It’s all happening in Scotland..

Excellent stuff from Alan Trench in the Scotsman
It’s difficult to choose specific quotes so read the lot….How the SNP are strategising for independence.

And in the here and now: (from the BBC)
A by-election In Inverclyde on June 30. I thought Labour might let things cool down a bit before calling this. (Held the nearest comparable SP seat by 511 votes only).
“Labour previously said a 30 June date was “unlikely”.
The party said last week it was keen to avoid having a by-election during the school holidays and indicated its preference for a “long lead-in time”, to set the date back for about two months.”
Clever or Panic? – don’t know but the SNP have a great candidate, Anne McLaughlin, and just a little. bit. of. momentum.
To be absolutely fair and completely unbiased the Labour Candidate, Iain McKenzie, seems to be a popular bloke…
This is going to be fun……
Update from the Herald – Support for independence is growing.

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  • Opening a third front, Dewi? If at second you don’t succeed …

    Yes, I too read Alan Trench. I’m afraid I fell off my chair when he started on about the SNP taking “advice” from the Parti Québécois. Now how did that one go last month? — Ah, yes: the NDP cleaned up: demolishing the separatist Bloc Quebecois in Quebec, a party that has dominated politics in the French-speaking province for the past 20 years. It was reduced to just three seats, too few to even qualify for official party status in the Canadian parliament.

  • Dewi

    1)A third front? This ain’t a war mun Malcolm – it could be one of those real historic by-elections although Labour must be strong favourites

    2) I think the advice was on how they lost (agonisingly closely) in 1995 – I was on Plaid’s National Excetutive at the time and we were all horrified at how the concerns of the Cree were ignored…On that point I might start a fourth front..but maybe not today..

  • HeinzGuderian

    Apparently * it’s all happening in Scotland*………which translates into a by election in Inverclyde on June 30th.

    Talk about excitement.

    Dewi,let me try this again,see if your powers of comprehension are any better than the other thread………..

    Less than 1/3rd,that’s less than 33% of Scottish Voters favour independence !
    A lot of people vote DUP,that doesn’t mean they are born again christians,who believe in a 6,000 year old universe !

    Alex knows fine rightly there is as much chance of Scottish Independence,than there is of a ui this Century.
    You are getting your tartan panties in a twist over Scotch Mist,boyo !! 😉

  • Dewi

    Heinz – do you understand dynamic, momentum and zeitgeist?

  • HeinzGuderian

    I do Dewi,I do !!
    I also understand a protest vote against the Labour Party !! 😉

  • JPJ2

    HeinzG-“I also understand a protest vote against the Labour Party !! ”

    The only protest vote in Scotland was in 2010. It was an anti-Tory vote.
    In 2011 the vote was primarily pro-SNP, not anti-Labour.

    Bookies seem to be offering 2/7 that Labour will hold Inverclyde. That is poor value for money-evens is the worst that I would accept-not that I could accept it as I have had my account closed due to being too succesful with my political betting :-).

    Labour are total idiots calling this by-election quickly (what’s new?). Here are a number of reasons why Labour will be lucky to hold on:

    *The Holyrood seat was WON on the list/regional vote by the SNP

    *The main reason for people voting Labour rather than SNP at UK GE’s is that Labour can form a UK government-that is irrelevant at this by-election

    *The SNP candidate was the campaign manager for the famous Glasgow East by-election SNP victory

    *The campaign manager for this by-election (Kenny Gibson) is a magnificent election fighter-at the recent election he achieved the highest % increase of any candidate in Scotland (and think of the swings that took place!)

  • Dewi

    Updated with a poll from the Herald.

  • JPJ2

    Thanks Dewi for the heads up re the Herald poll.

    As usual, for some strange reason the headline report is that support for independence is up at 37% (those against independence are 45%).

    Now normally in elections, polls are reported with the don’t knows etc eliminated (and that is the sensible way to do it). Doing that here would show support for independence at 45% which is as near as makes no difference the % vote the SNP have just received for Holyrood.

    But HeinzG thinks that a yes to independence is impossible-he must be a member of the George Robertson school of politics 🙂 (“Devolution will kill nationalism stone dead” or some such wittering-someone suggested he should lead the “No” campaign)

    As I have said before, I love, just love, the unionist complacency 🙂

  • “It’s all happening in Scotland …” — it sure is.

    The attack on the public sector and their wages continues apace. The latest, of course, is that teachers be employed at below the minimum wage.

    This proposal that probation for young teachers be extended for a second year shows the way the SNP may be herding its public employees (except, of course, those 300 or so SpAds softening up the masses for the referendum).

    So, you emerge from Uni with debts for living costs (unless you somehow follow the traditional hard road of the lad o’ pairts, leaving home with your bag of oats, and returning four years later with your degree). You struggle to get a job in the crowded market. You are then expected to exist on £10,700 a year. Meanwhile COSLA, the employers’ combine, want to remove limits on the hours of employment and constrain conditions.

    Any one who had any doubts that the SNP can amount to extreme Tartan Toryism should take an interest in how the attack on public servants is developing.

    Once again what Wee Eck said (in this case, on Saturday 12th March) and what his party is now proposing to implement are chalk and cheese — which is the starvation diet for a young Scottish teacher in the near future.

    [Now watch the true-blue-in-tooth-and-claw unbridled capitalism lot pile in with abuse of the public sector.]

  • Since Dewi‘s headline piece was directed at the upcoming Inverclyde by-election, a couple of thoughts thereon.

    David Cairns had a strong personal following: he substantially increased his majority in 2010, including knocking the SNP down to 17½% (the Tories also scored a couple of per cent). The SNP have never built the “momentum” that Dewi claims: as I recall, their recent parliamentary candidate boasted of being a piper — in a London pipe band. On the 2010 result it is the SNP’s 42nd least marginal seat, which is why is has been an electoral respository for passing bag-carriers.

    Swathes of the unitary authority area are lush, green, have productive modern industry and commerce, and even support a crop of Tory councillors. Before 2007 it had a LibDem majority controlling the Council.

    On the other hand, the unemployment rate is one-and-a-half times that of all Scotland, and up by a third since 2008. Ranked by employment, Inverclyde is the 27th of the 32 Scottish local authority areas. There are large pockets of poverty: Inverclyde is second only to Glasgow on the deprivation indices.

    To win Inverclyde the SNP would need to devour the Tory and LibDem vote, and make inroads into Cairn’s personal vote. That, I suspect, is one reason why Labour would want to milk the sympathy vote while the memory is still warm.

    Both the Labour and the Tory candidates are luminaries of the local authority, with track-records. Anne McLaughlin, despite Dewi‘s panegyric, was an SNP bag-carrier (for Bob Doris, of “tick the Irish box on your census” fame) and is a carpet-bagger. This will be the third different constituency she has assayed. She succeeded to the Glasgow list seat to fill the vacancy as late as 2009. I’m sure someone will have a word with her about being an in-comer, and telling the local press that “she had visited many parts of the constituency since being selected ” — not quite the best phrasing. She is, however, playing the Port Glasgow birth-place for all she’s worth (which merely underlines how long ago she left it).

    There are good reasons for thinking (at this stage) that Inverclyde 2011 is no Glasgow East 2008, particularly as the SNP are seen by some to be anxious to get into bed with the Cameroons. In short, it all depends on Labour’s ability to get out its natural majority here.

  • JPJ2

    Maalcolm says:

    “the SNP are seen by some to be anxious to get into bed with the Cameroons”

    Oh dear-a comment rendered particularly ridiculous by the fact that the TORY candidate in this by-election is none other than the Deputy Provost of Inverclyde and his party IS IN COALITION WITH THE LABOUR PARTY!!!!!

  • JPJ2 should look a wee bit further.

    I think he would find the sharing of responsibilities on Inverclyde Council (split 9-5-4-1-1) is an “Administration agreement”. It includes one recent-recruit from the Lib Dems and an independent. That, to a tabloid frame of mind, might be a “coalition”; but those involved are not obliged to agree. I gather the SNP excluded themselves from any sharing of responsibilities. I give this no greater significance than the SNP-Labour “coalitions” in Edinburgh and East Renfrewshire: local electorates create strange bed-fellows, but national parties do it by choice.

    The point I was making is that, while the SNP speak against cuts, they are enthusiastic cutters in practice.

    There is the hypocrisy of what the SNP is doing to higher education. In 2007 the SNP was promising to “abolish student debt”. As if. The current pledge not to have tuition fees involves taking chunks out of the teaching budget at all phases. At HE level that involves closing whole courses. At school level it involves 2,500 fewer teachers and worsening the P/T ratio.

    1200 Scottish NHS jobs have gone in Glasgow region alone: across Scotland it will be 5,000 staff. Welfare cuts are rife: a small example — the West Dumbartonshire SNP-controlled council shifted the welfare rights budget without Council scrutiny, and promptly chopped it by £325,000

    The 2007 pledge to increase police numbers by a thousand is already being eroded: numbers were down 146 over the last year.

    Today Salmond, in London, is saying that he is in “complete agreement” with Cameron “on most points”. Ah, but wait till he’s back on his own turf! Then, it’s all the fault of those damned Ingleezes; but it’ll all be put to rights when we’re independent!

  • JPJ2

    Malcolm-give it up. You are indulging in sematics gone wild.

    The Labour candidate is the council leader, the Tory candidate is the Deputy Provost. The Tory is part of the “Administration agreement”.

    I am happy, however, for you to waste your efforts trying to portray the SNP as “Tartan Tories” because I think the term “Red Tories” is sticking better as a description of Labour as far as the electorate are concerned.

  • Doncha just lurve it when a single asserted opinion and a bit of gratuitous snidery (for which, much thanks, JPJ2) is supposed to balance (say the 17 in my last post) verifiable facts?

    Since this thread is supposedly about “How the SNP are strategising for independence”, I’ll stick to the topic at hand.

    In which regard, I hope that the students of the Herald get past the opinion poll to look at the other main news item, on how Kenny MacAskill is stacking the deck against the Supreme Court, and why.

    And, curiously, it’s no longer about “independence”. It’s also about weakening the working of the Human Rights Act and ensuring the prosecution get the rub-of-the-green.

    While anyone is with the Herald, on line or in print, catch Salmond on Higher education and the case for consistency.

    Yes, indeed, as Dewi says, it’s all happening in Scotland. Except when your university course just got chopped, or your legal rights were trimmed, or your public employment just went down the spout, or your care-home just failed, or … ad infinitum. Just remember to whom you should be grateful: “Scotland’s pro-independence moderate left-of-centre party, led by Alex Salmond.”

  • JPJ2


    I prefer quality over quantity :-).

    As for MacAskill stacking the deck, he has not ruled anything out as far as I know.

    Compare that with Calman which at the outset ruled out any consideration of independence and then railed against the SNP not taking part-a sick joke which is now going to bite these cynical unionists on the rear end.

  • lamhdearg

    From the BBC news web site,
    “The frontrunner for leader of the Scottish Conservatives has said he will disband the party if he wins the leadership election next month.

    The MSP Murdo Fraser says the Conservatives carry too much baggage in Scotland and claims a new centre-right party would attract more voters.”

    The Scotish Unionist Party?.

  • Dewi

    Or even a right of centre nationalist party?

  • Good to see this thread revived — though the topic is important enough, and relevant enough to Sluggerdom to deserve a headline all to itself.

    The essential conceit here — the only hope for the Scottish Tories is a total rebranding, and escape from London centre — has been around some considerable time. Since the last London-imposed “reorganisation” in the mid-70s, it may never have gone away.

    Exactly a year ago (5 Sep 2010) I came back from the Twickenham double-header to blog the curious doings of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Farce. Alex Massie had a piece in The Spectator, glossing a news-item credited to Hamish Macdonell in Scotland on Sunday, under the title “The Most Useless Political Party in Europe”. The thrust was that, since Cameron had ascended to the potty-of-State. there had been no contact between London and the Scottish party. All the dealings were above Annabel Goldie’s pay-grade: Cameron related directly with Wee Eck.

    By no coincidence, Brian Walker was that weekend a year ago making a similar essential point about NI: that the DUP were not running a 24/7 news management, seemed out of the loop, and that this was sadly, badly, madly amiss when spending cuts and Westminster reform were nothing uniquely regional.

    Lest we forget, the [Scottish] Unionist Party existed as a separate entity until 1965. The Union it celebrated is that of 1801, not 1707 — and it had a decidedly Orange tint. It fought only at Westminster elections — the local stuff was delegated to the “Progressive Party” (which in Glasgow and elsewhere was so Orange it glowed in the dark).

    Time and tide wait for no mon [sic].

  • Greenflag


    I read that article and it certainly seems as if the Scots are drifiting steadily away from the present UK set up or are else angling for a different ‘UK ‘

    I guess the current economic crisis of world capitalism has thrown a spanner in the works and now the prospect of the Scottish Conservatives repeating the performance of an earlier Scottish parliament three centuries ago which voted itself out of existence or as someone said preferred to call themselves by another name is but another spanner .

    Perhaps the Scot Conservatives have discovered that the first three letters in Conservative are Con and in a world that is awash with Con men from the financial sector to the outer fringes of religious lunacy a name change is an essential if something is to be salvaged from the seeming coming wreck of Thatcherism Mark II on the British economy .

    As long as they don’t call themselves the Scottish Home Rulers or Regressive Democrats they should hold on to a few votes 😉

  • Greenflag

    @ Malcolm ,

    Lest we forget,

    I’m trying to remember if I ever remembered that important trivia of political history . I can’t imagine a ‘Progressive ‘ Orange party – Somehow it lacks the ring of ideological confidence or as americanism puts it ‘truthiness’.

    I guess we never heard of it due to Labour’s generations long domination of Scottish politics .

    As to a new name ? The Scottish Resurrectionist Party ? or would that conjure up connotations of the Burke and Hare cadaver supply business of the early 19th century ?

    Of course there may be too few cadavers among the ranks of Scottish Conservatives to hold out much hope for any Resurrection anyway ;)?

  • Dewi

    The Jacobite Party? Now there’s an idea…

  • anne warren

    A rose by any other name? The Scottish Lib-Dems?

  • Hello! What’s this from Tim Montgomerie? — who, after all, has been one of the “early adopters” of the nostrums now peddled by Murdo Fraser.

    The new party would be an ally of the wider Conservative Party in the same way the Bavarian CSU is an ally of the CDU in the rest of Germany.

    Either that is very naïf, which is not a characteristic of Montgomerie, or it is disingenuous.

    The CSU may be part of die Unionsfraktion in the Bundestag, but it is significantly different from the CDU on the ground. Above all it is explicitly Christlich-Soziale, which in Bavarian politics means Catholic.

    It occurs to me that Montgomerie has a distinctly religious bias, too. He was a founder of the Conservative Christian Fellowship, was Iain Duncan Smith’s chief aide and — at very least — was complicit in some of the more extreme (even Islamophobic) stuff that came out of 18 Doughty Street (compare the viral video “A World Without America”). He is beyond mere Euroscepticism, is anti-choice (the ex-Mrs Dorries gets a fair run on ConHome) and more than a sceptic on climate change. The ConHome blogsite’s partiality for US politicians is equally instructive.

    I’d gently suggest the last thing UK or Scottish (or NI) politics needs is a heavy dose of the evangelistics.

    On the other hand, there’s the law of unintended consequences: recent elections have denied the CSU of a commanding majority for the first time in half a century. One of the main gainers was Die Linke. Heh, heh!

  • lamhdearg

    The UK government has announced it has set up a commission to look into the so-called West Lothian question.
    “There has been a long-running debate about whether Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh MPs should be allowed to vote on legislation that affects only England.
    English MPs are not able to vote on many matters which are now devolved to other UK parliaments.
    Commission members will be” “independent, non-partisan experts”.

  • Hello! the wit and wisdom of four days seems to have evaporated in a cyber-puff-of-smoke.