Saturday, April 3, 2021


It may be a surprise to you to learn that Newsnet Scotland still exists - the site had certainly fallen off my radar for a few years, presumably because it wasn't being updated.  However, it's back up and running, but in a very different form to before - which leaves little room for doubt that there's been a change of ownership, although they're very cagey about that when asked.  It's basically morphed into a tabloid-style attack dog, anti-Alba, anti-Salmond propaganda outfit, with quite a nasty streak - there was a tweet about Alex Salmond's supposed 'instability', for example. They did respond to my question, but only with the non-answers of "it means what it says James" and "aye whatever", which is not surprising because their claim was complete gibberish. The Brexit party fought two elections in Scotland - the 2019 Euro election and the 2019 general election.  In the former, they took well over 3% of the vote but most certainly were not "thumped" - they were in second place on 15% and won one of the six Scottish seats.  In the latter, they were indeed thumped - but took well under 3%.  So whichever way you look at it, the point simply doesn't make any logical sense and doesn't have any particular relevance to a poll showing Alba on 3%.

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As you may have spotted, I turned pre-moderation of comments on yesterday because I'd reached saturation point with the abuse, trolling and astroturfing.  In particular, there was a chap called Alexander who had started to repeatedly repost comments that had already been deleted - and when that happens, the situation has clearly spiralled out of all control and a spell of pre-moderation is the only answer.  The results were quite comical - one person assumed he'd been "blocked" when he discovered that his comment hadn't been auto-published, and had an almighty hissy fit about it.  To reiterate for the millionth time, it is not (unfortunately) possible to "block" or "ban" people on the Blogger platform.

It's not just Alba supporters who are having to deal with this nonsense, incidentally.  I spoke to Paul Kavanagh a few days ago (he's continuing to back the SNP on both ballots), and he's been receiving a tonne of abuse in the opposite direction.  It would help if we all just calmed down and got on with making the case for our own preferred pro-indy party.

As the ground rules for commenting the other day failed to make any impression at all, let's see if I can make things even simpler.  I am under no obligation to allow trolling, astroturfing or propagandising in the comments section.  If you post that sort of comment, it's entirely at my discretion whether it stays up.  The lazy reply is always "oh well if you're not going to allow any anti-Alba comments" or "oh well if you want to be an echo chamber", but people can see with their own eyes that a great many anti-Alba comments have stayed up.  If someone is camped on this blog for hours on end, reacting to every tiny piece of news with "this shows Alba are dead on arrival and that Alex Salmond is toxic", I'm entitled to conclude that what is going on is a little bit more than an interested individual trying to contribute to the debate.


  1. The tramping round the streets delivering leaflets has begun. It's still us old farts doing it; none of the new young trendies or those supporting the SNP obsession with transgenderism. What I am being queried over, more than anything as I haul my aging carcass round the area is the Alba question. Although my leaflets say SNP 1&2, I tell them, that to make the best of the system we have for independence, is SNP on the constituency and Alba on the list.

    1. Assuming that Alba are polling more than 6% other wise it is a wasted vote and could let in a unionist.

    2. It's perhaps with great difficulty I send a message very similar to yours but say independence party. I don't feel the need to impose which one they should choose.
      The main area of concern is people who fail to even understand the electoral system we have in place and cannot even explain it. If someone suggests SNP 1 and 2 at least explain what it will achieve and likewise if someone is suggesting SNP 1 2 other, explain why.
      I recently asked, where did the 953,000 list votes go in 2016 to a group of 22 SNP members, including 2 councillors and no one could even attempt to answer it. The common theme is we been told SNP 1 and SNP 2 or in Nicola we trust. Neither response shows an understanding and therefore I'm worried that 2021 will be 2016 repeated.

      I was shown a video that is currently circulating branches to promote voting SNP on list in all regions. The suggestion is, if 10,000s more voted that will change the outcome and they use an expert to illustrate this but again current polling doesn't suggest the SNP will get a higher percentage turnout for this model to have accuracy.
      The mix messages and confusion on this is causing fraction with our community and it is actually visible and working.

    3. The Scottish system is aimed at being proportional, just like other European democracies. You know, so Scots 'get a government they voted for / that represents them'.

      There were no wasted SNP votes in 2011 or 2016. Every single one counted because they passed the 5% threshold in every region. Even where they failed to win a lot of constituencies (like here in the south of Scotland), SNP voters (like me) didn't lose out; their list SNP votes helped ensure they were fairly represented.

      All seats in a region are allocated based on the PR list. The SNP got a final share of total seats (constituency + list) roughly proportion to the number of list votes they got (once less than 5% share parties were eliminated). European social PR democracy for the people.

      Of course we can try to break our European PR system to give us a more British unionist type result by gaming things to give Yes parties far more MSPs than there are Yes voters. We can call this an 'elected (Yes) dictatorship' as per the great British system.

      This new found British unionist type outlook will of course get us the sum total of zero closer to independence, as we need more Yes voters, not more Yes MSPs. We've had enough Yes MSPs since 2011. Getting yet more of these is not going to help at all. Obviously. We could have 129 Yes MSPs and it wouldn't matter jack shit if only 49% of voters back indy.

      And in the gamble to get useless extra MSPs, the risk is that not enough folk vote for Alba and they don't get elected, robbing Yes of votes and MSPs.

      Still, if the Alba plan backfires, at least we will have someone to clearly blame for 5 years of hard brexit Tory rule. It won't be that the people didn't want indy - as has been the case since 2014 until recently - but that Alba politicians knowingly misled them about the risks with talk of 'wasted' votes.

      But then Alba politicians mislead the parliament and the people about Sturgeon; falsely accusing her of breaking the ministerial code on multiple counts. I suspect they did this knowingly too, in the hope of causing chaos in the SNP just ahead of their own party launch.

      This did not seem to me to be in the spirit of the 2014 Yes movement sadly.

      Alba should be honest and just ask people to not vote SNP, but give their most important PR list vote to Alba in the hope of electing an Alba led government. That's what the Greens and SNP do as it's the honest approach.

  2. James, I remember the so-called "shy Tory" voters causing havoc with polling predictions a while back. Do you think something similar might happen with "shy Alba" voters? I can think of a number of reasons why SNP voters may be reluctant to declare and interest in Alba for their list vote. Any thoughts?

    1. I wont second guess James since he has by his admission been getting abuse from the Sturgeon sycophants but evidence so far suggests that those of us who will be voting Alba on the List vote are getting more abuse from the Sturgeon sycophants than even the Tories got from folk when Thatcher was the Tory leader. The abuse is such that it is now getting harder and harder to vote SNP in the constituency vote.

    2. it is now getting harder and harder to vote SNP in the constituency vote.

      I've been waiting for this part of the unionist plan to kick in.

      After the false accusations that she misled parliament failed, desperate measures are called for.

    3. Eh can we all remember that all small parties on the list declared amazing polling numbers and then completely failed to make any impact come the election, over the last 20 years.

  3. According to my information, Newsnet Scotland is now being run by Lindsay Bruce +/- his family. Lindsay (@Roguecoder250 on Twitter I think, I can't easily check as he's blocked me) has been having a Twitter meltdown for some time about people who doubt Nicola Sturgeon's wholehearted commitment to independence and seems to have lost it completely about Alba. I'm genuinely concerned about his mental health.

  4. SET ENGLAND FREE, VOTE 1 AND 2 S.N.P. DON'T try to rig the system. That is what Westminster wants people to do.

  5. I heard Alex Massie on radio shortbread this morning say that the Sunday Times has a poll tomorrow which may be better for Alba than the Courier one. He spun this has bad for the SNP despite saying that Alba seats were likely to come from the Unionist parties. Didn't get that analysis but I'm sure it made sense to him

    1. And how will you use your regional vote, which is 'wasted' if you vote SNP in the constituency?
      - Alba: The pro independence party led by lots of prominent Yes supporters which will deliver a pro-independence supermajority
      - Conservatives
      - Labour
      - Liberal Democrats
      - Other

    2. Polls will be up and down in the run up to polling day, quick rises in the polls tend not to be firm and could disappear as quick. I remember the 1983 election when the SNP had a poll rating of 7% at the start of the campaign and rose in the polls to 13% by polling day but on the day polled 11.8% The SDP/Alliance in that election seems to take votes from all other parties to get about a quarter of the vote when their poll rating seem to double during the campaign. Labour's disastrously run campaign with a hostile press and the media promoting of Roy Jenkins as an alternative to Michal Foote helped to shift votes in the Alliance's favour. A S won't have the luxury of a compliant media. It will be interesting to see where the support for the new party actually lies. If thinly spread then no seats will be gained. We will have a few weeks of interrogating the data tables of any polls for clues.

    3. Credit to Survation. They did promote Alba, reform UK and UKIP by adding them to the initial prompt without any obvious, consistent reason for doing so, while unfairly leaving out all the other little parties. However, at least it wasn't just Alba they added, and Salmond wasn't mentioned.

      So maybe 2% Alba if all small parties had been prompted for...?

  6. 'a tabloid-style attack dog'

    Like Wings you mean? Are the authors long term residents of southern England too?

    For Alba, the animosity is (1) coming from the defections without resignations / by-elections. While Alba voters will of course be pleased to bring people to their side, they have to look at it from the other perspective. I imagine they will feel very hurt and angry if they get some new MSPs elected in May, only for these to promptly all defect to the SNP. You can be sure they will demand resignations and by-elections, and I'd support them on that.

    That and (2) Alba directly targeting SNP/Green voters rather than looking to grow the Yes vote by bringing unionists on board. Of course the SNP would rather you vote them than green and likewise. However, they do tend to refrain from direct and brazen attempts to take votes from one another. They also try hard to bring No voters on board, which Alba seems to have no interest in doing.

    A change of message / focus from Alba would help here.

    I personally have yet to hear how more MSPs than actual Yes voters gets Scotland anywhere closer to indy. An ultrasuper majority of MPs got us nowhere; Westminster just ignored it because Scots themselves were still in majority for the union.

    A majority of Yes voters is what's needed; if that becomes solidly established, indy will follow shortly. Meantime, a majority of pro-Yes MSPs representative of Scots - i.e. 'a government Scots voted for' - is all that's needed for iref2 legally. And that's all that matters.

  7. What we really need to know for each of the 8 regions is this: if Alba gets less than 3% and takes votes from the SNP or Greens, what is the chance of losing an SNP or Green MSP and allowing a Unionist to sneak into Holyrood through the back door. Can you help us James?

    1. HoInteresting poll info from Ben Walker/Britain elects with a link to a detailed article in the New Statesman.

      Min percentage of the vote Alba needs to win a list seat, and who it damages:

      C Scot: 5.8% (Lab)
      Glasgow: 5.9% (Grn)
      Highlands: 5.5% (LDem)
      Lothian: 6.6% (Lab)
      Mid Scot: 6.0% (Con)
      NE Scot: 6.2% (Grn)
      S Scot: 5.4% (SNP)
      W Scot: 5.3% (Lab)

      Src BE-NS model

      Hope this helps.

  8. The snp issued leaflet that I’ve been tramping around the streets so far does not say < snp 1 &2> or any variant of that. It’s a direct request to re-elect constituency msp.

    1. Well ! The leaflet we have similarly been distributing does explicitly indicate to vote SNP 1 & 2:
      by stating that in words,
      and by showing a mockup of two single-line ballots 1st for our named MSP, 2nd for Party.

      And every passerby today I was able to say this to smiled and said, "Yes". As if they not only understood but also agreed.

      It was a cloudless day. Who would want to disagree with anything or anybody?

  9. Yes - provided (honest) polling just before the election,indicates that they can draw 6/7%+ 'on the day'. "Mildly Ranting" is dead right about the absence of the bright young cultists. None here either.

  10. Once again it is a sad reflection on Scottish society (partly) when people cannot have a reasoned and rational debate and disagreement without reverting to abuse. More power to your blocking arm though I’m sure you have better things to do with your time. As for voting I wasn’t going to vote for the first time in my life but now it’s SNP 1 and Alba 2.

  11. I have only had a brief look at Newsnet but with regard to it being an "attack dog" against Alba and Salmond, it does pale a little when compared to the stuff that Stuart Campbell of Wings has been publishing against Sturgeon and the SNP for many months.

  12. I also read WGD and it's just not on you and him getting any abuse whatsoever, surely folks can disagree without being abusive.

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  14. " It's basically morphed into a tabloid-style attack dog, anti-Alba, anti-Salmond propaganda outfit, with quite a nasty streak - there was a tweet about Alex Salmond's supposed 'instability', for example. "

    As far as I am concerned it has morphed into just another anti Indy rag.

    1. "Anti-indy? I've just looked and it's a decent site - they don't like Alex Salmond, sure, but an "anti-indy rag?" Utter hogwash.

  15. Talking about 'police states'. If I were you'd I'd, you know 'get out while you still can'.

    But hey, #wheeshtfortheunion

    Hundreds join 'kill the bill' rallies across Britain against proposed protest law

  16. Survation has published the tables. I know the regional differences are going to be wildly inaccurate, but there are interesting variations: 6% in the northeast, for example.

    1. 4% in Southern Scotland but 1% in Glasgow. Okey dokey. Real hotbed of true indy support the SoS region!

      Shows the nuts risks involved. The regional breakdowns of Scotland-wide polls are useless for trying to work out what's happening locally. They are not weighted by region; they are nationally weighted.

      You'd need specific regional polling weighted to the 2016 result for that region to get an idea of how folk are leaning in your neck of the woods. 5% nationally can mean 7% in some areas and 3% in others...

      So you are gambling blind, if your goal is to game the system.

      Don't gamble; vote for the party you want in government. If you gamble and it fails, 5 years of Tory rule is on you.

    2. Tables say 38% SNP on the list, not the 37% reported. Means Alba are not so obviously coming from SNP, and when you look, this is clear. 1/3 from unionist parties 2019. Also...

      Alba voters the most 'No' by a country mile.

      Support for independence by voting intention:
      SNP = 91% Yes
      Green = 76% Yes
      Alba = 64% Yes

      36% of Alba voters are actually against indy. These will be those saying they are 'increasingly against voting SNP on the constituency'.

      I await more polling, but it seems seems the SNP is the home of the most pro-indy voters.