Archive for the 'Scotland' Category

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Six weeks tomorrow could mark the beginning of the end for the United Kingdom as we know it

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

Pressure for Irish unification could just be the beginning

One of the features of Brexit, particularly a no deal one, is the impact that it could have on the integrity of the United Kingdom.

There has been polling already in Northern Ireland about how people would feel there about the Union in the event of a no deal Brexit. The numbers don’t look good for those backing the union and under the Good Friday Agreement the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland would have to call a referendum if there were strong indications that the public wanted to become part of a united Ireland.

Such a referendum on the unification of Ireland would be a traumatic event and would capture the attention of many parts of the world. You could see American Irish communities being very keen to support the North and the South joining together as one. There’s a reasonable chance that Ireland would vote for unification.

At the same time you could see similar pressure in Scotland for another independence vote and it would be hard for the Westminster Parliament not to agree to it. The chances in such circumstances of a vote succeeding must be quite high.

No doubt the moves in both Scotland and Northern Ireland to leave the United Kingdom would lead to similar pressures within Wales and it’s not beyond the bounds of probability that the Welsh could also go in that direction. The outcome would be that we will be left with just England.

So the stakes are very high in the coming weeks as Parliament decides what to do as MPs ponder whether to back the deal.

An England only problem for LAB is that without Welsh and Scottish MPs it is hard to see it ever becoming top party on seats something that only the hated Tony Blair was able to achieve. Prior to the Scottish IndyRef in 2014 LAB was the overwhelming major force north of the border with 41 of the 59 MPs. It was the loss of many of those seats which undermines Corbyn’s party’s position.

Mike Smithson




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Now in Scotland we are getting threats of de-selection for pro-Brexit CON MPs

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

The start of trend as we get closer?

The paper, the National, it should be pointed out is a strong supporter of the SNP but having said that this does raise a real issue in the one part of the UK where the Tories had real success at GE2017.

Also today we’ve had this from Martin Baxter’s Electoral Calculus which looks grim for LAB north of the border. As I’ve said repeatedly LAB has to recover in Scotland if it is to have any chance of being top party

Mike Smithson




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Why Jezza should beware of Nicola bearing gifts

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

SNP General Election target seats


Election Polling

LAB’s going to struggle to win the next GE unless there’s a rapid improvement in Scotland

Last night Nicola Sturgeon said the SNP would back a Commons no confidence motion against the government if one was tabled by Labour.

I’d suggest that Nicola Sturgeon and her team would not be asking for another election now unless it was pretty confident that it would do as well or even better than the 35 Scottish seats that it won in 2017 and the main prospect for gains, as the table above shows, is from Scottish Labour.

    Currently four of the seven Scottish LAB seats are held with majorities requiring swings of less than 1% and targets five and six have very narrow majorities. Only one Scottish LAB seat, Edinburgh South, with a 16.2% swing required looks safe.

A massive challenge for Labour in a new general election is its failure to recover in Scotland where Gordon Brown’s party won 41 of the 59 seats at GE2010. It is hard to see the party winning unless there’s a dramatic turnaround and the polling suggests that Labour in continuing to struggle. As this table of latest Scotland only polls show Labour is polling north of the border worse than it did at GE2017 and the chances are that it would go into a new general election on the defensive.

Latest Westminster Scottish voting intention polls


Wikipedia

That post Scottish 2014 IndyRef surge by the SNP was almost totally at the expensive of Labour and there’s almost no sign of a recovery. In August Corbyn visited Scotland with the express intention if trying to turn things round. The polling points to that having zero impact.

Mike Smithson




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The question supporters of a ‘People’s vote’ need to answer. If another referendum is good enough for the UK, then surely it must be good enough for Scotland?

Sunday, December 2nd, 2018

Even though I’m someone who considers Brexit the greatest blunder this country has undertaken since appeasement I’m not a fan of another referendum until we’ve actually left the EU for a variety of reasons such as democracy must be honoured.

The risk of No Deal was repeatedly communicated to the voters during the 2016 referendum campaign there’s no point mewling now. But one of the primary reasons I’m most opposed to another referendum this soon is that it creates a precedent to rerun the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum, something that the SNP are skilled to exploit from the fallout from Brexit.

Today’s Sunday Times reports that

SNP ministers believe they can avoid the need for a second independence referendum on leaving the UK if a future Labour government refuses Nicola Sturgeon permission for a fresh vote.

Yesterday Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell rejected the idea of a deal with the first minister on a new referendum in exchange for supporting a minority Labour government.

He told The Times there would be no horse-trading with the nationalists to install Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister.

However, a growing number of senior SNP politicians, including some ministers, believe Westminster’s refusal to grant a section 30 order to Holyrood to hold another referendum would not be enough to prevent secession.

With the possibility of Theresa May’s government collapsing over Brexit, SNP insiders suggest the party’s next UK general election manifesto will contain a commitment to another referendum.

Party insiders say if another referendum were to be blocked, then winning a large majority of Scottish seats, or Scottish votes in a Westminster election, may suffice as a basis for negotiations.

The SNP won a majority of Scottish seats with under 37% of the vote in last year’s general election, it is possible we could see Scottish independence occurring on a similar or lower threshold than that.

If you consider yourself a Unionist and you voted Leave then it appears you have well and truly soiled the bed, after all warnings about Brexit leading to the breakup of the United Kingdom were also strongly communicated during the referendum campaign.

TSE



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NEW PB / Polling Matters podcast: What now for Scotland?

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

On this week’s PB / Polling Matters podcast, Keiran Pedley is joined by pollster Mark Diffley to deep dive on the latest round of polls in Scotland.

Topics discussed include:

1) How support for Scottish independence has changed over time and the impact that Brexit could have

2) When the next Scottish Independence vote will happen

3) What’s going on in voting intention polls for Holyrood and Westminster and what this means for the main players north of the border (SNP, Tories, Labour)

You can listen to the episode by clicking the link below:

Follow this week’s guests





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Three new Scotland polls find Corbyn’s LAB struggling to recover

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

The first public surveys since Corbyn’s August Scottish initiative

It might be recalled that in August Corbyn had an extended visit to Scotland with the aim of revitalising the party where it used to be so dominant. Over the past few days we have seen the first published polling since that move

Ahead of the SNP conference which is currently going on there have been three new Scotland-only polls – the first since July. All show LAB still in third place north of the border the part of the UK where they were totally dominant. This all changed, of course, the post September 2014 SNP surge following the IndyRef.

In the past two general election the 59 Scottish seats have seen far more turbulence than just about anywhere else in the UK. At GE2015 Scottish LAB went from the 41 seats to just a single MP. There was something of a recovery at GE2017 when the Scottish total move to 7.

    If Labour is to get anywhere near winning most seats at the next general election it has to regain ground in Scotland and given it had so many seats were not so long ago the potential must be there

These are the latest three polls:

Survation Oct 2nd for Sunday Post
CON 26%
LAB 24%
SNP 41%
LD 7%

Panelbase Oct 4th for S Times
CON 27%
LAB 26%
SNP 38%
LD 6%

Survation Oct 5th for SNP
CON 28%
LAB 26%
SNP 37%
LD 6%

At GE2017 the shares were SNP 36.9%, CON 28.6, LAB 27.1, LD 6.8%.

Mike Smithson




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Ruthless People. The Conservatives lose a leadership contender

Monday, September 17th, 2018

I have an announcement to make. Sadly I do not foresee circumstances in which I shall be standing to be leader of the Conservative party. This is no doubt a great loss to them, despite my having no ministerial experience, not being an MP or even being a member of the Conservative party. But they will have to struggle on without me.

The bemusement you are, I expect, feeling was not matched when Ruth Davidson similarly ruled herself out. Perhaps it was because she is a member of the Conservative party. After all, she has the other two disqualifiers, just like me. There are 316 MPs more immediately eligible, of whom at least half will have had more governmental experience. Why should her disavowal attract so much attention?

This can be explained partly, of course, by the basis on which she did so. As has been widely acknowledged, she has been incredibly open about her past struggles with mental health, an openness that will help change attitudes to a set of serious problems that are far too little discussed. She may have helped to save lives with her words. Few politicians achieve as much.

Still, the question can’t be dismissed: why is this major news? The answer is simple, and worrying for the Conservative party: they have a serious lack of talent. A charismatic outsider with a winning track record looks much better than most of the alternatives. Theresa May only remains in office because the alternatives look dire. Unsurprisingly, Conservatives are looking to see whether the grass is greener.

Ruth Davidson’s hypothetical candidacy is symptomatic of that bigger problem. Jacob Rees-Mogg, an MP who has not yet climbed as far as unpaid bag-carrier in government, has been among the favourites for next Prime Minister. He too has disavowed leadership ambitions, so far without harming his betting odds very much.

Others have seen the gap in the market. Last week George Freeman, an MP who had previously served in unblemished obscurity, helpfully announced that if called upon he would stand. The nation no doubt is grateful for his sense of duty.

When Theresa May goes, whether sooner or later, she will in all probability be replaced by a candidate with substantial experience at the highest rank, however lacklustre they might otherwise be. The paucity of quality of the field, however, suggests that the Conservatives will be likely to make heavy weather against Labour.

What of Ms Davidson? Having announced that she does not want to be Prime Minister she has benefited from a wave of sympathy from a public that finds a great renunciation a compelling story. It does raise a further awkward question, however: if she is not up to being Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, why does she think she is up to being Scotland’s First Minister? She had better have a clear answer.

Alastair Meeks




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Labour’s gains in Scotland were mostly down to the SNP misplacing nearly half a million voters, not because of some great love for Corbyn.

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

Analysing the Corbyn ‘surge’ in Scotland

One of the most profitable areas of general election betting in recent elections has been in Scotland, where backing the 2015 SNP tsunami was very profitable as was my 20/1 tip to back the Tories to get over 9.5 seats in 2017.  I expect the next general election might present similar opportunities, assuming Scotland hasn’t seceded by then, so it is worth looking at the last election to see if we can spot anything.

Just look at the chart in the tweet above, whilst the SNP lost nearly half a million votes since the 2015 general election Labour only gained fewer than 10,000. To put that in context, for every 48 voters the SNP lost Labour gained only 1 voter. For every 3 voters Labour gained the Scottish Tories gained nearly 100 voters. Labour’s gains were pretty much reliant on SNP losing voters.

If we look at the increases/decreases in the seven Labour Scottish gains we can see two were gained whilst Labour made a net loss of voters. Amusingly 7,000 of the near 10,000 votes Labour gained in Scotland came in Edinburgh South, the seat they already held, where Ian Murray the MP is someone who is very critical of Jeremy Corbyn.

After the huge, near comedic swings and wins from third place we’ve seen in Scotland at recent elections, and with so many known unknowns to come, only the Heir to the Throne of the Kingdom of Idiots could confidently predict the outcome of the next general election in Scotland.

If Labour’s strategy to make further gains in Scotland is to rely in major falls in the support of other parties then that might be a flawed approach.

Hat-tip to PBer TheUnionDivvie for making me aware of these figures.

TSE