The Elections Bill: A Conservative attack on democracy

In the USA the natural demographic shifts in the population are tending over time to favour traditionally Democrat voting groups such as Hispanics and African-Americans and the increasingly secular urban population while the white Conservative Evangelical Christian population in the rural Midwest and South which for decades have provided the bedrock of Republican support is slowly losing its demographic dominance and is predicted to shrink even further over the coming decades.

This poses a serious challenge to the longer term electoral prospects of the Republicans. The right is responding to this challenge, not by softening its policies and trying to increase its appeal to those groups which have traditionally rejected it, but by adopting measures to suppress the vote and making it harder for members of those groups which do not tend to vote Republican to register to vote and to get out to vote. They justify these measures by citing the need to prevent voter fraud, although studies have shown that electoral fraud is marginal in its effects and has no impact on the outcome of elections despite all the baseless screaming from Trump and his supporters that the presidential election was stolen from them.

The Conservatives in the UK face similar, although perhaps less acute, demographic challenges, and they are reacting to them in the same anti-democratic way as their American counterparts. The Conservative government’s controversial Elections Bill, which is due to be debated in the House of Commons this week, has been described by charities and campaigning groups including Save the Children, Greenpeace and the trades union movement as “an attack on the UK’s proud democratic tradition and some of our most fundamental rights”. The Electoral Reform Society has warned that the measures in the bill could lead to “disenfranchisement on an industrial scale” and make it far harder for young people, working class people, and older Black, Asian and minority ethnic people to vote.

Labour’s shadow democracy Minister Cat Smith said that the British Government’s own research showed that members of these groups were more likely to lack the photo-ID which the Bill proposes to make a compulsory requirement in order to vote. It is no coincidence that these groups are also statistically less likely to support the Conservatives. Cabinet Office-commissioned study released in May this year that found more than 2 million voters in the UK could lack the necessary ID to take part in future elections. Those who lack the correct documentation belong to demographics which tend to be less likely to vote Conservative.  That’s precisely the point for this bill.

The new Conservative voter suppression measures will affect all elections in England and UK General Elections in Scotland and Wales. Like the Republican vote suppression measures in the USA, this elections Bill purports to tackle a problem of voter fraud which does not in fact exist. The Electoral Commission has said that the UK has low levels of electoral fraud. In 2019, there was only one conviction and just one police caution for impersonating another voter.

It is hard to escape the conclusion that suppressing the non-Conservative vote and not tackling non-existent voter fraud is the real intention behind this bill. The bill represents a brazen attempt by the Conservatives to rig elections in their favour. While the bill makes it significantly more difficult for members of sections of the public which don’t tend to favour the Conservatives to vote, it naturally does nothing at all to tackle the dark money donations which benefit the Tories, in fact it makes it worse. The bill proposes to allow tax exiles to fund the Conservative party for life.

Perhaps most alarmingly of all the Electoral Commission will be made answerable to Michael Gove and the Cabinet office. The Elections Bill confers new powers on Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove over the hitherto independent Electoral Commission, which oversees elections and regulates political finance. It will now be Gove who makes the final decision about whether some aspect of campaigning or party financing is in breach of electoral law. If that does not make you fear for the future of democracy in the UK, you’ve probably already drunk deep from the red white and blue Kool-Aid purveyed by GBeebies and the Daily Mail. The new bill will not only allow Gove to set the Electoral Commission’s strategic priorities, but will also allow him to unilaterally define campaigning and to ban campaigners and donors. The General Secretary of the TUC, Frances Grady warned in an open letter: “The bill bestows unprecedented and unchecked power to government over elections. At a stroke, the minister could ban whole sections of civil society, including unions and charities, from engaging in elections either by campaigning or donating.”

The letter adds: “Giving control of the Electoral Commission to ministers opens it to abuse by the government, turning it into a tool which they could use disproportionately against opposition campaigners while ensuring their own side receives less scrutiny.”

The UK already has a blatantly unfair electoral system for Westminster elections which allows the Johnson administration to govern with a large and unassailable majority in the House of Commons despite only winning a minority of the popular vote. That insult to democracy is compounded by the existence of the bloated and entirely unelected patronage and privilege factory which is the House of Lords. The Conservatives’ electoral bill does nothing to address the democratic deficits which blight the UK, far from it, the bill entrenches them and makes them worse, and gives Conservative ministers direct control of the Electoral Commission. The intention was never about making British democracy more secure and robust, it was always about securing and strengthening the control of the Conservative party, hobbling the opposition and rigging elections in favour of the Tories.

TheElections bill is further proof that the lazy assumptions of apologists for British nationalism of the superiority of the British system are unfounded and dangerous. There is nothing to prevent unscrupulous charlatans like Gove and Johnson from trashing democracy itself, and that is precisely what they are hell bent on doing. Scottish independence has now become an imperative for the defence of democracy itself.

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

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87 comments on “The Elections Bill: A Conservative attack on democracy

  1. Thomas Dunlop says:

    You forgot to mention the Labour party who did feck all to deal with the dysfunctional electoral system when it had the chance and majorities, despite championing devolution. As for the LibDems they fumbled their chance at what was their centre piece, by folding for a weak reform that was bamboozled at the polls in a referendum, then be the fall guys for Tory austerity. There is only one way out of this mess and that is independence for Scotland.

    • weegingerdug says:

      I didn’t forget. This piece is about the Elections Bill which comes before the House of Commons this week. There’s only so much you can mention in a single article and the subject matter of this one is the immediate threat the Conservatives pose to democracy right now.

  2. Welsh_Siôn says:

    Not to mention less representation at Westminster – but an increase in MPs representing English constituencies:

    Wales 32 MPs (- 8)
    Scotland 57 MPs (- 2)
    Northern Ireland 18 MPs (n.c.)
    England 543 MPs (+ 10)

    Shamocracy is what I call it.

    • robert harrison says:

      Of course all conservative governments was English only heath Thatcher major cameron may and now johnson

      650 seats
      Majority 326

      England 533
      Scotland 59
      Wales 40
      Ni 18

      59+40+18=177 seats

      England cant be overuled its dictatorship by the english its a blantant fact and now they’ve imposed there own version of the nazis on us all.

        • Welsh_Siôn says:

          And if things go as they plan them to:

          57 + 32 + 18 = 107 / 16.5% (Celtic nations*)
          543 / 83.5%= (England)

          * My apologies to Kernow for including them in the England figures. (But even with them included in the above score, I doubt if England dips below 80% of HoC seats).

          • robert harrison says:

            Exactly its a dictatorship by England no matter how England politicians try to say thats not the case numbers dont lie.

    • grizebard says:

      Shamocracy it truly is, but let’s face it, if there were a darn sight more MPs from Scotland and Wales instead of less, it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference. It would probably only provoke the least self-aware English Tories into ever more demonstrations of self-assumed superiority and unchecked “humorous” suggestions of shipping we colonials off into slavery.

      The whole system at Westminster is rotten to the core, top to bottom, crumbling like the failing structure in which it resides, and cavilling about numbers here or there completely misses that salient reality, alas.

  3. grizebard says:

    The voter-suppression elements of this Bill merely make explicit what has already been happening in practice in Scotland re independence: silence opposition, make people despair of any possibility of change, and passively accept the status quo no matter how bad for them. It might as well include a re-introduction of the property-owning qualification, though who knows what’s eventually to follow?

    That’s bad enough, but putting any politician in charge of election rules, let alone a slimeball like Michael Gove, represents the “Hungarisation” of the UK political system. Such a move ought to be setting alarm bells ringing among any self-respecting democrat of whatever political opinion, including responsible Conservatives. It represents the intentional launching down a slippery slope towards unchecked governmental diktat, the death of democracy and the Rule of Law.

    Whatever happens to this particular insidious démarche – which ironically might possibly encounter at least some temporary difficulty within the Great House of the People (Ermine Division) – it highlights the increasing danger to our well-being here in Scotland, and emphasises even further the urgent need to become independent before we find ourselves trapped in a nightmare forever.

    I’m only sorry for the fate of our English cousins if they don’t wake up before long and put a stop to this increasingly-dangerous UKGov. Suddenly the BoJo Clown Circus becomes far more sinister and scary than pathetic and funny.

    • wm says:

      When Scotland, Wales & NI get out of this union. The people in England might open their eyes to the fact that the country is divided so unfairly towards London and the South East that they might do something about it, like vote for a federal system for England.

      • robert harrison says:

        By then England will be a financially ruied nation swimming in debt as dont forget we have rescoures england needs yet cant afford hence why they dont want us going free as they’d have to pay for them all and never claim anything back in taxes like they currently do you wacth the supremacist right wing blame us for it all only for their bigoted voters to lose there minds because the bigots they panda to believe 100% that we are a drain on them.

  4. Thank you. I wonder if democracy in this benighted kingdom has ever been anything more than a way of assuring the continued power of the usual systems of sinecure and patronage. The first great reform bill of 1832 became necessary to quell social unrest and every one since has been just another slight change. Perhaps in years to come pressure will encourage government to make more reforms. But until the system of constituencies is removed there will be no democracy. Having lived abroad for many years in a country where 34% of a vote gets 34% of the seats, it is difficult to think of the Westminster system as at all democratic.

    Which is not to say that these new “reforms” are not regressive. For they clearly are. Designed as usual to maintain power rather than increase democratic representation.

  5. James Mills says:

    Imagine the fury from the opposition parties , BBC Shortbread and the massed ranks of the Scottish media ( ”Scottish” Daily mail and” Scottish” Daily Express too ) if the SNP Government proposed similar power grabs over Scottish Elections.

    Four-jobs DRoss would be incoherent with rage ( OK , even MORE incoherent ),
    Sarwar would be on the phone to his boss asking for instructions ( or if his dad wasn’t available , phoning Starmer ),
    and Alex Coal-Scuttle would be … well , who cares , not even his own party !

    The hypocrisy would be through the roof !
    But when the Tories , down south , play fast and loose with democracy , the silence from the Scottish opposition will be deafening .

  6. Capella says:

    “OUR present happy constitution, the happiest, the best, and the most noble constitution in the world, and I do not believe it possible to make a better.”

    So said Lord Braxfield, the Hingin’ Judge before sentencing Thomas Muir to deportation to Australia for the crime of wanting the vote for everyone (well the men at least) and not just the landed gentry.
    Braxfield believed that only property owners should have the vote because they have a stake in society. Landless labourers and their ilk can just up sticks and go elsewhere so have no interest in society and should be excluded from decision making.

    Nothing much changes with our imperial masters.

  7. bringiton says:

    Unfortunately Paul,it is no surprise when a far right government follows a far right political agenda.
    The fundamental problem with so called democracy in the UK is not so much that they are doing this but more that the system allows them to.
    This is straight out of Gerry Mandering’s play book on how to rig elections and needs to be condemed by all democrats.
    By the time it comes time for England to re- elect their next Tory government we will be truly in a one party state.
    We need to be out of that nightmare situation before that.

    • ArtyHetty says:

      Absolutely, England is a one party state now really. Quite terrifying, Scotland won’t survive without independence, not as a country, not with a parliament and certainly not with a party at the helm that is not a BritNat party calling themselves ‘Scottish’, but who are in fact working only for their masters in London. Scotland’s identity, sovereignty and very survival, depends on independence. It could hardy be more clear what the intentions of the British Nationalists are, now is really getting close to the time to wave bye to the rUK, once and for all.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      Aye, a good summation.

  8. Bob Lamont says:

    Aye, well put, the final comment particularly so.

    There is no doubt as to Tory intentions, what is frightening is that the very system the Tories hail as “world-leading” allows itself to be abused by those self same Tories time and again.

    It is England who will be most severely impacted by this ruse, yet sleepwalk into it without thought to consequence.
    The same “othering” so successfully deployed over Brexit and electing he who is now Prime Charlatan, has simply been refashioned to the latest Tory wheeze under the heading of “democracy”.
    The crux of the problem is Middle England’s long love affair with Tory ideology, played like a fiddle by London’s elites.
    Their determination to remove any potential threat to their continued grip on power would be sending off alarms were it any other country, anywhere else but England.

    It’s always been a madhouse, but now with the patients in charge of the asylum, Scotland would be wise to escape it at it’s earliest possible convenience.
    Showing England how democracy, politics and governance are done better is going to be a principal export to England at some point…. Once they waken up.

  9. Hamish100 says:

    The chameleon BBC report on alleged Russian trolls trying undermine reports in the Daily Mail😂 and other papers on their online sites.

    Isn’t it ironic that the bbc in Scotland undermine Scotland by their support of unionist trolls and repeating, enhancing and exaggeration the stories to make up stories.

    The evidence is their to see with the same headlines attacking the SNP or individuals in the party past and present and now with the “extremist” Greens. The self promoting bbc as a beacon of impartiality, truth is such a lie. They are the trolls.

  10. Dr Jim says:

    I don’t suspect England will ever *waken up*, the collective mentality of that country is that everyone on planet earth is an enemy they must be watchful of and guard themselves against
    Successive governments have used this strategy on the people to *train* the minds of the population into believing they are under siege from within and without in exactly the same way as we see in America, and why would it be any different, England taught the Americans how to do it a very long time ago

    Scotland Wales Northern Ireland, it makes no difference to England for they do not see our countries as countries, we are property land territories belonging to England that deserve no individual consideration because in the minds of England what’s good for England is correct for us and who are we to complain or to point out any differently and if we do we are an irritation, an annoyance to them as we are the conquered lands that England possesses and have no right of dissent

    If you think of England as the participants in a TV show like Gogglebox for example, a massively popular show in that country, every time anything Scottish appears on their screens is immediately met with vocal condemnation of Scotland and all that it contains, and positively an intrusion into their homes that they feel they can do without, with opinions how dare the TV have stuff about Scotland on their *English* TV, this was borne out by two episodes of that programme being cancelled with a promise not to show them again because of the offensive way they were received and commented on by the viewers in England

    England is in general anti Scottish, even though most folk in that country have never been to Scotland, never intend to come to Scotland and couldn’t care less whether we existed at all until Scotland opens its mouth and says we’re leaving *their* union then England becomes angry at that prospect, they don’t really know why they’re angry because they for the most part don’t understand anything about constitutional issues or sovereignty or even the human right to object, why would they, as far as England knows Scotland is a lump of land they own where nobody wants to go, so who puts these ideas in their heads

    And there’s your answer

  11. scottish skier says:

    Stop looking at stuff like this. Look over there; there’s a big hairy bloke in a frock. I suspect he’s a rapist after your daughter, and is secretly in league with Sturgeon. That’s what’s important and what matters to ‘real’ independence supporters!*

    *(c) South of England SNP insiders

  12. Statgeek says:

    Quote of the day (in relation to Tories’ handling of the N. Ireland border & Brexit):

    “In the rest of the world, UK is becoming a banana republic. Only without the bananas. And not a republic.” 😀

    • Dr Jim says:

      Yes of course we have no bananas but it’s all because a man in Poland or France or any of the
      European countries who used to be lorry drivers in the UK decided to lockdown from Covid in their own countries with their loving families instead of the UK, none of this has the first thing to do with Brexit according to Tory mouthpiece Andrew Bowie, empty shelves are normal in these circumstances except when Alistair Campbell tells him he’s just back from France from his holidays and there were no empty shelves and plenty of lorry drivers there, however Tory mouthpiece Andrew Bowie amazingly came to the conclusion that the UK could enter negotiations with the EU to bring these Covid hiding lorry drivers back to the UK for as long as we need them

      But still nothing to do with Brexit though, we all believe that don’t we coz Tories never lie do they

      • Bob Lamont says:

        The Navy got rid of this balloon after 3 years, and he “achieved” SubLt. Just think how impressed RN actually were with this man, out of his depth in a puddle.
        After a brainfart in electing him in 2017, West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine thought they got rid of the insufferable clown in 2019 but missed by 800 odd votes.
        Now the poor sods pray for an early GE to wipe the perma-smirk off his face before the next scheduled GE in 3 years time. That’s a LONG time..

        Across Europe there are no empty shelves, ditto NI because of Ireland’s supply chains bypassing the UQ, and no driver shortages on such a scale. So what is so different ?
        What happens to a JIT freight system when drivers and trucks are tied up in a lorry park awaiting document clearance ?
        What happens on cabotage when no european drivers want to run the risk of entering the UQ and being stranded ?

        Bowie is flying another kite about negotiations, European HGV drivers have ZERO interest getting tangled up in the mess the Tories created out of Brexit, irrespective of Lord Frosty the No-Man’s assertions it was somebody else’s fault.
        Add in the xenophobia of England, and the string for that kite gets longer and longer with unicorns attached, it’s Nelson’s “I see no ships” for the 21st century….

  13. scottish skier says:

    A new graph. I have been interested in the effects of indyweb sites turning against the SNP / Greens and backing Alba instead. Does this really ‘reflect the indy movement’ as some claim?

    With 7 months of data in hand for the period concerned, patterns are emerging which can tell us useful information about this, and so implications for the independence movement.

    Suffice to say it looks very much a change of allegiance to Alba, particularly with intensive negative criticism of the SNP / Greens, harms indy sites, because it does not reflect the independence movement, which remains predominantly SNP & Green in stance, as evidenced by the 2021 election result.

    For a bit more detail on trends, see the blurb here:

    My own advice to all indy sites is as per WGD, i.e. stay positive and the readers keep coming / people keep listening.

    Same goes for commenters; the graphs show the great value positive campaigning, as per the wise mod policy of WGD. So resist the temptation to be negative in comments, particularly about those who are supposed to be on your side. Leave those being negative alone to harm themselves.

    • Dr Jim says:

      People visiting a website shouldn’t be thought of as people agreeing with that website or its views

      • scottish skier says:

        Yes, in my blurb there is some comment to that effect. For example, unionists visit pro-indy sites just as we indy supporters have a look at unionist papers etc!

        It’s impossible to separate such things out.

        Also, total size of audience isn’t a good comparison either as some sites are England based / UK-wide (e.g. Wings) while others are Scottish based (e.g. WGD, SGP, National).

        Which is why I stuck to commenting on changes in traffic in response to changes in allegiance. This should be is largely independent of the above.

    • yesindyref2 says:

      From the article, standard text:

      This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence.

      So what does a totally subjective comparison of other blogs with a Kevin Hague squiggly line diagram [1] have to do with that? Is it the continuance of some sort of vendetta?

      [1] I did stats at Uni – and some in real life

    • Statgeek says:

      I noticed the WoS vs WGD data the other day. Thought about mentioning it, but the post election fall offs and the lack of data points had me reluctant. It IS interesting that WoS has dropped by around 3/4 in six months, but it made me wonder if his audience was reaching more outside of Scotland in the first place, so his audience were always going to be harder to retain.

      SGP was bound to drop after an election. Such is the nature of polling-related sites. It goes from bedlam to tumble-weed in a week across polling commentary sites in general.

      The most interesting thing in that chart is that the National’s monthly share is rising all the time, albeit with intermittent blips. May’s blip is higher than the others, due to the election, but the other two blips are following a similar trend to the other data points. Hoping this is a real circulation increase we’re seeing, and not something else.

  14. Alex Clark says:

    The Tories are not just interfering with the Electoral Commission they are also filling the board of the BBC with their own placemen.

    Just in the past year, Tim Davie become Director-General of the BBC in September last year, he is a former Tory Deputy Chairman of the Fulham and Hammersmith Conservative Association and twice stood as a councillor for them.

    Next up was to be the new Chairman of the BBC, Richard Sharp who took over in February this year. He was an advisor to Boris Johnson during his time as Mayor of London and has donated over £400,000 to the Tory party. He was a banker at Goldman Sachs for 23 years as was Rishi Sunak another senior Tory that Sharp was an advisor to.

    The most recent appointment to the board of the BBC was Robbie Gibb in April, Gibb was head of BBC Westminster, in overall charge of the BBC’s political program output – Daily and Sunday Politics, The Andrew Marr Show and This Week hosted by Andrew Neil.

    He left the BBC in 2017 to become May’s Director of Communications at No 10, he was given a knighthood by May in her leaving honours list. He supported a hard Brexit and was a leading light in the setting up of GB News along with Andrew Neil.

    Gibb is well known to Scots, he was deputy editor of Newsnight in 2006 when it was accused of pulling off a “stunt” for the program which was meant to show Scots as anti-English hating racists. Newsnight had a reporter buy an old banger during the world cup and drive it around the streets of Glasgow covered in England flags and with an England flag spray painted on the bonnet. On the day before the England v Portugal match the reporter parked the car with all the flags still flying in a quiet street in the Gallowgate not far from Celtic Park.

    Well, as they had hoped, the car was the target for local youths who smashed in the windows and generally vandalised it. Some have accused Newsnight of encouraging the youths so as they could catch it on film. Complaints were made to the police and a report was submitted to the Procurator Fiscal who investigated the role Newsnight played in this stunt though nothing came of it. You can read a bit about it here.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      John Harris is one of a very few reporters I have time for. His Labour roots makes him suffer from that old fashioned sense of principle few Labour politicians exhibit beyond the likes of Mark Drakeford. People are central, the politics flows from that.

      Compare that with Scotland – Expediency or whatever is spitballed by spin doctors dictating the play, principles are for losers – eg –
      Starmer attempts to sit on the fence over vaccine passports while his Scotland twig leader makes a meal of it for political gains, oddly in chorus with the Forres Gump DRoss and his more coherent chicken, but completely contrary to the Prime Charlatan.
      Neer a mention of the latter on HMS Sarah Smith after almost a week of this nonsense, simply because it ties in with their concept of “anybody but SNP” promotion.

      The BBC, Tories and Labour realise they’ve lost youth support, that is why they are so desperate to promote nightclub attendance and vaccine passports, they’re desperate to be on “their” side.

      The penny will never begin to drop with HMS Sarah Smith, Labour or the Tories.
      As was once attributed (undoubtedly falsely but a cracker) to Nelson Mandela’s chiropodist, defeat is intolerable…

      • grizebard says:

        Agree about John Harris. Open-minded like him is all we ask.

        Hard to know if the likes of Sarah Smith are so embedded in exceptionalist denial that they are purblind to the “missing 50%”, or if they really are aware but continue to push a Unionist line regardless – a political duty of allegiance if you like – because they find the alternative too personally intolerable. Either way, doesn’t make for very professional coverage.

  15. Alex Clark says:

    O/T Labour in Scotland has just named James Kelly as their new General Secretary. They’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel now, I can only guess that there was no one else who wanted the poison chalice LOL

  16. scottish skier says:

    Average of all Yougov UK Scottish subsamples for Westminster Intention, 26th July to 3rd September 2021:

    51% SNP
    22% Con
    13% Lab
    6% Lib
    4% Grb
    3% Oth (inc Alb)
    1% RUK

    Combined Yes party vote 55% or maybe 57% if we added in 2% for Alba hidden in the ‘other’.

    • scottish skier says:

      Grb = Grn obviously!

    • scottish skier says:

      In hindsight, do you think Britain was right or wrong to vote to leave the European Union?
      60% Wrong
      30% Right
      10% DK

      ex DK
      67(+5)% Wrong
      33(-5)% Right

      Which of the following do you think would make the best Prime Minister?
      18% Johnson
      28% Starmer
      49% Not sure (or neither!)
      5% Refused

  17. Hamish100 says:

    … and the demographics are in our favour.
    Independence is our prize.

    As for James Kelly wasn’t he going to deliver how to deal with sectarianism, racism and all the ism’s.

    Maybe he has just forgotten, like his labour sidekicks.

    • Dr Jim says:

      James Kelly’s too busy trying to fashion himself into the image of the most bestest and famousist bloggers who were either banned for hate speech or jailed for contempt of court in their desperate attempts to convince the nation that the most competent and popular politician and FM of Scotland doesn’t tell the truth when she says she’s dreamt and worked for Scottish Independence all her life so everyone should ignore her and vote for the guy who lost the last referendum then became the most unpopular figure not just in Scotland but even more unpopular than Boris Johnson, then set up a party that does nothing else but try to subvert every word the Scottish government and the FM says, because he’s now the good guy and Nicola Sturgeon isn’t, OK just try to sell that one to Scotland on a poster with a snappy three word slogan I don’t think

      Well all I can say about that is these folks brains must live inside their permanently switched on buzzy bedroom internet machines talking to themselves wearing funny hats where the majority of the population of Scotland don’t go and certainly don’t listen to such drivel because these folk don’t seem to have noticed there was just an election where that terrible unpopular FM and her party once again proved to be very popular indeed, but what do I know, like everyone else on the Wee Ginger Dug blog I’m a apparently a Numpty

    • grizebard says:

      I think that past assurances from Labour’s prize duffer Kelly over dealing with sectariarism belong to the O.J. Simpson school of follow-ups.

      After all, the party has to retain some means of facing both ways over the issue, in their desperate pursuit of a dwindling number of votes.

  18. scottish skier says:

    UK fires up coal power plant as gas prices soar

    England obviously. 90% of our gas and oil is no used by us.

    If it was Scotland, the headline would be ‘Scotland ignores Greta Thunberg to fire up coal power plant’.


  19. I’m enjoying the craic, Duggers.

    I am reliably informed by my more worldly, and wiser, Everlovin’, that I have a ‘Credit score’, held by private companies out there on the ether, who, for a price, will let me know my worthiness for credit, on some sort of numerical scale ranging from from Blue Chip How Much Do You Want To Borrow to, No Chance, Sell A Kidney, Loser.

    I can only assume that Big Brother already has masses of data on all of us, gleaned from a variety of sources. Community Charge Payments, utility bills, groceries, house and contents insurance payments, rent and mortgage payments, paid by plastic or bank direct debits, standing orders.

    More ominously, these DarkNet mobs must also have access to missed or late payments, income levels and such, to produce a sliding scale of credit risk, to work out each of our Credit Ratings.

    I have a passport and driving licence with my rugged portrait embossed on each of these official documents; but I am hardly a right wing Tory.

    WE have had several attempts to introduce ID Cards in the past, which have been defeated politically, and quite rightly so.

    But I take Paul’s point, that to introduce a requirement to produce photo ID when we attend a polling booth will only disenfranchise the poorest in our society, who it may be argued, are not members of the twin set Cairngorm Brooch silver haired ladies who actually voted for the womanising adulterer Johnson as leader of the Nasty Party.

    This latest assault on our freedoms is designed to square the circle.

    The aim is to have a photographic data base of every adult in the four countries, which is the next step in fascist control of us proles. by the Fourth Reich.
    If they have already stored and are using every financial transaction made by tens of millions, how hard will it be to append a photo of BAD Debtors, or contributors to subversive blogs like WGD, to the Credit Score database?

    Why worry if you’ve got nothing to hide, I hear them say?

    Brexit cut us off from the world. Now they want to control us completely.

    I’ll not be checking my Credit score.
    I recall being a day late chipping my £1 into the office tea fund one week, circa 1974.

    That’ll be me on MI6’s One To Watch List.

    Time we left Fortress England to its own devices.

    Enjoying the banter, Duggers.

    As Mark Twain quipped, ‘Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated’.

    I’m tidying up the garden and battening down the hatches in anticipation of yet another Winter of Discontent.


  20. yesindyref2 says:

    If blogs are going to be any use for Indy Ref 2, they have to stop posters denigrating other blogs or posters on other blogs.

    It’s like the old days of UseNet at the moment, with the blog equivalent of hostile cross-posting, with the intention of creating bad feeling between bloggers and posters. Blog wars. The only people who are winning this are the Unionist agitators who are – laugh laugh laugh – at the stupidity they see every day.

    • scottish skier says:

      While I agree, I actually think the unionist agitators are losing.

      You must remember the fake ‘rabid nats’ or the ‘pro-SNP’ concern trolls of the past? The rabid nats were the unionists pretending to be racist anti-English indy supporters, while concern trolls were the ones saying they had ‘deep concerns’ about the SNP strategy etc.

      These are all still around, they’ve just changed tack. Salmond’s no longer ‘the dear leader dictator’, Sturgeon is now, with her leading the ‘one party state’ surrounded by her ‘acolytes’. We all ‘worship her’ now instead of Salmond. With the Tories now the main opposition, the ‘Tartan Tories’ has been changed to ‘The NEW SNP’, very unoriginally. And best of all, when Yes was in minority, the SNP were ‘obsessed with indy to the detriment of schools and hospitals’, but now Yes has finally gone into narrow majority, it’s ‘The SNP are not interested in independence at all, just schools, hospitals and stuff’. All so very unionist and obvious.

      Many of the apparent anti-SNP, ‘real independence supporter’ ‘pro-Alba’ unpleasant commenters on the National and other blogs, are very obviously not pro-indy and don’t vote for any Yes party, never mind Alba. It’s clear as day they are British / English unionists; they’ve just changed approach. You can’t pretend to be what you are not and don’t understand; not for long anyway.

      They’ve latched onto Alba as they saw an angle for splitting the Yes movement. Full freedom to attack the SNP/Greens while saying they were ‘real indy supporters’. However, the effect seems to be the opposite; they are likely suppressing the Alba vote by giving it a bad name with their unpleasantness. Unfortunate for Alba, but ironic all the same. Only Alba can deal with it, and they will need to, just as any party has to in terms of those pretending to be from it with mal intent.

    • scottish skier says:

      Heavens above. After having a look around the blogosphere, I now understand some of the recent comments here. I will only say one thing; I have only ever posted exactly the same type of comments I post on here on other blogs. For example the below (September 7, 2021 at 9:17 am) is my real opinion on a lot of supposed ‘pro-indy’ supporters who’ve appeared recently. I would hardly describe that as anti- anyone other than unionists, but it’s the type of thing that’s got me called a ‘Walter Mitty’ character for suggesting very unpleasant apparently Alba backing commenters look to me like unionists, and MI5 would not being doing it’s job if it wasn’t paying a few to inhabit popular indy sites. It’s not just the Russians that do this!

      My comments normally involve graphs and stats and my thoughts on them; people can of course look at the data and decide if they agree or not. This seems to have made me a number of enemies who now stalk me, even though I’m nobody of importance. I only ever have been a commenter giving thoughts in his spare time; I am just an average Yes voter. People making false accusations against me without presenting any evidence / or both sides of the story will only harm themselves.

      As for my thoughts the other day on sites changing allegiance and the effects of that; I stand by my opinion that blogs do not influence readers. Readers simply migrate to sites that reflect their views, so if sites change allegiance, their readership will change in terms of clientele and traffic volumes. This will include supporters and trolls etc. The trolls follow the supporters around. This is not an attack on any site, nor telling anyone how to run a blog, but an observation. We are seeing this occurring in the indy blogsphere due to the emergence of Alba and I am interested in its affects, as this can tell us what they future of Alba is politically, especially during quiet times for polling.

      And I will finish by repeating what I’ve said a number of times. No group / party / blogger can lay claim to being the ‘independence movement’ or ‘the real indy supporters’. We are all that; every Yes voter and potential yes voter. We are equally the independence movement. Whether you are SNP, Green, Alba, an indy blogger, regular AUOB marcher whatever, you are just one X in the box on the day, no more nor less the movement than anyone else. With that in mind, treat all with the same respect. Agree to disagree etc. But also watch out for trolls, especially those telling you what you want to hear; their are loads of these around at the moment.

      • Alec Lomax says:

        The supporters of the 1.7% party are getting a wee bit upset I notice.

      • Statgeek says:

        “This seems to have made me a number of enemies who now stalk me, even though I’m nobody of importance. I only ever have been a commenter giving thoughts in his spare time; I am just an average Yes voter. People making false accusations against me without presenting any evidence / or both sides of the story will only harm themselves.”

        Been there. I remember back in early 2014 being ‘groomed’ by a nice man on Twitter. He was incandescent with rage when he realised I was pro-Indy and called me all manner of things then blocked me.

        It was a light bulb moment. Some were actively being nice to DKs, and openly nasty to Ayes. At the time, I was publicly ‘DK’, due to a lack of real info. My heart was Aye, but my head hadn’t processed enough info, so I stayed on the fence for as long as could, and it kept me free of the partisan stuff.

        There were some on the other side of the debate too. Twitter was like that by its very nature. No real space to make an argument in limited characters, and the majority of Twitter audiences aren’t known for their patience and ‘read, think, respond’ nature.

        Always post your sources. They might attack them, but they can’t attack you for making it up. Over time, if the same sources turn favourable to them, they will have to eat a fair bit of humble pie trying to explain why a source is only good when it posts data they like to see. 🙂

  21. Hamish100 says:

    Yesindyref2- you are correct of course up to a point. Just read SGP. Really it is much ado about nothing as far as I can see. For the authors most folk don’t care. A spat between 2 individuals ends up being passed over by most readers.

    As to who is fiercely independent or not, who judges ? Who even cares, if ultimately we fail in our 2nd referendum bid. History will not judge us well.

    As Paul and many other have said winning independence is our goal.

    I like any independence supporter wants everything to move more quickly. Unfortunately we have to convince others who voted No to vote Yes next time. As we have seen it isn’t as easy as some would imagine it should be.
    Despite all the issues thrown at us ( independence supporters) we are creeping slowly towards persuading enough.

    Some independence supporters have nailed their colours to other smaller masts and that is fine but really they should stop blaming the public for not supporting their purist views and start asking why?

    Either way, I and I am sure the majority of independence supporters are “ champing at the bit” to get into independence campaigning mode.

    From an even more fiercely independence supporter!! Lol.

    • yesindyref2 says:

      It’s probably my last attempt at “peace-making”. Ironically my comments appear here even if critical, posts appear on Bell and Murray, and I mostly disagree with them, but for some reason, other blogs don’t publish them.

      Oh well. It is every blogger’s right to be selective, but then you only end up with people who agree with you or flatter you for some odd reason.

  22. Lads, I remind you of the closing couplet of Milton’s sonnet ‘On His Blindness’.

    “And post o’er land and ocean without rest;
    They also serve who only stand and wait.”

    I stand and wait, like several millions of others; blog or no blog.

  23. Welsh_Siôn says:

    In the Torygraph aka the newsletter of the Boris Fan Club, no less:

    Support for Welsh independence ‘risen massively’ as UK ‘utterly disunited’ says Telegraph columnist

    07 Sep 2021 3 minute Read

    Support for Welsh independence has “risen massively” while England is “scared of its own shadow” and the UK “utterly disunited”, a Telegraph columnist has said.

    English journalist Suzanne Moore wrote the column in support of Booker-prize winning author Hilary Mantel, who was criticised over the weekend for saying that she hoped to leave England and move to the Republic of Ireland, and become “European again”.

    In her column, Suzanne Moore said that Hilary Mantel “speaks truth to power” and was right that the UK was breaking up as a result of Westminster’s actions.


    • Capella says:

      Suzanne Moore is a refugee from the Guardian. I agree with her reasons for leaving the “intolerant” left. Sooner or later they are going to have to face up to the real enemy, the dangerous right. We all need to stand together or fall apart.

      I hope Hilary Mantel makes it to the Republic. She said she was ashamed to be British under the present regime. She and Suzanne have a lot of courage speaking out and I hope Suzanne’s prediction about the Union comes true. Soon. We can certainly do all we can to help.

      • Dr Jim says:

        The right wing never really change, they gripe and moan from time to time about being too right wing and give themselves a reason to declare they will move left because of it, then the Tories promise to change crook their little fingers and all those disgruntled right wingers who promised to move left come scuttling back smiling from ear to ear full of hope for the future satisfied in the knowledge that they’ll do doing the right thing by lying properly to the people in a proper collective fashion

        Then you have the left wingers who become so militant about being left they’re meeting their right wing brethren round the back, now I don’t know whether I’m a right wing lefty or a left wing righty, because you aren’t allowed to be a centrist anymore, that’s fence sitting now and screamed at you from both right and left

        Do we think we’re all being manipulated into confusion? then make the correct choice and don’t choose anything at all then we’ll be safe from condemnation, phew! I feel better for that, no I don’t


        • Capella says:

          I can recommend Paul Mason’s new book, “How to Stop Fascism: History Ideology, Resistance”. If we want to save our democracy – imperfect as it is – then we have to keep on opposing the blatant efforts of the Tries to erode it. Photo ID will disenfranchise millions of poor and vulnerable voters.
          Indpendence is, of course, the most important move.

  24. bringiton says:

    A new country is emerging on the fringes of Europe known as Belatory.

  25. Capella says:

    Sky News shocked by the consequences of BREXIT.

    • Statgeek says:

      The comments in that thread. They’re at the last level of it all, lumping in all the voters that didn’t vote for ‘x’ as a reason for ‘y’.

      None of them bothered to mention how much of Scotland didn’t vote for the Tories in every election since 1955.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      You presumably noticed the complete absence of recognition that the UK’s (aka England’s) problems stem from aggressive xenophobia, the flaw the Brexiteers exploited.
      Scotland’s problem with migrant labour is not just about Brexit and Ugly Patel’s visas, it is about having to go through England to be made welcome.

      • grizebard says:

        I have a feeling that the xenophobia is more a symptom than a cause. The fundamental problem that the English have, I suggest, and particularly the Establishment, is an ongoing failure to come to terms with the loss of empire and the reality of their significantly diminished standing in the world.

  26. Alex Clark says:

    More problems with food production in Scotland due to the shortage of labour and lorry drivers.

    Vegetable growers in Scotland are having to throw away millions of cauliflower and broccoli heads due to a shortage of farmworkers and lorry drivers.

    The East of Scotland Growers (ESG) group, a farmers co-operative in Fife, has estimated that it has scrapped 3.5m heads of broccoli and 1.9m heads of cauliflower so far as a result of the crisis – and this is expected to get worse as we approach Christmas.

    “We should have started our freezing production last weekend, but, as yet, we haven’t frozen a single floret of broccoli,” said managing director of ESG, Andrew Faichney.

    “The delay in freezing is a result of a lack of lorries to haul frozen product out of freezer stores to retail depots.”

  27. scottish skier says:

    So, Boris is introducing a new poll tax.

    The lowest earners will be hit disproportionately, as is always the Tory way.

    • dakk says:

      Yes, I recall last time the stealth tax called National Insurance was hiked.

      It was by another Tory called Gordon Brown in 2002 when as Red Tory Chancellor he imposed a 1% increase.

  28. Alex Clark says:

    First Minister’s Statement:
    Programme for Government 2021-22

    Starts at 14:00

  29. Alex Clark says:

    Very good presentation of the Programme for Government by the FM there, the DRoss is up and the first thing on his mind is Independence LOL

    • grizebard says:

      I pity Sarwar more. I get the distinct feeling that the only thing needed for him to hail the programme as wonderful instead of “rebadged” would be if it were delivered by him for Labour instead of by Nicola Sturgeon. The self-entitlement is still alive and festering.

      Currently Cole-Scuttle is giving The Greens advice for how best to engage in Scottish politics. Another little self-awareness vacuum, alas.

      • Dr Jim says:

        Sarwar’s running out of places to go just as DRoss has nowhere to go considering the Welsh Labour FM is introducing Covid passports in that country and Johnson introduces them in England as both Sarwar and DRoss oppose them in Scotland
        Liberal Dismalcrat Cole Scuttle, the party of the EU and then gave up on that and are now the real Green party is going insane even quicker than poor old Willie Rennie did and he’s only in the job 5 minutes

  30. Capella says:

    So Boris Johnston is going renege on his 2019 manifesto promise not to increase tax, national insurance or VAT. The rise in NI is around 10%.

    He has also reneged on his promise to maintain the triple lock on pensions. Pensions should have risen by 8% this year in line with wages. Instead they will rise by 2.5% in line with the CPI. So much manifesto promises by the British PM.

  31. Capella says:

    Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with cigar and drink A sight for sore eyes.

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