Scottish Labour faces huge challenge as 52% of Scots say they’ll vote SNP

21st January, 2015 2:57 pm

The latest poll on Scottish voting intentions is depressing reading for Scottish Labour – and with the general election only 16 weeks away, depressing news for the Labour Party as a whole

Ipsos Mori, in a poll for STV, asked 1001 people how they intended to vote in the General Election. However, the following results exclude those who said they didn’t know how they’d vote, reducing the sample size to 650. It’s worth then bearing in mind that this means the margin of error is about 4%. But that does little to the size of the SNP’s lead.

Of those who are sure about who they’re going to vote for, only 24% opted for Labour, while SNP support is more than double this at 52%

If translated directly and universally into the number of seats each party would have in Westminster, Labour would be left with 4, a loss of 39 seats. The only seats remaining would be Glasgow North East, Glasgow South West, Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, and Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill.

These projections see the SNP gain 49 seats on their current 6, taking them up to 55 in total. These further gains would come from the Lib Dems, who have 11 seats currently, and the Tories, who have 1. Under these predictions, both parties would lose all of their seats.

Current MPs who would lose their seats if this forecast were to be true, would include Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy and Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander (along with the vast majority of the Scottish PLP). The Lib Dems would lose Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael, Chief Secretary of the Treasury Danny Alexander and former leader Charles Kennedy.

The full breakdown is as follows:

SNP 52% (NC), Scottish Labour 24% (+1), Scottish Conservative 12% (+2), Lib Dems 4% (-2), Scottish Green Party 4% (-2), Ukip 1% (-1), Others 2%.

Untitled

The results of this poll are not good. Not good at all. But how do they compare to earlier polls? Earlier in the week we reported on Survation’s polling, which showed that although Labour were still 20 points behind the SNP, Labour had gained 2 points.

Similarly, over the weekend PanelBase’s poll showed Labour closing the gap with the SNP, who were only shown to have a 10-point lead.

Although not exactly where Scottish Labour want to be so close to the election, both polls showed Labour making gains on the SNP.

So Scottish labour’s task ranges between a 10 point lead for the SNP and a 28 point lead for the SNP. Either way, Scottish Labour’s new team have an enormous job on their hands – and the fate of Labour Party and the whole of the UK hangs in the balance.

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  • treborc1

    I doubt it will make the gains it wants or hopes and then in 2016 you have the Scottish elections, I suspect it will take a few years of really bad SNP policies to get labour back to the levels it use to have, if it ever does.

    We will just have to wait to see where Labour ends up, will it be New labour in style I suspect it will be seeing where Murphy comes from the right wing.

    It will be interesting to watch.

  • Arron Blue

    Worrying polls for Labour. I’m afraid Jim Murphy’s new team of advisers will only exacerbate Labour’s problems.

    Susan Dalgety [new communications director] has form:

    From The Herald Saturday 30 June 2007
    “Civil servant who made SNP ‘racist’ jibe quits key post.”
    ” Insider says Dalgety’s decision ‘suits both sides'”
    “A top civil servant who once compared the SNP to the Omagh bombers has
    quit weeks after the Nationalists’ win in the Holyrood election.”

    Appointing such people will not help Labour’s cause.

    • gavin

      But will make McTernan feel at home, given some of his conduct in OZ.

      • Monkey_Bach

        McTernan is a waste of protoplasm. Eeek.

    • BobbyS

      Maybe this is true, but it is just echoing an SNP attack line (I’ve seen the same thing posted by about five different SNP supporting friends on Facebook today). I’m not sure of any election that’s ever been decided by strong feelings about a party’s communications director, so safe to say it won’t make much difference in May either.

  • David Pickering

    “Although not exactly where Scottish Labour want to be so close to the election”…

    Well, I suppose that’s one way to describe being 28% behind in the polls. It does however raise the question of what SNP voters would think of an SNP / Lab coalition in Westminster. I suspect they would be mightily unimpressed.

    • Arron Blue

      I’m sure I heard a SNP politician reiterating on radio today that the SNP would consider supporting a Labour minority government on a “confidence and supply” basis, not a coalition.

    • reformist lickspittle

      Do you think they would be more impressed by keeping the Tories in?

      (even indirectly, I mean)

      • David Pickering

        At this point in time, I suspect SNP voters hate Labour more than the Tories, who lets face it, are nowhere in Scotland. I think SNP voters would be very happy to knife the Labour party for what they see as a betrayal.

        • reformist lickspittle

          I would not make the error of confusing “SNP voters” with the CyberNats who are so vocal on sites like this.

          Why have some switched from Labour to SNP, after all? Due to the perception that Labour were pally with THE TORIES!

          The fact they are nowhere in (most of) Scotland is irrelevant.

          • David Pickering

            I do not. Your argument ignores the surge in SNP membership & their continued rampant polling. That is not just the ‘cybernates’ at work.

            Are we to ignore all that in order to allow the view that you might rejoice at Labour attaining power with the help of the SNP?

  • RWP

    I can’t see the SNP winning more than 20 seats in total – as with the Green and Ukip surges, people will pull back from the brink on polling day. Surely…

    • ebcd

      True for recent years but for the present day, not so much. Voter volatility is now extreme. Maybe UKIP will fall back but I think the Greens will advance. SNP? Hard to say. I think they will exceed 30 seats now that hard man Murphy is alienating the electorate. His manner is so outdated.

  • Heidstaethefire

    You spent the entire referendum telling Scotland what it can’t do. You took part in a campaign where the entire U.K. establishment, including the Whitehall civil service ( see Sir Nichlolas Mc Pherson’s lecture on Monday evening) told every lie and tried every dirty trick they every could think of to prevent a yes vote. To lead Scottish Labour, you then choose a New Labour hack whose Westminster career has stalled because he backed the wrong Milliband. He in turn picks as his chief of staff someone who has written three articles in support of privatisation of the health service, and thinks the same old 90’s spin tricks will win in Scotland in 2015.
    Only one problem – the electorate in Scotland has been galvanised by the referendum and can spot a phoney, even if he wears his Scotland jersey when out jogging, coincidentally past the B.B.C.
    As a former party member, I have to say that 4 seats is 4 more than you deserve.

    • gavin

      As Murphy fills his staff positions, we are more able to judge his direction of travel.
      More right wing.
      More nasty politics.
      More narrow Britnat.
      More partisan.
      More New Tory.

      • Tommo

        Silly statement. Labour need people who will connect with a wide group of electors

        • gavin

          Really? Have you looked at his personnel—McTernan, Dalgety, McDougal etc —who exactly are they looking to connect to ?

        • SilentHunter

          Well you’ve already “connected” with the Tories (at the hip) so who’s left? . . . Certainly Labour aren’t “left”, so maybe you could “connect” with UKIP.

    • Tommo

      Don’t the scots look at the oil price and think “There by the grace of god…”

      • reformist lickspittle

        Sensible ones do, yes.

        How many of those exist right now, though?

        A grievance led “emotional spasm” seems to be the “in” thing.

        • Heidstaethefire

          If the wish for self determination is an emotional spasm, then guilty as charged.

      • gavin

        Scots will wonder who’s oil resources have been best managed —Norway or Scotland.
        Sadly for us, its not Scotland.

        • Arron Blue

          And Westminter’s prediction of oil prices was higher than the SNP’s.

        • Steve Stubbs

          But you cannot change the past no matter how much you whinge on about it. The future is $45 a barrel.

          • Derek Barker

            “The future is $45 a barrel.” Maybe but Russia, China and Iran may well break from the Dollar and trade oil outside OPEC, the present seems to suggest it’s already going on.

          • Heidstaethefire

            Temporarily

      • Heidstaethefire

        Take your analysis beyond the crap spouted by the Whitehall/Westminster establishment, T. If Scotland had voted yes, we would not have been independent until 2016 at the earliest, and many in Bitter Together thought that too ambitious. Therefore the present oil price is of absolutely no relevance. The economy in trouble is the U.K economy, whose sums now don’t add up, if they ever did. You should also realise that Scotland’s economy can motor along without oil. Its importance lies in the fact that it could be reinvested (even by the U.K.) to grow the economy. Westminster/Whitehall has had 40 years to do this. It hasn’t. It has wasted the money funding blue/red Tory mismanagement of the economy. Look at Norway if you need an example.

        • jaime taurosangastre candelas

          “..Scotland’s economy can motor along without oil”

          Can it? From what I recall of the referendum campaign, the two largest components of the Scottish economy are oil/gas and a relatively (in comparison to Scottish GDP) big financial sector, much of which seemed to be prepared to head to London in the event of independence. I wonder how the sums for an independent Scotland would add up with oil at $45 a barrel and little remaining financial sector.

          • Derek Barker

            The 12% offset of GDP would be filled by the useage of more motoring miles, more congestion on the M9 and M8.

            The shell and Gas prospects of fracking are largely well deposited in Scotland.
            The massive reserves of oil in the USA and Saudi will ingnite an oil war which will likely end international trading agreements.

            History tells us that when a nation is faced with hardship, like Russia will face with the drop in oil prices, that nation becomes unpredictable and dangerous.

            Jaime, this wont end well for anyone.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            I do not understand your first paragraph. The loss of some Scottish GDP would be offset by people clogging up two Scottish motorways? Why, and who is paying for the extra petrol that puts some tax into the Scottish Treasury?

            As for your next two paragraphs, I think you are clearly wrong. Any “oil war” will see a rapid decrease in price as producers compete to sell to anyone who will buy it, and the lowering cost will make it completely uneconomic for a small new nation to develop a whole new fracking industry. As for the Scottish becoming “dangerous” (to who, and with what?), I think it massively more likely that as with Ireland, the productive young will simply head abroad to where they can make a decent living.

          • Derek Barker

            More people will drive more miles.20% of the Scottish population live in rural parts, oil is the preferred use of heating homes in rural parts, people will buy more oil for heating homes and more buildings will use oil as a choice for heating, bus firms will put more buses on the roads. The need and want for oil wont deminish, indeed the lower price will make it more useable.

            Scotland is in fact well placed to weather an oil price war, after all we are a producer. I’m pretty sure I said Russia will become more unpredictable and dangerous? maybe you read it wrong?

            If the price as you suggest means more useage then doesn’t your maths tell you that the more you sell the less downfall there will be to the collective revenue?

          • BobbyS

            “If the price as you suggest means more useage then doesn’t your maths tell you that the more you sell the less downfall there will be to the collective revenue?”

            Strangely enough, you’ve just quoted the exact example used in textbooks to explain why an oil price drop does lead to a drop in revenue for producing countries. The example that’s always stated is that oil being half the price doesn’t mean people therefore drive twice as much in their cars (because that’s absurd unless people decide to start driving to work and back twice just because they can – that’s simply not how people use cars).

            What happens instead is that the money saved goes to other areas of the economy. People have a greater disposable income so they spend it on other goods/services creating demand. The rule of thumb is that for a non-producer country in Europe a drop in the oil price of about $20 a barrel should equate to around a 0.25% growth in GDP. So the oil price drop should benefit the UK overall, but it would be a complete disaster for an independent Scotland as so much of the country’s revenue is tied up in oil (around 10% of it in the 2012-13 GERS figures, around 17% in the 2011-12 GERS figures).

          • Derek Barker

            Bobby, If driving the car is cheaper than the rail fare then more people will choose to drive to work and probably drive more over weekends.Yeah if production rises elsewhere more heavy duty transport will pound the roads.

            Oil prices do indeed go up and down,the GERS reports do vary but I don’t hear anyone saying that even with oil at half the price it has been to be a commoditiy that carries a heavy burden? Don’t you think it kind of strange to suggest that a drop in oil price is good for every other nation in Europe apart from Scotland? and wouldn’t a uk government over the last 30 years tried it’s hardest to have halted the extractions of oil if it were such a strain on revenue?

            So far Bobby the reduction at the pump and heating a home have been slow, just how far will the chancellor allow the fuel duty to drop? seems to me that if to much monies become available for disposable incomes the uk treasury may see inflation climb rapidly or deflation inbed.

          • BobbyS

            “Oil prices do indeed go up and down,the GERS reports do vary but I don’t hear anyone saying that even with oil at half the price it has been to be a commoditiy that carries a heavy burden? Don’t you think it kind of strange to suggest that a drop in oil price is good for every other nation in Europe apart from Scotland? and wouldn’t a uk government over
            the last 30 years tried it’s hardest to have halted the extractions of oil if it were such a strain on revenue?”

            There are several different arguments there, all somewhat flawed for different reasons. First, nobody is saying oil is a burden, what they’re saying is that the structure of the Scottish economy is such that in order to maintain our current level of public spending as an independent country we’d be highly subject to the price of oil. If the oil price was high we’d be fine (outside of all the other issues with independence). If it dropped too far we’d be in trouble and would have to either cut spending, raise taxes, or borrow more. As part of the UK we don’t have that problem because the UK economy is large enough to withstand the shock of a drop in the oil price (indeed we’ll likely come out of it better off).

            Second, there’s nothing remotely strange about suggesting that a drop in oil price is good for countries that don’t produce a lot (or any) oil, yet bad for countries that do. Nobody is suggesting oil is a “strain on revenue” either. There’s nothing bad about producing oil from an economic perspective, the problem is that when your current rate of public spending is highly dependent on oil you’re subject to instability, which is exactly what we’d be experiencing today if we were independent (and yes, I know we wouldn’t have become independent until 2016 – that makes no substantive difference to the point).

          • Derek Barker

            So far two energy companies have said they will reduce fuel prices by something in the region of £37 GBP per year, motor fuel is still above £1 a litre, so all the evidence suggests that revenue from oil converted to motor fuel and home useage hasn’t seen a drastic cut to the uk treasury.

            Secondly, future energy when the wells do dry up? carbon capture and the deposit of carbon in empty seabed oil wells is a possible green effective means to store carbon and use the vast coal lines under the Scottish soil, so again on future economic means Scotlands has an advanced answer.

            I’ve not raised the Independent question? my take on this manufactured oil war is two fold which has no doubt put Russia behind the black ball and does raise the question of future world security I think it is very real that there could be an iron curtain raised from Russia to the Asian nations which will almost certainly see a new cold war develope.For every action there is a reaction and the reaction when nations feel surpressed can be ugly.

          • Heidstaethefire

            Diid you not read the whole post, Jaimie? The point about the Scottish economy is that it’s pretty diverse. It’s also the case that smaller economies tend to respond more nimbly to changing conditions. Therefore, your undrerstanding of the economics of independence is, at best, flawed.

          • BobbyS

            “It’s also the case that smaller economies tend to respond more nimbly to changing conditions. Therefore, your undrerstanding of the economics of independence is, at best, flawed.”

            Anyone who thinks oil is a bonus for the Scottish economy has absolutely no understanding of the country’s fiscal position. The Scottish government’s own GERS figures show that we typically generate around 8.2% of UK taxation revenue without the North Sea, but spend around 9.3% of UK spending. It’s North Sea revenue that makes that calculation in any way favourable for independence, but even with a geographic share the last GERS figures had us generating only 9.1% of UK revenue (so we put in less than we received in relative terms even if we had the maximum conceivable share of oil). That was before the oil price drop.

            I raise this point on a regular basis: the less reasonable on the Yes side will typically misunderstand it or launch into an irrelevant tangent about how it can’t be right because Wings Over Scotland say so. The more reasonable among Yes campaigners will accept it and resort to some vague argument that with better policies it might all magically get better. The latter isn’t an argument, it’s blind hope – a bit like Labour including billions upon billions of pounds worth of uncosted pledges in their manifesto and when being pushed on it saying “it’ll be fine, we’ll just grow the economy at an unprecedented rate because we’re better than the Tories”.

          • Heidstaethefire

            Two massive flaws in your argument, B. Firstly, G.E.R.S, deals only with IDENTIFIABLE public expenditure in Scotland. Much public spending is not identifiable. Secondly, the entire U.K. economy is distorted by the square mile.

          • BobbyS

            I posted a reply to this and for some reason it got spam filtered. GERS includes non-identiable spending, it simply apportions it using a variety of different methods (per head, “in” spending, etc.)

          • Heidstaethefire

            It doesn’t anything that is spent over the U.K as a whole, and as I previously said you don’t allow for the distortion of the entire U.K economy to suit the self described masters of the universe in the city of London.

          • BobbyS

            I’m not going to “debate” whether it includes non-identifiable spending or not. The methodology note *explicitly* says they include non-identifiable spending. It’s put in black and white, in detail, how they apportion that spending. Arguing about it is beyond absurd. This site won’t let me link to the methodology note directly, so just google it.

            The fact that we can’t even cite the basic fiscal position of the country without someone arguing it’s all witchcraft (or whatever it is you’re trying to argue) is utterly ridiculous. If you don’t know what’s contained in the report then don’t argue about it.

          • Iain Hill

            Read the Wee Blue Book. All the figures are there, and full details of the various sectors and what they produce. But perhaps you prefer to rely on the distortions of the MSM rather than cope with the facts.

      • Iain Hill

        No.

        1. The oil price goes up and down all the time. It will go back up before long.
        2. As Mr Swinney tirelessly explained yet again, the financial figures advanced by the Yes campaign saw oil revenue as a bonus, not a necessity.

      • SilentHunter

        Aye; because the price of oil will never go up again!

        BTW . . . Scotland’s economy isn’t based on oil . . . oil is just a bonus.

    • Michelle

      I’ve always been a loyal party member, but I have to say I agree with every word.

      • Heidstaethefire

        Thanks, M. If you vote in Scotland, take your analysis to the logical conclusion and vote Accordingly. Don’t forget to tell all your friends.

        • BobbyS

          Yes, vote for the other fraud in a Scotland jersey. I’ll admit I once voted for the SNP in 2007. They had claimed if they got into power they’d write off student loans for every Scottish student. It sounded too good to be true, but I figured they couldn’t simply lie about something as important as that so I voted for them.

          They entered government, did nothing of the sort and 8 years later (after thousands of pounds worth of payments) I still have student loan payments coming out of my salary. You’ll forgive me for taking an SNP supporter complaining about the other side lying with a massive pinch of salt.

          • SilentHunter

            Perhaps someone should remind you that Jim Murphy was the Leader of the Student Union in Scotland who went against the majority of the students he was supposed to represent and voted for the abolition of student grants . . . which as a Labour policy; earned him a safe seat with them.

            I suggest you check your facts.

            But hey! . . . go ahead and vote for the guy who removed your chance for a “free education”, why don’t you.

          • BobbyS

            The standard “ah but look at what Jim Murphy did” response to any criticism of the SNP. Try acknowledging valid criticism of your party instead of simply deflecting it. They lied in 2007, I voted for them, they broke their promise and I’ll therefore never vote for them again. Whether I vote Labour or not is completely irrelevant to the point being made.

          • SilentHunter

            I note that you don’t deny what he did. That’s rather ‘telling’.

            The SNP have, like all parties, been guilty of errors of judgement, but let’s face it . . . taking the country into an illegal war which saw hundreds of thousands die, based upon a blatant lie in a “dodgy dossier” rather trumps anything that the SNP ever did.

            BTW – “Trump” was one of the SNP’s mistakes, early on.
            You see . . . unlike you, I don’t think along tribal lines which dictate “my party, right or wrong”.
            You have a lot of growing up to do . . . politically.

          • BobbyS

            That’s incredibly rich that you’ve claimed to “not think along tribal lines” despite your entire comment basically assuming that because I criticised the SNP I must be a Jim Murphy adherent and a diehard Labour supporter. I’ve voted for the party precisely once in my life as it happens (last year’s European elections). I also protested against the Iraq war – but keep railing against that straw man.

            What you’ve done here is precisely the kind of tribalist nonsense I encounter all the time – somebody criticises the SNP and the conversation immediately gets turned round on to Labour (as if there are only two parties in the country so by merely attacking Labour it offers a defence of the SNP).

          • SilentHunter

            Ah! the standard “I protested against the Iraq War” response towards any criticism of Labour’s foreign policy of the 90’s.
            You see . . . it works both ways. ;o)

            You seem to be a “floating voter”? . . . but you won’t vote for the SNP and you have “tried” Labour; which leaves a few other options and since you’re here at Labourlist, you have no intentions of voting for the Tories or UKIP, right?

            That leaves you the LibDems or Greens or maybe the SWP.

            It can’t be Labour or that will merely be proving my point for me. So; which is it to be?

        • Michelle

          Heidstaethfire, I live in England but I wish you well.

          • Heidstaethefire

            Thanks again. Hopefully, when we do get independence, we’ll get a sensible left of centre government which will demonstrate that despite the Thatcher mantra, there IS an alternative

          • SilentHunter

            There’s always the Greens . . . they at least have left of centre principles, unlike Labour.
            Good luck with whoever you decide to support. :o)

    • Cassandra

      Exactly. I am also a former Labour party member and my leaving had nothing to do with Nationalism, but the extreme Right wing movement of the Labour Party.

      • Heidstaethefire

        I can understand your feelings, C. They probably feel, if you live in The rest of the U.K, that you have no where else to go. I believe it’s called triangulation – strangulation is probably more apt.

    • Iain Hill

      Well said. I would hope for 0, not for any inherent principled dislike of Labour, but to enable a wholesale cleansing of the stables, and a re formulation of Labour’s values around a people’s agenda, dedicated in particular to the eradication of poverty, and without the embarassingly cheap and transparent manipulation of public opinion which is Murphy’s trademark.

      This is not a pipe dream. A cursory examination of the lively and well documented debates hosted by groups like RIC in 2014 would immediately offer the draft of a constitution which might salvage Labour in Scotland. Alas, I see no parallel energisation in England.

  • paul barker

    This Poll looks as much of an outlier as the one that put Labour only 10% behind. The average SNP lead is around 20% & seems to be steady. Thats quite enough to destroy Labour in Scotland even without the reported wish of some Unite branches to back The SNP.

  • gavin

    Magnus Gardham, one of the Heralds Labour-friendly hacks, has oddly claimed that the SNP are targeting only their core vote with a new push for Devo Max.
    This totally ignores all polling evidence, which long pre-dates the referendum, that a substantial majority of Scots want ALL issues of substance devolved to Holyrood, leaving only defence and foreign affairs to Westminster.
    Not independence but Devo Max.
    This poll might focus people like Gardham to look more closely at the actual evidence of what people want, and not just what Labour wants to, condescendingly, hand out.

  • reformist lickspittle

    This poll, incredibly, apparently has NO weighting for last year’s referendum.

    It is done by phone, and conducted by Scottish callers (hence a high likelihood of “shy unionists”) and of course it features MORI’s increasingly implausible 100% “certain to vote” filter. In short, it is little more than SNP propaganda.

    • gavin

      Given the assertion that Unionists form the majority opinion in Scotland, why would any of them be “shy” ?
      Why would Ipsos Mori be involved in SNP propaganda ?
      Do you have any other “conspiracy” stuff to regale us with ?

      • reformist lickspittle

        Heh, a CyberNat accusing others of believing in “conspiracy”.

        If you think pollsters are just dispassionate seekers after truth, you are very naive – they are above all after headlines and “sensation”.

        Many polling organisations are run by confirmed Tories – and thus have an interest in bigging up Greens, SNP, UKIP……..

        Anybody but Labour.

      • BobbyS

        The shy voter thing is something that tends to get brought up almost any time a phone poll is conducted. Sometimes the objection is real (i.e. there is a shy voter effect going on) but sometimes it’s completely wide of the mark. There’s no way to know for sure at this point if it’s happening here.

        We already have polling evidence showing that somewhere around 15% of No voters would feel uncomfortable telling family and friends how they voted. The reason presumably being the self-righteous, tubthumping idiocy of a small percentage of Yes campaigners who seem to regard anyone with a different opinion as a traitor.

        As for the polling being biased, that’s completely wide of the mark in my view. It may well be wrong, but not biased.

    • BillFrancisOConnor

      I am alarmed by this poll even if the SNP get say 40% of the vote and Labour get say 30% the SNP will have 35 seats and Labour will lose half of its seats and be down to 20.

      • reformist lickspittle

        I agree, that is a realistic scenario.

        The garbage MORI has just produced is not.

  • Sunny Jim

    This was always going to happen after an indeyref ‘no’.

    It won’t be as bad as 39 loses though, i’m pretty sure of that.

    I reckon we’ll come away with 20-25 seats which should be enough to get us over the line.

  • Monkey_Bach

    Jim’ll fix it! NOT! Eeek.

  • robertcp

    The fate of the UK does not hang in the balance. That issue was settled last September. It might even be good for democracy that Scotland is no longer a one-party state.

    • Heidstaethefire

      It was voted on in September. It plainly wasn’t settled. Look at what’s going on in Scottish politics. It’s clear that an ever increasing number of voters are seeing through the Westminster/Whitehall establishment crap.

      • BobbyS

        No, it’s clear that a number of voters are falling for populist blame politics that seeks to pin every ill in society on to London and Westminster (in an identical fashion to the way UKIP seek to pin every problem on to Brussels and immigrants).

        That’s actually standard fare for an economic crisis – someone inevitably comes along and mobilises people around blame/grievance/identity, with those who are easily swayed falling for it. What you’re describing as “seeing through Westminster” is actually an inability to see through the SNP’s rhetoric.

        • Heidstaethefire

          I can’t see how the wish to govern our own country in the interests of our own people be characterised as blame politics. There is no doubt that the elite within the M25 have twisted the U.K. economy to suit their own ends, to the detriment of the rest of us. No doubt it is possible to argue that these conditions apply to other parts of the U.K. There is, however one major difference. Scotland IS a country and can choose to do something about it. In doing so, we might demonstrate to the rest of the U.K that despite Thatcher’s catchphrase there IS in fact an alternative.

          • BobbyS

            “I can’t see how the wish to govern our own country in the interests of our own people be characterised as blame politics.”

            Well that’s just it, people on your side spend about 95% of their time complaining about Westminster and about 5% arguing for independence. Even your own post has made that case yet has said nothing about why independence would actually make anything better.

            It’s essentially what all nationalist parties do – make the case that we need to back their agenda because we have to be rid of some harmful foreign influence that doesn’t have our interests at heart. Simply getting rid of this influence will make us all better off through addition by subtraction (quite how this will happen, however, is always left deliberately vague).

          • Heidstaethefire

            Does that apply equally to British nationalism as well?

          • BobbyS

            “Does that apply equally to British nationalism as well?”

            Absolutely.

          • Heidstaethefire

            Are you arguing for world governance, then?

          • BobbyS

            No, I’m arguing against nationalism.

          • Heidstaethefire

            So what is your preferred unit of governance then?

          • BobbyS

            You seem to be suggesting that subscribing to nationalism (a particular political ideology) is a fundamental requirement for being content to live in a nation state.

            Nationalism isn’t the belief in the nation state as a practical model for governance, it’s an ideology framed around the use of national identity to mobilise political support for particular policies (in this case Scottish independence; in UKIP and the BNP’s case, leaving the European Union and restricting immigration).

          • Heidstaethefire

            You’re dancing round the question, B.What do you think is the appropriate level of governance for Scotland? It might be useful if I define nationalism as a form of national self determination as opposed to Chauvainism/Jingoism, which appears to me to be your definition.

          • BobbyS

            That’s because your question is founded on a decidedly odd argument whereby anyone who opposes the SNP’s form of nationalism is presumed to be either a British nationalist or a one world government internationalist. If you really want me to write ten paragraphs on why I think having representation at the local, Scottish, UK and European levels makes basic pragmatic sense then that’s not going to happen.

            I’m well aware of the civic vs ethnic nationalism debate. I’ve had this conversation with SNP supporters hundreds of times. You’ll tell us that the SNP has absolutely nothing in common with parties like UKIP and the BNP because they subscribe to a completely different type of nationalism.

            Well we’re not talking about categories of nationalism, we’re talking about the basic function of nationalism to mobilise support around particular policies. The SNP are attempting to mobilise support for Scottish independence, UKIP are attempting to mobilise support toward leaving the EU and curbing immigration, but they both employ identical constructions in their narratives: pinning all (or most) of society’s problems on to an influence which doesn’t belong to “our” group and making the argument that merely ridding ourselves of this harmful influence will make us better off.

            My objection to it isn’t that it’s racist, jingoistic, or anything else per se, it’s that it’s an absolutely abysmal way to arrive at sensible policy decisions. Policy should be based on evidence, dispassionate reasoning, and logic, not populist narratives about identity: and despite the SNP’s PR team working flat out to convince us otherwise, that’s precisely what their entire platform is based on.

          • Heidstaethefire

            Yeh, but, no,but…Your point about pooled sovereignty is valid, but you still haven’t told me why you feel your basic “pragmatic” framework should include the U.K. Until you make that clear, I don’t see this going anywhere. A couple of final thoughts. I’m certainly a member of the S.N .P having formerly been a member of the Labour Party. At one stage I actually thought that if there had been a yes vote, I could possibly rejoin some reconstituted form of the Labour Party. Not now. Secondly, many “yes” campaigners were not in fact S.N.P and would often start sentences with “I’m not a nationalist, but…..” Your arguments would not convince them. Thirdly, if the Scotish National Party was called The Scottish Democratic Party would that put your mind at ease?

          • BobbyS

            “many “yes” campaigners were not in fact S.N.P and would often start sentences with “I’m not a nationalist, but…..”

            I actually have nothing against practical arguments for independence. The Greens for instance presented a case for independence that had nothing to do with nationalism – admittedly it was more pragmatic self-interest on their part, but it certainly wasn’t nationalist. I think the pragmatic case for independence falls down on multiple levels, but I don’t berate people just because I disagree with them on a practical issue. Part of supporting evidence based policy is that you have to respect people you disagree with and have open-minded dialogue.

            That’s patently not the narrative of the SNP, however, far less the more feral aspects of the Yes campaign epitomised by the likes of Wings Over Scotland.

          • Heidstaethefire

            Fifty shades of the same argument, Bobby, which seems to boil down to me right, nationalism ( as you conceive of it) wrong.There were a few ejits on both sides of the debate. You appear to have seen only one side. You apparently missed the story that Jim Sillars had eggs thrown at him ( and an oxo cube – who knows) and that a bunch of “Hearts For Yes” fans had their stall attacked by a unionist mob outside Tynecastle, to give just two examples. Instead you appear to have taken all the incidents on the other side, lumped them together and called it a narrative. But you still haven’t answered the basic question – why is Scotland as a nation state wrong, but the U.K. as a nation state (or more properly a three an a half nation state) right. If you can’t begin to answer that in your first sentence of your next post, I’ll not bother reading any further. It’ s been interesting and frustrating in equal measure.

          • BobbyS

            What on earth does people throwing eggs at Jim Sillars have to do with the merits of nationalism as an ideology? Unless for some reason you think the argument I’m making is some primitive attempt to pretend “No voters are better than Yes voters” then that’s completely irrelevant.

            We’re having a conversation about political ideologies. My argument is that the SNP’s brand of nationalism is an abysmal way to make key policy decisions. I’ve said nothing per se against independence yet you seem to keep demanding I outline precisely why I support staying a part of the UK (so you can no doubt then push us on to stock arguments as to why you think that’s wrong).

            You can engage me on the point we’re actually discussing or you can stop reading. That’s your choice.

          • Heidstaethefire

            You still haven’t answered the basic point – Why the U.K. as opposed to Scotland?

      • robertcp

        You are entitled to your opinion.

  • 07052015

    The scots are stuck in 2014 ,will they realise its 2015(and thats before 2016).

  • gavin

    Before the referendum the theme being pursued by Labour and the entire media was, that in the event of a NO, the SNP would tear itself apart and be gone forever.
    I await some intelligent analysis of why this hasn’t happened.

    • BobbyS

      That certainly wasn’t the theme being pursued by the “entire media”. There were plenty of people who thought the SNP could come out of a No vote relatively well because it would polarise opinion between Labour and the SNP.

      That’s exactly what’s happened. We used to have “hybrid” voters in Scotland – they’d vote SNP at Holyrood but Labour at Westminster. By pushing the independence issue it’s forced people to pick one or the other.

      • Stan

        “We used to have “hybrid” voters in Scotland – they’d vote SNP at Holyrood but Labour at Westminster.”

        Considering the Holyrood Parliament has only been in existence since 1999 there isn’t really much evidence to support your claim especially when Labour were the largest party in both 1999 and 2003 and your claim looks even less credible considering the SNP actually lost seats in the 2003 election. The independence issue wasn’t even a factor until the SNP won a majority in the 2011 election.

        The reality is that any hybrid voters in Scotland will have mirrored those in rUK where people vote one way at council level and another way at Westminster level . The SNP’s peak in terms of MPs was in the 70s so surely the rise in popularity of the SNP since 2003 has got to be because of serious disillusionment with the Labour Party which has since been exacerbated by said party’s conduct during and after the independence referendum campaign.

        • BobbyS

          You seem to be arguing for the sake of arguing here. There’s ample evidence for hybrid voting in the polling where people who recall voting Labour in the previous Westminster election split in higher numbers for the SNP in the next Holyrood election than they do for the next UK election. Even now the polling shows that pattern, albeit to a smaller extent than before (e.g. in the latest Survation poll where more Labour 2010 voters are backing the SNP in Holyrood than they are in Westminster).

          I really don’t understand why you’ve cited the SNP losing seats in 2003 as an argument against that. Whether the SNP’s support in Holyrood goes up our down from one Scottish election to another is completely irrelevant – though as it happens, that 2003 vote percentage was higher than the SNP has received in Scotland in every single Westminster election with the exception of 1974.

  • Mukkinese

    If 52% of Scots vote SNP then they will get five more years of the Tories.

    Plain and simple…

    • Heidstaethefire

      That’s a variation of “Scotland should vote Labour to keep the tories out,” as propounded by Murphy. He seems not to notice that we returned 41 Labour numpties in Scotland, and still got the tories. You might also ask yourself why bother electing Labour when they become tories after they achieve office.

  • Heidstaethefire

    Stopped reading after “what on earth…” ‘Bye.

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