Archive for the 'SNP' Category

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How much of Scotland and will still be in SNP hands on June 9th?

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

DavidL looks at the prospects and the betting

In 2010 Scottish politics look set in some Jurassic age. Not a seat changed hands. Scottish Labour dinosaurs ruled the roost and played on the national stage. In 2015, post referendum, the asteroid struck; an astonishing SNP tsunami, whose power was foreseen by few except Alastair Meeks, swept the SNP to a stunning 56 seats. The old Labour dominance was destroyed forever. What does 2017 hold for us?

We have a few clues. Into the vacuum created by the implosion of SLAB came Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Tories. They finished a creditable second in the Holyrood elections in 2016 depriving Nicola of her majority. They repeated the trick on 4th May taking second place again in the local elections from a Labour party that did not quite implode the way people had been predicting. But FPTP is a sterner test. The SNP remain the dominant party in Scotland vulnerable at the margins but certain to win the vast majority of the Scottish seats.

Where, at the fringes, are they vulnerable? Probably at the fringes of Scotland. The 3 border seats look very likely to go to the Tories. Orkney and Shetland looks nailed on for the Lib Dems with reasonable prospects in Charlie Kennedy’s old seat of Ross, Cromarty and Skye and Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross. The Liberal Democrats are 7/4 in the former and 11/10 with Ladbrokes in the latter, both quite attractive to my mind and a better bet than the favoured East Dunbartonshire where Jo Swinson starts off more than 2,000 behind and yet is favourite or Edinburgh West where the Lib Dems start more than 3,000 behind and yet are 2/5.

Beyond this the sheer scale of the SNP tsunami in 2015 daunts. What should have been marginal seats have huge majorities. In Perth and North Perthshire, for example, the Tories are odds on with Ladbrokes but Pete Wishart sits on a majority of 9,641. This seems an extremely unattractive bet for me at those odds. West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine looks very good for the Tories but 1/7? East Renfrewshire requires the Tories to come from a fairly distant third but again they are odds on. It demonstrates another problem in Scotland with the Unionist vote split between the competing parties. My expectation is that in several cases, notably in Edinburgh, this will result in the SNP coming through the middle and holding on. Bet365 has the SNP at 5/6 for more than 46.5 seats. Much though it pains me that looks a buy to me. My guess is that the Tories will get 6 plus some close seconds, Labour maybe 2 (Edinburgh South and East Lothian being the most likely) and the Lib Dems 3 leaving the SNP on 48. I’d love to be wrong.

DavidL is a long-standing poster on PB



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New YouGov Scottish poll suggests the Tories could make 7 gains in Scotland

Friday, April 28th, 2017


Graphic – The times

And the LD could triple their Scottish seats

The main General Election polling news overnight has been a YouGov/Times survey of Scotland which suggests that the Conservatives could start to win back some of the seats in Scotland that they held more than a quarter of a century ago.

The Lib Dems could also stage a small recovery tripling the Scottish total to three seats.

Labour, which at GE2010, won 41 of Scotland’s 59 seats, is still projected to be down at just one. It was that Scottish wipeout that was the dominant feature of the 2015 election and enabled the Tories to portray Ed Miliband as being in the pockets of the SNP.

We will get a better idea of opinion in Scotland next Friday when we have the results of the Scottish local elections which were last held in 2012.

Mike Smithson




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Why Sturgeon’s SIndy2 isn’t a gamble; it’s a necessity

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Her window of opportunity could be closing

The SNP exists to achieve independence for Scotland. This simple fact shouldn’t really need stating but keeping it at the forefront of our minds is crucial to understanding why what’s going on is going on, and how events might pan out in future.

As with other nationalist-seperationist movements across the world, including UKIP within the UK, independence is an ideological objective; one that ranks so highly that other considerations pale by comparison. Short-term pain is justified by long-term gain. To the extent that short-term pain needs to be minimised, it’s a matter of the tactics and politics necessary to gain the support that will launch independence but otherwise only a secondary consideration.

Which is why Sturgeon is going back on the once-in-a-generation/lifetime expectation given during the last referendum. Salmond, when he was making that claim, was no doubt doing so in part so as to pressurise doubtful Yes voters to stick with the cause for fear that they might otherwise miss the bus but also because he probably believed that it would indeed be a once-in-a-generation event, at best; that the SNP wouldn’t have the opportunity to call another vote for many a year.

Given the extent of the SNP’s dominance north of the border, that might sound strange but it’s not. For a start, it was far from obvious that the SNP would continue their hegemony if they lost. Losing the 1979 referendum preceded the party entering the doldrums for most of the 1980s, and that despite a more legitimate sense of grievance than this time. Labour certainly wouldn’t have acted as they did had they known how events would turn out. Without Salmond and with potential division over the way forward, with uncertainty over both the 2015 and 2016 elections, who could have known in advance when another opportunity for the SNP might come?

And that opportunity only exists because of the maths in the Scottish parliament: the crucial factor that hasn’t been much mentioned this last week. It isn’t even certain now that Sturgeon will be able to call a referendum: the SNP doesn’t have a majority in Holyrood and while the Greens might well support IndyRef2, or at least abstain (which would be good enough for the SNP), their compliance can’t be taken for granted.

Therein lies the rub, and the reason for assuming that 2014 would be a once-in-a-long-time chance: the Scottish system makes winning an outright majority very hard. To have done it once and to have come close to doing so again were extraordinary achievements but no-one – and particularly the SNP – can assume they’ll pull off a hat-trick in 2021. Even a small slip in support would drop them back to the 2007 situation: able to govern but not to impose. Fourteen years in office leaves a legacy and it’d be a highly optimistic strategist to assume that electoral gravity can be defied so long. Indeed, as mentioned, the likely thinking pre-2014 was that it couldn’t even be defied this long.

Hence why Sturgeon is agitating so strongly now. Yes, there is a sense of a win-win in that if the vote is denied, it’s good propaganda for a grievance to be nurtured into the future but that’s consolation material. The more pressing factor is that her window of opportunity remains surprisingly open and Brexit provides a saleable reason for calling a second vote. Sure, it’d be messy and rooted in confusion but those can be fertile conditions for constitutional change, and launching a new country is constitutional change on the biggest scale. Carpe diem, and all that.

David Herdson





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As we edge towards the enactment of the A50 Bill Nicola has just made Theresa’s task harder

Monday, March 13th, 2017

The political price of hard brexit could be a smaller UK

TMay’s reaction to Sturgeon’s InyRef2 announcement was that the Scottish FM and SNP leader was “playing politics” – a term I generally conclude to mean that what’s been said has been highly effective.

Certainly the suggestions that TMay might defer invoking A50 until the end of the month suggests there’s a need to look again at her strategy and the rhetoric she will deploy when the formal process of extraction is triggered.

On the politics of the Sturgeon move there’s an excellent analysis by the FT’s Janan Ganesh who notes that the short timetable put formard by Sturgeon is one that is “designed to be rejected, giving her, at the very least, a grievance with which to stoke nationalism.” Ganesh goes on

“..She has also earned herself some leverage over the negotiations themselves. Mrs May cannot sign off on hard exit terms without risking the loss of Scotland, three-fifths of whose electorate voted for the EU. Such terms would not just threaten material harm to a small, trading economy, they would communicate England’s hauteur to the smaller nation. But if Mrs May softens her line, she must forgo the right to make external trade deals (to stay in the customs union) or accept free movement (to stay in the single market). The first would be death to her governing vision, the second would be unsurvivable…”

The threat of losing Scotland and thus creating a much smaller UK is a powerful one.

This is going to run.

Mike Smithson




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The opening IndyRef2 odds make it odds-on that it’ll take place and odds-on that Scotland will vote YES

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Lots of activity from the bookies following Nicola Stugeon’s announcement that the SNP is going for a second IndyRef because of the vastly changed circumstances as a result of BREXIT.

The Ladbrokes betting:

Ladbrokes latest betting
Next Independence Referendum
4/6 Before end 2020
11/10 Not before end of 2020
Year of next Independence Referendum
25 2017
7/4 2018
5/2 2019
10 2020
11/10 2021 or later
Result of next Referendum
8/11 YES
11/10 NO
(If held before end 2020)

WILLIAM HILL….

SECOND SCOTTISH INDIE REF BY END 2020..….4/6 Yes; 11/10 No

SECOND SCOTTISH INDIE REF BY END 2024……2/9 Yes; 3/1 No

OUTCOME OF NEXT SCOT INDIE REF BY END 2024.……………..4/6 Yes to Independence; 11/10 No

 

To my mind none of the above odds either way are attractive.

The First Minister hads timed her statement for this critical day as the Article 50 bill gets close to becoming an act thus allowing Theresa May to formally tell Brussels that the UK is leaving .

Mike Smithson




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Another way of looking at how the parties are doing – how successful they are at fundraising

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

LAB drops to 3rd



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Labour’s massive challenge: Support for Corbyn as “best PM” is inversely proportional to people’s likelihood to vote

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

There’s a new YouGov voting poll out which has the Tories extending their lead to 12%. The figures are:

CON 40%
LAB 28%
LD 8%
UKIP 13%

This means that the Tories have double digit leads in four of the five polls since Theresa May became PM. Clearly she is enjoying a honeymoon bounce but, on top of that, she is facing a Labour party that appears to be at war with itself.

One part of the poll that show the massive challenge facing a Corbyn-led main opposition party – the “best PM” ratings. Across the board that runs 52% to May and 18% to Corbyn. But it is the age splits that I find most interesting and which feature in my chart above.

As can be seen those voters of Corbyn’s age group are the least likely to rate him. Conversely the youngest is the only one where he has a lead. Only trouble is we all know is that the older you are the more likely it is that you will vote in elections.

Mike Smithson




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Holyrood 2016: the SNP’s hegemony continues

Saturday, March 5th, 2016

Scottish Labour Conference Halloween Special   YouTube

But how bad will it get for Scottish Labour?

You wouldn’t know if you only received your news from the London media but there are three general elections in the UK this year. Voters will go to the polls in May to elect new Assemblies in Wales and Northern Ireland and to the Scottish Parliament (as well as a London mayor, various lesser mayors, a bumper set of councillors and PCCs across England and Wales – it’s probably the biggest polling day before the next general election). But clearly that’s far less interesting than the EU referendum in June or the dramas of the US presidential primaries.

There are interesting questions surrounding the outcomes of both the Belfast and Cardiff assemblies but the most fascinating race lies north of England, where the political landscape has undergone a revolution unlike any in Britain in almost a century.

At the heart of that revolution is the SNP, who will be seeking to win a third term and a second overall majority. Going by current polls they seem as certain to do so as can ever be the case in politics. Not since August 2014 has the SNP trailed Labour and since the referendum changed everything, the SNP has never led by less than 10%; their smallest lead since last year’s general election in the crucial regional vote is some 22%. That the best odds on an SNP win are 1/50 tells you all you need to know.

Two questions follow such overwhelming dominance: just how well can the SNP do, and who will be best of the rest?

On the first question, Ladbrokes are offering 7/2 that Sturgeon’s army will take all 72 constituency seats and 1/6 that they won’t. That’s quite a big margin and I don’t really see any value there. Achieving a lock-out of all other parties is hard: you only have to make a mistake in one constituency or with one candidate and it’s lost. And some constituencies will be hard to win anyway with Shetland perhaps proving the toughest nut.

A lesser target is that of the overall majority which Ladbrokes have priced at 1/16 that the SNP will, and 7/1 for a hung parliament. There might just be a smidgen of value in the latter. Winning half the seats under AMS is difficult. The SNP won a majority of nine in 2011 on a 44% regional vote. That, however, was with parties outside the main four gaining 12% of the vote but just three MSPs (two Green and Margo MacDonald standing as an independent).

Current polling is far from consistent: TNS typically report the SNP as well into the 50s, a level that would produce an easy overall majority; by contrast, Survation and YouGov only put the SNP in the low- to mid-forties. Just as relevant are the scores at the bottom. If TNS is right, then the Greens, Lib Dems and UKIP will be unlikely (again) to reach double figures between them; if Survation is on the mark then they should be in the 15-20 range.

As for best of the rest, Labour is 2/5 (again Ladbrokes), against 7/4 for the Conservatives. It’s a measure of how far Labour has fallen that we are seriously talking about them finishing third, something they haven’t done at any election in Scotland since 1918*. All the same, they should do so and despite the unattractive odds, there is a little value there. The Conservatives have had great difficulty breaking through a barrier at 17% (other than presumed margin of error) and there has to be a limit to how far Labour can fall. All the same, punters would be well-advised to invest it in, for example, the US presidential race where more attractive options exist.

One question to ask is whether we should be placing too much faith in the polls at this stage after the experience of 2015, when they were badly wrong, and 2011 when they moved heavily late on. I’d say cautiously yes for two reasons. Firstly, I don’t expect a late swing this time because the numbers are in alignment: Sturgeon is a popular leader and her party is well ahead. There’s no tension there to be resolved. And secondly, last year’s general election gives us all the evidence we need as to the big picture assuming that little’s changed – and we’ve no real reason to think otherwise.

David Herdson



* This is definitional. I’m counting parties that fought an election under a pact as a single entity. I’m also using MPs elected as the decisive factor. If votes are used, then it would be the first time since December 1910 (Labour outpolled Asquith’s Liberals in 1918 but won two fewer seats, eight to six).

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