Monday, 12 June 2017

The missing half million

Well what a turn up for the books - Corbyn storms across the finishing line! Not as winner but that gap fairly came down. As for the hapless May, if she had few allies before, well, she’s got fewer noo.  What a fabulous fuck up. From hubris to humiliation, as the Guardian said.

 Up here of course, the main result was the SNP down from their historic high last time to 37% - and a remarkable upsurge in the Tory vote. I guess that’s a bit different from down south - Sturgeon remarkably continued overplaying her hand pushing another referendum and suffered the backlash. Why that is, when surely her own focus groups told her that it was a vote-loser, is something of a mystery.
Her diehard supporters might have liked her boasting in Leith the day before the election that the SNP was the party of Corbyn, but that really isn’t a message that goes down well in the Mearns, shall we say. And of course, the said same diehards were quick out the traps to lay the blame. After their vote collapsed by nearly half a million votes. Where? Kezia Dugdale of course! She told Labour voters to vote Tor! And so another nationalist narrative is sent off running, garnering momentum. Absolute nonsense, of course.  She'd previously said this -

KEZIA Dugdale wants Tory and LibDem supporters to help Labour oust SNP MPs, but not the other way round.
As she launched the party’s Scottish Manifesto, Ms Dugdale said in seats where Labour is the best placed to defeat the SNP voters should “think before they vote”.
However where where the Tories or LibDems are in a better position than Labour she told her party’s supporters to still vote Labour.
Clear enough?
Later in the campaign, when asked specifically how voters should best vote to defeat the SNP, she answered Sky News - 

“The reality is the vast majority of seats across Scotland, it’s only the Labour party that can beat the SNP. There are a few differences in the Borders and the Highlands where the Tories might be better placed but right across Scotland’s centre belt, where the vast majority of Scotland’s population lives, the only party that can beat the SNP is the Labour party.”
And that becomes Kezia telling Labour voters to vote Tory!


Those Local Elections May 2017

I recall them well - not as bad a result as we feared and indeed, clear signs of something more, as I posted on the Herald at the time (I know, I'm a bore) -

To be serious and reflective, don't the results show that NS's strategy of building independence by converting the SNP to a social democratic Party has reached its limit? In other words, she's done a good job at getting labour voters on board, but a sizeable number of labour people will stay with the UK Party for all sorts of reasons.
Meanwhile that strategy has to demonise the right wing faction in Scotland who only have a home in the Tories. How does she propose to win these fiscally and socially conservative elements to independence? She has no strategy for this at all, and her supporters, by vilifying their fellow Scots, are being hugely counterproductive.
She's shown her limitations - brought up in Glasgow, she thinks that all she needs is to garner labour votes. She's gone right up a dead end there.

Of course, I was wrong, she's from Ayrshire.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

The God Parallel

Not that this post is about him, but it's such a toe-curler it had to be included -

What is the real problem with the Nationalist upsurge in Scotland? There are some who genuinely believe that it has kicked politics into life in Scotland, brought involvement and engagement. It's certainly brought involvement and engagement, but in politics? What we really need to talk about? I would say exactly the opposite - that it's smothered and obscured the real issues.

Everywhere across the developed world there is a growing problem - simply it's the impact of globalisation; on our productive capacity, which impacts our revenues, which impacts our ability to properly fund our welfare system. Hence the crisis in social democracy and the rise of extremism of left and right.

Now, this challenge is the number one issue everywhere except in one place. In our sad homeland, we don't need to worry about it! Because it's all Westminster's fault. We need look no further. We just need to agitate against Westminster. 

Hence the God parallel - intelligent people may wish to attempt to answer the question as to how the universe began. With scientific endeavour, we can look at sub atomic particles, at the very fabric of space and time.  But is we posit a God, we need look no further. Just worship God.

And the question as to where God came from - *blank looks* It's rather like saying once we have independence how do we address the impact of globalisation? Sorry, we don't do that sort of thing - this is Scotland. Indyref2 is what we discuss.


Well, congratulations indeed to MS Sturgeon for getting on a list of the leading global thinkers of 2016 in "respected" global affairs magazine Foreign Policy.  Apparently this was in recognition for 'weathering Brexit.' I'm weathering it myself, though I modestly won't expect a gong.

However, I strongly disagree. This woman is not in any way a global thinker. She's someone who joined a nationalist party at 16 to bang on and on about her nationalist cause and there she's sat. She hated Westminster when it was run by Tories, when it was run by Labour, and when it was run by an alliance of Lib Dems and Tories. Her 'global thinking' goes no further than Carlisle. #parochialthinker

Sunday, 16 October 2016

That Norwegian Oil Fund

To Noroway! to Noroway!
to Noroway oer the faem!
this blog is a visual stunner
OK, that's enough of that.

I'm talking about the Norwegian State Oil Fund - a marvellous marvellous thing apparently, whereas us feckless Brits have just spent the lot. On booze and fags, probably.
Well, let's just have the tiniest bit of democratic scrutiny. We start getting oil rich in the 70s. We'd already had a balance of payment crisis in the 60s. Our infrastructure needs investment. Our public service demands are growing and growing - we want to build new universities; there are demands to dual the A74.
So as an elected politician you have a choice - do these things or else set up a wealth fund. That's right, put your money into foreign equities, like Nestle and Micrsosoft - as Norway has done. You money effectively invested abroad, instead of in your own country. Sure, in good years you'll get a dividend.
Of course poor old Norway had no choice - it had to invest abroad - it only has 5m people and too much money. It's like Qatar - reduced to buying up prime real estate in London.

Labour's Terminal Crisis

Well, that's the title of a piece by Kerevan in the National on 26th September. And I think it's deserving of a bit of scrutiny as Kerevan is no fool. One could quibble with the title of course as Labour are now the largest political party in Europe, but few could argue that the additional text - "crisis is shared by social democratic parties across Europe" was inaccurate.

Kerevan nails it (no marks for orginality but it's bang on) -
The central cause of this international eclipse of traditional reformist parliamentary movements lies in global economic change – and the failure of mainstream social democracy to adjust. In the last quarter century, manufacturing jobs shifted to Asia while the dizzying rise of financial capitalism in Europe and America created a need for hordes of well-educated service workers. As a result, the industrial working class base of the traditional mass social democratic parties was destroyed.
What is astonishing about the rest of the article is how quickly it runs into sand. It goes absolutely nowhere. Rather, he just want to delight in the 'demise' of Labour (a bitterness somewhere in that psyche?).

He states that a new progressive voting alliance could have been sought by the traditional social democratic left ....   and bingo....  just such a movement was created very successfully in Scotland, by the SNP.

Well no one is going to argue that the SNP aren't a successful voting alliance. An alliance of people who want to do something but they're not sure what. Once George has marched at the head of the flag waving gang to the top of the hill, what's going to happen?

Here's a clue - Blair and Brown’s Faustian pact with the bankers and neoliberalism has led to electoral doom – a fate shared by most Western mainstream social democrats. Now the global neoliberal model is on life-support, held together only temporarily by quantitative easing.

OK, no more Faustian pact! The SNP are a Socialist Party. Real Socialism. State control. Funny that they keep that quiet. I think I'd like to hear more of this programme. Should I submit a FOI request?

Brexit and IndyRef

Yep, the ruminations keep coming. I'm driven to put them down here. Just for me. I'm worth it, after all. There's another 6bn+ people out there. I reckon that most will never read my blog. Sob.

Areas in favour of Independence from the UK and Independence from the EU? Any similarities worth calling out?

On Brexit, the Guardian says  -
Comparing the results to key demographic characteristics of the local authority areas, some patterns emerge more clearly than others. The best predictor of a vote for remain is the proportion of residents who have a degree. In many cases where there are outliers to a trend, the exceptions are in Scotland.

Better viewed large
 How about on Indyref?
According to Ipsos MORI (from whose last two polls the relevant information is uniquely available), no less than 65% of those living in one of the 20% most deprived neighbourhoods in Scotland voted Yes, compared with just 36% of those in the one-fifth most affluent. 
So, no surprise really, the most prosperous and best educated (yes indeed, they tend to go together) areas voted for the status quo in both referendums (OK, referenda). The most obvious case is Edinburgh (my home town) - prosperous, educated and strongly pro-UK and pro-EU.

However,  the Guardian calls out that Scotland didn't vote along those lines in the EU Ref. Even poor areas voted for remain. Either Scots are indeed more pro-EU or they followed the Nationalist party line.

And at that point, I'll need to leave it hanging. I just remember that when football troubles kicked off big style in the 80s in England (and we hadn't exactly been angels up here) that our stirring national consciousness drove us to become the best fans in the world. Just saying, as they say.