Monday, January 30, 2017

Bella's Shame : The disturbing use of Trump-style "alternative facts" by the RISE/Green-supporting new media

From what I can gather, the Bella Caledonia editorial team still very much preach the gospel of "solidarity" between Yessers - which, as many of us have learnt the hard way, roughly translates as "when we criticise you, we're teachers, but when you criticise us, you're immature dividers".  I was treated to another depressing (and frankly quite upsetting) example of that maxim last night.  I had just settled down to enjoy a relaxing Sunday evening at Celtic Connections, when I made the schoolboy error of checking my phone.  What you're about to see was what was waiting for me on Twitter from the deputy editor of Bella - a man who I can't recall even mentioning, let alone having had any contact with, for several months.  I've got to tell you, Mr Williamson, that I'm not sensing much "solidarity", "respect" or "tolerance" in this little lot.

(Click to enlarge each screenshot.)

As regular readers know, I'm not someone who uses the word "lie" with abandon, but I have to say I don't see how I can avoid it in this particular case.  (Although as we're now in the era of the "alternative fact", perhaps we do have a charitable euphemism that would fit.)  Mr Williamson's basic claim - that there wouldn't now be a majority for an independence referendum if some SNP supporters hadn't "tactically" switched to the Greens on the list ballot - is not merely misleading, it's a downright lie.  It's a claim that's not even supported by the Sunday Herald article he prays in aid, which in spite of being drenched in highly misleading spin, goes no further than to suggest that less tactical voting might have resulted in two more SNP seats, and four fewer Green seats.  You won't need to consult an abacus to work out that this means that even the Sunday Herald are admitting there would have been a pro-independence majority with or without tactical voting.  Perhaps more to the point, they're also tacitly admitting that the SNP would have retained their overall majority if tactical voting hadn't occurred - because, of course, two extra SNP seats would have been sufficient to take the party to the magic number of 65.

What is most disgraceful about Kevin's rant is not the outrageous and totally unfounded allegation that I was "abusive" towards tactical voting supporters.  It's not the way he deliberately misrepresents my position on so-called tactical voting on the list, or even the way he deliberately misrepresents the Sunday Herald article.  No, it's the way he tries to rewrite history about his own position during the election campaign - because back then he was never even talking about a situation in which it was assumed that the SNP might lose their majority, and tactical votes on the list might somehow help to salvage a joint SNP/Green majority.  He was doing the polar opposite of that - he was saying that it was absolutely 100% certain that the SNP would win a majority on constituency seats alone, and he was pouring extreme mockery and scorn on anyone who dared to question that self-evidently ludicrous claim.  (How he has the nerve to accuse his critics of "abuse" after his own antics during the campaign is, to say the least, somewhat hard to understand.)  I think probably the simplest way of illustrating this point is to re-post an exchange I had with him in August 2015.  I defy anyone to read the following and conclude that this is a guy who has a leg to stand on.

Kevin Williamson : ScotGoesPop all over place here. SNP at 62% now in Constit vote! 2nd Vote SNP will bolster Lab MSPs #ListVoteGreen

Me : "All over the place"? Do you mean I've contradicted myself? In what sense?

Kevin Williamson : You've consistently refused to acknowledge SNP are on course to win 65+ Constituency seats - enough to form Govt

Me : Exactly, I've consistently argued against that notion. How is that "all over the place"?

Kevin Williamson : because to argue against it is to deny the reality of consistently good opinion polls for SNP now at 62%

Me : Ah, now we're getting somewhere. The opinion polls are NOT showing the SNP consistently on 62%. Panelbase say 53%.

Kevin Williamson : almost every non partisan pundit forecasting SNP winning almost all of the Holyrood Constituency seats in 2016. Why not you?

Me : Not good enough, Kevin, justify that. Who are these pundits and when did they say it?

Kevin Williamson : I'm beginning to think you're either not paying attention to Scottish politics or in denial to make a party political point

Me : For clarity, have you ignored my question because you're unable to answer it, or for another reason?

Kevin Williamson : okay lets clarify things. How many Constituency seats do you think SNP are on course to win? Give us a ballpark figure?

Me : They are not "on course" for any particular figure. There is a 9% divergence between the pollsters, with NINE MONTHS to go!

Me : By the way, I'm still waiting to hear who these "non-partisan pundits" are.

Kevin Williamson : come on James! Is that the best analysis we're going to get from you on Scot Goes Pop? "Mibbes aye mibbes naw"

Me : This is pathetic, Kevin. Give me the names of the pundits you've cited, and direct me to what they've said.

Kevin Williamson : google the articles in wake of last couple of polls James. There are NONE suggesting SNP arent on course to sweep Constit seats.

Me : If it's that easy, you should be able to give me a couple of names so I know who you mean?

Kevin Williamson : An opinion poll analyst who refuses to project no. seats from opinion polls? Heard it all now. What you afraid of?

Me : Woah, woah, woah. What does "project" mean? You do know that opinion polls are snapshots not predictions? Perhaps you don't.

Kevin Williamson : You're just being pedantic. Every month Scot Goes Pop refuses to project no. of SNP seats its credibility will sink.

Me : If helping people understand the limitations of opinion polls will somehow harm my credibility, I'll have to live with that.

*  *  *

So let's sum up.  Here we have a chap who screamed blue bloody murder at me because I refused - supposedly for reasons of blind partisanship - to forecast that the SNP would take circa 62% of the constituency vote (they actually took only 46.5%), and that they would win almost every single constituency seat (they actually failed to win FOURTEEN constituency seats).  I don't think it's unreasonable or arrogant of me to point out that my determination to be more circumspect than he demanded was 100% vindicated in every respect.  I couldn't predict the election result, and that was the whole point - nobody could, and he certainly couldn't.  But having got everything so completely, hopelessly, cluelessly wrong, he now demands that I should apologise to him.  If it wasn't so offensive, it would actually be very, very funny.

It's difficult to say too much about the John Curtice report that the Sunday Herald article refers to, because it apparently hasn't even been published yet.  Most pertinently, it's unclear whether the report uses survey evidence to positively identify which votes were genuinely intended "tactically", or whether it just plays around with various electoral permutations and makes educated guesses about "tactical" intent.  But even if we assume for the sake of argument (and I do stress that it's a highly questionable assumption) that the effect of tactical voting was exactly as Curtice is apparently saying it was (ie. a net loss of two SNP seats and a net gain of four Green seats), then what that would mean, without even a shadow of doubt, is that tactical voting comprehensively backfired as far as SNP supporters are concerned.  Without it, there would have been a pro-independence majority and an outright SNP majority.  As it is, there is a pro-independence majority, but no outright SNP majority.  There is no planet on which that can be considered anything other than a worse outcome from an SNP supporter's point of view.  A couple of extra pro-indy seats is not compensation for the loss of the SNP majority, because there is nothing we can do with 69 pro-indy seats that we couldn't have done with 67 - but as we've been reminded in recent days, there's a hell of a lot we could have done with 65 SNP seats that we can't do with only 63.  Perhaps most importantly of all, retaining an outright SNP majority would have saved us from the gloating of the unionist media last May, which for a while threatened a decisive shift in the prevailing political "narrative".  In a perverse way, we should count ourselves extremely lucky that the events of the EU referendum campaign promptly reversed the loss of momentum the independence movement had only just suffered as a result of the tactical voting debacle.

By the way, contrary to Kevin's desperate rewriting of history, I never, ever claimed that attempts at tactical voting would definitely have a negative effect.  I always acknowledged the possibility that it could have a positive outcome - but I noted that if it did so, that would happen as a result of complete chance, and not as a result of sound strategy.  The caution I gave to people was that what they thought was "tactical voting" was in fact "gambling voting" - you just couldn't tell whether you would get the result you intended, or whether it would blow up in your face.  In this particular instance, the latter happened.  And yet the siren voices who led SNP supporters onto the rocks are now claiming "vindication".  It is quite simply extraordinary - but in the new Orwellian era of Trump, Spicer and Bannon, perhaps we shouldn't be shocked by anything.

You might be wondering whether the Sunday Herald are as guilty of misrepresentation as Kevin Williamson himself is.  As I've already noted, their article is drenched in misleading spin, and frankly that's not at all surprising.  They're obviously trying to cover their embarrassment over their moment of madness last spring when for one weekend only they were taken over lock, stock, and barrel by the Bella-sponsored "tactical voting" propaganda campaign, thus potentially contributing to the loss of the SNP majority.  For the most part, though, the article does just about manage to stay on the right side of factual accuracy.  Unfortunately, the one big exception is the totally inaccurate headline (the only thing that a lot of people will read), which falsely claims that "indy supporters who voted Green did not...harm SNP".  That's directly contradicted by the text of the article itself.  I won't use the word "lie" on this occasion, though - there may be a semi-innocent explanation, such as a sub-editor getting so carried away with the spin in the article that they honestly thought it said something that it didn't.

Final thought : While we're on the subject of undeserved apologies being demanded, it should be pointed out that I was actually promised an apology in advance by someone in the tactical voting lobby - but it never materialised.  The CommonSpace columnist Jonathan Rimmer reacted with apparently genuine astonishment when I predicted (one of the few hard predictions that I did make) that Solidarity would outpoll RISE in Glasgow.  He then spontaneously promised to apologise if I turned out to be right, which he was quite sure I wouldn't.

Actual Glasgow result : Solidarity - 3593 votes, RISE - 2454 votes.  Admittedly a wee bit closer than I was expecting, but I did call it correctly.

In your own time, Jonathan.


  1. I no longer even look at Bella now. I started finding it an unpleasant forum to hang out in. Which is all very sad, but they don't need to look beyond the ends of their own noses to find the causes of their recent / current woes.

  2. Dinnae rise to it. We sussed it out at the time.

    1. Indeed.
      Bullshitters are easily caught out.
      Dolly dimple champagne socialists all the more so.

    2. Glasgow Working Class 2January 30, 2017 at 10:31 AM

      59 MP'S and 129 MSP'S. The champagne is flowing in all political circles. And the Nat sis are certainly downing most of it at our expense. At least the MEP'S will soon be buying their kerry oots from ALDI.
      Patrick Harvie is probably the only person who resembles a socialist amongst that lot.

    3. The poster above is a far-right racist UKIP sockpuppetJanuary 30, 2017 at 10:36 AM

      The troll calls scottish people "jocks", advocates arming Leave campaigners, claimed Jo Cox's husband was a fascist, uses racial and ethnic slurs, pretends to be Labour (badly) while espousing far-right racist hate-speech, praises Theresa May and the tories and displays a perverted poisonous obsession with Scotland's First Minister & her predecessor

    4. Good to see the Britnat operative sticking doggedly to his little script.

    5. Ah yes, telling people who lost relatives to the Nazis in WWII that they're Nat sis themselves is going to cause them to recoil in horror at the notion of voting SNP. Not.

      I suppose it demonstrates the same sort of sensitivity shown by that nice Mr. President Trump when he inflicted his Muslim ban on 27 January just past, with 27 January being International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

      In memory of my beloved Polish uncle, who escaped the Nazis to fight with the free Poles and learned how to drive a tank in the streets of Dundee, who found out only when the war was over that all of his extended family had been wiped out, I call you out, GWC2, for your vile and offensive attitudes and statements, and name you the disgusting little troll that you are.

      Everyone else - my apologies. I promise never to feed the troll again.

  3. Agree. It's a shame that the personal petulance of its editor and deputy editor overshadow the political positives of many articles on Bella Caledonia.

    But I'm sure they don't see it like that. Even when the site is peremptorily closed and re opened, wobbling, a few hours later.

    More power to your elbow, James. Thank you for rising above the abuse with facts, truth and tolerance.

    I believe those advocating don't need second vote to Snp weakened the independence cause.

  4. Agree Kevin's rant is unpleasant and basically counterfactual. i.e. wrong. It looks (with hindsight) as if there would have been a narrow pro-indy majority either way, but he is wrong to give you and the other bloggers a hard time and it is not helpful for indy supporters to quarrel at this point.

    Your points are nearly always argued with moderation and reason, and it would be really helpful if you don't rise to his baiting and stay rational, despite the provocation. Lots of negative stuff around at the moment but it does not persuade wavering voters, rather the reverse. I hope when the referendum is called we can cooperate like grownups. Continuing with the Full English Brexit under the right wing of the Tory party does not warm the cockles of any Green's heart.

  5. What good is this doing?

    We are just around the corner from fighting IndyRef2 NOT party political elections. Egos need to go back in their box's and Yes needs to get back to work making strong Indy Scotland arguments to the electorate.

    Re running party political arguments designed to fracture the movement is helpful only to the union. If it's not helpful to winning Indyref2, why waste time and energy on it?

    Bloggers, whither they like it or not, have wider responsibilities to their movement and how it is perceived. Please, please, please take that responsibility seriously. (Just ignore egos that care more about 'being right' than the effect this has on 'their' movement. Can't you just scroll past James, just as you correctly expect us to do with GWC2?)

    Time to set these old arguments aside and get fighting as the Yes movement again. IndyRef2 is coming...


    1. No, in this instance I couldn't scroll past - leaving aside the nasty personal stuff, Kevin was also trying to rewrite history and claim black was white. Some people were even falling for it, thanks to the spin in the Sunday Herald piece. In my opinion it had to be challenged. Hopefully we'll win an indyref next year or the year after and we'll never have to worry about pro-indy tactical voting ever again, but it's also possible that we'll be going through all of this once more in 2021. Bearing that in mind, we can't afford to allow a totally bogus history to take root.

  6. Think you are right to highlight this tactical voting bollocks before the council elections and before a similar media campaign occurs again. Which it doubtless will.

    1. This is what I am talking about Anon. This tactical voting argument, whichever position you have on it, has no relevance to the council elections and the different electoral system it uses. So again I ask, who can possibly benefit from continuing with it at this moment in time? The Union.

      James, poor excuse. The arguments will be had when they are relevant and don't harm the here and now battle for IdyRef2.

      The argument will be had in the future, whither you carry on with this now or not. The difference is that you (and everyone involved) are obviously looking toward 2021 party politics and damaging the prospects of non party indyRef2 campaigning right here and now!

      Pick the scab if you want, that's your choice, but don't say it's helping indyref2. It's not..

      This relies on self moderation and control.


    2. You should note, from James' previous articles, that the council elections are not comparable to the MSP elections.

      They are carried out on a transferable vote system, and as such James Kelly has been advocating, for SNP supporters, that after putting all the SNP candidates in order of preference it is then desirable to put other independence parties, according to personal taste, before the unionist parties. Or giving the unionist parties no preference at all, if you have no opinion on which is least bad.

    3. You do realise that if you're caught talking absolute shite (like the RISE idiots, some greens, Bella and the Herald were about the '100% guaranteed SNP majority') it simply doesn't matter who blogs about it or tweets.

      People will remember because it was their vote at the time.

      Nothing will change that or the obvious response to similar 'tactical asks' even when the circumstances are a wee bit different.

      You don't magically get trust back from people you lied to just because it's another system.

      Those who indulged themselves in lying to the scottish electorate will clearly pay for it the next time. If they don't like that then they shouldn't have done it in the first place as the future consequences of their actions were crystal clear to most folk.

      Also, nobody gives much of a shit about the same old desperate yoons trying to sow discord either. If that actually worked it would have worked long before now. Instead it's mostly backfired as SLAB disappears up their own arse and SCON turn into hard right kippers.

  7. A wee aside. I was contacted (phone) by IPSO-MORI yesterday, inquiring mostly about the BEEB; where did I get my news, how trustworthy is the BEEB, would I prefer an hour of news from Scotland, how did I rate the BBC news in my locality (I don't get any local news obviously) etc. A little bit on who I voted for-Indyref, election, Brexit.

  8. It simply beggars believe that this guy thinks he's right and is demanding apologies from those bloggers who pointed out repeatedly that the SNP majority wasn't in the bag.

    Does this Williamson guy not realise how many people actually read Wings, just for starters never mind yourself?

    He's rewritng the entire debacle that was caused by Bella and RISE with their non stop push for votes for themselves and the Greens.

    Mike Small was the key player in this nonsense attempting to undermine support for SNP!

    Both the Herald and the National promoted this narrative on the lead up at the time.

    It's right that you take issue with his gloating, divisive post truth pish.

    Kevin Williamson?

    'Shhhh...fur fuck's sake'

    Talk about solidarity...from the 'left'! Pffffft!

  9. I like Kevin's line that your "credibility will sink."

    Yeah, sure! He's doing a fine job of making sure it's his own credibility that's doing the sinking.

    Anyway, Keep up the good work James. Always a good read. Just annoying you have to spend time on articles refuting nonsense.

  10. I agree with James's right to reply, and with his negating the false idea that tactical voting did no harm. It might not have reduced the overall pro-indy numbers of MSPs, but what it did do is replace SNP MSPs with Green (not always directly).

    It's very clear that the Unionists will be delighted to cause splits in the Indy movement, so shortly after the SIC Concention relaunching the YES Campaign. Williamson might like to count his brain cells - there seem to be a load went missing.

    And the Bella Caledonia board should take open steps to totally disassociate itself with Williamson's spittle.

  11. Data tables for that Panelbase poll:

  12. I totally concur with James rebuttal of Williamsons slur.False claims should always be challenged e.g.The Orkney Four v Carmichael.

  13. I had reluctantly allowed Bella back into my reference frames after what seemed like a step back from the vote transfer nonsense, and later the dire straits it fell into as a result of that fiasco: I even contributed to their recovery appeal. I now wish I hadn't.

    Kevin Williamson's re-raising of the nonsense and the manner in which he has done so has now finished me with Bella under the current Editorial Board. They can go to the boondocks for all I care. Kevin Williamson's tirades and demands for apologies are laughable to those of us who followed the story at the time. What he has done is completely unhelpful to the cause of Independence and only gives the YOONS ammunition to fire at and deride the SNP and Independence. It serves no useful purpose. If he cannot see that he is an intellectual pigmy.

    1. Yes. I am not inclined to conspiracy theories, but if MI6 had wanted to put in a spoiler to the Yes movement, it would be just like the seduction of poor Bella.

      Mike Small's antics have put off a lot of previous followers.

  14. Kevin Williamson is an uber divisive Trot and his sidekick, Mike Small, is an unprincipled pseudo-anarchist and both are whining coat-tail opportunists (as are a number of others like Cat Boyd and Angela H et al. Much more divisive and dangerous than the house troll, GWC).

    1. Glasgow Working Class 2January 30, 2017 at 5:01 PM

      I am a democrat and a friend. I am Scottish and do not wish the affairs of my country run by the German Bundesbank. You Nat sis are an fn joke.

    2. Absolute bloody state of this.

    3. Glasgow Working Class 2 is an English Nationalist operative -probably more than one person, probably working out of GCHQ.

      Such subterfuge was freely admitted to by the British Home Office and British Civil Service after Indyref1. They must now be regretting their jubilant crowing as the British State wrongly thought that the jocks were back in their shortbread tin after 18 09 2014, for at least another 20 or 30 years - like 1979 all over again. GCHQ, the HOme Office and the Civil Service saw Indyref1 (and now Indyref2) as a direct threat to (their) British State. So the British State thinks these covert ops are justifiable.

      In N Ireland the British State committed and aided and abetted in murder which it saw as a legitimate self-protection.

      The British state would love to unleash the dogs of war in Scotland too.

      But underlying all of such comments, their confusion and their fear is self-evident. Their days are numbered. The writing is on the wall. They have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.


  15. James, rather than arguing this out on social media and across other blogs/websites let's deal with this here and now then put it to bed till after Indyref2. Leaving aside the personal stuff there's 2 bones of contention.

    1. The point made by myself yesterday, drawing from Curtice's report, was that 2nd votes for the Greens didn't harm the SNP, maximised the number of pro-Indy MSPs, and didn't deny them a majority. The report says that the maximum number of MSPs the SNP could claim on the Constituency vote was 2 more taking their total to 65. You, Rev Stu, and those who agree with you, have all said 65 would be the magic number for an SNP majority government as it would give them a majority of 1.

    I disagree. In theory that is correct but the problem is that in reality there has never been a party with a majority of just 1 and IMO it would not guarantee a working majority as a non-voting Presiding Officer has to be elected. For the SNP to have a working majority of 1 they would have to find a Presiding Officer from one of the 3 Unionist parties of from one of the 2 Green MSPS (the number predicted if there hadn't been a swing to them from SNP).

    So tell me.... which of the 3 Unionist parties would have gifted the SNP a working majority able to get through all their legislation and budgets by selecting a Presiding Officer from their ranks?

    Labour? LibDems? Tories? Or would one of the 2 Greens have taken the job? You tell me. You're the one who thinks 65 MSPs would deliver a working majority. As I said I disagree. I can see no situation where the Unionists would gift this when they could prevent it by not putting forward a PO from their own ranks. Nor can I see Greens jettisoning Patrick Harvie of Alison Johnston to save the SNP's working majority.

    Because of the very specific nature of the Scottish Parliament with its non voting Presiding Officer a party would need a working majority of 2 ie a total of 66 MSPs which this report says was beyond the SNP even if the swing to the Greens hadn't materialised.

    2. Yes, I confidently predicted an overall SNP majority based on opinion polls at the time and the fact the SNP had swept 56 of 59 seats in the 2015 General Election was why. It was hardly misplaced optimism. SNP only came 2-3 seats short of this for a majority. I got that wrong and happy to admit that wrong.

    3. I refute the bollocks written about Bella being a RISE thing. It never was and never will be. I cant speak for the others but I'd guess almost every Bella board member in last few years voted SNP in the Constituency Vote. Most voted SNP or Green with 2nd vote, with one or two including Mike who voted RISE. Bella gave fair coverage to all the Indy parties.

    In 2016 I voted SNP/Green and am very happy that my 1st vote got Ben McPherson of SNP elected - he's a very good MSP - and very happy too that my 2nd Vote got Andy Wightman elected. Holyrood needs him. Win-Win. I wish you'd be honest about the diversity of views on Bella. Diversity is healthy. It's one of the very few pro-Indy sites that have a range of views from its contributors. Its a forum not one man and his blog. If that diversity displeases some SNP loyalists that's not my problem. Its the way Bella will continue: for independence, and for a left of centre socialistic Scotland after Indy.

    Like I said, get it out your system now, say what you have to say, it's water of a duck's back to me how sharp the debate gets. For the best not to drag it on. After today move on till after Indy is won. IMO Indyref2 will be called before the summer break and after that there's a job to be done, collectively.

    Kevin Williamson

    1. Have you not noticed who the presiding officer is and which party he came from? bizarre long comment you've made are you in the wrong answer but baffle them with bull-shit brigade?A majority is a majority and in a tie vote the presiding officer has the casting vote,did you not know that either?As for Bella I gave on it over a year ago as I reckoned it was a farming blog lots of it as well,on my sister's beef ranch in New South Wales there was not even that amount of Bulldust,and I've helped out there for several weeks saw a lot but nothing could equal "Bella" You say "water off of a duck's back for yourself" is it really when you spent so much effort in trying to make a silk purse from the pig's ear of "advice" given by the "Bella" blog or is that a forum?

    2. I take it there will be another Holyrood election if there is no deal on the budget?


      I hope no one voting SNP will give their second vote to the Scottish Greens after the antics of putting up a candidate in Ruth Davidson seat splitting the constituency vote, and then winning a List MSP seat!

      Also, siding with the opposition against the SNP in so many votes has put me off giving them a vote in the Local Elections in May.

    3. I do understand why you've unilaterally decided that today is the day we all have to "move on", Kevin. You clearly weren't ready to move on yesterday, so today is the next-best option. Better late than never.

    4. Don't worry, James, we know of your professionalism, and for newbies, just look at the difference in response and tone in the exchange you posted. Mr Williamsons keyboard must be covered in spittle.
      Who knows what the reason is for his suddenly even raking this history is? Whatever, he clearly forgot what was on record.
      I remember 3 people saying you can't possibly predict or game the system. Vote for who you want, but if you want an SNP majority, then it's SNPx2. Us SNP types repeated that, whilst we had to listen to this garbage about 'SNP majority will walk it, so give us your second vote'.

      The 3 writers that gave sage advice were you, WoS and Bateman.

  16. Earlier today I had a couple of comments and tried to explain how giving away our second which party vote cost us the majority,and had one of those guys telling me I was wrong and "That's a fact". I had also kept up, leading to last year's election, telling folk that first vote is for the candidate and the second for what party,and if we all gave our party vote to other parties then we would lose our majority,so many jumping on me poo-hooing what I was saying that after the election when we got more votes for the candidate vote and lots less for the party vote well hope you are all happy now and still they said they were right and that it would have been worse if they all hadn't given their vote to the "Greens",SSP,or Solidarity" they still cant see it.So I usually share your blog onward James and this time I did it an extra place or two just hoping you reinforce my similar view,thanks again for good writing you're very good "Scribe"

    1. I know not usual to reply to self but thought I should add cant manage to be gentle and nice to those that we cant educate,OK the thick,anymore they've worn out all the pity I had for so many of them.

  17. Interesting report here:

    Without the "split" vote, the SNP would have had 2 more MSPs for a total of 65, the Greens 4 less for a total of 2 MSPs.

    So instead of a pro-Indy majority of 69 to 59, the pro-indy majority would have been 67-61, with the SNP having an overall majority in Holyrood of 65 to 63.

    Labour had never had a presiding officer before, the POs were:

    1. Sir David Steel Liberal Democrats
    2. Sir George Reid Scottish National Party
    3. Sir Alex Fergusson Conservative
    4. Tricia Marwick Scottish National Party

    which would almost certainly have given:
    5. Ken Macintosh Labour

    1. Just to add - if an SNP MSP had been chosen as PO, it would have been 68 to 60 pro-Indy, and 64-64 SNP - with the SNP PO having the casting vote - usually for the status quo, but if there IS no status quo, presumably with the Government.

    2. The idea the Labour Party would have gifted the SNP a working majority of 1 by putting Ken McIntosh forward if SNP had 65 MPSs to me doesn't ring true. SLab's hatred of SNP would never have allowed that to happen. It is true that while an SNP PO could use casting vote in favour of status quo if its a 64-64 tie, this is not a working majority. PO is expected to remain neutral.

    3. The PO is also expected to break the deadlock.

      Whether or not Labour would have put someone forward is assertion both ways. In the event it was a close minority anyway, as witnessed when Dugdale missed her vote. And yet Labour put forward Macintosh, and there were others from the other parties. It seems a little churlish to point out that the Presiding Officer receives an additional £33,360.

      "Ms Smith was eliminated after the first round, while her fellow former deputy presiding officer Mr Scott was knocked out in the second round.

      Mr Macintosh secured a majority of votes in the next round, with 71 MSPs supporting him. Mr Fraser won 31 votes, and Ms Lamont 26."

      For a description of the process:

    4. The SNP, quite obviously, would not have put forward a PO candidate if they had exactly 65 MSPs. How then would Labour, or any other party, compel them to do so?

    5. Isn't the Presiding Officer (in the same way as the speaker at Westminster) compelled to break ties in a way which prolongs the debate (eg sending bills through to the next reading, etc)?

    6. You're clutching at straws here, Kevin. It's much more fanciful to suggest that the SNP would have thrown away an overall majority of 1 by putting someone up as Presiding Officer. The likelihood is that they would have been able to appeal to the vanity of an individual opposition MSP. It wouldn't necessarily have had to be approved by that person's party leadership (although the party in question would probably have embraced the upside of having the PO, knowing that they were going to be in opposition anyway).

    7. James, we could go round in circles here. You think a Unionist would have taken PO position as a vanity gig thereby giving the SNP a working majority. I disagree and think an SNP working majority would not have been obtained by 65 SNP MSPs. At best it'd be 64-64.

      So who is right?

      Since neither you nor anyone else can prove that a Unionist would've accepted the PO position, to call this Donald Trumpian "alternative facts" is hyperbole and silly.

      Unless you have some hard evidence to prove that a Unionist would gift the SNP a working majority then what I said yesterday stands: the 2 extra SNP seats would not have been enough to swing it for a working majority; and the 2nd Vote Greens maximised the pro-Indy number of MSPs and made no difference to whether SNP had a working majority of not.

      Me saying you should apologise was over the top, fair enough, given I cant prove a Unionist would've rejected the PO position. Unreservedly withdrawn.

      Hope you'll do same about that Trump alternative facts nonsense and all the anti-Bella stuff which is not just RISE. I dont even know if RISE still exists.

      On Bella, which is more important than a rammy between us I'll say this: Bella has a vital role to play indyref 2. It's not a self-congratulatory echo chamber or a one man blog. Just have a look at the list of contributors who've written for it during the last Indyref campaign and since then. We're talking 100s of contributors from well known cultural figures to international activists, Scottish lefties, Greens and SNPers. And also people like Mike Dailly: even when others were abusing him as a "nawbag". We recognised the importance of what he was doing at Govan Law Centre and his work fighting for the poor in Glasgow and had dialogue with him rather than abusing him for being Labour/No. He's Indy and Yes now.

      Basically, wind in necks, cold water on egos, move on.

      Kevin Williamson

    8. Kevin, while you're here. Have you looked through your "block list" on the Bella website, to see who and why people might have been blocked? Perhaps for arguing with the "Bella Caldedonia Editor" on points, one ironically being about being "anonymous"?

      As you say: "Basically, wind in necks, cold water on egos, move on."

    9. If you want to move on, Kevin, I don't know why you're prolonging the dispute. The point about Trump-style "alternative facts" does not hinge upon whether you can gain any traction with your straw-clutching about the Presiding Officer, but on your downright lie that there wouldn't be a majority for an independence referendum if tactical voting hadn't occurred. If Curtice has been quoted/paraphrashed correctly, he is saying there would have been a 67-62 pro-indy majority without tactical voting - which plainly couldn't have been wiped out regardless of who became Presiding Officer.

      You guys do love going on and on and on about how important Bella is, and in particular how much more important it is than mere "one-man blogs" (no sneering there, then). I've no idea whether that's true or not, but if you believe it I'd suggest you should get on with proving it. Walk the walk, don't just talk the talk.

  18. Glasgow Working Class 2January 30, 2017 at 5:10 PM

    James, strange you should use Trump Style alternative facts in your introduction. Could you explain?

    1. Get back under your stone, if you can find it.

    2. Glasgow Working Class 2January 30, 2017 at 7:05 PM

      I am sure young James has the ability to answer a reasonable question without the intervention of a far gone in the heid Nat si.

    3. Absolute bloody state of this.

  19. From the point of view of a potential IndyRef 2, it's a very good thing that there is a strong non-SNP component to the independence movement, both within and without parliament. The non-SNP involvement of organisations such as RIC, Women for Indy, Labour for Indy, the Greens etc immeasurably strengthened the Indy movement last time.

    1. Indeed, and I'm sure that diversity will be strong again.

    2. OK, yes, good - the more the better. But the time for real diversity and opposition to the SNP is AFTER independence. We must not be split over the goal, or how to get there. Otherwise we won't get there at all.

    3. Actually Yiraff, I see it the opposite way: independence is much more attainable with a diverse pro-independence movement. There are people out there (I would count myself as one) who could be persuaded to vote yes without considering themselves nationalists and who would never join the SNP. Having strong voices from other political traditions like Patrick Harvie, Andy Wightman, Cat Boyd, Eric Joyce and so on is the only way you make the pro-independence tent bigger and stronger.

    4. Glasgow Working Class 2January 30, 2017 at 6:41 PM

      You will not get there Nat si. You will make your last visit to the crematorium and Scotland will be in the Union. Up yer kilt fash.

    5. Oh dear GWC2, so pessimistic, but I feel your anguish at the wait. It is neccessary and don't despair, we'll have Independence sooner that you know and we'll all be able to have a great celebration together :-)

    6. Glasgow Working Class 2January 30, 2017 at 7:07 PM

      Optimistic! Get it right Nat si.

    7. Glasgow Working Class 2January 30, 2017 at 7:10 PM

      And the over two million not for indy.

    8. S.N.P. stands Scottish NATIONAL Party,not NationalIST.

    9. GWC2 "And the over two million not for indy"

      Don't worry, that won't last long once the reality of Hard Brexit and a lifetime of Westminster under the Tories sinks in. Glad you're now optimistic, pleased I was able to cheer you up.

      Looks like Ruth Davidson is ready to bring the Scottish Conservatives over to Independence soon. Otherwise they'll be tarred with May's brush. That'll make you even more optimistic!

    10. Glasgow Working Class 2January 30, 2017 at 7:35 PM

      Good old hard brexit if required. Scotland will stay in the union and you fash will as you do crawl tae Merkel for salvation. The EU is likely to collapse so who are you English haters going tae crawl tae next.

    11. Don't be so hard on yourself GWC2, you're always very welcome to come to Scotland, and don't believe what the rabid Express tells you! You could join English Scots for YES - they're getting bigger and bigger by the day.

      Or Women for Independence, Lab for Indy, Radical Independence, whatever takes your fancy. Or of course the SNP, you seem to be fascinated by them.

      Independence is a broad church.

    12. Glasgow Working Class 2January 30, 2017 at 8:25 PM

      Is that women for independence from West of Scotland men and the broad church.

  20. Bella aint getting another penny piece outa me that's for sure.

    1. Glasgow Working Class 2January 30, 2017 at 10:59 PM

      Bella bless her does not do frebbies.

  21. with the absurd reality of wee wullie ,look at me I am important rennie threatening to bring down scot gov perhaps the advocates of second vote rise , green ,et al are now trying to rewrite history

  22. Glasgow Working Class 2January 30, 2017 at 8:52 PM

    william purves. SNP stands for hatred of the English and selling Scotland out to the EU and the German Bundesbank.
    Real Scots with heritage should oppose the Quislings that want Scotland to be run by other countries. The SNP are traitorous scumbags. Sorry meant Nat sis.

  23. Williamson fails to account for the Green vanity candidate which drew around 13% of Edinburgh Central votes, allowing Ruth Davidson to beat the SNP candidate by 2.8% and the overall potential effect of trumpeting the idea that the SNP will walk their majority, which may have affected their overall vote count. Even though it was a little higher from the previous election and he fails to factor in any potential affect the opposite way, afforded by the defence of the SNP List vote, put up by Kelly and other bloggers. What if they hadn't put up that defence? Would the snide campaigning of the Greens, Bella and the Sunday Herald etc,been even more detrimental?

  24. ...and fundamentally....a lie is a lie.

    We mustn't distract from the essence of what Bella etc were doing.

    These types of lies are vote theft in effect.

    How could anyone defend that?

    1. Glasgow Working Class 2January 30, 2017 at 10:05 PM

      Vote theft! How can that happen in Scotland. We are a democracy!

  25. Glasgow Working Class 2January 30, 2017 at 10:35 PM

    Wee jimmy McKrankie alias Knickerless attempting to threaten the elected British State with a referendum. Her knickers must be oot drying. Call the referendum wet knickers and shut yer gub.

    1. 'Quebec City mosque attack suspect known for right-wing online posts

      The suspect in the deadly attack on a Quebec City mosque was known in the city’s activist circles as a right-wing troll who frequently took anti-foreigner and anti-feminist positions and stood up for U.S. President Donald Trump.

      Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, a student at Laval University who lived on a quiet crescent in the Cap-Rouge suburb of Quebec City, faces six counts of first-degree murder for a shooting that killed six people and wounded 19 others. Police initially arrested a person they considered a second suspect but they later backtracked, saying he was a witness.

      Mr. Bissonnette’s online profile and school friendships revealed little interest in extremist politics until last March when French nationalist leader Marine Le Pen visited Quebec City and inspired Mr. Bissonnette to vocal extreme online activism, according to people who clashed with him.'

    2. Glasgow Working Class 2January 31, 2017 at 10:49 AM

      Nationalism and religious fundamentalism is a toxic mix. Both can be the cause of death Just blame Trump as it is in fashion.