Wednesday, February 19, 2020

A solution in search of a problem

The "People's Alliance" plan for a new pro-independence party is yet more People's Front of Judea stuff, and the notion that it's going to ensure we have pro-indy parties as both the government and opposition in Holyrood is absolute pie in the sky.  However, I'm much less concerned about it than I was about the proposed "Wings party".  My fear about what Stuart Campbell was doing was that it might end up falling between two stools - I was almost certain that he wouldn't attract enough votes to win any seats, but I did think it was possible that he might take just enough votes away from the SNP and the Greens (perhaps 0.5% or 1%) to reduce the overall number of pro-indy MSPs.  I don't believe there's much prospect of the People's Alliance causing that sort of damage - it has no big names behind it, it has no ready-made support base, and if it does put up candidates its vote is likely to be negligible.

All the same, I'm puzzled by the timing of this latest development.  I said six months ago that the Wings party was "a solution in search of a problem", ie. Stuart Campbell was saying we'd lose the pro-indy majority unless we gamed the voting system, and yet opinion polls at the time were suggesting that we were on course to retain the pro-indy majority without gaming the system.  That's even more true now - the recent Survation and Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase polls both showed that the SNP and Greens are heading for a thumping majority of Holyrood seats between them.  So why would we want to reinvent the wheel?

The only real answer I ever get to that question is a dark whisper about the potential impact of the forthcoming Alex Salmond trial on public opinion.  I must say I'm not totally convinced - within relatively recent history both the Tories and Liberal Democrats have had ex-Cabinet ministers who served jail sentences, and there's no real evidence that either of those cases had a major effect on voting patterns.  The trial of Jeremy Thorpe (who was ultimately acquitted) probably did hamper the Liberals' performance in the 1979 election, but not by anything like as much as expected - they only suffered a net loss of a couple of seats.  And within two years, the Liberal/SDP Alliance were riding high in the polls, and the Thorpe episode had been virtually forgotten.

However, we'll soon find out.

47 comments:

  1. James, I understand your doubts about the wisdom of a new party, but I don't understand why you're puzzled.
    This is largely a fundamentalist vs gradualist issue.
    The SNP have become the tortoise, and a lot of voters are looking for a hare.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Steady tortoise wins, loud flashy hare loses. Grind through and get there with SNP/Green, die for the cause in a charge into the muskets

      Delete
    2. Dying for a cause is pointless if it fails.

      Delete
    3. If you're looking for a hare, try to find a party that might win more than 0.2% of the vote.

      Delete
    4. I'm largely the sort of person who likes dramatic gestures, the broad sweep of the brush with bold, vivid colours. On my good days I wear brightly coloured scarves thrown with abandon round my neck as I stride purposefully towards a bright new dawn.

      Delete
  2. Why the rush? The next HR election could come sooner than expected. Hoops have to jumped through well in advance for a new party to appear on the list.

    A solution in search of a problem? Hardly. Given that recent polling for HR puts the SNP's constituency vote quite a bit up, they're unlikely to gain any list seats, and might well lose the ones they've got, simply because of the operation of the deHondt voting system. A new pro-Independence list-only party, run by the YES community, is the only realistic way to safeguard a YES majority in HR. It'll also provide a productive counterbalance to SNP hegemony - something that none of the BritNat parties have any intention of doing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Such a party would need to have a full policy agenda giving a clear position on the left/right and liberal/authoritarian spectra (and other issues like EU membership), otherwise it will struggle to gain any votes.

      Folk need to understand how a party will vote on other issues if it will be Holyrood for 5 years.

      This is why 'single issue' parties only generally do well in elections where voters can vote on that issue without affecting domestic policy making. Hence UKIP did well in EU elections, but got nowhere in UK general elections (and Scottish PR Holyrood elections even though 38% voted to leave).

      I'd consider an alternative indy party if the SNP did seem to have given up the fight, but it would need to be moderate left of centre liberal, pro EEA, and have full policy agenda for 5 years.

      Delete
    2. Also, I'd not risk my most important PR vote (V2 list) on a newbie unless I was really confident of it winning >5% locally. Otherwise I could end up with both my votes not counted.

      I will only vote tactically on the V1 constituency FPTP ballot as that's the only way to vote tactically. Even if I lose on that (I'm in the borders where the Tory vote holds on), I can be absolutely sure my vote would be counted if it's SNP. For newbie, if they fall short of 5%, none of my votes would count towards government. for example, the Greens fell short last time and didn't get any seats in my region, even though they were polling 8% nationally.

      So for me, a new pro-indy party would need to be solidly 10%+ consistently for me to even think about risking it.

      Delete
    3. Two points. None of the Yoon parties have any policies in practice apart from #SNPBAAAD. The new YES party could choose to mirror (most of) SNP policy, but commit whatever the case to Scottish indepedence.

      Secondly. The SNP's support at HR has grown to the level where they are unlikely to win any list seats, regardless of how many 100s of 1000s of list votes they secure. For most supporters of Scottish independence, the list votes would be wasted. The only practical and realistic way of addressing this is a list only YES party.

      Delete
    4. "Given that recent polling for HR puts the SNP's constituency vote quite a bit up, they're unlikely to gain any list seats"

      Oh for pity's sake, how many times have we heard that before? You sound like Kevin Williamson in the run-up to the 2016 election: "Come on James, EVERYONE KNOWS the SNP will win at least 65 seats in the constituencies ALONE! Can't you COUNT? They don't need any list votes AT ALL!"

      Delete
    5. I think we've got to be realistic here. Over the coming months, the Yoons and their media allies will pull out all the stops to make sure the playing field is as skewed as possible. The constant unchallenged repetition of lies and misinformation about Scotland and the SNP might not have the massive impact they would like, but it could tip us into Yoon majority territory. I worry about that, and would prefer to hedge my bets.

      Even if the deHondt stars align, the SNP will gain no more than a handful of list seats. If they stand down on the list and give their members and supporters their blessing to vote for the People's Alliance party (or whatever it's called), the net result could hardly be lower, and would probably stand to gain dozens of seats, from their BritNat incumbents, and cement an unassailable YES majority at HR. Perhaps the Greens would benefit too?

      I'll be voting SNP where it counts until Independence at least. The HR list is the one place I'd consider doing otherwise, but only if there's a reliable pro-YES alternative, and probably only if the SNP stand down their list candidatsles to make room for them.

      Delete
  3. I would worry that the pro indy list vote would be split 3 ways instead of just 2, and both Greens and the new party would fall below 5% therefore resulting in fewer pro indy seats overall.

    ReplyDelete
  4. A general question based on headlines this morning.

    My Scots-French daughter is a native French speaker. We often privately converse in French, including when out and about.

    Is this a problem in Brexit Britain? We've never had complaints in Scotland, but newspapers are saying it may be a problem if we visit England. Apparently, brexiters are not only racist, but weird creepy snoopers too, in that they want to know what e.g. my daughter and I are discussing between ourselves on the train.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry lost me care to explain

      Delete
    2. Is it ok to use French in public in Brexit Britain, or do I risk abuse?

      It's a simple enough question.

      The language issue is in the papers again this morning re visas, promoting me, but I've been meaning to ask for while about the whole 'People should use English when in public!' thing. Why, if it's a private conversation?

      Delete
    3. Nope not seen anything in the papers about people should use English in public. Hearing multiple languages at the school gates, on public transport walking around is quiet common living in England.

      Of course in a work environment then people speak English during their general work duties so that everyone can understand them. Although people obviously also speak in their own languages. We have a group of polish guys who work here and they often talk to each other 'privately' if they were in a wider conversation they would talk in English.

      Of course this is quiet normal, my neice works in France and speaks French at work when conversing generally, but if having a private conversation with English friends or colleages she speaks English.

      Out of interest have you spent any length of time in England? Maybe you should then you would not have to rely on papers to get your information.

      Delete
    4. Thanks. I shall take it on board not to trust English newspapers!

      I still am of course left wondering whether racism and creepy snooping come hand in hand? Why the need to understand what someone else is saying unless you involved in the conversation. But I digress...

      Delete
    5. Yea i find its good not to trust any story if i'm going to make comments about it in public before doing some basic checks first. This has been highlighted recently with the WHO saying that fake news regarding the Coronavirus is causing problems.

      Delete
  5. The reality is. If the SNP voters vote SNP 1st and second in the same numbers i.e 47% plus. Then the SNP will pick up a healthy majority. The problem is that's not being happening. In 2016 it was 46% on the first vote and only 41% on the second vote. If it had been 46% on both then the SNP would have a healthy majority.

    Given this problem. We either make sure that people vote SNP and only SNP . Or we propose they put their full weight behind a second pro-indy party for the second vote. That means returning 40% plus on the second vote for that new indy party. They will pick up more seats than the SNP would due to the SNP numbers on the first vote.

    The danger is. We end up with SNP 20% and new indi party on 20% in the second vote. Essentially splitting the vote!

    ReplyDelete
  6. So, according to Boris, hero of the people, British people are 'unskilled' unless they are earning £25,000 or more.

    40% of the electorate insulted in one go is impressive.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Surely most people who'd fall under the traditional classification 'Glaswegian working class' would also fall into the English government's 'low/unskilled jocks' category?

      GWC?

      Delete
    2. Just reflecting back to when I worked and if you apply the class nonsense about salaries then my full time job would be low skilled but my part time was high skilled. However I never gave it a thought. Politicians must be highly skilled then! Loud laughter.

      Delete
    3. According to Boris and the brexiters, 40%+ of Brits are not of value to the economy, particularly working class leave voters.

      Delete
  7. Skilled means. Doctors, University lecturers, Engineers, Scientists, Business millionaires. They are only going to let rich people in. So yes the majority of Scots would be excluded under this system.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All of which normally require a team of people beneath them which would be classed as 'less skilled', from e.g. nurses to hospital porters.

      A hospital / business / economy is a pyramid. If you only have the cap stones (highly skilled), and take away the foundations (un to less skilled), it all collapses.

      'Skilled' people are useless without all the levels below which support these. All levels are just as valuable to successful operation. Watch what happens to a town if the bins stop being collected for example!

      Also, to say that the UK only needs 'skilled' people is an admission that its population is unskilled / insufficiently so, ergo it needs to bring in skilled from elsewhere for the'unskilled native' British to work for.

      Delete
    2. Actually Knickerless is being racist. She only wants white EU citizens and cheap labour. I think bus, train drivers and midgie men are skilled.

      Delete
    3. If you think EU citizens are all 'white', then it's you that's the racist.

      The EU places no controls on non-EU migration to member states; visa for non-EU is a matter for members alone.

      It is the UK preventing 'non-whites' coming to Scotland as migration is UK reserved to the English government.

      Delete
    4. And Boris considers e.g. Bus drivers as unskilled people of no economic value.

      Delete
  8. One of the reasons the snp dropped in 2016 was due to being less definitive on independence, and kicking the can down the road, there are and were a lot of independence supporters that thought the snp had wavered on there mandates,
    There are many that worry about this still.
    And yet the snp are very good at actually running the Scottish government, that is why the opposition try to make out everything is bad or a disaster under the snp, it’s also why they try to belittle them with story telling events about it being a cult.
    my oh my, do they not realise that it is a nation of Scotland that is fast becoming a majority that wants to be an independent country,
    None of us in Scotland want any more austerity, children without food, old people not being cared for, disabled people being forced to work when not well, or a future that sets people up to discriminates against each other,
    The way we think here in Scotland will improve our communities and encourage others to join us,
    No in fighting, we might be being held hostage at the moment by Westminster, but that won’t last, but they will divide you, if they can, cos then the elite can pick you of while your busy squabbling amongst yourself and not watching your backs.. together we stand, divided we fall.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If a new Indy party got 100% of the list votes it would win 56 seats. Even if the SNP just won the 59 constituencies they got last time (obviously a skoosh), that would only leave 14 seats for the Unionist parties. What a humiliation for them

      Delete
  9. The people who complain the loudest about the SNP are the people who want to form a new party to (just get list votes they say) these people moan gripe fester and infest the internet daily with complaints about things that have nothing to do with independence, they criticise the SNP leader and members personally by attempting to undermine their words, misquote them and in the case of Stuart Campbell he seems unable to contain his bile towards the FM as he calls her a liar

    Stuart Campbell Craig Murray Peter A Bell constant and on a daily basis these three and more, stop allowing these people making you look at the SNP, start looking at them and start asking yourselves why and what are their reasons

    Who are they, and by answering that question you'll get it

    Nigel Farage did the same thing in England and just look at the state of the place now, did Farage do England any favours, of course he didn't but he's doing fine now isn't he

    ReplyDelete
  10. As a member of the Judean People's Front ( or JDF ! ) I insist that you cease talking. Or posting. Or existing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Popular Front for Judea say fook aff.

      Delete
  11. Anonymous, if a new Indy party got 20% of the list votes it would win 15 to 20 seats, almost all from the unionist parties. This would make the second largest party and therefor the official opposition.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And if the moon was made of cheese and if it was only three feet away, we could eat it.

      Delete
    2. And if I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the morning, I'd hammer in the evening, all over this land. But I only have a plastic spoon.

      Delete
  12. @jimmnock

    20%? 15 to 20 seats? you must be bonkers, and you're being conned by people with their only qualifications being subversion plus the fact that before they even start the media will tear them to shreds, especially Campbell

    Just because a bunch of people on the internet you've never met or know the first thing about say something you like the sound of doesn't make them honest upstanding lovely people, it makes them the same anonymous people like me that you dummies criticise for not saying what you want to hear

    Heed your own words when it comes to trusting people

    ReplyDelete
  13. My point was that the opposition to independence look for the weakest connection and then drive a division through it, trying and succeeding to get the independence movement to fight each other. It only needs a few abusive comments to be made on a regular basis by trolls, and those with no self control take the bait, let’s achieve independence first then sort out who we want to ignore. Sorry to say this but That means being grown up in the way we respond, if you fight like children, the opposition can put you to bed like children.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Stu Campbell has not posted anything since January 31st. Wings Undermining Scotland.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Surely if he's not posting, then he can't be undermining?

      At least try to be consistent. :-)

      Delete
    2. Campbell hs his own Twitter as do others and it's a constant barrage of crap, and Skier, lots of different people post as anonymous, it's not the same one all the time even though you do like to talk to yourself, at least you should pay attention before opening your big self important opinionated mouth before making comments on things you know nothing about or you should just get a room with the other clown who lives here @GWC

      Delete
  15. A wee reminder / dose of reality. UK's fucked. It's consumed by racism rather than sense.

    https://metro.co.uk/2020/02/17/large-drop-in-skilled-workers-applying-to-work-in-uk-since-brexit-vote-12252727/

    Large drop in skilled workers applying to work in UK since Brexit vote

    There has been a 10% drop in the number of skilled workers from overseas applying to work in private companies since the Brexit vote, a new report suggests...

    ReplyDelete
  16. As you know, you and I dont agree about this, so I will restrict myself to a couple of things re your comments about Thorpe and the Liberals in 1979.
    First, to a considerable extent, Thorpe got off because he had George Carman on his team. This guy got Doddy off for not paying his tax. I suspect he might even have got Hitler off with probation.
    Secondly, while you are right that the Liberals lost only two seats, they only had 13 to begin with. The swing against them was twice that suffered by the Labour Party in Thatcher's triumph.
    I think we both know that the msm will go as large as they possibly can on the Salmond trial. Even the procedural hearings have been used for extensive reminders of just what it is he is supposed to have done. Once evidence starts to be heard there can be little doubt we will be treated to it in all its lurid detail - it will be like the News of the World but every day, with a resume at weekends. Then there is the involvement of other SNP politicians - what did they know? What should they have known? This applies particularly to the First Minister.
    In Spain, the football commentators will discuss decisions made by the referee at length, as they do here. But in Spain, having decided he got it right, they will sometimes discuss the consequences if he had got it wrong (even though he didnt). I would not be surprised if this "methodology"was employed in the Salmond trial - what if he had done it (even if he didnt) or what would the consequences be of Sturgeon knowing more than she did (even though she didnt).
    Of course it has nothing to do with independence or the case for independence, but the media wont see it that way. Put another way James, this is going to be a bad smell, and could well linger for a bit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thorpe was a piller of society and the Jury could not did not believe he was a poofter although they knew he was. The Salmond case is different as we are now supposed to be in an open democratic society where workers can blow the whistle immediately and not years later like the Weinstein saga.

      Delete
  17. It would be good to know if any new party was to establish some conditions for its participation in Holyrood 2021. For example if it was trailing in the polls below the Greens, say, then would it admit it wasn't going to make a breakthrough, and decline to stand?

    Or, could it do an experiment in just a couple of regions? Are there any such regions, where it would be most likely to gain on the list at the expense of Unionist parties, or is it too tricky to tell?

    ReplyDelete
  18. I see there is some talk of a new indy party being against self-ID. In order to help give a home for people fed up with the SNP (and/or Labour). On the other hand it could deter people who are pro self-ID from voting for the new party. In that sense it could be a way of divvying up the indy vote, but would it be enough to get the new party off the ground? Are there enough people - apparently leaving the SNP in droves - to be hoovered up into the new party?

    Another 'solution' would be for SNP to give up on its pro self-ID stance - kick things into the long grass - and create a more definite choice between SNP and Green, on the basis that if they come together again in government, the Greens could make pro self-ID a condition of government anyway.

    Or else, some other way of making the Greens more electable, so that people find a home there, rather than resorting to yet another pro indy party?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Wow! this is Amazing! Do you know your hidden name meaning ? Click here to find your hidden name meaning

    ReplyDelete