Now the Rev is at it too

Posted this morning on Wings is another #bothvotesSNP piece by the Rev Stuart Campbell, “Five hard facts about the election”. Unfortunately, they are not all facts.

  1. RISE are not going to win any seats. This might well be true, and indeed I suspect that on present form, it probably will be. But this is an argument based on a forecast by Stuart which is based on their apparently limited supported, measured by the pollsters, which, given the uncertainties of polling we are being warned about, seems to me at least a wee bit of a contradiction.
  2. More seriously that a “pro-independence opposition is impossible” because the scenario that Stuart sketches out to support this suggests that “If every single Tory, Lib Dem, socialist and UKIP list vote from 2011 had gone to the Greens, they’d still have been short of Labour’s total.” But really that is as maybe, first of all because that all happened five years ago, and much has changed since then, most notably that the Labour vote is likely to have shrunk even more since 2011. Moreover it’s a pretty meaningless argument since if I was a Green Party member looking for votes, Conservatives and UKIP voters are fairly far down the list of places I would look. But in any event, the issue is how SNP supporters who have cast their vote for the SNP constituency candidate, will cast their vote on the Regional List. I can assure the Rev Campbell that if enough SNP voters made that switch then the Greens would be the opposition. Remember that with Labour being on course for something like 27 seats, the Greens do need a large increase in representation, but remember the Greens would be the opposition if they get one more seat than any party other than the one in government. Difficult? Yes, very. Likely? At this stage of the game, almost certainly not. Beneficial? As I have worked through elsewhere, with a modest (less than 1%) move of SNP voters in John Curtice’s paper, Andy Wightman would be elected rather than Sarah Boyack. So I would argue Yes. Possible? It offends no known law of nature – after all many laughed a year ago when it was suggested that the SNP might take 50 Westminster seats. They’re no laughing noo!
  3. “A pro-independence opposition is meaningless anyway”, is a proposition I can only disagree with. I would respectfully the Rev to Sillars’ argument for an “Independence Parliament” where the proposition that we should be independent is taken as a given and the main issues become how best to achieve that, and what kind of place an independent Scotland would be. That is a totally different dialogue than the one that we have had for the last five years, with the Unionists. It is not just about numbers, but about isolating Unionism and rendering it irrelevant.
  4. That the SNP will not win every constituency seat. Of course, they don’t have to – 65 is enough and anything above that would be a bonus. They survived five years with 69. John Curtice suggests that 70 is possible. But let us look at some of the claims. First Orkney and Shetland, where he points to the very sizeable swing needed on the 2011 vote, and that Carmichael hung on in 2015. Then again, we all know how he did it. I wonder if he will stand again, or if either of their candidates would speak on the same platform with him? I know Stuart’s antipathy toward seat forecasting sites, and even using them, the Lib Dems often hang on in one of them at least, and sometimes both. But the reason for that is the swing that would be needed compared to elsewhere. However, how subject is either seat to normal considerations after the Carmichael affair? Conjecture I know, but we can hardly put that event to one side and just forget about it.

    I could go on further on this forecast that the SNP wont win every constituency seat – for instance it is suggested that in Glasgow Anniesland that the Unionists could vote tactically to get Bill Kidd out, or that Patrick Harvie might win in Glasgow Kelvin – but since I agree with the proposition baldly stated, I won’t. I will though leave it by saying that there are two important things here. First that the SNP get their vote out and do not become complacent, and secondly that by doing so I confidently expect them to get enough constituency seats for a majority, even if they do not win them all. There are ‘battle grounds’ – there always are – but I really have no idea how Stuart estimates there are 14 of them. For instance is Glasgow Anniesland even one of them. The move in the vote since 2011 has been toward the SNP and away from Labour, and if Bill Kidd has been a decent constituency MSP (I have no idea) then how much of a battle will that be, even given his small majority.

  5. “The Greens commitment to a second indyref is lukewarm”. To this end Stuart presents some instances from his very extensive collection of press cuttings, but essentially this seems to come down to two propositions, that
    1. they will support another referendum if there is public support for it
    2. there should not be an early re-run

    I am trying very hard to think who else, not in the Greens, that those conditions remind me of? How about this “”Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there is clear and sustained evidence that independence has become the preferred option” of most Scots – or if there is a “material change in the circumstances” since 2014, such as Brexit against Scotland’s wishes.” – that is from the SNP manifesto.

    Oh and by the way, Harvie does not say that Brexit would not be a material change in circumstances. If you read your own screen grab you will see that he said in his opinion winning the next referendum would he harder if the UK were outside the EU. I have to say that I think he is wrong in that judgement, but it is just a fact that he didn’t say what you seem to be claiming here.

    One last thing, I do wish the Rev Campbell would stop arguing that Wings “has never told readers how to vote in Scottish elections and never will”, and then go on to publish an article which pretty much tells readers how to vote (or in this case, how not to vote).


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