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Sat Apr 2, 2016, 05:04 AM

Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, London Mayoral, Local Government and PCC elections

It's that time of the year when I do a thread about upcoming elections. On May 5 we have the following elections

•National Assembly for Wales
•Northern Ireland Assembly
•Scottish Parliament
•Police and Crime Commissioners
•Local government elections in England
•Mayor of London and London Assembly

The only elections due where I live are for Derbyshire Police & Crime comissioner. I only realised this is due when I got my polling card through the door this week.

Please feel free to keep us posted on what's happening in your neck of the woods and what you expect to happen in these elections. Please also feel free to keep us informed of any local issues. I'll be looking most at Sheffield City Council elections, where I expect Labour to lose a few seats thanks mainly to discontent over a PFI scheme for road maintainence, which many people are unhappy with.

https://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/

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Reply Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, London Mayoral, Local Government and PCC elections (Original post)
T_i_B Apr 2016 OP
non sociopath skin Apr 2016 #1
T_i_B Apr 2016 #4
LeftishBrit Apr 2016 #2
Denzil_DC Apr 2016 #3
Bad Dog Apr 2016 #5
04alsabi Apr 2016 #6
LeftishBrit Apr 2016 #7
Bad Dog Apr 2016 #8
T_i_B Apr 2016 #9
04alsabi Apr 2016 #10
Ken Burch Apr 2016 #18
muriel_volestrangler Apr 2016 #19
Ken Burch Apr 2016 #21
Ken Burch Apr 2016 #11
LeftishBrit Apr 2016 #12
04alsabi Apr 2016 #13
Ken Burch Apr 2016 #17
04alsabi Apr 2016 #20
non sociopath skin Apr 2016 #22
Ironing Man Apr 2016 #14
T_i_B Apr 2016 #23
04alsabi Apr 2016 #15
Ken Burch Apr 2016 #16
T_i_B Apr 2016 #24
Ironing Man Apr 2016 #25
LeftishBrit Apr 2016 #27
Denzil_DC Apr 2016 #26
T_i_B May 2016 #28
Denzil_DC May 2016 #29
T_i_B May 2016 #30
Denzil_DC May 2016 #31
non sociopath skin May 2016 #32
muriel_volestrangler May 2016 #33
T_i_B May 2016 #34
non sociopath skin May 2016 #38
T_i_B May 2016 #42
04alsabi May 2016 #35
T_i_B May 2016 #40
Ironing Man May 2016 #36
Bad Dog May 2016 #37
non sociopath skin May 2016 #45
Bad Dog May 2016 #46
Denzil_DC May 2016 #39
LeftishBrit May 2016 #41
muriel_volestrangler May 2016 #43
T_i_B May 2016 #44
Denzil_DC May 2016 #47
non sociopath skin May 2016 #50
Denzil_DC May 2016 #51
T_i_B May 2016 #52
Denzil_DC May 2016 #53
Bad Dog May 2016 #54
Denzil_DC May 2016 #55
Bad Dog May 2016 #56
Denzil_DC May 2016 #57
Bad Dog May 2016 #58
Denzil_DC May 2016 #59
Bad Dog May 2016 #60
Denzil_DC May 2016 #61
Bad Dog May 2016 #62
Denzil_DC May 2016 #63
Bad Dog May 2016 #64
Denzil_DC May 2016 #65
Bad Dog May 2016 #66
Denzil_DC May 2016 #67
Bad Dog May 2016 #71
T_i_B May 2016 #68
Denzil_DC May 2016 #69
T_i_B May 2016 #72
Denzil_DC May 2016 #73
Denzil_DC May 2016 #70
LeftishBrit May 2016 #48
T_i_B May 2016 #49

Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Sat Apr 2, 2016, 06:08 AM

1. Yes, I hadn't realised it was time for PCC voting again.

You wouldn't have thought that it could have had an even lower profile than last time but there you go.

The Skin

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Response to non sociopath skin (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 2, 2016, 08:43 AM

4. Very true.

The only time PCC's seem to get any airtime is for the really bad stuff. See South Yorkshire as a prime example.

Here in Derbyshire we currently have a (fairly anonymous) Labour PCC, but I do worry that a Tory could get in at the moment, which would be a very bad thing given the Tories current obsession with privatisation and cuts. Their platform at the last PCC elections was atrocious.

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Sat Apr 2, 2016, 06:37 AM

2. Oxford City Council is up...

We have not a single Tory councillor; large-ish Labour majority (33 out of 48 councillors); some LibDems; some Greens. The situation will probably continue.

PCC? I'd forgotten it was even happening. No doubt it will be just like last time in Thames Valley, with 15% turnout and the Tory elected.

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Sat Apr 2, 2016, 07:08 AM

3. The Scottish Parliament is run on the D'Hondt voting system

(as are the Northern Ireland and Welsh National Assemblies and the London Assembly).

The whole set-up for the Scottish Parliament was intended to force coalitions. Nevertheless, last election, the SNP won an overall majority with 69 out of 129 seats.

Under the modified D'Hondt system in Scotland, you have two votes. The first is for a directly elected first-past-the-post constituency member, of which there are 73. The second is for a party regional list member, of which there are 56 (7 from each of 8 regions). The list member votes are weighted so that the more directly elected seats a party wins, the more votes it needs to gain a list seat.

On current polling, it looks like the SNP will sweep the board on directly elected seats - winning literally every seat. It also looks like they'll poll heavily enough at list level to win an outright majority again, possibly increasing it by one, but it's a very unpredictable system.

A lot of the pundit chatter at the moment concerns whether the Tories will replace Labour as the second-placed party. It's also possible that UKIP may win its first regional list seat.

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Sat Apr 2, 2016, 02:31 PM

5. Got my card through the door just the other day.

We've got PCC elections, currently an independent, who kept Michael Mates out. Council elections for Southampton, we'll probably stay Labour.

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Thu Apr 7, 2016, 12:20 PM

6. London calling...

A consensus seems to be forming that this is Sadiq Khan's race to lose (he's leading by about ten points in the polls). I'm a Labour member in a Tory stronghold in Outer London (Bexley). Goldsmith's best hope would be to maximise turnout in the commuter belt, but I've yet to see much activity from either campaign in my area. As ever, the big issues of the campaign are housing and transport- rail fare rises being particularly pertinent to voters living in the outer 'doughnut'.

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Response to 04alsabi (Reply #6)

Thu Apr 7, 2016, 05:08 PM

7. Welcome to DU; as an ex-Londoner, good to hear from you

I do hope you are right about Sadiq Khan winning.

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Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #7)

Fri Apr 8, 2016, 06:28 AM

8. Can I second that.

Everything, apart from being an ex Londoner of course.

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Response to 04alsabi (Reply #6)

Fri Apr 8, 2016, 07:33 AM

9. I originally thought it was Goldsmith's to lose

What do you think has gone wrong for Zac Goldsmith?

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #9)

Fri Apr 8, 2016, 08:06 AM

10. The media coverage has tended to boil it down to two things:

1) Goldsmith hasn't been able to match Khan's enthusiasm and vigour so far and his campaign appears similarly lacklustre. For someone with his background, 'aloof' is not a good look- it plays right into Labour's hands.
2) The Goldsmith campaign's attacks on Khan appear not to have cut through (or to have backfired). Especially true for the characterisation of Khan as a 'divisive' or 'radical' figure- this was widely perceived as a not-so-subtle reference to his faith.

It should also be noted that London was one of the few bright spots for Labour in 2015- the shift in the polls could be seen as that groundwork paying off (and it was Sadiq Khan who coordinated Labour's general election campaign in the capital). Turnout will still be important, though- the 2012 election was surprisingly close, the eventual 100,000 margin for Boris over Ken largely coming from the suburbs.

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Response to 04alsabi (Reply #10)

Mon Apr 18, 2016, 03:35 PM

18. Is Zac Goldsmith related to the Goldsmith who led the "Referendum Party" in the Nineties?

 

As I recall, the older Goldsmith came home from years of living in Mexico just to campaign, then flew back immediately after losing his constituency by a spectacular margin.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #18)

Mon Apr 18, 2016, 03:48 PM

19. His son. He's an ecological Conservative

He edited 'The Ecologist' for a few years (founded by his uncle). While that does make him a bit more acceptable than the typical Tory, he's still a bit of a tosser.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #19)

Mon Apr 18, 2016, 06:57 PM

21. Sounds like a surprisingly interesting family.

 

Thanks for the info.

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Response to 04alsabi (Reply #6)

Sat Apr 9, 2016, 08:05 AM

11. Bexley...is that the area that used to be Edward Heath's parliamentary constituency? n/t.

 

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #11)

Sat Apr 9, 2016, 11:08 AM

12. It overlaps with it - there have been lots of boundary changes since then.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #11)

Sat Apr 9, 2016, 06:21 PM

13. Yes, that's right!

He was the local MP (for Bexley, then Sidcup, then Old Bexley and Sidcup) from 1950-2001. It's one of the safest Conservative seats in London. The Tory majority was cut to just over 3000 in the 1997 and 2001 Labour landslides, but it's since grown to almost 16,000, as it was in the 80s and early 90s. Scarily, UKIP came within 350 votes of finishing second, ahead of Labour, at the last election.

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Response to 04alsabi (Reply #13)

Mon Apr 18, 2016, 03:32 PM

17. I always thought "Old Bexley and Sidcup" sounded like a couple of Beatrix Potter characters.

 

A crusty old hedgehog and an annoyingly chipper marmoset, perhaps.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #17)

Mon Apr 18, 2016, 04:41 PM

20. Good shout!

Not seen many wild rabbits, hedgehogs or marmosets around here, but we do have urban foxes in abundance!

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #17)

Mon Apr 18, 2016, 07:20 PM

22. I think that Sidcup sounds more like an overweight elf vainly attempting to perch on a flower.

The Skin

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Mon Apr 11, 2016, 08:56 AM

14. in sunny Wyre forest...

here in Worcestershire the upcoming elections - town, district and PCC - have, err... failed to set the media alight and haven't, as yet, got the electorates pulse, umm, pulsing..

the tories did reasonably well in local elections last time and i expect to see them lose some seats/votes as part of a wider backlash against the Tories in national government, but it would, imv, be a mistake to see that as anything other than a desire to kick the government, not a great vote of confidence in Labour.

as some will know i'm a member of the Labour Party, and i attend branch/constituancy meetings regularly, as well as being involved in the social side - truth is, the party at CLP level is disarray, and while we have new members, me included, many of the longer serving members just don't bother showing up, and the new members are much less interested in the donkey work of campaigning or even running the branches or CLP than the CLP needs. it looks, to me, quite possible that we'll have less than a dozen people prepared to put leaflets through doors within an urban sprawl of around 98,000. finding candidates hasn't been vanilla, though at least - unlike the LD's - we've actually managed to get candidates to stand in all wards.

this, it should be noted, in a parliamentary constituancy that has since 1997 been a Labour seat, an Independant NHS seat, a tory marginal and now a tory safe seat.

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Response to Ironing Man (Reply #14)

Sat Apr 23, 2016, 05:04 AM

23. One thing I'm expecting...

...is for the Green Party to do well in Sheffield. Not well enough to dislodge Labour from overall control of the council, but I certainly think they could pick up a few seats in central wards.

The greens main local issue is a PFI scheme for road maintanence and how this has been managed, with particular regard to how many trees have been chopped down by the company in charge of road maintenance and the way that residents concerns about all this have been sidelined. It's not been a good advertisement for the Private Finance Initiative.

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Sat Apr 16, 2016, 04:13 AM

15. A reminder: the deadline for registration is the 18th of April

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Mon Apr 18, 2016, 03:30 PM

16. Labour is going to lose badly in Scotland again...and Corbyn is blameless for that.

 

The Scottish Labour Party has learned nothing from its humiliations in the last two Westminster and Holyrood elections. It has changed nothing at all in how it presents itself and what it stands for. It is STILL essentially opposing the SNP from the right(despite the fact that it has no chance of increasing its vote totals by doing so). The coming further humiliation will be solely the responsibility of the remaining Scottish Blairites.

The most dramatic result of the Holyrood voting, though, is the liklihood that the Scottish Lib Dems will fall to FIFTH place, behind the Scottish Greens(in elections for a body the Liberals supported before any other party in the UK-there's sledghammer irony for you).

The only chance SLAB has for ever recovering is to do a complete re-think...which the proximity of this election to the last Westminster elections may have prevented for this cycle.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #16)

Sat Apr 30, 2016, 08:18 AM

24. I think the current anti-semitism issue could also be a factor

With the best will in the world, Labour just looks a mess right now.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #24)

Sat Apr 30, 2016, 11:36 AM

25. ...

i was at a branch meeting/pub night last night, and the membership could be divided into three parts - those who normally turn up, but who one week before elections just couldn't be arsed, those who turned up, looked into their drinks and said to no one in particular 'what in the name of holy fuck are these people playing at..?', and a very small minority who followed the lead of the Ken and George show and sought to difuse a self-inflicted row about anti-semitism by talking about Hitler and Israel. it will surprise no one that had a tory or a kipper used the words and sentiments used by this few, a very vocal few, but not a tiny minority, the howls of antisemitism and racism would have been heard on Mars...

the immediate result of this is that, i think, there will be Labour party members who had put aside more national issues in order to campaign in next weeks elections who now simply won't bother - and may not even vote. i'm afraid thats probably going to include me. if party members feel like that, how will the wider electorate, who already held a rather dim view of the leadership, feel?

for me, and for a number of the people i spoke to last night, the message is that incompetance and inertia rule, and worse that the rules don't apply to Jeremys friends until the pressure becomes intollerable. the thing however thats telling me that this years membership will be the last is that i have an uncomfortable feeling that the idiocy of Livingstone, Galloway, Milne et al is shared by a wider number of people than i had thought, its just that they've got the wit to keep their holes shut on the issue.

Jeremy Corbyn, who we are told feels very strongly on this issue, spent over an hour on the phone with McDonnell etc.. trying to decide whether what Livingstone had said was utterly unacceptable. either he doesn't feel quite as strongly as he says he does, or he's got the moral strength of wet grass when it comes to his friends, or he's so thick it took an hour to get him to understand what Livingstones words meant.

i dispair, i just dispair.

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Response to Ironing Man (Reply #25)

Sat Apr 30, 2016, 06:04 PM

27. Well...

Last edited Sun May 1, 2016, 11:08 AM - Edit history (1)

(1) I do think the Labour party is in chaos.

(2) I also think that Ken chose a very bad time to spout a load of crap (indeed any time would have been a bad time for saying things like that!!!). In the past I've defended him against accusations of anti-Semitism; - but why in the Hell did he have to bring up Hitler in this context at all?!!!! Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic; plenty of Jews do; Netanyahu is an utter bastard; but going out of your way to associate early Zionism with Hitler was not on, especially in this context.

(3) At least Naz Shah apologized in a way that seemed to be sincere, and does seem to be engaging with the synagogue in her community; Ken just dug himself deeper and deeper into a hole, and seemed not to give a fuck. It's actually occurred to me that maybe he WANTS to sabotage his party at this point, at least in London - that maybe one thing that he has in common with Blair is that he'd rather have his party lose, than win under someone other than himself. Maybe I'm being tinfoilish about that, but certainly he's behaving in a very ugly way. I sometimes think that he and Boris have more in common than either would like to admit!

(4) The Tories and the press are hypocrites (well, that's hardly latest breaking news, I suppose). I haven't forgotten the xenophobic and sometimes at least borderline-anti-Semitic smear campaigns about Miliband and his family. Or Aidan Burley's Nazi-themed stag party. Or our future rulers in the Oxford University Conservative Association getting drunk and singing a song about dashing through the Reich, killing lots of K-words. Or the fact that the Tories choose to belong to a party grouping in the Euro-Parliament that includes the anti-Semitic and generally nasty Polish Right, in preference to the parties of Merkel, Sarkozy and other mainstream Euro-Conservatives.

(5) At least one silver lining is that the problem of anti-Semitism is becoming a subject of more awareness and condemnation. It should not, however, be specifically equated with the Labour Party (see (4)).

(6) Why mention George Galloway in this context? He is not Labour, so the Labour Party cannot be blamed for him! His only relevance to the case is that it was Naz Shah who defeated him. ETA: this is VERY tinfoilish, but I wouldn't actually rule out his having been in some way involved in getting the media informed about Naz's dubious pre-parliamentary posts!



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Response to T_i_B (Reply #24)

Sat Apr 30, 2016, 04:51 PM

26. I agree with Ken in the Scottish context.

I think this "antisemitism" kerfuffle - handily played up by the blatantly opportunistic Labour right in the shape of John Mann et al. (take a look at his Twitter feed recently if you want to see what a real backlash looks like), exacerbated by Livingstone's inability to keep his gob shut (I actually think he had some valid points among what he said, but Shah seemed perfectly able to take care of herself and actually has good relations her local synagogue, and he couldn't have chosen a worse time to grab the limelight) and aided and abetted by the trusty media - just won't be a significant factor in Scotland. The die was cast long ago.

Where I may disagree with Ken (Burch, that is) is that I can't see any way back for Scottish Labour, radical rethink or no. A rethink won't erase people's memory of years of incompetence and not infrequent graft at various levels of government, nor the sense of entitlement and taking the electorate for granted that landed them in the situation they're in now. A recent poll found that those left behind are considerably more right-wing than SNP members on a wide range of issues, although they like to consider themselves of "the left", or even "socialist". It's not just the leadership that's the problem. The political ground Scottish Labour could move into is already well catered for, both to the right and to the left.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #26)

Sun May 1, 2016, 05:45 AM

28. I disagree about John Mann

He wasn't being opportunistic with his outburst. It's something he clearly has felt strongly about for some time. And he didn't make half as much of a fool of himself as he did during the Labour leadership campaign.

Nonetheless, Labour is currently looking like a complete basket case, and that's a very bad thing as this government desperately needs to be countered by a strong opposition.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #28)

Sun May 1, 2016, 07:17 AM

29. OK, he just happened to have a TV camera crew in tow ...

Sorry, don't buy it. He's a track record of speaking out on antisemitism, yes, but that doesn't prevent his being an opportunist in this case, not to mention almost totally out of control face-to-face with an old, old adversary.

As for one of the main transgressions Shah is supposed to have committed, Mike Sivier points out that she Facebook liked a Norman Finkelstein blog post: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/04/30/nobody-bothered-to-check-who-created-that-anti-semitic-image-naz-shah-retweeted-did-they/

I don't agree with everything in this Open Democracy article, but Adam Ramsay hits a few salient points: https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/adam-ramsay/multiple-truths-of-labour-antisemitism-story#.VyNq4_NCq84.twitter

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #29)

Sun May 1, 2016, 09:30 AM

30. The altercation took place in Millbank TV studios

Which is exactly where you would expect TV cameras to be present. I'm sorry, but I don't buy the conspiracy theory. This is far more cock up than conspiracy.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #30)

Sun May 1, 2016, 09:56 AM

31. Can't it be both?

C'mon, don't insult my intelligence (such as it is).

Mann was blatantly playing to the cameras. Do cameramen normally prowl the corridors of Millbank? If he had some home truths to impart to Livingstone, why then? Why there?

It's shameful exploitation of a sensitive issue, and suspiciously timed to sabotage the mayoral and local elections, thereafter to no doubt brand Corbyn a failure, then - like the legendary underpants gnomes - profit!

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #31)

Sun May 1, 2016, 10:24 AM

32. I agree with you, Denzil.

Quite honestly, I despair.

I was talking to a fellow Class of 68 Crumblie last night and we agreed that we would empathise with Jeremy Corbyn if he shrugged his shoulders, said "You had your chance", resigned and spent a happy and fulfilling life cultivating his allotment.

I have some faith in the Millennials, if there's anything left for them to take over when their turn comes, but I'm not sorry that I'll either not be here to see it or be too bloody old to care.

The Skin

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Mon May 2, 2016, 10:26 AM

33. Prediction for The Guardian: Labour to lose 175 seats from 2012

Using the average of the latest opinion poll results, including the Opinium/Observer poll carried out after the antisemitism row last week, Steve Fisher, of Oxford University, one of the country’s leading elections experts, predicts that Labour could be on course for losses of 175 local council seats, while the Conservatives could gain 30.

On the national equivalent vote share, which tends to be a good predictor of subsequent general elections, Labour looks likely to be one percentage point behind the Conservatives, Fisher calculates – on a par with 2011.

That compares to the six-point lead achieved by Ed Miliband in the 2012 local elections; and approximately 15 points needed for a majority at a general election.
...
Council elections are notoriously difficult to predict, and Fisher points out that Labour could yet make some gains – or even worse losses than his central projection, based on the Conservatives’ average poll lead of 3.8 percentage points, suggests.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/may/01/jeremy-corbyn-len-mccluskey-attacks-treacherous-labour-mps

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Thu May 5, 2016, 01:25 AM

34. It's Polling Day

I shall be voting later. As has come to be expected for PCC elections, there has been little to no campaigning or information about what's on offer.

I have however been able to swot up a bit on the candidates here in Derbyshire and have decided on who will be the least worst option.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #34)

Thu May 5, 2016, 05:36 AM

38. Same here in South East Northumberland.

Elections only for PCC here so turnout likely to be low.

I have received two leaflets from Vera Baird, the Labour incumbent. Not a sausage from any of the other three candidates.

The whole thing is a bit of a joke, quite honestly, and I can't help asking myself how much it's costing ....

The Skin

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Response to non sociopath skin (Reply #38)

Thu May 5, 2016, 02:32 PM

42. The other thing to add....

...is that I didn't use my 2nd preference as it's bad enough working out who the best candidate is without worrying about sloppy seconds!

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Thu May 5, 2016, 02:21 AM

35. Voted!

Looks like it'll be a warm, sunny day here in London. That in itself could boost turnout by a few points.

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Response to 04alsabi (Reply #35)

Thu May 5, 2016, 07:29 AM

40. As long as you aren't in Barnet!

What's happening there is dreadful, and reinforces my dislike of the Tories on Barnet Council, who have a reputation for privatising anything that moves.

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Thu May 5, 2016, 05:25 AM

36. ...

i've voted as well - we have PCC, district and town council elections - turnout at 9.15 (ish) was surprisingly brisk, and all well into the 'retired' demographic...

the LD's were on the door but no one else was was, theres been some town and district campaigning and a couple of leaflets from Tory, Labour and IHC, but nothing from UKIP and LD.

the PCC (West Mercia) election is a joke - we've had one leaflet from the tory and thats it - nothing from anyone else. i had to go online to find out who was standing, and the Greens have completely missed a trick by having what appears to be a very good candidate but theres been no publicity or campaigning for him at all...

the Labour candidate comes over an indentikit right-on lefty - with a centrally prepared campaign statement, you could almost see the insert name of police force area here gaps in the blurb... in truth he may well have gone down well in London, but here he just had people looking at the floor in embarrassment. the constituancies in West Mercia just aren't Corbynite territory, and it looks to me like the party at a local level wanted nothing to do with him.

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Thu May 5, 2016, 05:29 AM

37. Just voted.

Council and Police Commissioner elections. There were no people with rosettes of any colour outside the polling booth.

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Response to Bad Dog (Reply #37)

Thu May 5, 2016, 04:51 PM

45. As I expected, quiet as the grave at our Polling Station.

PCC election only.

The Skin

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Response to non sociopath skin (Reply #45)

Thu May 5, 2016, 05:20 PM

46. I remember the turnout for that was tiny last time.

20% or something like that.

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Thu May 5, 2016, 07:12 AM

39. I'll vote this evening in the Scottish parliament elections.

There's been a steady stream of election addresses through the door, though no accompanying canvassers, but Jackie Baillie (Labour) did a fly-by visit to the village shops a few weeks ago, to no great acclaim. Funnily enough, there are no streetlamp posters for Labour around here, though the SNP and Conservatives have been busy.

Baillie's address, as would be expected on past form, went in hard on Trident jobs at Faslane - an issue on which she's out of step with Scottish Labour nowadays, which has voted against its replacement. Unfortunately, even if she loses her constituency MSP seat to the SNP, she's top of the regional list, so we won't see the back of her. Her address also claimed she'd gotten hold of evidence of a secret plot to close facilities at the area's main hospital, the Vale of Leven - not the first time she's tried to capitalize on fears around similar issues. She even tried to make capital a year or two ago about a terrible extended MRSA outbreak at the hospital - the only hitch for those who were paying attention being that the outbreak occurred when Labour were in power up here.

The Scottish Tories are playing up their leader, Ruth Davidson, as the only credible "strong opposition" to the SNP. It's striking that although there are some streetlamp Tory posters clearly advertising the Conservative and Unionist Party, many of them only carry her name on a blue background with no clear party affiliation shown. Must be after really low-attention voters.

The Greens aren't standing at constituency level round here. They may possibly pick up a regional list seat, but with Ross Greer, who I don't want to see anywhere near Holyrood, at the top of their list, they ain't getting my list vote.

The Lib Dems have been very quiet. Some of our independence-supporting papers have been trying to play up the prospects of RISE, "Scotland's Left Alliance", which is only standing in the regional lists. Its polling has been very poor, so the prospects of winning even one seat are very slim.

The SNP's address was unique among them all, as it was the only one to focus entirely on the party's own record and ambitions for the future. The others mentioned the SNP numerous times, and not in flattering terms, contravening the Salmond Rule that you avoid mentioning your opponents in your campaign literature as far as possible, as you're likely just giving them publicity.

The SNP are expected to win another majority. Expectations have moderated a little compared to a few months ago when the party stood at around 60% in the polls. Most credible predictions put them on 69 or 70 seats, but that sort of overall outright majority hinges on the regional list votes, which are very difficult to predict.

There's an outside possibility that UKIP may squeak a regional list seat in Highlands and Islands. If they do, then utter bampot clown David Coburn, who won an MEP seat in the last Euro elections thanks to anti-SNP tactical voting driven by Labour, will be gracing Holyrood, and likely to command headlines with the sorts of ludicrous and distasteful outbursts that have driven even other UKIP candidates to despair, and in some cases resignation.

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Thu May 5, 2016, 08:56 AM

41. Voted this morning for Council and PCC

Compared with the last PCC elections, when the polling station was like a desert island, and even some previous Council elections, there were more people there than I expected. We'll see what happens.

I suspect that turnout will be lower in PCC elections not associated with Council elections. Frankly, I suspect that many people don't even know they're taking place.

Both the Labour (incumbent) and LibDem candidates for Councillor have been campaigning rather assiduously. Got one leaflet from the Tories that went straight into the recycling bin. Nothing from the Greens. UKIP aren't standing in my ward, thank the lord, though they are in a few others. Nothing from the PCC candidates.

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Thu May 5, 2016, 03:14 PM

43. There are also by-elections in Ogmore and Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36205839

which I hadn't heard about at all until today. I suppose that's because they are both safe Labour seats (both over 50% in 2015). But I'm surprised they weren't talked about more as an indication of what people are thinking about Labour in the Commons.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #43)

Thu May 5, 2016, 03:28 PM

44. Heard virtually nothing about Sheffield Brightside & Hillsborough one

And that's very local to me! People are probably assuming that Labour will retain the seat comfortably as usual.

If that is the case, then the most notable thing to come out of that by election will have been the selection of Harry Harpham's widow as Labour candidate over Oliver Coppard, the Blairite who ran Nick Clegg so close in Sheffield Hallam last year.

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Fri May 6, 2016, 06:57 AM

47. Scottish results are in.

The 2011 results are in brackets.

SNP - 63 (69)
Conservative - 31 (15)
Labour - 24 (37)
Greens - 6 (2)
Liberal Democrats - 5 (5)
Independent - 0 (1)


Of the SNP's total of 63 seats, 59 were won at constituency level (out of a total of 73 constituencies). The previous record was 53 constituency seats, won by Labour in 1999 and matched by the SNP in 2011. The SNP won the largest ever popular vote in the history of the Scottish Parliament at 1,059,897, 156,000 votes more than in the last Holyrood election. They polled more than Labour and the Tories' combined total of 1,016,105 votes.

The SNP needed 65 seats for an outright majority, so the full results show the balancing - and highly unpredictable - effect of the D'Hondt system. Although they retain power, an accommodation of some sort with other parties will be necessary - not for the first time, and the way the parliament was originally intended to function. The obvious informal partnership would be with the Greens, but the SNP has governed in the past by seeking support on a case-by-case basis from various parties, including the Tories.

Labour had an atrocious night. Kezia Dugdale was the only party leader other than the Greens' Co-convenor Patrick Harvie to fail to win a constituency seat. Both Dugdale and Harvie won list seats. Combined with having been overtaken resoundingly by the Tories and beaten into third place with a historically poor set of results, Dugdale's hat must be on a shoogly peg at this stage.

Ruth Davidson's Tories had an unarguably good night. There may be some buyers' remorse in coming months as the reality of the sort of party people have voted in as an opposition to the SNP dawns.

The Lib Dems had mixed results. Leader Willie Rennie unexpectedly won a constituency seat, but they didn't increase their number of MSPs, and their constituency vote was the lowest since devolution.

The Greens fared well, solely on regional list seats. Ross Greer, who I expressed my distaste for above, got in on the West of Scotland list. Ho hum. On the brighter side, dogged land reform campaigner Andy Wightman enters Holyrood, where he's likely to be quite an asset.

UKIP didn't win a Highlands & Islands list seat after all, so there must be some shreds of sanity left up there.

At local level, Jackie Baillie squeaked in with a greatly reduced majority of just over a hundred over her SNP challenger. She'd have gotten in on the list if she'd lost her seat anyway, which takes the sting away a little.

So there you have it. A by-election or two could make things even more interesting in due course.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #47)

Sun May 8, 2016, 11:09 AM

50. Denzil, I'd be really interested in your views as to why Labour are in freefall in Scotland.

I hear all kinds of theories from the Great and Good down here so it would be helpful to hear from someone on the ground.

Cheers.

The Skin

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Response to non sociopath skin (Reply #50)

Mon May 9, 2016, 08:23 AM

51. I don't know how much I'd claim to be "on the ground",

and have any special insight. I'm immersed in all this, like anyone else who lives in Scotland and pays any attention, of course.

I've posted at some length on why I myself became disillusioned with Labour (quite early on compared to many), and after a long period have ended up an SNP voter, so I won't tax people's patience and repeat all that now. Here are some of the posts where I've addressed what you ask:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1088&pid=8689

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1088&pid=9176

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1088&pid=9116

There have been some decent recent articles trying to dissect it all. None of them will have all the answers. Here are a couple:

Ron McKay: How Labour died here in the Scottish heartland: http://www.glasgowlive.co.uk/news/glasgow-news/ron-mckay-how-labour-died-11297371

Inside the Scottish Labour campaign: no focus, no money, no hope: http://m.heraldscotland.com/news/14478227.Inside_the_Scottish_Labour_campaign__no_focus__no_money__no_hope/

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #51)

Mon May 9, 2016, 08:31 AM

52. Well, in addition to haemorraging votes to the SNP

We now have the Tories overtaking Labour in Scotland as well.

Not good, although I suspect that the reasons for this are complex. It looks like Labour has failed totally to keep both pro independence and pro union voters satisfied.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #52)

Mon May 9, 2016, 09:02 AM

53. I saw it expressed by someone in Labour

as not so much the Tories overtaking Labour (the Tories actually polled quite poorly overall, but picked off a few surprise constituency seats, probably partly as a result of vote-splitting and tactical voting, and were rewarded with a relatively large number of list seats for their turnout), but Labour undertaking the Tories.

Dugdale is a switherer. She's not solely to blame for this, as the remnants of Scottish Labour are fragmented, demoralized and directionless, having just come through a period where their main contribution to Holyrood as the main opposition party has been to try to score cheap points weekly at First Minister's Questions (FMQs) and grab at any developments as sticks with which to beat the SNP (many of which - like the kerfuffle over the Forth Bridge repairs - blew up in their face despite the media giving Labour an easy ride and being eager to latch onto anything that might take the SNP down a peg or two).

Scottish Labour assumed the SNP were a flash in the pan, and would peak and subside if they just bided their time - the media have been salivating at this prospect for years, and I could link you to any number of articles over the past decade sounding the SNP's death knell, proclaiming that THIS, finally was the beginning of the end - leaving them to reap the spoils.

We don't have an official Opposition here as exists in Westminster. Ruth Davidson acts as if the Tories have pulled off some sort of grand coup by coming second, and have a mandate that overrides the majority winning party's. The leader of the largest party that isn't in government gets to ask the first question at FMQs - that's it. No Short money or the sort of civil service infrastructure afforded the UK Parliament's opposition.

This means Scottish Labour's going to need to tread a fine line between trying to stay relevant at Holyrood as one of the opposition parties, and being seen to side with the Tories again - which played no small role in muddying Labour's reputation during the referendum. Immediately after the election, Davidson tried "reaching out" to Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens to present a united front against the SNP - no takers so far!

There are some issues on which the opposition may be able to score easy early wins - their moves to abandon the much-maligned and much-misrepresented Named Person scheme to consolidate social care for children, and to repeal the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, for instance - these will be interesting tests.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #53)

Tue May 10, 2016, 11:08 AM

54. It suits both the Tories and the SNP

To treat each other as the bogeyman. What irks is the SNPs refusal to acknowledge there is a working class south of the border. Bothy parties are about divide and rule and I wouldn't be surprised if there was a lot going on behind the scenes. The last thing the SNP wants is a Labour victory South of the border, and the last thing the Tories want is a Labour victory in Scotland.

One hand washes the other.

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Response to Bad Dog (Reply #54)

Tue May 10, 2016, 07:18 PM

55. Can't say I agree with any of that.

When and how has the SNP refused to acknowledge there is a working class south of the border?

And what's a "bothy party"?! Or do you mean "both"? What do you imagine is going on behind the scenes?

I can't speak for the SNP, but I can't see why a Labour victory south of the border would present it any problems. If it's a Corbynite Labour victory, well, Corbyn's shown little interest or understanding of Scottish politics and the rump of Scottish Labour is generally more right-wing than he is, so I doubt it would change much now in terms of party support. Maybe five or ten years ago, yes, it might have made some difference. If it's a post-Blairite Labour victory, that's the sort of politics that's driven the growth of the SNP anyhow.

The Tories would be OK with a Labour victory in Scotland. Labour dominated Scottish politics for half a century or so and didn't trouble the Tories in the rest of the UK much. Labour's ambitions for Holyrood were very modest, and that applied up until the Smith negotiations after the referendum and beyond. Labour would be more controllable than the current complexion of Scottish politics. Scotland's vote has very, very rarely been decisive at Westminster.

Divide and rule is not the way the Scottish Parliament is intended to work - that's why the Tories' talk of being "the opposition" is wrong-headed. We precisely don't have a constitutional opposition in Scotland because it's intended to be a more concensus-driven assembly, hence the D'Hondt system of voting. The SNP's actually made that sort of accommodation work in the past. Labour's dogged kneejerk visceral oppositionism in the last Holyrood parliament was one of the things that drove its decline. The assembly was crying out for a more constructive approach. Importing Westminster-style politics into our parliament is not a good fit. That's taken a long while to sink in, and it's something that still eludes many.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #55)

Wed May 11, 2016, 04:39 AM

56. It was a typo. I meant both.

Whenever I've heard the SNP leadership talking, both Salmond and Sturgeon they always portray the English as Tories. The visceral hatred of the English was aired throughout the independence campaign. Divide and rule refers to the UK as a whole, it suits both the SNP and Tories to have an SNP Scotland and a Tory Westminster. That way they can both use each other to attack Labour and perpetuate the current system.

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Response to Bad Dog (Reply #56)

Wed May 11, 2016, 07:42 AM

57. In the Scottish context, "bothy parties" isn't inapt!

You must have been listening to or reading very rarified quotes from Salmond and Sturgeon, filtered through our delightful media. It suits them to frame it that way as they can then avoid addressing other issues and people like you who might be natural allies on many issues are alienated.

A not insignificant number of SNP supporters are English, living in Scotland. The likes of MPs Mhairi Black and Tommy Brennan (at one time Assistant General Secretary of Scottish Labour) have hardly been silent on class issues. The ire is directed at Westminster and the sort of centralization that was promoted by Thatcher and perpetuated by every UK government since. That sort of disquiet isn't restricted to the SNP. It's just in a better position than any regional assembly to kick up the traces, and hence is a threat that must be neutralized (like the old GLC and Strathclyde Regional Council - both abolished because they were too much of a thorn in the side of Westminster).

Bollocks to it suiting the SNP to have a Tory Westminster.

You think we enjoy having to constantly dip into our resources to compensate for the austerity measures we're not willing to inflict on more vulnerable people in Scotland? You think we enjoy having the Tories' one MP in Scotland lording over it as Secretary of State for Scotland, presiding over a Scottish Office we have to finance, and whose main reason for existence seems to be to thwart the democratic will of our parliament, the previous incumbent having gone so far as to try to smear Sturgeon with the very same "they're Pro-Tory" lines you're coming out with here on the eve of the 2015 general election?

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #57)

Wed May 11, 2016, 10:04 AM

58. You're honestly saying anglophobia wasn't an issue?

Because a lot of the Scots being interviewed seemed to express it in one way or another. I found it quite shocking, I never realised it was that bad. Sturgeon could have kept quiet about England during the general election, but instead she said she'd prop up Milliband thus frightening English voters into the arms of the Tories who didn't want a Labour government taking its orders from Scotland.

We lost our ship yards in Portsmouth because of the referendum, the process was completely opaque, and it was obvious from the outside that politics, not economics would decide which shipyard would close.

As long as the Tories are in power Sturgeon can blame them for anything that goes wrong, and can use them to point out the difference between the two countries and the Tories can use fear of Scottish influence to keep Labour out of power for generations.

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Response to Bad Dog (Reply #58)

Wed May 11, 2016, 10:22 AM

59. But if you listen back to what you've just typed, I could retaliate that it sounds like Scotophobia!

So the media cherrypicked some outspoken interviewees that would make a splash - is that a surprise? Exactly two newspapers in Scotland supported Yes during the referendum, and none of the broadcast media, and a similar pattern applied during the last general election. As for the portrayal of the SNP in the wider UK - and by association, people like me and those I know - just wow!

Christalmighty, did you hear some of the crap being spouted about us by "English" people during the same period? It's practically a national sport.

This disjunct is one reason why it's very hard to discuss goings-on up here with people who don't live here. And why the hell shouldn't Sturgeon be honest about what - mistakenly - people assumed would be the prospects of a hung parliament? If Labour hadn't gone along with the demonizing of the SNP in the first place, they might have a bit more sympathy from me. As it is, they were hoist with their own petard, and we're all suffering for it.

As for shipyards, I could show you a few that have been shafted in Scotland, despite Better Together's threats and promises. Blame us, why don't you? Tell me again about divide and rule?

And as for Labour, it's doing just fine in that project of decline without any help from the Tories or the SNP ... You'll maybe note from my other posts on this group that I support Labour, and even Corbyn, more than many when I see anything positive from them. That's not a unique point of view up here. The pity is that such opportunities are so thin on the ground. I also doubt you've ever seen me post anything favourable to the Tories. If they do something I approve of, maybe I'll do so. Hah.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #59)

Wed May 11, 2016, 10:37 AM

60. The difference is

You can't buy "Anyone but Scotland" T shirts.

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Response to Bad Dog (Reply #60)

Wed May 11, 2016, 10:49 AM

61. Shark Jumped Alert!!!1!

















That took a minute or two. I don't know that it's worth looking for any more, but if you insist ...

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #61)

Wed May 11, 2016, 10:56 AM

62. Which is mostly a reaction to the Anglophobic campaign the SNP launced.

It's been going on much longer than that north of the border.



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Response to Bad Dog (Reply #62)

Wed May 11, 2016, 10:58 AM

63. OK, now you're seriously taxing my patience.

I'm done. It's like talking to a brick wall on all this.

Football allegiances and nationalism, some jokey, some sinister - SNP's fault.

Steve Bell's weird fixations and total loss of sense of humour - SNP's fault.

Tim Farron demonizing the SNP - SNP's fault.

Far right sectarian riots in George Square on the back of the No campaign - SNP's fault.

Keep believing all that. It means you'll never understand current Scottish politics, but what the hey, I'm beginning to doubt you even want to.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #63)

Wed May 11, 2016, 11:12 AM

64. Fair enough.

I still think Cameron and Sturgeon are in cahoots.

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Response to Bad Dog (Reply #64)

Wed May 11, 2016, 11:26 AM

65. He's passing show.

She'll still be doing her thing in whatever capacity the electorate allows when he's long ensconced in whatever lucrative post he's gifted after he quits. The idea she'd try to do backdoor deals with him after the perfidy around Smith and its aftermath is far-fetched, to say the least.

The SNP carries the can for the austerity measures it can't mitigate up here. That's part of the Tories' plan, as it will be with the other devolved assemblies that exist and are being set up around the UK. The fact that enough people have seen through it up here so far to still afford the SNP at least a rough working majority is testament to something - either a more sophisticated electorate, or the fact that we see the battle lines clearly drawn up here.

We still remember the Poll Tax, when we were used as guinea pigs. I thoroughly enjoyed my little chat with a bailiff at my front door when we were skint and had a poinding court order granted against us without even the privilege of being informed about the hearing.

I was a Labour member at the time. They ditched us when they gained some relatively minor concessions in that struggle by moving to the rebranded Council Tax - "We Labour Party members have been withholding our Poll Tax, but that fight's won now, so you should pay up." "Eh?! The reason we weren't paying was we can't possibly afford it because they keep 'losing' our rebate paperwork." *crickets* That was the first real schism with Labour for me. It went on from there.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #65)

Wed May 11, 2016, 11:44 AM

66. We had the poll tax too.

Admittedly not for as long as you did, but we still had it.

I get that you don't want to think ill of your leader, but you have to admit things have turned out pretty good for both the Tories and the SNP. And if there's a deal we won't find out for years, not until it's declassified.

I think the SNP are still riding the wave of populism post referendum, and as long as they can blame everything on the Tories that's not going to change for a long time. And the Tories will continue using the SNP bogeyman to frighten people away from Labour.

I could be wrong, I often am, but it still feels like a stitch up.

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Response to Bad Dog (Reply #66)

Wed May 11, 2016, 12:02 PM

67. I look at it this way.

The previous Secretary of State for Scotland, Alistair Carmichael (a Lib Dem), tried to stitch up Sturgeon just before the general election by authorizing the leak of a memo claiming she'd told the French Ambassador that she didn't rate Miliband and would prefer a Tory government. This was based on a mysterious and disjointed third-hand account of their discussions that reads like a cut 'n' shut. The story fell apart within hours, with the French Ambassador and all others who'd been at the meeting denying point blank that she'd said any such thing, and no minute supporting the allegation. Otherwise, that election might have gone quite differently. As it was, some in Labour and the Lib Dems up here cling to the idea that the memo was accurate to this day, despite all the evidence against it. I like you enough to implore you: Don't be like them!

The idea that Sturgeon would be so stupid as to hand Cameron and the hostile Westminster civil service a loaded gun like that by entering into covert deals with the Tories just isn't credible. (Cameron, on the other hand, might just be stupid enough, but that's by the by ...).

Or do you think they've been meeting on their own in disguise at Knutsford Services under cover of darkness?

Sturgeon's savvy enough to try to keep things civil with adversaries, that's all. It doesn't mean there's any love lost, and it's what we pay her for. Somebody has to try to behave like an adult. If you're seeing parallels with the US political situation in recent years, you're not alone ...

Cameron and the Tory media (well, pretty much all the media, sadly) can only frighten people with the SNP as long as good people allow him to manipulate them, and as long as the other parties play along with him for their own reasons. The ridiculous slurs on what have been by all accounts a pretty decent intake of SNP MPs (even Labour MPs have acknowledged this, along with the uselessness of the Scottish Labour time-servers they replaced) should have faded by now if we're relying on evidence rather than prejudice. Fool me once, and all that.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #67)

Thu May 12, 2016, 02:53 AM

71. I don't know how they do it, but it's probably delegated.

To somebody who already passes through Knutsford quite a lot any way.


I could be wrong, but if in the run up to the General Election Sturgeon starts praising Corbyn's stance on Trident then you'll know I'm not.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #55)

Wed May 11, 2016, 03:38 PM

68. Theory vs practice....

It might not be intended in theory to be a system with a confrontational opposition as we get in Westminster or Washington, but the political culture in both of those places evolved in that way, in spite of all the intentions to the contrary because politicians such as Charles James Fox (who pretty much created the position of leader of the opposition) and Andrew Jackson found that approach to work for them.

And it's not like the SNP are innocent when it comes to polarising politics. The way that Scottish politics is lurching into sectarianism at present is very worrying.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #68)

Wed May 11, 2016, 04:13 PM

69. True.

Though in the early years of the Scottish Assembly, it was more collegiate, partly because it was largely a relatively cosy stitch-up between Labour and the Lib Dems. Which is probably how its founding fathers envisaged it continuing. This latest turn of the electoral cycle could see some interesting developments, we'll just have to wait and see.

Sectarianism, imported from Ireland and clung onto by a vociferous minority, has been a reality in Scotland for a long, long time, as I think you and I discussed at some length and with no little heat not long after I first started posting in this group.

To blame the SNP for such polarization doesn't take into account the party's widespread appeal nor its actual conduct. But they're evidently a handy scapegoat for observers from afar, so I'm done defending them here for now.

I was asked up there for my observations. I've offered them.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #69)

Thu May 12, 2016, 07:20 AM

72. I don't deny the SNP's current appeal

Even if I dislike their flagship policy with a passion, and don't think much to what I see of their supporters conduct elsewhere online I don't find it difficult to see why they are doing well. They have more credibility and competence than Labour have had for a while.

However, I'm trying to look more at the resurrection of the Scottish Conservatives, who would appear to be catering for unionist voters the SNP won't do much for.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #72)

Thu May 12, 2016, 08:22 AM

73. From what credible analysis I've seen,

the Tories won seats, predominantly in the regional lists, because they were dogged in getting their vote out and as a result of quirks of our electoral system. To put it in perspective:



Nevertheless, they did numerically double their vote over the low of the last election. How much of that they'll retain over time is another matter.

There have been glib suggestions they may have picked off some ex-Labour voters as well, but a counter-argument holds that it's more likely they attracted centre-right Lib Dems, making inroads into the SNP's hold in rural areas away from the central belt, where under Salmond the SNP had in the past turned Tory/Lib Dem constituencies SNP, so you could maybe see this as a return to form. Their platform was "Ruth Davidson", "a Strong Opposition", "Ruth Davidson", "Unionism" and "Ruth Davidson".

Davidson's not without appeal if you like that sort of thing, and superficially not yer stereotypical Tory. She's one of three of Scotland's party leaders (her, Labour's Dugdale and the Greens' Patrick Harvie) who's come out as gay. She's had an unbelievably easy ride in the media up here, and the next few months are going to be make or break for her as people take a closer look at her and her policy beliefs, which will reveal she's much more a mainstream Tory than initial impressions might suggest.

So you seem to be broadly right about the unionist voters. Demographically, they will diminish in time unless things change radically among younger voters.

Since people like Bad Dog may not have seen my earlier explanations of where I stand when I first started posting here and people can jump to all sorts of conclusions, I am not an SNP member, and likely never will be. I was born and brought up Welsh, and lived in Reading for eight years or so before I moved to Scotland, where I've been for over 30 years now. For years after I abandoned Labour, having been a party activist, I was a floating/tactical voter.

I don't consider Sturgeon my "leader", just my First Minister. I'm a cynical old bastard, and not used to being caught up by politicians, and it's been a long haul for me to grudgingly accept that damn, this woman keeps impressing and surprising me, certainly in comparison to any of her adversaries. And there's some strength in depth in the SNP beyond the caricatures of her and Salmond: Hosie, Swinney, any number of impressive women, and promising, charismatic relative youngsters like Humza Yousaf.

So yes, they wouldn't get my vote if I didn't consider them competent and credible. They've earned that opinion from me.

As for the constitutional question, Holyrood was supposed to herald the death of the SNP, whereas it's actually placed us on a conveyer belt that may be unstoppable. The more powers are devolved, the more apparent it becomes how certain aspects don't add up to joined-up government in Scotland, so other areas need to devolved too. Whether that ever reaches full independence is anybody's guess. My own gut feeling as things stand is that it'll be a relative long, gradual process, and when, if independence does come, it may be at a time when we have more federalism in other areas of the UK too, so it would seem a much less jarring leap than it does now.

And as for online antics, the papers tend to seize gleefully on any Twitter etc. transgressions by pro-independence and SNP supporters, but don't do the same for some of the horrible "unionists" I've witnessed myself, of whom there are plenty. I don't think any of them do anybody any favours, and I wish they'd all cut it out and get a life.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #68)

Wed May 11, 2016, 04:48 PM

70. However ...

having decided to bow gracefully or disgracefully out here, the next thing I stumble across online is the Guardian's Libby Brooks (by no means in the pocket of the SNP) discussing the latest buzzword cooked up by paid-by-the-word hacks to describe what they (would like to) see in Scotland: "Ulsterization". Which has some relation to what I think you were saying about sectarianism.

It's a rhetorical move that's been roundly criticized even in the Glasgow Herald, the paper that chose to print David Torrance's article that kicked this dead end of a "debate" off. Over to Libby (do check out the, er, lively discussion in the comments):

Talking about Scotland's 'Ulsterisation' is jaw-droppingly disrespectful

With two era-defining referendums and a pair of tsunami-like elections in under three years, Scotland has had to make its peace with political hyperbole. But the language that we use to describe this dramatically dynamic time in the country’s history – and that of the union - is important, and must bear scrutiny.

One particular phrase has been knocking around for months and, since last Thursday’s election, sparked debate among more mainstream commentators: the Ulsterisation of Scottish politics.

...

Certainly, it’s fair to say that politics in Scotland is divided along binary lines to a far greater extent than anywhere else in mainland Britain. Although, according to my colleague Ben Quinn, the politics of immigration is doing a pretty good job of producing similar splits, especially in the south of England.

But the use of “Ulsterisation’” of course brings with it far uglier resonances. And while Scottish politics is – yes, on occasion – bitterly divided, Scottish society and culture is simply nothing like Northern Ireland was in the past or is post-conflict. And, at the risk of meeting an irresponsible assertion with an inflammatory response, there plainly can be no equivalence between a distressing altercation on Twitter and getting kneecapped.

While sectarianism has by no means disappeared from Scotland’s streets or football matches, it no longer has the hold that it once did on public life; and it is laughable to suggest that these atavistic divisions are comparable and have somehow been supplanted by disagreements over the best way to progress land reform.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/11/talking-about-scotlands-ulsterisation-is-jaw-droppingly-disrespectful?CMP=share_btn_tw

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Fri May 6, 2016, 07:39 AM

48. Oxford City Council remains Labour, with only minor changes

2 Greens lost their seats to Labour; 1 Labourite lost to an Independent; net gain 1 for Labour; still no Tory presence.

New council: Labour 34, Lib Dem 8, Green 4, Independent 1
.

V. different in West Oxfordshire where the Tories swept most seats - but that's basically David Cameron's constituency, so no surprises there.

Slightly further afield, Labour kept control of Reading.

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Fri May 6, 2016, 01:34 PM

49. Looks like Sadiq Khan has won in London

Congratulations to Sadiq Khan, and a resounding "f**k you" to Zac Goldsmith, who seemed not to understand that what plays well in coastal retirement towns doesn't work in London.

In news local to me, Labour retained the Derbyshire PCC, and it doesn't look like a whole lot of change on Sheffield Council. Unsurprisingly, Labour held Sheffield Brightside & Hillsborough comfortably.

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