Monday, 22 June 2009

European results - a reprise

For all those who couldn't see the last one properly (and complained about it) - I think you can click to make this bigger; it's the European results for Edinburgh as supplied by the Returning Officer at the count.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

European results

European election results for Edinburgh. Here's a scan of the European results for Edinburgh as provided by the Returning Officer:

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The Labour party

Having watched the moral decay of the Labour party - its abandonment of collectivism, its dismissal of those who think differently, its increasing lack of concern for those it once professed to champion, its increasing delight in dissembling, the disgusting behaviour of its MPs, the demagnetised moral compass, the apparent lack of any understanding of government or its purpose, its lack of rationale for all it does, the reduced irreducible core, the pandering to wealth at the expense of those in poverty, the rise of the careerist and the malady of 'Buggins Turn' - would Harold Wilson now say that the Labour party was nothing?

Monday, 15 June 2009

Devolution repainted

I've read the Calman Report (it wasn't worth it). I find myself struck by the lack of understanding the Calman Commission had about the current devolution package, what goes on, what the legislative powers of the Scottish Parliament are, how politics works, and how the Governments interact - all of which is in the public domain. Most of the recommendations made are what already happens or can happen should it be desired like, for example, Recommendation 4.3 that the Parliaments should have mechanisms to communicate with each other - yup, they already do.

There are also bits where the recommendations would unnecessarily clutter the current legislative landscape, exempli gratia Recommendation 4.15:
RECOMMENDATION 4.15: A new legislative procedure should be established to
allow the Scottish Parliament to seek the consent of the UK Parliament to legislate
in reserved areas where there is an interaction with the exercise of devolved powers.

Scotland Act Schedule 4:

The law on reserved matters
2 (1) An Act of the Scottish Parliament cannot modify, or confer power by subordinate legislation to modify, the law on reserved matters.
(2) In this paragraph, “the law on reserved matters” means—
(a) any enactment the subject-matter of which is a reserved matter and which is comprised in an Act of Parliament or subordinate legislation under an Act of Parliament, and
(b) any rule of law which is not contained in an enactment and the subject-matter of which is a reserved matter,
and in this sub-paragraph “Act of Parliament” does not include this Act.
(3) Sub-paragraph (1) applies in relation to a rule of Scots private law or Scots criminal law (whether or not contained in an enactment) only to the extent that the rule in question is special to a reserved matter or the subject-matter of the rule is—
(a) interest on sums due in respect of taxes or excise duties and refunds of such taxes or duties, or
(b) the obligations, in relation to occupational or personal pension schemes, of the trustees or managers.
(4) Sub-paragraph (3)(b) extends to cases where liabilities under orders made in matrimonial proceedings, or agreements made between the parties to a marriage, are to be satisfied out of assets of the scheme.
3 (1) Paragraph 2 does not apply to modifications which—
(a) are incidental to, or consequential on, provision made (whether by virtue of the Act in question or another enactment) which does not relate to reserved matters, and (b) do not have a greater effect on reserved matters than is necessary to give effect to the purpose of the provision.
(2) In determining for the purposes of sub-paragraph (1)(b) what is necessary to give effect to the purpose of a provision, any power to make laws other than the power of the Parliament is to be disregarded.

The important bit there, of course, is paragraph 3:

3 (1) Paragraph 2 does not apply to modifications which—

(a) are incidental to, or consequential on, provision made (whether by virtue of the Act in question or another enactment) which does not relate to reserved matters, and

(b) do not have a greater effect on reserved matters than is necessary to give effect to the purpose of the provision.

In essence, Calman is suggesting that something which works fine at the moment, thank you, should become a formal and bureaucratic flummery for the purposes of allowing Calman to suggest something.

Frankly, I expected that those who set out to defend devolution would at least understand it.

Mind how you go!

Opinion poll - even better

That Yougov poll - it's even better than I thought. The results are up on the polling company's website now and show the following:

SNP 31%
Lab 28%
Con 17%
Lib 16%
Other 8%

Holyrood constituency:
SNP 39%
Lab 26%
Con 14%
Lib 14%
Other 7%

Holyrood Additional Member (list):
SNP 34%
Lab 26%
Con 14%
Lib 13%
Other 14%

Others split as
Green 7%
SSP 3%
Sol 1%
Other 3%

And so we come to the point in Scottish politics where we have Other Others ...

However, and all that, I calculate that this means that the SNP would get oodles and oodles of seats - actually, I haven't done any calculations on it at all, I've only just seen it and thought I'd share, but I am comforted by a consistent gap opening up there and the indications from the detailed results that we are now gathering support from all over now, that supporters of other parties are more and more prepared to back the SNP. Interesting, too, that support for the other parties now equals the Conservatives and exceeds the Lib Dems on the AM vote - and that the Greens take a straight 12% of the Lib Dem vote.

What's equally interesting is that this poll was done from the 2nd to the 4th of June and a UK-wide Yougov poll done a week and a bit later (11th to 12th) appears to show (on a small sample, remember) somewhat similar results - us and Labour strengthening slightly, Conservatives staying where they are and the Lib Dems weakening. It also indicates that 59% of Scots think that Gordon Brown is doing badly as Prime Minister, 75% of us think that the economy is in bad shape (31% think that it's right down the drain), 39% of us think it's a bad thing that Peter Mandelson is running the country, and half of us think that the appointment of Alan Sugar was a "silly gimmick".

Most fascinating and I look forward to many more. Mind how you go!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Jolly good poll, what?

A Yougov poll in the Sunday Times indicates that the SNP is still on the up in terms of support and that the European election result was a pretty good indication of the direction of travel in public opinion in Scotland. Poll results -

SNP 31%
Lab 28%
Con 17%
Lib 16%

That only leaves 8% for the Greens and any other parties to take up which will be disappointing for them after a decent performance last week. It does, however, show that we're on course to win Edinburgh North and Leith at Westminster - which would be the third time in a row that the SNP has won in a constituency-wide vote here. We were 405 votes ahead in the Additional Member (list) vote in 2007 and increased that to 641 votes in the Euro (different boundaries, with nearly all of the Holyrood seat in the Westminster seat). I'm looking forward to pushing that majority into four figures when the election is called.

Electoral Calculus has us winning North and Leith on those figures - then there's the additional support we've been gaining in the constituency lately, the drop in Labour's vote here, the drifting away of Lib Dem support and the Conservatives returning to former levels with the Greens coming on strong. I'll be keeping a cautious eye on the Greens - they could be fighting it out with Labour for second place if they continue to move forward with the Conservatives some distance behind in fourth and the Lib Dems way off the pace in fifth.

Also interesting was the UK-wide poll in the same story that showed drops in support for both Conservatives and Labour (Cameron's party still maintaining a 16% lead though). What was interesting was that the Lib Dems didn't capitalise at all, their support unchanged - the smaller parties now matching the Lib Dems for support. Could the Greens take out one of the Lib Dem MPs? I take it that they will be making a fairly big deal of the secret meetings between Labour Ministers and airport lobbyists.

"Why from the Lib Dems?" you may ask. News from the European elections around Scotland suggest that their vote is being chewed up by the SNP, by the Conservatives, and by the Greens. They dropped out of contention in the Edinburgh seats they thought they were taking and are in danger of losing Edinburgh West, and that story was repeated around the country.

Up in Aberdeenshire they lost Gordon to us and they lost West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine. The SNP took Argyll & Bute, the Conservatives swept them away in the border seats, the SNP won in Danny Alexander's seat - and we won in Jo Swinson's seat.

It looks like being a very interesting Westminster election as Labour lose out and the Lib Dems fade away while the SNP makes the front running. The worry for Labour will be how improved the Conservative performance is and the worry for the Lib Dems will be whether the Greens overtake them and cement that position for the future.

Friday, 12 June 2009

How bad was it for the Lib Dems?

In my wee meanders around I sometimes find myself going back to pick up a point or two. After I posted yesterday about the Lib Dems I thought I'd take a look at how they did elsewhere in the city. I'm comparing to 2005 because that's the only previous election which has reported results on these boundaries, but I'm adding the odd bit of other information into the mix:

Edinburgh South
Mike Pringle holds this seat for the Lib Dems in Holyrood, Nigel Griffiths holds it for Labour at Westminster. Lib Dems came second to Labour in 2005 with 32.28% of the vote. That collapsed last week to 21.34% and they fell behind the Conservatives. Labour's vote absolutely melted. It looks like the Lib Dems have fallen out of the race here as well as in North and Leith. It could be an early indication that Mike Pringle could be losing his seat in 2011 as well, but the boundaries are different, so a bit of caution needed.

Edinburgh South West
Dropped from third place to fifth with their vote vanishing from 21.06% down to 12.1%, the result being SNP followed by Conservative followed by Labour followed by Green followed by Lib Dem. That gives all sorts of interesting possibilities for the end of the Chancellor's parliamentary career but it seems pretty clear that the Lib Dems won't figure in any of them.

Edinburgh North and Leith
I know I've done it already, but I like it. SNP came storming through to win while the Lib Dems were stuck in third behind Labour, only 2 votes ahead of the Conservatives and not far ahead of the Greens - a 12% drop on their 2005 performance for the Lib Dems. There's been some comment that there are five parties within 1,000 votes of each other in North and Leith, but it's even closer if you concentrate on the battle for second place. The SNP result put us 641 votes ahead of Labour. The Greens are only 310 votes behind Labour and the Lib Dems and the Conservatives are between them - 310 votes between second place and fifth - I'm glad we're out in front with a wee cushion (very wee cushion, but a cushion nonetheless).

Edinburgh East
Lib Dems were second in East in 2005 with 24.42% of the vote. They dropped to fifth with 10.44% of the vote last week - a massive haemorrhage, and beaten again by the Greens who took 17%. The SNP won, of course, followed by Labour, Green, Conservative, and then the Lib Dems.

Edinburgh West
You'd expect the Lib Dems to do very well here, considering they hold the Westminster seat and the Holyrood seat. Well, they still came out ahead, but their vote dropped by more than 25% from - more than halved from 49.52% in 2005 to 24.2% in 2009. The Conservatives were right up behind them with 22.29% of the vote and the SNP was not far away with 20.6%. It looks like a race between the SNP and the Conservatives to take John Barrett out - which of us can eat into the Lib Dem vote fastest will be one factor - the other will be which of us is best placed to hoover up the 13.5% of the vote that Labour took. Whichever one of us gets there, it's looking likely that the Lib Dems will lose Edinburgh West.

So there you have it - the Lib Dems about to lose the one Westminster seat they hold in Edinburgh (probably followed by the Holyrood seat) as their vote collapses with ourselves - the SNP - and the Conservatives bearing down on them. Elsewhere in the city where they had been in the challenger's position their support has crumbled away and they no longer look credible. South looks more likely to fall to the resurgent Conservatives than to have any Lib Dem challenger while the SNP and the Conservatives battle it out in South West. In Edinburgh East it's between the SNP and Labour and in Edinburgh North and Leith it's also between the SNP and Labour.

That was a truly horrific election for Edinburgh Lib Dems and an excellent election for Edinburgh SNP.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Aren't the Lib Dems cute?

Delighted to see that, even when they've hard a good, hard sandpapering, Lib Dem members can still dream up ways in which the earth moved for them. It's almost like the 'still arithmetically possible' calculations that we all go through as Scotland football fans, but with eyelashes fluttering and upturned eyes, a hope in either hand and a look of supplication on their wee faces.

A Lib Dem chap by the name of Young Degsy - who turns out not to be young at all, tsk, tsk, tsk - left a comment on an earlier post saying he wants to take the swing 2004-2009, apply it to 2005 (honestly), add Nick Clegg's shoe size, take away the number you first thought of, multiply by the square root of Scotland's latest 20-20 cricket score and thus prove that the Lib Dems will win North and Leith at the next election. I paraphrase, of course.

Here are the 2004-2009 swings:
Lab to SNP 5.78%
Con to SNP 3.41%
Lib to SNP 3.46%
Gre to SNP 3.46%

Of course, these are not directly comparable elections because the 2004 ones were declared on the old Westminster boundaries (the current Holyrood boundaries) and the 2009 ones were declared on the new Westminster boundaries.

You could, of course, apply the swing from 2007 to 2009 with the same caveats and that gives a 6% swing from Labour to the SNP and a 2.4% swing from the Lib Dems to the SNP as well as a 7.1% swing from the Lib Dems to the Conservatives - Labour and the Lib Dems being the big losers.

The Conservative movement would have had me worried had it not been that adding back in the rest of the constituency brings the swing back in the SNP's favour against them as well. That would be the SNP taking votes from each of our three main opponents. The Greens are not included here because they didn't stand a constituency candidate, but you can add their Additional Member result into the mix and you find that they've had a better two years 2007-2009 than the Lib Dems, adding about 4.8% to their vote.

You wouldn't trust the Lib Dems to count your change on the bus but you've got to admit that their naked ambition, unfettered by talent, is pretty cute - kinda.

Mind how you go!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

A love-in?

Russell Brown, Labour MP has just asserted in the chamber of the House of Commons that the SNP Government hasn't had a honeymoon period, it's had a 'love-in' which John Lennon and Yoko Ono would have been proud of.

I can appreciate his frustration that the SNP remains popular while his party is struggling to survive and that he admires the ability of the SNP to keep doing what's right, and I can appreciate that he wishes that his party had someone delivering something, but whatever can he mean by 'love-in'?

Why Brown will remain in post

Gordon Brown will not be removed from office by his party, he will remain Prime Minister until the General Election - whenever he chooses to call it. The reason is really quite simple - no-one with any prospect of winning a leadership battle against him (even an outside chance) would want the job.

If you were an eager young Labour MP, keen to make your mark with a glittering future ahead of you would you be willing to be the person that led your party to the heaviest defeat it has ever suffered? If you were a grizzled old-stager seeing out the last years of your political career in comfortable semi-retirement as a Labour MP would you want your footnote in history to be that you led your party to the heaviest defeat in its history? If you were a mid-career ambitious Labour MP judging that you have the time to suffer this defeat and rebuild with yourself as leader would you be prepared to begin your golden reign by leading your party to the heaviest defeat in its history?

Perhaps, if you were a Labour Parliamentarian whose aims were to make society better, to improve lives and to save your movement and your party to fight another day you might consider a battle against Lord Mandelson for the levers of power. That, of course, would require rectitude, a degree of moral fibre, and a willingness to sacrifice your own betterment for the sake of the greater good. You're not going to find that in today's Parliamentary Labour Party.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

European election in Edinburgh North and Leith

Here's the result of the European election in Edinburgh North and Leith:

SNP 20.5% (4965)
Labour 17.9% (4324)
Lib 17.4% (4201)
Con 17.4% (4199)
Green 16.6% (4014)

The Greens are galloping up on the back of the pack, threatening to overtake someone. Given that the Conservatives are now neck and neck with the Lib Dems, and the Conservatives are slipping by less than the Lib Dems, it looks like the Greens will be outpacing the Lib Dems soon.

Labour's still managing to keep its nose ahead of the Conservatives - by half of one per cent - but the magnificent SNP performance saw us open up a 2.5% gap on them.

That places the SNP in pole position to take this seat whenever the General Election is called. Labour was always odds on to lose this seat and it was a four-way contest to see who would take it from them. We've now established ourselves as the main challenger and now it's our job to make sure that we stay ahead and win the election.

An interesting comparison is the one between the 2005 Westminster result and this result -

SNP up by 10.5%
Labour down 16%
Conservative down 1%
Lib Dem down 12%
Greens up 10.5%

Some of the minor parties took a bite out of the vote, but the swings are:

Labour to SNP - 13.25%
Conservative to SNP - 5.75%
Lib Dem to SNP - 11.25%

That makes it interesting!

Mind how you go!

Monday, 8 June 2009

Things you miss

In the hurly burly there are things you miss. Sometimes there are other people who pick them up for you. James Holden - whose site is worth a visit - allows you to create your own versions of these billboards:

Trying to ensure that there really is no such thing as society?

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

The March of the Scottish Greens

Stuart Dickson has pointed to the results of the Populus poll for the times (details published here) which puts the Greens into third place in Scotland for the European election when weighted for turnout (page 25):

SNP 36%
Lab 25%
Gre 11%
LD 10%
Con 9%

Let's d'Hont it:

Seat 1
SNP takes it, now on 18% - SNP 1 seat

Seat 2
Labour take, now on 12.5% - Lab 1 seat

Seat 3
SNP take, now on 12% - SNP 2 seats

Seat 4
Labour take, now on 8.33% - Lab 2 seats

Seat 5
SNP take, now on 9% - SNP 3 seats.

Seat 6
Greens take, now on 5.5% - Greens 1 seat

Scotland result - SNP 3 seats, Labour 2 seats and Greens 1 seat. The sample size is tiny but wouldn't that be a good result from Thursday's election?