Project Vanilla. (Scottish Politics)

I’m at a point where I’m not keen to be wound up in the next political argument, which is shaping to be about a soft Brexit.

I didn’t vote for Brexit. I sure as hell didn’t vote for Tories. I didn’t vote for Tories doing deals with one side in Northern Ireland and I didn’t vote for any bullshit like Austerity, Benefit Sanctions or Motability being taken off disabled people.

So. This. A series of simple messages.

Plain speaking. No graphics, no colours or fancy stuff with layouts or logos. I’m pissed off enough to think about throwing these on Twitter but I’ll mull it over. Just one point per image might work better in big letters.

Anyway. Simplicity would be lovely. Other stuff occupies my mind too.



An ice-cold take on GE17 in Scotland (Scottish Politics)

I’ve no enthusiasm for writing on the June 2017 General Election, so this is going to be ‘A Cold Take’, I want to be dispassionate and factual as far as I can.

Let’s start with the Map. It was 2015’s favourite image for the Yes community.

Not as fun in 2017. Tory gains in Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway and much of what was Grampian Region together with the clumps of Stirling and Ochils and South Perthshire are obvious. 

There’s red for Labour in Fife, Lothians and Glasgow. Orange Lib Dem gain in Caithness and Sutherland. 

It’s not one the SNP will enjoy, the constituencies lost are large territories when seen in a map graphic. 

Another comment to make is the merged blue of the borderlands.

Next up, the change in vote share from 2015 to 2017. 

Obviously to lose seats The SNP are down and again obviously, the Tories are up. 

There’s a small gain by Labour and a small loss by the Lib Dems.

But, and this is the ‘no shit sherlock’ bit, 13% SNP loss and 13% Tory gain.

 A switcheroo? Possibly, but did 13% of SNP voters go directly Tory? 

Some, might want you to think that. I wouldn’t. 

Here’s Turnout. Generally the darker, the more it was.

 Look at central Scotland diagonally upwards from the crook of Galloway to the outcrop of Fife. All lighter colours.

I’ll admit to disliking these hexagons, but across much of Scotland the turnout was down, as in grey, and in some areas really badly as in black. 

It doesn’t match the actual geography well but it tells the story better than the physical map coloured up.

This baddy shows the seats that changed hands. It’s not dissimilar to the first map, but it’s clarity is in showing the wins/losses. 

The SNP did hang onto a lot of seats. Tory gains are big in area, Labour gains are threatening Glasgow and Edinburgh, and the Lib Dem ones seem rather random.

Key points from all those maps and graphs.

  1. The SNP lost 21 Seats
  2. The Tories gained 13.
  3. Labour gained 6.
  4. Lib Dems gained 3.
  5. Scottish Turnout 66.4% 
  6. UK turnout 68.7%
  7. SNP largest party 35/59 seats
  8. SNP took 38.9% of votes

So, that’s the inconvenient truths out the way, most important is that turnout was down across the country. 

One example is Glasgow North. Paul Sweeney won the seat with 242 votes on a 50.3% turnout. 

Contrast with Ian Murray holding his Edinburgh South seat on a 74.1% turnout. 

Some others..

East Lothian 70.6% Labour Gain.
Aberdeen North 59.2% SNP hold.

Aberdeen South 68.5% Tory Gain.

Aberdeenshire West 71.2% Tory Gain.

Coatbridge etc. 63.3% Labour Gain, Majority 1,586.

Airdrie and Shotts 59.2% SNP hold, Majority 195.

The script from me here is:-

  1. Motivated versus unmotivated voters in a constituency, see Aberdeen North and South and the shire part seat.
  2. Targeted gains by parties 
  3. Narrow SNP gains AND losses
  4. Labour’s defence of Murray in Edinburgh on a higher turnout and unexpected win in Glasgow on a near 50% turnout 
  5. Lanarkshire on a knife edge, a swing one way is a hold, another is a Labour Gain.

We can talk politics to the interested. 

Truth is a long campaign when added with the local council elections probably didn’t make people want to bother. An eight week long campaign all told.

We know the Tories were biggest gainers, but hey, who called it in first place?

Defending Seats is a harder task than gaining. People are motivated by change. Not so much by keeping in the guy you have.

Tactical Voting played a part. Labour and Lib Dem voters came out and voted Tory. They were as good as told to. No need for tactical Voting wheels.

The graphics used by the Tories worked. They weren’t always strictly the situation, but the public grasped that they could make their dent in an incumbent SNP seat.

I, called it wrong before Thursday night. I didn’t think there could be more than 10 losses for the SNP.  I thought the exit poll was a stinker, I was way wrong.

The obviously noisy seats were ones that Labour, Tories and Lib Dems were after. The ones where the activity was greatest and resources were thrown into.

Labour may have benefited from Jeremy Corbyn’s appeal which is ironic given Ian Murray refusing to serve in his Shadow Cabinet and the mainly Blairite leadership in Scotland opposing him. The ‘for the many’ slogan appeared in Scotland in a photo opportunity after the Election.

For me the ‘ failure’ from the SNP and loss of seats was for these reasons.

  1. Timing of election. The GE followed hard on the Council elections and the party had its eye on both elections.
  2. Opponent targeting. The Tories clearly have software and data and used it well. They went for bang for buck. It wasn’t entirely opportunist, but they had benefit of knowing when election would be and they used it.
  3. Corbyn effect. He attracted soft ‘yes’ voters. It changed some seats and dented majorities in others.
  4. ‘No second referendum’ – it played louder than a message on Brexit or the competence and ability of the SNP MP group
  5. The echo chamber of social media. Again, SNP supporters and Yessers hear each other very clearly but not the whole noise pattern. 
  6. Turnout. Grass roots canvassing got lots of sentiment on the doorsteps, but didn’t work to make voters come out. In some seats this was disastrous and particularly reflects in the turnouts in the central belt of Scotland. 
  7. Resource. Targeting seats to defend is one thing, but big hitters like Angus Robertson, Alex Salmond and John Nicholson were targeted by the SNPs opponents and tumbled. In contrast Alistair Carmichael and David Mundell held on against good candidates.

I’m not an SNP member. I’ve no reason to sugar coat it and hopefully I’ve been truthful and useful in my analysis.

The key seems to be find a clear message, stick with it. Analyse each seat, get turnout.

It’s tough when the national media do leader interviews based on competence in devolved matters.

It’s tough when Labour come from dead to having an appealing socialist message. (Stealing a few policies)

It’s tough when the Tories out-bastard you. 

They certainly did and the good people of the north east of Scotland may need reminded about Free Prescriptions, care for elderly, university tuition etc etc as clearly they’ve taken heed of a distaste for a second referendum but might not know why it’s needed.

Personality attack aren’t nice, but there’s a cult of nicknames around the First Minister as there was with her predecessor. It’s not nice, but being nice doesn’t get you what you want.

The Tories weren’t slaughtered on Brexit. Weren’t slaughtered on the effects of losing EU membership and weren’t slaughtered over Benefits and the uncaring society created since 2010.

Labour weren’t slaughtered on being a shambles for the last seven years. They weren’t slaughtered for being unionist. They weren’t slaughtered for meekly accepting brexit.

In a Westminster election, the SNP aren’t a party of government. There’s no record to defend, no case to answer. If people aren’t happy, it’s the Tory Government. If they’re unhappy on a devolved matter, well you’ve mitigated the Tory cuts.

I’ll admit my disappointment and my surprise at the results.

If there’s another election in October, Plenty can be gained, it’s there to take back, but get your voters out and motivated. Target. 

Drive at Labour and Tories on their failings and inconsistencies. Defend Scotref robustly. What other option is there if the bananas brexit referendum is to be applied?

Be clear, consistent, go beyond the TV and papers. Don’t trust Twitter as a medium. Use data. Use maps, use numbers.

Here endith my chill.

Council Area by Council Area Indyref

number of voters
Aberdeen City 175,740
Aberdeenshire 206,487
Angus 93,551
Argyll & Bute 72,002
Clackmannanshire 39,970
Dumfries & Galloway 124,956
Dundee City 118,721
East Ayrshire 99,662
East Dunbartonshire 86,836
East Lothian 81,931
East Renfrewshire 72,994
Edinburgh City 377,413
Eilan Siar 22,908
Falkirk 122,453
Fife 302,108
Glasgow City 486,219
Highland 190,782
Inverclyde 62,482
Midlothian 96,613
Moray 75,170
North Ayrshire 113,924
North Lanarkshire 268,697
Orkney Islands 17,515
Perth & Kinross 120,015
Renfrewshire 134,737
Scottish Borders 95,533
Shetland 18,514
South Ayrshire 94,888
South Lanarkshire 261,152
Stirling 69,029
West Dunbartonshire 71,109
West Lothian 138,212

So 90% turnouts per council area..

Aberdeen City 175,740
Aberdeenshire 206,487
Angus 93,551
Argyll & Bute 72,002
Clackmannanshire 39,970
Dumfries & Galloway 124,956
Dundee City 118,721
East Ayrshire 99,662
East Dunbartonshire 86,836
East Lothian 81,931
East Renfrewshire 72,994
Edinburgh City 377,413
Eilan Siar 22,908
Falkirk 122,453
Fife 302,108
Glasgow City 486,219
Highland 190,782
Inverclyde 62,482
Midlothian 96,613
Moray 75,170
North Ayrshire 113,924
North Lanarkshire 268,697
Orkney Islands 17,515
Perth & Kinross 120,015
Renfrewshire 134,737
Scottish Borders 95,533
Shetland 18,514
South Ayrshire 94,888
South Lanarkshire 261,152
Stirling 69,029
West Dunbartonshire 71,109
West Lothian 138,212

Winning lines on 90% turnout. Yes must get above these numbers.

Aberdeen City 79,083 (6 am)
Aberdeenshire 92,919 (3 am)
Angus 42,097 (3 am)
Argyll & Bute 32,400 (3.30 am)
Clackmannanshire 17,986 (2 am)
Dumfries & Galloway 56,230 (3 am)
Dundee City 53,424 (3 am)
East Ayrshire 44,847 (3 am)
East Dunbartonshire 39,076 (3.30 am)
East Lothian 36,868. (2 am)
East Renfrewshire 32,847 (3.30 am)
Edinburgh City 169,835 (5 am)
Eilan Siar 10,308 (3 am)
Falkirk 55,103 (3 am)
Fife 135,948 (4 am)
Glasgow City 218,798 (5 am)
Highland 85,851(5 am)
Inverclyde 28,116 (2 am)
Midlothian 43,475 (3.30 am)
Moray 33,826 (3.30 am)
North Ayrshire 51,265 (3.30 am)
North Lanarkshire 120,913 (2 am)
Orkney Islands 7,881 (2 am)
Perth & Kinross 54,006 (2 am)
Renfrewshire 60,631 (3.30 am)
Scottish Borders 42,989. (5 am)
Shetland 8,331 (3.30 am)
South Ayrshire 42,699 (3.30 am)
South Lanarkshire 117,518 (3 am)
Stirling 31,063 (3.30 am)
West Dunbartonshire 31,999 (3 am)
West Lothian 62,195 (3.30 am)

The winning lines are what yes needs to exceed to win. Vital.

Magic Numbers?

I’ve covered some of this before..

4.285 million electorate is confirmed.

Up from the March 2014 estimate by the General Registars for Scotland of 4,120,494 electors.

121,276 of that may be the 16 and 17 year olds and at least 40,000 voters have been added presumably as a result of canvassing campaigns.

Previous Turnouts at elections/referendums.

75.5% 1992 UK General Election (Scotland)
63.8% 2010 UK General Election (Scotland)
63.8% 1979 Scottish Devolution Referendum
60.4% 1997 Scottish Devolution Referendum
50.6% 2011 Scottish Parliamentary Election

So numbers..

50% Turnout – 2.14 Million voters
60% Turnout – 2.57 Million voters
65% Turnout – 2.78 Million voters
70% Turnout – 2.99 Million voters
75% Turnout – 3.21 Million voters
80% Turnout – 3.43 Million voters

Rule out the numbers below we’re looking at north of 85% based on today, been busy so far.

85% Turnout – 3.64 Million voters

So, our numbers game could be.

4,285,343 electors.

85% as a turnout (3,642,542)

and to win, either side needs more than 1,821,271. That’s the 50% line

A more convincing 60% win is 2,185,525.

At 90% it’s insane. 3,856,808 would have voted

That 50% line is 1,928,404.

A 60% win on a 90% turnout?
2,314,084 votes.

Are we going to see an insanely high turnout and a margin of victory?

My gut has been saying that yes could possibly poll over 2 Million, in the right circumstances, for a little while. But my head has been denying it, thinking it’s crazy, mad, insane.

I doubt anyone at the yes campaign has projected that sort of number as a realistic prospect. I’m struggling to.

Are the polls THAT wrong? That’s an additional point, the 48-52 picks up a demographic, they’re not wrong in terms of who they polled, but is that selection wide enough?

Are we headed into magic numbers territory here?

George Square – Thursday 16th September

I wandered along at six o’clock and had a look, a good number at the west end of the square assembled near the banner pitched in the grass.

Most people had badges on, some had flags, some had placards. Some guys were trying to speak and make themselves heard, but difficult to hear.

I don’t think many were that bothered, a few went away though, people walked about.

The numbers grew steadily though as did the flags. It was being there, a big flashmob, a gathering.

A couple of thousand people just making the same point and supporting yes.

I gave it thirty five to forty minutes and headed off, I had a quick chat with a fellow St Mirren fan too.

It didn’t matter to hear speeches or for it to have been loosely organised and just a right good number of folk turning up.

The real actual work is being done tonight elsewhere, in the neighbourhoods, the schemes, the towns, the villages. All across Scotland, leaflets, canvassing and gentle persuasion.

People might look at George Square and comment. The reality is everywhere else in Scotland though.





Sometimes I tweet.


And sometimes it goes mental. I had 457 retweets of that post.


The image within.

I took the post down as I was getting tetchy at the number of retweets.

Basic point I was trying to make was visibility and that these roadside field signs can be taken in by many thousands of people per day and if you make a trip from Paisley to Erskine Bridge you’ll see at least three on way out and three on way back.

It’s a level of visual hit few of us could dream about. Your average flat or house poster might be seen by a hundred or so people unless you live on a main road.

So what’s more main than the M8 or any of our principal roads?

A dream for either campaign, certainly money can’t buy for the No camp.

Is it democratic? Is it legitimate?

Can both sides get the opportunity? Should they?

When taken in the context that Renfrewshire Council have forbidden lamppost mounted campaign signs, then it gets different. Every location that the message can be seen is vital.

As for farm subsidies? Wouldn’t a yes and staying in the EU be preferable to a no and an exit in 2017?

The Guardian.

I’m sad to see The Guardian say No in it’s editorial.

It was one of the few papers that I have bought recently. I had found over recent years that I disagreed with the Milliband agenda and that I didn’t necessarily agree as much with it’s views on UK or Scottish Politics.

Probably naive of me to think that they’d stay out of indyref.

But this summary paragraph is too much to swallow.

‘Nationalism is not the answer to social injustice. For that fundamental reason, we urge Scots to vote no to independence next week

Nationalism. Yeah, jog on. It’s not ethnic nationalism that’s driving me or thousands of others to support yes. It’s civic nationalism it’s knowing that we can do better for our poor, elderly, our children, our disabled people and indeed ourselves.

It is a campaign to remove the Tories influence, it is a campaign to think about doing that bit better than foodbanks and benefit sanctions and ultimately it is a campaign about doing better than the Guardian suggests and waiting and hoping for Ed Milliband to perhaps win the scheduled 2015 general election.

Ed Milliband’s Labour Party isn’t something I want to be running Scotland either if I’m perfectly honest.

Have they moved on much from Gordon Brown? I’d suggest not, their leaders are Blairites, they have a fantasy that it wasn’t their fault the economy was ruined on their watch.

A fixation with foreign wars and Middle England whilst Scotland wasn’t an issue until we all had enough and voted in the SNP to run holyrood.

The Guardian has made it choice. I’ll choose to not buy it or the Observer again. A pity as it was a fellow traveller with me from my early 20’s.

It was an easy choice to follow a few of it’s twitter feeds when I started on twitter. I unfollowed last night with a heavy heart.

I’ll still steal a look at the online television blogs for Doctor Who but that will be it.

Hopefully from independence a new media will emerge as the existing mainstream one has badly failed us.