Friday, June 25, 2021

Swing against the unionist parties in Murdostoun by-election

I've lived in North Lanarkshire all my life (or rather in places that the Tories creatively reimagined as North Lanarkshire as part of their botched mid-90s gerrymandering effort), but I must admit I didn't have a clue where Murdostoun ward is until I looked it up for the purposes of this blogpost.  It's unusual in that it's a central belt ward in which an independent candidate topped the poll in the last two rounds of local elections.  That pattern continued in yesterday's by-election, and the winning candidate had exactly the same name as before - because he's the son of the late Councillor Robert McKendrick, whose untimely death caused the vacancy.

Murdostoun by-election result (24th June 2021):

Independent - McKendrick: 41.3% (n/a)
SNP: 24.3% (-3.3)
Labour: 16.9% (-6.8)
Independent - Arthur: 8.0% (+5.6)
Conservatives: 7.2% (-5.7)
Greens: 1.7% (n/a)
Independence for Scotland: 0.4% (n/a)
Reform UK: 0.2% (n/a)

I haven't given a percentage change for Mr McKendrick because he's technically a new candidate, but he increased his father's vote share from four years ago by a whopping 13.7%.

A few people on Twitter are suggesting this is a terrible result for the SNP, but I think that's a bit of a stretch - there were clearly unusual local and personal factors in play.  The SNP's vote dropped by less than their two main party political rivals, ie. Labour and the Tories - or to put it another way, there was a net swing from Labour to SNP and from Tory to SNP.  So it's not too bad an outcome, really.  The SNP candidate was Julia Stachurska, who is a New Scot (I presume she's from Poland if her surname is any guide), so even in defeat, that sends out a strong message about the ongoing electoral rights of EU citizens in Scotland.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is the first time Independence for Scotland have actually stood in an election, because of course they withdrew their planned candidates from the Holyrood election last month and backed Alba instead.  I must say I can't really understand why they're continuing in existence, given that they're in total agreement with Alba on their main policy preoccupations (ie. greater urgency on independence and women's sex-based rights).  I wonder if this result will give them pause for thought, because it's markedly worse than Alba's supposedly 'disastrous' result a few weeks ago.  It does answer one question I had, though - I thought the 'Ronseal' name of Independence for Scotland might in itself attract a few votes, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

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You can catch up with the latest episode of the Scot Goes Popcast HERE.


  1. You're correct it was the first time ISP stood a candidate in an election and why not.
    Candidates already vetted and looking to get experience in election campaigning ahead of next years council elections.
    It was always likely to be a family affair in that contest but it's given the party/members good experience, especially for those who perhaps haven't been involved in campaigning/elections.

    1. "and why not"

      Well, because they're duplicating what Alba are doing and it would make more sense not to run candidates at all. The only purpose in getting "good experience" would be if there's actually something to be gained from them standing in next year's elections - and there isn't.

    2. Are Alba not 'duplicating' what the SNP and Greens are doing? :-)

      I respect there are voters / former members who don't agree with the SNP 'cautious' approach, so went for Alba. At the same time, there will be ISP members who don't see themselves fitting with Alba, so should be able to take up the mantle if the past ISP leadership don't want to / take a 'stand down for Alba' stance.

      I'm increasingly of the opinion that the more Scottish indy parties the merrier. It's ultimately a sign we are close to indy.
      When indy is a pipe dream you are only going to have one forlorn hope that everyone congregates around. That was the SNP 20 years ago. But now we have 2 'big' Yes parties and various smaller new kids on the block nipping at their heels.

      All good.

    3. "Are Alba not 'duplicating' what the SNP and Greens are doing? :-)"

      Of course they're not. The two key policies I mentioned were urgency on independence and protection of women's sex-based rights - in other words the opposite of what the Greens and the current SNP leadership are doing.

    4. Or it is a sign of the failure of the party supposedly committed to independence. The party which promises and never delivers - see Barrhead Boy for a summary of their hollow claims. We are no closer to indy than we were in 2014. Arguably the high tide in the last two years has passed, with zero advantage taken from it. Just the same old stock cliches and excuses, while attacking all the other groups obsessively.

    5. We are no closer to indy than we were in 2014.

      You mean when Salmond was in charge?

      Polling-wise we are 5-10% up on that time. Baseline is 50%, rising at 1%+/year, and we were topping out at 55% in 2020 with the wind at our backs (it's coming behind us again with the brexshit finally hitting the fan).

      As for Alba James, I meant that Alba is, I understand, a slightly left of centre social democratic party. It has adopted the colour blue of conservatism as while it doesn't seem to be economically right, it is more socially conservative.

      However, the main difference from the SNP (from which Alba emerged) is that it wants a slightly earlier referendum and is opposed to the very minor domestic issue of GRA changes. Alba, like the SNP, also favour full membership of the EEA with full free movement, but with with the slightly EU light EFTA, at least initially. But even under the SNP were are likely to see a similar approach, i.e. rejoining the single market with full EU membership the aim down the line.

      Certainly, the SNP and Alba are very close and offering most of the same things with some tinkering around the edges in terms of dates and specifics of policies. Alba are not radically different in socio-economic stance. While they don't appear here, I'd put them at -1 to -2 left and maybe +4 authoritarian (given Lab + Lib are broadly ok with GRA).

      Parties strongly separated from the SNP are e.g. the UK Tories who are hard economic right, strongly socially conservative / authoritarian, pro-UK and anti-EU in any form.

    6. "It has adopted the colour blue of conservatism as while it doesn't seem to be economically right, it is more socially conservative."

      You, sir, are nothing more than a troll. Alba are not a socially conservative party, and their blue is not the blue of conservatism. It is the blue of Scotland, as you know perfectly well. Almost everything you say these days is just cynical propaganda.

    7. If GRA reform is such a minor thing how comes it has not passed the legislation? It been promising GRA reform since the 2016 referendum and not passed any legislation.

    8. A troll? FHS James. Never once have I advocated a vote for a party, nor do I spend my time relentlessly attacking any Yes party. I just say how I vote and how I see things myself.

      What is wrong with my post? Are Alba not pretty close to the SNP, so over on the left like I say? GRA is definitely a liberal-authoritarian/conservative issue and on this, Alba have taken a less liberal stance than the SNP and the greens. The super liberal position on this topic would be to not even require people to have a legal GRC, but just identify as what they wanted whenever they wanted. The authoritarian position is that their are only two sexes/genders and anyone not conforming to expectations of these is locked up.

      Of course it is very much the blue of Scotland, but it is very unusual for a party to not adopt a logo colour traditionally aligned to its stance. Colour is very important in politics for a host of reasons. Labour parties the world over are red for a reason. Greens are green etc.

      There's a reason the SNP colours are not blue, but yellow. This is because they are not a traditional conservative nationalist party. They have origins in Scottish (mainly social) liberalism. They were, in effect, the Scottish liberal democrats. It's why so many lib dems defected so readily post 2010; they were right at home in the SNP.

      Of course the English libs have turned tangerine after shifting to the economic right, which was all part of the Scottish lib collapse. The colour change was to symbolize this move to economic liberalism. The SNP's lighter yellow is more social liberal.

      Alba's use of the flag also denotes nationalism; something the SNP were always very careful to avoid historically. As Scotland isn't independent, nationalism is fine as it's just the quest for that. But still, while the SNP fly the saltire happily enough, the Scottish flag and it's blue have never been part of their logo colour scheme because it would have conservative-nationalist connotations whether they liked it or not. 'Tartan Tories' rang in their ears all too often from Labour. The Tories use the union flag and blue for this very reason; they are conservative British nationalists.

      Of course it could be argued that we are unlucky in Scotland that our flag is blue, but then but then maybe alba could have gone with the lion rampant theme? It's all the right colours for a left of centre social-democratic party! But that would have been like Labour or SNP colours? Confusing for rosettes...Colour is important....

      No, I suspect Salmond thought about this. It was a bold step. I have said Scotland is missing a more socially conservative Yes party. Anyone setting one of these up would not hesitate to use the saltire and a blue theme. Did he not say he was going after Daily Mail voters that could lean to yes? There is no way on earth Salmond did not chose this logo and colour scheme without thinking about what I'm saying. The man is a veteran, and a clever one. A master of symbolism and soundbites.

      But Alba are of course super far from the Tories economically based on their 2021 manifesto, and seem at least centre or a little left economically. However, on GRA they do seem closest to the Tories (Wings praised Boris's Tories for their stance). Definitely a bit more socially conservative than the SNP, although not by a lot, hence my -1L / +4A compass suggestion.

      You can certainly see Alba supporters on here are not liberals! No liberal would ever call people 'woke' or 'transfans'. These are Tory terms.

    9. "What is wrong with my post? Are Alba not pretty close to the SNP, so over on the left like I say?"

      I have already explained what was wrong with your post. Claiming that Alba chose blue because it's a conservative colour was a deliberate, cynical lie.

    10. In fact I should really delete your follow-up comment because what you're doing is way, way, way beyond a joke.

    11. I cant see anything telling me that the SNP are more or less social conservative on the area of GRA reform. I see lots of copper plate text in their manifestos about looking into GRA reform (but that's nothing even the Tories looked into GRA reform) but cant see anything saying that they are going to actually put through any lesiglation.

      Until the SNP place legislation saying that they are going to change the GRA to allow self id (which by your argument would make them more liberal than Alba who your oppose such legislation) we cant say what their position is.

      We must conclude that the SNP are not 100% behind self id etc. If they were they would of passed legislation by now to implement it - they of course have had over 5 years to do so.

    12. If GRA reform is such a minor thing how comes it has not passed the legislation? It been promising GRA reform since the 2016 referendum and not passed any legislation.

      I suspect because it is minor and there has been rather more pressing business to get on with. You know, like brexit, covid, 5 elections and a 1 referendum in as many years. You'd agree that all this would be a bit more pressing than some tweaks to GRA? To To Wings and readers its a huge story, bigger than brexit, indy and covid, but to most Scots it's largely an irrelevance.

      Obviously, no party has had a majority since 2014 either so nobody could quickly rush something through to get it out of the way either. The SNP can promise folks the moon on a stick but they can't deliver it unless a compromise can be reached with at least one other party.

    13. Seeing as the Greens would of backed self id in an act (possibly even labour) the wouldn't have a majority argument does not hold water.

      I don't know about you but I expect a government to be able to deal with more that one thing at once. It managed to pass other legislation (some of it just as controversial, ie hate crime bill) during all the events you passed so it could of put forward a bill - it just decided not to.

      Most pieces of legislation are largely irrelevant to most Scots, so that argument does not hold any water either.

      Anyhow back to the original point - can you provide any evidence that the SNP is more socially liberal than ALBA. Needs to be something that the completely back self id (a bit like the Greens do) rather than just wishy washy claims of looking into things; until that is forthcoming can't make any claims on the SNPs position in relation to other parties.

    14. Although this is the first time ISP have stood a candidate in an election, it is not the first time their candidate has campaigned in an election, as she was previously an SNP councillor in North Lanarkshire Council.

    15. The thing is, I don't really disagree with what's here:

      It's that changes to GRA equally effect both sexes and any discussion about this should reflect that. That's what make me uncomfortable. I personally think a naked pre-op transboy in the gents is probably not the best idea! Yet why is this not discussed? Why is it all about evil trans people who are actually no trans but just pretending as they are rapists heading straight for the ladies? That's how wings portrays it. I've not many many transwomen, but those I have seemed as nice as the next person.

      I am a bloke. I don't own maleness, just my own body. I don't have issues with a woman who wants to transition to be a man. If it makes them happier.

      I am also not adverse to having them discretely use the gents in the absence of gender neutral facilities, unless they plan to be all exhibitionist. But then that applies to other men too. I am not interested in flashing or being flashed. Thanks.

      If some folk really do like sharing intimate spaces with people they do / don't know of the opposite sex that much, it's them that has a problem. That's just creepy weird. For me, doing away with such traditionally 'open plan old school' facilities to completely private gender neutral / mixed sex use loos / changing rooms (aka like disabled loos or large family enclosed changing cubicles) is the way forward. These work for non-binary people as well as those blokes who prefer not to stand with their willy out 1 m from another man. In these, everyone gets a private floor to ceiling cubicle (which is the emerging model), often with it's own sink, maybe even baby changing facilities.

      FHS, we all used 'mixed sex gender neutral' loos at home, including when we have guests, and they are common in smaller eateries. I can only think people objecting to these are deliberately trying to mislead people that the Scottish government plans to force women to pee in front men. Hence my deep suspicion of wings et al.

      Since I am not aware of any plans for the SNP to force me or my wife to be intimately examined by a person of a sex we object to doing that, I'm not sure what all the fuss is about.

      As always, we will have a few who attempt to abuse the rules. But we have to work out how to deal with them, not make the rules hard on innocent people. Collective punishment of trans people for abuse of the rules by a few is righ-wings Tory stuff.

    16. Wings, willies, toilets! Three classic examples of Skier bingo - French wife or Irish passport for a full house! And James has the nerve to call you a troll!

    17. Great... still waiting for you evidence that Alba is more socially conservative than the SNP like you claimed....

    18. Hi Adam. So you are saying there's no difference between Alba and the SNP on GRA? In that case, what's the point in Alba? Folk can just vote SNP.

      Hi Felix. I understand your preference is for sharing toilet / changing facilities with men, so I'd really rather not have you next to me at the urinal. Do you sneek a peak?

    19. Still obsessed about toilets I see - I thought you said that was an Alba thing? Stick to defending cooking the books, you being a 'director of an SMI' as well as a scientist and a psephologist. So many areas of expertise and a toilet survey to conduct as well!!!

    20. what's the point in Alba? Folk can just vote SNP.

      Because is a democracy there is nothing saying there is anything wrong with having parties sharing common principles. Anyhow back to the question your evidence that Alba is more socially conservative...

  2. You could just admit that Julia Starski is a toxic horrorshow.

    1. I know next to nothing about her, so the word "admit" is a bit bloody presumptuous. Given that she has pronouns in her Twitter profile, I can guess what you're getting at, but I'm not going to jump to conclusions about her based on that alone.

    2. Do you see yourself as a left of centre liberal PJ?

      Or maybe more conservative? A bit to the right?

  3. I see the Sunday Times have a Panelbase pol with Yes at 48% (excluding don't knows). Maybe it is time for poll publishers to state the actual figures for Yes, No and don't knows and stop excluding don't knows in their headline figures. Neither Yes or No are in a majority if these polls are to be believed within the margin of error of course. So despite the daily diet of anti-SNP/Yes from the MSM the figures for Yes are quite steady.