Scotland – choose your narrative.

Gerry Hassan just gets better:
Rupert Murdoch, the Referendum and Rangers FC:

Self-government has to be a democratising process and project, or it will produce a change in name only which won’t affect the lives and experiences of Scottish people. That entails nourishing a culture which is both honest and humble, respecting different viewpoints and challenging vested interests. This is an intricate balancing act, one which involves changing the public culture of Scotland, and aiding an ecology of self-government and self-determination which allows for this sort of thinking, discussion and debate to take place. For this to happen we have to acknowledge the long revolution that Scotland has been on, and the powerful hold of ‘undemocracy’ and ‘unspace’. We have to stand up to power, while digging deep into our capacity to be generous, hopeful, imaginative, and playful and create the Scotland of the future today.
As the old order of the last 30 years of British politics collapses even large parts of the British political class attempt to flee the wreckage of criminality, deceit and blackmail that was the modus operandi of the Murdoch empire. Scotland cannot allow itself to be the last place on earth run as some Murdoch fiefdom, our politicians happy to do his bidding and our football unable to have any moral backbone for fear of losing Sky TV money. Instead, it is an age for being bold and throwing off the legacy of cautious Scotland, while standing up to the bullyboys of crony capitalism. And at the minimum we have to start talking about this.

Read the lot, and his back catalogue.
Meanwhile the Imperial Broadcasting Corporation is up to its usual dirty tricks:
BBC Scotland’s Election Claims…. from newsnet:

The BBC is today facing questions over their reporting of Scotland’s local authority election results after figures reported by the broadcaster gave the impression that Labour had outgunned the SNP in terms of councillors gained.
According to BBC Scotland, Labour gained an extra 58 councillors to the SNP’s 57 after Friday’s count. However it has emerged that the more accurate figures indicate the SNP gained 61 councillors to Labour’s 48.
The anomaly is thought to be down to BBC Scotland ignoring the widely accepted method of comparing election results with those of the previous election when calculating gains. The broadcaster has instead chosen to calculate changes based on council standings the day before last Thursday’s election.
The method adopted by BBC Scotland means that a party who won a ward in 2007 would be shown as having gained the ward in 2012 if the 2007 councillor subsequently left the party and the voters opted for the same party again.

Must be the time to launch the referendum campaign…(from the Scotsman):

…Salmond, who visited Dundee yesterday, where the SNP captured majority control, said: “On every indicator, the SNP has had its best ever council result. We have more councillors and more gains than any other party – doubling our seats advantage over Labour. We have become the largest party in more councils across Scotland – including our first ever overall majorities. And we also look set to have won the overall share of the vote in a local government election for the first time in our history.”
He added: “While the Westminster coalition parties were given a mauling north and south of the Border, the SNP as the incumbent party of government in Scotland since 2007 have just won another election – an extraordinary achievement.
“Any way you look at our result, it is a landmark achievement for the SNP, which is the only party which can claim to be the party of all of Scotland – north and south, east and west, rural and urban.

This should be fun!

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  • lamhdearg2

    “our football unable to have any moral backbone for fear of losing Sky TV money”
    is that the Rangers bit Dewi.

  • Dewi

    lam – it’s worth following Rangerstaxcase for the whole tale.
    http://rangerstaxcase.wordpress.com/

  • Err, actually “seats gained” is normally calculated on like-for-like. The seat held by Party A in the previous election is taken by Party B at the next general election: that’s a Party B gain, despite any mid-term defections. I know of cases where the sitting member died in the period-of-grace before the next general. When the seat was taken by another party, that was a definite “gain” A to B: not heavenly-host to B.

    But, yes, Gerry Hassan is one of several Scottish commentors who should be essential reading.

  • grandimarkey

    This is quite telling

    The SNP are continuing to make gains in Scotland.

  • lamhdearg2

    Dewi
    “it’s worth following Rangerstaxcase for the whole tale”
    the link is out of date, Miller has pulled out.
    by using Rangers in the thread headline, you drew me in.

  • Peddling of old, long-rehearsed prejudices apart, I’d settle for the unsigned editorial in The Scotsman:

    For Alex Salmond and the SNP, the elections were a disappointment no matter how much the Nationalists spin the results. They will field the largest number of councillors – one definition of winning. But Scottish Labour under Johann Lamont has recovered confidence, as seen in the increased activity of its members on the ground compared to 2011. Labour retains control of Glasgow – the SNP’s prime target.

    It would probably be more correct to call the outcome of the Scottish local elections a draw. Labour may have blunted the SNP’s momentum in Glasgow, but the electorate are reminding Mr Salmond he is in office to improve their wellbeing, not just campaign for independence. Equally, Labour has a lacklustre record in Glasgow. It should use its reprieve by the voters to show what it can do.

    Finally, it is worth repeating that the pathetically low turnout in the 2012 local elections is a danger to democracy. Politicians should stop blaming voter apathy and start making our council chambers places to be proud of.

  • Pete Baker

    Dewi

    What exactly is the point in quoting, uncritically, Alex Salmond’s view of the SNP’s performance in these local elections?

    Beyond pushing his propaganda, that is…

    “This should be fun!”

    Oh dear…

  • Dewi

    “What exactly is the point in quoting, uncritically, Alex Salmond’s view of the SNP’s performance in these local elections?”
    Because everyone else pushes, uncritically (is that a word?), the biased Unionist narrative, which is what you ain’t bad at yourself.
    The “facts” of the Scottish election results have been presented in an appallingly biased fashion in virtually all the media.

  • Dewi

    Malcolm @ 10.04 – precisely! – the BBC didn’t do that this time – astonishing.

  • Dewi

    “Peddling of old, long-rehearsed prejudices apart, I’d settle for the unsigned editorial in The Scotsman:”

    Not perhaps ready yet to lose my prejudice against the North Briton..

  • Pete Baker

    “Because everyone else pushes, uncritically (is that a word?), the biased Unionist narrative, which is what you ain’t bad at yourself.”

    FFS, Dewi. Challenge me on the posts where you think I’ve done that. Or, at least, reference an example.

    Otherwise you’re just joining in on the fair gaming.

    More on that here tactic.

  • Pete Baker

    And in case you think those links are outdated, here’s a recent example.

  • Dewi
  • Pete Baker

    Is that the best you’ve got?

    An ““at best provocative and, in constitutional terms, at least playful”, submission to the UK government’s consultation on the independence referendum.”

  • HeinzGuderian

    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/category/scotland

    On the referendum on Scottish independence, 32% of people would vote Yes, 53% would vote No (15% said don’t know or won’t vote).

    ‘The answer my friend is pissing in the wind,
    the answer is pissing in the wind.’

    http://www.oddschecker.com/specials/politics-and-election/scottish-independence/referendum-outcome

  • Dewi

    Nope – the first one on Scotland – quoting various marginal Unionist scaremongers – not really balanced Pete.
    I don’t claim personal balance myself – my sympathies are no particular secret – why claim balance yourself?

  • Pete Baker

    Pay attention to what I’ve actually said, Dewi.

  • Devil Eire

    PB:

    “What exactly is the point in quoting, uncritically, Alex Salmond’s view of the SNP’s performance in these local elections?

    Beyond pushing his propaganda, that is…”

    I look forward to seeing similar posts when Mr Fealty next quotes, uncritically, Alex Kane’s column, as in here and here. Unless, of course, you are actually inconsistent in your outrage? (FFS)

  • Scáth Shéamais

    Labour retains control of Glasgow – the SNP’s prime target. It would probably be more correct to call the outcome of the Scottish local elections a draw. Labour may have blunted the SNP’s momentum in Glasgow

    It’s fair to say that the SNP haven’t got control of Glasgow council yet, but they did gain 5 seats while Labour lost 1. in the end Labour have 44 seats and SNP have 27. Compare that to 9 years ago when Labour had 71 seats and the SNP had all of 3.

    Obviously the big losers of the day were the Lib Dems, but to call the result a draw between the SNP and Labour defies reality – the SNP overtook them as the largest party in the country and had more gains both in percentage terms and in actual seats.

    And as grandimarkey’s map shows, the SNP are now ubiquitous throughout Scotland, a feat that no other party can claim.

    (FFS)

  • Scáth Shéamais

    And it’s worth mentioning that the SNP did see off the ‘red tide’ that Dewi mentioned in a previous post.

  • Dewi

    “And it’s worth mentioning that the SNP did see off the ‘red tide’ that Dewi mentioned in a previous post.”

    Yes – FFS!

  • Mick Fealty

    Not in Glasgow lads… http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/scottish-council-election-labour-s-unexpected-result-in-glasgow-1-2276984

    SNP AND Labour feasted upon the dying body of the Lib Dems (which was not new…) The four councils won between them came in from NOC, not each other…

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-17973927

    As for narrative, I’m struggling to get one out of this other than the UK govt parties are getting hammered and the SNP push on Glasgow is, erm, not in the best of health…

    I’d like to hear a reliable nationalist explanation for that…

    In Aberdeen there was a swing from LD to Labour, almost completely by passing the SNP.. With Aberdeenshire going almost the opposite way… (Tories picked up two)…

    If I was choose a narrative I’d say the Marne is over, now into the trenches lads. It’s going to be much tougher from here on in…

  • Dewi

    Yeah Mick – a narrative. A nationalist narrative is that that we fought for Glasgow and didn’t make it – should we have not bothered? The explanation is that Scottish Labour is about as thrawn as you can can get…..but you never beat them by not trying..
    But by any analysis apart from that of the Unionist Media (BBC Scotsman etc) the SNP won the election.

  • Mick Fealty

    Dewi,

    When all else fails, let’s resort to what we know…

    If we look at the council elections only, the SNP (27.9) have gone from being .2% behind Labour (28.1) in 2007 council elections to a 2.5% lead in 2012, that is: 34.7% to 32.2%.

    If we stop there, as you would clearly like us to, then that is an SNP win. Not much of a one, but a win nonetheless.

    In fact, this is not far from the territory they were in back in the 2007 Scottish Parliamentary elections when they nosed in front by 31% to 29.2%. It was enough to enable Salmond to go into minority government back then.

    But that was more than a full term ago. You get a bit of shock when you compare them with last year’s Scottish Parliamentary results which had the SNP leading Labour 45.4% to 31.7%.

    You simply cannot see the problem if you only benchmark back to 2007.

    Let’s return to that excellent Hassan piece you linked earlier, which may give us a more practical hint:

    “Alex Salmond’s explanation of this has been that he supported BSkyB’s bid in the interests of ‘jobs and investment’ and that it secured several hundred jobs north of the border. It isn’t a very plausible defence, for if it had been the raison d’etre of the administration wouldn’t this policy and its success have been trumpeted? Instead, it remained a secret policy unknown to public, SNP politicians and members.

    This crucial set of events has proved the main topic of two First Minister’s Questions, but has been downplayed in public life and the mainstream media. It has for understandable reasons been met by silence by SNP politicians, but what is more revealing is the response of independent minded independistas, the kind of ‘critical friends’ the SNP needs to listen to and cultivate if it is to win an independence referendum.

    One such source commented that they didn’t say anything in public because ‘I do not want to give succour to a Scottish Labour Party viscerally anti-SNP’ (3). Another reflected that the silence was a product of a variety of factors, making the observation that ‘the Canny Salmond lens is one through which too much commentary and calculation is refracted’. They went on, ‘To question Salmond is to put the cause in question, and accordingly he must be defended against all reasonable political criticism, with puritanical zeal’ (4).”

    I doubt that the Murdoch story accounts for the whole drop off, lower turn out and the fact that people are less likely to vote on the constitution in local elections too must have had an effect in central Scotland.

    But, whatever the story, it looks to me as if Leveson made the no doubt deliberate disclosure of Alex’s business with Murdoch something of an own goal. If the SNP had even retained a decent fragment more of that lead over Labour last year, they could certainly have claimed a clear victory.

    However the fact that Labour seems to have had no idea its own recovery was coming also suggests that this is was unforced error in the advance than a purely defensive success on Scottish Labour’s part. For now that may be better for Alex than Labour, but he and his team have to be perplexed as to where that solid lead has gone in less than a year?

    One final word from Hassan on what Scotland (and more than Scotland in fact) needs:

    …our public debate has to develop beyond the simplicities of a binary Scotland, unionist v. nationalist, the status quo v. independence. It isn’t just that there are several possible Scottish futures; but that the language of this closed conversation involves name-calling, labelling and a fixed mindset which is profoundly conservative.

  • Dewi

    “Dewi,

    When all else fails, let’s resort to what we know…
    If we look at the council elections only, the SNP (27.9) have gone from being .2% behind Labour (28.1) in 2007 council elections to a 2.5% lead in 2012, that is: 34.7% to 32.2%.
    If we stop there, as you would clearly like us to, then that is an SNP win. Not much of a one, but a win nonetheless.”

    Yes – a win – thank you. A pretty historic win in fact. The first time in world history that the SNP have won both more votes and seats than Labour. I really don’t mind any other analysis to be honest – it’s a dishonest starting point that fucks me off.

  • Mick Fealty

    Dewi,

    I’ve laid it all out above. You think last year’s Parliamentary elections have no bearing, but an out of term election five rather than four years ago does?

    History was made last year, not this. That’s why the failure to at least roll some nationalist tanks in Glasgow matters. It wouldn’t on the 2007 results alone.