A Few Thoughts On What In Blazes Is Going On

In fierce anguish & quenchless flames
To the desarts and rocks He ran raging
To hide, but He could not: combining
He dug mountains & hills in vast strength,
He piled them in incessant labour,
In howlings & pangs & fierce madness
Long periods in burning fires labouring
Till hoary, and age-broke, and aged,
In despair and the shadows of death.
– William Blake, depicting post-Brexit Britain (probably) in The Book of Urizen

You know what? Forget my worries about being a Cassandra. I’m just going to call it like I see it. World’s mad enough as it is.

This has nothing to do with the UK’s negotiations to leave the EU

Despite the Prime Minister’s preposterous assertion that the UK Parliament is “divided” on the UK leaving the EU, it is clear to me that a snap General Election has nothing to do with those negotiations. The vote to trigger Article 50 was passed by a colossal 494 to 122, even after the UK government defeated every single amendment put forward by another party; even if Tim Farron manages to win every seat his party lost in 2015, Jeremy Corbyn’s party still backed the Article 50 process – meaning that the plan to derail, or at least alter, the terms of leaving the EU will be little closer than when we started. The only way the Article 50 process can be altered from its current course is if we see a massive change of heart from the two largest parties in the UK Parliament, both of whom are so terrified of being perceived as sabotaging The Will Of The People (as they define it, not the people themselves, of course) that they are utterly at the mercy of the monster they created.

According to Chris Hanretty, if the EU Referendum results were divided by UK Parliament constituencies as opposed to local authority, then around 401 seats of those studied voted Leave compared to 231 which voted Remain: this is an even bigger proportion than the local authority results of 263 to 119. Of the local authority areas, over 100 voted Leave by over 60%, compared to 43 voting Remain by the same percentage – almost all of the latter being in Scotland or London. If certain parties are using this General Election as a stealth re-run of the EU Referendum, then many MPs will have to reconcile their vote with that of their constituencies – including, might I add, a certain MP in a certain seat in the Scottish Borders.

The UK is leaving the EU in order to enact the economic crisis which its authors intended all along: a catastrophe designed to enrich them ever further, repeal the laws which protect human rights, transform the UK into a tax haven, all under the smoke & mirrors of a populist revolt. And, through incompetence or compliance, the UK Parliament is aiding and abetting them – which is why this General Election is nothing to do with it.

This is everything to do with consolidating the UK Government’s power

So, if this isn’t about the UK leaving the EU, then what is it about? I look back to what I wrote a month ago:

Look at how the Prime Minister has acted following England & Wales’ votes to leave the EU. Every single action she has made has been to placate the extreme Eurosceptics in her own party – withdrawing from the European Court of Human Rights, the Single Market, Freedom of Movement, the Customs Union – all things that even the most fervent advocates of a Leave vote claimed were not necessarily under threat, until the vote was done and dusted. Just like the Independence Referendum, the UK Government have falsely presented a majority vote as an endorsement of the extremists within that majority… and if we dare to object to this hijacking of a mandate, then we’re the “anti-democratic” ones. The opportunist Mays, Johnsons, and Goves are letting the zealot Fabricants, Redwoods, and Foxes dictate the terms of leaving, even though they make up a fraction of Leave MPs, let alone Parliamentarians.But why? For the same reason as anything they do – power. If only a fraction of the dozens of the UK Government’s MPs which support leaving the EU split from the party SDP-style, then that demolishes the government’s overall majority. The Prime Minister knows this. She also knows that majority was won, purely and simply, on the back of the promise of that EU membership referendum in the first place – a big reason that the UK Separatist Party had good results in safe Other Party seats, but not in UK Government Party seats.

The UK Government won a measly majority in 2015 predicated on the promise of a referendum on membership of the European Union. It was already at risk from its own rebels, hence why the party bent over backwards to accommodate the anti-EU forces in their ranks – never dreaming that they would actually win. Meanwhile, on policies that aren’t constitutional maelstroms, the UK Government is actually sorely tested:

Theresa May has insisted Heathrow Airport can be expanded without breaching legal limits on air pollution as she sought to head off a damaging revolt from grassroots Tories.
The announcement on Tuesday that the Government has finally opted to build a third runway at Heathrow brought a renewed threat of legal action by councils in the area, including Windsor and Maidenhead, which includes the Prime Minister’s constituency.
Local Conservative MPs have also voiced anger over the decision, with Zac Goldsmith dramatically quitting as MP for Richmond Park, forcing a by-election in which he will stand as an independent.
26th October 2016

Theresa May’s plans to bring back grammar schools in England have run into immediate opposition from a number of senior Tories, who have indicated that they may vote down the controversial reforms along with Labour and the SNP.
The prime minister set out her vision for a “great meritocracy” on Friday, arguing that social mobility could be better achieved by more grammars and forcing private schools to help the state sector in return for keeping their tax breaks. Announcing the most substantial shakeup of the education system for decades, May insisted that it was not a return to the “binary system” of old because there would be efforts to make sure that all schools are successful.
However, the plans quickly came under attack from a group of rebel Tories, Labour, the Lib Dems, the SNP, trade unions, teaching organisations and the chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, who argued against dividing children by academic ability at age 11.
9th September 2016

Theresa May is facing a Tory backbench revolt tomorrow over her refusal to accept more child refugees.
As many as 31 Conservative MPs are ready to back a rebel amendment demanding the Government continues to help the unaccompanied children.
6th March 2017

Controversial plans to hike National Insurance contributions for the self-employed will be delayed until the autumn following a major Tory backlash, Theresa May has revealed.
The Prime Minister mounted a vigorous defence of the reforms announced in the Budget, but left the door open to the possibility of the Government making concessions to prevent a backbench rebellion.
9th March 2017

Theresa May has been warned she faces a revolt by Conservative MPs over school cuts, with more than a third of Tories in marginal seats facing slashed budgets.
17th March 2017

Theresa May is facing a damaging Commons revolt next week by Conservative MPs who are pressing her to remove foreign students from the immigration figures.
Rebel Tories claim they have enough support to inflict a humiliating defeat on Ms May, who is also under pressure from several cabinet ministers to stop counting overseas students as long-term migrants.
14th April 2017

The only reason I can see for the UK Government to hold a snap general election is if they fear the loss of their power. But why would they fear such a thing?

Tory MPs face being prosecuted for electoral fraud while they are fighting the upcoming general election campaign
The CPS confirmed it must announce whether it will prosecute before 8 June
Conservative MPs accused of breaking election spending rules at the last election face the possibility of being prosecuted by the Crown while they are in the middle of fighting their re-election campaigns at this year’s general election.
14 police forces have sent files to the Crown Prosecution Service relating to the Tory 2015 ‘battle bus’ scheme, which it has been alleged led to Tory candidates breaking strict spending limits on elections.
The CPS is currently reviewing the evidence and considering whether to charge the MPs with breaking the election spending limits, which are put in place to prevent those with wealthy backers from gaining an unfair advantage during general elections.
A spokesperson for the CPS confirmed to The Independent on Tuesday evening that any charges would have to be made before the date of the general election, which Theresa May wants to hold on 8 June subject to a vote in Parliament tomorrow.
This means the CPS’s announcement must by law fall while the MPs are campaigning for re-election, before 8 June.
18th April 2017

Ah, now do you see?

If the CPS do prosecute the “over 30 individuals” – including 24 MPs, named here – implicated in this scandal, then there is a very real chance that each of the elections affected will be declared void. That could, at a stroke, wipe out the UK Government’s majority. Clearly, the UK Government are sufficiently concerned with this possibility that they are ready to take the risk in a snap General Election: the Other Party are still tearing themselves apart, and doing exactly what the UK Government wants them to do while claiming victory; their erstwhile Coalition partners still refuse to rule out working with them despite placing themselves as the “only opposition” to the UK Government & Hard Brexit; and the SNP can only achieve a maximum of 59 seats in the upcoming election.

It is possible, as plenty of folk seem to think, that the UK Government could emerge 100 seats stronger come 9th June. It’s also entirely possible that the pro-EU parties get their act together and deprive that government of a majority, resulting in either a minority Theresa May government, or a second coalition – and if his own party has anything to do with it, it won’t be Jeremy Corbyn leading the party to Number 10, one way or another.

Voters are being ground down by poll fatigue – quite deliberately

“You’re joking! Not another one! Oh, for God’s sake, I can’t – honestly – I can’t stand this. There’s too much politics going on at the moment. Why does she need to do it?”
– Brenda speaks for so many people

People are sick of hearing about politics. Voters are sick of going to the polls. Activists are sick of wearing out their trainers and giving themselves papercuts. And this is exactly how the UK Establishment wants it.

They want you to treat the idea of the people having a say in what happens to the country as an unwanted nuisance. They want you to feel frustrated, bothered, inconvenienced. They want people to get so tired, so exhausted, so fed up of “too much politics,” that more and more people will become disengaged, leaving only the dedicated – who can be much more easily contained and managed. They’d get a lot more done if people would stop mucking up all their plans by not voting the way they want to.

British Nationalists have one thing right: we’re not giving up. If you believe in something, then you don’t just give up at the first hurdle. You keep going. You hone your arguments. You learn. You adapt. You change. But you don’t pack it in because a vote doesn’t go your way. The problem is, the supposed winners of the 2014 referendum are trying to pretend that’s a bad thing: that people should just give up on what they believe in when the majority of people recorded in a referendum vote differently from you. That’s not how it works, they know that’s not how it works, and they’re not fooling anyone. They’re just sick of fighting us, because deep down they know that they have to win every battle. We only have to win once. Because not one country which voted for independence from the United Kingdom has ever wanted to go back. Scotland sure as hell won’t be the first.

Still, there’s a certain irony in Scots being sick of going to the polls. Imagine, if you will, that the official result of the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum was recorded for Yes:

  • I can’t imagine Scots would take part in the 2015 General Election: those constituencies were going to disappear, rendering any prospective MPs redundant within years, so what would be the point?
  • Similarly, Scots would not be taking part in a European Union Referendum held mere weeks after the Scottish Parliament Election, as they were no longer going to be part of the UK, and so wouldn’t have a say in what the UK did (not that we do anyway);
  • Being officially independent in 2017 as set out by the White Paper would mean we wouldn’t be putting up with a 2017 Snap General Election barely a month after our Local Authority Elections;
  • nor would we have a second independence referendum in 2018/2019 on account of already being independent and not needing one to stop our democratic will being trodden underfoot;
  • nor would we face a possible second pre-Brexit EU referendum so beloved of the pro-UK-pro-EUers, because we wouldn’t have taken part in the first. We’d only have to worry about the Scottish Parliament and Local Authority elections.

That’d be 5 out of 7 possible polls that the people of Scotland could have avoided since September 2014.

Food for thought, Brendas of Scotland.

The “Resurgence” is Cynical Astroturf Designed To Shroud Electoral Theft

The battle for Scotland’s future is becoming so desperate, I can no longer maintain the luxury of not talking frankly about the opposition parties. So let’s say it simply: Ruth Davidson’s historic “victory” in 2016 is being artificially inflated into support for her party and cause which does not exist. They are doing this to shroud the reality – that nearly every seat won by the party in 2016 was won by the very skin of their teeth, in a manner uncannily similar to the marginal seats now being investigated by the Crown Procession Service.

31 MSPs are a lot of seats: double their 2011 result. Their percentages on the constituency and list also doubled. Yet even doubling their fortunes means that Ruth Davidson’s party only commands the support of a quarter to a third of Scottish voters, at most:

Scottish Election 2016: 22% constituency, 22.9% region
Panelbase 8th-13th February 2017: 26% (local elections, likely voters, excluding DK)
IPSOS-MORI 24th February – 6th March 2017: 19% (local elections)
Panelbase 13th-17th March 2017: 28% (UK, likely voters, excluding DK)

That last Panelbase poll is definitely quite surprising, especially considering Ashcroft’s latest poll – which is, characteristically, extremely generous towards his favoured party: the number of Scots who said they would definitely vote for the party were a measly 10%; a hefty 65%, on the other hand, claimed there was “no chance” they would vote for one of Ruth Davidson’s champions. In contrast, the epically maligned Jeremy Corbyn has never been below 23% since he was elected, and reached dizzying heights of 36% – Ruth Davidson’s party has, thus far, never breached the 30% figure under her leadership.

How is it that Corbyn’s leadership can be considered disastrous, where Ruth Davidson’s command is declared triumphant, when the two have been roughly comparable in support since their elections? Because it suits the Powers That Be to pretend it is so.

Let’s look at those 31 MSPs again. Of them, no less than 24 were won on the Regional List, and so elected not in constituency contests, but because of the d’Hont method of proportionate representation. In terms of straight constituency contests, Davidson’s party claimed 7 of 73 seats: of those 7, 3 were holds, and only 2 were gained from the Scottish Government – less than the Scottish Government themselves gained in constituencies (6).

Now, here’s where it gets very interesting. Of those 7 constituency seats, only one seat has an overall majority – John Lamont in Ettrick, Roxburgh & Berwickshire, whose 18,257 votes translated into 55.2% vote share, a substantial increase on his 44.88% share in 2011, with a convincing 23.4% majority. Got to say, I don’t see the appeal – but then, I’m not a Borderer. Notably, the list vote – which is explicitly for the party, not an individual – was 46.65%; far smaller, by almost 9%. There was barely any difference between the SNP’s constituency and list votes, even accounting for the Greens.

It only went downhill from there. Finlay Carson held Galloway & West Dumfries on a solid 43.4%, though only a 4.5% majority over the SNP’s Aileen McLeod (his party’s list vote was, again, smaller, only 39.98% to the SNP’s 36%):

John Scott held Ayr on 43%, with another reduced majority of 2%, and something curious happens on the list – his party actually loses first place in the popular stakes (37.1%), while the SNP moves ahead (39.6%). This means that more people voted SNP on the list in Ayr than for Ruth Davidson’s party, even though they chose her representative on the constituency – and, again, even considering the presence of the Greens:

Alexander Burnett won Aberdeenshire West from Dennis Robertson on 38.1%, and a majority of 2.6% . Here, the party is still top of the list, and even a smidgen higher than the constituency result (38.64%), while the SNP’s list vote drops slightly below the constituency (33.5%):

Oliver Mundell won Dumfriesshire on 37.3% and a significantly reduced majority of 3.4% from his predecessor (list vote was barely distinguishable, 37.06% to the SNP’s 33.65%):

One of the most bitter defeats for the SNP was when Jackson Carlaw won Eastwood – all the more bitter, because it was only 35.7% on a 4.5% majority. The party did quite a bit better on the list (38.3% to the SNP’s 29.3%), which suggests the individual candidates’ popularity and tactical voting from aligned list parties played a significant role in the constituency, but only up to a point:

And Ruth Davidson? She has one of the smallest mandates of all – a mere 30.4%, with a majority of 1.8%. The list result was even more damning, not even breaking 30% (29.11% to the SNP’s 26.3% – the 16.97% Green list vote undoubtedly was a factor). Even with a sizeable swing – one almost matched by the Scottish Green candidate, incidentally – the much-vaunted Saviour of the Union won the lowest personal mandate of any constituency MSP of all 73 seats in this election. No less than 18 candidates – one from her own party – across other constituencies won greater shares of the vote in their constituencies, yet were not elected – even to the list.

For comparison, Kezia Dugdale – who did not win her constituency – lost with 33%. In other words, a greater proportion of Edinburgh Eastern voters wanted Kezia Dugdale to represent them, than Edinburgh Central voters wanted Ruth Davidson – the supposedly wildly popular Leader of the Opposition in the Scottish Parliament – to represent them. Not only is her party less popular in Scotland than Jeremy Corbyn’s is in England, she herself is less popular in her own constituency than Kezia Dugdale is in hers.

Ruth Davidson has a weaker personal mandate than Kezia Dugdale.

Consider: of all the 66 seats which the UK Government Party did not win, only 4 have less than a 5% majority: of them, only 1 was won by the SNP (Perthshire South & Kinross-shire), and it was the only SNP constituency where Team Davidson came within 5% of the SNP’s vote share. In fact, Team Davidson can only consider itself remotely in contention in a handful of constituencies:

2016 Candidates: +60% vote share
SNP: 2 (2 elected)
CON: 0
LAB: 0
LIB: 2 (2 elected)

2016 Candidates: +50% vote share
SNP: 24 (24 elected)
CON: 1 (1 elected)
LAB: 0
LIB: 0

2016 Candidates: +40% vote share
SNP: 32 (31 elected)
CON: 2 (2 elected)
LAB: 1 (1 elected)
LIB: 2 (2 elected)

2016 Candidates: +30% vote share
SNP: 12 (2 elected)
CON: 13 (4 elected)
LAB: 17 (2 elected)
LIB: 1 (0 elected)

2016 Candidates: +20% vote share
SNP: 3 (0 elected)
CON: 12 (0 elected)
LAB: 32 (0 elected)
LIB: 2 (0 elected)

2016 Candidates: -20% vote share
SNP: 0
CON: 43 (0 elected)
LAB: 23 (0 elected)
LIB: 65 (0 elected)

The lowest share any SNP candidate won in 2016 was the late Danus Skene’s 23.1% – which was, itself, a solid 2nd place, and the only party other than Tavish Scott’s to go into double digits in that constituency. The worst performing candidate for Ruth Davidson’s party was in that same constituency – Cameron Smith lost his deposit at 3.7% of the vote.

So why are the media & commentariat constantly pressing this idea that Ruth Davidson presents a threat to SNP dominance (quite apart from, you know, us being in the UK and thus her party is already in control of Scotland despite ourselves)?

Simple…

We are entering the endgame of the fight for Scottish Independence

The current plan is for the 2017 General Election to be fought on existing constituency lines. We already know there will be issues regarding Michelle Thomson & Natalie McGarry: we also know that the UK Government Party will do everything they can not only to hold onto Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale, but to grab any seat they can in the interests of eroding the SNP’s challenge to their power.

It seems a truism that the SNP “will” lose some seats to the Tories. Just like it was common sense that the SNP wouldn’t gain anything like 56 seats, right? Yet for the want of a few thousand votes, the SNP could have won every single seat in 2015 – if we knew where we were needed most. Alas, hindsight is always 20/20: if we could predict elections, there wouldn’t be any point to them. But Ruth Davidson’s party knows exactly where it can win, and exactly how to win. We saw them apply that knowledge in the 2016 elections to steal several constituencies from right under the SNP’s noses – seats the SNP could, should, have easily won or held.

And – here’s where I get all Cassandra – you would be foolish if you thought they would not attempt every damned, dirty trick in the book to achieve their goals. Again, this is the party which the Crown Prosecution Service are considering prosecuting over illegal election practices. This is the party which the Electoral Commission have already fined for breaking election rules. Need I even mention postal votes in regards to Ruth Davidson? You think it would be difficult for them to utilise the same unethical practises that won the EU referendum in England & Wales, whose campaign director brazenly admitted was based upon lies? You think they would have any qualms adopting the same tactics as the people who won the US Election?

We were blessed in the first Scottish Independence Referendum. In all the campaign, not one person lost their life to the cause, either for or against it. There were arguments, there were fights, there were fallouts – but nobody died. This was back when the Powers That Be were certain of a comfortable victory: 30%, thereabouts. This time, there is no safe margin of error. They will be fighting for their livelihoods, and nothing will be off the table. No more Party of the Workers to shield them; no more facade of pro-EU internationalism; no more charades. The Final Boss of the Game of Scottish Independence has revealed itself: the penultimate level is upon us.

I’m sick of elections. I’m sick of UK politics. But the last thing I’m doing is going to let these people browbeat me into inaction. We have work to do.

Target: 2015 2017.

Knowing what I know now, I can see we’re in for a helluva fight in the above constituencies – but we cannot neglect the places we fought so hard to win, either. The last thing the people of Glasgow, West Scotland, Central Scotland, Dundee, and of course Inverclyde, need is to feel like they’re being neglected by their representatives. We need to prove we’re better than the UK Government: that our actions are not for party, but for people – the people of Scotland. In announcing an EU referendum so soon after the Scottish Parliament elections, the UK Government proved how little they cared about the people of Scotland. Announcing a second General Election months beforehand, just after local elections in Scotland, simply proves their lack of consideration.

Turning every seat in Scotland gold is not a luxury, something we can use to prove our superiority over the patchwork English: it is, like the EU Referendum, a signal to the UK Government that the people of Scotland are getting fed up with your neglect, your exploitation, your arrogance. You want Unity? You want One Nation? You want everyone to get behind One Banner?

We’ll make it happen – whether you like it or not.

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11 thoughts on “A Few Thoughts On What In Blazes Is Going On

  1. Muscleguy says:

    Actually the UK already is a tax haven, it will just become a bigger one after Brexit. Read Nicholas Shaxson’s Treasure Islands if you don’t believe me.

    It all started when on a trading flour in the City a trader put up a sign saying ‘Jersey’ while he processed business from that place and dared the Revenue to intervene. They didn’t and ever since all they have to do is put a label such as Jersey, Guernsey, Anguilla, Bermuda etc on an account and the monies in it will not be taxed by the UK Revenue.

    ALL monies taken in the likes of Jersey are remitted to the City at close of business. When a NZ friend left these shores for that place Barclays simply put ‘Guernsey’ on his account and hey presto! he was no longer resident in the UK for tax purposes.

    • alharron says:

      You know, I was actually going to write “turn the UK into a dragon’s hoard,” but thought it a bit too vague, so just settled for tax haven, because I couldn’t think of anything better than “an even bigger tax haven.” Tax nirvana? Tax capital? “Treasure Islands” sounds good.

  2. Doug McGregor says:

    Great article , keep up the good work. Let’s make sure the strategists see your work.

  3. Macart says:

    That is an impressive piece of digging.

    Neatly done Al.

  4. Harry Molloy says:

    Wonderful insight into “why-wee was grubbed” into not having a majority in holyroood. Hopefully those opposing Tory rule will look at these figures and stand down, allowing our anti Tory SNP team to win all 59 seats and show Theresa what is what. Labour and the lib dems and the greens canny do it.

  5. Marconatrix says:

    A good exposition, if a bit long-winded. How to compress the essence into say a leaflet for those with limited time or attention span?

  6. Your reasoning is entirely sound ( http://tinyurl.com/k2ufsu2 ) – the mountain that you depict in such detail is formidable. And we thought two years ago that we had the View from the top of the Hill…

  7. twisteds0ul says:

    Well played, good sir bloke on the interwebs! My dinner went cold reading it, but it was worth it, consider yourself bookmarked for further perusal. Thanks for the effort and the info. 😉

  8. Paul says:

    William Blake did a pretty good job of predicting our current political times overall:

    “The youth of England, hid in gloom, curse the pain’d heavens, compell’d
    Into the deadly night to see the form of Albion’s Angel.
    Their parents brought them forth, and Agèd Ignorance preaches, canting,
    On a vast rock, perceiv’d by those senses that are clos’d from thought,
    Bleak, dark, abrupt it stands, and overshadows London city.
    They saw his bony feet on the rock, the flesh consum’d in flames;
    They saw the Serpent temple lifted above, shadowing the Island white;
    They heard the voice of Albion’s Angel, howling in flames of Orc,
    Seeking the Trump of the Last Doom.”

    – Europe: A Prophecy (1794)

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