“Earthquake” as SNP ahead of Labour for Westminster

It’s probably a vain hope I have of tearing you away from the Twelfth, but the news that the SNP are nudging four points ahead of Labour for the Glasgow East by-election in a fortnight might add spice to your Orangefest. The Herald “shudders” at the YouGov poll results, while the Scotsman goes the whole hog with an earthquake. It quotes the doyen of political bean counters, John Curtice, putting his finger on the paradox of the SNP: if they’re doing so well running the Scottish government, why bother with independence? ( that’s one theory). While the stoutly unionist, but anglo-centered Daily Telegraph leads with the comforting result to it, that support for the union is twelve points ahead and massively greater if more powers for the Parliament are thrown in.

I join the First Minister in wishing you all a terrific day, whether you’re celebrating privately on the Royal Mile or making the noble trek from Clifton St.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Two interesting bits of info, my oldest son(8) and his friends were about to be stickered by Labour people. My boy, the zealot told them “Naw! We’re voting SNP” and proceeded to tear sticker off his wee brother. On hearing this story I was chuckling until an innocent question threw up an altogether different thought. “Da, why are Labour English?” Seems that the weans had a bit of banter with the group of activists only to discover that they were all English. Why are Labour needing to import activists into an area like this?

    I personally had a frustrating conversation with a pal of my Da’s. He ranted and raved against Labour, saying they were finished etc. As an afterthought I inquired as to which way he would vote, SNP or perhaps one of the Socialist parties. Only to be told that he would probably still vote Labour, if he could be bothered voting at all. This pisses me off frankly, the auld wans are loyal to a party that does not exist. My generation and those following want to be in charge of our own destiny, free of our larger closest neighbour. Yet the older generation, due to long dead loyalties are mindlessly and probably thoughtlessly holding us back.

  • POL

    Have to admit always liked labour more when in opposition.

  • Phil

    ““Da, why are Labour English?” Seems that the weans had a bit of banter with the group of activists only to discover that they were all English”

    You don’t often see the words “English” and “Labour” in the same sentence. Surely in Gordo’s world of the New Labour State of Britishness they would be south or middle Britishers from one of the regions formerly known as E*****d?

  • cynic

    While often criticising others here for being too parochial, I will now commit that sin myself. This by-election could have some real impact on short term progress here in Norn Iron.

    If Labour win with a reasonable majority then the status quo prevails ie the Government is unstable but inertia and infighting will probably keep the PM in post for fear of getting something worse. Brown may also stagger on to the Genral Election because some of the key players will calculate that its better to be seen as picking up the pieces afterwards than holding the parcel at the time.

    If Labour lose to the SNP then I think Brown is toast very, very quickly. The only question in Labour will be, who replaces him and how can they avoid a vicious outbreak of infighting and a 3 way split in the party? There’s no obvious way to resolve this. Any new leader would also have to go to the country very quickly to have any credibility in office.

    A win with a greatly reduced majority will leave Brown stuck in the middle. The instability of the regime will increase as MPs get more and more restive. Government will grind to a halt. Well over a hundred now realise that come the election they are certain to be out of a job and many many more know they are at serious risk. This includes many senior ministers.

    There are already strong signs that all the oomph has gone out of the Government. They are rudderless and drifting. There are no new ides, no new policies, just a dash from short-term issue to short-term issue desperate for any favourable photo-op.

    Brown’s PR is disasterous – telling us all we need to stop wasting food on the day he’s photographed at the G8 quaffing champagne and dining on caviar and foie gras. It has reached the stage where every Government announcement is shallow and greeted with derision. Still in office but no longer in power.

    In this context a General Election will come much sooner than later and the Conservatives will win. So why would the DUPs now do a deal on Policing and Justice with this lot?

    They may well feel that they can get much more leverage with the Conservatives eg more cash, the end of all the Enquiries, etc etc etc. The Shinners will be worried that they will have much less – although the broad thrust of Governemnent policy towards Ireland will continue just as before.

    So dont expect a deal on Justice and Policing soon, I am afraid. I dont say this with any sense of happiness. I think we need a deal and we need it sooner rather than later but in the circumstances it may have to wait until after the General Election – which might not be too long in coming.

    Of course, the really mature way to sort this would be for the parties to get togetehr and cut a deal now….a real sign of stability, committment and maturity. I wonder what odds Mr Eastwood would offer on that?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Cynic,

    Waiting for the Tories would seem like a good tactic for DUP – except – in this scenario where Labour lose the by-election Grizzly would surely pull the plug if they are too tardy. It will be interesting how Cameron in modernising his party might try to tap into the Irish vote in Britian by coming across as more neutral in realtion to Non Iron.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Prionsa Eoghan,

    “Only to be told that he would probably still vote Labour”

    As (regretably) most Scottish are against independence (see Torygraph) then it is understanadble that although voters may not want Labour they certainly dont want the Tories a hell of a lot more. A defeat for Labour might hole them below the waterline and trigger civil war within the party – absolutely guaranteeing the Tories victory – and Scotland being run from Westminster by the Tories.

    This is the line the Labour party should run with in the by-election – “Vote SNP and put the Tories in.

    Any Scottish bookies odds on the by-election?

  • Steve

    £ngland DEMANDS a referendum on Independence!

    £ngland rid of Scotregion NOW!!!!!!

  • Dewi

    “but the news that the SNP are nudging four points ahead of Labour for the Glasgow East by-election in a fortnight might add spice to your Orangefest.”

    Brian – Very grateful for your regular blogs on this = however I think the Poll you refer you covers the whole of Scotland not Glasgow East.
    Feedback I’m getting suggets it’s an astonishing SNP possibility but it’s going to have be fought street by street and house by house – it looks like the SNP have the volunteers – 500 there this weekend I hear.

    Eoghan – can you see evidence of this type of swing ?

  • RG Cuan

    The best news of the day! Gan amhras.

  • My clan in Glasgow East report large number of SNP activists out & about

  • dewi

    Poster count Phil? (It’s going to be a long fortnight….)

  • cynic

    Sammy

    In this state I dont think he has the power to pull the plug on anything except his own hold on office and he’s not likely to do that unless forced because of:-

    * the forelorn hope that something will happen to rescue him
    * sheer inertia – the party might as well have another 2 years in power with all that goes with that
    * political myopia – the belief that it’s not happening and they just need to make the voters undertsand what they are doing
    * fear of the bloodletting to come in which his followers will suffer most from having foisted him on the party when, in their hearts, they knew he wasn’t up to the job and couldn’t connect with the electorate

    Meanwhile, within Labour his inner circle will encourage him to stay while they look for personal advantage inside or outside the party post the election. (Isn’t it interesting how so many of them have gone very quiet in recent weeks.) The PLP will be increasingly restive as MPs look to their constituencies and personal votes. Brown will be distracted trying to figure out who will be first to wield the knife.

    Given the state of the economy, the black hole in the National Accounts and the fact that we are fighting 2 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this is depressing and perhaps scary.

    The DUPs best tactic may therefore be to string Labour along for as long as possible (while building bridges with Cameron) before they apply the coup de grace. And what better way to do that than, at some suitable point, to be seen to help bring down NuLabour – on some important matter of principle and not out of self interest, of course.

    Meantime, the Shinners boycott of Westminister leaves them as bit players on the sidelines in this. They will have some leverage with any new UK Government – remember that the Conservatives started the entire peace process off during Thatcher’s reign. The new Cameron Government will just want to secure the settlement here, but the Shinners will have lost many of those those invaluable personal political contacts.

    In Washington too, whichever party wins, their influence will be on the wane. There may be some pious statements and committments to be wrung out of candidates in an election year but the unravelling of FARC may also throw up some uncomfortable little truths about involvement with narco terrorism and lies told to the Americans on this. I also cannot see an Obama administration having Ireland as a major priority. Time, influence and priorities in American politics are moving on.

    Which brings me back again to the point that the only way to sort this little local difficulty is to do a deal among ourselves. In truth, soon no one else will really care anymore. And perhaps that’s a good thing?

  • Dewi

    Brilliant – And Brian I suspect 44.3% of the populace ain’t enjoying the twelfth. Are you posts justs focussed on the 55.7%?

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    I was there in the morning Dewi but missed out on the rally and our glorious leaders visit as I had to take the weans swimming. There was loads more there than in the photo, I can only guess that many were out canvassing and missed out on the fun although I did hear that there was going to be a barbie. We didn’t do a great deal of canvassing, just putting leaflets through doors in one of the leafier parts of the east end, the weans were a great help. It turns out that Mason phoned my Ma the other night and they had a great conversation, they laughed about how she was sitting bedecked in SNP stickers from her grandchildren, but alas she is still going to vote labour.

    If I was forced to put a number I’d reckon on not far off the 300 hundred expected of all ages. And I believe more were to come Later. Incidently I was up in Barlanark and Easterhouse after the swimming and there were several groups still hard at it late in the afternoon. These guys are determined. It won’t be for the lack of effort if we lose here.

    >>As (regretably) most Scottish are against independence (see Torygraph)<< This poll differs vastly from consistent Sunday Herald polling which has those for independence @ 40% I simply find some of this(torygraph) polls results baffling and out of kilter with other polls.

  • Dewi

    Tony – you’ll just have to stop her voting – get your kids to take her out for the day on the 24th !

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    The 24th is a thursday, and she is watching most of them on that day while their wage-slave parents get peace. Perhaps a day out doon the water to Rothesay, or a wee trip to St.Andrew’s or Berwick on tweed. She smiles benignly at me when I speak about politics with her, almost as if she is humoring the local eedjit. Perhaps she is……………………………….

  • Napoleons nose.

    Good analysis there cynic and you throw up some very good points. I agree that cutting the deal among themselves would be the best option for all the reasons you mention. The world has moved on and it’s time this little issue was dealt with -alas we are blessed with an administration who are simply incapable of making a decision on their own.

  • Napoleons nose.

    Labour on course for victory in Glasgow East

    Oops!

  • Dewi
  • Johnny Punchclock

    Dewi said “Feedback I’m getting suggets it’s an astonishing SNP possibility but it’s going to have be fought street by street and house by house – it looks like the SNP have the volunteers – 500 there this weekend I hear.”

    Dewi confuses getting people to turn out and vote in a by-election in Scotland to some form of urban warfare.

    The fact that the Scottish Nationalist party can get loads of zealots – they are nationalist zealots, after all – to stick leaflets through people’s doors does not mean that the people who receive the said leaflets are actually going to vote for Councillor Mason.

    The nationalists possibly do think that they are “fighting” but all they are doing is waving yellow and black flags about. And possibly crossing their fingers, shutting their eyes tight, and wishing REALLY HARD. But that does not make people vote for them, Dewi.

    Highly entertaining to children in the area, especially because it’s the school holidays, but a bore to residents, many of who have quite difficult lives and are not likely to be impressed by promises by politicians who have already shown that they cut jobs and services in places like Edinburgh and Aberdeen where they hold sway in the Council.

  • Dewi

    Mr Punchclock – are you still there ? tell me what is going on for God’s sake !….

  • Dewi

    hmmm – nowt from you Punchlock – I’m hundreds of miles away – i get data from Plaid people who have been up. Engage will you ?

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    JP

    You could be describing any party there. Except I can’t help get the impression that you don’t like people seeking to be in charge of their own country. Or is it the momentum and possible result you fear, Why would that be?

  • Johnny Punchclock

    Dewi – I hope you managed to get some sleep while waiting for this report! What is going on…

    Well, there are lots of people running about with leaflets and stickers, same as any by-election. Certainly more nationalists, looking determined and, well, zealous – but nervous about their cars being safe. Plenty of Labour people as well. There seems to be more keenness about being in shopping centres and new private housing estates, than Easterhouse and so on. Like I said, the children are more impressed than the grown-ups.

    This at least is what your roving reporter found when doing the messages yesterday morning. Johnny Punchclock, from Old Shelttleston Road, for Slugger News.

  • Johnny Punchclock

    Prionsa Eoghan – “I can’t help get the impression that you don’t like people seeking to be in charge of their own country.”

    Well it’s a Sunday morning and I just got up to check the news websites and drink some Irn Bru, but I thought I’d have a go at addressing this.

    The thing I would say about that is that in Scotland we have for many years had a bunch of people whose poliical identity is firmly “nationalist” and who mostly coalesce around the SNP. They have always been a small minority, and they have been zealots. The rest of us just do not define ourselves as “unionist”, which I think confuses the nationalists, some of who do try to slag us off by calling us that and get a vaguely confused “whit?” response to their insults. The majority – probably 80% – political mindset in Scotland is aware of our distinct national identity, quite proud of it, and within that firmly social democratic, but uncomfortable with zealotry. We’ve seen what it does to people in Ireland, and we’ve seen what it does to people in former Yugoslavia. Jim Sillars called us “ninety-minute nationalists”, referring to the duration of a football game, and he was right.

    Foreigners and people from the Empire with Scots forebears are often surprised and disapponted that we have not seized our historical destiny with both hands and wrested our freedom from the yoke of English tyranny. I suspect this is because we don’t think that we’re subject to tyranny, but that in fact Scots are running the show. It will all be different if the Tories get in, of course, even if their leader has a Scottish name.

    Don’t be confused by the fact that the SNP has one more seat in the Scottish Parliament than Labour has. It is a minority administration, and their policies are not so different to Labour’s – a bit to the left, but still recognisably social democratic. What they do have is Alex Salmond, who is no Slobodan Milosevic or Radovan Karadzic, but a very talented showman who has not yet been found out. This is largely because the Labour MSPs are a sorry bunch, with Margaret Curran being the best and look how she’s been co-opted!

    One scenario sees Margaret winning the Westminster seat, and John Reid taking over her Scottish Parliament seat and becoming Leader at Holyrood. Desperate or what!

    Anyway, my point is that we Scots don’t see the “national question” the way people outside do – and at the end of the day we’re quite clear that it’s our country. We have nationalists, but we don’t really have unionists. But most of us want to keep the Union. Confusing, eh?

  • The sublime McGlashan off Absolutely in 1989, making my point more eloquently than I ever could.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Ok Johnny, you are happy with the status quo. 40% of us according to consistent polling by the Sunday Herald are not.

    >>Foreigners and people from the Empire with Scots forebears are often surprised and disapponted that we have not seized our historical destiny with both hands< < Yep been there done that. Have you ever considered the fact that they might be right? >> but that in fact Scots are running the show. It will all be different if the Tories get in, of course, even if their leader has a Scottish name.< < Just because we kid ourselves on doesn't make it so, our man Brown runs UK inc. for the south east of England same as any other PM. The governor of the bank of England has been crystal on this, and fuck the rest of us. And why wait for the inevitable reaction to Cameron's Tories? Why be reactionaries instead of drivers of our own destiny? >>not so different to Labour’s – a bit to the left, but still recognisably social democratic. What they do have is Alex Salmond, who is no Slobodan Milosevic or Radovan Karadzic< < What a bizzare and ultimately telling comment aman cara. I know Salmond has unleashed a great amount of hatred from the intellectually vacuous and pigmy politico's that have hitherto ran unmolested the colony that is Scotland. However comparing him to such is quite telling. Is it that the SNP are slightly to the left of middle ground that brings this comparison? Or the fact that he has shown up the afore-mentioned for what they are? Maybe even tall poppy shite? *shrugs* >>One scenario sees Margaret winning the Westminster seat, and John Reid taking over her Scottish Parliament seat and becoming Leader at Holyrood. Desperate or what!< < I'd agree if it were true, however said war criminal is busy besmirching the proud history of the world's greatest football team. >>But most of us want to keep the Union. Confusing, eh?< < I really think you are still thinking this one through Johnny. Apathy driven by ignorance is no indicator of the level of unionism. We in Scotland have been lied to and treated like mushrooms. How much Scottish history were you taught in school? Well if it was the Mungo in the mid-eighties I'll guarantee nothing. Anyhow you might like the present state of affairs, but I'm willing to bet that the majority of us aren't. Here is a wee tribute to you Johnny; http://tinyurl.com/cap-n-hand

  • I suspect that the fundamental political agenda of nationalist zealots in Scotland is to create a conscious identity of “unionist” so you can turn your fellow citizens into enemies.

    I hope you fail.

  • “All your problems – that guy across the road having a nicer car and prettier wife, the rain we had yesterday, your electricity bill, your sore knee, that disappointing new album from that band you like, the fact that your teenage son is so grumpy – all the fault of the English, and actually your fault because you don’t realise it, which is also the fault of the English as well.

    Now is the time to rise up and be counted. Like that Braveheart guy, Mel Gibson. Don’t you want people with Irish names off the internet to respect you?”

  • “I really think you are still thinking this one through Johnny. ”

    Patronising cunt.

  • I want to apologise for that intemperate remark.

    It would be nice if an editor could delete it toot sweet.

    I let myself get angry – on a Sunday morning too – about a patronising remark and expressed myself stupidly.

    Remember, it’s only the internet.
    Remember, it’s only the internet.
    Remember, it’s only the internet.
    Remember, it’s only the internet.
    Remember, it’s only the internet.

    I’m off out to the shops.

  • Oilifear

    “Don’t you want people with Irish names off the internet to respect you?”

    The Scots will have my respect no matter what they choose.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Johnny @ 11:24 AM

    How you can write that pish then call anyone a patronising cunt is beyond me. A period of self reflection awaits I fear.

    As far as the bit you got yir knickers in a twist about. I was elaborating on your claim that most of us want to keep the union. Why not try to engage and actually address some of the points I’ve put, you never know we might actually get somewhere. Greetin and actin the big wean get’s us where exactly?

    Oh and Saor Alba ;¬)