Monday, July 13, 2015

SNP momentum is monumental in magical Mail poll

And this is one of those occasions where the headline tells you pretty much all I know so far.  Once I track down the figures I'll update this post, but it looks like the SNP are polling higher than at the general election, and that No still have some kind of lead on the independence question.

More details to follow when available...

UPDATE : Having got out my magnifying glass to examine the front page of the Mail, I can now reveal that it's a Survation poll.  END OF UPDATE.

UPDATE II : It's taken so long to get the full result of the poll that I've decided to put it in a fresh post.  You can find it HERE.

In the meantime, the SNP's decision to vote to retain the full English ban on fox hunting is an interesting one, and it certainly seems to have caught the London media on the hop.  I had thought they might hedge their bets by making it a free vote, and leaving it up to the consciences of individual MPs to decide whether the principle of not voting on genuinely English-only matters trumped the moral imperative of preventing animal cruelty.  But I suppose if you're going to do something, you might as well do it full-bloodedly.  I've seen a few suggestions that this "makes the case for EVEL", but you could just as easily argue that the Tories obliterated the case for EVEL a couple of weeks ago by using English votes to overturn a 56-3 Scottish majority on a Scotland-only bill, and then loudly cheering what they had just done.

The reality is that the fate of EVEL will not be decided by whether the SNP obediently adhere to some unwritten Code of Honour to Iain Martin's satisfaction, but by cold arithmetic.  Without the DUP's support, the government are going to need iron discipline among Tory backbenchers to push it through.

*  *  *

You've got to love the reaction of Adam "IT'S THE LAW!!!!" Tomkins to the SNP's decision -

"More posturing from the SNP: last week EVEL, this week foxes. It's just tactics, designed to irritate. Ignore them and don't rise to it"

Questions :

1. Who exactly is Tomkins addressing here? The Scottish Tory masses?

2. How can you actually "ignore" a decision that will almost certainly swing the vote, and determine the law of the land? IT'S THE LAW, Adam!

* * *

Alan Cochrane has resumed his quest for a long-overdue British Comedy Award -

"Yvette Cooper’s pathetic little retreat from ever again ‘allowing’ Labour to do a deal with Tories to prevent the break up of Britain just about sums up how devoid of principle that party now is"

Well, a man who used his book to boast about setting aside all journalistic integrity to "do whatever Darling asks" is certainly a leading authority on being "devoid of principle".

"Jim Murphy, Douglas Alexander, John Reid, Frank Roy, Jackie Baillie and many, many others, with a host of Labour battle honours to their names, resisted the jibes from Alex Salmond and the vile insults from the Cybernats and fought alongside Tories and Liberal Democrats in a common cause. And many have already paid dearly for their efforts."

You really know this team of heroes is sorely lacking strength in depth when Frank Roy suddenly appears at number four after John Reid. Has it ever occurred to Cochrane to pause and reflect on WHY Labour MPs paid so dearly for their "efforts"?

"They were joined by countless thousands of Labour supporters who believed that stopping the separatists and their outrageous claims...was the number one priority. They accepted the risks but decided to ignore them because they believed that saving their country was their most important task."

Is there anyone who seriously believes, even for a moment, that Jim Murphy realised he was potentially sacrificing his career by climbing on top of Irn Bru crates and screaming at passers-by? He isn't fondly known as @Jim4Jim for nothing. Labour MPs and supporters did not "accept the risks" - they were utterly oblivious to the risks, and we have several excellent eye-witnesses to testify to that. They thought a No vote would be a win/win for them, and would ensure that a solid bloc of Scottish Labour MPs remained at Westminster for many years to come. How they would have acted if they had known they were committing career suicide can only be a matter of speculation, but it's hardly unreasonable to suppose that they might have thought twice about campaigning alongside the Tories, at the very least.

"This insulting attack is a demeaning attempt to curry favour with one-time Labour voters who’ve now switched the Nats. I don’t think for a second that it will win back more than tiny number but I’ll tell you what it will do – it will prove to those many non Labour, but massively pro-Union, voters who have been prepared to support Labour as a way of halting the SNP juggernaut that [they] should do so no longer."

So let me get this straight - tactical anti-SNP voting by Tory supporters was almost a total failure in May, and now it's going to be abandoned anyway? I call that a result. Cheers, Al.


  1. Glasgow Working ClassJuly 14, 2015 at 12:02 AM

    I wonder James if the probe that has arrived over Pluto after an almost ten year journey will look back and see you pissin on your Kilt. Och Ye Ra Noo you progressive nonentity.

    1. Well, thank you for helpfully demonstrating to everyone that my concern about abusive trolls on this blog was not a figment of my imagination.

    2. Time to change yer wee nappy, pet - it is obviously full.

      Scratch that - just do what you normally do, and eat it.


    3. Glasgow WC???

      Shitty handle, innit?

    4. Oh for goodness sake, James, delete it.

    5. James,

      You really must get a grip with this whole open forum/ no censorship stuff as well as all of your utopian 'progressive' ideals. Why cant you be a bit more- whats the word - Damn! I forget.

      What is the opposite of that hideous insult 'progressive' again?
      It will come to me.....

  2. They wanted us to stay. They even asked us to participate. Let's not forget, this is a UK parliament - and not an English, Welsh, NI or Scottish one. UK. We sent politicians to represent us, and whether or not there is some "code" for not voting on English only subjects, the fact is, Scots oppose the re-establishment of fox-hunting. The people of Scotland are sovereign and our politicians do our bidding. How hard is that for anyone to work out?
    But it is nice for the furor and angst it's about to cause Westminster. Pass the popcorn.

    1. Exactly. RE: EVEL, the tories now have to decide if they want an English parliament or not. If they do, fair enough, they should go for it.

      What they will not get away with, however, is trying to use procedure to turn WM into a formal English parliament. It's already a defacto one, which is bad enough!

  3. Och Ye Ra Noo you progressive nonentity.

    Really, would a Scot have written that. Or someone for whom their first language was not intelligent?

    1. 'Really, would a Scot have written that'

      I dont know.

      But it makes about as much sense as anything you will hear from the Red Regressive and Unionist Party these days.


  4. The way they report the referendum question, pretty understated, suggests to me any movement is probably not towards No.

    1. 43% Yes
      47% No
      10% Undecided

    2. So rounds to 48/52 once don't knows are out. Incremental movement.

    3. Incremental movement is all we need. More than halving the gap since the referendum in 10months will do nicely. It's still 10months until we can even give Yes parties with another referendum in their minds a solid majority at Holyrood. On the same incremental momentum that gives us a slight lead by then.

      Keeping our powder dry at least until after the Brexit vote, add on the campaign time and with that incremental momentum we will be 60% by the time of the next referendum vote. I can live with poll movement like that. Incremental is more sustainable, sudden big moves suggest volatility in the support which would be worrying.

      Steady as she goes.

    4. Good point MuscleGuys.

  5. What Tory commentators seem to be forgetting is that the vast majority of English voters want the fox hunting ban to remain. The SNP is helping to deliver what England wants. A few more similar votes and the Tory attack lines about a Labour government with SNP support may become a little less effective. maybe that is what they are scared of.

    As for the election next year, the SNP are going to walk it. The key challenge will then be how to develop a scenario in which it is possible to call a second indy referendum and win it. That may prove tricky. And if that is the case, how does the party stay as disciplined and as together as it is now?

    1. I think the EVEL issue will be the catalyst - unless Cameron drops it completely but then he would look like an arse.

      He is a very devious politician but he has made a serious errors over the fox hunting ban, EVEL and the Scotland Bill amendments in the first weeks of the Parliament.

      It will be interesting to see if Labour actually try to work with the SNP - it would need Corbyn to win the Leadership. If not then it will SNP v Tory and Tory lite.

      All very interesting - Politics has become the new football in Scotland and James is a very good pundit!

  6. re: the fox hunting issue, I think abstaining would have been much more dangerous for the SNP. Very easy to imagine the Labour attack lines if they had done - "call yourselves progressives? first vote that matters, you let the Tories bring back fox hunting"; "you care more about petty constitutional principle than fluffy animals", and so on.

    Principles are great if you live in an ideal world. As far as any nationalist is concerned, that would mean MPs in the rest of the UK not voting on Scotland and vice versa. But we don't live in an ideal world.

    BTW, ComRes have just released a poll saying that there is a 74-20 majority in GB for retaining the E&W fox hunting ban.

    The Survation poll was as follows:

    Constituency: SNP 56, Lab 20, Con 14, LD 7, Others 4.

    Regional: SNP 45, Lab 19, Con 12, Green 11, LD 8, Ukip 5.

    Seat projection, using the Scotland Votes calculator: SNP 71, Lab 24, Con 14, Green 12, LD 7, Ukip 1.

    1. I just can't see any reason I could object to a Westminster MP voting on Westminster legislation.

      EVEL is a bizzare idea, it treats different UK countries differently in legislative terms. If we really need English-only legislation, then set up an English Assembly and devolve powers so it's treated the same as Scotland, Wales and NI.

      Otherwise you have a 2-tier Westminster and unequal rights for MPs depending on their particular geography.

    2. That seat projection is OK, I'll take it, but it's not fantastic. Basically the SNP's vote is still only at 45%, the same as 2011, which is disappointing under the circumstances. If the party gets more constituencies due to Green and SSP supporters voting SNP in the constituency vote, that's good, but a true level of support of 45% isn't actually anything to get excited about.

    3. I think 45% understates the present SNP position. There will be a fair number of SNP voters who are giving it the "aye, I'll give my 'second' vote to the Greens", but won't when push comes to shove.

      I don't think there's enough evidence to suggest that there has been any great change since 7 May. SNP share in the Westminster question is 51%, and the independence question hasn't budged for months (after a slight narrowing in the weeks after the referendum). Labour is down a little bit, but they must be near rock bottom.

    4. Tables are now available from Survation here.

      Constituency: SNP 56%, Lab 20%, Con 14%, Lib Dem 7%, Green 2%, UKIP 1%

      Region: SNP 45%, Lab 19%, Con 12%, Lib Dem 8%, Green 11%, UKIP 5%

      According to Scotland Votes (using exact percs):

      SNP 71 (+2)

      Lab 24 (-13)

      Con 14 (-1)

      Lib Dem 7 (+2)

      Green 12 (+10)

      UKIP 1 (+1)

      Westminster: SNP 51%, Lab 21%, Con 17%, Lib Dem 7%, UKIP 2%, Green 2%

      Again according to Scotland Votes the only change would be Conservatives picking up BRS from the SNP.

    5. I bloody well hope SNP supporters don't "give" their list vote to the Greens. 71 seats is OK, but it could so easily be a handful less on the constituencies, and then where will we be? If the SNP loses BRS, the party should pick up an extra list seat to compensate, but won't if SNP supporters are mad enough to throw away their list votes. The same holds for a number of fairly tight constituencies across the country.

      We'll end up with more unionist MSPs though the constituency route, and it will be blind luck whether the Greens or another unionist party picks up the list seat. And after Harvie's performance over FFA and a few more things, the idea of a sizeable block of Green MSPs giving a weakened SNP a hard time does not fill me with joy.

    6. Whereas as someone well to the left of the SNP I'm perfectly sanguine, even happy at the prospect of them being held to account from the Left. And since when is +2 seats a 'weakened position'? and the BRS loss was Westminster. I think you have misinterpreted the numbers. Calm down.

    7. My gut feeling is a LOT of voters dont really understand the Holyrood voting system and see the list vote as some kind of second vote. The SNP really need to somehow get the message out as to how important the list vote is.

      People need to be able to make properly informed choices.

    8. The SNP have done a good job on that before. I remember the 1999 election (when there was a council FPTP election the same day) and the slogan was 1-2-3, SNP! The party has always lost far less on the list vote than Labour, and that was what brought both the 2007 narrow victory and the 2011 landslide. Without the list votes, we wouldn't be where we are.

      The trouble is that this time they are being undermined from within, by innumerate SNP supporters who have been suckered by the con trick the Greens are trying to play. They're going to have to make a particular point of spelling out extremely clearly why this is a monumentally bad idea. While at the same time the Greens and their fellow-travellers who want the SNP to be weakened are busy spreading misinformation like mad.

      It's all very well people like Muscleguy who prefer political posturing to independence to want the SNP to be weakened and "held to account from the left", but that isn't how it's being explained to the more naive SNP supporters who are falling for this. And the wilful blindness to the very real potential for this scam actually to produce more unionist MSPs is frankly terrifying.

  7. Opal Fruits are great.July 14, 2015 at 11:10 AM

    Of course Labour were in it for themselves when they were campaigning for a No vote. Interview after interview they said "Labour won the referendum" "we won the referendum" and so on. They got what they deserved although I hearing they are in free-fall in a Holyrood poll losing around 10 seats to the Scottish Greens.

  8. There is the saying, 'putting lipstick on a pig', but when it comes to Cochrane it's more, 'putting lipstick on a sack of turds'.
    On the Independence poll, difficult to understand. Has what the Tories will do not sunk in? Do they think the Sottish Government can protect them in some way forever? Do they not realise that after this 5years, the Tories will be back, even if not immediately, again in the future, and they just continue where they left off?
    Do they understand that SNHS and Scottish Water are at risk from trade deals on the way and marching in the streets won't save SW as it did in the past?

    1. I have to say, I did think after the shock of a Tory majority, support for independence would have seen a bounce. I'm pretty happy that support for independence is around the 47-50% mark, but after all that has happened since the referendum, I really don't know what it will take to shift opinion towards it in a significant way.

    2. Brian, we're talking mainly about people who read the traditional newspapers and watch BBC and STV. None of that has sunk in because they don't really know about it.

    3. I would imagine that after over two years of campaigning, people have already heard just about every argument under the sun. After the referendum and the high turnout, I doubt there are many people who can be convinced either way, at least for now. Besides, No voters aren't morons. They heard the arguments and I'm sure they realised that by voting No, there was always the chance of Scotland being under a Tory government. After all, the referendum actually happened under a Tory government so it's not like it was a totally alien prospect.

      A lot of No voters are your "Muddle along" types. Even if the Tories aren't their first choice, the prospect of a Tory government isn't something they necessarily get apoplectic with rage over.

    4. Besides, No voters aren't morons. They heard the arguments and I'm sure they realised that by voting No, there was always the chance of Scotland being under a Tory government.

      I think you overstate the extent to which that was realised. It was quite common to hear otherwise perfectly sane No voters say things like "Labour will certainly get the majority in 2015" shortly before the referendum.

    5. I'm pretty sure a lot of people who voted No in the fond belief that they were going to get Devo-max haven't yet realised that it's not going to happen. All the posturing about the Vow being delivered and all the great new powers that are on their way has been slavishly reported in the sort of papers they read.

    6. Rolfe. On the Devo Max- I suspect there were many who hoped something would happen, although still doubting but it gave them enough not to have to take the scary step, for them, of voting for Independence.
      And Keaton's point holds too, they believed Labour politicians and thought somehow there would be a Labour Government.
      That turned out to be smoke on the wind. I find it telling how Milliband and his team, considering the trumpeting before the Referendum and before the GE, have just melted away. The whole power base of Labour melted away, because they had no substance.
      Labour in Westminster seem to be going through the same process concerning the SNP as Labour in Scotland before the Referendum.

    7. All this is true, but it hasn't filtered through to the independence polls yet. I have a feeling something might happen in the next year or so that causes these to shift substantially though.

  9. Apparently the Lib Dems would pick up two seats. Er...

    1. LibDems as high as 7%? Surely not!

    2. The Lib Dems in Scotland are probably bound to recover a little as they are no longer in coalition with the Tories at Westminster.