Why I will be voting SNP on May 7th 2015


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To put things in perspective I work a lot in England, for an English client.

I love that client and I have no intention of undermining them in any way.

Now, that, to me, is a pretty good comparison to how the SNP has to carry itself.

OK, England is not the client, but it IS the paymaster.  And so the SNP has to respect that (as part of this Union).

The Mail/Telegraph axis of madness that paints the SNP as some sort of border rieving marauders intent on bringing down the “English” is simply nonsense.

In Scotland we had our chance at Independence in September 2014 and we categorically voted no in one of the biggest electoral turnouts in recent UK political history.

We argued black and blue on both sides and the SNP lost.

Fair do’s.

We lost.

Fact.

We’ve dried our eyes mate.

But only 9 months later here we are again at the ballot box with a monumental SNP wave of popular support; only this time that support appears to be polling at over 50%.

Why?

The fact is the SNP campaign has reeled in No voter after No voter.  Not because they have changed their minds about Independence  (they’ll still vote No and I suspect some, maybe many, Yes voters would now vote No too) but because they have bought into the impassioned argument for progressive left wing politics.  Call it socialist if you like.  I call it inclusive as opposed to the Tory exclusive politic which is about me, not we.

There is much global and wise economic theory that suggests austerity has been a bad call and that slightly more expansive public spending grows economies. (And let’s be clear about this; the SNP’s anti austerity policy isn’t about bravado it’s about modest expansionist fiscal policy.  TBH I don’t know if that’s the right word but it’s the right sentiment.)

At the end of the day though, what a vote for SNP is, is a vote for a socialist Britain.  A fairer, more progressive way of tackling policy that Labour need their arse kicked over.

I have despised Labour since Tony Blair took the reigns.  I DO NOT despise Ed Milliband I just feel he is caught up in the Westminster rhetoric and the inability to escape neoliberalism because he is too busty playing chess with Cameron.

The SNP can free him from these horrible shackles.  It will be like therapy.  A wee spa break for the next five years when he , as PM, can get back to what made him proud to be Labour in the first place.

Tomorrow the game changes and I do not believe it changes with a need for a vote for Scottish independence.

It changes with the escape from neo-liberalism.

Scotland will benefit from that, not at the expense of, but to the benefit of, the entire UK.

Unless money is all that matters to you.

If it does?

Sorry.

I am talking shit.

Purgatory


Definition: A place between Heaven and Hell, where the soul is not bad enough to be sent to an eternity of damnation in Hell, but not good enough to go to Heaven, so it is sent there temporarily where the person suffers, and is purified so that it can be sent to Heaven.

My definition: In my childhood I thought purgatory was actually a kind of Guantanamo Bay where we were all held in a pending area before deciding who went upstairs and who went down.  Of course the good guys (i.e me) knew it was inevitable that the green light was waiting and the bad guys (i.e. Charlie White the wee shite with ginger hair and a childhood phd in sad masochism were destined for red and the fiery furnace.)

Why the laborious and tortuous metaphorical introduction?  Well it’s important that my skewed take on purgatory is understood before I reveal my brilliant analogy in full.

And it is this.

Sturgeon, Miliband, Cameron, Clegg and Farage are sitting in that purgatory RIGHT NOW.  Have been for weeks and I can exclusively reveal the outcome.

Right here.

Right now.

Of one thing there is no doubt.  Quick decision time.  One of them has his name in RED lights.

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The other absolute certainty is a yellow tinted Nirvana for St Nicola of Irvine.

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But what of the three amigos, the erstwhile jokers.  The clowns that may not have MEANT to be bad boys, but just were?

Their outcome is far less clear.

On that front there can only be one way to decide.

Stay where you are boys while we go ask St Nicola of Irvine.

She’ll decide your fate.

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Britain’s most credible politician. Nicola Sturgeon, is about to recalibrate political possibility.


Nicola Sturgeon

This article in today’s Guardian really hit me.  It’s not a Scottish newspaper but Ian Jack clearly knows his facts and has done a ton of research to make the piece credible, not puff..

Admittedly it’s a big read, but an intoxicating one, because its author is both objective and balanced in his critique of Nicola. What most impressed me was the fact that she lost 8 elections across 15 years in unwinable seats as she learned her trade (whilst holding down a legal day job). By contrast The unholy neoliberal triptych of Cameron/milliband/Clegg lost one between them as they ponied their way from Oxbridge into career politician safe seats.

This article makes Nicola seem unprecedented. But I can think of a comparison. And she was female. And she was formidable. And she was brilliant.

The trouble is her Iron politics stank.

On May 7th I hope Scotland takes this remarkable article to heart and universally announces its utter disdain for Neoliberalism and the Westminster sham that we are paying for.

This is real politics from a woman that “gets” what matters to people in Scotland and really everywhere else in Britain where self interest isn’t the priority.

History can be made if we hold our nerve (and Independence is not even in the manifesto). So you can chill about that.

The Westminster Leaders Debate 2nd April 2015


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In truth the format didn’t really work.  There were too many protagonists for it to ever really become a proper debate.  The conclusion was a series of Party Political Broadcasts that some handled better, and seemingly more genuinely, than others.  In particular Ed Miliband looked like he was reading from an autocued manifesto.

But of one thing there can be no doubt at all.  The arrival of Nicola Sturgeon as a serious politician on the national stage.

Here is the result of The Guardian’s Poll of (snap) polls showing the average of all four polls released after the debate.

Cameron: 22%

Miliband: 22%

Farage: 21%

Sturgeon: 20%

Clegg: 9%

Bennett: 4%

Wood: 3%

Here is You Gov’s snap poll that shows Sturgeon actually WINNING the debate.  (How is that possible?)

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Here’s the result according to Twitter which puts her level with Clegg.

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This simply should not happen.

Personally, I thought Leanne Wood had an exemplary performance but she and Natalie Bennet (less good, but certainly commendable) did not convert their performances into rating points.

What I take from this then is that although I did not rate his performance Miliband actually emerged with some prime ministerial credibility.  Cameron didn’t blow it and Farage is becoming a loveable buffoon (along the lines of Boris Johnstone – but without his brains).  It seems the British public like his tomfoolery and are prepared to ignore statements (ar actually agree with them) like “We have to build a new house every 7 minutes to cope with migrants.”

Leanne Wood clearly played a too overt Welsh card to garner widespread support, but Sturgeon batted from a wider perspective allaying all those hideous Daily Mail/Torygraph slanderous headlines about the SNP trying to sabotage Westminster and only interested in one thing – the dissolution of the Union.

Instead what she demonstrated was a progressive Social Democratic agenda as opposed to a 20th/19th century socialist or, worse, a 21st century neoliberal politic.

Nicola Sturgeon has emerged unquestionably as the face of modern politics and has gained outrageous respect.  Hail Hail.

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The SNP. Britain’s most succesful political party.


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I’m not a member of the Scottish National Party, and I never have been.

But I was a vociferous supporter of Scottish Independence.  As a result of the campaign I joined Scottish CND to help fund the lobbying of the removal of Trident from Scotland and I completely support removal from the UK resolving the whole austerity issue at a single stroke.  This was a backbone of the SNP manifesto and one I was totally in support of.

(But that’s for another post.)

The effect of the campaign and its impact on party membership interests me.  Far from suffering a backlash the SNP (like Scottish CND) has seen a surge in membership as we gear up for round two.

Published figures show party membership in the UK thus;

Labour                190,000

Conservative     134,000

SNP                     86,000

Lib Dems           44,000

UKIP                  39,000

Green                 20,000

This is remarkable.  Every single major party apart from the SNP(not Greens as Thom points out) is national and yet the SNP sits third in membership and closing in on second.

Now, to put this into perspective, let’s look at this extrapolated to a UK level.

With Scotland having only 8.3% of the UK population this would mean the SNP, were it a UK party, would have 713,800 members – 4 x that of the labour party, 5 x the Tories, 16 x the Lib Dems and a bit more for UKIP.

But get this… if you extrapolate back to Scotland.  i.e. take Labour, Tory etc vote back to the Scottish population this is what you find.

SNP                    86,000

Labour               15,770        SNP 5.4 x bigger

Conservative     11,122        SNP 7.7 x bigger

Lib Dems           3,652         SNP 23.5 x bigger

UKIP                  3,237         SNP 26.6 x bigger

Greens               1,660         SNP 51.8 x bigger

And what’s even more interesting is that these are the published figures.  Unpublished reports suggest SNP has broken 100,000 members in recent weeks.

That makes (again by extrapolation) the SNP 6 x the size of Labour in Scotland.

Now, Labour is probably over-represented in Scotland and the Tories under-represented (but not necessarily in Party membership).

What we are looking at here is therefore a political phenomenon.

I, for one, although not a member, am looking forward, with great enthusiasm, to the SNP massacre of Scottish Labour in May next year. (The Tories and Liberals no longer count here – fringe parties for toffs, bastards, dreamers and the disengaged).

I  fully expect to see the pummelling of the UK establishment in Scotland.  The SNP may even emerge as holding some sort of balance of power in Westminster (a coalition perhaps).

Alex Salmond will finally lay claim to being arguably the greatest UK party leader since Churchill.

But I’m still not joining.

 

 

Why I think you should vote SNP in the European elections on Thursday 22nd May.  


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You are going to vote, right?

As these much-maligned elections approach it is of vital importance that Scotland states its position on Europe.  Britain is expected to vote UKIP in vast swathes of England.  Here, at least, it seems the Scots have no truck with the odious and vile politics propagated by Mr Farage and his barmy army of separatists.

Farage drops the odd clanger about not wanting “the Romanians” to move in next door.  This is exactly the sort of talk that fed the gags of Jack Smethurst in 1970’s sitcom, Love thy Neighbour, in which a diet of nig nog, Sooty, and fuzzy wuzzy gags about his Afro-Caribbean neighbor were deemed acceptable family viewing.

Do we really want to return to that?  I hope not.

UKIP is an extreme blot on the UK’s culture and the sooner Mr Farage is hounded out of town the better.

Witness, by contrast, the response of Scotland to his visits.

We, it seems, value our blend of multicultural neighbours.  We, it seems, extend the hand of welcome to a multi-ethnic population.  We, it seems, take pride in being European not just British.

If we vote No on September 18th we run the risk of being drawn into a Farage induced farrago over Europe that could lead to our (The Union’s) exit from the EU.

If we vote Yes it’s in our hands.

A strong vote for the SNP on Thursday will show the European Union that as a country we are pro-Europe, so that when it comes the time to sit down and negotiate our place at the EU table we can do so with a spirit of positivity, while Farage and his Tory chums vent their ugly spleen, vitriol and xenophobia in the background.

Vote SNP on May 22nd.

Vote Yes on September 18th.

That’s all I have to say on the matter.

 

Scotland’s White paper on Independence


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It’s not difficult folks.  Here’s the argument in a nutshell.

(Taken from Salmond’s opening remarks in the White Paper published this morning.)

“At its heart independence is not about this Government or any political party. (THIS IS A FUNDAMENTAL AND VERY IMPORTANT POINT) It is about a fundamental democratic choice for the people of Scotland. It is about the power to choose who we should be governed by and the power to build a country that reflects our priorities as a society and our values as a people.

I believe in independence because I believe it will be better for all of us if decisions about Scotland are taken by the people who care most about Scotland – the people who live and work here. It is my absolute conviction that Scotland’s future should be in Scotland’s hands.”  (Alex Salmond)

Read it here.

Please.

And before you get all angsty about the SNP, consider this.

Post Independence it’s perfectly conceivable that there won’t even BE an SNP.  They may become, let’s say, the Social Democrats.  Right of Labour (which would be a good thing in my view.  ie Proper Liberals)