Thursday, July 16, 2020

Dialogue with the Reverend

As you may have seen, Stuart Campbell took a little time off from poker and Gaelic-bashing last night to leave a comment on this blog about his views on 'gaming the voting system', and went on to demand a point-by-point reply from me. There's been a bit of a recurring pattern in the past that if I accede to his demand for a detailed reply, he then uses the fact that I replied as evidence that I am "dementedly obsessed" with him. I asked for an assurance that he would not play the same tedious game again, and he gave it. I have every confidence he will stick to his word this time (ahem). Here goes...

"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."

But circumstances haven't changed.  The arguments against 'gaming the system' in 2011 and 2016, including the arguments that Stuart advanced himself, were based largely on the nature of the voting system and the laws of arithmetic.  Neither of those things have changed.

"The difference is that unlike Mike [Small], 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"

This appears to mean that the "changed circumstances" Stuart is referring to essentially amount to his exceptionally high opinion of himself - and, if so, a few unkind souls might say those circumstances haven't changed much either.  But he seems to be deadly serious about this point, so I'll give a serious answer.  As far as I can see, he's convinced himself that he's super-famous largely on the basis of Panelbase polling which asked the general public whether they've read or have heard of his website.  As I've explained many times before, that's the sort of question on which online polling is bound to produce a less reliable result than telephone polling, simply because volunteer online polling panels contain far more politically engaged people than you'd find among a random sample.  Every single time there's a Panelbase poll in the field, at least two or three readers of this blog mention that they were among the 1000-strong sample who took part.  The chances of that happening during the fieldwork for a telephone poll would be much slimmer - in fact, in the whole twelve years I've been blogging, I could probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of times someone has mentioned being polled by telephone.  Conclusion: people who respond to online polls are considerably more likely to have heard of Scot Goes Pop than the population at large, which almost certainly means they're considerably more likely to have heard of Wings too.  In a nutshell, Stuart has a distorted notion of his own fame due to polling numbers that he should have taken with a heavy dose of salt.

"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."

The "either of us" refers to himself and Alex Salmond.  Many people will be utterly incredulous that he's mentioning himself in the same breath as the former First Minister of Scotland, but that does seem to genuinely be the current state of his thinking.  All I can say is that, to put it mildly, I disagree with him that his own name recognition is even vaguely comparable with Mr Salmond's.

"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."

That's a straw man argument on a couple of counts.  Firstly, if he's read what I've written on this subject (and presumably he's implying that he has) he'll know that, far from being complacent, I've repeatedly stressed that an inflated SNP lead is unlikely to come through a bruising election campaign totally unscathed.  It's also the case that I was one of the few people in 2016 itself who flagged up the danger that the SNP might lose their overall majority if they shed too many list votes.  That warning was greeted with disbelief in many quarters.

But the more important point is that the dangers of mucking about with attempts to game the system would be much greater if the SNP poll lead dips sharply.  Stuart seems to be implying that we should be more willing to take risks with the pro-indy majority if the polls tighten, whereas self-evidently the reverse is true.

"This isn't a very remarkable opinion - you completely agree with it in principle, and you think it could work for Salmond"

I've said that it might work for Alex Salmond due to the public's massive familiarity with him, but that it would not work for any other person I can think of.  To characterise that crystal-clear assessment as "you agree in principle that a Wings party would work apart from some minor detail" is so grossly misleading as to be indistinguishable from outright dishonesty.

"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."

This is something I've noticed with Stuart before - when he imagines Scotland, he imagines a pub full of male, working-class football supporters.  A very substantial minority of the Scottish electorate does indeed look like that - but the operative word is "minority".  As it happens, though, I think Stuart is getting a bit muddled here.  I believe he's harking back to the iScot article from a few months ago that he had such a meltdown over.  As far as I can recall, what I actually said in that article is that Stuart's online persona would make it difficult for the SNP to work with him if he held the balance of power at Holyrood.  I do not regard that scenario as remotely likely or even plausible, but the point I was making is that if it does happen, that could lead to the SNP doing a deal with a unionist party instead - which would be the worst of all worlds.

Oh, and you'll note that having previously mentioned himself in the same breath as Alex Salmond, he's now doing it again with Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and Donald Trump.  No comment.

"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."

Count your blessings, sunshine.  I could have compared you to David Leask.


  1. I will use my second vote to support a new independence party. I do so because I don't believe the leadership of the SNP is fully committed to delivering independence as quickly as they could, and because I want to ensure that the rights of women are defended.

    I agree that a new party may increase or decrease the number of pro-independence members in the Scottish Parliament, although the amount it could decrease representation would be small, and the number it could increase could be great. I agree that the numbers alone are not justification for SNP supporters to vote for a different party.

    There are three issues to consider: what is the best way to achieve independence, how can we guarantee the rights of women and how can we secure a pro-independence majority at Holyrood.

    Why are the SNP not launching a legal challenge to the UK Government's refusal to grant a Section 30? Is a section 30 even necessary? Why not press the issue? Why was there so little support for the various independence marches?

    Why are SNP MPs taking part in debates and joining committees at Westminster? Why not disrupt everything? Why not say 'if you don't recognize our democracy, we won't recognize yours'?

    Like Rev Stu, I would say that circumstances have changed. My belief that the SNP is committed to delivering independence for Scotland has been challenged, and the threat to the rights of women has grown. I care about independence and not the SNP, and that's why I will support a pro-independence alternative (almost certainly ISP).

    1. The reason the SNP hasn't mounted a legal challenge is because a S30 has not actually been formally applied for nor refused.
      You're right though that a section 30 is not necessary.
      Too many people have swallowed the nonsense that it's a prerequisite for Indyref2. As for the AUOB marches. They were the peoples marches not any one party's. The SNP Leaders were right to leave them to yessers on the ground. Local SNP MP's and MSPs attended many.
      They got that right in my view.
      Also showing your hand too early only helps the unionists.
      I thought that would have been obvious to you.

    2. I would like to hear all the manifestos these new parties are puting forward, if any. An election is for someone to govern the country, not for playtime politics

  2. When I share this it looks insignificant next to other post and tweets because it lacks a pic!

  3. I have not yet seen any evidence to suggest that one or more new list parties would gain sufficient seats to make the gamble worthwhile. I haven't heard any new list party state that if its opinion polling is low in the run up to election it would withdraw. People are entitled to vote for whoever they like as a protest vote but that is really what seems to be going on.

  4. I have heard of Mr Campbell, and I am entirely not bothered by a bit of swearing. Under no circumstances will he get my vote. His participation in an election would only sow division whilst providing a nice easy target for the media.

  5. Sadly Wings has become less about Independence and more about pulling down the SNP and for that reason alone I would not vote for a Wings Party. Given the clique who now dominate and critique the posts I would be concerned about the standard of candidates that would be offered for election.
    I still value the well researched articles but that is very, very different from supporting a political party.

  6. Alliance for Independence needs to head off ISP and a Wings Party committed to causing anti-SNP division if the aim of maxing the numbers of YES supporting MSPs is to happen.
    The devil you know is looking more attractive right now.
    Voting blind could be disastrous IMO.

  7. Oh James. No, the notion that Wings has relatively high recognition with the Scottish public is NOT based on one opinion poll. That poll just put some numbers on it.

    - it's based on the fact that it was the lead item on the national TV news for several nights when I sued Kezia Dugdale.

    - it's based on the fact that we were the front-page story on several newspapers for days and all over broadcast media when the BBC shut down our YouTube account.

    - it's based on the *dozens and dozens and dozens* of stories about us in the national media when we just passingly SUGGESTED the idea of MAYBE starting a list party, which then got picked up in a two-page personal profile piece in The Times.

    - it's based on countless variants on "vile cybernats" stories splashed all over the press, especially when I got arrested on ridiculous trumped-up charges that were later dropped for being a fabricated absurdity.

    - it's based on many, many stories in the media about my Twitter accounts being banned.

    - it's based on the fact that not far short of a MILLION people read a book we wrote for the indyref.

    - it's based on the fact that Wings has raised just shy of a MILLION pounds in seven years despite just being a wee blog that's not even based in Scotland.

    Etc etc etc.

    None of the above proves that I'm a super guy - much of it claims the opposite. None of it proves that people would vote for a party I started. But what it proves beyond a scintilla of doubt is that A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE HEARD OF WINGS OVER SCOTLAND, and "being known at all" is the key hurdle that most small list parties fail to clear.

    It's legitimately hilarious that you pretend not to know that, and that that's the precise and pertinent difference between us and RISE, the ISP, the Alliance and any others that show up, and that you equate that with the fact that you might be able to get a few people to recognise SGP if you polled about it.

    I'm not in Alex Salmond's *galaxy* recognition-wise, but I'm not talking about being First Minister. I'm talking about the country's most-read politics website being able to get a minority of list votes from Yes supporters who know they'll otherwise be wasted. It really isn't the ludicrously impossible fantasy you'd like to imagine it is.

    1. The ego of this man is breathtaking. If you ask someone who the leader of the Labour Party in Scotland was before Leonard, a good percentage would correctly identify Dugdale. If you ask who took her to court and lost, you'll be met with blank stares.

      If Stu is so confident that he is recognised, then let him ask a REAL polling question. Let him ask the question that James has suggested, rather than the nonsensical "lead me up the garden path" type questions he has asked to date.

    2. Stu, your credibility was shot to shit as soon as you began silencing commenters on your site if they didn't agree with you. Shutting down debate with those that don't agree with you seems to be your modus operandi so, I don't see how people at large would seriously consider voting for someone like that.

    3. You are nothing more than a pound shop Kevin Williamson.

    4. Lost me when you called me / Scots a cowards and England brave when it's the latter being the cowardly bully terrified of indy, hence no Section 30.

      What a lot of shite.

      Why not just say you like living in England / being English (in the civic nationalist sense)?

      Nothing wrong with that. I'm Scottish and Irish.

    5. Ah, the same old story - in the space of moments I'm getting slagged off for (a) silencing dissent and (b) having a comments section full of unsilenced dissent ("Unionist trolls"). Hey ho.

    6. "None of it proves that people would vote for a party I started."

      Exactly, so what was the point of your post?

      You have provided zero evidence that a party started by you is likely to win even a single list seat. Recognition alone is not enough, and frankly the recognition you have had in the public eye is hardly that which paints you in a very good light. It therefore does not lend credence to your assertion that a Wings Party would accumulate the necessary number of votes.

    7. Really, Stu? My point is an absolute fact and you say that I'm slagging you off? Get a grip, pal.

    8. "If you ask someone who the leader of the Labour Party in Scotland was before Leonard, a good percentage would correctly identify Dugdale."

      Oh mate. As polling indicates, 60%+ of Scots couldn't identify Leonard himself, let alone who his predecessor was.

    9. i stand corrected. 60% of Scots couldn't identify Leonard, and presumably Dugdale's public profile is even smaller. If there was a poll asking folk to identify the bloke who sued Dugdale, what sort of percentage would that yield? 2%? 3%?.

      Your ego is massive mate, much much bigger than your name recognition among folk who aren't in your circle of fawning admirers.

      You ran a poll, asking leading questions which were risible, and you STILL didn't get the figures that you were looking for, did you Stu?

      Face it mate, you are an Englishman (in terms of voting rights), who will struggle to garner 0.5% of the vote in whatever region you stand in, just as the RISE Party did in 2016.

      As you said in 2015 in your blog AMS For Lazy People", you are embarking on a "mug's game" which is going to "make a chump out of you".

      You had the opportunity to conduct an honest poll, but your naked ambition got in the way.....

    10. Yawn. Get back to trying to entrap people into jail, mate.

    11. "Yawn"?? This blog must be really frustrating for you eh, wee man? Unlike the sycophant circle that your blog has become, you don't get to shut down opposing comments by blocking them. You don't get the last word here. Your arguments have to stand on their own, because this isn't your bully pulpit.

      The point being made about name recognition is valid, and your comments about 60% not recognising Leonard merely emphasise the point. If 60% can't identify Leonard, then The number who can't identify Dugdale has to be higher, right?

      And if HER recognition is low, how much lower is the recognition of the egomaniac who took her to court and failed?

      Put you money where your mouth is, wee man, do some honest polling outside your own little bubble, and we'll see how many people will vote for Wings.

      I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark, and say 2% ......

    12. How very intriguing that you made no attempt to deny that.

  8. Raznol is a blogbag.

  9. I’ve found this whole debate very frustrating.

    There are quite obviously serious political cleavages within the independence movement along twos axes - the urgency of a second indyref/action to push for indy and over social liberalism or woke/non-woke.

    These divides probably split the pro-indy electorate down the middle, but one side is completely unrepresented. It’s totally justified that the indy hardliners and anti-woke yes supporters should have some representation of their own. I would myself consider such a party if it looked electorally viable - and I’d feel more enthusiastic about voting for it than the SNP.

    But the people calling for a new party have focussed their arguments for a split on this disingenuous ‘gaming the system’ arguement, leaving the actual political reasons for wanting a new party in tiny text at the bottom of their messages. It’s very frustrating.

  10. I'm conflicted by this issue. The idea of picking up list seats seems like a no brainer but the comments btl on Wings makes me think twice. Why are loads of obvious Unionist trolls in the comments backing the idea?

    1. They're on here too. Presumably funded by Bojo's £5m unionist internet fund.

  11. 'Scotland is a cowardly country, so I live in brave England, vote Wings!'

    Sorry, but this isn't a seller for me. It's not even true (British England refused the Section 30 so is the cowardly country without doubt), never mind how insulting it is to voters, especially those who voted Yes (which a majority of Scottish nationals / Scots born did in 2014) or are ready to cross the floor.

    The papers will make it front page.

    Fuck all to do with swearing.

    1. When did you become such an idiot, seriously? The people of England collectively voted for what they saw as their independence, however stupid a decision you or I might think that is. The people of Scotland bottled it. And it wasn't English voters who refused a Section 30, it was Theresa May and Boris Johnson. Most English folk don't really care much either way if Scotland stays or goes, as numerous polls have shown.

    2. I'm not an Englishman (by your own civic definition) calling the Scots electorate cowards from the south of England. Forgive me if I think such a person fronting a pro-indy party is a not a wise idea. I imagine if Salmond did the same, he’d drop rather quickly in people’s esteem.

      Why not just say you like living in England and being English? Should all Yes voters just move out of Scotland because it's 'cowardly'. Sorry, but that’s utter shite. It’s a pathetic, shitty excuse.

      As noted previously, a majority of those in Scotland who identify as Scottish / were Scottish born voted Yes. A majority of those who identify as English / English nationals voted No. I'm a firm believer in all residents getting a vote, but let’s not be silly about what was the factual case in terms of people's national identity / nationality (which is normally conferred by CoB). And as for British identifying, how is voting for the union cowardly?

      Refusing a Section 30 was in the Tory manifesto and polls show there's good support for it.

      I've no issues with your blog nor your other social media. It's up to folk to visit and read. However, if I'm going give short shrift to other Englishmen (by free choice) popping on Scots forums / blogs to tell us cowardly jocks how to vote, then I’ll be doing the same for you.

    3. What do you imagine my "civic definition" of people's nationality is? As far as I'm concerned if you live in Scotland AND WANT TO BE CONSIDERED SCOTTISH then you are. I would never force anyone merely *resident* in Scotland to adopt Scottish nationality if they didn't want to. As for me, I'm a Scottish person who lives in England UNTIL such times as Scots collectively grow a pair and take responsibility for their own country. You calling me English against my will is just an ugly display of blood-and-soil nationalism and I want no part of it.

    4. "as Scots collectively grow a pair and take responsibility for their own country."

      If you are including all voting residents of Scotland here, then you are English by the same definition.

      You can't pick and choose as suits. If you are defining yourself as Scottish living in England, you have to define English/Brits living in Scotland as that. In which case, 'Scots' voted Yes so can't be cowards. And Brits can't be either as they vote for their country. Only the English could be cowards having voted No, yet you claim they're the brave ones.

    5. No, I don't. YOU do, because you're fundamentally a blood-and-soil racist. If an English person moves to Scotland, as far as I'M concerned it's 100% up to them whether they want to consider themselves English or Scottish, not to me or you or anyone else.

    6. It's you calling English people in Scotland 'Scots' as per my quote from you.

      Which they are in the civic nationalist 'citizen' / voting sense. To be a citizen you don't need to be a national.

      People from across the UK have identical rights in Scotland. Even EU citizens have full Scottish rights (or used to); it's only British rights they're denied. They're all Scottish citizens, which is why I understood you called them 'Scots' and 'the people of Scotland' etc.

      If you don't see English, Welsh etc in Scotland as 'Scots who in majority voted No in 2014', but only Scottish born or identifying as that (as you describe yourself), then, by your definition, 'Scots' voted Yes in 2014 and so are not cowards.

      You can't have it both ways.

      And I'm not forcing anything on anyone. You've chosen to live in England and so become an English citizen. I'm not forcing any national identity on you; that's your choice too. You are a Scottish national (as you state) and English citizen (by domicile).

      If you say 'The Scots voted No so are cowards', then you must include yourself as English in 'The English voted Tory and Brexit so are racist wanks' etc.

    7. If you want to keep it simple:

      "as Scots collectively grow a pair and take responsibility for their own country."

      Define what you mean by 'Scot' here, then apply the same definition to 'English', then we have a definition of what you are and we can conclude this matter.

    8. "And I'm not forcing anything on anyone. You've chosen to live in England and so become an English citizen."

      There's no such thing as an "English citizen". I am legally a citizen of the UK resident in England. I consider myself Scottish because I consider Scotland to be a nation but that's only true in certain limited senses of the word and is rather at the heart of why we're fighting for independence.

      Am I really going to have to spell out the meaning of the word "collectively" to you? Jesus. You used to be quite intelligent, but look at you now, saying everyone who voted Leave is a "racist wank". It's a sad sight to behold, truly it is.

    9. Why are you avoiding my question? Are insults all you have? When you say 'Scotland is a cowardly country / Scots need to grow a pair', define 'Scots'.

      This isn't difficult. I assumed you meant everyone living and voting here. That's what I mean in my posts unless otherwise specified. When I say 'Scots voted SNP in 2016' or 'Scots voted No in 2014', I'm including everyone here with voting rights. These are Scottish citizens.

      a person who is a member of a particular country and who has rights because of being born there or because of being given rights, or a person who lives in a particular town or city

      If you are saying that the voters of Scotland = Scots = cowards, then you are defining yourself as English (an English citizen) by the same measure.

      If 'the Scots voted No in 2014', then you are counted as English in 'the English voted for Brexit'.

      Which is all I said; you are an English citizen by the standard definition, and the definition of I believed you were using.

      However, it seems you might be basing that on country of birth and or naitonal identity. If so, Scots voted Yes in 2014 ergo can't be cowards.

      So, are you English and the Scots are cowards or are you Scottish and the Scots voted Yes? Which is it? Pick your definition and stick to it.

    10. I can happily answer that question when you've provided the necessary data, namely how many of the English-born people resident in Scotland consider and identify themselves as Scottish, and how many consider themselves simply to be English people resident in Scotland, ie the converse of myself.

    11. as Scots collectively grow a pair and take responsibility for their own country.

      That's me I understand.

      The people of England [the English] collectively voted for what they saw as their independence

      That's you is it not?

    12. And are you not a coward for voting against what 'the people of England collectively saw as their independence'?

      If No voters in Scotland are cowards, then surely Remain voters in England are too? Again by your definitions / logic.

    13. You berate people who moved to Scotland from England for voting No, calling them cowards. Yet you moved to England and voted Remain, while saying voting leave was the brave option. Surely you are therefore a coward?

      Sorry, but this all seems like a lot of shite from you.

      I suspect you just like living in Bath and can't say that for 'business reasons', which is pretty pathetic. And cowardly.

      I can certainly see why some say you are just a unionist troll. Or at least one of these is pretending to be the man I met many years ago on a march in Edinburgh.

    14. "I can happily answer that question when you've provided the necessary data, namely how many of the English-born people resident in Scotland consider and identify themselves as Scottish, and how many consider themselves simply to be English people resident in Scotland, ie the converse of myself."

      Such data is not to hand. However, it's irrelevant to the crux of discussion.

      So, when you say 'Scots are cowards', do you mean everyone voting here (English, Welsh etc included), ergo you are are English by the same definition, or only those who nationally identify mainly as Scottish?

      The latter voted Yes 60-87% Yes, so can't be cowards.

      So, we are back to you calling the Brits and English folk here cowards. But how can a brit be a cowards for voting for Britain? That reduces things to 'English folk in Scotland who don't identify as Scottish' who mainly voted no and so are therefore the 'cowards' you don't want to live alongside.

      Which is the equivalent of you and your Remain vote in Bath, which was against the 'bravery of voting for English indy [brexit]' you have talked about.

    15. "Yet you moved to England and voted Remain"

      Guess again.

    16. You voted leave? I stand corrected on that particular point if so.

      However, I thought you were not English? If you are not even a tiny bit English, why are you making decisions on their independence / governance? You berated Sturgeon for interfering in their brexit decision, yet you - self declared 'I am not English but Scottish!' actually tried to influence the outcome of their 'indyref' by voting in it?

      And you did so stating you'd move to Scotland in an instant if, as a result of brexit, it went for indy. So you've pushed brexit on England without even a firm intention to remain there?

      If you abstained, then I concede on this of course. It's what I'd have done if I didn't see myself as a committed citizen of the country I was residing in, but likely just there in passing.

      If I had moved to England and was committed to my life their as an English citizen, at least for the foreseeable, then I'd have felt comfortable having my say.

    17. I detailed my vote and my reasons for it at length at the time. If you're too lazy to do your research I don't really give a toss.

    18. Small matter as it is, your position on this is perfectly clear and reasonable, Skier, and Stu's double-standard sophistry doesn't stand up to any scrutiny, no matter how often he repeats it. He used to be much, much better than this. (And firing into the enemy besides.)

    19. A quick search and you posted your intent to take part in the democratic process once again as an English citizen, albeit that might be to draw a penis on the ballot paper.

      I genuinely don't understand why that factual description seems to annoy you. If I move to France and start exercising the rights of a French citizen, I don't mind being described as that, which is a correct description with respect to the political process.

    20. I don't give a toss what YOU mind being described as, buddy.

  12. It would be good if we got the chance to vote for some real nationalists who were willing to burn the EU Magic Carpet. Things may have got worse under Sturgeon's reign but the anti-nationalist “freeze-out” culture was begun by Salmond. It would be good if Messrs Fairlie and Sillars endorsed a few (somewhat younger) candidates to stand directly against the SNP. Let's see how things would go with an honest public vote.
    And if the SNP incumbents were knocked down they might then in turn displace out-and-out Unionists from the list.
    So how about that James? Or are you just going to censor my post again?

    1. It's getting increasingly hard these days to separate the satirical from the serious. I suppose you could always start your own "Self-righteous Unionists for Indy" party. Should attract another handful of votes away from the SNP. You're all getting desperate enough these days.

  13. Another union dividend.

    North Channel submarine near-miss endangered ferry passengers

  14. I am not like Christine Glurt. I would never reveal my modus operandi.

  15. Haud up!

    See if you don't like this blog and the things it writes, or even if you don't like James on a personal level (even though you probably haven't met him irl), then YOU DON'T NEED TO READ THIS BLOG.

    If you think James is talking utter pish, then you don't need to keep reading it. You can write your own blog or read ANOTHER blog (whether thats Wings, Wee Ginger Dug, or anything you fancy) or tweet folk.

    Aw the shenanigans in these comments here are totally futile, and extremely childish to be honest. You're not going to stop James from blogging, and you're certainly not going to change his mind by digitally shouting him down.

    1. Um, thanks for the permission, buddy. If a blog has a comments section, people get to post comments on it. I haven't seen ANYONE trying to "stop James from blogging", and I'm certainly not. I do reserve the right to respond occasionally and correct a few unfortunate untruths when he posts 30+ blogs ABOUT ME in the space of a few months, though.


    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. stu, have you been got at? you talk of your popularity but then insult and bann your long time followers? (nana) you allow quite clearly unionist trolls to bad mouth the snp and insult your long term followers with childish insults. see roberto on todays blog. if you are still so popular, why do you no longer publish traffic stats. i think your star is falling

    5. your argument about voting for an indy list party because of the electoral arithmetic falls down when you encourage the anti snp posts on your own blog. you simply come across as anti snp, the electoral engine of the yes movement. your argument for snp voters to lend you their vote on the list fails when you then stab them in the back. I think an indy list party could succeed but not one that has anything to do with wings

    6. The Rev is as popular as rectal cancer. As he'll find out when his party falls flat on its face at the election. Which will no doubt result in another of his comically petulant wee tantrums.

    7. "if a blog has a comments section, people get to post comments on it"

      Really? Even your blog? Does this mean that you've changed you mind and you are going to unblock everyone who has disagreed with you over the last couple of years?

      How many people are blocked from posting on the comments section of your blog, Stu? 1000? 2000? More than 2000?

      You are such a hypocrite!

  16. Oh, and I nearly overlooked this, but:

    "Stuart Campbell took a little time off from poker and Gaelic-bashing last night"

    As far as I'm able to ascertain, the last mention of Gaelic on Wings was in April 2018, a full *two-and-a-quarter years* ago. Lordy.

    1. Oooh, touchy. And how long since you did it on social media? Your attitude to your tweets is like a cheating husband's attitude to one-night stands - "oh, those don't count".

    2. Gaelic bashing is a more than unfortunate pastime Stu

  17. Surely there is a simple way to settle the argument. Both you and Stuart are fond of commissioning polls. So why don't you both agree on a specific question(s) regarding who you would vote for on the list in the Holyrood 2021 election:

    Liberal Democrat
    Alex Salmond Scottish Independence Party
    Wings Over Scotland Sweary Independence Party

    I'm sure people on here would be happy to fund such a poll.

    1. 'Sir' John CurtassJuly 16, 2020 at 1:11 PM

      I feel that such a poll could only be organised by someone with substantial psephological gravitas.

    2. I know what questions I want to ask, in what order and when. I intend to stick to that plan. But it does rather surprise me that having demanded SO aggressively and repeatedly that such a question should be asked, James hasn't done so while commissioning his own polls. As far as I can see the fundraisers have been oversubscribed, so he's got the money to do it if it's so very important to his argument.

    3. we will see how far your star has fallen the next time you crowd fund stu

    4. I'm quite sure that we will, dear, IF I ever crowdfund again. I certainly have upset a lot of SNP diehards by telling them the truth. Lucky I was never in this for the money, eh?

    5. Care to release your recent site stats, Stu? You used to be very forthright about those.

      Not so healthy these days, I reckon, and that's even with all those Unonist trolls you've attracted like flies to shite, and that everybody but you seems to notice whenever any of us bothers to take a dip in your polluted waters.

    6. Given that we've been on holiday for most of the year, with a total of just 19 posts in February, March and April (almost all of those the weekly cartoon) congratulations on your amazing deduction, Miss Marple.

    7. Constantine MudgeJuly 16, 2020 at 4:26 PM

      One would hope that on such occasions you would be minded to favour our classical sites with the beneficial aspects of your presence. I would make the modest and humble request that you would allow your entourage to partake of the traditions and products of this far-flung domain, thereby to supplement the vitality of our quotidian lives and encourage the fructification of local enterprise.

    8. I assume that's the royal "we" there.

      With all that time on our (not the royal "our") hands, your stats could even have gone up, if you had bothered to rise to the historic occasion of the current crisis instead of taking a "holiday" (which is one way, I suppose, of calling a massive huff at most of the rest of the pro-indy world). Though you seem busy enough at the moment indulging your spat on here and WoS.

      UKGov, ongoing Brexitomania and the BritNat media haven't exactly gone away, and we (not the royal "we") could really have done with your undoubted talents exposing their continuing mendacity (besides what they're doing for themselves at the daily briefings).

      Such a waste of an opportunity, and all because of what?

      Still, Nicola seems to be doing fairly well without your help anyway. But a shame all round all the same.

    9. "But it does rather surprise me that having demanded SO aggressively and repeatedly that such a question should be asked, James hasn't done so while commissioning his own polls."

      I've no idea why it "rather surprised" you, given that I very openly and transparently posted about why I had decided not to do that.

    10. ertainly have upset a lot of SNP diehards by telling them the truth. Lucky I was never in this for the money, eh?

      except for the £1,000,000 you fleeced out of them, will you be returning this charlatan?

    11. RevStu
      Lucky I was never in this for the money, eh?


      person who boasts about having loads of money says they ain't init for the money

    12. "you had bothered to rise to the historic occasion of the current crisis instead of taking a "holiday""

      The food here is terrible, and such small portions!

    13. You get that my money and Wings' money aren't the same thing, right?

  18. Big Eater From PerthJuly 16, 2020 at 1:25 PM

    I will offer this observation from one of my acolytes:

    "I was called a “Tory Troll” and a “Rat Bastard” sent to cause division for identifying the obvious over a forum yesterday. The cultists don’t have the brain capacity to accept any criticism of the great leader which I find disturbing in a country as small as Scotland. Maybe it’s a construct of modern society where people cannot accept any form of criticism, constructive or otherwise without going on the defensive. I was listening to some psychologist the other day explaining this phenomenon as a form of ‘covert narcissism’ which has also given rise to global movements like ‘Me too’ and ‘BLM’; that’s not to say these are not topics worthy of debate (before anyone lashes out)."

    Kelly delenda est!

  19. In 2016 the SNP in southern Scotland managed 3 list seats the tories 2 , if in 2021 the Labour votes falls to their current polling % and their voters vote as unionists for the tories that coupled with other new indy parties splitting the vote could lose the indy majority at Holyrood .

  20. The Very Rev Mike SmallJuly 16, 2020 at 2:22 PM

    I don't suppose I could tempt you to a Scottish Republican Party or an asparagus sandwich?

  21. I've said this on Stu Campbell's site, and I'm repeating it here. You're not getting independence over the line until you include small c conservatives, moral traditionalist, in the mix, and quite frankly, the attitude of most nationalists is "we don't want YOUR dirty votes". Stu Campbell hasn't put it in those terms, but he's on to something all the same. People won't vote for an independent Scotland if they think they're not going to be welcome in it, and this is where James Kelly's entire position collapses. He simply will not give any weight to the problem people have with the trans lobby, but nobody with any degree of independent thought or self-respect is going to be told that left is right or up is down or black is white. They just won't, and if people refuse to take this seriously, they're going to pay the price at the polls. It's part of the same superior, Hegelian, "we'll take it from here" attitude that put Donald Trump in the White House, and will do so again in November.

    1. But independence should have nothing to do with trans rights.

      Independence is about the type of democracy we want to live in.

      Whether we want to have sovereignty for ourselves or if we cede sovereignty to the UK (with no effective mechanism to control/assert it).

    2. Yes, GRA has naff all to do with indy. It's an issue as part of the UK just as it would be in an indy Scotland.

      As a scientist, I actually agree with many of the points Wings made on the issue. However, I see it as a domestic legislation debate and it's highly unlikely to decide how people vote in iref2.

      In discussions about indy with Yes/No/Mibbies, I hear about the economy, sovereignty, covid, democracy, national identity, brexit etc, but not once has anyone mentioned GRA reform.

    3. Even BoJo though was astute enough to drop GRA like a hot potato down south. No need to offer unnecessary hostages to fortune, especially among the many small-c conservative voters.

      But basically though you are right.

    4. The #LGBTQ 'lobby' has nothing to do with 'left' or 'right' and everything to do with treating ALL people with decency and respect, even the ones that if you had your way you would execute.

  22. The problem with all of this is that it's all based on speculation.

    No one knows if an Indy List Party will either increase or decrease the number of Indy MSPs in Holyrood.

    And thus an endless debate ensues.

    My solution: put it to the test.

    -:- if James (say) thinks an Indy List Party will not get over 5%, then there is no reason to oppose it because it'll have no real effect

    -:- if Wings (say) thinks an Indy List Party will exceed 5% then launch it because it will definitely increase indy MSPs at Holyrood

    So it's a win-win scenario for all - the experiment either fails miserably or succeeds hugely.

    (The only downside is if the SNP losing <5% on the list impacts their MSPs numbers - anyone got any analysis on that?)

    my tuppence

  23. I think the important question in all of this is:

    just how sensitive is the number of SNP list MSPs to changes in the list percentage they receive?

    Does a 1% decrease in the list result in losing 2 MSPs? Or does it have no effect?

    It's probably a difficult question to answer because it'll need to be analysed per region, rather than over Scotland as a whole.

    Anyone able to carry out that analysis? I think that's really what this debate is about, ie the rate of change of SNP list MSPs with respect to changes in the list % vote share.

    my tuppence

  24. I have been an SNP voter for nigh on 40 years but am finding the current leadership too prone to permitting mixed messages which tend to prefer a safety first attitude over core values. My recent thinking has been to support a new indy list party, but that decision would need to be heavily caveated with a decent level of respectability and seriousness in the leadership of such a new party/alliance/group.

    If Stuart Campbell believes that he offers either of those caveats then he is sadly mistaken. Don't get me wrong, I think that his Wee Blue Book was as close to genius as any stroke pulled in the 2014 referendum campaign. However almost nobody – in the real world that is – associates Stuart Campbell with that publication. I personally know many dyed-in-the-wool independence voters who I have mentioned Campbell or Wings to in reference to some point of discourse or other and almost 100% of them have responded with blank looks. They generally know the Wee Blue Book but beyond that they are oblivious. He is not a personality.

    Stuart Campbell exists in an online echo chamber where adulation is the norm. The responses to many of his posts are fawning to the point of being almost sickening. Of course, someone can start to believe their own press – especially if that press is regulated by their own keyboard.

    I regularly read Stuart Campbell as it would be unfair of me to hold a current opinion on him if I did not stay abreast of his output. Also, it is never wise to cover one's ears and shout "nah, nah, I can't hear you" just because the author might offer opinions beyond one's own orbit. It is because I read him that I believe much of his output to be counter-productive to the cause of independence and potentially toxic. He causes people to question core principles on the flimsiest of pretexts due to his pathological hatred for the current leadership of the SNP because they have not acted in a manner commensurate with his modus operandum and the whole self-identification issue has jumped straight down one of his own rabbit holes. Moreover, he attacks other pro-indy writers with equal venom as he would a Unionist scribe. This is not someone to follow.

    Stuart Campbell would be an ever-giving gift to the Unionist media if he would become mainstream. It is the very fact that he is not the personality who he imagines himself to be that keeps the column inches against him in the SMSM to a bare minimum. If he was to become more prominent then he would be the point of attack for every journalist in the business as they know all too well that he is very much a "light blue touch-paper and stand back" kind of guy!

    A completely random thought just occurred to me. What price that GWC is an alter ego of Stuart Campbell?

    1. A completely random thought just occurred to me. What price that GWC is an alter ego of Stuart Campbell?

      Not completely random. GWC is usually all over these comments, apart from when RevStu is around.

    2. I am not a prick and leave you Nat zi girls to have your fun.

  25. This whole debate can be summarised as follows:
    1 - Many people believe the SNP is too cautious and are squandering the political opportunity of Boris Johnson and Brexit's unpopularity. It is obvious that the SNP leadership has no plan B, nor has ever thought about one.
    2 - This group of people believe that the SNP needs a kick up the arse.
    3 - This group also believes that a new party, focused on its core independence mission, can put pressure on the SNP to refocus.
    4 - The quirk of the AMS system is that giving your regional vote to a party other than the SNP can (not will) reduce the number of Unionist MSP in parliament and increase the influence of independence supporters in Parliament.
    5 - The threshold to have any MSP elected on the list is about 6%. In order to make a real difference to the numbers of pro-Indy MSP elected you have to be polling at around 12%, ie: within one or two percent of the Unionist parties you seek to displace.
    6 - So far all the chat has been about Indy supporters giving their second vote to the New Party rather than the SNP, rather on the New Party's.own merits. This was the tactic of RISE and also the Greens to an extent. Nobody ever suggested that that was gaming the system. A New Party without its own platform of policies distinct from the SNP other than indy would be gaming the system.
    8 - Between 0 and 12% there's a high (more than 50%) chance that the number of pro-indy MSP is less than at present. See 2016 results. Aside: SNP 2016 and 2017 campaigns were run very badly possibly because of hubris from 2015.
    9 - To get to 12%, overtaking the LibDems and approaching Labour, the New Party will need: a motivated & organised activist base, be well-funded, a set of properly thought out policies beyond Indy,a charismatic & competent leader, and time to establish themselves in the minds of voters.
    10 - None of the New Parties or a notional Wings Party can check off more than one of these items on the list, nor do they have much chance of that within the 10mo before the election.
    11 - No one outside of the SNP, other than Alex Salmond has any chance of being the charismatic & competent leader for the New Party.
    12 - Therefore it would require a split within the SNP of some real big names to have a chance of a credible New Party. They would still have no money, no organisation and little time to establish themselves.
    13 - Alex Salmond is yesterday's man. He achieved much for Scotland and the SNP but his active frontline politics days are over. He'd have to spend more than half his time defending himself from things that he was found innocent of already.

    1. The above would be a compelling case if the Brexit Party didn't exist. It had precisely none of the attributes you list as necessary for a decent showing. It wasn't even really a party at all. It had one policy, no activist base, and it came into being about 10 minutes before an election that it didn't just get a modestly respectable showing in, it actually WON it.

    2. There’s a few important caveats here Stu:

      Firstly, BXP had Nigel Farage - one of the most recognisable and effective politicians of the past decade.

      It’s predecessor in UKIP had basically imploded - while the SNP was alive and well.

      The European elections are usually seen as a ‘free hit’ with few practical consequences in the UK - giving people license to vote for the sorts of parties they wouldn’t normally touch in domestic parliamentary contests.

      Those factors ensured it got attention and was taken seriously.

    3. And you don't think a list vote where SNP votes will count for effectively zero is also a "free hit"?

      Farage wasn't sufficiently "recognisable and effective" to win a seat at Westminster despite countless attempts. But he WAS known, and voters understand that there are different circumstances in different elections, which is my point.

      Would a Wings Party, or maybe even a Salmond Party, win many/any seats in a head-to-head constituency battle against the SNP? No. But that's not what they're seeking. They're looking to make use of votes which people would otherwise be wasting. They're asking for much less.

    4. @RevStu

      Thanks for the reply.

      The success of the Brexit Party is undoubtedly the model to examine closely but I think that you are not recognising the significance of several things that which contributed to their success:
      1 - Nigel Farage was Mr Brexit thanks to UKIP and the BBC. Nobody comes close to that level of access in the context of Scottish politics.
      2 - Nigel Farage spent years drumming up support and funding for his ideas. He was very well funded by wealthy people who had previously funded the Tory Party. I dont see anyone on the horizon to spend £2-5M on setting up a party and fighting a Scottish General election.
      3 - The press is owned by people who were supportive of the aims of Brexit, if not Nigel Farage and the BXP itself. Scottish independence has no such support. In addition BXP ran a very sophisticated and targeted Internet campaign. Scottish Independence would need to better that to overcome the former, at a time where there is greater scrutiny of online political campaigning.

      I do think that the SNP needs a proper kick up the arse to focus on the objective. My biggest fear is that I see them turn into New Labour with all the vested interests and hangers-on that success attracts. For the last 20y the biggest strength of the SNP is that its make-up reflected Scotland much better than either the Tories or New Labour. Nicola Sturgeon and most of the cabinet, MSP and MP went to the same schools as we did, were maybe the forst to go to university in their family and looked and spoke much like the majority of us. As the lobbyists and niche insoders become candidates, MSP and ministers that's much less likely.

      I also believe that there is a gap in the market for another pro-Indy party who aren't the greens. The target voters are of course the 40% of Labour voters (about 6-8% of the total) who support Scottish Independence but for whatever reason won't vote for the SNP. Presently Lablur are demoralised and disorganised and are led by a decent if uncharismatic man who I think often looks like he doesn't want the job. Scottish Labour are an easier prospect to persuade voters away from than the SNP. A party which copied every Scottish Labour policy except on independence would match exactly what those voters want. With a bit of funding, an inspirational and competent leader and the endorsement of few respected former labour figures then it would stand a chance of winning most of them across. At this point such a party would also attract some of the SNP voters and reluctant greens on the list.

      I think that could be why Kenny Farquharson and the others are coming out so harshly this week - they can see that the real threat is to Labour.

      (Sorry typing this on a phone)

    5. You're moving the goalposts here. At first you said it was a prerequisite to have "motivated & organised activist base, be well-funded, a set of properly thought out policies beyond Indy,a charismatic & competent leader, and time to establish themselves in the minds of voters".

      Then when I pointed out that TBP had at best two of those five things, suddenly we've moved on to explaining why you actually DON'T need all those things at all and why TBP is an exception to the rules.

      (1) I would argue strongly that Alex Salmond is at least as representative of independence in the public eye as Nigel Farage was of Brexit.

      (2) The Yes movement has spent *decades* "drumming up support for its ideas". Wings has raised close to £1m in a few years just to run a website. What makes you think we wouldn't be able to raise enough to fight a Scottish election?

      (The amount of cash needed to finance a list party is in fact almost laughably tiny. Even the SNP only spend about £1.5m on a Holyrood election and that's to campaign in every individual constituency as well as on the list. The expensive bit is raising awareness that your party exists, and we've already covered that in some depth.)

      (3) Actually the UK press is very roughly half-and-half on Brexit. On the other hand the Scottish press about 98% Unionist, and yet the SNP has a current poll lead in excess of 30 points despite 13 years in power. It therefore seems fair to say that the power of the media is generally somewhat overstated.

      I think you're right that a party very broadly aligned with Labour except on independence would fit well with a large chunk of the Scottish public. Other than the fact that nobody had heard of them, the main problem with RISE is that they were much too far left for the general public, which is actually a fairly moderate centre-left in Scotland whatever certain people try to tell themselves.

      A new list party occupying that moderate-left social-democratic ground could pick up votes from more than just SNP voters either disgruntled with the party or just seeking to use their votes more effectively. As I noted earlier this week, anyone who supports indy but is still voting Labour must be pretty damn hostile to the SNP, so they might be persuadable that a pro-indy party the SNP didn't like might be a worthwhile vote.

    6. (Oh, and as I've also noted on Wings recently: the SNP's official accounts should be published next month. I'm very happy to wager a tenner that when they are, they'll show the SNP as having less money in the bank than Wings Over Scotland currently does.)

    7. Hello again.

      First the bits we agree on:
      Yes, the space is for Labour plus Indy. *This is the key point for any New Party*.

      On the other bits :-)
      (2) I take the correction in the level of funding required. There are still one-off costs associated with establishing a brand identity that the public understands. Wings Party has a head start on ISP and others.

      (1) Leader recognition. I understand that point but can only agree partially. NF sits on his own whereas now AS would be explicitly challenging the party of whih he was formerly leader of and also NS. While that will win some people over, I dont think that it does much for winning across the never-SNP labour voters, and the atmosphere around AS following the not-guilty verdicts means that there will be a huge level of snark in the press which would be deliberately focused on repelling female voters. So mainly because of the trial I can't agree with you. What could change this of course is next month's parliamentary enquiry and any high-profle resignations.

      (3) Perhaps the power of the press over-stated on changing people's opinions on a one-off basis. However where I feel strongly about the press and BBC is that they create a background hum of what is being discussed and also act as gatekeepers of what is discussed and when.

      *Goalpost shifting*
      I didn't intend to move the goalposts and still believe that the five things are necessary to achieve sustained success for a non-SNP indy party. The tribalism of UK politics is quite baked in so I dont believe that it's possible to overturn that long term without have those five things. What I accept is that not all of those things carry equal weight and that if you trade off on some of them then a New Party may achieve 5-6% and perhaps one MSP. Having made that clarification, I've a several questions that I'd like answer please to understand your position better:

      1- Are any conditions which would help build a credible challenge missing from that list? (If so, what?)
      2- To achieve sustainable success (10-12% votes) which of the five are required?
      3- To achieve a lower level of success (5-6% votes) which of the five should be prioritised?

    8. 'oh look and listen to me, I'm a man that lives in GLORIOUS England thats got LOADS of money and people who live in Scotland are too thick to vote for indy ever so what's the point'

      How about you punt a few quid to us and we'll get this indy done then!

    9. "There are still one-off costs associated with establishing a brand identity that the public understands."

      Both Wings and Alex Salmond already have plenty brand identity.

      "there will be a huge level of snark in the press"

      See above. Fewer than one in 10 Scots buys a newspaper, and if they paid any serious attention to what was in their politics pages the SNP wouldn't have been in power for 13 years and 30 points ahead in the polls.

      If there's one lesson the Yes movement needs to learn above all others it's STOP CARING WHAT HARDCORE YOONS SAY. It has no impact on anything. The SNP have been paralysed by fear of it. It's one of their gravest failings.

      "To achieve sustainable success (10-12% votes) which of the five are required?"

      All that's required is recognition and a clear message. Both of those already exist in the notional case of a Salmond party, and to a lesser extent in the equally-notional case of a Wings party.

      People didn't vote for TBP because they thought the MEP candidates list was impressive, most had no idea who was on it. They voted for it because they knew, at a really pretty basic level, who Nigel Farage was and what he stood for, and they wanted that thing to happen. So they voted for him and it did. It really is as simple as that. In fact, it's SO simple that people who desperately want politics to be complicated resist it furiously because there's no money in analysing that.

      Neither a Wings party nor a Salmond one would need to care what the MSM said. We have the most successful and popular Scottish politics website on the planet (even after months on holiday), he has his own TV show. If anyone wants to know what we think, they know where to look. We both have means to get our message across.

      Farage is a horrible knob. He's not even that clever. But look what he achieved without playing nice or caring how many people hated him or slagged him off in the papers. (Multiply all that by a hundred for Trump, who is genuinely thick, probably mad, relentlessly mocked and ridiculed for years on end and THE PRESIDENT OF THE GODDAMMED UNITED STATES.)

      We don't have to like them or admire them to learn from him. Or of course, we could keep playing by Marquis Of Queensberry rules while the other side merrily deploys every dirty trick in the book, and lose again but feel all morally superior about it. Yeah, no thanks. I want to win.

    10. RevStu
      Both Wings and Alex Salmond already have plenty brand identity.


      Surprised you can get your head through the door if it’s that big. Online folk who support Indy know who you are, for sure. A wheen of them think you’re an arse though?

      ‘Joe public’ will have no idea of you and your ‘brand’

      And if you’re gonna prove otherwise you’d better have some empirical evidence!

    11. "It's not this site's business to tell anyone how to vote. What these numbers strongly suggest, though, is that TACTICAL voting - of any sort and for anyone's' benefit - in an AMS election is a mug's game. You should vote for the party or parties that you most want to see form the government, rather than trying to second guess the system. Because if you try, chances are it'll MAKE A CHUMP OUT OF YOU.

      - Wings Over Scotland 23rd August 2015.

  26. The Rev Stu seems to be predicating his popularity on a slew of headlines and leader stories in the news. He seems to forget that a certain Carl of Swindon earned similar notoriety - for quite different reasons - as an electoral candidate. For days, indeed weeks, he was the talk of every national news outlet in the country. And he seemed convinced that his enormous (almost a million) subscriber base would push him to a stunning electoral victory.

    Carl of Swindon failed to retain his deposit.

    The same is likely to be true of Little Lord Stewie, who is popular only among the voices in his head.

  27. After reading “pro-independence” blogs I am convinced that this could not happen in Scotland and that all is well with the SNP.

    “The Spanish deputy prime minister, Pablo Iglesias, has become the most senior political figure to call for a parliamentary investigation into the use of spyware to target prominent members of the Catalan independence movement, saying such practices are “unacceptable in a democracy”.
    A joint investigation this week by the Guardian and El País has revealed that Roger Torrent, the speaker of the Catalan parliament, and former regional foreign minister Ernest Maragall are among at least four pro-independence activists who have been targeted using Israeli spyware that its makers said is sold only to governments...

    Recent articles in El País and Público suggested both the CNI and the national police force may employ the spyware, which, according to NSO Group, is only available to governments to help them track terrorists and criminals.
    The interior ministry denied such claims on Monday, saying: “Neither the interior ministry, nor the national police, nor the Guardia Civil have ever had any relationship with the company that developed this program, and, as such, have never contracted its services.” “
    (Guardian, 16/7/20)

  28. It's funny, that among all this feverish froth by the indy dissidents, they can't suggest a single big-hitter to lead any of these emerging alt-indy parties besides Alex Salmond. And if I have the measure of the man, who is a true statesman and savvy politician, he won't touch any of them with a proverbial bargepole. And for very obvious reasons.

    Stu may be a great polemicist, but the very qualities that make him that are the same qualities that would make him a dreadful politician. He has already burnt so many bridges he has gained a reputation (notoriety, even) as an arsonist. The whole indy-list concept fails at the get-go without SNP voters being willing co-operate in their droves.

    So who else is there? Gorgeous George Galloway or Loose Cannon Sillars? (Recovers composure after laughing like a drain.) Or a wee rabble of nobodies, a kind of RISE for small-c conservatives?

    This is just not going to fly, and its high time the zealots woke up (pun intended) to realities. When your every action and opinion dovetails completely with what is being punted by obvious BritNat trolls, you need a serious re-think.

  29. 'But circumstances haven't changed. The arguments against 'gaming the system' in 2011 and 2016, including the arguments that Stuart advanced himself, were based largely on the nature of the voting system and the laws of arithmetic. Neither of those things have changed.'

    This may come back to haunt you James. I think there's every chance that next years Holyrood vote, if it's seen as a defacto vote for a new referendum will be heavily gamed by the unionist parties.

    It may be an absolute necessity that a new Independence list only party does stand just to reverse any shenanigans.

  30. In response to a few of the above posts.

    1. I agree you can't call Scots cowards for bottling it, if we don't know how many (self-defining) Scots voted No (e.g. English born, Brit-identifying new Scots are hardly cowardly for sticking up for their own country, i.e. the UK.) The same would go for geographically Scots born but Brit-identifying unionists.

    2. The catch-22 of a Rev-led Wings party would be that the bigger it got, the more it got closer to actually winning seats, the more exposure and negative publicity it would get, negative publicity that would be used to smear the whole independence movement. Whatever you think of the recent "border protests", it was used as a stick to beat the whole independence movement with, as being xenophobic.

    3. I'm yet to be convinced of the value of new indy parties. However I could see the merit of Margo Macdonald style independents standing on the list if they could get MM level support - strong, recognisable independent individuals, who would not be a broader threat to SNP (as rival parties would be) and who could draw on non-SNP-voting pro-indy people. They need not be career politicians (in fact may be better not to be) but would expect to only stand once, for the Holyrood election prior to independence.

    4. As others have said, Farage got as far as he did partly because of support from much of the press/media. But also he didn't need to have any sort of credibility to govern. His big breaks came under PR EU elections (where many people happy to protest vote) and EU ref. Gaining a foothold in Holyrood a different proposition. It's hard to see how the Brexit party on its own could not have won EU ref if the mainstream parties & media were all against it, as in indyref equivalent. EU ref was won because enough people could ignore Farage and pretend he didn't exist or pretend he didn't represent Leave values, and they needn't fear he'd be part of governing the country afterwards. Hardly endorsement of a role model for anyone hoping to be part of healing the nation post indy.


  32. If the Rev Stu type got into parliament and actually held the balance of power or the SNP like with the Greens at the moment, depended on their votes in parliament then it would be a really bad day for the independence movement. They will push for socially awkward radical policies and in turn the Scottish public will look on in horror and drift away from supporting independence. I have no problem with Stu pot and his type standing for parliament in an independent Scotland but not in a devolved parliament.

    1. Wow, you REALLY haven't been paying attention, have you?

  33. Just to put things in context, and keep it simple, there are 129 MSPs, of which 73 are elected by FPTP in the constituencies. If any party won all of the constituencies bar one, it would automatically get 55.8% of parliamentary representation straight off. (Which is of course already a majority, but anyway.) Due to the well-known vagaries of FPTP, any party can win big like this even with considerably lower support than that, particularly if the opposition parties split the opposition vote. To begin to qualify for more MSPs under list PR, though, that party then essentially has to accumulate more than that percentage of list votes in any region. But after that point, they begin to gain more and more.

    With a narrower win of 64 constituencies - one less than a majority - the same party will begin to accumulate additional MSPs once it accumulates more that (just under) 50% of the list votes in any region.

    So with a relatively small increase in the percentage of list votes, the SNP could begin to attract a significant additional number of MSPs and thereby achieve a majority. Its difficulty heretofore has been it has struggled heretofore to get more than ~48% on the list, after which point the gains would really begin to count.

    As Prof Curtice has observed, once a party begins to attract more than 50% of the votes, no electoral system on earth or opposition cartel can stop it. Which is why the BritNats are pulling out all the stops right now to find ways to demotivate the SNP support from its current high. (So why help them do their dirty work?)

    Gaining over 50% vote in an election is also the line of last stand of the BritNats. Pass that last ditch and all their indy denials turn to dust.

  34. But Gizbard, if the aim is independence and the party (SNP) are not interested in that aim, then why would you vote for them?

    1. !!Troll alert!!

      See my comment in the 2nd-last para there. QED.

    2. Can you run me through how that actually works? Right the SNP get 50% of the votes and then go to Boris and say, right we’ve got 50% now can we please have a referendum and Boris says no. What’s the next move? And if there is some magical solution why didn’t Sturgeon already use it after being told no at least twice before? I’m on your side, please help me understand! Thanks



    1. See my comment "When your every action and opinion dovetails... " upthread. It's "look-in-the-mirror" time, my friend.

      (Oh, and the link doesn't become more convincing with multiple reposts either.)

    2. Also remember Nicola Sturgeon has quite clearly stated that the only lawful process is through gaining a section 30. Which is odd because I can’t think of any country anywhere that has gained its independence, having to ask permission from its jailer.

  36. Those advocating continued support for the SNP are basically saying they think independence is no longer achievable and we should just accept slightly better management.

  37. Oh great another non entity pontificating that Snp and Nicola don't want Indy. There would be even more people asking who the hell is Robin McAlpine than when asked about the man with an ego the size of a planet Rev Stu Campbell.
    The first duty of any government is to protect its people especially during a pandemic. If Robin doesn't get that I utterly despair. If Nic starts going on about date of next Indy Ref now we will loose support and we will have no chance of winning that Indy Referendum when it happens and it will happen S30 order or no Section 30 order

    1. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^THIS^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    2. Hi Eilidh,

      Well said. The radical leftards have never got over their drubbing in previous elections. They seem just as disappointed by the FM's excellent handling of the current crisis as the Tories.

      (As to your taking issue with my use of "placeholder government" the other day, apologies, I was evidently using shorthand that was far too succinct. I appreciate that there are many like yourself who agree with SNP policies either substantially or wholly - indeed I don't myself disagree with much of it either - but you should be willing to recognise that there are many in the pro-independence camp who are only lending their vote to the SNP "for the duration", and fully expect to cast their votes elsewhere again post-indy. Indeed the party itself is self-evidently "a very broad church" in the conventional phraseology, and I could readily imagine it not remaining such a monolithic whole after it has succeeded in its prime purpose.

      Really though what I was trying to get across in that unfortunate shorthand is that the government and the party should not attempt to confound two (or more) constitutional issues at once, and the GRA is very clearly one such. Others are the question of the monarchy, etc., etc. The SNP has a very definite mandate for the one major constitutional change, but given the great breadth of its support base, it has not for any other. To attempt to do so causes very self-evident dissent and internal stress that is eminently avoidable. It, and we, can always return to those other matters after we have together in concert captured the one essential prize that enables all else.)

    3. I could have cut that comment by two thirds with the same outcome. You are a blawhard.

    4. Careful Eilidh, not a good idea to ridicule your voters, assuming you’re not a non entity and actually a member of the party. Nicola Sturgeon has stated that there is no route open other than a section 30. All Boris need do is say no. And that’s the end of that? Why on earth would Boris Johnson say yes to a section 30 as the likelihood of a YES result increases??? I might be a non entity but at least I’m not buttoned up the back.

    5. I suspect the truth is that you Eilidh are not a non entity and benefit directly, probably financially, from the status quo. You’re quite happy with things just the way they are thank you very much. No need to rock the boat eh!

  38. See the problem is you hard line SNPers, who put party before cause, are full of criticism but not one of you can actually come up with a solution? You’re not even brave enough to have a go at one?

  39. There is no chance a list party could thrive with the Rev as a leader. His personality is bot suited to such a role.
    The only credible leader of a list party is Alex. If Alex ran I would give it 3 months full time campaigning