Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The brass neck

A Wings-style title for today's blogpost in tribute to the great man himself - who I think may be getting a touch paranoid.  A few hours ago, in the comments section of his site, he made this characteristically angry remark about me - 

"Not if he’s going to lie about me, no. I’m not an 'ISP-supporting blogger'. I’ve admired them for actually getting off their arses and doing something, but to the best of my recollection that’s as far as I’ve gone."

There's just one snag about that accusation of lying - the 'ISP-supporting blogger' I was referring to was in fact Barrhead Boy, not Wings.  (And now Barrhead Boy will doubtless have an even bigger meltdown because I've just identified him directly, but hey-ho.  Such fragile egos we deal with.)

Stuart's comment was beneath the latest of countless furious blogposts and social media posts he's written over the last year attacking me and my views on "gaming the system".  In it, he moans that I've written "literally dozens" of "hysterical articles" on the subject.  I do feel it's just possible there might be a certain irony about that complaint, but I'll bring you confirmation as soon I have it.

He also lumps me in with an array of commentators, pundits and politicians who have attacked the idea of 'tactical voting on the list', but who generally wouldn't agree with each other on other topics - such as my Labour MSP namesake, Bella Caledonia's editor Mike Small, and the controversial journalist David Leask.  The implication is that this means we must all be arguing disingenuously.  I'm quite sure Stuart is right about that.  For example, he himself has criticised JK Rowling over many years as a "litigious bully", and it would therefore be utterly unthinkable for him to now find himself on the same side as the Harry Potter author on, let's say, the trans issue.  He'd know that would totally deprive him of all credibility, and he'd make very, very sure it never happened.  He's refreshingly consistent and non-hypocritical in that way.

He has particularly strong words for Mike Small, who he points out has appeared to do a complete U-turn on the desirability of tactical voting since the last Holyrood election.  And, indeed, I can testify to the truth of that better than most people.  One night, in early 2016, I was one of several Twitter users who pointed out to Mike that Bella had turned into a propaganda site urging people not to "waste" their list vote on the SNP and to tactically vote for RISE instead.  Mike was insistent that wasn't the case, and that Bella was open to publishing all views.  I asked him whether he'd therefore run a piece by me putting forward an alternative view, and he encouraged me to go ahead and write something.  So I did it straight away, in fact I stayed up half the night doing it, and to put it mildly I was not best pleased when he wrote back immediately and indicated that he had no intention of publishing it unless I completely rewrote it to change the central message.  I didn't keep quiet about what had happened, and eventually Mike published our entire correspondence to supposedly set the record straight - but instead all he succeeded in doing was removing all doubt that he had declined the article simply because it argued against the feasibility of tactical voting on the list.  A number of his regular readers were quite shocked.

So, yes, it's true that Bella doesn't have a leg to stand on when they now attack parties like the ISP for trying to game the system.  Their position seems to boil down to "gaming the system is workable and constructive when the beneficiaries are radical left parties, but impossible and destructive when the beneficiaries are non-woke parties".  And of course Stuart is the ideal person to draw attention to this hypocrisy, because he has in no way done a complete U-turn himself since correctly stating in 2016 that attempts to vote tactically on the list were "a mug's game" that could cost us pro-indy seats at Holyrood.  

Speaking as one of the few people who is actually saying exactly the same thing now that I said in 2016, and who isn't arguing that the laws of arithmetic somehow change depending on how woke or non-woke a political party is, I must say I can only look on in total bemusement at the way Bella and Wings have swapped sides on the subject but seamlessly continued to argue with each other.  What makes it even more comical is that very few of their followers seem to have clocked what has happened.

That said, Stuart does take a moment to deny that he even wants to game the system - he innocently claims that his support for the concept of a list-only party is simply about making sure that the views of a particular segment of the electorate are represented in a way that isn't currently the case.  And naturally he's in a good position to make that claim with a straight face, because at no point has he published lengthy blogposts explaining that one of the main purposes of a list-only party is to win far more pro-indy seats on the list than the share of the vote would otherwise warrant.  Nor has he at any stage published a pseudo-scientific analysis by Gavin Barrie setting out how this would supposedly work in practice.  Nope, none of that happened.  If you think it did, you imagined it.  Stop imagining things.

Oh and by the way (as Bernie Sanders would say), it's categorically untrue that I've been "frantically punting the both votes SNP line".  I lost count of the number of times in 2016 that I had to point out that "both votes SNP" was not my message, even though people kept erroneously ascribing those words to me.  All I've ever done is point out that the list vote is the more important of the two votes, because it determines the overall composition of parliament.  It doesn't lend itself to tactical voting, and people should therefore vote for their first-choice party on the list, regardless of which party that happens to be.

It's particularly odd that Stuart should mischaracterise my argument as "both votes SNP" just one day after I wrote a blogpost saying I would have a big decision to make if Alex Salmond sets up a new party.

37 comments:

  1. I think that reasonable people understand what's behind Stuart Campbells behaviour and know that it has nothing to do with maximising support for Independence, it is the vitriolic hatred of the current FM for reasons which he has conjured exaggerated and inflamed to support his ego that he can manipulate the voters with his wizardly power of their belief in him as a guru of politics

    This is another personal crusade for Campbell in the same style as he relentlessly pursued Kezia Dugdale until she became fed up with his attacks on her and she dragged him to court which of course he lost, then he lost his Twitter accounts for hates speech and if he keeps up the personal attacks on Nicola Sturgeon he may find himself in an even worse position from which to create himself a the martyr of the people fighting for justice when really all he amounts to is a man without a vote who lives in England playing silly buggers with Scotlands constitution just because he can

    Like any other internet troll with nothing to offer but bile and abuse

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    1. I may be wrong but I'm pretty sure that it was Stuart Campbell that took Kezia Dugdale to court.

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    2. You're not wrong. And congratulations on being a commenter on this site who isn't a complete loony. It must be lonely.

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    3. That's no way to speak about Gavin Barrie.

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    4. Irony from Stuart Campbell when Wings is now frequented by the biggest bunch of rabid, demented, idiots in the movement. I'm pretty sure they're his clones.

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  2. James, just out of interest, what degree qualifications do you hold, in which subjects?

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    1. How is that relevant?

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    2. Exactly. Not for the first time, Gavin, you're doing yourself no favours.

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    3. Gavin I have a Junior Seconondary School Education Certificate from the 60s. Can you beat that? Am I dafter than you?

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    4. I've got 6 postgraduate awards including a PhD and a Masters so you've all to shut up until I decide what you have to think about this topic...........zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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    5. Professor John RobertsonJuly 16, 2020 at 7:12 AM

      It's ME

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  3. I'm absolutely exasperated with folk that continue to insist that you can game the system. I've been trying to explain to my Dad that unless a new party is headed by a high profile influential figure like Alex Salmond, it's more likely to have the opposite affect as they won't get a higher enough percentage of the vote. When will these people wake up?

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  4. God, James, even YOU must be getting tired of this all-consuming obsession with me. What is this, your 35th post about me? I think we've mentioned you twice on Wings.

    But you're quite right, I have changed my mind. I don't regard that as being anything to be ashamed of when circumstances change. The difference is that unlike Mike, I've clearly and repeatedly explained WHY I've taken a different position this time - tiny wee parties nobody's ever heard of have no chance. But Wings has very high recognition with the Scottish public, especially among Yes voters - in the real world, not on social media - and Alex Salmond vastly higher still. So either of us might actually have a shot, and I also regard it as something worth doing for other reasons, which I've also explained at length.

    (And even more so because I don't share your apparent complacent certainty that current polling will continue until next May. I remember the SNP being on 62% about this far out from the last election, and then dropping about 15 points and losing their majority, and that was WITHOUT the trainwreck that the Salmond inquiry is going to be.)

    This isn't a very remarkable opinion - you completely agree with it in principle, and you think it could work for Salmond, you just think that because I swear sometimes and I'm "controversial" nobody would vote for a Wings party. You're perfectly entitled to that view, however obviously stupid and wrong it is - controversy and being disliked by a lot of people didn't seem to stop Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and Donald Trump winning. Nor Alex himself, come to that. And I do still find it hilarious that you think the Scottish public has great fainting fits over swearywords like you do, because you're apparently from 1932.

    Still, be as mental as you like. But to pretend that I'm the same as Mike Small is a bit below the belt even for you.

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    1. "What is this, your 35th post about me? I think we've mentioned you twice on Wings."

      Ah. I see the word "think" in that sentence is being used to give yourself cover while you intentionally mislead people. Allow me to help.

      "Jesus Christ, Stuart, even YOU must be getting tired of this all-consuming obsession with me. What was today's post, the 598th about me? I think we've mentioned you once on Scot Goes Pop (the royal we, obviously)."

      A word of advice: people have more or less clued up on your stock in trade of trying to deligitimise the views of others as "demented", "obsessed", etc, etc, etc, so it would probably save time if you just skip that part of your comment in future. We'll take it as read, we promise. (And that's the royal we again.)

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    2. Is there any room left to be obsessed with you, I mean you've pretty much got it covered yourself love x

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  5. Well done on so comprehensively avoiding every point. Masterful.

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    1. Ah, so to be clear, it's now safe for me to reply to you without hearing the stock "demented obsession" complaint? If so, I'm more than happy to reply to you point by point. Do let me know.

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    2. No, you definitely ARE demented and obsessed, as demonstrated so well by the reply above in which you equate some completely mad bollocks you made up with me telling the actual truth about how often we've mentioned you on Wings compared with the *actually literally dozens* of deranged attacks you've made on me here. But in between the explosions of spittle it might be nice if you actually acknowledged the points I so patiently keep making, just for the sake of appearances.

      But also, y'know, feel free not to. I'm pretty much just doing this for my own amusement because I'm not getting any hands in my poker game.

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    3. Nope, I'm afraid the mists have yet to lift. Do you -

      a) Want me to reply to you point by point?

      b) Think I'll be "dementedly obsessed" if I do?

      I'm perfectly willing to go along with whatever you want, dear heart, but you'll have let me know. Alas, I'm not a mindreader.

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    4. Your wish is my command. Here you go -

      https://scotgoespop.blogspot.com/2020/07/dialogue-with-reverend.html

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  6. Holy Willie for IndependenceJuly 15, 2020 at 11:48 PM

    I'm definitely for independence, easy to see from my moniker there. I'm done with the SNP, they're useless, Nicola is going too slow. She just needed to wave her magic wand and we could have been free by now. So why not? This virus is just an excuse, I'd rather be dead and free than alive and still waiting for the SNP to act.

    That lot are all in the pay of MI5 - I have it in the highest authority - me. They're obviously not for independence anyway,
    I mean, they don't even have it in their name, do they?! Unlike me.

    I'm thinking of setting up a party for the list next May, the "Holy Willies for Independence". Met a couple of nice-spoken gents online - well, it takes all sorts, dunnit? - and they're willing to fund us (me). They say they might even have some contacts at the BBC, which could help. We're not bothered that there are a bunch of other parties going to stand on the list as well, they must all be OK because they'll all have "independence" in their names also (unlike that SNP). The more the merrier, innit?

    We expect we'll have a gentle start - have to be modest for the first time round - but we reckon to steadily accumulate support over the years as the SNP declines, and we'll be in the driving seat by - ooh - 2050. Then we'll deploy our "instant indy" plan.

    Yeeah, that should sort it!

    Keep a look out for us, we'll be online somewhere near you. (But don't bother applying for membership, we have to be really choosy who we admit, know what I mean...?)

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    1. NEW Independent Scots For Scottish Independence Party Number 335.5.1.REDUXJuly 16, 2020 at 12:52 AM

      You get your filthy paws off them, 'Not the "Independent Scots For Scottish Independence Party Number 335.5" but the "NEW Independent Scots For Scottish Independence Party Number 335.5.1"'.

      We here at the 'NEW Independent Scots For Scottish Independence Party Number 335.5.1.REDUX' saw them first! It's just typical of you to try and create a rift in our voter base like that, why else do you think we split from you in the first place?!

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    2. Independent Independents for IndependenceJuly 16, 2020 at 1:28 AM

      We are holier than thou, Wullie. Just look at how many mentions of "independent" we have in our name.

      As for those multifarious "335" splitterists, they are just not serious. They only have two mentions in their names. QED.

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    3. Independent Independents for Independent IndependenceJuly 16, 2020 at 4:47 AM

      That sort of disingenuous, unearned claim to purity politics is just typical of you lot in Independent Independents for Independence.

      A ridiculous and opportunistic pop-up party if ever there was one. Trying to misappropriate our own hard-earned reputation as the true standard bearers of the independence movement, for your own tepid little outfit.

      Accept no imitations, Willie, we're the party for you!

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    4. How dare you both so called 'Independent Independents for Independence' and even more preposterously so called 'Independent Independents for Independent Independence', and our little splitters the "NEW Independent Scots For Scottish Independence Party Number 335.5.1.REDUX".

      By failing to support the united coalition led by "NEW Independent Scots For Scottish Independence Party Number 335.5.1" you are showing your true colours - YOONS - UNIONISTS - UK-OK-APOLOGISTAS

      Next thing we'll know you'll be advocating that people vote for the SNP!

      p.s. Holy Willie for Independence, please reply to our email

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    5. Holy Willie for IndependenceJuly 16, 2020 at 1:59 PM

      Thank you, fellow doughty strugglers for independence, but I'm afraid none of you are as sure of the rightful way forward as myself. But as I said, we all have our part to play in keeping Scotland safe from those idle no-hopers, the SNP. (Who don't have independence in their name.) I mean, what have they done for us? We could have had independence the day before yesterday, and here we still are. Outrageous!

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    6. Holy Willie for Independence I can only say we're disappointed. After conducting a secret audit of our members we've found that 75% of them were also members of your outfit.

      We had no choice to expel them, which only leave me. I do believe that it is us and only us, not Independent Independents for Independent Independence, Independent Independents for Independence, NEW Independent Scots For Scottish Independence Party Number 335.5.1.REDUX, Independent Scots For Scottish Independence Party Number 335.5 or Holy Willie for Independence that can deliver the successful alliance that will deliver independence.

      Please reply to our email.

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  7. How about another crowdfunder for a poll over the coming weeks James?

    Be good to see if the momentum has continued and keep it going.

    A lot has happened and is due to happen, internal market being pushed through with no consultation and other changes to devolution agreement.

    You could perhaps partially fund with other interested parties and allow some additional questions on chicks with dicks, dicks being chicks and chicks without dicks or being dicks making me lay a little egg for me etc

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  8. On a related topic, James, what are your thoughts if any on George Galloway's Alliance whatchamacallit. I find him hard to take seriously these days, but that could be a mistake. Unionists do have a history of voting tactically and this may be something we should be taking into consideration. (Or not...)

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    1. I'm all for Galloway splitting the pro-union vote with a new list fringe party. If he e.g. nicked enough Lib Dem votes but failed to hit the 5% threshold himself he could ensure neither got seats.

      Certainly, any new ISP needs to confirm to Scots before they cast their ISP vote that the party will definitely get more than 5% in that region. If it failed to get that, it will have lied to voters and hurt their cause.

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    2. The problem George has is no one will sit down and debate with him. He is meticulous with any subject. He would tear any Nat si to shreds.

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    3. Nobody will debate with George? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elavIgziBjE

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    4. How do you 'confirm' to people something that is purely speculation?

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  9. While I'd consider all manifestos, I certainly won't be voting for any party that calls Scots a cowardly people, that's for sure.

    Only unionists use that language.

    That and of course the party has to be Scottish, i.e. run from here.

    Only unionists parties are run from elsewhere.

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