I am shocked to the core at this. The Scottish justice system is discrediting itself before our eyes. Even those who tried to justify the conviction must acknowledge there needs to be proportionality in sentencing.https://t.co/mqWOOanTAa— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 11, 2021
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Monday, May 10, 2021
We all know there was a pro-independence majority in the popular vote on that all-important #PeachVote - but how big was it?
Sunday, May 9, 2021
Serious questions for the Electoral Commission tonight as inexplicable ruling appears to have robbed the Greens (and thus the pro-independence camp) of two seats they should have won
In a rush I very, very nearly voted for IGV. Thankfully didn’t, but was a very close call. It’s disgusting the name was allowed.— Chenoa (@nerfgirl) May 8, 2021
Two young adult voters in my house were confused by that; my daughter got her correct choice by luck (she was too embarrassed to ask for help).— Clare (@LiviaBurlando) May 8, 2021
My partner did this but we assumed was probably still a genuine green person at least. She blames having kids around and stress tyog et on and out. No idea how they get away with that.— Paul Ryan (@pjryan51) May 8, 2021
On a different subject, it strikes me that the SNP's controversial 'reserved places' system has had two very unfortunate effects. Most obviously, it's cost Joan McAlpine her seat in the south, but it also means Tom Wills will not be an MSP in the Highlands & Islands. Having come so close to winning the Shetland constituency seat, there would have been a golden opportunity to function as a sort of shadow MSP for Shetland over the next five years, and by the time the next election came around he might have seemed like as much of an incumbent as the Lib Dems' Beatrice Wishart. Perhaps the Lib Dems' decades-long stranglehold on the Northern Isles would have finally been broken. The SNP have really missed a trick there.
My wife nearly fell for it until I pointed it out to her in the polling booth. An utter disgrace. And fully intended.— Proud CyberNat (@proud_cybernat) May 8, 2021
Saturday, May 8, 2021
FINAL RESULTS: The SNP gain one seat overall, will *not* be a minority govt as long as there's an opposition Presiding Officer - and pro-independence parties win majority of the popular vote on the list
BBC projects pro-independence parties will have 56% of the seats in the new Scottish Parliament - up from 53% last time
A troll in my notifications earlier said Alba voters had been "conned". You could just as easily say "both votes SNP" voters have been conned, because it looks like SNP list votes will be wasted in 7 out of 8 regions. The SNP-Alba wasted votes debate ended in a no score draw.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 8, 2021
For a very short Episode 8 of the Popcast, I recorded some thoughts on the election results so far and looked ahead to what may be happening on the regional list. You can either listen via the embedded player below, or via the direct link HERE.
I was going to wait until the election was done and dusted before replying to my Somerset stalker's five hundred and sixty-eighth unhinged blogpost about me (which, amusingly, he describes as his "second" - it would be fascinating to know what his technical excuses are for thinking all the others "didn't count"). However, on closer inspection the post contains a number of inaccurate statements - lies, for want of a better word - so just as a matter of principle I'm not going to let those go uncorrected.
The most blatant lie is also the most bizarre. Stuart claims that I "swiftly banned" him yesterday after he made a series of angry posts in the comments section of this blog. As I have explained umpteen times, it is quite literally impossible to "ban" anyone on the Blogger platform. When people troll or are abusive, the only options open to me are to delete comments individually (which itself has become much, much harder on the new interface that was introduced a few months ago) or to turn on pre-moderation. The fact that I'm currently following the latter course of action tells you all you need to know - if it were possible to "ban" people, that would solve the problem instantly and pre-moderation would be needless.
Incidentally, although I've deleted some of Stuart's individual comments in the distant past, I didn't do so yesterday (except for a couple of accidental duplicates which I removed as a tidying-up exercise). So this "banning" claim isn't based on some sort of innocent misunderstanding - it does appear to be a very intentional lie.
What he wants his readers to believe I was trying to prevent him from posting was a protestation that he did not in fact do what everyone saw him do yesterday - ie. tell his readers to vote for unionist parties in twelve specific constituency seats. He seems to think that his get-out-of-jail-free card on this is a comment he added at the end of his piece stating that the only seat in which he'd advocate a vote for a unionist party was Glasgow Southside. That would be just peachy if it wasn't for the inconvenient fact that this comment flatly contradicted the explicit and repeated advice earlier in the blogpost to vote against the SNP in the other eleven seats. The exact words used, again and again and again, were "Alba supporters cannot afford to vote SNP in those seats".
Here's my top tip, Stu: not everyone who reads your blogposts will be a complete idiot. Some of your readers, perhaps only a select few, but undoubtedly some, will be able to spot that your words mean what they say and that a nonsensical throwaway disclaimer doesn't negate them.
The second disgraceful lie is that I have not been supportive of Craig Murray, who faces a potential jail sentence due to his courageous reporting of the Alex Salmond trial. Stuart alleges that my supposed lack of support for Craig is because I think there is more "traffic" to be had from attacking Wings. The narcissism behind that statement is truly mind-boggling. The reality, of course, is that I've been vocal in my support for Craig, as the below tweet from late March amply demonstrates. At time of writing, it's been retweeted 196 times and 'liked' 593 times. Just because Stuart hasn't been paying attention doesn't mean that nobody else has.
Solidarity with Craig Murray. The prosecution was ridiculous, the conviction is outrageous.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) March 22, 2021
Furthermore, one year ago I put my name to an open letter deploring the arrest and charging of both Craig and Mark Hirst. I've also spoken to Craig privately twice within the last few weeks - we mostly discussed politics, but I don't think he's in any doubt as to where my sympathies lie.
To return to the subject of Stuart's narcissism, you may have noticed that he seems to be incapable of writing an attack post about a fellow blogger without including a graph purporting to show that he has a much bigger readership. The obvious joke is that he's using the alleged size of his readership as a substitute for the size of his manhood. A few weeks ago he included Scot Goes Pop in a graph that showed how his stats towered above the other leading four pro-independence blogs. To which my reaction was the obvious: "so you're saying I'm in the top five, then?" In his new post he says that "hardly anyone" is reading Scot Goes Pop, and to illustrate his point reveals that SimilarWeb estimates that this blog has "only" had 464,872 page views so far this year. That's a rather interesting definition of "hardly anyone".
Of course it's unique readers that really matter, and on that measure the disparity in traffic between Wings and other websites shrinks. Stuart actually helpfully revealed his monthly unique readership the other day, and it looks as if it's roughly seven or eight times bigger than Scot Goes Pop's. That obviously still makes Wings the far more popular site, but a) that's something I've never disputed, and b) he would dearly love people to believe the gap is far, far bigger than it actually is. The reason why the number of page views can be so wildly misleading is that every time someone refreshes a page to read new comments, that's counted as another page view - and presumably people are doing that far more often on Wings.
My guess is that Stuart is lashing out because he realises he blew it yesterday. Until then, a decent number of people were giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming that his ultimate objective was still independence, even if his means of achieving it were dubious and convoluted. But the mask has now slipped. You don't achieve independence by electing Willie Rennie as the MSP for North-East Fife.
No, Stuart's agenda is something different. His single-minded objectives are to stop self-identification for trans people, and to gain revenge against Nicola Sturgeon. That doesn't mean he's actively opposed to independence, but it comes a very poor second to his real priorities.
Friday, May 7, 2021
There are many good reasons for keeping Alba going, and proving John wrong is merely one of them.https://t.co/squuyFoyu0— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 7, 2021
Now, to be clear, there can be no guarantee that any new political party will survive the type of setback that Alba has just suffered. There are various potential scenarios in which Alba might fold over the coming months. However, at this moment there does seem to be a genuine determination to continue, and that's perfectly realistic - there aren't many small parties that can boast two MPs and a good number of local councillors. There would be two main purposes of persevering: a) to provide a much-needed political home for independence supporters who are clearly unwelcome in the new SNP for mostly irrational reasons, and b) to pressurise the SNP into keeping their word and holding an independence referendum in the next parliamentary term. The latter is obviously the more important reason.
One way in which Alba could have helped bring a referendum about if they had succeeded in this election was by providing an alternative for SNP MSPs who finally lose patience with the feet-dragging of the SNP leadership. The knowledge that MSPs could defect to the Alba group at any time would have kept the First Minister on her toes and given her an incentive to avoid any further undue delays. It's obviously harder to achieve that effect without a ready-made Alba group in Holyrood, but it can still be done as long as Alba continues to exist. SNP MSPs would have the option of setting up a new Alba group in the Scottish Parliament whenever they want, and they'd be stepping into an existing party infrastructure.
So I firmly believe that Alba should press on, with one very important caveat: it would be a terrible mistake to put up candidates at the 2024 UK general election, unless there's an electoral pact with the SNP. I presume that wouldn't be done anyway, but it's worth just putting that on the record. Whether we like it or not, UK general elections do still matter, and splitting the pro-independence vote in first-past-the-post contests would be catastrophic.
Incidentally, although there'll obviously be a fair amount of nasty triumphalism tomorrow among Alba-haters, one of their constant refrains appears set to be proved wrong. They kept insisting that by drawing attention to the tactical possibilities on the list, Alex Salmond had unwittingly boosted the Green vote instead. But it appears that the Greens themselves are slightly underperforming their opinion poll showing - and, frankly, that's bad news for all of us, although the pro-independence majority does look more or less secure now.
Patience, Stuart, I fully intend to do what I said I'd do. But for now I've got an election to concentrate on, even if your own mind appears to be elsewhere.
When I said I couldn't bring myself to look at Wings earlier, it honestly wasn't because I thought I was going to discover I was in the starring role. As his fans would says "Thanks Rev". All publicity gratefully received.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 7, 2021
That's by far an all-time record turnout in Clydebank & Milngavie.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 7, 2021
That Donside result is worrying, and probably more significant than Orkney.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 7, 2021
I struggle to imagine the SNP holding Banffshire & Buchan Coast after that Donside result.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 7, 2021
At least my Gaelic is now just about good enough that I knew Labour had lost before I heard the English translation. #sp21— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 7, 2021
A worryingly consistent pattern so far of the SNP being slightly down in every seat so far, apart from Orkney, which often deviates from national trends anyway. 45% nationwide would be perfectly OK, but probably wouldn't quite produce an SNP overall majority. #sp21— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 7, 2021
The thing about tactical voting is that it depends on there being votes there to squeeze. There's obviously a sizeable Tory support to be squeezed in the Milngavie part of Clydebank & Milngavie, but that isn't the case in a lot of seats where Labour start from second. #sp21— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 7, 2021
Thank God for that. I was worried about John Swinney's seat. His vote share is actually up - the first SNP increase in a mainland seat. #sp21— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 7, 2021
Yay, 4% increase for SNP in Dundee City West. Looking a bit more hopeful now. #sp21— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 7, 2021
The Great Escape: the SNP hold the most Leave-friendly seat in Scotland. #sp21— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 7, 2021
If the BBC try to spin that as a bad result, they're barking up the wrong tree. I was fully expecting the Tories to win Banffshire & Buchan Coast after the Donside result. #sp21— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 7, 2021
For context, the Tories hold the Westminster seat of Banff & Buchan and it was the one place where there was a swing from SNP to Tory in 2019. However close the Tories got today, however big the swing was on paper, the fact they lost is what matters. #sp21— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) May 7, 2021