The SNP continue to drip-drip the findings of their YouGov poll into the public arena – today’s press release has the constituency voting intentions for the Scottish Parliament, and show a daunting SNP lead over Labour. Topline voting intentions are CON 13%, LAB 25%, LDEM 14%, SNP 44% – a nineteen point lead for the SNP.

If repeated at the next Scottish elections this would produce a stunning landslide for the SNP on the constituency seats. On a uniform swing they would take 57 seats to Labour’s 8, with 6 for the Liberal Democrats and 2 for the Conservatives. Of course, they haven’t released the data on how people would cast their second vote were Labour would pick up a large number of seats due to SNP domination of the constituency MSPs, so we can’t project an overall result based on these figures.

93 Responses to “SNP storm ahead in Scotland”

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  1. The people who benefit ( or percieve themselves to benefit) most from the union are the least likely to vote for independence. Talk to a large number of senior people in the scottish financial sector and you will get look warm support. even now some who are saying nice things about the Scottish government are probably only sayiong it because it’s the government.

    I don’t see that as a killer blow to the cause of independence or even to undermine it. If criminals thought independence would be bad for them they’d oppose it, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be independeant because it would up set the criminal fraternity.

    Most political decisions involve winners and losers and the overall question is are there in the long term more winners than loser and better long term prospects. That people in the financial sector in edinburgh don’t support independence after the longest boom in UK financial services sine 100 years isn’t really surprising to me.

    The question it raises is this, Should you go against independence because a minority are doing very well out of the Union. True that minority create plenty of jobs but is that the best future for the country.

    One are that is always brought up by labour is jobs at faslane ( the UK Trident operational base).

    Now there are a lot of jobs there and the SNP would struggle to keep them all, but if you divide the full cost of Trident by the number of Jobs and compare it to almost any other area of public service you find that each of these jobs cost a lot more in cash terms.

    That begs the question, Is this the best use of public money or could we use that money better elsewhere. When we look at the final cost of the the two new aircraft carriers and aircraft, over their 40 year life, Scotlands share ( about 8%) is roughly the cost of a new Forth bridge.

    Then it’s legitamate to ask which would be of the most benefit to Scotland and therefore which is the best use of Scottish tax payers money. Me, I am for the bridge.

    I am for Independence because I think these are the kind of choices only an independant nation can make and that Scotland should make and indeed in many cases face up to. The SNP is to an extent stuck between Tories who believe that we are stronger together and labour who believe we would be too weak alone.

    Both are legitimate views but for me we would be no weaker and in things like the EU muster more votes when we were united but could vote the other way when we wanted.

    I understand people suspicions about the economic arguments but there really isn’t much dispute that independant Western European nations of Scotlands size do alright socially politically and economically.

    The costs of Independence don’t seem to break or overly burden them and I suspect that with a few exceptions they perform better than most regions within large EU states.

    I think we can afford it the issue is do we want it and are we prepared for the responsibility that comes with it.

    If we don’t vote for it I suspect it will be mostly due to fear and if we do then in saying yes I hope we will have shown the courage we need to tackle the real challenges it will bring, because beileve me we’ll need it.


  2. When Scotland was an Independent Kingdom from the 11th to the 17th century it suffered from regular devaluations against the English pound At the start of the reign of James VI ( I of England ) there were 10 Scottish pence to 1 English penny by the end of that reign there were 12 . Stability did not come to the Scottish Economy until the Scots abandoned their own currency in the early 18th century .

  3. Mark Senior:

    It’s a good job this is the 21st Century, then.

  4. A very interesting and informative thread! Firstly I want to put on record that as I’m from Northern Ireland I’ve no opinion on Scottish Independence, it’s a matter for the Scottish people to decide and I’m just an interested onlooker. It’s quite bewildering how quickly Labour’s stranglehold on Scotland has unravelled, the 2003 Holyroyd and 2005 Westminster elections were disappointing for the SNP, that they’ve been able to turn it around so dramatically is a tribute to the party. However Labour have helped bring about their own downfall. For a start they never fully grasped the implications of devolution and allowed the Scottish Labour Party to chart it’s own course. Most of this is down to Blair’s control freak mentality. Devolution was John Smith’s great passion, the rest of the party was largely ambivalent about it. Those who remember the 1979 referendum will know that it was Labour that split on the issue, the Tories and the Liberals were more or less united on either side of the argument. Most of Labour only went along with devolution as a way of capitalising on the Tories’ weakness in Scotland after 1987. The perception is that Scots Labour MP’s look down their noses at Holyroyd and regard MSP’s as underlings. Labour sent a B team to Hoylroyd and the result is that there’s no one who can match Salmond’s charisma and natural authority. Of course no one could have foreseen Donald Dewar’s tragic death or Henry McLeish’s “indiscretion” but this robbed Labour of 2 heavyweights, Jack McConnell was too dull and Alexander was out of her depth. Would Scottish Labour be in the same mess if say Robin Cook or John Reid had succeeded Dewar or McLeish?

    The 3 devolution projects that Labour brought in, Scotland, Wales and London were characterised by Blair trying to impose place men on the local parties, think Alun Michael and Frank Dobson, and in all 3 cases it’s backfired on them! In contrast the Tories have given their Scottish party a lot more freedom, after 1997 there was no other option for them with the result that Annabel Goldie has operational independence that Wendy Alexander could only dream of. The LD’s have always believed in devolution as a principle and they too have a more federal structure than Labour. As was mentioned above, Alexander saw what way the tide was flowing and knew that the only way to counter it was to stop being in denial about the independence question and confront the SNP head on about it. Her strategy was good but she had the ground pulled from under by Brown at PMQ’s when Cameron pressed him on it and the donation scandal undermined her credibility. Labour missed a huge trick last year, they should have put an independence bill down at Holyroyd with the wording that was most unfavourable in the polls, this would have put Salmond on the back foot as he would have had to try and argue why he didn’t want an independence referendum, hard core political watchers like us appreciate the strategy Salmond is pursuing but less political people may not have understood the distinction and it may have created tensions in the SNP as there would have been those who would have wanted to go for it no matter what.

    One final point, coming from NI, I can see a lot of similarities between the plight of Scots Labour and the UUP’s implosion. In both cases you had parties that had enjoyed virtually unchallenged hegemony for decades that then found themselves challenged by a smaller but better organised and very highly motivated opponent, (the DUP only really started to target the UUP after the Good Friday Agreement). At every opportunity and contest the UUP was outfought and outmaneuvered by the DUP with the result we’re all familiar with today. Unless Scottish Labour change direction very quickly that will be their fate too.

  5. I’ve done some playing around on the Scotland Votes swingometer, and found that the SNP need only take a further two percent from Labour at constituency level to get the magic 65 from constituencies alone.

    Now that’s a target to work for over the next three yers.

  6. I fully disagree that there has been any major shift in Scottish politics, merely that we percieve a major shift because the existence of a devolved Scottish parliament has enabled us to take a new perspective on the same issues.

    Similarly I fully disagree that the anti-tory shift across the UK during the 90’s can accurately be described as an epochal and permanent change or a simple temporary protest.

    The problem of understanding is created when people like Christian start making assumptions of correlation between parties and policy. The recent transformation of Osborne’s Conservatives into the tax-raising party is a marked case in point.

    So when we talk about Scotland whatever the politicians try to do to create the link between a vote for them and the real level of support for their policies, voters should not be fooled into swallowing this guff. A vote for the SNP (or whoever else) is a judgement of their relative merits in comparison to the other parties, which both may or may not derive from or translate into support for eg Independence.

    Salmond is the reason the SNP has been successful because it is his personal interventions which have made the connection between circumstances, his party and their single-issue in a way which no other SNP voice has previously been able enabling him ti ride the crest of that wave into office. His challenge now is to uncouple the fortunes of the two before they both get stranded on the rocks and their hopes are dashed by the next wave.

    In this he knows he will be struggling against both the support he has brought together and his own best instincts to try to run a perfect administration, either of which can and will eat him and his ambitions alive in the long run.

    The comparison with the recent fortunes of Labour is stark: Blair will be eternally blessed by fortune in that he got out whilst he was still at the top, but in ousting him when he did Brown condemned himself to eternal damnation by history.

  7. oracle,
    mark your time.look at what is happening with the snp and look back to new labours first term.change,hope,charismatic leader etc.
    when it came to the real beef blair ran a mile,just dishing out hand outs to his flock,at the expense of the productive middle classes,who did not bother whilst their houses were going up in value.when house prices stoped,and the realisation that the were no more right wing than stalin,the whole joke of a project stopped.
    salmond is in exactly the same position,if anything he has talked more of tax reform,and his only proposal at the moment is to put local income tax up!!!!
    we will fight a few elections,reform nothing,leave and that will be that.the only way scotland can survive on its own is with a slashing of government and taxes.
    do i see a pig flying past the window with a kilt on.

  8. philip johnson,

    It is not the SNP’s policy to put Local Income Tax (LIT) up because there is no local income tax.

    What we have done is freeze the council tax for three years while we bring in LIT at a national rate of 3% which will raise the equivelent of close to the Council tax in 2010.

    Last year and in each of the next three years we have ageed a funding package with Scottish councils that asks for 2% annual savings which each council can retain and reinvest in local services.

    The net effect of that is that by the time we set the LIT the amount it will raise will keep council budgets at the current rate in real terms while raising an less than the Council tax does now.

    Most of the argument in the press is about the approximately £500m that Scotland currently gets in Council tax benefit, but of as much importance is that the concordat with local government will through efficiencies at 2% account for close to another £300m.

    That’s how we intent to keep the LIT raye as low as 3%. having said that all this was agreed last summer when inflation was below 3% and oil about $80 bbl.

    Meeting those efficiency targets now with inflation moving towards 5% and oil still near $115 is going to be a nightmare and that is without the scottish parliaments budget comming under pressure from darling if the UK government has to cut spending.

    I am confident that the council tax freeze will hold for at least the next year probably two and I doubt there is a council in England can say that, so your raising local tax claim is just plain wrong.


  9. thomas,

    > I fully disagree that there has been any major shift in Scottish politics,

    Your interpretation of events is a possible one, but in my view a wrong one. And drawing the right conclusions out of opinion polls / by-elections / etc matters, because the reactions do something to define the battleground tomorrow.

    Just one example: if only Westminster Labour had given McConnell half the freedom to act that Tom McCabe wants for Scottish Labour ‘Leader’, then it is entirely plausible that McConnell would have fared ever so slightly better at the last election. He’d be ‘leader’ of the largest party in parliament, and there would be no SNP government.

  10. The westminster intentions are;

    SNP 36%, Labour 29%, Tory 18%, Libdem 13% others 5%.

    As far as I can see that could well be the best SNP figure for Westminster in a quarter century or more. As i said before that won’t convert in to as many seats as a straight swing might suggest especially under FPTP but it could get us closer to Alex target of 20 seats than I’ve previously thought.

    The last three questions are also interesting both for what they show and what they say about current SNP strategy. On both Salmond v Brown and Government v Government the SNP win 52% to 16% a ration of three to one.

    On the final question of should Scotland get 105 of the expected £5bn in “extra” oil revenue 80% of Scots say yes. Not really a surprising result as if you asked any subgroup should they get a bigger share the majority pretty much always says yes. What it does show is that the SNP have found another popular issue to exploit.

    Asking for 10% when we only have 8% of the population but a majority ( but way less than 80%) of that 8% think we should get 90% as it’s in Scotlands waters makes the SNP look like they are making a reasonable request, which is probably why so many even unionists back it.


  11. Anthony,

    I got a press release from the SNP which covers some items from the YouGov survey that don’t seem to be up yet. Are we due and update.

    This is part of the e-mail I recieved;

    “SNP-commissioned YouGov poll, 6-8 August, sample 1,028


    SNP: 33%
    Labour: 13%
    Con: 22%
    Lib Dem: 16%

    SNP: 25%
    Labour: 15%
    Con: 16%
    Lib Dem: 12%

    SNP: 55%
    Labour: 10%
    Con: 5%
    Lib Dem: 8%

    SNP: 20%
    Labour: 16%
    Con: 9%
    Lib Dem: 15%”


  12. The devolution referendum No-No campaign was fought on the grounds that devolution would naturally lead to independence. As Alex Salmond said after the first elections: “Oppositions have a way of becoming governments.” It could only be a matter of time till the SNP would get their turn in government and it has been their strategy for more than a decade that when their turn came they would spare no effort to show that they could govern in a way that better reflected Scottish values and priorities.

    They encapsulate this in the rather selfish claim to “stand up for Scotland.”

    What they could not have expected is that New Labour would help them at every turn. The failure of New Labour to give the Scottish Party a degree of independence has not only prevented them from taking an independent line, it has burdend them with inept London led campaigns.

    The Westminster parliament is an old an failed brand in competition with another, newer and more effective brand.

    Labour may have introduced devolution but that doesn’t mean the leadership understood what they were agreeing to. In todays Observer, Jim Wallace discloses that it was not until six months after the establishment of the parliament when he and Donald Dewar explained their plans for for the abolition of tuition fees, that Tony Blair began to understand.

    TB’s training and skills are in presenting a case, rather than in analysis. Maybe he isn’t as bright as you would expect someone in his position to be.

    Over half a century ago I heard the “slippery slope” argument put to Donald Dewar – by a nationalist. I thought his answer very odd at the time. He certainly didn’t say that it would “kill the SNP stone dead” then or later.

    Also in today’s Observer in relation to the Glenrothes eliction, I find expressions like “momentum” and “wind in their sails.” Labour are (with good reason) expecting defeat, and the SNP expect to win.

    The Impartial Observer is right. Only now are parts of the Labour party beginning to understand or admit to their own responsibility for the situation they are in.

    It’s ten years too late.

    It’s not where we are right now (e.g. re. independence in the polls)that matters, it’s where we are going to end up if we continue as we are doing.

  13. Andrew:

    “any successful independent government would necessarily be slightly less successful than a successful regional government within the UK.”

    I entirely agree, but would

    any successful independent government necessarily be slightly less successful than an only moderately successful regional government within a failing UK?

    That’s the problem.

  14. The SNP like to pretend that it is going to be a win win situation for one and all if they succeed in bringing about a switch from the present council tax to a local income tax.But in any change there has to be winners and losers. I have little doubt that any such change will result in another raid not only on the pockets of the hard working middle classes but especially pensioners who are living in relatively large houses thus forcing them to sell homes many of them have lived in all their lives.
    On another tack many folk like myself object strongly to anyone other than the Inland Revenue holding details of our personal sources of unearned income surely required to put in place a LIT tax. This is privledged information.I understand that even in the somewhat unlikely event that a UK government directs the IR to cooperate with Holyrood that for legal reasons the consent of each taxpayer will still be required before the information can be released to a third party.If that is true then do the SNP think they can successfully prosecute those householders who refuse to give their consent?

  15. I think that if independence comes it will have to come quickly – ie 2010 – as posited by the SNP’s timeframe. This is because momentum and the “newness” of it’s (and the SNP’s) popular appeal is crucial to any hope of its success.

    In the longer-term both support for independence and the SNP will decline as the SNP in power becomes more defined in voters’ minds (at the moment the SNP, like the LibDems can be anything a voter wants it to be) and will persist at a lower minority level.

    At the end of the day Britain is becoming more integrated, not less. One of the few interesting remarks made recently by Gordon Brown is that 50% of Scots now have relatives living south of the border. At the time of the union it was 3%.

  16. Nick,

    “I have little doubt that any such change will result in another raid not only on the pockets of the hard working middle classes but especially pensioners who are living in relatively large houses thus forcing them to sell homes many of them have lived in all their lives.”

    An average Scottish Band D house has a council tax of about £1,000 rising to over £2,000 for H. On the basis of a 3% council tax on earnings over £5,000 to match £1,000 a single person would need to be earning about £36,000. Scottish median earnings are about half of that.

    In a case of a couple with a £5,000 tax threshold each, they would need to earn £20,000 each. That has been Labours argument claiming that as £20,000 is average earnings then two people on £20,000 each are an average household.

    This of course is nonsense as of Scotland’s 4 million adults in over 2 million households less than 20% are made up of two adults each earning on or over £20,000 each.

    As to pensioners in large houses with a tax threshold of about £15,000 between them ( for 70 year olds) in a large house with a council tax of £1,500 they would need combined income of £65,000 to be worse off.

    I doubt there are many of Scotland’s 750,000 pensioners with incomes of $65,000 where as I suspect more than half of them are in the near third that live in households with incomes below £16,000.

    “On another tack many folk like myself object strongly to anyone other than the Inland Revenue holding details of our personal sources of unearned income surely required to put in place a LIT tax”.

    At present the SNP, in part because of the issues you have mentioned, has decided to exempt investment income from LIT. This has been widely criticised as a flaw, some claiming it to be a fatal one.

    However the numbers of high earners who will be able to avoid the tax and be better off probably runs in to only a few thousand, while the numbers on low incomes who will benefit runs in to hundreds of thousands.

    Many of those who will benefit and pay little or nothing currently receive ( or should if they claimed) Council tax benefit so that is why the retention of CTB is such an issue.

    No tax is perfect but on balance LIT is an improvement on the council tax because it is fairer. It is also easier to administer without the bureaucracy of banding or the benefit system.

    I have no doubt that those who pay more will scream abuse at the SNP but I suspect the majority of them won’t be SNP voters and that as the beneficiaries will out number them more than two to one, we’ll get by okay.


  17. Thank you for your reply Peter.I freely admit that you know more about this subject than me so here are some more questions.
    To take the second point first I am pleased to note that the SNP have abandoned efforts to obtain detils of investment income but how is all this going to work in the case of earned income and pensions-how is the local council going to obtain this information in the detail needed and verify its accuracy without access to taxation office records? And what about private landlords-is that income to be included or treated as ‘investment’?
    How is the burden on councils arising from the enormous administrative effort involved in switching to a new tax to be resourced and paid for? Inverness is I am sure an exception to the rule but most local authorities in the central belt and I speak from long experience cannot cope with anything remotely resembling change. Most are not coping now! People around here still get red letter council tax demands which they have long since paid because the computer records have not been updated.
    As to the main question of ‘winners and losers’ I said that it was the hard working middle classes who would be hit in the pocket and your reply skillfully worded as it was hints that this will indeed be the case.
    To many in the middle classes a 36K salary-about what a primary school teacher eaarns- is not huge especially in the light of house prices and mortgages etc. To take a street in Newington,Edinburgh not far from the Royal Infirmary and where every other house seems to be occupied by a doctor.This profession as befits their responsibilities are on what 100k salaries? But given that semi detached houses in the street are going for 950K most of those doctors who moved in after the new Royal opened are on mammoth mortgages with the result that take home income after mortgages is just as tight as it is for people living elsewhere in town on far lower incomes.
    I suspect that folk such as the doctors above who to me are very much part of the hard working middle classes-and no I am not a doctor-will find that they are the losers if an LIT tax comes to pass. To me that is not fair. It is one thing to heap taxes on housebuyers who purchase a property knowing what that tax will be but quite another to hit them with increased taxes when they are in situ.
    An LIT tax sems to me to be a hidden effort to redistribute wealth from the so called ‘rich’ to the so called ‘poor’. And the SNP would gain points for honesty if it said so loud and clear.

  18. Nick

    My sympathies go out to these poor doctors who may have to consider getting rid of one of their cars to meet these tax burdens from their paltry £100k earnings.

    I’ll have a word with the pensioners to see if they can get by with only heating the one room this winter so that we can set up a fighting fund to keep the wolf from the townhouse door and allow these professional classes to live in the fashion to which they are accustomed.

    Of course it’s an effort to redistribute wealth – it’s called progressive taxation and is a basic principle of a social-democratic society!

  19. Nick,

    I don’t know where you get the notion that the SNP has tried to hid the re-distributive nature of LIT because we’ve been campaigning on it as a key advantage for most of the last decade. Its pretty clear to anyone how it will effect different groups let alone a secret.

    Someone currently in a Scottish band A house pays as little as £600 a year and someone in a band H up to about £2,000.

    If the person in the bottom band is in the lowest 10% of Scottish earners then they probably earn about £6,000 meaning a tax cut of £550 a year or around 10% of there income. That £10 a week can make a bit of difference to people earning so little.

    In contrast if the person in the band H house is in the top 10% of Scottish earners they will earn about £75,000 and therefore will see a tax increase of about £200 a year which is about 0.28% of there income.

    Of course the pensioner on £7,000 in a Band H house would see a tax cut of £2,000 about 27% of there income while the company boss who earned £100,000 but lived in a band A house would see his tax rise by 2,300 to 2.3% of his income.

    The fact that LIT is re-distributive isn’t anything the SNP has hidden, it’s a key part of why we think it’s fairer.

    The second point to make is that I don’t much time for the facile Tory/New Labour game of putting “Hard Working” or “Right Thinking” in front of things to make it sound like we’re on the little guys side or that they are being hard done to.

    At the heart of the SNP’s plans is a look at what Scots actually earn at what they need and on that basis there are rich and poor and there is no so called about it.

    Someone earning under £10,000 is poor and someone earning over £100,000 is rich there is no “so called” about it. Most of us are somewhere in between although a lot more are closer to the £10,000 than the £100,000.

    I’ve particularly never seen evidence for or accepted the “hard working” tag for the middle classes. I am not saying that they don’t work hard but the notion seems to be that someone earning £40,000 is by definition harder working than someone earning £20,000 who in turn works harder than someone earning £10,000.

    On that basis children working 14 hours a day for 50p in India making clothes for TKMax are lazy little buggers.

    For me the whole hard working middle class thing has come to prominence because to win a UK FPTP election Labour and Tory need to appeal to people earning between £20,000 and £40,000, so policies and rhetoric are skewed to there needs and indeed prejudices.


  20. The market dictates what we earn.Even social democrats have to recognise that. By our skills and responsibilities we are paid only what we are worth. Most highly paid professionals in any field carry a lot of responsibility and as a result stress of a kind which entirely justifies their salary. If you tax professionals too highly then they will simply take their talents abroad and Scotland will be the loser. Already Scotland is burdened with a top heavy public sector, a disinclination to encourage venture capitalism, the presence of inumerable subsidy junkies not to mention the free lunch brigade and above all too many layers of government.
    Anyway and not only because I notice that there has been a lack of response to my other points I have a feeling that the LIT tax will never happen. The devil is in the detail and I do not believe that our rulers have the competence to make it work. I predict it will be shelved and that somehow the SNP will ensure that the poor old Lib Dems get the blame for its demise!

  21. Nick,

    I have no problem with the market dicating what we earn and the role of education and experience in te, what I take issue is that the amount you earn tells how hard you work.

    If you spend all day working at a computer screen in a call centre you can be just as stressed as someone in the city looking at a similiar screen. In the city there could be millions at stake, but in the call centre in a recession your job and home could be on the line.

    As to the everyone will leave because of the high taxes, I’ve heard it all before. There are plenty of countries like Sweden with higher taxes than the UK and they seem to get by okay.

    Ask anyone which they would prefer to earn £60,000 at 40% tax or £100,000 at 50% and I know what most people would say. People don’t like there tax to go up but what matters is there take home pay and quality of life.

    As it is we talking about a revenue neutral change that moves the burden from those at the bottom who can only pay the tax with the help of a convoluted rebate system to people who can afford to pay.

    As it is, who do you think other than those on middle income pay the tax that pays the annual £5 billion in Council Tax benefit.

    With regards to the large public sector the current indications are that Scotland will suffer less from the economic slow down because of it. That doesn’t mean that are large public sector is in itself a good thing, but that what your putting forward is the kind of simplistic any change will be a disaster line that just doesn’t stack up.

    Finally you talk about the lack of response to your other points, just which ones are those.

    I covered redistribution, unearned income, pensioners in large properties, where the winners and losers would be in terms of income. I don’t think you made any other points really worth considering.

    The only thing I left out was your claim that central belt local authorities couldn’t cope with the change, but given that the change would be for the responsibility they currently have for administering the Council Tax system being given over to the Inland Revenue using a far simplier system I can’t see your problem.

    Unless of course your argument is that we shouldn’t change to a simpler system run be a competent agency from a complex one run be incompetents because the incompetents would mess up the transfer.

    If that is your argument you really are scraping the bottom of the barrel.


  22. Net annual household incomes in Scotland by type of household and level of area deprivation.

    Overall, one in five (21%) households have a net annual income of £10,000 or less while two in five (41%) have an income of £15,000 or less.

    Single pensioner, single parent and single adult households were the most likely to fall into this latter income range (85%, 55% and 58% respectively).

    At the other end of the scale only 10% of households in Scotland have a net annual income of more than £40,000.


  23. One of the heartening aspects of the unexpected tidal wave of UK successes in the Olympics has been the reaction and the sheer joy of-almost- the entire population up here in Scotland. It reminds us that it is perfectly possible to be both proud of being Scottish and proud of being British. More unites us than divides us. God save both the Queen ..and Chris Hoy!

  24. Nick,

    Except that last night the national news ran a rather narrow minded piece on beating Australia in the medal tables and the great rivalry between the two nations when there isn’t one.

    There is one between England and Australia at Cricket and rugby and I am sure there would be one if England had there own Olympic team, but most Scots will have no particular rivalry with Australia and probably quite a lot support thm when they are playing England.

    As to the olympics both the TV and press coverage of the Olympics in Scotland have been dominated by the preformace of Scots in the games and every time 2012 is mentioned so is 2014 for the commonwealth games.

    Most people are more than happy to see the GB team do well but I think the Union Jack waving is missing some things that run deeper.

    As I’ve said before “You Can’t Eat History” and thinking that people will forget Inflation or negative equity, the price of oil because, or the issue of independence because of two dozen gold medals is wishful thinking.

    Having said that it would be interesting to see if polls showed that people felt more british because of the Bejing results and then we would know for sure. It just depends if anyone asks it or not.


  25. Nowhere in my little piece Peter did I say anything about gold medals making the Scots forget about inflation,negative equity or whatever-anymore than the English or the Welsh will forget about these things. In a miserable summer dominated by bad news surely even you can put aside your prejudices and just join the rest of us in cheering on our athletes wholeheartedly without having to couch things in a negative way.
    My wife,most of our friends and all of our neighbours are Scots and whilst naturally taking particular pride in the glorious achievements of Chris Hoy they have cheered on each and every medal winner regardless of which part of the UK they come from.

  26. Re Nick Keene Aug 19. 5.02pm
    “The market dictates what we earn.Even social democrats have to recognise that. By our skills and responsibilities we are paid only what we are worth.”

    Hmmm, well now, “what we are worth”. Wayne Rooney gets 100k a week and my cousin Gaynor gets somewhat less than that for being the head nurse at an Accident and Emergency hospital ward, responding to life and death situations.

    This is what happens what human beings abdicate their ability to decide what is fair and just in society to the individual hand of the economic God (ie the ‘market’). By stating that the market must decide such matters in effect means that we shut down our own brains, our own value judgements, about how we think society to be. It makes individuals mere pawns in the vast market machine. A wholly alienating experince.

  27. gareth

    Nobody said life was fair

  28. Personally I prefer Land Value taxation to the SNP’s Local Income Tax.

    But looking at it politically, I cannot see how anyone could believe LIT is the big thing that’ll end the SNP honeymoon. Replacing the council tax by anything is going to be popular, so SNP critics have to have an alternative at least as good as LIT to make their point (and none of the Unionist parties have any). The SNP will look good for trying to tackle the problem.

    It also doesn’t matter if LIT doesn’t please everybody, it is good enough if it please most people, and since it is effectively a big tax reduction it should do so.

    And even if LIT won’t come about, it won’t hurt the Nats too much, as they can (a) claim that at least they have tried (b) blame London for witholding council tax benefit and (c) point to all the other promises they have kept.

  29. A new COMRES poll has even more bad news for Gordon Brown and good news for the SNP.

    Scottish results
    Westminster Election
    August 20-21 2008

    SNP 35
    Labour 27
    Cons 18
    LibDem 10
    Other 10

    In seats, according to Electoral Calculus, it would mean

    SNP 29
    Labour 18
    Cons 5
    LibDems 7

  30. Peter:

    It isn’t smart to work hard, but its hard to work smart.

    Too many confuse inputs with outputs which is why the NHS in England is not showing the improvement expected, and why the BMA gave Nicola Sturgeon a standing ovation.

  31. John B Dick

    I think the BMA were just being polite….after just 15 months in office there is no way that the SNP can claim that any superior NHS performance up here as compared to England is down to them.
    Mind you a visit to the a and e ward at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary on a Saturday night might give you pause for thought..

  32. > after just 15 months in office there is no way that the SNP can claim that any superior NHS performance up here as compared to England is down to them.

    CS: Err, yes, they can. They kept three hospitals open, and otherwise there is no noticeable change. Therefore the SNP can claim it has done better than Labour. And most people believe it.

  33. Christian,

    It would be great if it was true but what we have actually done is stop the closure of two accident and emergency and one maternity unit, not full hospitals. Still the act is that Labour said they must close and we have kept them open and so far it seems that we are still balancing the books.

    Our opponents are saying that it will all come home to roost, but so far the public view seems to be that we are just better at running things that Labour was.

    As Alex salmond said after the election, There will be Labour Governments in the future but it will never be the same again. What I think has helped the SNP and made things a lot more difficult that before for Labour is that May last year represented the death of “tina” in that up until then a majority of Scots felt that “there was no alternative” to Labour.

    Where Nicola scored with the BMA was in saying that the SNP rejects foundation hospitals, more use of the private sector, PFI/PPP and “megaclinics”. in effect they gave a standing ovation to what we are not planning to do as opposed to what we are.


  34. ‘… the national news ran a rather narrow minded piece on beating Australia in the medal tables and the great rivalry between the two nations …’

    I note Australia has a 1/3rd the population of GB, as such, to beat Australia GB would have needed to score something like 3 times the amount of medals of Australia, say 45+ gold medals….

  35. Jack

    Who stole your gee gee?
    The banter between Aussie and British journalists over the Olympics is just that..banter and if for just once Team GB has come up trumps at the games well just chill out and enjoy rather than nit pick.


  36. Jack,

    The issue isn’t the banter, but the assumption by British journalists that the rivalry between Australia and England extends to the whole UK, when I suspect that for most Scots, Irish and Welsh it really isn’t an issue.

    Journalsts covering a UK event for the UK ( and especially when it’s at the expense of Uk tax payers) should represent the views of the UK, not just one part of it.

    Yet again this Olympics there were comments at in the scottish press about Scottih athletes not being able to fly the Saltire.

    For me it’s right that they shouldn’t because the rules are that only the lags of competing nations my be carried by athletes and Scotland isn’t a competeing nation. That’s a case of the Scottish media taking a scots perspective on a UK event which in it’s own way is just as bad as the GB v OZ story.



  37. Um Peter, the Saltire is part of the Union Jack, so that’d be lazy journos sensationalising a story out of nothing for the sake of their jobs, hein?

    Competitive rivalry is vital for the relevance of any event, and generalising trends imposes the opinion of the spectator and exposes one’s own political prejudices. In the Olympics there were many cases of individual as well as national rivalries both between and inside teams – TeamGB cycling success spurred on sailing success.

    Competition is the means to raising standards, but losers only taste sour grapes.

  38. Peter

    Somehow or other your party got on the wrong side of all this and failed to realise that many Scots including the likes of Chris Hoy take exactly the same view about sporting events at GB level as the rest of the country. Yes of course if for example no Scots players appear in a particular Lions rugby team then Scots won’t feel so supportive but having for years watched Lions matches et al in the bar of a boisterous sports club I can assure you that the remarks hurled at the screen when the opposition especially the Aussies commit a foul FAR exceed the comments you’ll hear around Twickenham!!
    Stop digging a hole for yourself Peter and retire gracefully from this subject!!

  39. Peter:

    You demurred when I said that the SNP had done nothing, and with more experience in office would do more nothing, and do it better.

    Now you say:

    “in effect they gave a standing ovation to what we are not planning to do as opposed to what we are.”

    and “Where Nicola scored with the BMA was in saying that the SNP rejects foundation hospitals, more use of the private sector, PFI/PPP and “megaclinics” ”

    Doing nothing doesn’t get any better than that.

  40. … and today’s news, not having hospital parking charges(except at PFI hospitals)

    After independence there will be an opportunity for not having WMD and not participating in USA’s wars.

    Wouldn’t you agree that would be the upscaling the not-doing which I am predicting?

    The SNP needs no other policy than not-doing whatever flavour-of-the-month gimmickry and party dogma comes out of Westminster, whichever party is in power. New opportunities will be presented by a London focused Conservative government with a fresh set of policies risibly inappropriate for the highlands.

    It certainly isn’t a sudden flush of enthusiasm for independence that accounts for the SNP’s recent increase in popularity, but not doing is such a rich seam to be digging in you may well be trusted with independence.

  41. Stuart Dickson:

    “Another tidbit is that the SNP are actually doing better among women than men!”

    There are women ministers in Health and in Education. These are the topics that interest women more than men.

    Many years ago, I was canvassing with an elderly Labour party member on the last street of council houses to be canvassed before the poll. Although it was past the time we were due to finish, we decided to complete the task and canvass the last house in the street. My colleague said there would be little point, because this house, which was also part of the street at right angles, was an older, good quality, owner occupied property.

    The woman who opened the door, gave us such a critique of how the Conservative government had failed that we realised she would have done the canvassing much better than we had done and that we had failed too.

    Now the mistake was to classify her as “Homeowner” when what dominated her life was her two lively pre-school girls. Any classification or classification system obscures the potential of any other classification.

    Adam Smith was wrong. The strongest human instinct is not the acquisition of resources and power. That is a male strategy for getting your genes into the next generation.

    The half of the population that sits down to pee has a different strategy. It’s called the maternal instinct.

    Scottish mothers can see that Fiona Hyslop is the sort of person who will be effective. I’ve met her for about five minutes and if I were a political opponent or civil servant, I wouldn’t dream of obstructing her.

    You have heard about “picking fights with Westminster”?

    Which Scottish Minister tacitly accepted a rebuff on a proposal for an asylum amnesty?

    Which Scottish Minister negotiated an end to dawn raids where agents of the state took Scottish schoolchildren out of their beds in the middle of the night to take them to a jail before deporting them?

    Which Scottish Minister gave the same kids the right to free university education?

    Then there are initiatives in child health and nutrition including school meals.

    So if Scottish mothers and grandmothers are moving to support the SNP, there is no surprise there. I’d be astonished if it were otherwise.

    You could call it biological warfare.

  42. Re the Olympic Games ‘GB’ issue worth noting that Scotland competes as an ‘independent’ country at the Commonwealth games. I’m sure the Scottish competitors are also quite happy to march under the Saltire at that time.

    The whole issue of UK / GB / GB and NI / home nations is a fine example of the constitutional confusion which is the UK.

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