Recent polls have had the Nationalists and some of the SNP Politicians claiming Leave UK is now in the majority and that they need a #Scexit vote soon as they will win. Pardon my French but bollocks!
There are a number of (some complex) charts in this post that show the lie to their claim. Sadly, the last three polls actually reduced the volume of people asked the key Leave Remain UK question by about 13%. Unless they were almost 100% certain to vote they were excluded. This has the effect of reducing the number of undecideds and increasing the standard margin of error of plus and minus 3%.
The other annoyance is they and the media concentrate on the headline percentage excluding undecideds, this is disingenuous as the bulk of these uncertain people do vote when it comes to a real vote, they tend, as happened in 2014, to gravitate towards the status quo rather than the risky option in a binary choice.
I particularly like the first chart below (from 2011) which gifts Leave UK ALL the undecideds, which would of course NEVER happen.
The internal SNP target of 60% in the polls for a 12 month period is pie in the sky. Its why they are probably pretty unhappy at HQ and why Sturgeon has stated that she will only hold a #Scexit vote if it is via a UK sanctioned Section 30.
I do not want and I don’t think we need another divisive #Scexit vote, but, this constant harping about the constitution is tiresome, most Nats are economically clueless;ess and factually bereft, perhaps giving then another go and getting second fail might shut them up.
Without going into the detail of an Edinburgh Agreement and or the issues of win and turnout hurdles, or the confirmatory vote options, I think democracy should prevail.
If in Holyrood 2021, the SNP win 51% of the vote, based on a clear cut manifesto that is specifically #Scexit based, the second vote being their primary/key policy and objective, then let’s go let’s go! crush it for a real generation this time.
For those of a nervous disposition, by then Brexit will be history and the Scottish Covid failings regarding testing and care homes will have been fully exposed.
This is a tale with no real ending, somewhat indicative of what Scotland now has to put up with from a Nationalist Administration (It’s hardly a Government) that’s sole reason for being is to destroy our UK & drag us via #Scexit into no man’s land outside our UK & the EU.
As well as #Scexit transcending Brexit, Oil & the Economy, it seems it also transcends the truth. At 8:44 pm on the 7/2/20 @Feorlean took umbrage at the Scottish Office for confirming “the prosperity of the UK delivers greater funding for Scotland’s public services”, see tweet here @UKGovScotland.
@Feorlean is Michael Russell, an MSP, a Scottish Government Senior Minister, a long standing senior SNP politician & their Constitution Minister, a man who knows a thing or two, a man who definitely understands the workings of our economy, he even said (via a co-authored book) as an independent country we would have to privatise our NHS, so he’s no tube.
Note the tweet activity he received, note he didn’t reply directly, note he had a chip at Boris who had nothing to do with the tweet and note like a coward he tagged no one, just quote tweeting for Nationalist adoration. Particularly note the actual tweet proposition, “Scotland pays out more than it gets back”, that my friends is a big fat lie!
I couldn’t take him to task as he of course blocks me on Twitter, in fact he uses the block to dissuade anyone from taking him to task (blocking anyone who calls him out). Surely it can’t be right that as a serving MSP and a Minister, he can blatantly lie like this?
I was pretty (very) annoyed at the blatant lie, as I and many other informed tweeters, spend half our twitter lives trying to correct clueless uninformed Nationalists that actually believe the ridiculous nonsense he said is true. By someone of his formal standing tweeting the lie, it just solidifies the clueless idiot’s belief that we support the rest of the UK.
I felt strongly that this needed action, so I complained, officially, to the Ethical Standards office and got a prompt reply, complaint dismissed;
After some reflection and although the ESC requested confidentiality, I see no justifiable logic for it and have decided it is definitely not in the public interest to comply.
That wasn’t enough though so I continued to pursue. The commission was very helpful and pointed out that as he was a minister, he could get away with lying and any recourse to that was, of course, to appeal to the First Minister (I did laugh). On we go….
The end result, finally, was ‘on your bike son, he’s no really tweeting as as an MSP or a Scottish Government Minister, so it’s ok for him to lie through his teeth and con stupid (sorry, less well informed) people at will’.
So, he can lie because it’s not an official account? But if he had been just an MSP then perhaps he could have been sanctioned? This is how ScotGov operates? Really?
As you can imagine, I’m still not happy…
My breath is baited and I will keep you updated if (ever) I get a reply. These charlatans are paid a fortune to lie to us? Is that what we want or deserve?
No, its not, the Constitution Minister is a liar, please let him know that we all know and that hiding behind Sturgeon’s skirts won’t stop everyone seeing he’s a liar.
Update 20/10/20 AS you might expect, nada. I expect nothing by May 21 by which time he will have stood down, thanks goodness – but damage still done of course, what a liar he is.
Yesterday I wrote a blog post about the launch of Angus Robertson’s Progress Scotland company, lauded by the SNP including the first Minister and other senior SNP politicians. You can find that blog post linked below, before you finish reading this one its probably worth reading yesterdays (if you haven’t already seen it) before reading this one, as they are intrinsically linked.
Erin was apparently (ish) a No to Yes convert at the age of 12 (ish), having come (timescale hard to pin down) to realise post indyref that Yes was the way to go. This was ideal for Angus’s new Yes promoting arms length (from the SNP) company.
The issue though is it’s not exactly clear if Erin was telling the truth (you will get that from yesterdays blog) or being willingly “coached.” Did Progress Scotland (or someone else) coach and guide her into less than truthful waters? Did she mislead them or us, perhaps by wishful misremembering?
When twitter became twitchy about the new company and its primary ‘Star” (Erin has been a very involved energetic activist and visible campaigner for the SNP and other organisations since joining the SNP in October 2015), Erin and her mum locked down their twitter accounts (not sure what’s happened on facebook) and alegedly went on a tweet delete spree (not before some were captured by screenshot), apparently this also happened on facebook, where users local to that area (East Lothian) commented about post deletions and the fact it was common knowledge that Erin and her mum were very pro SNP and had been for some time (they did take screenshots). I of course am now blocked on twitter.
In the meantime, SNP and Yes twitter went mad in defence, snarling and snapping at anyone daring to criticise this young woman, with Progress Scotland, Angus, Humza and many other SNP politicians horrified at the unionist trolls for daring to question the matter, making out Erin was a victim. The National even wrote a typical diatribe attacking some unionists for having the audacity to question a “young 17 year old girl” I have a funny feeling Erin would tell them where to go for calling her a “girl” along with the evident misogynistic and ageist connotations. Erin is an extremely active and high profile SNP activist who has never shied from stating her opinion that voting as an adult at 16 is her right, while strongly promoting independence and women rights.
Sadly, Scottish Nationalists think pro-union people are “trolling” Erin about this. This is mainly untrue (you always get a few idiots), its the misdirection from the SNP (don’t tell me they aren’t involved), Progress Scotland and Angus Robertson that our justified ire is directed at. Erin has, whether complicit or not, been very badly used and exposed. Shame on them.
Here are some facts following yesterdays blog.
2019 Erin aged 17 publicly states she would “probably have” voted No in 2014 aged 12
2018 Erin told the Holyrood Magazine
“Erin Mwembo, 16, is a fifth-year student, also in the middle of her prelims, arriving to speak to Holyrood straight after her Modern Studies exam. She had heard her family talking about politics and, keen to learn more, started watching YouTube videos of Scottish political debate during the 2015 general election campaign. “I just wanted to know what was going on,” she explains.
But Erin has no doubt that 16-year-olds should be able to vote. “You’re an adult at 16, so you should be able to vote at 16, it’s as simple as that. But also, it’s about having the same rights as every other citizen – for example, I think everyone should be entitled to the Living Wage at 16. There shouldn’t be some sort of hierarchy based on age – everyone should be treated equally.”
For a politicised 16-year-old, it must be hard to watch middle-aged politicians announce that you are incapable of using the vote responsibly.
“It’s frustrating because I find the counter-argument is ‘they’re not mature enough’, but everyone’s experience is different,” she says. “You could be 24 and be the most sheltered person ever, or you could be 16 and not. But it’s about deciding how you want your country to be – and everyone should have a say in that.”
2017 Erin did a (probably) No to Yes video for Phantom Power (link and wording in yesterdays blog)
2016 Erin became Vice Convenor for YSI East Lothian – was mentored by Joanna Cherry – at 15 was used in an SNP official promotional video – was mentioned in dispatches (conference video) by Mhairi Black – campaigned and did back office stuff for the SNP all over Scotland
2015 Erin Joined the SNP on 23rd October.
2014 Erin aged 12 reply tweeted Alex Salmond’s statement tweet on the 19/9/14 at 10:04 to commiserate losing the referendum and his job “Sad but whatever you gotta do” – 12/9/14 replied ‘Truth” to a facebook post of a song about how voting No would be the wrong thing to do – on the 14/8/19 replied “Yup” to a rather dreary poem about a grandchild remonstrating with her grandfather for voting No.
I will leave the readers to decide how they view all this. Was she coached? And if so by whom? Did she lie on purpose or is she just an excited youth? Why has she locked her twitter account and why has mum deactivated hers? What involvement did the SNP, Progress Scotland and Angus Robertson have in producing and broadcasting this dubious No to Yes story?
For the record, I did not take the screenshots but I believe them to be absolutely genuine.
PS. Destined for greater things (especially when you see the praise and photo opps in yesterday blog).
The last couple of weeks has increasingly seen the SNP under a ton of pressure from their disgruntled and battle weary troops, whom they have constantly been marching up an infinite indy hill in groundhog day fashion, never getting them to the top.
Having been told “now is not the time” and getting berated from the trenches for not using the mandate, Nicola has been balancing on a cliff edge between promises and disappointment for the Yes movement.
For last three “few weeks” she has promised in a few weeks, to “indicate” her (not their) plan for Indyref2. In her trip to America this week she was apparently using language very similar to “now is not the time” to the horror of the wider movement, some actually calling for her to go. No doubt the Salmond troubles have also caused the movement serious unrest.
Now whether this is a coincidence or not I’m not sure, but the public launch this week of the private ‘For Profit’ company “Progress Scotland”, with that old SNP stalwart Angus Robertson at its head & Managing Director, certainly helped to distract from the SNP woes and provide a different focus.
Angus is a good speaker, well respected and one of the more intelligent articulators of independence, his new effort has been lauded by the press and in particular Nicola. Seems a nice arms length wee scheme that can milk the cohorts for cash to help decide what the SNP didn’t say well last time or in the recent (SNP) discredited Growth Commission Report. The company has employed a professional pollster to poll the Scots population to ask what they (SNP)? need to do in order to persuade Scots to vote Yes in another postulated referendum (not telling lies or ignoring key economic elements would be a clue).
One of the key elements to this new thing/campaign/company whatever it is, is to demonstrate the personal journeys of those who, since the last referendum, have made the personal journey from actually voting No to wanting to vote Yes , it’s at this point Erin (12 at indyref and unable to vote) comes into focus. @ProgressScot launches very successfully on twitter attracting massive early support, nearly 13k in three days.
The website (*.org not *.Scot out of interest and bearing in mind this is a FOR profit company) takes you straight to young Erin as their key No to Yes star, you will see why photogenic and articulate Erin holds that place shortly. Please remember she was only 12 when indyref was held, and isn’t yet, some four years on, old enough to vote in a General Election.
You can watch Erins video by following the above link, but below are a few extracted screen shots with text and a couple of explanatory additions by me.
As a 12 year old (with an SNP supporting mum – search and you will find it) I find it difficult to accept Erin was a serious “No voter” (to start with she was 4 years to young)! The words “I would probably have” from a young impressionable (and much lauded and connected young SNP activist) four years later have, to me, a very hollow ring. This is exactly the type of young, photogenic, articulate and ostensibly persuadable voter the SNP and its proxy, Progress Scotland, were crying out for, a youth champion forYes/SNP propaganda.
Is Erin complicit in what I see as propaganda? I don’t honestly know, I suspect so, as she seems far too intelligent to be taken in. I think she was a flexible willing participant, well utilised by her older ‘team”. I presume mum was watching closely), difficult to assess though, as both Erin and her mum locked down their twitter accounts closing down debate (or abuse according to The National, Progress Scotland and Angus Robertson). I suspect they were advised to do so before they were closely questioned re culpability.
Erin joined the SNP in October 2015. Her involvement has been fast and no doubt exhilarating, rubbing shoulders all over Scotland with the SNP structure and people.
Erin seems to have a good relationship with Nicola
“I felt it just took me after the referendum to actually hear from different sorts of people how the UK government is affecting them and how bad the situation is. Not being able to vote meant you kinda felt like weren’t really a citizen” “I’m politically engaged and do politics almost every single day” Was this wee video the starter for ten of the No to Yes focus of Progress Scotland, you decide. “In 2014 I was 12/13, and I actually did a few surveys and I got so much no and I thought maybe maybe I should just be no and maybe that’s the choice. It took me ’till after the referendum to really feel so strong for Yes vote, ‘cos I felt that at that age I could engage in politics” “I joined the SNP on the 23/10/15”
Well, that’s some chat for a 12/13 year old three years off a voting age of 16! And after being “unsure” 12 moths later she’s a member and shortly after an activist involved in all sorts of issues, groups, leafleting etc, keen kid. She’s certainly impressed the SNP!
This blog post will be seen by the Nationalists as a personal dig, or abuse, towards Erin, it’s not, it’s a dig at the SNP, Angus and Progress Scotland for ‘using’ a young person like this. A person who, in my opinion, appears to have been moulded and propagandised to create an Indy youth Icon (of whom they expect great things in future).
Well done them, hope they are proud of themselves. Good luck to Erin for the future, a bright young Scot. I do hope however she uses that intelligence to look beyond the SNP protective cocoon and examines,among other issues, the severe austerity and economic woes post indy Scotland would put on her and her contemporaries.
Here is a great article written by Jane Lax re the appaling accusations made by the SNP against Douglas Ross in an attempt to defame him and agitate their hate mob, I think they must be terrified!
The SNP official Twitter account posted a tweet on 3 August 2020 making the claim that Douglas Ross, the likely successor to Jackson Carlaw as Leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party has a “long history of racist views”.
Like many people, I saw this tweet and also saw the article on their website. The tweet has since been removed and the website has been altered to remove the accusation of racism. The SNP have a habit of trying to rewrite history but once it’s out there, someone will have taken screenshots of it, as I have in this case.
This is the tweet that was posted
This was accompanied by the article below on the SNP website, clearly referring to Douglas Ross as a racist.
And here is the version visible today.
How can a governing political party go from believing one day that Douglas Ross made “a series of inflammatory, racist comments” to merely “making comments about something”? Either the SNP believe they are inflammatory and racist or they are not? How would this be dealt with by Humza Yousaf’s hate bill, should that ever come into force? Would someone risk become a criminal depending on what day it is in SNP-land?
And that is before even considering that gypsy travellers used in a general term are not a race. The Equality Act 2010 says that gypsies or travellers MAY be protected against race discrimination due to their ethnic origin. However, this does not include all people who would describe themselves as gypsies or travellers. Has the SNP removed the comments as they discovered that the groups that Douglas Ross was talking about were not Romany or Irish, the two groups who are protected? Unlikely in my view. This was a case of backpedalling at high speed, realising that their description of Douglas Ross was false and they could be opening themselves up to legal action.
Let’s however look at what Douglas Ross said, why he said it and why it raises an important aspect of positive discrimination which can impact on others within a community.
It is no secret that Douglas in the first few weeks after being elected to Westminster in a quick fire interview said his priority if he were Prime Minister for a day would be to have tougher enforcement against Gypsy travellers. He has in detail explained why he said this (he had been dealing with the issue for constituents so it was fresh in his mind). Of course, this is not enough for the SNP and they clearly accused Mr Ross of being a racist, regardless of all the evidence that refutes this.
Matters like this have to be taken in context. As a councillor at Moray Council, he dealt with residents complaining of the flouting of planning regulations by gypsy travellers camping illegally with sites being left in an appalling state where the taxpayer had to pick up the bill of tidying it up. Should an elected representative only help those that are minorities such as gypsy travellers? Should councillors/MSPs/MPs only speak about issues that are non controversial?
The SNP have elected representatives that block people on social media if they don’t agree with your beliefs. They choose to ignore what the role of elected politician involves, that of representing all of their constituents regardless of their political beliefs and that as much as they may disagree with the person seeking help, they should do their best to find a solution that suits all. If I were to approach my local SNP MSP with an issue regarding travellers, should they be able to say they are not willing to help me as they believe travellers have rights that negate mine?
I do not believe this was a practice seen before the SNP gained a foothold in Scotland. Your Labour or Tory MP would help all their constituents regardless of whether they voted for them or not and I believe they still do so. Remember John Mason, SNP MSP requiring any constituent to answer questions on what political parties they most closely identify with if they wished help from him? Are we to have non SNP voters filtered out and left without representation at a local level?
Douglas Ross is no racist. He has merely done what any elected politician has a duty to do. He has represented constituents with concerns and issues and done his best to address them. He has expected planning regulations to be adhered to by all, regardless of their gender, religion, lifestyle, ethnic origin etc. That is what I would expect in a fair society, something that the SNP claim to be in favour of. Their track record says otherwise.
It has been an interesting period since the onset of the Covid pandemic in Scotland. As always, the constitution has still been a significant aspect of Scottish (and increasingly UK) politics.
There have been a number of polls in the period relating to the potential for SNP Holyrood seats and the desire for #Scexit, generally showing a mild increase in support for them both.
It’s hard to escape the subliminal effect that ‘The Daily Sturgeon Show’ has had on public opinion (both here and in England), she stands there and sounds fully in control and always expresses massive empathy for those affected by covid. Her words, often lengthy, have a serious tone and her expression is one of deep concern (no doubt she is concerned), but the reality of her pronouncements is somewhat different.
When you look at the detail there is no real difference between Scotland and the UK’s (and Englands in some respects, but not all) performance. To say we have ‘performed better’ is a lie. We’ve actually done the same things at the same or similar times and just, at times, described them differently.
The annoying aspect of her daily promo is that the media appear neutered, not many have the gumption or bravery to tackle her head on, and for those few brave souls who do, there is no follow up question allowed following her very lengthy (clever) replies, that to me seem rehearsed.
Where are the hard questions on Covid care home deaths? Poor testing levels and the distribution of UK Covid aid? Where is the recognition of the total UK financial commitment to Scotland via direct and indirect assistance? Furlough, building the Nightingale Hospital (named as some obscure Scottish nurse) and the UK Armed forces mobile testing facilities? Where is the thank you?
It seems as though there is nothing that can stop the nationalist bandwagon rolling on to a successful #Scexit vote some time soon after the next Holyrood election. Fear not faint heart, it ain’t quite gonna be that easy for her.
Two major factors (apart of course from those of us who oppose her dragging us out of our UK) will come into play. One. It amuses me that many nationalists (and some less than well informed Remainers) don’t realise we, the UK including Scotland, have actually left the EU. They will however realise this fact come 31/1/21 deal or no deal, we are out, the EU will no longer be an issue in 2021, Scotland is out, if we separate we are still out. We would do things, like running a huge deficit and using the Pound (Sterlingisation) that means we would stay out – remember via the SNP Growth Commission Report EU membership is only an “aspiration” (look it up).
Two. Covid. The two charts above show us the reality of Scotland’s ‘performance’ or lack of it, in relation to her handling of the Covid crisis. When this lack of performance and lack of any real deviation from the UK’s approach finally dawns, as it will by May next year, the Covid feel good factor will also have evaporated. Add to this the ongoing Salmond tribulations and internal SNP splits re policy and it is not going to be an easy time for her, indeed, allegations re what she knew about the Salmond allegations have emerged in the media today (@SKYNews).
“But but but…” the nationalists will say “we are ‘surging’ ahead in the #Scexit polls and we will win loads of seats according to voting intention polls”. Well, there’s a dribble (not even a wave never mind a surge) of additional support in the last three Panelbase polls – note there have only been 9 polls this year, 6 of them from Panelbase and the last 5 were from Panelbase in fairly short order. There is no 54% for #Scexit, it’s 47%, and as we all know, when push comes to shove in binary referenda the uncertain voters opt for the status quo, which is exactly what happened in 2014.
The harsh reality for nationalists is that the game for them is actually lost. The SNP’s own internal target to ensure victory is to get desire for #Scexit up to 60% in the polls for a 12 month period, there is not a cat in hells chance of that happening this side of 2021 as there is only 10 months left. Note below the reality of when #Scexit has been in the lead in polling.
She must be very worried re her next steps. She says she wants a second #Scexit referendum and that she wants it to be legal, that is with the UK’s approval and via the issuing of a section 30 to give legal legitimacy to the outcome. Many of her troops are getting tired of this and want a referendum without a section 30, or even UDI, both options she has firmly discounted. She knows either approach would be frowned upon by the international community and creates huge internal UK and Scottish problems. Her options are limited and I wonder sometimes if she actually knows in her own heart that the game is lost?
Her options are limited. Does she go into Holyrood ’21 on a 100% commitment (a manifesto with #Scexit as the primary promise) to demand a second #Scexit vote if they get a majority of seats? Even if she did do that and got a majority of seats (a mandate could be claimed), it’s clear the UK would say no and refer to her generation/lifetime commitment given last time. Both May and Johnson have both said no and that it would be too soon for a repeat.
Does she just put a #scexit option lower down the manifesto? This weakens her claim, as even if she got a majority of seats the ‘mandate’ would be denied.
To have any chance of a 2021 mandate that would carry weight within the UK, she has to go for broke, she must base the manifesto on #Scexit and try for 51% of the electorate on the day, this of course was not achieved in the last two Holyrood elections, seats yes in 2011, votes no, failing on seats and votes in 2016. If she succeeded then perhaps the UK would reconsider, but any ensuing Edinburgh Agreement would be significantly sharper and pro status quo than the last one. It is bound to be very definitive re a third vote if the outcome was (as it would be) Remain UK, a generation spelt out in actual years, say 35. The vote itself would be more than likely based on the question “As a British Citizen do you wish to Remain in your UK – Option 1 Remain UK – Option 2 Leave UK. Yes No has long gone. It is also pretty definite that a hurdle rate for a #Scexit win would be applied, say 60%, and that a turnout hurdle of 75% would also be applied – this still means that only 45% of the electorate could drag us out of our UK, so it is a very fair hurdle combination. Alternatively (or in some combination) there may be a confirmatory vote stipulated, which would mean that if Leave won, once the key details of leaving negotiations are completed, there would be another vote to make sure it is what we wanted.
An option for her recently, according to Prof. John Curtice (not so sure I always agree with his analysis on Scottish polling), is to win a seat majority and then take the UK refusal for another #Scexit vote to the UK Supreme Court (thereby acknowledging the UKSC is the ultimate UK court for constitutional and non criminal matters). She may well think of this tack as a win win, but I don’t think so, to her more impatient supporters she is saying she will abide by the UK’s verdict, if she wins she then has to win a #Scexit vote then negotiated with a UK Government that will be highly antagonistic, that won’t go well. If she loses the case then she would of course just blame Westminster and hope she can have another go at securing a real mandate in 2026. The whole thing is highly problematical for her, and the cause of it is the ongoing lack of real #Scexit support, fudged polls (by ignoring the uncertain voters) is not convincing the electorate at large.
Time will tell. Roll on Holyrood 2021 (still on for May at the minute, any delay hurts them).
Its been fun and exciting this week to see the formidable and eloquent George Galloway rumbustiously reinsert himself into Scottish constitutional politics. He has made it clear he’s not happy with the current anti-nationalist opposition to #Scexit and the SNP, and as well as making that plain via his views on his media outputs and a vlog on the @TheMajority web site http://TheMajorityScot, George has also initiated a new Holyrood List Party and announced he is standing as a UK Unity candidate, see @Alliance4Unity.
I remember George well from before the Nationalist defeat in 2014, he made mincemeat of any nationalist brave enough to appear alongside him and his excoriation of Jim Sillars (aptly tagged as @NaeFear on Twitter) was an anti-nationalist’s joy to behold.
My politics and George’s don’t usually align (he’s not the only UK supporting politician in that position)! But, where we are 100% aligned, is in opposition to the removal of Scotland from our OUR UK, the one we created over 313 years ago. We don’t relish the prospect of half the population being dragged out against our will with the severe economic social and cultural implications that cruel process would inevitably involve.
No matter if you are a Socialist, a (hated) Tory or a somewhere in the middle Liberal Democratic or a floundering Scottish Labour supporter (sorry Ian Murray, you are excellent), leaving our UK would be a disaster.
Before the Nationalists whinge moan and wibble about us saying Scotland is too wee, too poor, too stupid or that we are HouseJock’s and traitors, yes, of course we “could” be a successful independent country, firstly its not what we, the majority without a unifying voice, want, nor is it likely to have that “successful” outcome in the lifetime of anyone over 60. Yes, it would take, that long to be debt free, deficit free and a member of all necessary international organisations and perhaps the EU, 40 years of purgatory and ultra austerity to get there. Note the too wee stuff is from John Swinney, no serious Union Politician has ever uttered those words.
This isn’t purely about numbers, but we cant ignore the practicalities of Sterlingisation as a new state (and the implications of that for EU membership even if a new Scotland voted for that, no control over monetary policy and currency, the inheritance of £150 billion or more of debt, over £200 billion in setup costs and all of this while trying to reduce a growing £13 billion annual deficit.
So, welcome George! I am looking forward to your passionate, forthright, eloquent and combative style as it rattles the nationalists cages (their commentators are already buying extra wet wipes for involuntary excretions). Let’s hope you get some accommodation from the existing, but somewhat flat and uninspiring, unionist politicians. We need in Holyrood ’21 to further reduce the Nationalists percentage vote and (hopefully) seats as well, let’s get to it George.
I have recently been “allowed back” on twitter following and enforced (almost) 4 month sabbatical.
My crime was apparently being mistaken for a spam bot, I tweet a lot but that’s off the scale. Anyhow, that’s a whole different story.
I came back to Twitter last Saturday to be advised by a follower that I had been accused on twitter, with my name and picture, of posting racist & homophobic tweets, ergo I am in the tweeters eyes a homophobic racist. I was also accused of being against Multiculturalism, all three accusations are lies and could not be further from the truth. I have of course never posted the tweets he accused me of tweeting. He did not back these horrendous accusations up with evidence of any sort.
He was obviously trying to shame George Galloway, who had kindly tweeted my blog regarding a more widely know nationalist liar SNP Constitution Minister/Secretary (link to post) Feorlean
He wants to attack/shame George because George, thankfully, once again is taking up the political cudgels again Scottish Nationalism. Callum is a “devout” Nationalist. He was, not sure if his crimes have removed him yet, an SNP member and the SNP Political Education Officer for the Stonehaven and Mearns Branch and involved with other Yes twitter accounts etc.
It seems Callum thought it all right to name both George & I without the courtesy of a Twitter tag (@), I presume his objective was to blacken George’s name through association with a “homophobic racist” (me, by accusation) through his 30K plus audience (followers) and get them to spread the lies. As of writing, 61 tweeters have retweeted his defamation of me.
Callum Purdie is a man of some notoriety. He has been found guilty of criminal charges of threatening and abusive behaviour, and of breaching pre case bail conditions. He was ordered to to stay away from four people scared of his intimidation. He was also fined and in typical nationalist style, attempted to crowdfund the cash to pay his fine. I also believe he is due back in court.
I have tweeted Callum (and direct messaged him) in an attempt to resolve this matter (choosing, for now, not to proceed with a legal action), as yet he has not responded. This is unusual for Callum as he does tweets an awful lot. He will have seen my tweets but is choosing to ignore them, no doubt hoping the matter will just drift away. It won’t.
If Callum reads this blog post I hope he takes time to consider the following;
I walk a lot in my local area, Glasgow City Centre and Edinburgh City Centre, he has branded me a homophobic racist along with publishing my name and photograph – I am recognisable – if any harm befalls me he will be responsible. People hate and dislike homophobes and racists and I’m sure if I was walking past a group of Black Lives Matter protestors that I would potentially be subject to abuse and worse.
Callum, make contact or suffer the consequences of your actions.
Callum has made a public apology which I have accepted, that is an end to the matter.
Following the UK General Election in December last year, the SNP’s desire for another #Scexit referendum (increasingly unlikely) in 2020 has been demanded and vociferously shouted for loud and clear. Boris (Westminster) has said no.
The UK Constitution is a reserved matter and therefore Boris has rightly said no, as contrary to the SNP’s many claims, there’s no acceptable legitimate democratic mandate to hold one. They even claim the 2019 GE result was a mandate for a second referendum, when it was blatantly obvious they fought the election on stop Boris/Brexit grounds and implored voters to lend them their votes to do so. You can find copious evidence online that confirms this. Note when Boris says never, he means not now, as democracy will always prevail.
Should there be another vote to leave the UK in the short term? I don’t want one and I doubt the majority of Scots voters want one yet either, but, if via democracy, there is majority will to have one, then have one we must.
If the SNP acquire democratic majority support for another Scexit referendum, then as a devolved representative government they should be afforded another UK Section 30/Edinburgh Agreement 2 in order to hold it. They could of course even get that majority support this year if they brought forward (it’s in their power to do so) the next Holyrood election to May 2020. That won’t happen though, they appear to be too skint (check Wings Over Scotland) and/or too feart (otherwise why not)?
Scotland, having experienced the last two divisive referendums, must ensure that another can’t be held under the same set of soft criteria that created and lead to horrendous division, including hatred, abuse, family splits and broken friendships. Those who say the politics of the referenda were conducted in a friendly manner are frankly blind and were not as emotionally involved as many of us were. The criteria of course must be fair, reasonable and accepted by all, so regardless of the result we would move on positively. No neverendums!
It is reasonable, in order to have a recognised democratic and legitimate mandate for a second referendum, that the SNP follow a fair democratic process as outlined below;
Fight the election based on a manifesto pledge to request a Section 30/Edinburgh Agreement 2 and to subsequently hold a second referendum subject to terms being agreed.
Achieve 51% of the electorates vote on the day, i.e. 51% of those that decide to vote in favour of a second referendum in a Holyrood Parliament election.
It goes without saying any new agreement wouldn’t be as lax as that produced by Cameron’s government, lessons have been learned. We (RemainUK voters and democrats) understand the SNP did not and have not respected or honoured the agreement post 19/9/14 and any future agreement must be both watertight and clearly explicit re its terms, objectives and future moratorium on further constitutional referenda.
The terms can be worked out and negotiated, but as a minimum, a remain UK result should be binding for a generation, that generation (promised but reneged on) must be 35 years. That will give time for wounds to heal and Scotland to prosper without the yoke of constant division and infighting that distracts our politicians and the SNP from governing properly and using the now substantial devolved powers we have following the implementation of the Scotland Act 2016.
The UK on it’s behalf should offer no more bribes of additional cash or devolved powers, let Scotland learn to use those we have now properly or leave the UK if that is the will of the people.
Let’s assume the SNP achieve 51% of the vote in HR21 and that a second referendum is on the cards, that its carried out in May 2022 (probably the earliest a detailed referendum plan could be produced) what then? Will the plan be as bereft of detail as the White Paper? As incomplete (but a better attempt) as the Common Weal’s White Paper Project 1.1? As wide of the mark as the SNP’s own Growth Commission? Without doubt we need a better economic plan than all of those combined. A detailed granular ‘accepted’ plan that outlines what the economics of an iScot would be like following two years of negotiations resulting in a Scotland standing outside the EU and the UK in May 2024. The plan should include currency, central bank, realistic setup costs, inherited debt, deficit controls, the loss of Barnett etc. and be peer reviewed and accredited by independent ‘bodies’ such as The Fraser Of Allender Institute and be subject to public examination and consultation.
Let’s be frank, that ain’t really gonna happen is it? So what’s the alternative? One alternative is to have win and turnout hurdles for the referendum to ensure the majority really want to leave regardless of sketchy plans, say 60% for leaving to win along with a minimum 75% turnout. It would mean we vote to leave the UK with minimum support of 45% of voters, that’s less than 51% so is obviously fair. I’ve tried expounding that concept of fairness re win and turnout hurdles before (there is precedent) and its probably the cheapest and simplest option, but they seem highly unacceptable to our nationalists (due to their lack of confidence)? There is however another way of proceeding in a democratic and fair way, employing a CV, a “Confirmatory Vote”, one that allows things to proceed yet protects the public from the finality of a single rash decision without complete information, a process that would have avoided a lot of post Brexit heartache.
A Confirmatory vote would allow for standard democratic processes, no turnout or win hurdle rates, just the will of the people on the day by a simple majority. It subsequently allows the people the opportunity to ratify/confirm their decision to leave after seeing the outcome and detail of negotiations on debt, assets, Trident, trade, the full details of the proposed rUK iScot deal and accompanying reports/commentary from ScotGov and UKGov and independent experts on the potential outcome of the post deal/separation position. Only after seeing an agreed GERS style forecast post leaving the UK would the decision to leave be made. A much more sensible and pragmatic approach than making a blind choice.
A recap on how we would leave the UK if it became the will of the people;
SNP ( including Greens and other LeaveUK parties) Win 51% of a Holyrood election vote based on a mandate pledge to hold a second referendum.
S30/EA2 stipulates no repetition for 35 years if Scotland again chooses to remain as it’s UK.
A. S30/EA2 stipulates reviewed and approved detailed economic Scexit plan to be produced pre referendum OR B. win rate and turnout hurdle rates of 60% and 75% are applied OR C. a pre Scexit Confirmatory Vote is held post Scexit negotiations and subsequent GERS style iScot forecasts.
Referendum held within 1 year. If RemainUK prevails, that’s the end of the matter for 35 years. If Leave UK prevails we leave under A, B or C in 3 above.
Here, as further reading and devoid of any interpretation from me, is the summary section (and look to full document) of a comprehensive report into UK referenda. Any future constitutional referenda need to pay heed to the reports findings. Report of the Independent Commission on Referendums July 2018The rules by which referendums are conducted in the UK are now almost twenty years old. In that time, five large-scale referendums have been held, including votes on matters of fundamental importance that have sparked unprecedented public interest. Much has changed over these two decades, not least through the rise of the internet and, particularly, of social media and the way these developments have transformed political campaigning. The time has come, therefore, for a comprehensive review. This report addresses the role that referendums play in democracy in the UK and the manner in which referendums are conducted. Its major recommendations stem from three core points: ■ First, referendums have an important role to play within the democratic system, but how they interact with other parts of that system is crucial. They must be viewed as co-existing alongside, rather than replacing, representative institutions. They can be useful tools for promoting citizen participation in decision-making, but they are not the only, or necessarily the best, way of doing so. ■ Second, referendums should be conducted in a way that is fair and effective. The rules should enable a level playing field between the competing alternatives. Those rules should also empower voters to find the information they want from sources they trust, so that voters feel confident in the decisions they reach. ■ Third, the regulation of referendums must keep up with the changing nature of political campaigning, particularly campaigning through social media. Following a brief introduction to the Commission, the sections below summarise key implications of each of these points. They do not give the Commission’s recommendations in full. These are contained in the body of the chapters that follow, and are listed in full at the end of the report. The Commission and its work The Independent Commission on Referendums comprised twelve individuals (listed at the front of this report), who worked over nine months, from October 2017 to June 2018. The Commission held eight meetings, invited written evidence from a wide range of individuals and groups, and held consultative seminars in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London. The central point in the Commission’s terms of reference was ‘to consider the future political, legislative and administrative arrangements for the authorisation and conduct of referendums in the UK’. The Commission was supported by a secretariat based at the Constitution Unit, School of Public Policy, University College London. The Constitution Unit is a nonpartisan academic body, which conducts research on various aspects of constitutions and constitutional change, prioritising outputs that are useful to policymakers. The Commission’s work was informed by evidence that the secretariat gathered about the functioning of referendums historically in the UK, and in contemporary democracies around the world. Members of the Commission were not paid for their time and contributed to its work purely voluntarily. They propose the conclusions and recommendations in this report on a unanimous basis. The place of referendums in the democratic system Referendums have an important role to play within the democratic system. They are particularly suited to resolving fundamental questions of sovereignty and constitutional change. But referendums also have limits: ■ They cannot replace the institutions of representative democracy. Citizens do not have the time or the resources to participate in all the policy decisions necessary for the functioning of a complex modern democracy. Representatives can dedicate time to consider such issues in great detail, engage in deliberation with other representatives and make informed decisions on a wide range of topics. Representative institutions are also needed to provide for ‘joined up’ thinking across policy areas. Executive Summary 10 Report of the Independent Commission on Referendums ■ Referendums encompass one crucial element of democracy: deciding between options through voting. But other equally important dimensions of democracy – discussion, deliberation and compromise – are not intrinsic to referendums. Given these limits, careful thought should be given to how referendums fit into the wider democratic system: ■ Detailed consideration should be given before a referendum is called to what the problems are that policy needs to address, what policy options can be developed for addressing these problems, what the strengths and weaknesses of these options are, and whether a referendum is the best way of making the decision. ■ To engage citizens as far as possible in these pre-referendum processes, consideration should be given to using innovative forms of deliberative democratic engagement such as citizens’ assemblies, alongside strengthened processes of parliamentary scrutiny. ■ Wherever possible, a referendum should come at the end, not the beginning, of the decision-making process. It should be post-legislative, deciding whether legislation that has already passed through the relevant parliament or assembly should be implemented. ■ Sometimes a referendum may be needed earlier: for example, to initiate intergovernmental negotiations. In such cases, the government initiating the referendum should set out precise plans for what will be done in the event of a vote for change; the enabling legislation would set out a two-referendum process, for use in the event that the settlement does not deliver what was promised. The conduct of referendums Referendums should be conducted in line with two overarching objectives: ■ The alternatives should compete on a level playing field. ■ Voters should be able to find the information they want from sources they trust. These objectives lead to a range of proposals, including the following: ■ Current restrictions on government involvement in referendum campaigns should be extended to cover the whole campaign period, but narrowed in scope to target the behaviour that is of concern during referendums – that is, campaigning for or against a proposal. ■ Lead campaigners should be designated as early as possible, to give campaigners time to prepare effectively. ■ Measures should be taken to enhance the transparency of campaign spending and the accountability of campaigners for that spending. The Electoral Commission and Information Commissioner’s Office should work together in regulating spending and the use of personal data in political campaigning. ■ The Electoral Commission should review how any space provided to campaigners in the Commission’s voter information booklet is best used. ■ More should be done to enable the work of broadcasters, universities, factcheckers and other independent organisations in facilitating access to balanced information. ■ Methods for fostering citizen deliberation on referendum issues and disseminating its results should be piloted. Referendums in a digital age Even during the nine months of the Commission’s inquiry, debate about the regulation of online campaigning has developed considerably. The Commission is not the best body to settle all of these issues, but it does make a range of recommendations, including the following: ■ An inquiry should be conducted into the regulation of political advertising across print, broadcast and online media, to consider what form regulation should take 11 for each medium and whether current divergences of approach remain justified. ■ Imprints should be required on digital campaign materials, as on other forms of campaign materials. ■ A searchable repository of online political advertising should be developed, including information on when each advertisement was posted, to whom it was targeted, and how much was spent on Implementing the Commission’s recommendations The Commission hopes that its recommendations will lead to positive and constructive discussion about the future of referendums in the UK, and a strengthening of democratic practice. Some of these recommendations call for action by the UK government or devolved governments. Some propose actions by parliamentary committees, the Electoral Commission, and other official bodies. Others need to be taken up by political parties, campaigners, commentators, and academics. The Commission believes that we require a culture change in how the role of referendums in UK democracy is conceived. The practical implications of this are captured in our checklist of issues to consider before calling for a referendum. Checklist for those considering calling for a referendum Many of the recommendations made by the Commission demand a cultural change in terms of how referendums are used and the circumstances in which they are proposed. This checklist is provided as a quick summary of key points that should be considered by those who may wish to call for a future referendum: ■ Is the subject matter suitable for a referendum? Can it be considered a major constitutional issue? ■ Is a referendum the best way of involving citizens in the decision in question, or might some other means of public consultation serve at least as well, or better? ■ Is interest in the subject adequate to ensure a high level of turnout? ■ Has the topic concerned previously been subject to considerable public debate and deliberation? ■ Has it been carefully considered by bodies such as parliamentary committees? ■ Have there been opportunities for civil society groups to comment and help develop proposals? ■ Have there been opportunities for citizens to contribute to the development of the proposals through bodies such as citizens’ assemblies? ■ Are the alternatives clear, or do they need further consideration and elaboration? ■ If there are more than two options for change, has the possibility of holding a multi-option referendum been seriously considered? ■ Will it be possible, in advance of a referendum, for detailed proposals for change to be set out in the enabling legislation? ■ Will it be clear to legislators after the referendum what to enact, or is there any risk of uncertainty, and conflict with the public vote? If the answer to any of the questions above is no, then the referendum should not be held at that point. Additionally, when planning for the referendum itself and the preceding referendum campaign, the following questions should be addressed: ■ What can be done to reduce the risk of polarisation and lasting political divisions after the referendum? ■ What can be done to maximise the availability of high-quality information, and minimise the risk of misrepresentation and confusion? ■ Should a deliberative exercise for citizens be provided during the referendum campaign itself?
“The economy stupid” A phrase that should be whispered (shouted even) into the ears of the SNP, Sturgeon and Derek Mackay at every opportunity. How the media let them away with such blatant nonsense is beyond me. They won’t get challenged from the floor of this weeks SNP Conference and unionist politicians seem pretty useless at holding them to account in Holyrood. We (the majority) need to be whispering and shouting this simple truth at them!
He unbelievably went on to say “We are winning the economic argument.” The problem is there has never been an open and clear argument, he (and they) will never properly engage to debate the issues of Scexit economics.
(He does however like sweeping statements, that are ultimately all p*ss and wind).
I won’t bore you with lots of charts, figures and data (this time), but some simple home truths need acknowledgment.
Scotland spends more than it earns. Thats a fact. Nicola Derek and Finance Minister Kate publicly admit this. It has run a significant deficit since 1990/91, then total of which is £208 billion pounds. Since 2011 the average has been £13.2 billion, last year £12.6 billion. These figures are not disputed by anyone of note in the SNP or Scottish Government. Both Derek and Nicola accept that we run this deficit but state that this is our ‘position’ in the UK and that it is not what the position would be in an a Scotland outside the UK and EU (we wouldn’t join the EU for years as we don’t meet the joining conditions of the EU Acquis re deficit etc).
There is no doubt at all our economic ‘position’ would be different post Scexit, we would have to find the resources to fund that deficit (and inherited debt) which can only come form three areas, taxation, borrowing, reduced spending.
The reality is with the level of inherited debt from the UK (population share) we would probably not be able to borrow on favourable terms as we would have debt and deficit levels way above those acceptable to the EU. We would also have the complication of a new currency, as that is now the SNP plan (and a necessary requirement to eventually join the EU which is their stated policy).
Even the SNP’s Growth Commission has indicated there would be a significant period of austerity. Commenting on it’s publication in May 2018 The IFS, a highly regarded economics research institute, said “proposals from the SNP’s growth commission published in May 2018 would leave Scotland’s weak public finances facing continued cost-cutting and restraint. Analysis by David Phillips, an IFS economist, said the commission should be commended for being honest about “the challenging public finance position an independent Scotland would start life with”. However, he disputed its claims that its economic strategy would end austerity. Its analysis in fact implied cuts in spending and benefits equal to 4% of GDP over a 10-year period. “Their proposals imply another decade of the sort of restraint on public spending that Scotland is currently experiencing. If this is austerity, then austerity would be extended under the commission’s proposals,” he said”. (Note the author of GC report, Andrew Wilson is unwilling to publicly discuss/debate or argue any of its contents with anyone who doesn’t agree with them).
The stark fact is no one in the SNP is prepared to provide an economic plan or even a 3 year forecast for post separation to even start an informed debate. Why not? The reason is simple, they are frightened to show Scots the economic reality of leaving our UK. They are dishonest and hypocritical in the extreme.