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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  • Overlordnat

    Given how Labour have treated Corbyn and the left of their party and treated voters like mugs by abandoning their pledges and lurching to the right there is no way I could vote for Labour. Elections weren’t held in my area but Starmer, Streeting and the whole cabal of extreme capitalists, zionists and war-mongering imperialists are beneath contempt!

    • Lapsed Agnostic

      I see Durham Constabulary have announced that they’ll be reinvestigating the events that took place in Durham Miners’ Hall on the evening of 30th April 2021, Overlordnat – a mere 12 hours after the polls closed. Things don’t look great for Keith Starmzy though:

      Obviously, it’s asking too much to expect one of the country’s top forensic QC lawyers to understand the law – but of course the little people needed to have a thorough grasp of it, otherwise they might have received crippling ten grand fines. That said, let’s hope Keith ends up hoist by his own sanctimonious petard. Anyway, he’s already done his job – which was to throw Corbyn under a bus, of course.

      In the interests of legal balance, I should say that not everyone agrees with Barry’s Nag:

      Why do they call him Ian Dunce again?

      As you might expect, Jolyon Kimono Fox-Batterer has also felt the need to chime in:

      Er, it was actually electioneering, not work – so you and your cretinous mate can both **** off, Kimono.

      • Ultraviolet

        Interesting legal argument. I’m a lawyer myself, so I always enjoy looking at these things.

        The Horse makes a good prima facie case.

        I guess the defence will be that “campaigning” refers to the act of calling on people to try to persuade them to vote for your candidate; and that campaigning was just one part of what Starmer and the others were doing as part of “working”.

        However, even if the “working” rules apply, I am far from convinced on what I have seen from reports and photos that Starmer complied with them, either in terms of numbers or in terms of maintaining social distancing. And I just don’t get how or why they could have maintained for so long that Rayner was not there when she was.

        For a QC and former DPP to plead that he misunderstood the application of a law he whipped his party to vote through seems to me untenable. If he is not completely cleared, he has to go.

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Thanks for your reply UV. I’m not a lawyer, but my old man has an upper second class LLB and I used to read some of his old university books when I was a kid. Sir Starmzy has two jobs: one of them is to be the MP for Holborn & St Pancras; the other is to be the leader of Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition. Both of them can be done perfectly adequately without setting foot in Durham Miners’ Hall. He went to Durham for purposes of campaigning. Legally, the food & drink aspect is irrelevant – though it does enable tabloid headline writers to let rip with subcontinental cuisine-related punnery.

          Of course, I want him to go, but if he gets a fixed penalty notice* as he should (along with Angie), I don’t see why he’s necessarily under an obligation to resign, especially as Boris & Rishi haven’t. Sure it means he’ll be a hypocrite, but hypocrisy just means saying one thing and doing the opposite – which is pretty much what he’s been doing on a regular basis since he entered the shadow cabinet.

          * Strangely enough, I’ve received one or two of those from Durham Constabulary myself in my time, though not for breaching Covid regulations.

          • Ultraviolet

            The more I think about it, the more I struggle to see how this was not a breach of the laws in force at the time. Meetings were supposed to be remote where possible. I’ve seen nothing to say it was not possible to meet remotely. It may have been more convenient, but it certainly was not necessary.

            If the work was done, they didn’t need to eat together, they could eat separately. And if it wasn’t, see above.

            I entirely agree that what they did was nowhere near as bad as what Johnson et al did. But I find the current attempts to try to force fit what Starmer, Rayner and co did into the framework of legislation that was in force at the time wholly unconvincing.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks again for your reply UV. I never said that Starmzy’s behaviour was nowhere near as bad as Boris & Rishi’s. I believe that they received their FPNs for the birthday party in June, which they claim – probably with some merit – was largely thrust upon them by their staff.

          • Jimmeh

            > but if he gets a fixed penalty notice

            A FPN isn’t a conviction. It’s an administrative procedure, that allows you to pay the FPN (which is a lot smaller than the fine would be) if you forgo the right to be tried and convicted/acquitted. Crace, in the Guardian, systematically refers to Johnson as “The Convict”; he hasn’t been convicted of anything.

            It’s regrettable that so much focus is placed on parties and curries; that is hypocrisy (an occupational hazard for politicians, especially those of the right). But the real scandal is Boris’s repeated lies to Parliament, and repeated failures to set the parliamentary record straight. According to the Ministerial Code, both of those failings *require* the minister to resign.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks for your reply Jimmeh. I know that an FPN isn’t a conviction and that you have the option of going to court. I also know that in almost all cases they hate people who do that because it causes them a lot more work (they’re hugely overworked already, mainly due to the recidivism of myriad smackheads – a situation that, as I’ve mentioned on here before, could be easily solved). So they go out of their way to impose convictions on specious grounds and to impose large fines or even jail sentences. In my experience, you get treated like shite by the courts – even if you’re on the jury (that’s two weeks of my life I won’t get back). John Crace* can call Boris what he likes – but Boris is perfectly at liberty to sue the Graun. I agree about Boris and the Ministerial Code, but that isn’t the law of the land.

            * He’s someone else who has (or had) little respect for the law of the land, which is one reason he deliberately set out to become a smackhead and, as you might expect, succeeded.

          • Ultraviolet

            Hi LA,

            I’ve been doing a bit more digging, and I found this:


            Meetings to organise and plan campaigns should be held online or over the phone. They should not take place in person.

            It’s unequivocal. No exceptions are included.

            Even if it was a work meeting, that does not mean no rules were broken, as Labour is now bizarrely arguing.


            This guidance sets out measures that should be followed for work meetings, including:

            Using remote working tools to avoid in-person meetings.
            Ensuring participants should physically attend meetings only where reasonably necessary. Participants should maintain social distancing (2m, or 1m+ with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable).
            Holding meetings outdoors whenever possible or in rooms where there is good ventilation through open doors, windows and vents, mechanical ventilation (such as air conditioning) or a combination of both.

            They obviously have not done the first. It seems hard to argue that the meeting was “reasonably necessary” when the guidance on campaign organisation meetings is an unequivocal “don’t”; and even more so when their evidence that work was continuing was WhatsApp chats, clearly demonstrating that remote/online working was possible. The photos and video seem to suggest that social distancing was not maintained, mitigation was not in place (certainly no masks) and the window is clearly not open.

            Yesterday, I thought it was 60/40 as to whether there had been a breach. Having done this digging, Unless I have made a mistake such as looking at guidance from a different period of the pandemic, it now looks like a slam dunk open and shut case, and I just don’t understand what the hell the Labour party thinks it is playing at.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks again for your reply UV. Agree with all that. It’s possible that you might have half a case if you were members of the Luddite Party, and didn’t own any computers or phones – but probably only if was raining very heavily outside. Last time I checked, Kimono Fox-Beater QC was still all over the place but seems slowly to be coming round to the Nag’s and my view.


            I think that the Labour bag-carriers will be hard done by if they get fined, as they have to do what they’re told if they want to keep their jobs – but Sir Starmzy, Angie and that dragged-up fishwife Mary Foy MP1 deserve everything they get. Starmzy seems to be gambling on being found in breach of the regulations but not receiving an FPN, which is sort of what happened to Dom Cummings over his peripatetic eye-test.


          • Ultraviolet

            Wow, that analysis from JM is fascinating. Odd that he missed the reference in the guidance to campaign planning meetings being off limits, full stop. But he has still come to the conclusion that Starmer may be in legal jeopardy.

            I really am starting to have a nagging feeling that this is the Labour right’s move to defenestrate Starmer.

            Incidentally, I posted that same analysis on the Guardian politics live thread this morning, early on (first page of comments) and got nothing but abuse from Starmer’s fan club for my troubles. But nobody had the slightest legal rebuttal. I did get asked if I knew the law better than a former DPP. I didn’t have the heart to go back and say yes, I really do.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks again for your reply UV. Jon Lansman seems to be thinking along similar lines to you. (Incidentally, my brother says he met Wes a few years ago when he was mandied up* in a club in Berlin):


            These days, I try to avoid even reading Graun comments threads and, as much as possible, the Graun itself – though I will concede that it does occasionally have some good off-beat articles.

            * For the avoidance of doubt and for any (other) lawyers that might be reading this, I should state that by ‘he’ I’m referring to my brother and not Mr Streeting.

  • Mist001

    To my mind, Alba and the the SNP both share a common problem. They each need a new leader. An additional problem for both parties is that there are no obvious candidates for the job.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, there is no doubt that Alex Salmond is head and shoulders above any other UK politician but even before his recent troubles, he was always ‘hit and miss’ with the voters, kind of Marmite but unfortunately, the mud from the court case has stuck and he’s now become an electoral liability.

    • Cynicus

      “Alba and the the SNP both share a common problem. They each need a new leader. An additional problem for both parties is that there are no obvious candidates for the job.”

      True in the case of Alba.

      But the SNP? Have you forgotten Joanna Cherry who humiliated Johnson on prorogation? She is so feared by the monumental non-achiever Sturgeon that she got her husband Peter Murrell to rig candidacy selection rules to stop Cherry becoming an MSP.

    • Goose

      Sinn Fein need the DUP’s cooperation because of the way power sharing is structured. And they’ve said they’ll veto if the NI protocol isn’t scrapped. Wonder if the DUP would’ve held that view had they come out of these elections as the largest party?

      Although, should the DUP follow through and play a purely obstructionist role using the NI protocol as justification, that will likely further cement their increasing irrelevance. So not a strategy without risks for them. More generally, the whole protocol issue seems largely nonsensical and simply pandering to unionists (in NI and the UK); as the UK-EU deal gives Northern Ireland the best both worlds. Trading options (remain voting) Scotland and Wales would likely prefer.

      • Cynicus

        “Trading options (remain voting) Scotland and Wales would likely prefer.“

        Scotland was indeed “remain voting” by 62% to 38%.

        But not so Wales

        854,572 (52.5%) voters in Wales chose to leave the EU, compared with 772,347 (47.5%) supporting Remain.

        • pete

          Does that mean all 100% of the electorate voted? Because in Wales 28% didn’t vote, 34% voted remain and 37% voted leave. So not a majority, except in the first past the post system.

          • Squeeth

            The referendum was a yes/no national vote; the winning side got more than 50% of the votes of the national electorate who didn’t abstain. Since abstainers are ignored in state votes, ignoring them in the referendum is only fair.

          • Cynicus

            Sorry, I have only now seen your comment.

            The data I quote comes, verbatim, from the BBC news website. Clearly they were referencing percentages of turnout rather than of the electorate.

      • Paul Torgerson

        DUP want a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. They were against the GFA. Boris Johnson want to pick a fight with the EU to keep Brexit on the front page as he thinks it is a vote winner for him. So ditching the protocol suits both the DUP and Boris Johnson.

        • IrishU

          Could you cite a source for your claim ‘the DUP want for a hard border between NI and the Republic’? I think you will stuggle to find any since the referendum in 2016.

  • ET

    “I have no doubt the Tories will be discussing with the unionists ways to contrive to prevent O’Neill becoming First Minister.”

    The DUP had already resigned their First Minister, Paul Givan, in Feburary which also removed Michelle O’Neill as deputy First Minister. They have no need to contrive anything, the strategy is already in place. According to this piece in the Irish times:

    “Mr Donaldson indicated on Friday there would be no swift resolution to the impasse. He told RTÉ News that unless the UK government takes action in regard to the Northern Ireland protocol – which is opposed by unionists – he would not nominate ministers to the Executive.”

    If Ministers are not nominated there is no process to otherwise fill those ministerial posts and Stormont collapses with Brandon Lewis stepping in to “rule from Westminster.” To be fair, Sinn Fein have used similar tactics in the recent past and the not so recent past. What’s needed is a D’Hondt plus method where if a parties’ allocated ministerial positions are not taken up they are divied up amongst the other parties. Pigs might fly.
    However, abstentionism was a tactic used sucessfully in the pursuit of Irish Independence.

  • Vivian O’Blivion

    Rhiannon Speer didn’y loose her seat, she stood doon efter she got caught no payin’ her Cooncil tax.
    In an act beyond the realm of self parody Kezia Dugdale’s sinister influencing op. the John Smith Centre for Public Service (Promoting Trust In Politics And Public Service) held Speer up as an exemplar of public service last month.
    The JSCfPS published accounts are four years late and counting. Now that just disnae strike me as “Promoting Trust”. Just who’s paying for Dugdale her staff of four, accommodation, expenses, … ?
    I’d wager on Foggy Bottom, filtered through various front organisations.

    • Lapsed Agnostic

      All good points, well made, as usual, Father. If I may say so, this is a good point, very well made – and, in my view, deserves a wider readership than just folks who’ve either been chucked off Twitter, or are just cheesed off with it & its #BelieveHerUnlessShesAmberHeard hashtags*:

      Well done Celtic – Scottish Champions again.

      * The Twitter debate on the Russo-Ukrainian War / Special Military Operation is as one-sided as you might expect, but is a font of nuance and heterodox opinion compared to its coverage of the Amber Heard v. Johnny Depp libel case which really is something else.

      (TO THE MODS: Sorry for sailing a bit too close to the wind with that earlier effort – it’s the weekend, things get drunk, especially when Celtic win. I’ll try to behave myself next week.)

      • Vivian O’Blivion

        Flattered that you think my fevered musings deserve a wider audience.
        Experience teaches caution. I prefer to operate in the shadows.
        For the record; the funds from the pancake breakfast were only resting in my account.

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Thanks very much for your reply, Father. That one certainly does – as does your reference on a previous thread to ‘Cumberchuff Young Team’ which nearly resulted in a lagered-up lap-top. What happened to the young teams anyway? Probably Playstations and the Internet.

  • andyoldlabour

    How many places were involved in these elections because ours certainly wasn’t, so how representative of the true picture are they?

    • Nally Anders

      “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.”

      C’mon Craig, you can’t just let that hang there without some kind of explanation, much less evidence.
      Even you must concede that your friend the late Jan Morris and Tory MP Jamie Wallis are two entirely different entities. One was an entirely respectable fully transitioned, transsexual and the other? No intention to transition at all.
      Retaining pronouns he/him, why would women tolerate him in our single sex spaces?

      • andyoldlabour

        Nally Anders

        I agree. On the one hand we have genuine transsexuals, who quietly go about their business and on the other, there are the transrights activists who are a very unpleasant group of people, seemingly intent on being nasty to women. There are also the people such as Mridul Wadwha a transwoman (born male) who is the CEO of Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre and misled the interview panel into believing Mridul was a woman in order to get that post. I can only imagine the terror which an abused woman would feel, knowing that the head of a place where she was seeking refuge from male violence, was run by a biological male.

  • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

    Starmer – like Obama – is the pretty face to get the system’s ugly job done.

    • mickc

      But Starmer doesn’t have Obama’s “charisma” and ability to relate to normal people, in fact quite the opposite.
      Of course, charisma isn’t enough. Attlee famously had none but he did have policies. Starmer has neither.

      • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett


        Your points are well taken.

        My core focal points are actually as follows:-

        1. In response to the 2008 financial crisis Obama essentially returned to the Wall Street ‘bangsters’ the taxpayers money to become even richer and then to return to the same casino game and here we are with Biden facing the same problem down the road today with a massive deficit and the money machine printing fiat dollars in the trillions,
        2. Starmer is identified to be a good boy to follow the same neo-liberal policies and not diverge much from Tory policies.

        So – two system’s men. And, there you have it in black and white ( ha…ha..)

        • mickc

          Oh yes, I entirely agree! Two system’s men indeed, whose purpose is exactly what you say…
          We’re stuffed…again…

        • Ultraviolet

          I’ve never shared the cynicism about Obama that I so often see. Thing is, I am not sure to what extent people commenting on him get how American politics works. The nature of the House and the Senate means that the President actually has less power than many believe.

          Obama was reliant on Congress to pass legislation. I never once saw an example of him moving further to the right than was required to secure the necessary votes.

          He was still a right winger by our standards. But by American standards, he was probably the most left wing they have had since at least Carter – and possibly ever.

          • andyoldlabour

            I had high hopes of Obama when he was elected, however, one word:


          • Mary Bennett

            Lyndon Johnson, corrupt as he no doubt was, spent about fifty years in congress accumulating favors owed him — what our media call ‘political capital’. When he became president he held a meeting of national civil rights leaders in which he is said to have proposed to use his executive authority to override Jim Crow laws across the nation. The civil rights leaders told him, no that’s not good enough, we need federal legislation. LBJ called in favors to help get civil rights legislation passed. When Obama became president, congress on both sides of the aisle simply refused to work with him and, having been in politics no more than about a decade, he had no way to force them to do so.

          • Mary Bennett

            Obama’s fault, I believe it is called ministerial responsibility, because it was his administration and he appointed both those harpies, Killary and VIckie.

          • Squeeth

            He showed that he was a corp-0-rat fraud when he announced that he was taking corp-0-rat money. In office he was as abject as Corbyn was out of it.

          • Alyson

            On the trail of the Libya tragedy, it might be pertinent to recognise that it all hinged on the removal of Saif Gaddafi’s PhD from the LSE and the resignation of his tutor who had passed his thesis. The argument was that there was too much plagiarism in it and it was badly written.
            The real reason is that it was the foundation of Gaddafi’s new megalopolis on the Mediterranean coast, which was to offer a pan-Arab, pan-African banking system, run on Islamic lines, with a fee up front and no interest payments. Our Tony was sent to tell Muammar, sorry old friend, but we cannot allow this. And we didn’t.
            Allegedly Gaddafi laughed at the suggestion that we could veto his building a city in his own country, and a banking system which would allow African countries to develop their own resources.
            Sources at the time included the Telegraph and FT articles.
            Obama would have had no alternative than to protect dollar hegemony and supremacy.

          • John Monro

            I knew Obama had failed as a human being, that he was an imposter, even before he took office, when during this Presidential “interregnum” he had absolutely nothing to say on Israel’s murderous assault on Ghaze, indeed even when directly asked, refused to criticise on the morally vacuous grounds he wasn’t yet President.

          • glenn_nl

            JM : Obama did say the Israeli assault was “breaking my heart”, and the assault did halt shortly afterwards. That was “Operation Cast Lead”, iirc.

            Condoleezza Rice, on the other hand, said “We don’t need a ceasefire yet”.

            With all that’s happening in Ukraine, I wonder whether the Israelis will use the distraction for more atrocities, or if they’re worried that the appalling double standard will show up the US and its stooges even more starkly, for the utter hypocrites we are.

          • Yuri K

            Re replies to you below, they say that there were 3 witches who twisted Obama’s arms to bomb Libya, HRC, Samantha Power and Susan Rice. He himself later told The Atlantic that his lesson was “Don’t do stupid shit.” Yeah, a failed country is just some stupid shit.

            But I’ll add the second word: Drone war.

            And I’ll add the third and final word: The New Cold War. Obama did not start it, but he is the one who sealed it.

  • Jay

    When you dig into yesterday’s results further it is quite clear the “Starmer surge” is just another fabrication on his behalf.

    • Of Labour’s 137 net gains, 65 of them (47%) were in Wales, where Labour is led by First Minister Mark Drakeford… who supported Jeremy Corbyn.
    • Of the seats the Tories lost in England only 13% went to Labour; 87% went to smaller parties.
    • London is not where Labour lost the last election, no matter how much revisionism there is now, but in any event Prof John Curtice said “The 33 net gains of seats it has registered in London are a consequence of the decline in Conservative support rather than any electoral advance by Labour”. No matter how they won, any strengthening of the impression of Labour is a London party is not going to help them regain the Brexit seats lost in 2019, especially not when led by the Remainer in Chief.
    • Even without the London-centric impression having been strengthened, outside London in these elections Starmer’s Labour vote share actually fell compared to Corbyn led Labour when these seats were last contested in 2018.

    So even in the most propitious of circumstances — Tories totally discredited and despised, media at Sir Keir’s back — there was nothing resembling a “Starmer surge”. Anyone thinking there may be one in the future — especially after the Beergate thing has been wedged in people’s minds — is kidding themselves.

  • daydreamer

    I have a few friends in the SNP and I suspect that they are happy enough to follow Nicola Sturgeon indefinitely and on the whole, unquestioningly. Their only gripes with the SNP are regarding gender politics issues. They are currently celebrating the election results with an air of vindication. I should say my friends are the sort who are broadly neo-liberal in outlook and (in my estimation) primarily interested in Scottish independence because it gives then a cause they can support loudly and vocally so everyone can be impressed with their level of conviction, and so they can tell themselves that despite their broadly cushy lives they are part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Beyond independence they don’t seek any significant changes in the way this country is run. I dare say there are a lot of people like this in the SNP membership. Teflon Nicola seems to be able to get away with anything, however the mud has indeed stuck to Alex Salmond. In our current political climate, it’s difficult to imagine that there will be real progress towards Scottish independence any time soon.

    • Gregory Nunn

      Love it!
      It will take a measure of civil disobedience, I believe Craig said last year, and he is correct.

    • Bayard

      The biggest obstacle to Scottish independence is not democracy, it’s what passes for democracy in the UK.

  • Mary Bennett

    There were primary elections in several states in the USA last Tuesday. I can’t comment on Great Britain, but here in the USA, if there is an overall trend to be seen in voting it looks to me like people are voting for respectability. I wonder if something similar occurred in Scotland?

  • Pears Morgaine

    I’ve not seen any figures relating to turn-out which is generally pretty low in local elections. A friend of mine who’s Returning Officer for, well let’s just say somewhere in Scotland, tells me they had a grand total of 278 voters during the 15 hours they were open.

  • Fat Jonny

    The BBC really don’t like the idea of Sinn Fein being the largest party, do they? Their news bulletins can only announce the result with a lengthy report of how the IRA behaved 40-50 years ago. The DUP spokesman was a little sinister when he said “we are prepared to accept the result of this election”. Well, I should hope so, otherwise you shouldn’t be allowed to field candidates.

    So much for impartiality.

    • glenn_nl


      “we are prepared to accept the result of this election”

      That’s more than the previous US administration was prepared to say and do!

      Time we called them out on their sham democracy claims, treated them like the lunatic warmongering Christianist death-cultists that they are, stopped dancing to their tune on foreign policy, and aping their capitalist death-spiral.

  • Alyson

    Corbyn was a wonderful public speaker. He could inspire and deliver a manifesto which was democratically consensual and easily deliverable. He was however tedious and unfocused as a front bencher, and was unprepared for television interviews. The backlash against him was however extreme, baseless and fervid, because he questioned the power of the multinationals and the current international balance of power, which you so perfectly clarified in the Donziger article, Craig.

    Local democracy needs people knowledgeable and networked sufficiently to stand in the first place, and articulate enough to engage with a range of local issues. Far too many places simply return the same Councillors unopposed, until a local issue galvanises engagement.

    The issue of independence for a small country is most aptly demonstrated by the ultimate small country, Israel, which has celebrated reaching a population milestone of 9.5 million, 7 million of whom are Jewish and the rest Arab, Christian or other. They achieved statehood via wars, land theft, and occupation, and their armaments are second to none. Short of occupying Faslane I fail to see where an independent Scotland will find the means to define its separation from England. I jest of course. But sheer numbers, and national identity would seem to be insufficient to drive full separation, in the face of a much stronger neighbour, and with few allies beyond the borders.

    Wales is a nation of community, united by song and rugby. Ethnicity is of less importance. Identity is about neighbourliness and common suffering under colonial industrialists. Colonial oppression is still a raw wound, remembering the hunger marches, the flooding of valleys for reservoirs for Liverpool and Birmingham, and now the fake rewilding agenda which buys up working farms, to neglect as carbon offsetting for corporations to greenwash their credibility.

    National identity and defence are integral, and Corbyn was seen as a potential threat to NATO and the power of the global multinationals and their billionaire influencers. I don’t know what the future will bring. The notion that the major polluters and destroyers of the planet are known to us but that we depend on the spoils of their ruin to run our cars and fund our trade balances, seems a paradoxical dilemma.

    The local elections were nonetheless a local affair. And this is the fundamental difference between the UK and countries which aspire to democracy, in government, and it is for this that I am proud of our diverse and optimistic democracy

    • Jimmeh

      > Corbyn was a wonderful public speaker.

      I think he was/is an AWFUL public speaker; he couldn’t find a path between understated mumbling and over-the-top shrieking. John McDonnell was miles better.

  • Ultraviolet

    A number of thoughts.

    First, it was a terrible night for the Tories. Good.

    It was a night of solid progress for the Greens, but there is still no sign of them making any sort of breakthrough, sadly. Overall, the Lib Dems probably have the most reason to be happy, taking seats and councils off both Tories and Labour, and for the first time genuinely looking as if voters are willing to forgive them for the coalition.

    It started off looking as if it was a good night for Labour in London, but a patchy one outside. However, as further results have come in, they have lost Harrow, they have had a net loss of councillors in some other councils, and Croydon and Tower Hamlets both look as if they may be uncomfortable results for Labour when they finally declare, in light of the mayoral results. So London now looks patchy rather than good.

    How good a night it was also depends on whose seat tallies you believe. The Guardian claims that Labour has won an additional 261 seats. The BBC says they have won 51 in England, 20 in Scotland and an impressive 67 in unashamedly left wing Wales, for a grand total of 138.

    That’s a huge difference which has a massive bearing on what an objective assessment of Labour’s performance should be. So what is the truth? A net increase of just 51 seats across England, including the seats needed for those much heralded wins in Barnet, Westminster and Wandsworth, starts to look like a positively poor performance rather than merely “not as good as hoped”.

    In Wales, Labour has made truly positive gains. It’s almost as if there is some connection between offering voters the policies they want, and them voting for you.

    In Scotland, all Labour has achieved is to become the less unpopular of the main unionist parties, but there remains only one game in town: SNP. Just one observation on the delay in holding a referendum. It seems to me that with the current state of the Westminster parties, support for independence will only grow. Is there not some benefit in having a referendum in 3-5 years’ time and winning a clear majority, rather than next year and perhaps only winning (to pluck a figure out of the air) 52-48 – or possibly even not winning at all?

  • Mist001

    My belief was that Nicola Sturgeon/SNP would hold a referendum on independence in the time scale they stated, 2023. I further believed that it would be designed purposely to lose and thus remove the independence question from the table for a long, long time. However, my position has changed, given the results from yesterday, so here is what I predict will happen:

    The SNP will now be buoyed with confidence and a letter will be dispatched soon to Boris Johnson requesting an article 30 to hold an independence referendum. In return, Boris Johnson will offer a compromise of Devo Max. Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP will grab that offer with both hands and it will be presented as a victory for the people of Scotland.

    There will be no need for an independence referendum in 2023 and there will be no need for any referendum for a long, long time.

    If nobody in the SNP or indeed in Scottish politics can see this coming, then they’re even more gullible than I first thought and to be honest, Scotland doesn’t deserve its independence.

    Having said all that of course, this is only my prediction.

    • Pears Morgaine

      Sturgeon’s other problem is the £600,000 donated by rank and file SNP members to fund IndyRef2 which appears to have gone AWOL.

      • Mist001

        I don’t think the missing £600K is really a problem. I don’t read much about it anywhere, which I would expect to do if it really was such a big problem. It seems to me that as usual, Wings Over Scotland has stirred the pot and wound up a handful of easily excitable people who depend on stories like this to get through their days. The £600K will be accounted for at some point.

        • David W Ferguson

          Then you clearly know nothing at all about finance or accounting, because anybody who knows anything at all about finance or accounting understands that it is literally impossible to hide £600,000 in cash on a balance sheet as anything else. Literally impossible. And if it had been spent on some other asset then that asset would have to appear on the balance sheet as an asset. There was no cash in the 2020 accounts, neither was there any corresponding asset .

          The fact that you are hearing nothing about it – and indeed the year-long police “investigation” – has nothing at all to do with “WoS stirring the pot and winding up a handful of easily excitable people”. It simply demonstrates the utter corruption of Scottish public life under Sturgeon’s SNP. I’m not a trained accountant, but I can prepare a set of company books up to audit standard. And I absolutely guarantee that if I had full access to the SNP’s books for the 2020 accounts period – which the police fraud investigation must have – it would take me a maximum of half an hour to work out where the £600,000 went.

          • Mist001

            No organisation loses £600K, so of course they’re going to say that they’ve spent it and will give credible, plausible reasons as to why. That’s the common sense thing to do in a situation such as this. Having a rabid mob of hysterical, easily manipulated Wings fan boys and girls shouting the odds isn’t going to change that.

            As I said above, the £600K will be accounted for at some point.

            It would seem that *clearly*, I know a bit more about finance, accounting and fraud than you do. 😉

          • Bayard

            OK, so say that the £600K has been frittered away on jollies, bonuses and backhanders, which is its most likely fate, how is the SNP going to “account” for that, apart from telling a few big fat lies?

  • Goose

    ‘I think the crunch point will come when she does, eventually, officially abandon the 2023 Indyref date.’

    I think that would be a step too far even for her. It’s not as though London’s position on another referendum isn’t already well known. There has to be a plan B for that likely eventuality. The ‘give us yet another mandate’ was the excuse used one year ago yesterday, for the May 6, 2021 Holyrood elections. They can’t keep pulling that one.

    She’s coming to the end of her political career, and she’d love to be remembered by history for leading the successful campaign for Scotland’s independence.

    On which, maybe it’s best if both Johnson and the dreadful Starmer stay in place for any campaign. Both are like walking advertisements for independence.

  • Andy Ellis

    I doubt many fellow Alba members share your stance on trans people, nor would they accept your frankly disgraceful caricature of the party’s stance as ferocious or unkind. What need has the party of enemies with friends like you Craig? I’ve frequently had my doubts about your judgement, both before you left the SNP and after you joined Alba. I’m sorry to see those doubts justified.

    • Ultraviolet

      When I saw the arguments from the trans community, they struck me as an unremarkable call for equality. The sports question is a trickier one, but otherwise, I didn’t have any strong feelings about it.

      Then I heard the opposing arguments. If trans people who identify as women are allowed to use female toilets, a load of men will use this to attack women, they told us. Really? Really?!??! Well, first, that argument objects to trans people because of what non-trans people will do, and secondly, are you serious? If a man wants to attack a woman, he doesn’t need to pretend to be trans to do it.

      Then I heard a gay man argue that it was against biology. How many gay men have heard that a man being attracted to other men is against biology? How on earth can they, having suffered this outrageous falsehood, then turn that falsehood onto another minority?

      So despite not having any strong views about the trans community’s arguments, I found the opposing arguments such an insult to my intelligence that my brain rebelled strongly against them.

      • David W Ferguson

        “The sports question is a trickier one…

        No it isn’t. It’s just as clear and straightforward as the other “questions” – letting men who identify as women into women’s toilets, changing roms, rape crisis cetres, domestic violence refuges, and prisons, and allowing them to occupy postions on the boards of companies and public organisations nominally reserved for women.

        Anybody who thinks the sports question is “tricky” is just another transphobic bigot and deserves to be treated as such.

        • Andy Ellis

          The polling evidence shows that the vast majority of the Scottish population disagrees with you. It also shows a significant decrease in the % of women supporting independence. (See the recent polls on Wings Over Scotland for the evidence). The “othering” of anyone who dares to question the implications of GRA reform as “just another transphobic bigot” tells us everything we need to know about your hot take on the issue. Pandering to the agenda of trans rights extremists is a strange hill for the SNP to pick to die on. When, as they inevitably will, they fail to deliver #indyref2 we will see how the party fares. In conjunction with being in thrall to a cabal of extremists promoting policies which infringe the rights of women, the SNP may find its support melting like snaw aff a dike. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch!

          • David W Ferguson

            I realise it would be almost impossible to read that from my comment, but I was making a point rather than an argument.

      • Another Great Ape

        Maybe those are different senses of against biology.

        One is a claim that animals like us and including us are never healthily homosexual/bisexual, which is a false claim.

        I’m trying to think how to phrase the trans arguments but not sure I know enough about it actually.

  • Rob Brown

    Craig, I completely understand why you’re scunnered with both the SNP and Alba. You clearly want the primary focus to be on how Scotland can transition to independence rather than on those few fellow Scots who choose to transition in their own personal ways. This must be the only country in the world where a secessionist movement got sidetracked by such an issue. The level of acrimony surrounding this matter is mystifying.

  • yesindyref2

    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.

    No, it’s correct use of current as opposed to future tensed English. “To” can only come after a majority of the People of Scotland have said “YES” to Independence. If Sturgeon had said “leading the country to Independence”, I suspect Craig Murray who really doesn’t like Sturgeon, would be the first to condemn such presumpptious arrogance and contempt for the People of Scotland whose decision Independence – or not – actually is, in a referendum. Just to clarify the blatantly obvious – Sturgeon has just one vote, one. She can not dictate the votes of the other 4.1 million of us.

    It’s that vision thing – look for a mirage in a desert and find one even in the middle of Freedom Square. Either that or look for a storm in a teacup. Milk and one sugar for me please.

    • Thepnr

      Some people are really going to be bealing when a date and question for a referendum is voted on in Holyrood and a bill published before the end of this year.

      • David W Ferguson

        For some strange reason, for months now I’ve been offering to bet anyone £500 that this is not going to happen, and I haven’t found a single taker. Although to be honest believers would be a bit daft to take my evens wager when William Hill’s current odds on an independence refrendum in 2023 are 5/1 against.

        Bookies don’t set their odds based on what they think is going to happen. They set them based on where the money is going. I find it baffling that Sturgeon’s SNP has 100,000 members and a million voters, and not a single one of them appears to be interested in helping themselves to Mr William Hill’s free money.

          • David W Ferguson

            Some men have a wife and kids and put them before any gambling addiction…

            Having a bet isn’t a gambling addiction, and Sturgeon fans with partners and kids (or “men” as you call them) are exactly who I would expect to be elbowing their way to the front of the queue to help themselves to Mr Hill’s free munny…

          • yesindyref2

            If you think that betting £500 – the average takehome pay in Scotland for a week after tax, and nearly 3 weeks state pension payments for retired people often faced with the choice between heat and food, isn’t an addiction, then you are in denial. Over 10% of the homeless have a serious gambling problem – and some got there through gambling, losing their house, job, wife and access to kids.

            I knew someone with a serious gambling problem and wife and kids; friends had to give the wife money otherwise they’d have had nothing to put on the table.

            If you can afford to throw away £500 on a bet, then please, please, give it to a foodbank instead. With the cost of living crisis, foodbanks are creaking under the demand from people they’d never have previously expected to need help. Don’t let it be you.

        • yesindyref2

          In addition of course, trying to bet someone £500 at evens odds, knowing if some sucker is gullible enough to take it, you can run down to William Hill’s as fast as your little legs can take you at 5/1 to lay off £100 to £600 for a £400 profit regardless of the result, with the bonus of an extra £100 if IR2 comes off in 2023, is cold.

          • David W Ferguson

            I absolutely promise you that if I could find some sucker willing to bet £500 on a 2023 referendum, the last thing in the world I would do would be waste £100 of it on a hedge bet at Mr Hill’s, however generous his odds. I notice you haven’t offered to take me on either. Presumably you’re keeping your £500 to take advantage of all the free munny when Mr Hill’s odds go out to 6/1… 7/1…

    • David W Ferguson

      “No, it’s correct use of current as opposed to future tensed English etc… etc…”

      What a load of nonsensical babble.

      If I lead someone “to” a place it means quite clearly that we reach our destination. If I lead someone “towards” a place it means quite clearly that we head off in the direction of our destination, without any suggestion that we ever actually get there.

      • yesindyref2

        Almost there David, substitute “agreement” for “suggestion” in your illustration and by golly, I do believe you got it.

        “without any agreement that we ever actually get there”. Hence Indy Ref 2.

        • David W Ferguson

          If Zeno had been alve today he wouldn’t have used “Achilles and the Tortoise” to model his paradox.

          “Sturgeon and the Independence Referendum” would have been far more effective…

          • Cynicus

            Nice one.

            At least Sturgeon isn’t a Cretan telling us that all Cretans are liars.

  • Vivian O’Blivion

    So, Starmer and Sturgeon are cut fae the same cloth. Nae surprise there then.
    What we in Scotland are experiencing as a takeover of a once radical party by a timid, gradualist, “managerial group” is an universal phenomenon.
    The managerial group is by instinct conservative and inclined to alignment to a higher managerial group (the British state).
    The managerial group is an agglomeration of middle class, naturally conservative individuals. In their dreams the blossoming of mass participation witnessed in 2014 brings them out in a sweat, not of euphoria but of terror. They have a contempt for the masses.
    The term “populism” is not an indication of democratic legitimacy but rather a slur they use to denounce any challenge to their self appointed “superior”, “paternalistic”, “liberal “ authority.

    This Swiftian inversion of “populism” is universal.

    To enact his New Deal, FDR called upon a generation of academics and industry managers to enter his administration. These individuals brought technical competency in mathematics and the scientific method, but they also brought the baggage of elitist contempt for the workers.
    These individuals faced accusations at the time of being “class traitors”. Ironically, they were acting in the best interests of a capitalist system that was rendered moribund by its blind adherence to laissez faire economics. A jolt of socialist investment was required to restart the cardio of the system.
    This was the point where “populism” reversed polarity in American political discourse from a virtue to a vice.
    In recent times the “liberal”, “centrist”, Clinton faction spat out the term “populism” as a venomous curse. Anyone who wasn’t supportive of offshoring manufacturing (or indeed service) jobs was denounced as belonging to Trump’s “deplorables”.

    In the UK, the existential struggle between this self entitled, perpetual managerial group derived from the ranks of middle class humanities graduates and a resurgent vestige of a working class mass movement, was played out between the Corbynite Momentum and Blairite Progress.
    The “professional politicians” of Progress, devoid of any real world, working experience were intent on burning the Labour movement to the ground rather than see Momentum gain unchallenged control of the party.
    This may appear uncharacteristically self sacrificial on the part of ruthlessly self interested, Blairite apparatchiks, but as events would unfold it was apparent that backroom deals had been struck. For their treachery, Blairite MPs John Woodcock, John Mann and Ian Austin (amongst others) would be awarded cozy Peerages and QUANGO posts by a Tory administration.
    The true allegiances of these “centrist” (as the msm would have them described) MPs is not to the party in whose name they stand or to the constituents they claim to represent, but rather the British, deep state. Indeed, the constituents whose taxes provided their lavish salaries and expenses were treated with utter contempt.

    In Scotland we have the worst of all worlds. A middle class, perpetual managerial group derived exclusively from the ranks of humanities graduates. FDR’s army of patrician bureaucrats could at least claim competence in science, engineering and mathematics. Our unholy trinity of Civil service, QUANGOistas and SPADS are technical incompetents. Like their counterparts in Progress, their true allegiance lies with the British state.
    This planned assault on “populism” is most intense at Holyrood and Westminster where rewards for our managerial class are highest. Measures are required to ensure the monopoly of authority exercised by our managerial class remains intact.
    The high point in true, proportional representation at Holyrood was 2003 with eight MSPs outwith the five establishment parties. By 2007, Margo MacDonald would be the only independent voice at Holyrood. As of the 2016 election, Holyrood was reduced to the five establishment parties.
    You don’t have to support the political platforms put forward by non-establishment individuals or parties to support the general principle that a multitude of voices enhances debate. By design, we are left with slightly different flavours of our managerial class endorsed, bland menu.
    The fall of the Scottish Socialist Party was the result of various factors, but their political posters at election time were a feature of our streets. The ability of the SSP to harness the enthusiasm of their support and promote their message through poster campaigns will have played a significant part in their returning six MSPs in 2003.
    This display of “populism” was intolerable to our managerial class. By the 2016 election, 32 out of 36 Scottish councils has established by-laws prohibiting election posters on council owned street furniture.
    The four “hold-out” councils continue to allow election posters on street furniture, proving that any “littering” issue perceived can be managed rather than resorting to prohibition. It’s no coincidence that all four councils are rural and are substantially populated by independent councillors, free from the admonishments of any party head office.

    In another application of Swiftian inversion, “liberal” for our managerial class ceases to mean “open to thought”, but rather, censorious to any opinion that doesn’t comply with their carefully curated definition of the Overton window.
    Opposition to GRA is met with shrill cries of “fascism” and other outrageously inappropriate analogies.
    GRA is itself demonstrative of the chasm of disconnect between the people and the managerial class.
    Since they rejected STEM subjects and opted for humanities in Secondary school our future, managerial class have entered into an ever tightening spiral of social isolation from the masses. By university, they function in an echo chamber with feedback amplification. Obsessing over personal pronouns seems “normal” to them.
    This is not to say that those choosing alternatives careers to humanities don’t also lessen the breadth of their contacts across social sub-groups, rather that for those inhabiting the Holyrood bubble interaction is closed off by a blurring of the work / social mix.
    The retort to this by our managerial class is of course; “Ah, but we interact with people more than anyone.”. But how sincere is that interaction? “Pressing the flesh” with the plebes come election time. Performance art. Phoney as rocking horse shite. A distasteful task to be endured to protect that cozy, public financed sinecure.

    So how do we progress from this dire scenario?
    Corbyn wanted a rule change whereby every Labour MP would have to put themselves up for re-selection at every election (as Corbyn had voluntarily done since entering Westminster). This was unconscionable to the political parasites of Progress. They were the cuckoos that had gained access to the nest under false pretext and weren’t about to let dirty little prolls interfere now that the cuckoos had shown their true colours.
    Any semblance of internal democracy in NuSNP is gradually crushed by devious rule changes. The NEC is now a plaything of a Stalinesque head office.
    Recalcitrant constituency branches refused last year to select “Nicola’s favourites”. Expect the axe to fall here next. Direct appointment of candidates by head office. According to Neale Hanvey, this has already come to pass and Sturgeon has hand picked the NuSNP candidate to stand in Kirkcaldy without reference to the local constituency branch. Dinea be shocked if this turns oot tae be Stephen Gethins, “friend” o’ the US State Department.
    The SNP is beyond redemption. Taking nothing for granted, history (Scottish Labour) has shown that the termite like politics graduates that infest the SNP will hollow out the structure ‘till it collapses.
    Still, widnae hurt to provide a wee bit outside help.

    • Lapsed Agnostic

      Wow. You’ve certainly put in a Stakhanovite shift* there, Father – agree with pretty much all of it, of course.

      * as did several of our favourite Beeboid news anchors and political hacks on election night:

      Joanna Gosling: “You look so fresh, Lewis – especially considering you’ve been up all night covering the election.”
      Lewis Goodall: “What can I say: coffee & politics is one helluva drug, Joanna.”

      Didn’t they used to say that about another drug?

  • Ewan2

    Something from Tom Sharpe’s ‘The Throwback’:

    ” And this because no politician dared tell the truth but bowed and cringed and bought their votes to empty power by promises as empty as themselves. Such scum as Wilson, aye and Tories too, would make Keir Hardy and Disraeli both agree, this was not their meaning of democracy, this bread and circuses that makes of men a mass and then despises them.”

  • Rosalind Thorpe

    forgive my ignorance but what exactly would be achieved by gaining independence. It seems to me that Scotland has a strong devolved powers that are independence in all but name. Maybe I am wrong. I don’t get it to be honest so anyone care to explain?

    • nevermind

      I’m not English or Scottish, Rosalind, but when the decisions to improve the economy by having two extra harbours and more modern ferries, is being batted into the long grass because there are issues with the CalMac 2 ferries replacement contract, then one wonders whether an Independent Scotland could make its own decisions to trade with Europe, providing that this would not be a route to undermine the English establishment love for Brexshit by trading EU/UK goods via Scotland.
      I don’t know whether you care much about SNP members cash that has disappeared, but in an Independent country that is not smothered by multimedia unionist propaganda, such an investigation would have borne fruit by now.
      And if you are Scottish, would you find it not odd to have the independent judiciary, apparently unbiased, advising the SNP and providing its current top shower with obfuscation during the internal parliamentary investigation.
      Finally if you still believe that 2023 will finally see the culmination of the Indy limbo with another referendum, which is not really necessary if you are a country in your own rights, be advised that the access for mermaids to men’s, women’s and school toilets will find an irresistible attraction as a top issue for Nicola and her supporters of mermaids rights to pursue before Independence can be achieved, if ever.
      I hope this helps somewhat. Oh, that election, hmmm another eyewash finished and a blundering media at odds as to whom to schmooze up to, they are fickle and totally insecure these days, they proffer anything the MI’s tell them.

      • Pears Morgaine

        ‘Issues’ is putting it mildly. The two new ferries were to have cost £97 million and been delivered four years ago. Latest estimates have the ships (possibly) ready for service next year at a cost of £240 million; CalMac could replace all 31 of its ships with more moderately specified vessels for that price in the meantime new ferries have been ordered from Norway and Turkey. Not a good advertisement for Scottish shipbuilding.

    • Philip Maughan

      Rosalind, I’m afraid I can’t forgive your ignorance, ‘independence in all but name’ is a gross misrepresentation of devolved powers in Scotland. Currently the Scottish Government sends all its tax revenue to the UK Treasury and gets back a proportion based on the UK Government’s spending priorities for England. That’s on devolved areas such as health, education, council spending and social services. Then there are reserved matters on which the UK Government has total control such as energy, defence, pensions and foreign affairs. The Scottish Government also has very limited borrowing powers and control over about 20% of income taxes. To offer one example as illustration. For some years now the Scottish Government has been lobbying the UK Government for an interconnector between the Scottish mainland and the Western Isles to take advantage of the enormous potential for wind energy on the islands, which have been called the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy, so far without much success. The estimated cost of an interconnector is £800million, peanuts given the potential. Instead, the UK Government, to whom energy is reserved as previously noted, prefer to pour billions into nuclear power, which will take years to bring on stream. Billy Connolly’s description of the new Scottish Executive as it was then called as a ‘wee pretendy Parliament’ was dead true.

    • SF

      Scotland’s devolved powers are a long way from being “independence in all but name”. For instance, courtesy of the Labour Party’s submission to the Smith Commission, we don’t have control over employment law – Sarwar was thus utterly hypocritical in claiming that “only Labour” would halt fire-and-rehire. We don’t control pensions, most other social security payments, most taxes..

      There’s a long list; it’s not just foreign policy and defence that Westminster reserves to itself (control of all but those is sometimes said to be Home Rule, or even Devo-Max). I’ve just chosen a few examples.

      Independence would allow us to control our budgets, instead of sending revenue (in a spreadsheet these days, not as gold bullion in a stagecoach) to the Treasury and getting less than all of it back as a block “grant” – which terminology makes it look like England’s largesse. It isn’t; it’s our money. It would allow us to control our vast (in per capita terms) natural resources. It would allow us to genuinely diverge from England’s flawed Covid policies. And so on; I hope that gives you a rough idea.

      (None of the above should be interpreted as support for the current Scottish government.)

      [Cross-posted with Philip – I agree with all his points.]

  • Vivian O’Blivion

    The belief that woke social values have been weaponised to divide and rule the masses appears to be common currency. The hypothesis seems plausible even if evidence of planned conspiracy is absent.

    Here in Scotland, I suggest a slightly different hypothesis as to the utility of woke wars to those in a position of authority.

    The fanatical adherence to an extreme interpretation of transgender rights by the Sturgeon faction of the NuSNP makes zero sense from rational, political perspective. Nonetheless, Sturgeon, this otherwise cautious and sure footed politician adopts a demonstrably unpopular position. It makes no sense in the conventional realm.

    It does however make perfect sense from the perspective of a cult. All cults (and all cults are to some extent personality cults built around a charismatic leader) require an unusual / outlandish core tenet. The purpose of the tenet is multifunctional within the cult. To gain entry to the cult the individual had to “believe” the tenet. Once in the cult, repetition of the tenet contributes to group adherence. Finally, those who repeat the tenet most loudly and most often, display superior loyalty to the cult leader and are singled out for promotion.
    The cult member doesn’t have to “believe” the tenet anymore than the cult leader “believes”. Vincent Bugliosi was of the opinion that Charles Manson didn’t believe a word of Helter Skelter. Strange, cynical games are played out by those grasping for status and power.
    Yes I am none too subtly inferring that Sturgeon has reduced her party to a personality cult. Evidence of this is abundant. One example; Joanna Cherry QC (who rejects the sacred tenet) is demoted from the Westminster front bench while Angela Crawley, a politics graduate that gained her degree in law after becoming an MP is promoted to Shadow Attorney General.

    • Bayard

      For as long as I can remember, the news media have been pushing the idea of politics as personality cult. Every party, every state is identified by its leader, the Conservatives = Boris, Labour = Starmer, France = Macron, Russia = Putin, the US = Biden, back in the day, Germany was Hitler, Britain was Churchill, Japan was Hirohito etc. I suspect that this is done because it’s much easier to vilify a person than a whole party, or country. So it’s hardly surprising if the SNP has taken this ball and run with it.

    • David W Ferguson

      “The fanatical adherence to an extreme interpretation of transgender rights by the Sturgeon faction of the NuSNP makes zero sense from rational, political perspective. Nonetheless, Sturgeon, this otherwise cautious and sure footed politician adopts a demonstrably unpopular position. It makes no sense in the conventional realm… It does however make perfect sense from the perspective of a cult. All cults (and all cults are to some extent personality cults built around a charismatic leader) require an unusual / outlandish core tenet. The purpose of the tenet is multifunctional within the cult. To gain entry to the cult the individual had to “believe” the tenet. Once in the cult, repetition of the tenet contributes to group adherence. Finally, those who repeat the tenet most loudly and most often, display superior loyalty to the cult leader and are singled out for promotion…”

      Fascinating argument. But there are some nuances.

      The cult member doesn’t have to “believe” the tenet anymore than the cult leader “believes”…

      I would suggest that in some cases the lower you are in the cult hierarchy the more you are likely to believe the core tenet, and the higher you are the less likely. Falun Gong’s peasant adherents were encouraged to believe that Li Hongzhi could literally fly and literally bring people back from the dead. I doubt if any of the people at the head of the organisation believed that.

      I’m sure that loudly and ostentatiously proclaiming the nonsense of the core tenet serves as a marker of loyalty. But I think it also serves to identify the kind of manipulative misanthropic sociopath who will serve the cult well in a position of high authority. Anyone who shows signs of actually believing it will be gently but firmly sidelined…

      One of the things that fascinates me is the uncanny parallels between the current wave of Western translunacy and China’s Cultural Revolution. Some time soon I definitely will write an article on that and have it published where people can see it.

  • frankywiggles

    The Sinn Fein result is astounding when it’s recalled what Northern Ireland was intended to be. The origins of the statelet are quite naturally never mentioned in Britain let alone taught but it was created by Westminster (in the most brazen antidemocratic fashion) to be a permanent Orange apartheid redoubt, a timeless bastion of loyalist, anti-Irish sectarian revanchism. Not only has the unthinkable happened in that a nationalist party has overcome its inbuilt gerrymandered system but a very distinct, unmistakable nationalist party. Not some tame, respectable establishment-approved nationalist party of the Murrell-McDonald variety but an Irish republican party of deep revolutionary, anti-colonial origins, heir to all the demons of hell in the British imperialist and purple sash pathologies.

    The untouchables will soon be calling the shots in Loyal Ulster and everyone knows this lot have only one real goal in mind and will move with haste to get the job done.

    • Bayard

      “but a very distinct, unmistakable nationalist party.”

      and not just nationalist, but socialist to boot.

    • IrishU

      You are incorrect in a number of your assertions.

      1. The creation of the ‘statelet’ received the endorsement of both negotiation teams leading up to the signing of the Anglo Irish Agreement in December 1921 and was then ratified by Westminster and the Dáil in Dublin.
      2. Britain, evidenced by numerous statements from the Government, including the PM, never intended for NI to be a ‘permanent Orange apartheid redoubt’ (full marks for cramming so much republican lexicon into one comment), this is evidenced by the Boundary Commission and the introduction of STV (PR voting) in Stormont elections to ensure representation of the Catholic minority.
      3. Gerrymandering, such that existed under the former devolved government, was expunged by 1971. So please explain how SF overcame an ‘inbuilt gerrymandered system’, considering the NI Assembly has been operational since 1998 with no accusations of gerrymandering?

      It is a never-ending source of amusement when people on this blog comment on Irish history and current affairs, north and south on the island. The ignorance is staggering.

  • Goodwin

    ” I am absolutely delighted to see Sinn Fein emerge as the largest party”

    Great, lets have some unreconstructed murdering IRA scum in charge, why wouldn’t you …

    • frankywiggles

      The squalid little Ulster experiment is almost done. Soon it will only be South Georgia and the Isle of Man.

    • Pears Morgaine

      SF might be the biggest party (by two seats) in the Assembly but they still don’t have an overall majority so how much are they actually going to be able to do without Unionist support?

      • IrishU

        Very little. The joys of mandatory coalition and the outworkings of the 2006 St Andrews Agreement which was a DUP-SF carve-up overseen by Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern.

    • ET

      The offices of First Minister and Deputy First Minister are co-equal and are effectively joint First Ministers. Since the inception of the Northern Irish Assembly the DUP and Sinn Fein have held both these posts. Sure, there is significant symbolism but Sinn Fein didn’t actually gain any seats and the DUP is still the largest unionist party. The big shift was to the Alliance party and the middle non-orange, non-green ground, they more than doubled their seats.

      • IrishU

        The DUP and SF have not held the posts of First Minister and Deputy First Minister since inception. The UUP and SDLP held the posts between 1998 and 2003. Following a period of lengthy suspension and the St Andrews Agreement the DUP and SF have held the posts since 2007 until present.

        • ET

          You are correct. my bad. My main point was in reply to Goodwin’s post, that no one is significantly more “in charge” than they were before this election, the offices of first and deputy first minister being co-equal.

  • Ian

    The sad state of affairs that is the Nu SNP just continues, impervious to the reams of evidence of their ineptitude, vindictiveness to challengers and their attack on the what little constitution Holyrood has. Now we have a shameless, neoliberal, middle class tribe who have become very prosperous, for doing very little. Adopting the same tactics as Johnson, giving the impression of doing things, full of slogans and declarations, while screwing up what little initiatives they attempt, and ignoring the gaping chasm of policy on the basic stuff of the economy, housing, land reform, energy etc. Why should they be bold, or care about independence, when everything is hunky dory for them, paying lip service to progress, a bit of window dressing here and there, and cosying up to big business and big landowners. Giving away our wind energy to multinationals should have seen them harried and attacked by the opposition and media, but in Scotland it passes with barely a mention.
    Craig is right, the SNP, and its supporters, are full of people who are very comfortable with the status quo, the last thing they want is the scary thought of independence and the upheaval to their cosy existence. Plus they have demonstrated no development of policy or tactics to achieve their supposedly overriding aim. They have grown fat and feeble, content to bash out slogans like ‘send Boris a message with your vote’, as if Boris has the slightest interest – while coming up with nothing positive themselves. They have cowed all opposition and debate, rigged charges against their opponents and intimidated others, in a takeover of the institutions which are supposed to guarantee oversight of the executive.
    The SNP – what are they actually for? Baby boxes and manufactured outrage about Westminster? That’s about it.

  • william stoddart

    Craig, I have to agree with you. I tried before the election to convince my grandson who happens to be gay, to consider voting for Alba. He steadfastly refused on the grounds of their stance on trans people. He told me that none of his friends would ever vote for such a party. I’m afraid that Alba do not have the support of the LGBT community and a great number of ordinary people who do support LGBT rights. In fact after trying to convince him to vote Alba, he convinced me not to vote Alba.

    • Andy Ellis

      The trouble for the independence movement is that the vast majority of the population and the movement agrees with Alba’s stance on the matter, not Craig’s or your grandson’s as Wings Over Scotland’s recent polling shows beyond any doubt. A large number of gay people are also horrified by the extremism of trans-rights activism, their attempts to other, de-platform and silence any opposition however reasonably stated as transphobic bigotry, and the shameful behaviour of the SNP in particular in response to attacks on people like Joanna Cherry or anyone else with the courage to stick their heads above the parapet and question either the particulars of GRA reform, or the broader issues of the baleful influence of the gender extremists.

      The movement is already losing support amongst women. It may be true that it’s no all attributable to TRA extremism, but it’s hard not to conclude it’s a factor, even if other issues like WASPI, general inequality, poverty and inaction on independence also play a part. Why the SNP leadership is so obsessed with the issue is open to debate of course: it doesn’t really seem like a hill worth dying on for the independence movement, but the SNAP as a party has obviously decided that alienating large number of potential voters and members is a price worth paying. They may come to regret that decision when their support realises that #indyref2 isn’t going to happen and the economic situation gets worse.

  • Jay

    The Aspire party, elected on a radical left-wing agenda has unseated both the right-wing Labour mayor and council in Tower Hamlets. It is the first non major party in the history of local elections in Britain to take a council.

    Not only that, the Aspire sweep of Labour seats in the East End of London has single handedly reduced Labour net gains in the English council elections from 52 down to 28. Jeremy Corbyn gained 165% more seats in 2018 than Sir Keir Starmer has contesting exactly the same seats this time. The knight has focused all his efforts on attracting reactionary voters in the North but Labour’s vote share in the North of England declined 2.8% in this election compared to when Jeremy Corbyn contested these seats in 2018.

    Of the seats the Tories lost only 9% went to Labour. 91% of them went to smaller parties. In the final count the Green Party have gained over twice as many seats as Sir Keir’s Labour.

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