Friday, June 18, 2021

The echoes and ghosts of 2017

Although I always want the Tories to lose every election they fight, I had a sense of foreboding last night when it became clear the Liberal Democrats had unexpectedly won the Chesham and Amersham by-election, because the result has a potential 'game-changer' feel about it.  Until now, the Lib Dems had been beginning to look like an irrelevance, and that suited the SNP down to the ground, both electorally and in the sense of staking their claim to be treated by the media as their status as the third largest party in the Commons would warrant.  We know from the experience of the 2017-19 parliament that the BBC and others will leap on any signs of Lib Dem recovery as an excuse to get back into the comfort zone of pretending that the UK has a three-party system - with the Lib Dems as the third party.

The by-election result can perhaps be seen as the Tories' equivalent of what happened to the SNP in 2017 - the moment it becomes clear that a slightly unnatural coalition of support can't hold together forever.  In 2015 the SNP had made dramatic inroads into former Labour heartlands by becoming the undisputed party of Yes voters - and yet they hadn't paid a corresponding penalty in the No-voting areas they had held for decades, like Moray.  2017 was the inevitable belatedly catching up with them, and by the same token the Tories can't really expect to continue to have a clear run in seats like Chesham and Amersham where voters are unlikely to approve of the nationalistic, illiberal and populist message that demolished the Red Wall.  The SNP reacted to their 2017 setback by completely losing their nerve and putting their objectives firmly on the backburner (it appeared that losing Moray was harder for them to bear than losing the prospect of independence) - my guess is the Tories will not make the same mistake.

To return to the subject of the controversy over the "missing £600,000" of donations that the SNP were supposed to have ring-fenced to fight an indyref campaign, in a sense that's the chickens coming home to roost after the strategic error of 2017.  The SNP paid a lot of heed in the aftermath of the 2017 election to the voters that had lost them seats to the Tories - but they forgot to pay heed to pro-independence voters who had, after all, just won them the election on the specific basis that such an outcome would constitute a "triple-lock mandate" for a referendum.  They also paid no attention to the wishes of the people who had donated so generously to the referendum campaign fund - indeed they very cynically did the opposite by scrapping the referendum and spending the money on other things (nobody seems to know quite what).  Exactly the same principle applies to the SNP's core support as it does to SNP-Tory floating voters in Banffshire or wherever - if you take those people for granted, eventually there'll be a penalty to be paid, even if it takes a while to feed through.

The simplest way to sort out this mess is simply to name the date for the independence referendum, even if it's in 2022 or 2023.  People won't mind quite so much about misused/squandered cash if we get back on track for the goal that cash was raised for.  Indeed, if a referendum was called, it would probably be quite easy and quick to raise another £600,000.  Everyone would be a winner - well, apart from the unionist parties.

*  *  *

Have you signed our parliamentary petition calling for devolution of powers over broadcasting to the Scottish Parliament? If you haven't yet, you can do so HERE.


  1. I think this is all a bit naive. The SNP have done more than just casually lost core voters: they've actively been persecuting pro independence people. Those in the leadership and their enforcers (as that's currently what the aggressive, misogynistic, abusive groups supporting the leadership against anyone daring to disagree feel like) have been very deliberately splitting the movement. May's election, and the smearing and abuse which went along with that, was the final straw for me. I will not vote for them again under this leadership or any later one installed by this one (eg Angus Robertson and his wife). I also don't trust them and those around them to run a referendum, far less win one. They don't have the strategic nous, the talent or the stomach for it and they can't be trusted not to spend the entire campaign smearing and abusing those who do. There's not a snowball's chance in hell I'd trust them with a penny if they had a fundraiser and I think anyone who did would be crazy.

    The independence movement needs another plan now, as the SNP appears corrupted and compromised beyond saving. The first mistake wasn't their reaction to the 2017 losses, imo: it was fighting that GE on a narrative of "It's not all about independence". That was what lost them those pro indy voters who generally didn't bother to vote. They were the people who were energised in 2014 and who have long since gone back to apathy. This current SNP will not win them back and have actively pissed off vast numbers of still actively, passionately pro independence people.

    1. The first mistake wasn't their reaction to the 2017 losses, imo: it was fighting that GE on a narrative of "It's not all about independence". That was what lost them those pro indy voters who generally didn't bother to vote. They were the people who were energised in 2014 and who have long since gone back to apathy.

      If softening on independence was the cause of the SNP's 2017 reverse, why did those reverses occur overwhelmingly in No-voting areas?

      If the people energised by 2014 really have gone back to not voting, we'd expect the SNP to have returned to 2010 levels at Westminster. But that hasn't remotely happened. They remain ridiculously dominant. So either the people who voted for them for the first time in 2015 are still largely doing so, or they've been replaced by someone else who is.

    2. I don't see why any new mandate was needed in 2017; there was one from 2016. Why risk undermining it for now possible reason whatsoever other than to help unionists? And how would that even work as Scots MPs can't legislate for an iref? It's like making council elections about independence or something.

      The only possible way of making Westminster elections about indy is an outright indy plebiscite (50%+) if somehow an iref was blocked.

    3. "I don't see why any new mandate was needed in 2017"

      Take that up with the SNP, who asked for one.

    4. I can't find that in the manifesto.

      This election won’t decide whether or not Scotland will
      become independent - but a vote for the SNP will reinforce the
      right of the Scottish Parliament to decide when a referendum
      should happen.

      Pretty clear the election would not - and could not / should not - decide on indy.

      No new mandate as it's the wrong parliament. But very obviously people voting SNP would reinforce their position politically.

      The SNP can't be accused of seeking a mandate for indy and not making the election about indy at the same time! :-)

      For me, the above was the reason I voted SNP. It was exactly the correct approach IMO.

    5. "I can't find that in the manifesto."

      Then look harder.

    6. Skier, will this be another of those famous 'tongue in cheek' comments you claim to have made when you've been shown to be talking nonsense? I doubt your tongue is ever disengaged from Nicola's backside long enough to be placed anywhere else! Come out of those fragrant ladies' loos you enjoy using so much and smell the stench of corruption and deceit at Bute House.

  2. On the by election I take a different view. Given the reduction in turnout, the salience of the HS2 issue and the massive drop in Labour's vote, it feels more like a traditional chance to give the govt a bloody nose.

    If the current polling were to be maintained through to the next GE then this seat would again be Tory.

    1. But the point is that this type of result, and the subsequent publicity for the Lib Dems, could very easily change the current polling. By-election surprises can produce snowball effects - not always, but they sometimes do. I wouldn't be shocked to see a big bounce for the Lib Dems in the national polls.

    2. This is the first by-election since 2019 in a Tory remain seat although the deceased MP was anti-EU. Tactical voting en masse, not pro-LD although they might get a little bounce. They proved to be the vehicle to voice the constituency's displeasure at Brexit, HS2, NHS and corruption.

  3. 'Name the date'... you serious? This IS the SNicP - ain't happenin'.

  4. Noone saying anything about the Labour collapse. Obviously a lot of tactical voting. Next election the Lib Dens could win quite a few remain voting areas whereas the red wall may stay tory. Depends on the tory's response to their slap in the face this week.

  5. As I thought. No missing money. Straight from the mouth of Salmond's trusted treasurer of 10 years.

    SNP's new national treasurer releases statement on £600,000 for indyref2

    Soon as I read the original story I thought 'sounds like I love England more than Scotland Wings pish' just like the 'trust me, she broke the code multiple times and will need to resign' horse manure.

    Folks can be pissed off about the SNP not going ahead with a vote in 2017 that all polling data suggests they would likely have been lost, but there's no missing money unless they don't produce it for the campaign when it comes.

    1. Scottish Skier: this is laughable. You're doing yourself no favours with this endless and rather silly propagandising. The quotes from Colin Beattie in the very article you link to implicitly confirm what we already know: that the vast bulk of the supposedly "ring-fenced" fund has already been spent on other things. He merely promises that an "equivalent" amount of money will be spent on the purpose originally intended - in other words they can't spend the *actual money raised* because they no longer have it. Of course he's doing his best to put a positive spin on it - he was, after all, Treasurer when the money went AWOL in the first place.

    2. Exactly. The SNP said the money was going to be ring fenced for a referendum. They are now admitting that they lied and that the money was merely earmarked.

      As James has said, apart from a small amount, they have spent the money on the day to day running of the SNP and now need to raise more funds to cover the £600k that they have spent.

      Of course they are also admitting that the 'woven into the accounts' line was a lie.

    3. Just for the avoidance of doubt the SNP were clearly stating that donations to the 'ring fenced independence fund' were completely separate to donations the the SNP for general use

    4. And they are good for the money, so what's the issue? They had a Turnover of £5,290,815.00 with net assets (which may include ringfenced funds) of £1,513,312.00.

      The donations in 2019-20 are just 6% of turnover for those two years. Seems some people have zero understanding of finance / accounts. I won't be voting for parties run by people who don't understand the basics of such things.

      If the SNP wanted to actually legally ringfence some assets / cash, they would need to set up a completely different arms-length organisation which produced it's own accounts. That's the only way to separate the cash from the general cashflow of the party. It's like retail and investment backing have been separated into different companies so the former are not liable for losses of the latter. I'm not sure how that would work for a political party or if it would even be allowed. It would certainly need a whole new entity registered with the EC.

      Anyone with the remotest knowledge of business understands this.

      Otherwise, it is 'ringfenced' on an internal accounts system (ledger) like SAGE. For example as a project code against which costs can be credited (donations) or debited (spend on referendum stuff). The SNP have specified exactly what cash is 'ringfenced' in this way. But that means if the SNP take out and overdraft to fund an election, the costs of that will be balanced against any assets on the system. It doesn't mean the money is gone; they are liable for it and the accountants will see it all on the ledger. It won't go in the final published accounts though; that's just silly to suggest.

      If you give me £1m to keep safe in my bank for you, but I owe someone else £1m, your £1m is there and ringfenced, but due to my liabilities, my end of year net assets balance is zero. If you ask for your money, you will get it; I must legally give it to you. Only if I don't are the police called in maybe.

      This is primary school level accounting.

    5. "seems some people have zero understanding of finance / accounts."


  6. Exactly. The SNP said the money was going to be ring fenced for a referendum. They are now admitting that they lied and that the money was merely earmarked.

    I'm sure the public will be utterly outraged at this; if it's the case.

    I mean that's what the average person on the street is most worried about. Jobs, the economy, welfare, brexit... these are not important. It's whether some donations to the SNP by some keen Yes supporters - which everyone agrees the SNP are totally good for - were technically 'earmarked' or 'ringfenced'.

    LOL. Union is really on it's last legs if this is all they have.

    1. "which everyone agrees the SNP are totally good for"

      More propaganda. Where on earth do you get the idea that "everyone agrees" on that point?

    2. Ok, everyone with an understanding of finance / accounts who is impartial would agree.

      The sum is 6% of 2019-20 turnover and they had £1.5m in assets in 2019.

      In what fantasy world could a party in that kind of rock solid financial position not produce the sum involved?

      I am a director of an SME and the SNP's accounts are super-duper healthy. I expect 2020 will look even better given there was no election to spend on - as was the case in 2019 - and the extra MPs gained would have boosted income from Scots taxpayers via Westminster.

    3. "I am a director of an SME and the SNP's accounts are super-duper healthy."

      It's so lovely that they allowed you to inspect them personally.

    4. Desperate stuff even by your own lamentable standards, Skier. They've spent the money you idiot. They couldn't hold indyref2 now even if they wanted to because they're skint! What that statement is telling you is we've spent your cash on other 'things' - please don't ask us to be more specific than that (although Peter Murrell's fat pay packet springs to mind). But don't worry - here's an IOU for what we stole which we hope to honour with another 'referendum fundraiser' in 2022 if we can find anyone daft enough to contribute.

      This has all been one big ponzi scheme, buying off your initial victims with the cash you hope to con from the next sucker until the whole rotten pyramid collapses. Wake up from your soporific Sturgeonite stupor and apply some of that scientific rigour you claim to possess. As it is, you come across as credulous if not cretinous with nonsense like this.

      P.S. Wings has thrown in the towel for heaven's sake. The only 'pish' he has published since the election is the very statement you are now claiming vindicates the SNP! Find someone else to blame for everything - maybe Alex Salmond as he seems to be the Sturgeonites' whipping boy these days.

      P.P.S. I see on an earlier post you claim that you're not full of yourself. Really?!!! Well, thanks for the laugh anyway - you're certainly full of something.