Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Political Combat; if a snap Westminster election was called tomorrow, polling would suggest that the Scottish Conservatives would do well in Scotland having 11 seats, three times as many seats as Scottish Labour, who would drop from 7 to 4 seats, this means there would be no Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister

Dear All

Elections are a funny business because the public can be fickle, when the Westminster expenses row blew into the open; it ushered in the SNP as the government in Scotland back in 2007. A minority government, then through good PR, the SNP crafted a false image of competence which wasn’t the reality; many people including myself were taken in. The outcome of the 2011 election was a majority for the SNP, this was never supposed to happen in Holyrood but it did, and then everything in government of any real note stopped happening.

I would say that from 2012 to present day, the SNP government has been a failure to act, a failure to change, chiefly everything was abandoned for their Scottish independence bid. 2015 saw the SNP sweep the board because of an angry electorate who supported the SNP, less than two years later, the 56 SNP MPs found at the snap election of 2017, that their popularity had dropped to 35. 

The 35 SNP MPs found a different political landscape to sit in, Brexit had happened and their place at Westminster and indeed in Holyrood was looking irrelevant. Events were happening but the SNP found them being marginalised, this was due to their attitude towards Westminster.

In 2017, like in 2011, I found myself in four election campaigns, in both those elections; I managed to help 3 out of 4 candidates cross the line to win.

In some cases that was a hard slog, but it is what it is, in political campaigning in a polarised environment you have to keep your wits about you.

According to a poll, the Scottish Conservatives would win almost three times as many Scottish seats as Labour; this is on the basis if there was a general election held tomorrow. The Electoral Calculus website predicts The Scottish Conservatives would get 11 seats, while Scottish Labour would get just four with 27 per cent share of the vote. Having hit rock bottom in 2015, anything upwards for Scottish Labour must be seen as progress or luck or disaffection with the SNP, or a combination of any of those variables.

At present, there are 13 Scottish Conservative MPs in Scotland, they have benefited from the swing away from Scottish Labour who under Kezia Dugdale looked weak in the Union. There are 7 MPs from the Scottish Labour Party and 4 from the Liberal Democrats. In Glasgow North East, the winning majority was 242 votes, a close result which was due to an extraordinary effort by the activists who came out to support Paul Sweeney, although he doubted he would win, I didn’t at all. Sitting on 242 votes extra is a win, but if Scottish Labour was to end up on 4 seats, Glasgow North East would have to be a Labour priority in Glasgow to the exclusion of all other seats in the city.

Here is a wiki list of whose who as an MP.

The forecast, I feel is wrong, was based on crunching polls over the last two months involving more than 3000 people. I don’t see the SNP doing well, but by the same token, I don’t see that the effort has been put in by others on the ground to make an impact especially from Scottish Labour. There still seems to be a lack of a vision from Scottish Labour which has ended up talking in clich├ęs.

A Scottish Labour spokesperson said:

“This research confirms that it is Labour - under the leadership of Richard Leonard and Jeremy Corbyn - who are now the clear alternative to Tory austerity and SNP complacency.”

If a snap election was held tomorrow, I think the bookies would have their money on a Conservative victory. Scottish Labour back in 2015 was in no fit state to campaign, hence they got slaughtered, in 2016, nothing much changed, in 2017, the Scottish Labour Party benefited from disaffection by voters towards the SNP.

Hardly a winning strategy!

The Electoral Reform Society campaigns for a more proportional voting system, however, there won’t be the change that they want, people like First Past The Post, at least in Westminster elections. If you look at the trash that gets in on the Holyrood list system, you can see the appeal.

Although the Electoral Calculus used polls covering 10,000 people to forecast Labour would come 0.2 per cent ahead in vote share in a snap election, I don’t see that being reflective of the actual result, although as I mentioned the Conservatives would be the bookies choice by a huge margin. Their management of Brexit may not be razzle dazzle but it is competent, and the public won’t sign up to various Labour politicians’ plans for staying in the single market or the customs union.

Willie Sullivan, Director of Electoral Reform Society Scotland, said:

“This analysis shows that Westminster’s democratic deficit continues to get worse. This situation would be absurd- but not unprecedented. Two elections in the second half of the last century produced ‘wrong winner’ results. Now it looks like it could happen in Scotland. That’s not democracy, and does all of Scotland a disservice.”

Mr Sullivan added:

London’s broken electoral system is holding back the will of voters. It is simply unacceptable that in the 21st century, we still face the prospect of the largest party winning fewer votes than the other side.”

People always talk about the will of the voters especially when they don’t like the results they see at the ballot box, and as Mr Sullivan was ex Labour in so far as my understanding, people may wonder if his vision is clouded.

Nancy Platts of the trade union reform group Politics for the Many added:

“For Labour to potentially secure more than a quarter of the vote in Scotland but get just 7 per cent of seats is a sign of just how rigged Westminster’s voting system really is. The system looks increasingly rigged against working people’s voices, with the Tories unfairly benefitting from the vote-wasting machine that is ‘First Past the Post’.

Platts added:

“This analysis showing just how unfit for purpose the one-person-takes-all electoral system has become – serving the old boys’ network while workers’ interests are trampled on.”

No one compels people to vote, there is no law to force you to do so, moving the goal posts because you don’t like the way the game is played is risible, I don’t remember the Labour Party calling for election reform when in 1997, the Labour Party swept into power. If political parties want your vote they should work for your vote, they shouldn’t take it for granted because they say they are ‘Labour’ or ‘Conservative’ or Lib Dem’, if they don’t serve you why vote for them.

Too many people are disengaged from politics and voting which is why we have such a bad political system, and the wrong people getting in. Every person standing for election for Westminster or Holyrood should win their seat in the area they are standing in by a majority of the vote.

I would abolish the list system entirely at Holyrood.

The law on UK-wide elections is reserved to Westminster, I see no reason to change it because I like many would have a suspicion that ‘change’ would indeed lead to the vote being ‘rigged’ in favour of ‘centre left’ parties. Scotland still remains in political flux, parties like Scottish Labour who could count on having secured heartlands can’t do that any more; they have to work for it now if they want the win.

I have noticed that one thing which is sparse on the ground is experienced political activists who are willing to come out and do the ‘long haul’ for Labour on the doorstep. The Scottish Conservatives have a spring in their step due to their success, after being so long in the wilderness, they don’t want to go back onto the back foot and return to being the third party of Scotland.

Finally; this quote by a Scottish Labour spokesperson is too good to pass up, they said:

“This research confirms that it is Labour - under the leadership of Richard Leonard and Jeremy Corbyn - who are now the clear alternative to Tory austerity and SNP complacency.”

Presumably they are discounting the Lib Dems and Scottish Greens, of course, if you asked them what the ‘clear alternative’ actually meant, they couldn’t tell you, not a sound strategy for future success.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University


Auld Jock said...

Hello George

I know the Holyrood voting system is different and seems to encourage the "election" of doombrains, however can we still be optimistic about the snp being ousted when the ballot boxes next put in an appearance?

Auld Jock

Al C said...

Good. Love em or loathe em, we need the Tories to finish the messy Brexit business. Regime change halfway through would've been bad, especially when trying to sort out many pissed off parties, and replace 43 years of established legislation in 5 (years). Corbyn in my opinion is not good enough either. He has some good points, but his foreign policy and defence policy are inadequate, and when it comes to the unpleasantness of some of his followers he has been either tacitly condoning their conduct, or spinelessly allowing it.

Anonymous said...

Re the reason Labour lost in 2007.

Your point is well taken, however I believe another factor that helped oust them was the smoking ban they introduced on 26 March 2006.

And trust me that will never be forgiven by some.

Louis Scott

Aldo said...

Totally agree about the smoking ban. Labour thought they were so popular in Scotland they could do anything they wanted. They were wrong.

Anonymous said...

I’m nearly 60. I can remember a Scotland before we joined the EEC, in the 1970s, a time when you could apply and get 3 different jobs in one week.

The Thatcher years gave us mass unemployment and the virtually de-industrialisation of Scotland.

The lie@bour years continued the mass unemployment and de-industrialisation but created a minimum wage that actually lowered wages in most private sector low paid jobs. The workers party,’ backed and funded by the mostly public sector ‘well paid trade unions' not happy with lowering wages in the private sector then continued the punishment of the working poor and unemployed with benefit sanctions, workfare, food banks, the smoking ban, pub closures, unlimited mass - mostly unskilled immigration.

After all this, is it any wonder people voted SNP?

The SNP years have continued the mass unemployment and what have them achieved, has anything changed since 2007. Apart from more restrictive legislation, more bans, absolutely nothing. They have achieved zero. They are no different from Blair’s Lie@bour and we have a complete lunatic as FM masquerading as a nationalist.

We live in a fake democracy where communist internationalist masquerade as nationalist and neo-liberal extreme exploiters masquerade as socialist. We are allowed to vote but we are only allowed to vote for them. None of them care two fucks about anything.

I’m seriously thinking of not voting but I suppose I will vote again. I will vote the party I hate the least and that will be Tory. At least if you vote Tory, you get Tory.

SNP out said...

Hope you are okay George? Been a wee while since you posted anything new. Hope all is well

G Laird said...

Hi SNP Out

Library computers have been crashing to the point of being useable so I thought best to have a break and hope they would get them fixed, when they do an upgrade, nothing works right!

I am trying to find an alternative venue to do my stuff as it is an uphill struggle at present, the problem still hasn't been properly fixed.


Anonymous said...

Hi George dont you have a computer at home?

SNP out said...

Good to see you back.

G Laird said...

Dear Anon

Don't have the internet at home, have to use public library or visit family.


Anonymous said...