scottish polls. I don't think they want them, because the results might show support for SNP and independence much higher than we imagine. I know it's not substantial evidence, and I could bring myself to watch the entire programme, but from what I saw of Question Time last night, I'd say somethign has changed. QT has a history of dubious audience selection, but even they were unable to manufacture an audience that was supportive of unionism. If the BBC can't get their cheerleaders to shout out on QT, there's change in the air.

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  5. Absolutely brilliant. Another spanner thrown in the English brexit works.

    Will the English government send in the legislative jackboots to take back control of Scotland's NHS, or will it leave devolved health alone and let English folks see these protected while theirs is sold to Donald Trump?

    Scotland must do everything to ruin things for England / brexit until such time as a Section 30 is granted.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-50332391

    General election 2019: SNP to launch campaign with 'NHS Protection Bill'

    The SNP is to launch its election campaign by promising to bring forward legislation to protect the NHS from privatisation and future trade deals.

    The NHS Protection Bill would block any UK government from using the NHS as a "bargaining chip" in trade talks.

    If passed it would also give devolved parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland a veto on any deal.

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    1. "Scotland must do everything to ruin things for England"
      Oh boy, nationalism in all its glory right there.

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    2. ***UNIONIST TROLL KLAXON***

      Are you in someone's pay, Geacher? You seem to spend an inordinate amount of time churning out propaganda and trying to start false rumours.

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  6. It's not specifically me that thinks the UK has very little time left, and that Scottish indy is inevitable.

    This is mainstream understanding.

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-election-union/united-kingdom-might-not-exist-in-a-decade-half-of-uk-citizens-think-poll-idUKKBN1XI136

    United Kingdom might not exist in a decade, half of UK citizens think - poll

    LONDON (Reuters) - The United Kingdom might not exist in its current form in a decade’s time, half of its citizens believe, an Ipsos MORI poll found.

    It's why the PM is standing on a policy platform of cancelling the results of all future elections in Scotland if people don't vote the way the English government want them to.

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  7. If ITV are claiming that there have only been Conservative and Labour PMs since the war, then they are factually wrong. Sir Alec Douglas-Home was not in the Conservative party: he was in the Unionist party. They were not the same thing.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unionist_Party_(Scotland)

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  8. I see Johnson has let slip what I have been saying all along.

    N. Ireland will be keeping full EU free movement. There is no other practical way in the fact of an open border across which Irish and N. Irish business will be operating. You can't practically stop an irish building firm with a van load of polish workers going to a site in Belfast any more than you can stop a N. Irishman living with his Bulgarian girlfriend who works as a nurse in Dundalk.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-deal-boris-johnson-northern-ireland-speech-general-election-single-market-a9194476.html

    The prime minister told Tory members they had a "great" Brexit deal - as it retains access to the single market and freedom of movement - which the rest of the UK will lose under the terms of Mr Johnson's blueprint.

    Which of course shows how much the English government hate Scottish people in not offering them the same deal and refusing a Section 30.

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    1. Skier, you are on a roll with the NHS fake news and your English hating. Get a life and shag your bored French bit.

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    2. She is not Bulgarian! She is half Serbian, half Macedonian. But you are right: no one gonna stop us!!

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    3. You effing liar. She is half Croatian and half Portuguese.

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  9. YouGov have a full poll bit it's from 23-25 October

    SNP 42
    CON 22
    LIB 13
    LAB 12
    BRX 6
    GRN 4

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    1. 2 weeks ago prior to the GE announcement ain't a lot of use now!

      Particularly given the signs of sharp shifts in polling since the announcement, both UK-wide and potentially in Scotland.

      Still 50 SNP seats with the Tories down 10 to only 3 is no a bad stairt!

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    2. The Scottish press don't seem too keen on commissioning polls. It's strange that YouGov undertook this and didn't publish it at the time.

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    3. Aye. Still, gives me faith in my own PoP.

      My UK subsample PoP average as of 25-10-2019 (with difference from Yougov full Scottish):
      43(+1)% SNP
      22(nc)% Con
      15(+3)% Lab
      12(-1)% Lib
      6(-)% Brx
      2(-2)% Grn

      Seems I'm too friendly to Robin Leopold's party!

      Post GE announcement as of 08-11-2019, with changes on 25-10-2019:
      47(+5)% SNP
      19(-3)% Con
      15(nc)% Lab
      10(-2)% Lib
      4(-2)% Brx
      3(+1)% Grn

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    4. Also interesting that this poll was during a brief run of bad subsamples for the SNP with YouGov.

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    5. "Aye. Still, gives me faith in my own poop." As Friar Tuck said.

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  10. I got a Survey from YouGov yesterday. Very long and all about voting intentions etc. Some questions were a bit ambiguous. For example, how do you feel about the state of schools, NHS etc. Did not make it clear if they would take devolution into account separate out the responses based on location.

    May be published at the weekend or maybe not.

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  11. I have a confession to make:

    I truly wondered if Ian Smart was an SNP plant at one time.

    His ramblings and conspiracy theories, did more for the SNP than anything else I could think of.

    I think him and Batshit-Jill would make a lovely 'British' couple.

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    1. There was a time when you might have thought that I. Smart, Gerry Hassan and Tom Cult'free' Gallagher were among the Labourites mostly likely to make the hop across to Indy.

      Funny old world.

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    2. Aye Roden your Irish priests were looking oot the windae with a large glass of Irish wisky in each hand and a priest says here he comes again with his confession. The other priest says he does have a nice we bum.

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  12. I am getting more and more confident something has changed since the election was announced .Was at a local community group today of the 20 people there everyone was voting SNP . Admittedly this was in the Gorbals which is in the heart of Nicola's constituency and it's solid SNP .Oh how things have changed even 10 years ago the Gorbals was once a Labour citadel the capital of the Irish Catholic Labour vote .
    There is something in the air a sort of steely determination to send Boris Johnson a message .Ive got a good feeling that the 12th of December is going to be a good night for Scotland and the SNP .

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    1. It is now Catholic Scottish/Irish Nat si.

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  13. "Oh, those are only Jock seats, they don't really count! Just put them in brackets as an afterthought."

    I don't even think it's this. After all, Tory, Labour, and Lib Dem Jock seats got counted with the rest for each party. This is, quite simply, a blatant contempt for and bias against the SNP.

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    1. 'against Scottish people'.

      Is what you mean.

      People need to accept that covert anti-Scottish racism is now overt. The change happened when the UK government became an openly the English one (EVEL), denying Scots MPs the right to ever hold 'UK' government / cabinet positions. The first this new English government did was force it's own nationalist referendum on all the other nations against their will. It then grabbed a whole raft of powers back from the peoples of the devolved nations, and is now saying it will deny them their most basic human rights.

      English people = full voting rights.

      Scottish people = elections results overruled if Scots don't vote for English parties.

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    2. Hello Skier - can I just check, is it factually correct that MPs from Scottish seats can no longer be cabinet members or is it just that they can still be cabinet members but cannot vote on Englich matters. I am genuinely confused on this and want to ensure I only argue my politics with a solid foundation. Thanks in advance.

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    3. Yes, it is correct that Scots MPs are not given cabinet positions because they cannot vote on related matters as you say.

      Can hardly have an e.g. PM that can't vote on his/her own manifesto policies now can we!

      This was the intent of EVEL, and why the only post occupied by a Scots MP is the redundant SoSfS.

      Have a look at cabinet and shadow cabinet. 0% Scots at the last count I did. We can count again after the 12th December if you like too. My money is on numbers being roughly the same.

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    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    5. How many Tories did Scotland elect in 2017? 13 I think it was. A record. Yet all made to sit outside cabinet meetings simply due to racist anti-Scottish hatred. Talk about Stockholm syndrome.

      The same racist hatred behind the denial of basic rights in the form of voting. We actually having the PM saying that while the the voice of English voters must be respected, the voice of Scots voters must be ignored/overruled by England. It is completely overt racist hatred.

      If he was saying that a win by a blacks right party calling for black people to be given equal voting rights would be overruled and any move to that effect denied, people would be up in arms.

      Yet denying Scots the right to vote freely is fine.

      'No Europeans, no dogs, no jocks' is the sign in windows now as I said.

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    6. Hello again Skier, I am anonymous from above. Thanks for the clarification. Appalling situation with no outcry - shocking!

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    7. Migrating Birds over an OceanNovember 9, 2019 at 11:02 AM

      Scottish Skier = crazy nut

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  14. I'm not sure the totally crazed Ian Smart deserves as much attention as you give him, but as you imply, as usual he is totally crazed. As for the ITV debates, one can only hope they receive a much deserved slap down in court.

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  15. England has their own parliament, evil, Scotland should leave them to their own devices. Just leave.

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  16. Amusing and interesting I enjoyed the whole blog.

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    1. Wearing Jo Swinson's panties is better than Knickerless bloomers

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  17. I don't know why anyone would scoff at Smart's assessment. Most seats in Scotland are now ultra, ULTRA-marginals, and that includes a lot of SNP seats. Exclusion from the TV debates, Labour candidates dropping like flies, and the Green's lunatic determination to stand in many of the most marginal seats as part of their Kamikaze Campaign to elect as many anti-environmentalist Tory MPs as they can will massively damage the SNP position, and that's before even taking into account the idea that they may lose support over the course of a campaign.

    If they hold their current support, they'll be lucky to retain the seats they have. But if they fall to their 2017 levels of support, they'll be lucky if they don't fall into the teens in terms of seats. Such is FPTP, and Patrick Harvie's unfortunate determination to win the favour of Lord-Master-Boris-Sir.

    No wonder the undermining little nyaff was almost chased off the stage by boos last Saturday. The only cause he seems eager to help in Scotland is the Trump-supporting, immigrant-hating, regulation-slashing, Singapore-emulating Johnson government.

    The only boon is that progressive Scots will be increasingly nauseated by Harvie's perverse obsession with becoming Trump and Johnson's Little Green Helper.

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    1. "I don't know why anyone would scoff at Smart's assessment."

      Probably because your summary of that assessment didn't tally with what he actually said. He wasn't talking about a possible loss of support over the course of the campaign (which everyone should take seriously). He was instead basing his claims on the bogus assumptions that the Brexit Party won't be standing, and that there'll be a fantastical level of unionist tactical voting.

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    2. It might not tally, but the assessment is far more reasonable, and falls in line with what could conceivably happen.

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  18. If there are going to be different currents in various regions of the UK then there may well be different localised eddies around various marginal seats in Scotland.

    It's interesting (in the Stattoesque sense) that Scotland is and has been the part of the UK most dominated by one party yet appears to have the highest % of marginal seats (around 25%).
    What is the word for this pheneomenon? Maybe there's a opportunity for some passing statistician of our acquaintance to write his name into history.

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