Salmond’s first wobble

News that the Scottish Lib Dems have decided to sink the SNP’s referendum 2010 Bill is a dog bites man story . Alex Salmond will hardly be surprised. But is his strategy of blaming the unionist majority in Holyrood for denying the People’s right to have a vote on independence still paying off? The latest You Gov poll may be a significant straw in the wind. It’s Alex’s first setback with public opinion since the SNP minority government was formed in May 2007. Only last June, in the Euro elections The SNP secured 29.1 per cent of Scottish votes, with Labour on 20.8 per cent and the Tories on 16.8 per cent. But now… .. Quite a shift, when you consider how Labour faring in GB as a whole.

“….according to Weber Shandwick’s website, the voting intention figures would give Labour 45 Holyrood seats to the SNP’s 41.The Conservatives would get 20 seats (up three), the Liberal Democrats 18 (up two) and the Greens five (up three).

A separate calculation by Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University’s politics department gave Labour an even bigger lead, at 45 seats to the SNP’s 39.
He said overall support for the SNP was roughly where it was in 2007, but support was up for the Greens, Tories and Liberal Democrats on the regional vote, hurting the Nationalists. The regional vote gave the SNP most of its seats in 2007.
The poll found support for the SNP has slipped in recent weeks, putting them level with Labour on 29% for voting intention in the regional vote.”

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Perhaps Alex should sneak a few showings of Braveheart in as party political broadcasts and perhaps get BBC Scotland to do a short film based on PoshBoyDC, Boris and Ozzie.

  • rob mcnaughton

    the media in scotland is always virulently anti snp, the previous poll showing a huge snp lead was not even covered in the scotsman for example.

    the fact is if people do not wast to vote for the snp they have limited options as all mainline parties offer little.

    squibs are a policy free zone, labour are liars and tories are no better.

    who actually turns up to vote in an election is important, ACTUAL labour votes as europe elections showed are very soft indeed.

    it should be noted that in the by election in glasgow this month, the seat ahs the highest number of asylum seekers and new immigrants who have gone to the top of the housing list, at least according to the locals.

    the story in the herald today shows that this is a factor as to why labour support is soft.

    i therefore expect a higher bnp vote than you might initially imagine, as to some protestant union supporting labour voters voting bnp is less of a step than voting snp. despite what the media says.

  • Belfast Greyhound

    rob ‘the media in scotland is always virulently anti snp’
    Hardly so I think, and certainly the Herald is definitely not in the virulently anti SNP camp.
    The analysis about the political parties is flawed rough and ready BUT I am afraid that at least some of the your comments about the move of votes to the BNP might hold some water.
    I am in Springburn quite regularly and my feelings are that the plethora of candidates standing in this bye-election might work against the BNP picking up the disaffected working class Labour votes in the way they expect to.
    Certainly Labour are pulling out all the stops to try and regain this seat.
    They do not own it and Martin held it as an individual fiefdom while Speaker.
    It’s all to play for here and if anything the media have been allowing the SNP a pretty easy ride for the campaign.

  • Prionsa Eoghann


    My understanding is that the 2010 referendum was never going to be put to the floor and it was a talking shop to gauge opinion on whether they could support an independence referendum in the future. Hence the artificial headlines, what next Tories quaff shampoo or labour fiddle electoral registers, or even slugger favours Unionists? Auld news gied new knickers!

    >>Alistair Carmichael MP, the LibDem shadow Scottish Secretary, said: “The party overwhelmingly rejected Alex Salmond’s referendum bill.< < Well the leadership did anyway as the rank and file were once again denied their say. interestingly that the toff who leads this mob in Holyrood has more or less staked his reputation on denying the referendum. I suppose his position would be untenable should the minions ave voted against his wishes. The two faced stance of supporting referendums left right and centre, but not in Scotland hasn't gone un-noticed. >>“There was genuine and widespread anger at the rigged question put forward by the SNP.< < I am fed up reading this 'rigged' shite, if only some of our slavish Scottish journalists would forget their shackles for an instant and get one of these guys to tell us what they mean by rigged. Better still ask them to provide an alternative if asking a constitutionally correct question is 'rigged'. >>“The Liberal Democrats are a party that will remain at the heart of the debate on Scotland’s constitutional future. But on our terms.”<< Hilarious! They missed an absolute open goal on this. Imagine going from the third best of an extremely inept part-time pan-Unionist front, to the driver of the 'no/bring it on campaign' for Unionism. Sadly they have chosen the former, so claiming to be at the heart of the debate is quite sad. Regarding the poll, prima facie it looks bad, but that is only because of recent optimism, the SNP are still higher than 2007 polls and really am not sure we can deduce much from one, posswibly rogue poll;¬) Belfast Greyhound Bringing in the one and only newspaper that is not viruntly anti-Nationalist only serves to prove Rob's point. The Herald more or less tries to be neutral, but this is on principle due to the overwhelming antipathy of the rest of the media(BBC included) rather than by conviction. As I have written here several times, Scotland must be the only nation that does not have one major daily supporting the government. It is only of late that even some regionals(especially in SNP dominated north-east) are softening their lines. One of the perils of foreign ownership acting in England's/British interests I'm afraid.

  • Belfast Greyhound

    Prionsa Eoghann, what a lot of good imagination goes into your posting!!
    If all the papers in Scotland are ‘vitulently anti-SNP’ perhaps you could indicate where the expressed loyalties of the media in Scotland actually lie. Certainly the one pro-Labour paper, the Daily Record, is just as likely to attack Labour has praise it and the rest of the English controlled media tends to support the Tories, which in Scotland is largely a still redundant activity.
    What is actually remarkable in Scotland is the extent to which the media allows the policy free zone of the SNP government to go untested by critical comment and analysis as we drift towards a Westminster election.
    My friends in the SNP tell me, mostly once their tongues are freed up by a few nips (Scottish vernacular for drinks), that they cannot believe just what Salmond and government get away with.

  • Prionsa Eoghann


    You really couldn’t make up the pish you talk(scottish vernacular for you talk pish) without actually realising that you most surely have made it up.

    1) The so called Scottish Sun tried to outdo the labour party daily on election day in 1997; Trying and failling to use thankfully outdated Unionist tactics of scaring Scots to death over the thought of having our own in the reigns of power instead of muppets controlled by London. You can have a bint with Union jack bikini bottoms and fake British tits on page 3 or REASONS TO BE FEARFUL pages 4 and 5;

    2) The Daily Ranger/Labour news Record has given up all pretensions of journalism now I reckon. Far from criticising Labour at all/ever as you claim they attempt to treat their fellow Scots as mushrooms. For shame! Allied to a headlong rush over the years to match the Sun’s lowest common denominater.

    3) The Scotsman. Easily the most reviled of the bunch as they cannot pretend to be immune from intellectual criticism. Yet this once Tory leaning broadsheet is little more than a Goebblesque spinner of London Labour. It consistantly misrepresents, ignores positive SNP stories or highlights non-stories that may look bad for nationalism. In short a disgrace.

    4) The rest like the Sun are merely Scottish editions though I have heard that the express does not take as much of an anti-Nationalist line as the rest.

    5) The English Broadcasting Corporation. Where do I start? Kirsty’s apology to Salmond, glenn campbell’s creative story telling, the blonde bint misrepresenting Alex Neil ably helped by Mr Campbell only for Salmond to finally slap him down. The election special the other week that had only Labour and the Lib-Dem’s represented etc….There seems to be an undeclared war(declared by the Beeb) going on at present, with the SNP of late taking them to task. About friggin time!

    >>My friends in the SNP tell me…<< Not sure of the veracity of this much like your shite regarding the Record attacking labour(still putting my stitches back together over that wan) anyhow you could ask yir freends(Scottish vernacular for muckers) to put some knowledge intae that nugget of yours so you don't have to make up so much pish.

  • K. McLaughlin

    Re. posting by ” Belfast Greyhound” 10.09am 2 Nov.
    I actually read the Scottish press on a daily basis and it IS biased against the SNP.
    ALL the major newspaper titles available in Scotland are either Unionist -see the Herald – or hysterical Unionist – see the Daily Record (a.k.a. the Daily Rectum), the Scotsman (a.k.a. the Hootsmon) and the Scottish editions of the Sun, the Daily Telegraph and the Times/Sunday Times). The BBC (a.k.a. the Anglo-saxophone) is about the middle of the Unionist-hysterical Unionist spectrum.
    Since May 2007 they have all kept up a constant stream of anti SNP government scare stories, most of which have proved to have little or no substance when examined closely.
    If these figures are to believed, then the net electoral effect of all this one sided propaganda is that SNP support is about the same and Labour slightly up. Labour would return to power only thanks to a quirk in the PR system used here, even though they would poll a lot fewer votes than the SNP (which was why it was chosen in the first place).
    All this hardly constitutes an SNP collapse.
    Anyway, even if accurate, I don’t think this poll is the shape of things to come. All bets will be off as next year’s UK General Election (barring accidents or monumental Tory stupidity) will result in a right royal gubbing for Labour.
    By the time of the next Holyrood elections (2011) New Labour at UK level will still be reeling, skint, defeated, depleted in numbers and influence and in no position to send much help northwards. Labour’s Holyrood contingent are pretty useless at the best of times. Without assistance from the centre, they will be like headless chickens.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    K. McLaughlin,

    is the fact that the Tories are in power in London more beneficial to the SNP or Labour in the Holyrood elections?

  • K McLaughlin

    Re, post by “itwasSammyMcNally what done it” 2:28 pm 3 Nov 09.
    For the SNP
    Depends how Cameron plays it as PM.
    With only only 2 or 3 MPS from Scotland and well under 20% of the vote here , he will be under no electoral pressure from this quarter.
    If he takes a ” Sod you Jock ingrates” attitude then it helps the SNP. If he takes a more conciliatory attitude, I honestly do not know how this will play in Scotland.

    For Labour
    It does not matter what Cameron does in power. The very act of Labour’s defeat will paralyse them for years as an effective force. Hell, they are still in denial over their narrow defeat at Holyrood 2007. The even bigger and more catastrophic defeat awaiting them next year might even be enough to finish New Labour altogether.

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    What if, what if, whit if;

    God forbid and this poll has some merit. Labour and the two faced Lib-Dem’s get into power here allied with the Tories in Westminster.

    God help Scotland! There would be orders from London to play chess using us as the pawns from the Lib and Labour Fuhrers.

    Truth is that a bunch of complete novices in the SNP who are learning on the job have shown up 10 years of Lib/Lab incompetency. I imagine once they get used to it they will get even better. I worry about the strength of opposition though, it might be funny to laugh at them at present, but it is no good in the medium to long term.


    The fear factor with the Tories in power in London and a strong SNP government here is the only thing that might push the waverers over to independence. There isnae a fag paper between the Tories and Labour on hardly a thing.

  • Belfast Greyhound

    Prionsa Eoghann
    How lovely to hear someone trying to sound Scottish and informed and still only manage to sound like a nippy sweetie.
    In among all you manage to rant about you still have not managed to identify where the media leanings in Scotland actually are pointing.
    My contacts with the Labour Party tell me that they are the most reviled party by the Scottish media, and of course with out either proper reason or cause.
    You seem to think that the media in Scotland, or rather the Sottish based media is somehow only restricted to the Central Belt.
    Scotland is approximately 30+ something percent of the entire landmass of the island of Britain.
    Newspapers are vital across the whole of Scotland as opinion formers and reflectors of opinion with organs like the Courier (Dundee based) and the Press and Journal (Aberdeen based) reflecting a wider range of opinion than might be found in the Central belt, and an opinion more favourably inclined towards the SNP perhaps.
    K McLaughlin
    I would not necessarily deny that the majority of the media may well be biased against the SNP, BUT there are two things to take on board here
    (1) it is the party of Government at the moment and it is the expected role of the fourth estate to be critical if not antagonistic towards the Government of the day – democracy depends on that as a basis of its existence otherwise we end up with the sort of media scrutiny of Government we would expect in the Times of Zimbabwe.
    (2) the original comment which made me reach for my keyboard as it were was, ‘the media in scotland is always virulently anti snp,’ which is not at all in the same continent as being biased against the SNP.
    The problem at bottom is that the SNP demands a yes or no response to what it wants.
    You are in SNP terms either a Nationalist or you are a Unionist and the London controlled papers are and will remain Unionist and with an entirely Unionist bent.
    What is confusing the picture more than just a little is the way people do not act always in the way the political theorists and the papers suggest they would.
    Despite the SNP demanding that the argument is always a black or white choice people confound this analysis by being more than one thing at a time, supporting SNP in bits for not being Labour (the Tories don’t count really in anyone’s lexicon) but not supporting them in the main thrust of their argument – independence.
    It is as if people had discovered how to be semi-virgins and were keeping that secret close to their chests so as to reap the benefits of both experience and ignorance at the same time.
    The media and even less the politicians have yet to really waken up to this notion and to what it means in electoral predictions of success or failure in elections.
    The papers (London orientated) are against the SNP only when it manages to intrude into the picture over something or other but the main attention remains on the Government at Westminster and attacking Labour in Scotland as an easy swipe.
    The Labour Party in Holyrood is distinguished by the total failure it has made of establishing itself as a ‘regional’ and separate grouping from the controlling hand of the Labour party at Westminster, entirely to its own disadvantage.
    The other notable aspect of the Scottish Press is the extent that opinions are formed by the extensive ‘local’ papers which still exist in every townland.
    As a rule they are not generally at all hostile in any way to the SNP and their role as opinion formers should not be overlooked when trawling the Scottish papers for ideas about how the people are thinking.

  • Prionsa Eoghann


    Not quite sure how to respond to the above as I suspect you might be pished, whilst talkin the same.

    Seems that my crime is not in proving that the meedja is anti-SNP, but I have not sufficiently proved where their support lies. Oh aye, that and being Scottish sounding(kin ye hear me there Jim?) and a nippy sweetie. Your contacts in the labour party lol, have it nearly right, it is the people not the meedja who revile the Labour party.

    I have already mentioned that a few of the north-east local papers have softened towards the SNP of late. However how does it help your mixed up case repeating info back to me? Indeed you seem now to be trying to put the point that somehow these small regional papers are somehow better at forming opinions than BBC Scotland/UK TV/Radio/Newspapers.

    Aye right! hope ye enjoyed yir swally, bit away’n’chase yirsel noo you n yir labour party contacts and SNP freeends who let loose when bevvied. Ya blowhard ye.

  • Brit

    The media is against the SNP. If so Good.

    They are a reactionary nationalist bunch of cretins whos central idea is not social justice, workers rights, small state, liberty or whatever motivates grown up parties in a liberal democracy, but a politics based on the accident of nationality. The glorious ancient Scots nation. Trading on anti-English prejudice and ancient and irrelevant injustices, imagining oppression from London/England and trying to build up a myth of an oppressed nation yearing for freedom (as ridiculous as the Catalans claims to be oppressed).

    Wrap it up in progressive and leftwing language all you want but you’re just a bunch of parochial reactionaries at the end of the day.

  • Prionsa Eoghann


    Wondering when you would raise your ugly head.

    >>The media is against the SNP. If so Good.< < Very eh um democratic of you there chum. Your new-labour pals went mental when the sun put the boot in, remember? >>They are a reactionary nationalist bunch of cretins…< < Exactly what some of us singularly think of yir goodself. Also I remember the SNP leading the anti-war demonstrations that your party new-Labour led us all into. Wasn't that an illegal war with hundreds of thousands of dead. >>The glorious ancient Scots nation.< < Please...................! Stick your patronising up yir hole! >>Trading on anti-English prejudice and ancient and irrelevant injustices, imagining oppression from London/England and trying to build up a myth of an oppressed nation yearing for freedom (as ridiculous as the Catalans claims to be oppressed).< < Lol! Excellent, your history is as bad as your reading of present events. 'Irrelevant injustices' eh? Irrelevant to whom exactly? You? Does anybody take you seriously anymore? >>’re just a bunch of parochial reactionaries at the end of the day.<< But Brit I have proof that you yourself are the above just from your utterings on this forum. A bit cheeky slagging off people whom you have not the slightest hope in hell of proving your charges against. Tell you what redeem your ridiculous arse by proving it, go on!

  • Brit

    Ugly head? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    “Very eh um democratic of you there chum. Your new-labour pals went mental when the sun put the boot in, remember?”

    Its called freedom of the press. Maybe you would prefer to ban non “patriotic” papers along with the Orange Order?

    The parochial nature of Scottish Nationalism is self-evident. It’s a political vision which starts and ends in a small country in the north of an island of the European continent. How petty. Universalism, Internationalism, the Enlightenment, Democracy, Liberalism, Socialism. These concepts have no global limits or specificity.

    The reactionary nature is based on the illogical nature of nationalism and dragging up of ancient battles (like the Serbian nationalists during the various Balkan wars) and trying to create a myth of oppression from the other, the English.

    “Does anybody take you seriously anymore”

    I’m not a politician or media personality just a bored bloke into political philosphy, history and current affairs. I don’t expect anyone to take me seriously. I don’t particularly take you or anyone else on here seriously and don’t really care what you think of me, I’m on here because enjoy debates and am hopeful that a small part of my analysis and worldview might insinuate itself inside the thinking of some of the more intelligent of my opponents on here. It may help to spark some enlightenment in them. I was an attendee at SWP meetings when I was 15 so I know we can all make mistakes and I know that many supporters of Irish republicanism and opponents of the Iraq war are motivated by basically progressive and “good” political impulses, but ones which have got mixed up and confused along the way.

    And I’m not going to repeat my well known views on the Iraq war and its legality.

  • Prionsa Eoghann


    How’s this?

    The parochial nature of British Nationalism is self-evident. It’s a political vision which starts and ends in a small island off the European continent. How petty. Universalism, Internationalism, the Enlightenment, Democracy, Liberalism, Socialism. These concepts have no global limits or specificity.

    Yep actually I agree.

    Don’t suppose you are man enough to hold your hands up over your knee-jerk ant-SNP bullshit, either that or prove the accusations.

  • Brit

    Well notwithstanding the marginal point that British Nationalism is the nationalism of multiple nations so less about an ancient people or race that others, I agree. Thats why I am a militant opponent of political British nationalism (a la the BNP).

    And no I am not saying the SNP is the same as the BNP. Indeed British Nationalism (ignoring the NI Unionist unique case) is even more reactionary than Scots Nationalism.

    My views on the SNP are based on their guiding political philosophy and how I interpret it. I dont understand what sort of “proof” you want me to give.

  • Prionsa Eoghann


    I take it that you are not going to be man enough to admit that you made an erse of yourself and are unable to prove your charges.

    Must admit that I loved you putting the BNP in with the SNP whilst “(ignoring the NI Unionist unique case)” and managing to mention that they(the BNP) are more reactionary than the SNP, meaning that the SNP are reactionary. Are you a product of the new-labour school of spin? Have you no shame? This is a keeper!

    >>My views on the SNP are based on their guiding political philosophy and how I interpret it.<< Says it all really. My views on you are based on the evidence of your utterings. Please be so kind as to provide us with evidence to support your views on the SNP. Last time, put up or shut up!

  • Belfast Greyhound

    Dear Prionsa Eoghann,
    You really must stop over egging the pudding when you lapse into overt stage Scottishness in your speech – it may be because I am Irish that I have difficulty in following your line of logic in what you write.The press, and this whole thread started with the comment that the ‘media is virulently anti-SNP’ and nothing that you have said has confirmed that opinion or added evidence that it even might be the case. Even that ‘the press is anti-SNP’ is not able to be taken to court on the basis of what you say.
    All you say are good roustabout saloon bar opinions, but not the sort that will get any distance as considered thought.
    Good roustabout blogging in a way even if a bit limited in actual content.
    I do love ‘The parochial nature of British Nationalism is self-evident. It’s a political vision which starts and ends in a small island off the European continent.’
    It is so easy to change ‘British’ for ‘Irish’ in that statement and see that it still makes sense.
    Stick with it, you may have hit on something here.

  • Jo

    I may surprise some by stating that actually Brit makes some well argued and cogent points. I have been driven to agree on a number of issues. I disagree with him/her (tho I strongly suspect him) but I think his is a good contribution to Slugger.

    It knocks very firmly on the head the accusation by Mick’s “mate” that this is a provo site.

    It is not.

  • Prionsa Eoghann


    >>You really must stop over egging the pudding when you lapse into overt stage Scottishness…< < Your views are soooooo 19thC, I sometimes find it easier to actually write how I would normally say it. I do hope you were not attempting to be condescending old chap, since aping our Anglo friends isn't high on everyone's list of dignified things to do. >>it may be because I am Irish that I have difficulty in following your line of logic in what you write.< < What a crass statement! Either you are blaming your wanton bias on the fact that you are Irish, or are saying that somehow because you are Irish you cannot follow what I as a Scot has written. Either or is too daft to contemplate. >>Good roustabout blogging in a way even if a bit limited in actual content.< < Haud oan ma man, more than myself gave opinion and I provided evidence. indeed there has even been a new word invented for lies(a glencampbely) honouring a EBC Scotland reporter who a US official complained mangled his interview responses to suggest something that was not his intention over the Meghrahi release. You have chosen to ignore both opinion and evidence simply because it suits your obvious agenda. Although some of your backtracking might suggest otherwise. Indeed what is the content of your contribution here apart from attempting and failing badly to spread misinformation? Jo Perhaps you might like to support the 'well argued and cogent points' that Brit has made, since he himself has chosen the better part of valour. >>..but I think his is a good contribution to Slugger.<< He has his moments I suppose like the rest of us, but I suspect he may have given more than a dozen or so a sore heid.