Some Off-Beat Points on Thursday’s Elections 204

The Labour Party’s national projected vote share is 35%, which is the same as the Labour Party’s national projected vote share in 2018 under Corbyn. The “Starmer surge” is a lie, broadcast by the media to perpetuate the myth that a more radical Labour Party would be uniquely unelectable. Tory switching to Lib Dems, Greens or sitting at home helped Labour, but hardly represents Starmer enthusiasm.

(Projected vote share here means an extrapolation of swing trends to areas where no election took place to give a projected total if this were a general election, done by John Curtice.)

Starmer remains the neoliberal insurance policy. But do not go out and bet on him winning the next general election. The Lib Dems look like their vote could finally be recovering from their coalition disaster to something like their “normal” level, which should see them return as the main challengers to the Tories in those parts of Southern England where people do not speak Estuary English. The Greens made real and welcome progress, though from a very low base.

Northern Ireland is the real story of the elections, and I am absolutely delighted to see Sinn Fein emerge as the largest party. It is essential that the unionist knuckle draggers are not now allowed a veto on democracy and that we see Michelle O’Neill properly installed and functioning as First Minister. It should be noted that it is not only that we saw movement from SDLP to Sinn Fein and from DUP to Traditional Unionist Violence (I might have the name slightly wrong). Adding DUP, TUV and UUP together, there was a decline of over 3% in the total unionist vote, which is highly significant.

It is also worth noting that the election has just been won by parties which broadly support the Northern Ireland Protocol with the EU. That ought to give pause to Tory efforts to abandon the Protocol, but it probably won’t. The EU, however, will undoubtedly have noted the election result and be strengthened in their opposition in any changes. The Toru hand is weakened, to say the least, given the elected Northern Irish leader is now on the EU side and not the UK side.

I have no doubt the Tories will be discussing with the unionists ways to contrive to prevent O’Neill becoming First Minister. A long period of direct rule by the ultra-unionist oaf Brandon Lewis MP may be in prospect. That will only hasten reunification.

In Wales, Plaid Cymru continue to make steady progress and the more left wing platform of Mark Drakeford continues to outperform Starmer in voter appeal.

As for Scotland – well I remain personally a member of the Alba Party, which continues to make no significant electoral impression. Voters maintain faith in Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP increased its number of councillors significantly. It was also a breakthrough for the Scottish Greens, if from a low base. The net result however is a significant net advance for pro-Independence parties over unionists. That is more important than Labour overtaking the Tories for second place. The alternative to Independence is Westminster rule by Tories. Scottish Labour is irrelevant to that.

After the election Nicola Sturgeon immediately started to make plain there is not going to be an Independence referendum in 2023. This is what she said:

“Look, the Alba Party didn’t register, I didn’t think it would register, I don’t think it’s ever going to register. You know, however much they may want there to be the groundswell of frustration with the SNP over progress to Independence, there’s not. Equally, I think sensible people know that however impatient they may be for Independence, there is no magic solution to make it happen, and you know Alba have actually been perpetuating a fiction on that, so I am not surprised… For me, my job is to get on with leading the SNP, leading Scotland and yes, I hope, leading the country towards Independence.”

Progress “towards” Independence is reduced to a “hope”. I defy anybody to claim those are the words of somebody who is about to launch an Independence referendum. She did not say “Alba are talking nonsense, there will be an Independence referendum next year as stated in our manifesto for the Scottish parliament.” Her words convey the opposite impression.

I would particularly ask you to note the major difference between “towards” – as opposed to “to” – in Sturgeon’s last sentence. That is not an accident.

Instead she positively scoffs at “impatience” and derides the notion that Independence can be quickly attained. The “fiction” which she says Alba are perpetuating is the claim – correct in international law – that Westminster has no veto on Scottish Independence. Sturgeon’s position remains that a referendum cannot be held without Boris Johnson’s say-so, which she knows will not be forthcoming.

Sturgeon seems supremely confident that her latest electoral success endorses her approach. That I think is the key question in Scotland after these elections. It is a question to which I do not know the answer.

Are the SNP voters, like Sturgeon herself, only paying lip service to the idea of Independence without being really concerned to attain it? Is voting SNP a kind of nationalist gesture with no real meaning, a never-ending journey “towards” Independence? Or is it that SNP voters have not noticed that the plausible Sturgeon is just stringing them along with no actual intention of reaching the destination?

I had fondly imagined that SNP voters would “see through” Sturgeon. But is her cosy nationalist posturing, as a colonial governor making a licensed show of nationalist thinking, all that SNP voters really desire?

I think the crunch point will come when she does, eventually, officially abandon the 2023 Indyref date. She will manage that to make it appear Johnson’s decision and then call for yet another “mandate” in the 2024 Westminster elections. I can see clearly what is unfolding, but it seems so far a charade which voters are happy to support.

On a happy note of karma, a notable swing in Glasgow from the SNP to the Greens saw Rhiannon Spear and Mhairi Hunter, two important Sturgeonites, lose their council seats. Both played a crucial role in the jailing of Manni Singh for starting a demonstration a few hours late.

As for Alba, I don’t know if I shall remain a member. There needs to be a vehicle for those for whom Independence is the genuine and overriding political priority, and plainly the SNP is no longer that party. But the ferocity and unkindness of Alba’s stance on trans people – and the extraordinary priority it puts on the issue in campaigning – is something with which I am entirely out of sympathy. I don’t expect to agree with every policy of a party which I join, but this is really very difficult for me. I shall await developments following these sobering elections.


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204 thoughts on “Some Off-Beat Points on Thursday’s Elections

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  • Ewen A Morrison

    Craig Murray writes:

    “Sturgeon’s position remains that a referendum cannot be held without Boris Johnson’s say-so, which she knows will not be forthcoming”…

    Sadly, Scotland’s First Minister fails to recognize that she’s only an elected politician who must honour the voters’ wishes! Scotland’s voters are Sovereign people and we outnumber elected politicians… Before too long, Scotland’s people must realise that our political situation is not as honourable and respectable as it should be; otherwise, it will remain as London’s government sees us: London’s colony!

    Perhaps the legal actions that were taken against Craig Murray should be recognised for what it was? It seemed more like an imperial dictator’s actions than normal political behaviour! It’s almost too great or extreme to be expressed or described in simple words! Most of us can appreciate clear-cut political propositions and the inevitable to and fro that comes with it… However, history’s got too many examples of dictators – without named examples – but many readily come to mind! However, we can easily anticipate that our country will benefit from Scotland’s independence being regained and taking its rightful place in the world!

    “Saorsa” is Scottish Gaelic for ‘Freedom, liberty and/or redemption’!

  • Lorna Campbell

    Ferocity and unkindness, Mr Murray? If these were people blacking up and pretending to be African or Afro-Caribbean people, muscling in on their hard-won rights, would you be so minded. I find it quite shocking, but not at all surprising, that so many men (not all, by any means) interpret the trans issue as ‘puir wee sowels’ whom those vicious harridans in ALBA are bullying. For every surgically transitioned male, there are at least a couple of hundred biological males, heterosexual, with a recognised pattern of behaviour that is described by sexologists and psychologists/psychiatrists as ‘autogynephilia’ (fetishism). These range from unwanted touching to an obsession with periods and period products, filming and photographing females who are unaware, and usually in a state of undress, to listening to women and girls peeing, to sexual assault and rape.

    The GRA Reform Bill will benefit a few, a handful, of males mainly, who want to have a GRC. The vast majority will not seek a GRC, but will benefit from the self-ID that will allow them to invade female spaces, rights, sports, etc. Men like Jan Morris will almost certainly not harm anyone physically, just want to live their lives and pass as female. Therein lies the problem, Mr Murray. They are men. Because sexologists like Ray Blanchard and J. Michael Bailey thought it was a whizzing idea to place these men in female spaces, it has led to what we are now faced with: thousands of autogynephiles gaining access to female rights, spaces, etc. You may say: well, that’s happening now. Yes, it is – because this vicious lobby, fronted by the most pernicious non-trans individuals, have forced it down the throats of businesses, civil and private bodies totally contrary to the 2010 Equality Act. The Equality Act does not recognise ‘trans ideology’, only ‘sex reassignment’ (arguably, surgery), which now many women are totally opposed to as well because of the liberties taken.

    That you are an upholder of human rights, but cannot see the female human right to exist as adult human females as in any way worthy of your notice, is unfathomable, contradictory and a dichotomy in understanding. Please tell us in this thread which rights trans identified people do not have already, except automatic access to a GRC. When you stand up and declare that black people are unkind and ferocious in defence of their hard-won rights to exist as human beings as ALBA women are, when you tell us that you see the Taliban’s treatment of females as fair and deserving, then, perhaps, you can escape the suspicion that your stance is motivated by something other than ‘puir wee sowels’. Remember, the treatment of females in Afghanistan was precisely the treatment women were dished out in good old Blight only less than a century ago. So, tell us which rights trans identified people do not have now?

    • Mesican

      What a load of old tripe. A couple of hundred biological males for every surgically transitioned person, who indulge in the behaviours you list? Where are these large numbers of supposed sex offenders in the court records, going around touching women and taking photographs, listening to women peeing while undressed? This is the talk of cranks and zealots. You are dangerous.

      I’ve met a few people that share your views or are sympathetic to them and they all have something in common. They all have previous trauma, or have mental health problems or are otherwise psychologically vulnerable. When jk Rowling spoke about her opposition to trans rights she spent most of the time recounting her own difficult experiences with domestic abuse. Your movement even monetizes this hate by producing badges, mugs etc emblazoned with this nonsense, just like the EDL did with their own misguided followers. Also, this opposition to trans rights began in the US and they are deeply enmeshed with the christian right. They even testified in Congress alongside the christian right. This is an extreme right wing movement populated by people with conservative values and conservative levels of hate.

      And Wtf has Afghanistan and the Taliban got to do with all this? Please, give me a break. You even co opt black people to make your feeble point.

      • Lorna Campbell

        You evidently inhabit a different universe from the rest of humanity, Mesican, or you wouldn’t need to ask those questions. Let’s have some reality on the trans issue, shall we? Now, what rights do trans-identified people not have now? It’s not difficult to answer because it is none. They have them all already. Next, explain why access to female spaces, rights, etc, is so important to these MEN? If you are so blind to reason that you can’t see why trans issues and women’s issues clash directly, then I can’t help you. I would suggest, though, that you don’t accuse others of all the faults and illnesses from which you yourself suffer.

        • Bob Smith

          Neither side in the debate establishes a good case through a continued use of unevidenced scare stories and hyperbole. You are falling into that trap by trying to equate the plight of women in Britain less than 100 years ago, with the plight of women in Afghanistan. I cannot recall women in 1920 being ordered to wear face veils and the British education system, certainly at a primary level, educated girls. Cross cultural comparisons are fraught with difficulty and rarely work.

          On the significant points you do raise, where is the evidence of these 200 men for every surgically transformed man? I think you need to reference it so your argument can be considered.

          I partly disagree with Craig and believe far too much time and energy is being taken up on trans rights. It plays into the hands of government at all levels as it gives them another bandwagon to jump on whilst continuing to ignore the plight of the poor, of all genders, across the land. Alba fall into that trap.

          • Jay

            “far too much time and energy is being taken up on trans rights”

            Agreed. An utterly absurd topic to be concentrating on in these times.

          • John Monro

            Thoroughly concur, Bob. It’s farcical that such a basically trivial social issue is being blown up totally out of proportion by both sides, when the world faces war, serious economic hardship and environmental collapse. It’s like Boris with partygate or Starmer with beergate, it’s so convenient to have to face the music for something so petty, when they should be hung for their incompetence with pretty well everything else.

          • Lorna Campbell

            Bob: if you access the archives of Stuart Campbell (no relation), you will find a plethora of examples of ‘trans’ crimes against women and girls and children. Each instance has been thoroughly checked, all having appeared in newspapers across the UK and all reported as court cases where the men were routinely referred to by their female pronouns. Graham Linehan has also complied masses of verified information on ‘trans’ crimes, from the petty to the very serious.

            Women wore hats and veils at church and at public events in the 1920s. It was frowned upon to do anything else. Granted, there was no Taliban to enforce this dress code, but it prevailed nonetheless. The Afghan education system educates girls at primary school level; they do not educate them at secondary level. That’s okay with you? I did not say that girls in the 1920s and 30s were not educated, but very few would have been allowed access to university, would they? You’re okay with that?

            I did not say that there are 200 autogynephiles for every transsexual, the records do. It was two men, Ray Blanchard and J. Michael Bailey who discovered that the vast majority of men presenting as ‘trans’, as ‘women’, were, and are, fetishists. I have read both of them. Why don’t you try? I totally agree that far too much time is taken up with ‘trans’ rights when it is biologically provable that no man can become a woman. So, why are we pandering to this lunacy at the expense of female rights and spaces? However, a PhD student – sorry, forgotten his name – was dismissed from his university recently because he published material that showed that so-called ‘trans’ brains differed in no way measurable to those of straight men.

          • andyoldlabour

            Bob Smith

            I am with Lorna on this subject and anyone else who wishes to see sports, prisons, hospital wards, women only short lists, refuges etc. all categorised by biological sex. Any male who self identifies as the opposite sex has to be questioned why. It is obvious that a percentage are doing it for nefarious reasons. It is also a fact that only around 5% of transgender people have any kind of surgery and much of that is cosmetic. There are also quite a few instances of transwomen (males) calling themselves lesbian, who then try to coerce lesbians into having sex with them.

    • Laguerre

      A brutal post, LC, and one that’s not well-informed. Most transwomen are not autogynephiliacs, though that phenomenon does exist. Why would you transform your whole life just for a fetish? It’s completely illogical. And I notice you completely ignore the issue of FTM transition – that’s apparently completely fine by you. And that one is now said to be more important than MTF.

      • Lorna Campbell

        I’m not well-informed? You state baldly that there is not a majority of autogynephiles in the ‘trans’ movement. No evidence to back it up. Go read Blanchard and Bailey, Laguerre. Most so-called ‘trans women’ are autogynephiles, including most of those who are transsexuals and body dysphoric, too. Sometimes, the truth is brutal, but its brutality has nothing to do with its being truthful. That stands alone. All this “just be kind” b***s**t has led us to a place in the West where we are likely to fall over the abyss shrieking, ‘Just be kind” as we hurtle into oblivion. This deluded c**p has the potential to undermine and totally destroy Western civilisation as we know it, from the inside. When the ‘Queer’ bandwagon starts on male rights, I’m sure I’ll hear the screams from any point on the compass.

        • Natasha

          Lorna Campbell, I have read Blanchard (a gay man fwiw) & co. over 25 years ago and they are in a tiny minority in the study of sexual and gender behaviour in humans. As are the useless, waste of time (there are many FAR far more important issues to solve), self evidently second hand opinions you offer here, which sad to say amount to such opinions being those of a poorly informed bully: how do you ‘know’ “Most so-called ‘trans women’ are autogynephiles” ? Have you met any? Or worked with any? I have (AVI Brighton) and I am sick of the sort of ‘mums net’ unexamined nonsense being pedalled over and over again. Here’s some data to chew on:-

          1. About 0.5% of global population are “trans” people. Some of them have one of the six most common karyotypes of biological sex in human beings that do not result in death to the fetus:

          X – Roughly 1 in 2,000 to 1 in 5,000 people (Turner’s )
          XX – Most common form of female
          XXY – Roughly 1 in 500 to 1 in 1,000 people (Klinefelter)
          XY – Most common form of male
          XYY – Roughly 1 out of 1,000 people
          XXXY – Roughly 1 in 18,000 to 1 in 50,000 births

          2. Scientists that study the molecular biology that underlies gender identity, the development of gonadal and genital anatomy, and the factors that define sexual behaviour, are discovering its proving unexpectedly complex and is still incompletely understood. It is now evident that humans cannot be characterized as member of 1 of 2 clearly defined units: male or female. In fact, individuals exist on a continuum: those who do not conform unequivocally to the dyadic view of human sex in terms of anatomy, gender identity, and/or sexual behaviour should be characterized as having variations in rather than disorders of sexual development. Such individuals can no longer be regarded as anomalies to be rejected, condemned, and, if possible, “corrected” either psychologically or anatomically – as Blanchard and his minority crew advocate.

          3. Other cultures have acknowledged the scientific reality of “trans” without imploding. India has a long history of recognising a third gender – Hijras were well-respected and revered in ancient India, and since 2014 legally recognised in India.

          4. Some Native American cultures for thousands of years before Europeans murdered most of them encouraged their children to chose their own gender roles.

          5. Work place discrimination is orders of magnitude worse for “trans” people. For example in the US in 2020 more than one in four transgender people have lost a job due to bias, and more than three-fourths have experienced some form of workplace discrimination. Extreme levels of unemployment and poverty lead one in eight to become involved in underground economies—such as sex and drug work—in order to survive. In December 2011 the UK government shared the statistic that 88% of transgender employees experience discrimination or harassment in their workplace and the aim for recent legislation to remedy this. One in eight trans employees (12 per cent) have been physically attacked by a colleague or customer in the last year (2017). A quarter have experienced homelessness.

          6. ONLY about 0.0000017% of the global population are both trans and a sexual predators / rapists / murderers (assuming the occurrence of sexual predators / rapists / murderers in the ‘trans’ population is the same as in the rest of the population (US close to global average: rape 27 / 100,000; homicide 6 / 100,000) and about 0.5% of global population are “trans” people).

          Thus, in conclusion, this means about 1.7 people per 1,000,000 of the worlds population, are somehow intent on casting DOOM onto the rest of humanity by [insert your pet fear here… ] !!

          • giyane


            I don’t think Lorna Campbell is complaining about the 0.0000017% of the global population that are both trans and a sexual predators / rapists / murderers. I think she’s complaining about normal men XY, using a loophole in the law to gain access to female spaces.

            Speaking as a normal man I can say that thinking about females occupies quite a lot of my normal daily routine in one way or another. No amount of statistics can deny that giving normal males the opportunity to gain access to normal female spaces can give a green light to men in exactly the same way as the availability of alcohol gives a green light to people who are fond of alcohol.

            If you listen to Scottish government experts on the effect availability of alcohol has on alcoholism, an effect normally denied by the Alcohol Lobby as lack of self-control, then that is a fair comparison. There should be no access for any men to female only spaces. Different, private, separate toilet facilities should be created for those whose chromasones vary from the norm, not let men barge into female spaces.

          • Natasha

            Giyane, “normal men XY, using a loophole in the law to gain access to female spaces” eh? Then surely such “men” are not “normal” or do we have a data-free catch-all invented but non-existent category to behold here!

            “Different, private, separate toilet facilities” …what? A separate different ‘bog’ for each sub gender / sexuality / sub genotype / etc… ?!

            Get a grip people: its cheaper to have one ‘bog’ for all of us, with “normals” keeping it safe from inevitable ‘bad actors’ of whatever flavour for all of us ‘good actors’. That’s at least what some healthy cultures can looks like.

            All this sweaty hot air and bad faith targeting this minority, or that minority, makes me puke. We have precisely ONE ‘Pale Blue Dot’ to live on.

            Let’s not cultivate divisions for psychopathic politicians and capitalism to exploit?

            Lets be nice and understanding and honest towards ourselves, so we can to each other?


          • Jimmeh

            > assuming the occurrence of sexual predators / rapists / murderers in the ‘trans’ population is the same as in the rest of the population

            Gosh, that’s a strong assumption.

            Also, the prevalence of “sexual predators / rapists / murderers” in the general population is probably grossly underestimated. Rape is widely considered to be underr-prosecuted. There is no crime of being a “sexual predator”, so you will need to define “sexual predator” in terms that at least let you count them. I’m not aware of any such definition.

          • Lorna Campbell

            Some of the examples you give are of people with intersex conditions. They are not ‘trans’, and they require us to be empathetic. Until a certified science exists that proves that ‘trans’ exists, I do not believe it. A young man was dismissed from his university for having the temerity to suggest in his PhD that there is no discernible difference between straight men’s brain and ‘trans brains’. The evidence does not exist for ‘trans’ anything being a medical condition. Even if it turns out to be so, what the hell does that have to do with women and their rights and spaces? I do feel sympathy for anyone gripped by body dysphoria/dysmorphia and I even feel sympathy for those gripped by a paraphilia. That sympathy drains away when confronted by the vicious ‘trans lobby, many of who are activists and many of who are so-called ‘trans women’ – that is, self-identified intact males who have no intention of removing their bits, their crown jewels.

            Craig, who was supported by many women when he found himself on the wrong side of the law, shows a total lack of empathy for females. Why does he expect women to make room for so-called ‘trans women’? They are men in frocks, they are not women. Men should make room for them or campaign to have third spaces (not disabled spaces either). What about it, Craig? Trans spaces and rights that do not intrude on ours? These men, most of them, are straight, heterosexual men with a fetish about being humiliated as females, as their porn proves without a doubt. Some of their fetishes would sicken anyone who witnessed them, but, hey, women and girls can witness them because they don’t really count in the larger scheme of things.

            I’m afraid that Craig disgusts me with his one-sided approach to human rights and I will refrain from posting on here or in supporting him next time he comes a cropper. He doesn’t even give a thought to predatory men who will use the ‘trans’ label to breach boundaries that are there for very good reasons. I can’t prove it, but I suspect that Craig has women issues as yet unresolved and all females must pay the price. It doesn’t require too much work to research this topic and discover the truly terrible price that women and girls and children are being asked to pay so that queer and kinky men can practise their Queer Theory on others without their consent. That is what Craig supports.

          • Giyane

            Lorna Campbell

            Liberalism interprets the doctrine of ” do as you would be done by ” as extending tolerance to everything the individual’s conscience can find in themselves. The Lowest common denominator.

            When Jesus pbuh says ” ye are to be perfect ” in the Gospels, I think this indicates that he was not the Liberal that all sorts of Christians would like him to have been . He teaches to aspire to the Highest common denominator, respect for others rights and needs.

            When Government in the form of Nicola Sturgeon tries to preach morality to society, the hypocrisy is overpowering. She got Salmond accused of rape, for thought crime, joking about a woman’s curls, but then wants women to accommodate men in their public loos.

            She’s not in any position to moralise on anything, as she only knows about politics..
            Politics is about dividing and ruling in our day and age, not about helping humanity.

            Politicians can and do say anything they like , for political purposes, in other words persuasion, compromise and power.

            You cannot extrapolate personal belief from someone’s political statement. You can’t say BoJo is a Nazi because he supports Nazis in Ukraine. No. He’s a politician who’s job is to talk what my wife calls bollocks ticks.
            Anyway a Fuhrer with a blonde moustache would look pretty crazy imho.

          • Natasha

            Lorna Campbell writes:

            “Some of the examples you give are of people with intersex conditions. They are not ‘trans’, and they require us to be empathetic. Until a certified science exists that proves that ‘trans’ exists, I do not believe it.”


            Lorna, the world is not black and white: for example, some people are intersex and transgender. Stating you “do not believe it” does not alter the data.

            Further, science is not designed to “prove” a “believe” in anything at all. Period. Science merely and only (see e.g. Popper) provides a peer reviewed ‘best fit’ explanation for ‘data’ gathered ‘so far’. Tomorrow maybe new data, maybe not.

            Such fundamental misunderstandings and your appeals for ‘proof’ invalidate all your opinions because they flow from and rest upon such misunderstandings. And your call for “certified science exists that proves that ‘trans’ exists…” are also rendered devoid of meaning.

            Since you refuse to assess new data – for example relying solely on widely discredited ‘cross-dressing’ studies by Blanchard et. al. in the 1980’s – the arguments and reasons you invite us to support are rendered unreasonable and beyond rational debate.

    • Giyane

      Lorna Campbell

      Sorry to hear this ridiculous issue has not yet been resolved in Scotland. Public toilets are under the control of politicians .Is it illegal to discriminate on the grounds of gender in a privately run toilet? Or is it beyond the wit of human to provide walled , individual toilets that offer privacy to all genders from a mixed gender communal space?

      Liberal , laissez-faire politics is the norm in Britain,and all aspiring politicians have to conform to this tripe, whether they agree with it or not. Just as Western politicians are obliged to encompass racist , Nazi, ideology and support its vicious murderous supporters.

      Somebody could maybe turn an unused shop into a charity for safe female toilets, Britain and the US have an appalling attitude to.public toilets. The toilets on Construction sites are unbelievably vile, while civilised toilets are provided for admin workers on sites. In Europe , lorrydrivers are provided with decent facilties,

      If politicians and managers were forced to share public toilets you would see a massive change in attitudes. I have worked in large call centres where Muslims are a large part of the workforce,, but no water provided for them in the toilets. Oh , they’re animals , is the normal response to such requests.. How could anybody be so barbaric as to want privacy, security and cleanliness?!?!

      • Lorna Campbell

        Thank you, Giyane. The reason that men adopt this attitude is because it’s not their rights and spaces that are being taken away. I’m all right, Jack. I must admit that I find the ignorance quite astounding, not to mention the lack of critical thinking about the implications for the whole of society. The safety/dignity/privacy issue is fundamental to our human condition. No ‘trans men’ (women) are going to bother men in their fastnesses. No ‘trans men’ are going to enter men’s sports against men. No ‘trans men’ are going to injure, rape, sexually assault men.

        I have been castigated by men claiming that women have invaded their spaces as if access to education and public spaces was an encroachment on male rights. Joining the local golf club and causing the chaps a bit of inconvenience is scarcely akin to claiming that you are actually a woman, need tampons, can give birth and breastfeed, have the right to enter a female ward in hospital where you can rape a woman (evidence put before the Lords recently, where the hospital denied that a man had been in the ward so it could not have happened and the traumatised women was branded a liar and fantasist when CCTV footage showed the rape!). The ‘woman’ who committed the rape was a trans identified male, incidentally, in case anyone was in doubt.

        Many men do get it, but, often, the most bright, whom you’d expect to get it, do not – whether through sheer prejudice or just a lack of critical thinking, I would not hazard to guess. All I will say is that they are all going to end up with eggy stuff all over their coupons when the chickens come home to roost.

  • Ian

    “On Sturgeon’s watch, life expectancy is falling, while levels of child poverty are on the rise. The educational attainment gap – supposedly the first minister’s defining mission – has widened once more, while the rate of drug deaths in Scotland is not only three-and-a-half times higher than the rest of the UK but higher than anywhere else in Europe.

    And yet if you listen to the party’s rhetoric, it’s as if the past 15 years never happened. The level of scrutiny the SNP quite rightly applies to the Conservative government at Westminster shouldn’t be applied to the government at Holyrood, it seems. Like justice minister Keith Brown, who recently ducked into the Scottish parliament canteen to avoid journalists’ questions, the SNP is hiding from its record in government.

    Scotland is now in a state of limbo, a political purgatory that shows no sign of ending anytime soon. “,in-limbo-under-nicola-sturgeon-scotland-is-stuck-in-a-rut

  • Jay

    Local council elections update, 9 May:

    England has now finished counting all votes.

    In the end, Labour didn’t do well in London. That was a lie.

    And they declined 2.3% in the North of England.

    Of Labour’s 108 net gains, 66 of them (61%) were in Wales, where Labour is led by a socialist Corbynite.

    Basically the opposite of BBC reporting of the local elections is the truth. A centre-right Sir Keir revolution did not sweep the land. Fully 91% of the seats the Tories lost were won by smaller parties.

    • Bayard

      That’s presumably why the local elections are now yesterday’s news.The official narrative has been propagated while it could have been the truth and thus the BBC can present a falsehood without actually lying.

    • Lapsed Agnostic

      Thanks very much for your concise election round-ups Jay. Largely agree with your conclusions. I also found the fact that Lutfur Rahman’s Aspire party gained more councillors in England than Labour (24 vs 22) to be particularly amusing.

      It wasn’t all bad news for Labour as they’ve now advanced to Mayfair* – but they lost Hull, which now boasts a chi-chi Lib Dem-controlled council. The locals will be opening artisan sour-dough bakeries and calling their city the Kingston of the North next.

      Even though Her Maj sadly couldn’t be there, hope you’re still enjoying all the pageantry of the State Opening of Parliament.

      * Do not pass Go. Do not collect £200 in likely undeclared election expenses for delivering biryanis, jalfrezis, tikka masalas, rice, naans etc. to Durham Miners’ Hall in April last year.

      • Giyane

        Lapsed Agnostic

        Even though sadly her Maj was absent ..

        I thought her presence was even more present by her absence. Unlike Charles she always manages to sound as if she agrees with every Tory word she reads. Charles won’t last long if he’s going to sound completely bored.
        Or is that Royal diffidence. FID DEF – ence?

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Thanks for your reply Giyane. I think that Bonnie Prince Charlie will be able to survive as monarch provided he can restrain himself from vociferously trying to undermine UK government policies – which I’m not sure he can.

      • Jay

        “I also found the fact that Lutfur Rahman’s Aspire party gained more councillors in England than Labour (24 vs 22) to be particularly amusing”

        Yes a sensation that would be hailed for years if it happened in the sporting realm. But because it upset the British political establishment, hidden and unmentionable.

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Thanks for your reply Jay. That’s why people have to visit websites like this – and maybe put a few pennies in the tin – if they want to find out what’s going on.

        • Bayard

          I suspect that the first we hear of Mr Rahman on the BBC will be in connection with allegations of corruption. These will, in due course, be found to be completely unfounded, but we won’t hear about that on the Beeb, either.

  • Paul Torgerson

    The abusrdity of FPTP. 35% for Labour in 2005 general election gave Blair an “unprecedented third term”…32% in 2019 was the “worst ever” defeat for Labour.
    In terms of popular vote the 1983 election was the worst ever (or at least since the war) for Labour with 27.6%. The best ever performance in terms of popular vote for Labour was 1951 with 48.8%….but FPTP put the Tories in power despite only getting 48%. With FPTP it is not how many people vote for you, but where they vote and by how big a margin you beat second place…and does not even guarantee the winner of the popular vote to have the most seats in parliament (eg 1951 and Feb 1974). If the Tories got just 30%, they would still get a majority providing they are about 7% ahead of second place. It’s a lousy system. As for Scotland, a pro independence party that is not SNP…would be the greens for me.

    • Squeeth

      FPTP also discriminates against big turnouts giving parteis a vested interest in abstention since the working class is the biggest voting bloc. No partei wants to implement policies amenable to the workers and no partei wants to rely on working-class votes, ergo the low turnouts consequent on the fascist FPTP sham are why the British state has never needed to put tanks on the lawn.

    • Bayard

      ” It’s a lousy system.”

      but it’s a system that gets the right people into power and that’s what counts.

    • Bob (not OG)

      FPTP, always unfair, becomes worse every year as voter turnout declines and fragments. Corbyn was the last hope for getting some power back from the corporate PTB, and look what happened to him – destroyed by a corporate MSM onslaught and false accusations of antisemitism.

      Sadly I have come to believe that voting only lends legitimacy to this (corrupt) system. As someone said earlier in the comments, we are now governed by a managerial class who are totally risk averse, have no technical/scientific knowledge and usually no experience of real work – yet truly believe in their own authority, given to them by the system they serve so obediently.

      Possible ways to improve things would be to have proportional representation, more referendums, more frequent general elections, no lobbying, no second jobs or other sources of income for MPs and no ‘revolving door’ between politicians and banking/the arms industry/big pharma/ag etc. etc.

      • Bayard

        It’s what changes we can make to the electoral system in practice, i.e. none, that we need to concentrate on, not what changes we could make in theory.

        • Bayard

          Corbyn did not destroy himself through “cowardice and incompetence”, he was destroyed because he wasn’t ruthless enough to take on his enemies in his own party. If he’d been more of a bastard, he’d still be Labour leader. I suppose you can say that’s incompetence in that the ability to be a bastard is a core competency of today’s politicians, but that says more about why we end up with the likes of Johnson, Blair and Thatcher in power than it does about Corbyn.

      • Jimmeh

        > destroyed by a corporate MSM onslaught and false accusations of antisemitism.

        The most damaging attacks on Corbyn were from his own party officials, who were quite prepared to lose an election to get rid of him.

  • Frank Waring

    I share your puzzlement….
    I’m not Scottish, though I’ve lived in Edinburgh since you were 14: some deep social attitudes of Scots still seem to me surprisingly different from otherwise very similar English.
    Thank you for your informed and thoughtful commentary.

  • Jimmeh

    > a charade which voters are happy to support

    I wonder if this is the reality: Sturgeon’s “hopes” for independence mirror the attitudes of SNP supporters. Hasn’t it been a problem for years, that for many ScotsNats, being a “nationalist” is more of an identity thing than the expression of an actual intention to become independent? SNP members complained to me about this phenomenon 25 years ago.

  • Tim

    Thanks Craig. Great to hear you describe Starmer as a neoliberal insurance policy, That is exactly the way I see it.

  • Bayard

    There could, of course be another reason for Sturgeon’s slow progress towards independence: instead of trying to wrest independence from an unwilling Westminster, she could be trying to mould the SNP to be the sort of party that the British Establishment would be happy to see in charge of an independent Scotland, with neoliberalism and crony capitalism as their driving creeds, Holyrood as Westminster with a Scotttish accent.

  • Vivian O’Blivion

    Aye well, Sturgeon’s NuSNP are a safe pair o’ hands.
    Safe if yer office is in Foggy Bottom. Safe if yer remit is protecting Trident at Faslane, the Scottish / Icelandic gap and NATO.

    On the inauguration of the devolved administrations the US State Department announced that they would be “taking an interest”.

    Humza Yousaf and Jenny Gilruth are graduates of the State Departments International Visitors Leadership Program.
    There is nothing inherently sinister in either Yousaf or Gilruth having participated in the IVLP, others (Kezia Dugdale, Patrick Harvey, Ross Thompson) were recipients of the State Department’s largesse.
    What’s interesting are the details where Yousaf and Gilruth are concerned.
    From Yousaf’s Wiki: “In 2008, whilst working as an aide, Yousaf took part in the IVLP programme, an exchange that is run by the US State Department.” That’s right, in his second year as a humble aide, Yousaf was recognised by the US State Department as a “future leader”.
    School teacher, Gilruth was in Washington as part of an IVLP delegation on 9th July 2016. That’s 35 working days after being sworn in as a rookie MSP.
    If those two don’t strike you as State Department plants, I have a Nigerian Prince living in my spare room you should meet.

    Angela Crawley and Patrick Grady were also present in Washington on 9th July 2016. Crawley and Grady are members of the British American Parliamentary Group and as such are mysteriously (and uniquely?) exempt from declaring foreign trips and gratuities in their HoC register of interests. We widnae even ken aboot the trip but fer an indiscrete social media post (WoS, All the jolly boys and girls).
    After some digging, Crawley and Grady were indeed recipients of IVLP largesse. A ten day all expenses paid trip no less.

    And true to the Nostradamus like predictions of the State Department, Yousaf, Gilruth and Crawley did indeed prosper (Grady not so much. He had an unrequited penchant for young male SPADS. A trait curiously common among NuSNP’s upper echelons).
    Yousaf is rumoured to be being groomed for the top slot some day.
    Gilruth is set on an apparently identical course to Yousaf, starting with the Transport brief.
    Crawley is Shadow Attorney General, despite never having practiced law (there’s a marvel to behold).

    The State Department doubtless has its own reasons to influence Scottish politics. There’s also the established protocol of the State Department and MI5 operating on a quid pro quo basis. Remember wee Simon Bracey-Lane of the Institute for Statecraft volunteering to “work for Bernie Sanders” during his Primary run against Hillary Clinton. “You run dirty tricks against our lot and we’ll run dirty tricks against yours.”.

    • Bayard

      As the British found out over a thousand years ago and the Irish found out a few centuries later, invoke the military help of a powerful foreign state to help you sort out a local war and pretty soon they have a permanent garrison on your soil and not long after that, they are running your country.

    • dgp

      I am finding it difficult to establish exactly what the problem with Scottish independence is about. Apparently Sturgeon is an utter fraud whose main purpose is to deflect any drive for Scottish independence.
      The Alba party’s failure to make an electoral mark is something to do with the party’s policy in relation to gender issue but I rather think that the damage to Alex Salmond was done by the trial and subsequent comments. He has been tainted, and politically neutralised probably by a concerted smear campaign.

      The post by Vivian O’Blivion suggests that a sizeable element of the SNP are willing stooges of the US state department, mainly on account of a strategically significant position which I rather suspect is now superceded by more advanced technology and by a reduced concern for the military capability of the Russian federation.
      Having no direct experience of either the US state department or the upper levels of the SNP/Scottish government, it is impossible to make a judgement.

      The gender issue is troubling because there are two competing impulses. On the one hand there is the impulse for tolerance and inclusivity of diversity, countered by a strong intuition that gender conversion is not a meaningful possibility without challenging some of the fundamental tenets of near universal norms. This is compounded by an inadequate technical understanding of the developmental and social processes that underlie the expression of sexual characteristics and behaviour.
      One curiosity of the gender issue is the taking on a leading or crusading position in Scotland in terms of creating a legislative basis for gender change or recognition. It seems reckless for a small government with limited resources to tackle such a scientifically uncertain and socially difficult issue. Surely much better to wait for an unfolding of the many related intricacies.

      • Giyane


        The sole purpose of challenging fundamental norms , like treating other ethnicities with respect as human beings in Ukraine, is for the ruling class to plunder their country’s assets like Zelensky.

        Gender is given, but sexual attraction can override gender. Sexual attraction can caused by spiritual love, physical beauty, accessibility, money, porn. Human beings are not supposed to hate whatever is different to themselves, nor have sex with whatever they are attracted by.

        To facilitate self-control all sorts of docile barriers , checks and balances are put in place, which must be protected, and not removed. The only reason that Sturgeon wants to destroy those social norms is to make people’s minds busy about the broken ground rules, in order to plunder the country she has been elected to manage.

        BTW, the Barzani clan in Kurdistan has been forcibly driven out of their control of oil facilities in Kurdistan by the Iraqi army for embezzling billions of dollars and not paying the people’s wages , services and pensions.
        Who lives by the sword , dies by the sword. Who lives by breaking basic human ground rules ,will die by the same.
        The day will come when Sturgeon will resign in abject disgrace for messing about with fundamental human social norms.

      • Bayard

        “mainly on account of a strategically significant position which I rather suspect is now superceded by more advanced technology and by a reduced concern for the military capability of the Russian federation.”

        Military thinking tends to lag a long way behind the latest developments, hence the saying “The military is always fighting the last war.” Russia needs to be the sort of enemy that can justify the current level of military spending in the US and, while it needs to be, it will be in the eyes of the US. “People tend to believe what they need to believe and the greater the need, the greater the tendency”

  • Mist001

    I must make it clear that I am no expert on toilets but if anyone has ever used a male public toilet and seen the state of them, it’s no wonder that trans people want to use women’s toilets. I’m not trans but even I’d prefer to use a woman’s public toilet before a man’s public toilet.

    The answer is of course, to make it law that every public new build must include three separate toilets, Male, female and trans, then everybody has their own space.

    • Bayard

      The trans rights activists won’t like that, as it suggests that trans people are not really the gender they wish to identify as.
      Much better to have unisex toilets with proper doors and a wash hand basin, not just cubicles, you know, like people have in their own houses.

      • Lorna Campbell

        Bayard: the whole point of wanting access to female spaces and rights is validation, but also, even more importantly, sexual arousal. It really is that simple. They get their rocks off by transgressing on female spaces and rights and, complaining actually feeds this arousal because they can then behave like victimised women. People really should read yup on this stuff. It is horrifyingly fascinating! I am not saying that men with autogynephilia should be vilified because, from all the evidence, it can be a very debilitating condition, although many feed it with porn, but they should be kept well away from all female spaces and rights – and children because we are all props in their sexual games with themselves. ‘Trans men’ are not, generally speaking, autoandrophiles. They ‘transition’ for very different reasons, mainly, if you listen to detransitioners, because, as females, they feel rejected by male-dominated society and believe that becoming ‘men’ will free them to be themselves. Male ‘trans’, female ‘trans’ and child ‘trans’ are three distinct phenomena, and the first feeds off the other two. Sad, but true.

        • Bayard

          I suspect that much of the toleration of this latest brand of exploitation is a result of the all-to-common belief that the underdog is always the good guy, that where you have an oppressed minority, the oppressors are wrong and the oppressed are always therefore right. Such a belief completely ignores the role of the exploiters, those who seek to take advantage of any given situation. In some cases, like this one, the exploiters can outnumber the exploited, but still have public sympathy because our dualistic philosophical heritage leads us to see everything in terms of two sides so if you are not against the bad guys you must be with them.
          Concerning “female spaces”, you will probably disagree with me, but I think the whole idea is an anachronism. We should have private spaces, spaces where strangers are disbarred, not because they are a particular sex, but because they are strangers.

        • Natasha

          Lorna Campbell argues disingenuously that so-called “autogynephilia” is a valid reason to be deeply abusive and bullying towards her chosen target: all MTF (male to female) transsexual people (about 0.25% of global population) by using criminally violent MTF people, who are at most perhaps about 1.7 people out of 1,000,000 of global population.

          We are urged to read Blanchard et al. who first described “autogynephilia” researching cross dressers in gay bars in the 1980’s.
          I have read Blanchard et al. and “autogynephilia” is now widely criticised and debunked in the relevant literature as riddled with errors and exception. In particular nearly all professionals in the field of gender and sexual development in humans accept that “autogynephilia” has no powers whatsoever to explain MTF transsexual people’s motivations for transitioning.
          For example: “Straight men may certainly have autogynephilia” as Blanchard and others describe. A study in Sweden in 2005 found that 2.8 percent of males experienced sexual arousal in response to cross-dressing). In medical circles the theory does not have much traction as far as understanding transgender women is concerned. The American psychiatric manual, the DSM-5 argues that cross-gender erotic fantasies (also known as crossdreaming or “female/male embodiment fantasies”) might simply be an expression of gender variance. The international health manual, the ICD-11, has no references to “autogynephilia”, “transvestic fetishism” or any other related terms whatsoever. Moreover, both manuals underline that being trans is not a mental illness. The “autogynephilia” theory, however, classifies such fantasies as a “paraphilia” (sexual perversion). Etc. Etc. Etc….

          But anyone who has an honest genuine interest in this topic will have read more widely than just Blanchard et. al. 1980s output, no?
          So why has Lorna Campbell failed to read widely thereby integrating her opinions honestly with a full range of published findings by experts who have studied gender and sexual development in humans?
          Why use such studied purposeful ignorance to deliberately misinform this comments section?
          Why pretend that “autogynephilia” applies only to MTF (male to female) transsexual people by writing: “the whole point of wanting access to female spaces and rights is […] even more importantly, sexual arousal.” […] They get their rocks off by transgressing on female spaces many feed it with porn […] but they should be kept well away from all female spaces and rights – and children because we are all props in their sexual games with themselves.”?
          Cherry-picking Blanchard’s distortions of “autogynephilia” by projecting them onto threats of children’s safety, is a disgustingly cynical ugly ploy to support a pre-determined otherwise unexamined prejudice against male to female transsexual people.
          In the real world, EVERYDAY innocent people are murdered, loose their jobs, friends and support networks by such wilful distortions of the scientific literature, deliberately crafted to incite others to join in on such cowardly emotionally fear based attacks on 0.25% of the world’s people.

    • Lorna Campbell

      You fundamentally misunderstand the ‘trans women’ motivation, Mist001, which is to be validated as female in female spaces – forcibly, if necessary. If people would understand what autogynephilia is and why it is dangerous for women, they might understand why women are going to be hurt and killed, too, I suspect.

      The mere fact that so many people do not understand what autgynephilia is and why it is so prevalent in the ‘trans women’ community has allowed it to be sneaked in under the radar. It includes fetishes such as unwanted touching, masturbating in public, an obsession with period and period products, listening to women peeing and pooing, wearing adult nappies like a baby and messing them, sucking dummies, raping dogs and other animals, eating faeces, filming women in states of undress without their knowledge and/or permission, all the way to sexual assault and rape.

      If you don’t believe me, watch some footage of a Pride march and see for yourselves – you’ll also see that very few homosexuals and lesbians attend these marches any more. One verified incident, apart from those I have already mentioned, was the horror of a woman who had just given birth who returned to her hospital bed to find her husband, behind the curtains, trying to breastfeed the infant in a state of arousal. If any of you men on this thread think that that’s acceptable, I feel sorry for you. If any woman on this thread does, she is beyond the pale.

      If you think that women and girls should have to accept this stuff, you need to see someone. No one is saying that all ‘trans women’ or even all autogynephiles behave like this, but, unfortunately too many do, and they are the largest part of the wider ‘trans’ community. The trans community doesn’t want us to know all this because they want it all sneaked in under the radar and brought into public spaces where they can flaunt it and get aroused by the non-consent it would engender, and if anyone believes that these men actually want to be like women because they like women, think again.

      What they like is the sexual feelings and arousal that come with their subjugation and humiliation of the female part of their persona: they are men having sex with themselves as a woman, and that often involves fantasy force. Please don’t ask me to explain it. I can only say that they are as far from being women or even remotely like women as a goat is from a whale. If this comment is removed, I’ll know that women’s human rights will go.

  • Neil Smith

    Mr. Murray,
    As an expat I don’t comment on much at home anymore, but I do enjoy reading your counter views around major international issues. Like many others, I have lost faith in news coverage that I thought reliable since childhood and look hard for alternate points of view that don’t make those news cycles to balance things out somewhat. I will say this on Scotland’s (and Britain’s) tradition of party political local government elections. It is and remains of the highest disservice to some of the most important frontline local services in any community. Council elections are supposed to be about voting for people who will make good decisions around rubbish collection, recycling, land use planning, schools, the operation of cemeteries, roads, recreation facilities, etc. Instead, every few years the opportunity to educate and engage people about local services that directly impact them is shunned in favour of a mock tryout for a general election where it’s all about referenda, any national issue of the week and influence to bring in the funding. These elections should not be a bellweather for Mr. Starmer, Mr. Johnson or Ms. Sturgeon. That they are seen this way is to me a huge failure of the system of government and public education. They should be an indicator of how well or poorly local services are being delivered and led. I’d sooner see the independent Councillor who has quietly affected change (or maintained stability) in their community over decades promoted to Holyrood or Westminster than those who use local government as a small stepping stone to the national stage. I live in a country that largely puts partisan identity to the backburner at the municipal level – they pay attention to local issues and get things done. In fact, if someone wanders into a partisan issue, that is typically where discourse, civility and progress go awry. It is imperfect of course, but so much more rewarding for everybody concerned. I hope that I live to see the day where a major political party exits local government elections to undermine this whole ethos.

    • Ascot2

      As a Scot living abroad I could not agree more that national politics should be separated as much as possible from local matters, even if occasionally the two intersect.
      I was born in Fife in 1944, at which time Willie Gallacher was West Fife’s MP. The only Communist I believe to have ever served in Parliament.
      He was certainly popular with his constituents because he held that position for 15 years.
      Even my family, who were knee-jerk Conservatives, had a great respect for Willie, in part because my de-mobbed uncle, who had not been given the pay he was owed for his army service, went to Willie Gallacher who took up his case and energetically saw it through to a successful conclusion.
      He clearly was a great MP but would have also made a superb local council member.

      • Lapsed Agnostic

        Somewhat amusingly, Ascot2, the last communist to have a seat in the UK parliament was actually Wogan Philipps, the 2nd Baron Milford, who sat in the The House of Lords until he died in 1993. When I was an annoying teenager, I used tell people that the House of Lords was a bit like the House of Commons, but with more commies. I think there were also several other communist MPs in the 1920’s & 30’s, but I can’t be arsed looking that up.,_2nd_Baron_Milford

  • Vivian O’Blivion

    81 years ago today …
    Sick of arguing with monarchist friends, relatives, colleagues or neighbours about the anachronistic nature of the royals?
    Forget the social iniquity, the financial burden or the stifling of meritocratic progress. It’s all baked in with them. They know and accept it.
    Ask them what Anthony Blunt, Keeper of the Royal Galleries was doing in Germany in the summer of 45.
    That would be bombed out Germany where food and accommodation had to be scavenged. The roads gridlocked with refugees pushing their pitiful handcarts. Where cholera and typhus may have escaped the camps.
    And yet, there was effete art critic Blunt.
    It’s an entertaining rabbit hole to disappear down. One that brings you back up on Eaglesham moor, 81 years ago today.

    • Ian Smith

      Problem is that democracy only brings in even worse. There is hardly an elected leader that is preferable – Sturgeon, Boris, Sadiq Khan, Blair, Brown, Thatcher, etc. It’s not as if we are even short of elections or referendums; they have been constant over the last 10 years at vast expense and zero progress.

      At least they do not seem to particularly enjoy it. Despite getting to dress up, Charles looked thoroughly miserable at the opening of parliament.

    • Bayard

      The problem about being a republican is that, realistically, there are only two choices, either we have an executive president, which means more in the mould of Thatcher, Blair, Johnson, Cameron etc, or we have a ceremonial president, in which case, what’s the difference? In any case, you just know, that with the latter option, you’d end up with a series of political has-beens, given a few years as figure-head of state before being shunted off to the House of Lords, or whichever retirement home for old politicians and their cronies is set up in its place. Whatever happens, it’s not going to do anything to combat “social iniquity, the financial burden or the stifling of meritocratic progress” except in some unrealistic Utopia.

      • Squeeth

        @Bayard, England has been run by an executive president since it became a republic de facto in 1688. He used to be the First Minister and now he/she is called the Prime Minister.

        • Bayard

          The point is that our first minister is not called a president not because they don’t have the same powers as an elected president, but because the ceremonial head of state is a different role. It is not because the UK is a monarchy, as illustrated by Ireland, which has the same system as us, but is a republic with a president as ceremonial head of state. No doubt Scotland, too, will go down the same route.

      • Jimmeh

        > whichever retirement home for old politicians and their cronies is set up in its place

        The European Commision?

  • mark golding

    Prince Charles delivered the Queen’s Speech, reading the UK Government’s key plans for the next parliamentary session and within it, set in quicksands, is a predetermination for unity and a subservient Scotland.

    “The continued success and integrity of the whole of the United Kingdom is of paramount importance to my Government, including the internal economic bonds between all of its parts.”

    • nevermind

      Would that be enough to invoke #16 of the NI protocol and suspend it, Mark ?
      Are we setting ourself up to a future that guarantees that inflation and lack of mobility bites us all, not to speak of bypassing whatever economic goals were achieved in the past.
      With Brandon Lewis in charge, a Bojo yes man if there ever was one.

    • nevermind

      “The continued success and integrity of the whole of the United Kingdom is of paramount importance to my Government, including the internal economic bonds between all of its parts.”

      It is disputed that the unity of ‘all of its parts’ can be discussed here as NI’s limbo politics is set to continue under this shambles of a Government. If this thread is solely about Scotland’s election, I apologise profusely. If the lack of expertise on the UK’s behalf leads us to declare that Art. 16 of the NI protocol will be declared to placate the diminishing Unionist hardline minority, we will see a further erosion of Stormont’s current non Government.
      That aside Stormont would make a fine Hotel.

  • Murdo Ritchie

    As an ALBA campaigner, I am glad and proud to have you as a fellow member.

    Did ALBA make no difference in this campaign? That was not what I experienced. True there was no victorious result. But this was the first time many people had even heard of ALBA. Many of those who had heard of ALBA did not even know it existed. This was one of the first times ALBA members could break the physical barriers of lockdown; though knocking down the psychological barriers may take at least another year.

    Unlike the Scottish Socialist Party and the Greens whose commitment to Scottish nationalism is more as SNP camp followers, ALBA placed it Scottish national independence at the centre of its approach. This is why it is probably the first real split in the independence movement – and as one philosopher wrote an organisation only becomes real when it splits. As these parties become bogged down in the minutiae of administrative politics, they will increasingly fail to project any vision of political change.

    As well as weeks spent leafleting, I spent nine hours outside polling booths on the day. What I saw amazed me. The absence of other parties even making a presence was astonishing. The Labour candidates were mainly has-beens, albeit with personal bases and pasts, who had to be especially pressured by Anas Sarwar to stand because they could not get sufficient candidates. Many had some years earlier announced how they’d previously given up on politics.

    The SNP was also largely invisible and the energetic campaigners that were omnipresent in the past were just not there. Indeed, on a number of occasions I offered leaflets to people who refused, saying they were SNP members. The obvious question that went through my mind was: why weren’t they out supporting their candidates?

    Both the Labour Party and the SNP appear like two leaden inert blocks incapable of mobilising their bases. Perhaps because they have no intention of ever trying. Within administrative politics they will hate each other, but fail to recognise that they will both be seen from outside as essentially similar.

    Morale in ALBA, after this intervention is high. It has been seen as making the first steps. The membership is confident. A route map for the future is revealing itself. ALBA must seek to create the motivated energy that was present during the referendum campaign when the hunger for change was in the hearts, minds and actions of many Scots. It must become the party of change and not fall into the trap of passively keeping the status quo in place.

    • Mist001

      What I noticed on Twitter was that not one single photo was posted from any candidate of any party, including Alba, of canvassing in a downtrodden housing scheme. Every single photo was from a town centre or leafy suburb.

      It gave every appearance of all parties not giving a damn what people stuck in housing schemes have to say.

  • Jay

    One of the most interesting aspects of the May elections was how the majorify of Labour Councillors were booted out when voters chose Lutfur Rahman and his Aspire party (formerly Respect).
    Rory Stewart – who I usually have some time for – opined on a recent podcast with Alistair Campbell that (in essence) it was all down to one ethnic grouping voting for ‘their own’ and also because they were worried they would not get housing if they didn’t – friends in that area say that is patently absurd. Also RS displayed a sad level of ignorance by failing to note that most of the Labour Councillors who were given the boot were also of Bangladeshi ethnic background – which obvioiusly wrecks his first thesis.
    The Guardian ran a mainly negative story about Lutfur becoming Mayor – but search for anything about Aspire’s major win over Labour and there seems to be nothing there (so far). They have been able to devote many column inches to Wagatha Christie on the other hand.
    This is alarming because it is clearly a newsworthy story and more than that it is an important story for anyone who might be supportive of the Labour Party and who wants to establish the reason for their recent failures and learn from it.
    Clearly someone at the Guardian has decided that running this story would be too embarrassing for Labour and so they have censored it. That paper really is going downhill.
    Regarding the Labour party well worth reading the recent article in the New Statesman about Keir Starmer and his dubious background. Surprised to see it appear in the NS but then Labour HG are probably already making moves to ditch him.

    • Ultraviolet

      This is alarming because it is clearly a newsworthy story and more than that it is an important story for anyone who might be supportive of the Labour Party and who wants to establish the reason for their recent failures and learn from it.

      It’s something that has really struck me over the past week. Trying to have a realistic discussion about how poor the results were for Labour is impossible. The Starmer groupies in the media are all singing Hallelujah, and no apostasy is allowed. If anyone tries, they are immediately branded a disgruntled hard leftie and dismissed.

      It’s great news for Johnson, but terrible for anyone who would like a non-Tory Government.

      • AndrewR

        I live in Tower Hamlets. Here, the Respect Party was an alliance of left wingers, mostly SWP, and Bangladeshi groups. George Galloway was the most prominent politician, and he was elected MP for Bethnal Green. The alliance didn’t last long (three, four years?) and always relied on not talking about social issues – homosexuality, drug policy etc. – but concentrating on living conditions. The different sections split again and there was an argument about who owned the name Respect. I don’t know who won but by then it didn’t really matter.

        In Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman collected the remnants – the Bangladeshi groups and disaffected Labour party members. And he won the mayorship in 2010. There’s a link to a redpepper article above that gives a short account. Lutfur had been head of the Labour party council group but was suspended after internal wranglings in the Labour party. He then ran against Labour and won.

        That was 2010. It should have been a warning to Labour, under Milliband, that they had lost touch with people here. (In 2015 the Labour party membership voted for Corbyn.) Now, 2022, the right-wing is back in charge of Labour Central. They really should take note, but they probably won’t.

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Thanks for your reply, Andrew. Sorry for my late reply – been busy on the latest thread. Whilst no doubt some former members of Respect are now members of Aspire, nevertheless the latter wasn’t a direct continuation of the former.

          I remember hearing stories in 2005 about SWP members delivering leaflets for Galloway in Bethnal Green & Bow which stated that he had always been against abortion – but in Bengali so they couldn’t read them.

  • The elf

    I don’t follow Scotland much, other than your blog. It seems to me, that independence is a doomed cause for now at least, which is the next 5, 10, 20, 50 years. There is never going to be ‘right’ time to become independent. There is always something happening, or on the horizon, be it fall in oil price, or what to do with Trident, or Covid, or war in Ukraine, etc etc. I like your blog and I would like to see independent Scotland, but I don’t see it happening. Not soon anyway. For how many years the majority in Scotland do not vote for the Tories, but are ruled by then? I really don’t know, 50 at least? And the Scots still did not vote for independence. Independence is more than money, being better off. It is the idea that you may be worse off, but nonetheless, you want to be independent. I am not a Scot, and don’t want to disparage the Scots, and least of all you, but the Scots as a whole still don’t have it in them to become independent. It is not seeing through this or that, BBC propaganda and so on, it is about the fire in the belly that you may starving, but you want to be independent. I am sure as an ex-diplomat, you know of many such examples and I suspect you know with your guts, that this is not happening in Scotland any time soon. You are absolutely right about a crust of people who wants to have good jobs, to be on TV, to have people talking about them, feeling important, good superannuation and good jobs for their children and friends. And this is it all about at the moment, well dressed up in nationalistic rhetoric. Apology again for the anonymous post

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