Reasons to be cheerful

The cooncil election results are in, and we’ve learned a few things. Despite the weeping wailing and gnashing of teeth over Tory gains in places like Shettleston, Ferguslie Park and Ravenscraig, these are mostly things which are good for the longer term picture for the independence campaign.  Whatever the Tories and their pals in the press say, we’re still on course for another independence referendum, and we’re still on course to win it.

The first thing to consider is that turn out was shockingly low. It usually is in council elections in Scotland, and this election was overshadowed by the General Election next month. That means that local campaigns were drowned out in the noise of national campaigns – and UK wide campaigns at that. These are factors which would tend to benefit the Unionist result. Wall to wall coverage in the media of the Tories and Labour benefits those parties at the expense of others.

When there’s a very low turn out, there tends to be proportionately more older voters than there are in other elections.  The demographic most likely to go and vote, come hell or high water, are older people and that effect is magnified when overall turn out is low. Older voters are most likely to support Unionist parties, and most likely to vote Tory.  That means the council elections are likely to have seen a disproportionate Conservative vote.  Since these elections are conducted according to a strict proportional system, that means those votes get turned into seats in a way they wouldn’t necessarily in a first past the post election like the Westminster General Election next month.

Yes, yes, I know that not all older voters are dyed in the wool reactionaries who fly a fleg at the slightest provocation. I know that there are many older voters who support independence. So please do not fill up the comments section with an outraged explanation of how you’ve been an independence supporter since the 1960s and not everyone with a bus pass is a fan of Ruth Davidson. But it’s a statistical fact that the older you are, the more likely it is that you’ll be a supporter of the Union and the more likely it is that you’ll vote Conservative.  ‘More likely’ doesn’t mean ‘everyone’.

The low turn out means that the council election results are probably a high water mark for the Tories, and reports that they’ll make serious gains in Scotland in June’s General Election are likely not to come to pass. Sky News is forecasting that, on the basis of these council results, the SNP are likely to win 54 Westminster seats in the General Election.  That’s a very long way short of the 12 Tory gains that some opinion polls were forecasting.  54 SNP seats would be a pretty solid rejection of the Tory single issue no to indyref2 campaign. The same Sky News forecast also predicts a fairly modest number of gains for the Tories in the rest of the UK, giving Theresa May a majority of 48, considerably short of the 100 plus that was previously predicted. The big news from the rest of the UK is the total collapse of the Ukip vote. Although that’s not really surprising since the Conservatives have turned into Ukip. Theresa May is Nigel Farage in a designer trousers clown suit.  The odious Nigel has a legion of faults, but at least he can eat chips convincingly.  It’s just that he can’t do anything else convincingly.  Like win elections.

There are reports that there were an alarming high number of spoiled ballot papers. Not deliberately spoiled, but spoiled because people had marked them with an X instead of numbering their preferences. In Scotland we have different electoral systems for every set of elections. In local elections it’s the Single Transferrable Vote method, in Holyrood elections it’s the D’Hondt method with constituency votes topped up by a regional list vote, in European elections it’s a pure list vote, and in Westminster elections it’s first past the post. No wonder voters are confused. It would be far better if all elections in Scotland were conducted according to the same voting system, but that’s not going to happen until we get independence.

The news reports will of course focus on the gains made by the Tories, especially in wards which are traditionally working class. However it needs to be pointed out that some of these wards contain some well-off districts where there are going to be strong Tory votes. Glasgow Shettleston contains the comfortably middle class district of Mount Vernon.  The Tories in these areas have benefited from the collapse of Labour. But it’s also the case that the Conservatives are hoovering up the diehard loyalist working class vote, the people who will support the Union irrespective of how damaging the Union is to their job prospects, their economic interests, or the well-being of the communities in which they live.

Politics isn’t always rational or logical. We like to think that we make our decisions based on reason and fact, but we don’t.  Humans are an emotional species and very often we make our important decisions based on our feelings, then seek facts after the event to bolster a decision that’s been made on an essentially irrational basis. We all do this, irrespective of our political views.

So a lot of people vote with the heart, and there’s a significant number of people in Scotland whose hearts are red white and blue, and there are a number of those who when you scratch the red white and blue you’ll find orange underneath. But crucially, and this is the good news, they’re a minority. If the Tories are relying on the diehard Unionists in order to save the Union, they’ve already lost. Not only are diehard Unionists a minority, they’re an ageing minority whose numbers are not being replenished. The Tories can appeal to the staunch all they like, but they’ll never staunch support for the Union bleeding away.  It might be distressing to see Tories voted in in places like Shettleston, but the people who voted for them were never likely to vote for independence anyway.  Their votes are not the ones we need to win in order to win independence.

The Tory victories in this week’s council elections in Scotland are the last roar of a toothless and senescent British lion. Despite throwing everything into making this a campaign against another independence referendum, despite completely ignoring all other policies except opposition to a second independence vote, the Tories still could only come a very very distant second. Their gains were almost entirely at the expense of Labour, and they failed to make any significant dent in support for pro-independence parties despite a low turn out favouring a Tory pensioner vote. The SNP stayed more or less where they were and in fact made a few minor gains, while the Greens have also made a few gains, despite the fact that there was a very low turn out which traditionally favours the Conservatives.  It’s the best result in local elections that the SNP have ever had, which is a peculiar definition of the defeat that the Unionist press will be trying to spin this as.

The Tories threw everything they had into making this a referendum on a referendum, they’ve spent a lot of money, and though they won some local battles by taking votes from other Unionist parties, they still failed to win the wider war. All they’ve done is to position themselves as the party of the Union come what May. But we already knew that. If projections from these council elections bear up in June, the Tories will fail to make any great breakthroughs in Scotland in the General Election, and their single minded campaign to attract votes on the basis of opposing another independence referendum will have failed. The independence movement cannot be complacent, we’ve got a lot of work to do, we need to do everything we can to get the vote out in June, but it’s looking like another SNP landslide in the General Election.

The realignment of Scottish politics is continuing. Labour have declined into irrelevance, the Lib Dem resurgence failed dismally to resurge, and the choice now facing Scotland is between an outward looking internationalist social democratic Scotland, and an inward looking nostalgic right wing Tory Britain. That’s going to be a much easier fight for the independence movement to win than a fight against a Unionist campaign that’s headed by the Labour party and its pretence that there’s a progressive veneer on the reactionary British state. That’s a campaign that we can win, and that we will win. These council elections give the independence movement every reason to be cheerful.

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83 comments on “Reasons to be cheerful

  1. jane mcdougall says:

    Thank you for this. It cheered me up and was an interesting set of observations/analysis. Really hope you’re right!! Pisses me off though that Labour folk would voty tory before SNP.

  2. Robert Graham says:

    Just voted for a tory councilor ? . ok thats fine you won’t be too upset if every cut from westminster is passed on to you , you voted for it you own it , have fun yah sc ****y ba****s .
    Maybe its time to have an appraisal of the requirement for funding in areas that really need it they will get more and they areas that ( voted tory ) get the westminster version . probably not strictly above board but who gives a f/k , a little petty vindictiveness sooths the soul . GIRUYeeS .

  3. Excellent result for SNP today and remember too, Ginger,

    (a) the SNP have been in power for a decade and to still make gains in that circumstance is phenomenal

    (b) the SNP did not advocate to their support to ‘Vote Til You Boak’ which if they had done would have eradicated a few more Tories and we would have more Greens & other Indy parties on the Cooncil. I am puzzled why they diod not do that and I hope there are a few heated arguments about this in Bute House the night.

    And finally, the local elections foreshadows a landslide in our favour next month.

    Why should the SNP not resurrect Thatcher’s stated view, that a majority of SNP MPs would signal independence?

  4. Weechid says:

    Except that I live in Dumfries and Galloway where, apart from one long standing independent councillor, in every other seat the Tories came first. I find this very disheartening. Average turnout in area was appx 49.5%, which I though was quite high for council elections. It would appear that, even in deprived areas, people are prepared to vote Tory rather than go it alone. How the hell do we convince them.

    • Andy Anderson says:

      Talking and more talking

    • Macart says:

      Worry not.

      Now they are expected to work for a living having been elected on a single non policy. They have less than two years to impress everyone from the Rhins to Annandale on their ability to get dog shit off the pavements.

      I’d wish them luck, but y’know. 🙂

      • Aye, believe it or not, some commentator on BBC Radio Scotland said much the same, that there’s a big difference between attracting the Lodge vote by wrapping yourself in the #Fleg and shouting loudly about “Once in a generation, nomeansno” and actually carrying out meaningful local policies, like explaining to Mrs McMoo why her food waste bin hasn’t been collected for weeks and is now walking up the path itself coz it’s fu’ o’ maggots (I may have paraphrased the BBC slightly 😀)

        Also, they may have got seats but they aren’t the biggest parties, and in so many areas the SNP are and have said no to coalition with them. So even if they had any policies worth a glance, how will they get them voted through ??

        Aye, it’s been a grand day 😊

        • Macart says:

          It’s a pickle for them. Wonder how Labour feels today knowing their erstwhile partners took most of their voters, seats and influence at local level?

    • JGedd says:

      The demographic in D&G is an aging one and has always been intransigently conservative. As Paul says in his piece, their vote is mostly an emotional one, for the status quo. They are antipathetic to change and, I have to say, are not particularly outward-looking. There is, perversely, a lack of identity with ‘Scottishness’, expressed as a long-standing dislike of the central belt. ( Dumfries is much nearer Carlisle than Glasgow or Edinburgh.)

      Added to that is an influx of English who used to trickle in, but now arrive in fair numbers due to large scale housing developments by the likes of Storey Homes, Cumbrian based. Housing developments on this scale were previously virtually unknown in Dumfries-shire – except as council building projects – and now former limiting of building outwith village boundaries has been relaxed.

      Having canvassed in the area during indyref1, I’m actually not surprised at the results. This is one of those areas where I’m afraid nothing much will move. It feels left behind. Young people usually expect to leave the area and the down-at-heel town centres are a sign of lack of economic activity. But I’m afraid that the core vote here is happy with private wealth and public squalor.

      The countryside is pretty here, but I would dearly like to leave. It feels alien to me and my heart is not here, despite the fact I have raised a family in Galloway.

      • ockletycockletywitch says:

        JGedd – I feel for you. I was born in England but moved to Scotland in 1989 and married a Highlander. The places where I was born, grew up, worked etc., whilst still being “home” in some nostalgic corner of my mind, are alien landscapes to me now. I don’t recognise the inward-looking, “I’m alright, Jack, pull up the ladder” attitude – I do not remember that people were like this when I was young there. My heart and my hopes are now in Scotland, with a people who truly understand and believe in social justice, who look outward and whose philosophy seems summed up by a phrase I learned from a dear friend in Fife “There’s nought lost that a frien’ gets”. If D & G feels more like “Little England” than Scotland, I can truly understand why you no longer feel at home there. Keep a stout heart, though. Independence is coming and Scotland can then claim D & G back.

      • dioghaltas says:

        If it’s any consolation, I used to work down and around Galloway, and Dumfries; and whilst I heard a lot of english accents, I also heard just as many disgruntled Scottish ones

    • DG says:

      Typo in last paragraph? It’s us v the Tories now.

    • Lizzie55 says:

      The snp need to up their game and I hope they do. Most people are not that engaged in politics and simply go with sound bites they hear from tv, radio, twitter adverts posters etc. And the torys are the best at spin. Remember what won general election 2015. During the last 10 days of electioneering the torys issued a set of adverts in MSM and bill board depicting the snp as evil. It swayed the English voter to vote conservative as they were terrified of a hung parliament that included the snp. It’s happening again with May suggesting a coilition of chaos and nasty nastionalists. Just wait until their advertising goes life a week before the 8th of June it will be nasty and targeted at the snp

      We need a whole load of visual messages that tell everyone in Scotland what the torys are really like. If your not engaged in politics you won’t know and that’s dangerous. I hope the snp don’t just have a campaign of self promotion, it may be ethical but sometimes you have to fight fire with fire, dish the dirt it won’t be lying. We need everyone to know how bad the torys are. I really hope they get this right as this time the fight is between snp and torys.

      • ockletycockletywitch says:

        Ooooh! This gets tricky. doesn’t it? Stay on the moral high ground and potentially lose, or get down in the mud with the nasties in order to fight them on their own terms. I’m not sure I know which is the better option ….

    • awkwardboy says:

      I’m in D&G too, my ward had a turn out circa 51% which seems a little on the high side. My wife was a polling agent and reported that turnout to vote was rather low so must have been boosted by a large postal vote.

  5. epicyclo says:

    The good news is the Red Tories are on their way to elimination.
    Now Labour needs to have a coup and elect a leader who supports independence.
    If they don’t do that in the next 2 weeks they will be deader than the Dodo.

    • Harry Vimes says:

      I would not hold your breath on that point.

      Those in the Progress (sic) wing who have spent the bulk of the past two years spitting their dummy out at every opportunity seem to be under the impression they are fighting a by election rather than a General Election.

      What else can explain an approach based not on the election of a Labour Government but a keep me in this seat to hold the Tory Government to account. Clearly the underlying message here is looking towards a Tory victory in order to purge the Party of any progressive elements.

    • John Edgar says:

      Right!! If the Tories are seen as the enemy by Labour, then aTory free Scotland would cone about with independence. What has Labour in Scotland to lose? The broad shoulders from Corbyn and Co have gone!! He sold out to May in the EU issue, a d Scotland voted to remain!!
      A little bit of thinking strategically would help Labour here. Instead of being the Yoons’ little helpers keeping the Tories’ nasty policies in place, they could actually think of Scotland here.
      As they slide into oblivion, they could save themselves by going Indy. The Indy wing must now take the lead.
      The DemLibs or is it LibDems,topsy turvy as usual have a wee Indy wing too.Time forgot to ditch the old relics in the LibDems who Gail from the old Liberal-Unionist faction of the Liberal party of yore. It must be remembered it voted against Asquith’s Irish Home Rule bill!! Why is there no Whig element in the LibDems/Liberal party? They all went over to the Tory aristocracy at end of 19th Century.
      The wee yoonists must see they have a future, but only in an independent Scotland. Their masters down south are now kaputt politically. Do what the Welsh Labour party is going to do now – distance themselves from the head office.
      Time to go Indy, this way May has no more influence north of the Tweed.

  6. Jon malta says:

    Was not feeling to great about the voting today but read this and think you have hit the nail firmly on the head. Onwards to independence.

  7. Kat hamilton says:

    The media spin on tv at the mom is disheartening…they are promoting the Tory vote way above the actual reality of their support….yes it’s the senior citizens that have mainly showed up for the local elections, thus the,Tory vote holding up…I trust the youth vote in the ge will be maximised for snp and greens to counter balance today’s results…as ever the BBC doing its best to dismiss the pro indy parties success, only ruth getting the plaudits…true to form brutish bullsugar corporation…

  8. Annie Martin says:

    Thank you so much for this Paul, it has, as usual, lifted my spirits again. Great to see that the Tory gains in Scotland are mainly at the expense of Labour and also that the SNP have got Glasgow City Council. Roll on 8th June now and a large majority of SNP MP’s from Scotland once again!

  9. TheStrach says:

    Don’t stress about the MSM, they’ll never change. Despite their lies and propaganda we won again.

    It’s looking good for the GE and beyond.

  10. Puzzled Puss says:

    My newly-elected Tory councillor will be getting an earful from me every time my bin isn’t emptied, or I trip over a pothole in the road…

    • Weechid says:

      Yup – we’ve got a whole list for the new Tory kid on our block. We’ll make the wee nyaff work for his money.

  11. diabloandco says:

    Thanks you have cheered up this bus pass carrier.
    I nearly had a fit when that disingenuous pluff was giving her triumphant speech about stopping the SNP , I wish someone would ask her why she has to stop the SNP as opposed to working with them.

  12. Amanda McGinley says:

    Thanks Paul, once again you’ve saved me from the relenting tide of despair that wall​ to wall meeja yoonery brings, despite my fully expecting it.

  13. ockletycockletywitch says:

    Well, I’m no mathematician BUT the SNP hold 431 council seats overall, which is 155 more than their nearest rival. They even took Glasgow and with the help of The Greens they will be a formidable majority in that safest of safe “Labour” councils. Yes, the Unionist media will try to spin this as a victory for the Tories but the figures tell the true story. We have all to play for at the coming General Election! Alba gu brath!

  14. granndkane says:

    In Aberdeenshire, the Tories are now the largest party, having gained 9 seats while the SNP lost 7. They have 23 seats tae the SNP’s 21. I’m hoping that’s jest a anomaly but expecting a lot ae the focus tae be turned oan Aberdeenshire

    • Weechid says:

      Largest party in Dumfries and Galloway too. 16 seat to SNP and Labour’s 11 each – and in all but one ward got most first preference votes.

      • Fairliered says:

        Aberdeenshire and Dumfries & Galloway could be ideal guinea pigs for a possible Scottish Government test of the practicalities of abolishing bus passes and shutting day care centres for the elderly.

        I would also encourage the BBC to provide live coverage throughout the UK of orange walks so that the rest of the UK can see what Scottish Conservatives are really like.

        • ockletycockletywitch says:

          Ouch! But I can definitely see where you are coming from and it IS a very tempting prospect.

    • Alastair Gunn says:

      It seems that the majority of the Tory candidates in Aberdeenshire got in on the first round of vote counting too which I regard as at least a little concerning.

  15. Red Squirrel says:

    Thank you so much – you’ve helped me reconcile the horror of a Tory resurgence with the knowledge that Indy is now firmly a choice between two opposing futures. We just have to win – it’s a question of survival now.

  16. Gen Cannibal says:

    Ok – so the unionist vote has firmly coalesced around the Tories, massively to the cost of labour, this has been bad for labour in the local government elections. It could be devastating for the SNP in the forthcoming general election. We have benefited big time from a split unionist vote. Looks like no more the case.

  17. Illy says:

    Is it possible to get numbers on the ballot papers that were spoiled with an “X”, and tell us who that “X” was next to?

    • heathermclean19 says:

      I was at the Dundee count, I saw lots of ballot papers with X marked against both SNP candidates instead of 1&2, in each case the ballot paper was discarded, so disappointing, but unsurprising that people were confused. We’ve had voting systems coming out of our ears since 2014, it’s no wonder older people especially used an X as that is the most traditional way to mark a ballot paper!

      • Weechid says:

        Yet they were reminded by the polling staff what they were meant to do. Do people just not listen?Do they not vote in community councils where it is a similar system? Beginning to think that people should have to undergo a multiple choice test before they are allowed to vote. A – to ensure they know how to vote and B – to make sure they understand the issues they are voting on.

        • Lizzie55 says:

          On two separate occasions I have asked the polling staff to explain the system. It’s not that I didn’t know it, but more to see if they could explain it accurately. The first time is was informed that ‘how would they know’ and the second was completely inaccurate. I know there are usually guidance in the form of posters, but don’t think every polling station have staff that either know the system or care.

      • Patience is a Virtue says:

        Results in Glasgow, Edinburgh in particular and elsewhere were I think were very, very encouraging and notable across the Country how many Independents were returned – so all to play for in coming weeks and months.

        I doubt many of those that voted Conservative used an ‘X’. and at the General Election the turn out will be maximised by the Conservative machine – this requires not an equal ..but a greater response.

        If you want to ‘win’ an Election you have to get your troops out to vote and do so by the rules also stated on the Polling Card- with a few weeks to go to the General Election parties of an Independent mind really have to mobilise every potential voter – no excuses – ensure they get to the Polling Station (as the Conservatives do) – and ensure they don’t waste their vote on the day.

        ….certainly next time use an ‘X’.

        If you don’t turn out to vote, well, you desrve everything you get. It’s your Country and if you want to have a say in what kind of Country you want to live in – this is your opportunity… for yourself and indeed for future generations…. unless of course you want the Conservatives to do that for you.. they will certainly assist you in the area of Human Rights, Employment Law, prescription charges, hospital parking, private healthcare, pensions, your retirement age, University Tuition fees, assistance if you are sick or unemployed and indeed in all aspects of finance, taxation and of course unrestricted movement throughout the EU.

        At the Independence Referendum the SNP wasted months before the Sept. election, silence, nothing, then a last minte panic to try to get people registered to vote.

        Make no mistake, this coming General Election is important and should be treated as such by all players.

      • hettyforindy says:

        It is a confusing system, not for some ppl, but for many. 4 dofferent voting systems in Scotland, I can understand the confusion. Did people know thy could get another ballot if they made a mistake? My dyslexic,dyspraxic son, started putting crosses in, realised his mistake and was given a new ballot. The person at the desk said that the first one would be counted as a ‘spoilt ballot’! I do hope his intended ballot was counted accordingly.

        We had watched several vids, I read lots on STV, still, friends could not put tory down last, so left that blank! That could have swayed things.

        Very sorry to see a rise in tories at all, but heartened to see SNP doing so well against massive, massive odds, ie 100% anti SNP, in the media.

        I see folks in England getting all upset at how Corbyn, (no friend of Scotland) is treated by the media, did they give one hoot about the very same treatment if Alex Salmond, or anyone from the SNP? No.

        D&G. We were there last year, felt out on a limb, you can see england, and Ireland on a clear day, it is pretty, but wouldn’t wanna live there, lots of expensive holiday homes for sale! Portpatrick harbour newly built with EU money etc.

        Looks like the english like it though. I am english btw, so no, I am not anti! Just hate the arrogance and belittling of Scotland.

        • Robert Harrison says:

          The English media do that Glasgow took forever to be declared same with a lot of other votes up here theres anti Scottish bais thank heavens we have the national at least to get some of our sides messages to those without Internet and it is working as some places people hide them or bin them because reading it then passing a paper on counters unionist lies and the die hard British up here know it and the Sunday herald would help if it was cheaper £1.50 bit expensive for people who are jam

  18. Weechild; to Hell with them.
    I was contemplating a move to Dumfries, but since my employers have a significant presence in Inverness, I’m reconsidering my options to goo and live among real
    Scots instead.

    • Weechid says:

      I was born here and have always wanted independence. I thought that most of the people I knew did too. Dismayed at the attitude of many of them. If I had the option I think I’d move to the peace camp.

  19. What you don’t mention, Paul, is the Brexit factor. That 30% of SNP voters who chose ‘leave’ is significant. When I was checking identified supporters, the issue came up time and again, especially in the more deprived areas which also voted Yes in 2014. The problem being that, as indyref2 draws closer, many anti-EU voters may join the Unionists in voting No. I think these voters were already a definite factor in areas where the SNP sustained losses, or where the Tories made gains, including places such as Shettleston.

  20. Andy Anderson says:

    Thanks Paul.
    I look forward to the analysis in the National tomorrow as well as a good review myself.
    I agree older voters are more conciencious as I am one. Never been a unionist though.
    I also think the GE will be good for the cause. Even the council elections show a high Indy vote in a low turnout.
    I am hopeful and confident.

  21. Macart says:

    Some folk should be careful what they wish for Paul. 😉

    Tomorrow Ruthie’s going to wake up to a bit of a revelation now that she’s helped wipe Labour off the electoral map. Ruthie leads the second party of Holyrood and today she’s got some council seats tucked under her corset.

    Who does she think the yoon faithful will look to when leadership of BT 2.0 comes along? No hiding behind Labour for take 2. The Tories have betrayed their Labour bedfellows/running mates at every turn since 2014. The SNP vote didn’t crumble as she’d hoped, but she did succeed in robbing Labour (through their ever so cunning tactical voting) of some of their more colourful (cough) voter base.

    Ruthie is now front and centre as defender of the union. No Labour fronting a Cameron Westminster government and taking the backlash of the public this time round. Oh no.

    This time its a choice of two futures. A choice between a government that believes in serving the people, or government that believes the people serve them. A choice between Holyrood or Westminster. A choice between a future made by the electorate, or a Tory future mired in Brexit isolation and full on brakes off austerity legislation.

    As for Labour? Given the events of the past few years and their willing partnership with the Conservative party, they need to ask themselves a question when the dust settles.

    Was it everything you thought it would be?

  22. heathermclean19 says:

    Thanks for this positive analysis Paul, I was feeling a wee bit down in the dumps after SNP losing two of our candidates to the Tories today, but reading your blog has cheered me up and made me all the more determined to campaign even harder to re -elect Chris Law as our SNP MP in June!

  23. bringiton says:

    Hopefully we have now seen Tory Max.
    Well said Paul.

  24. michael boyd says:

    I have said it on other forums this evening and I will say it again to put Ruth Davidson’s achievement as Tory leader in context: the SNP have won 56% more seats than the Tories in the council electionsmi and the Tories have won 5% more seats than Labour in Scotland. Only the BBC could underplay the SNP success.

    • ockletycockletywitch says:

      They (The Beeb) daren’t do any other, dare they? Or the Tories will start muttering darkly about abolishing the License Fee … again …

  25. AnnieM says:

    We need to remember that the many EU residents will be voting in Indyref2 and surely it’s in their interests to vote Yes this time round. Reading the EU Residents for an Independent Scotland FB page, they are really getting themselves geared up for it.

    • hettyforindy says:

      Having knocked doors last week, met some great EU nationals, making their home in Scotland. They are SNP all the way, but, of course, they do not have a vote in the GE. All we need is to keep countering the UK state run (and their pals) media lies, keep the momentum going, from now basically. The yoons will be frantic to lie their way or use any number of tactics, to undermine the SNP support in the run up to June 8th.

      It is likely that this GE has also been called partly, to try to scupper another independence referendum, because they cannot afford to lose Scotland.

      Shame, it all could have been more amicable, even pooling and sharing, 😉 were the yoons not the destructive imperialists that they are.

      We will get there, by keeping apace, ten steps ahead in fact.

    • ockletycockletywitch says:

      That’s encouraging.

  26. MishMallow says:

    I’m crossing my fingers that the predictions for the GE turn out well, and I am clinging onto the optimism you have in your article. I’m genuinely terrified of what is going to happen in June, and if we get to have IndyRef2. Politics has not had a good track record for the past couple of years, I can’t handle anymore bad news!

  27. Andrea says:

    If there is ANY hope of achieving independence in Scotland the notion of low turnouts needs to be tackled. How can a young movement grow and demolish the old guard, if they can’t be arsed to get up out of bed and vote. Old folk know how important it is, so it seems the stink of Tory ideology will linger for a whiskey yet!

    Wake up Scotland!!!!

  28. Robert Harrison says:

    Torys become the 1st losers at labours expense up here but scotland wasn’t the only place Tory gain at labours expense england was labour as well as ukip same with wales but one bit of history did happen labours stronghold Glasgow is no more to bad the snp was 2 seats short of claiming Glasgow

    • ockletycockletywitch says:

      Aye – but with the 7 Greens in coalition they’ll have a workable majority. And let’s face it, anything (other than a Tory take-over) were better than the status quo!

      • Robert Harrison says:

        Defiantly I think that will be a snp minority council if they can’t agree a coalition with the greens

  29. poort says:

    excellent analysis but would add this as for the tories winning loads of seats this voting system is deeply flawed and here is why remember the tories have used the system by only placing one candidate when labour and the snp stand 2 this maximises their vote in places where they have marginal support also labour voters have been giving them their 3rd preference vote in large numbers

    This is perhaps more illustrative snp gain 2180 votes labour gain 1947 conservative 1768 yet labour get 2 seats snp get one and tory get one
    Winning Candidates for Ward 3 – Dunfermline Central

    Alan Craig, Scottish Conservative and Unionist

    Garry Haldane, Scottish Labour Party

    Jean Hall Muir, Scottish National Party

    Jim Leishman, Scottish Labour Party

    Turnout: 47.7%

    Alan Craig Scottish Conservative and Unionist – 1,768
    Garry Haldane Scottish Labour Party – 832
    Jean Hall Muir Scottish National Party (SNP) – 1.359
    Neale Hanvey Scottish National Party (SNP) – 821
    Doug Hay Independent – 655
    Deek Jackson Independent – 27
    Lauren Jones Scottish Liberal Democrats – 509
    Jim Leishman Scottish Labour Party – 1,115
    Kerstin Romano Scottish Green Party – 238

    in fptp thats an snp win tory 3rd and this scenario i have seen in many wards now
    labour and tories have not tried to win this election in fact they arent close to doing so what they have tried to do is limit the size of the snp victory and by manipulating the system they have had some limited success however it hasnt been at the snp expense the snp’s vote share has held up quite magnificently it has been at labours expense

    • AnnieM says:

      Please correct me if I’m wrong, but this bodes well for the GE as it’s FPTP, not this stupid STV system?

      • poort says:

        it does indeed however both the problems and the consequence for the GE have of course been ignored completely by the msm

  30. Eilidh says:

    Well I am distressed to find that I now live in the only Ward in East Dunbartonshire without an Snp councillor. The one we had beat the Lib Dem candidate who was elected as 3rd councillor by 13 votes in first preference votes but didn’t get enough to meet the quota for election. It really is a bizaare election system. Our ward has a good Independent candidate who hoovered up a lot of the votes so we have him some Tory twerp and a Lib Dem. Turnout here was high over 62%. Can’t believe so many voted Tory but quite a few new big houses built up here since last council election. Not to mention other part of this ward from where I live has always been very alfluent. The rich greedy and zenophobic here vote for the Tories no surprise there. Meanwhile although Snp have most seats on this council rumour has it a Tory/Libdem coalition is likely. That is utterly sickening. There is no doubt Tory voters here managed the intracies of the council election voting system better. Too many Snp supporters could not bring themselves to put any kind of vote for a Tory even as last choice and there were far too many spoilt ballot papers. It is fab we won so many seats and councils particularly Glasgow. Don’t know what to think of our chances st GE. Right now I am trying to stay positive

    • Derek McGaw says:

      I left East Dunbartonshire last year, EDC are useless, corrupt, and I don’t envy you being run by the Tories and their Lib Dem bitches, you will probably have more shared spaces and idiot cycle routes forced upon you. Meanwhile the potholes will grow bigger….

  31. douglasclark says:

    Craig Murray has an interesting post here:

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

    • AnnieM says:

      Yet more proof, if proof were needed, that the Beeb will put spin on anything to make the Tories look good. Makes me sick!

  32. douglasclark says:

    I note, that the BBC Scotlandshire still refuses comments on it’s bullshit.

    One of my hopes, in a digital era was that we should be allowed to challenge their ‘take’ on events, perhaps widening debate. Apparently Brian Taylor speaks for us all.

    Not so.

    BBC Scotlandshire is afrit of comment.

    That is a state broadcaster that has an agenda I will not accept.

  33. Jim Morris says:

    AAV from Yorkshire listed his first 30 reasons for not voting Tory, and not one of them was the plunder of the colony of Scotland. Sadly, the continuous brain-washing and distraction of the majority of the people has rendered them incapable of reasonable or logical thought: they are told what to think and feel and so are absolved of any malice in their refusal to seek the truth. However, that leaves them in a state of utter stupidity, as the Brasilians would say, “Doido! Doido! Doido!”

    • Robert Harrison says:

      Majority of Yorkshire folk hate anyone different from them that’s why Yorkshire voted leave last year they bigoted racist twats most of them I’ve lived there I know them better than they know themselves

  34. Guga says:

    I nearly had a heart attack when I saw that a Tory councilor was elected in the Western Isles, the first ever. However, that was for the ward of North Lochs and Uig, and the latter has, like too many other areas in the islands, a high number of white settlers. However, this aberration should pass and we can get back to normal with SNP councilors and a lot of red tories pretending to be independents.

    As for Scotland regaining its independence, the sooner that happens the better as I am rapidly aging and I’d prefer to pop my clogs in an independent country.

  35. bedelsten says:

    As an older voter who turned out and voted till I boked for SNP one and two etc., may I take this opportunity of not filling the comments section with any outraged explanations.

    Extrapolating (best done alone in the dark) the local election results to a UK General Election is a process fraught with imprecision; low turn-out of, mostly, wrinklies, local weel kent faces outvoting politics, the implosion of the red tory vote going to the blue tory vote, seemingly much confusion over voting procedures, and so on. Add the msm spin and one gets a distorted picture – whatever the reality is.

    However, next, a UK general election where the choice is between voting to support Empire 2.0: The Wilderness Years or voting to support a political party which recognises the interconnectivity of the modern world. A simple and not difficult choice one might think but there many out there that need convincing.

    So, no rest for the wicked (serves us right) then. There is another month’s worth of campaigning to do. Onwards and upwards.

  36. Robert Graham says:

    Over the next few weeks the tory party ( thats you ruth ) will have to and should be made to explain and defend their record , the one thing above all the other disgusting actions stands out , being criticised by the Red Cross , ffks the people who attend disaster zones round the world , poured scorn on this government , if that is not beyond embarrassing i dont know what is .

    A disgusting party , and make no mistake if you vote for them that makes you complicit in ALL their actions , no cherry picking the least obnoxious ones to ease your conscience

  37. hoplite39 says:

    The British media have always been good at making a major defeat (e.g Dunkirk) or a minor skirmish during a major defeat (e.g Rorke’s Drift) like a major victory.

  38. pussy nancy says:

    Chris Cairns, the excellent Cartoonist who posts on WoS would I’m sure be able to produce thought provoking ideas to be displayed on billboards around Scotland.

    Picture a Theresa May look-a-like Cruella de Vil, with wee scotsmen on leads in black and white spotted kilts
    cowering at her feet feeding from scraps.. How would any true Scot, Nationalist or Unionist, driving past or standing at a bus stop react I wonder?

    Certainly worked for the Tories when Alex Salmond was depicted pinching the £ out of Labour’s English pockets

    Probably a very busy guy. Extra crowdfunding maybe?

    • ockletycockletywitch says:

      What an excellent idea! I can see it clearly in my mind’s eye – it would be perfect!

  39. Thomas Valentine says:

    Ferguslie Park in Paisley was flooded out in the mid 1990’s demolished and replaced over time with posh private housing. Ravenscraig demolished and replaced with over a long period with more private housing. Some people still think these places are poorer working class, they are not they’ve been gentrified. So you shouldn’t be surprised.

  40. Alf Baird says:

    “Not only are diehard Unionists a minority, they’re an ageing minority whose numbers are not being replenished”.

    Census data indicates that over one million people from rest-UK have come to live in Scotland during the past 20 years, at a rate of 50,000-60,000 a year, and this trend is continuing; historically, over the past 100 years the largest migrant group to Scotland has been people from rest-UK. Some 80% of this ‘group’, according to voting intention surveys at Indyref14, voted No to indy. During the same last 20 year period over half a million Scots have left Scotland. Census data and voting intention surveys therefore suggests the No vote is being replenished, just not by Scots. Any Yes2 campaign needs to take into account Scotland’s rapidly changing population and the far greater propensity of people coming from rest-UK to vote No to Scottish independence; the latter group probably accounted for 30% of all No votes in 2014, and could account for 40% in indyref2.

    • ockletycockletywitch says:

      But there are also “incomers” like myself (although I hope that 20-odd years living in Scotland and married to a West Highlander make me almost a native) who fervently support Independence in spite of being born English. When I lived in West Lochaber in the late 80s / early 90s there was a saying in the local SNP that Scotland would gain Independence when enough English folk had emigrated there …. Not every English emigree is a dyed-in-the-wool Unionist, Mr Baird.

      • Alf Baird says:

        I appreciate what you say, ms witch, however I am sure you will accept that 80% is still a rather big number, and in fact around twice the level of ‘No’ compared with the indigenous population’s voting preference. One million people coming from rest-UK (x 80%) over the last 20 years is also a big number, and on trend would appear to be extended by another quarter of a million in next 4-5 years. As stated above, based on the data, this group could account for 40% of the No vote next time (as opposed to perhaps at best 10% of the Yes vote). I have to say this tends to reflect my experience on the doorstep in recent years. All my local councillors (independents) coming from rest-UK are anti-independence. The data therefore suggests wee ginger dug is wrong and that the ‘No’ numbers are indeed being replenished, which reflects ongoing polling to some extent.

        • ockletycockletywitch says:

          I must bow to your superior knowledge in this respect, Mr Baird, I just hope that people will not tar all incomers with the same Unionist brush, as some of us do most fervently support the cause of Independence and wish to identify ourselves – and to be identified – as Scots.

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