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Honeymoon ends

Brian Taylor | 10:00 UK time, Friday, 7 November 2008

No more glad, confident morning. (Labour, of course, would deploy the word "arrogant" instead of "confident.")

This is a substantial setback for Alex Salmond.

Politics is not in stasis. It is about momentum, about progress. The SNP's momentum has stalled in Glenrothes.

Yes, there was a five point net swing to the Nationalists.

Yes, Labour's majority was substantially reduced.

But the SNP needed to do better here - and they know it. They expected to do better, much better.

So what happened? Geography, timing and opportunity.

Firstly, Glenrothes is not Glasgow East.

It is generally a more cohesive society, perhaps less inclined to the outpouring of anger at the state of the world witnessed in the earlier contest.

In addition, it is in Gordon Brown's backyard.

He represented part of the present Glenrothes seat for some 20 years.

His own constituency neighbours the contested division.

That meant he was vulnerable to defeat. It also meant, however, that there was a positive Brown factor. Folk in Glenrothes, folk in Fife, feel a quiet pride that one of their own is PM.

That would make little, lasting difference, frankly, if the negative aura surrounding him had persisted.

However, that had been dissipated by his energetic efforts to resolve the global financial crisis.

The world rated him - and Methil decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.

That coincidence of timing - the by-election marrying with Mr Brown's rehabilitation - allowed Labour to be heard. No more, no less.

They weren't spending every waking hour defending their boss against the undefensible.

They were permitted an audience by the voters.

They used that audience, that permission, to harry their opponents relentlessly over their local record.

In particular, Labour attacked the Nationalists day and daily over claims that the SNP-led administration in Fife Council had cut home care services for the most vulnerable.

In vain did the SNP protest that this was driven by externally imposed exigencies, that they were doing nothing different from several other councils (including Labour ones) and that they had increased the budget in key areas of expenditure.

Folk in Glenrothes weren't interested in what was happening elsewhere.

They weren't examining the root cause. They were upset with their council. And their council was led by Peter Grant. The SNP candidate in this by-election.

Of course, the issue of local authority home care isn't, directly, one for the MP, one for this by-election.

In that sense, it was extraneous.

Further, the SNP accused Labour of "dishonestly" stoking fears.

Politically, however, it was legitimate. Labour saw an SNP weakness and went for it without mercy.

The SNP were unable to counter-attack.

In particular, they were unable to find a hard enough narrative about the economy.

For example, folk saw that they had, broadly, supported the prime minister's initiative on the banks.

Alex Salmond's understandably subtle fence-sitting on HBOS didn't cut it in the context of a by-election.

Mr Salmond attracts no blame for that. His stance was driven by the need to consider longer-term Scottish interests. But it didn't make for a tough attack line on the doorsteps.

Which leaves us where? On the BBC programme overnight, Jim Sillars reckoned the result would be good for the SNP if it acted as a wake-up call.

Certainly, such a call is now on offer. If the SNP responds with humility, rather than persisting in accusing Labour of dirty tactics, then Mr Sillars might ultimately have a point.

Does the by-election tell us anything about independence? Frankly, no.

The topic was scarcely raised, either by the SNP - or, intriguingly, by Labour in contradistinction to their stance in Glasgow East.

It does tell us, however, that the sense of unimpeded progress for the SNP is at an end.

They lost Glenrothes on local factors.

How, though, to explain the fact that they also lost two council by-elections to Labour last night, one in Glasgow, one in Edinburgh? Their momentum has stalled.

Does it tell us much about a UK General Election? Not really, no. Labour will not be able to behave like an opposition in such a contest, as they did here.

They will primarily be fighting the Conservative Party who were squeezed in Glenrothes (although not as tightly as the LibDems.)

It indicates, however, that the fault line in Scottish politics - Labour v the SNP - is as sharp as ever and that Labour is capable of regrouping.

If repeated, that could impact on certain Westminster seats, to Labour's advantage.

However, if the economy continues downwards, that impact might not be repeated.

Same story with regard to a Holyrood General Election. We should be careful not to read too much into a contest driven by distinct circumstances.

In short, though, Gordon Brown is entitled to don an authentic smile this morning. He has won. He has won well.

Congratulations to Lindsay Roy, the newly-elected Labour MP for Glenrothes. He is new to electoral politics: indeed, he was offered at various points to the voters as if he were an outsider, an antidote to politics.

The Sarah Palin of Cardenden.

Isn't there a beautiful irony there?

During his travails, at the Labour conference in Manchester, Gordon Brown said it was "no time for a novice" to take charge in Britain.

His political prospects have now been rescued by a quintessential novice.

Comments

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  • 1. At 10:22am on 07 Nov 2008, Wee Archie Gemmill wrote:

    What on Earth has gone on here? For weeks and months, and right up until less than TWO HOURS before the declaration, all the media were saying "SNP win", with varying degrees from narrow to comfortable.

    Now, I've always regarded this election as suspicious, because I've never in my life heard the incumbent party - especially one with such a large majority - so constantly describe itself, and be described, as the underdog. But even so, and even if Labour were just massively managing expectation, how in the world have the media got this SO wrong? It wasn't even close. 6000 is a huge majority in the circumstances, so why didn't ANYONE see it coming?

    In the bigger picture, it matters little. Neither a Labour or SNP MP will make the slightest difference on the Westminster backbenches, and however you slice it this is in fact still a hefty swing from Labour to the SNP. But I'm a lot more concerned about the media aspects of this election, which have been dodgy from the off. Come on Brian, you're supposed to be the professionals - how have you all got this so wrong?

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  • 2. At 10:34am on 07 Nov 2008, handclapping wrote:

    What a sorprise! It makes the media and the head ones in the Labour look a right bunch of numpties that no-one saw it coming. OK I got it wrong too, I was so shocked by seeing SNP posters in Methil. But it is really encouraging, people are going back to making their own minds up. All Obama's billions of USD, all of the SNP's thousands of volunteers, all that advertising and people can still see through it and make their own decisions; that's the real triumph. Democracy as it should be.

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  • 3. At 10:36am on 07 Nov 2008, lionalibaba wrote:

    I congratulate Mr Roy in winning the election but would now like to see a much more even hand to the reporting on political matters by all forms of media and press in Scotland,it has looked to me that there is a lot of anti SNP abroad, so come on the BBC lets start with you an even hand approach by you.I can't wait to see the Politics Show on Sunday to see if it will start there.

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  • 4. At 10:37am on 07 Nov 2008, GregorAddison wrote:

    This is a disappointment for the SNP and a clear setback but it does not yet indicate a long term reversal. Labour know they are not out of the woods yet (though this undoubtedly helps), and the fact that around 4000 less voters gave their vote to Labour this time, along with a 5% swing to the SNP, confirms the fact that the loss of Labour's domination of politics in Fife has left the political landscape changed. However, on the day, all that matters is a win. Congratulations to Lindsay Roy.

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  • 5. At 10:37am on 07 Nov 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    With the nationalist bubble well and truly burst (and only 18 months into their very first term - surely a record), can we now concentrate on issues and debates based on the real world and not on ridiculous claims, campaigns and pie-in-the-sky notions?

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  • 6. At 10:40am on 07 Nov 2008, ScotInNotts wrote:

    Congratulations to labour on their win. Had a look at the have your say section from the link on the BBC article regarding the labour win, fairly mixed response on there to the result.

    Using the figures given in that BBC report for the 2005 Westminster General Election and the 2008 Glenrothes by-election:

    Voters on Electoral Roll: 69,155

    Total Voter Turn out
    2008: 36,219 (52.3%) 2005: 38,796 (56.1%)

    Labour
    2008:19,946 (56.19%) 2005: 19,395(52.62%) - up by 3.57%

    SNP
    2008:13,209 (37.21%) 2005: 8,731 (23.69%) - up by 13.52%

    Conservatives
    2008:1,381 (3.89%) 2005: 2,651 (7.19%) - down by 3.3%

    Liberal Democrats
    2008:947 (2.67%) 2005: 4,728 (12.38%) - down by 10.16%

    Although as the SNP % share of the vote is down compared with the Scottish parliament election results in 2007, as oldnat has posted in #55 on the previous thread, I think it is perhaps more relevant to compare Westminster results.

    My reasoning for this is that there is still a perception of voting SNP in a Westminster election is a wasted vote i.e "what's the point in sending an SNP MP to Westminster, as they won't be able to influence anything"; as opposed to sending an MP from one of the main Westminster parties, which usually means Labour. This arguement had been put forward by one of the unionist posters on here yesterday. I know I have done this myself in the past.

    As has been discussed previously, it's at Westminster where constitutional change will be decided and influenced. I feel that until the SNP make this more clear to the electorate then there vote will always be lower in Westminster elections compared to Scottish parliament elections.

    If constitutional change is indeed what the people of Scotland desire it has to be emphasised by the SNP that voters must also vote SNP in Westminster elections in order to present this view point, not just Scottish parliament elections.

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  • 7. At 10:41am on 07 Nov 2008, Blackivar wrote:

    Well, given the last blog the hope for humility seems unlikely if the pro-SNP posters are akin to the actual SNP.

    Already there have been protestations about dirty tactics and media bias.

    But three wins for Labour?

    I am genuinely surprised - it does appear the Nationalist Juggernaut has stopped off at a service station for a coffee, whether when it gets back on the road it gets back up to speed remains to be seen.

    Interesting times ahead though.

    On an aside - anyone look at HYS.

    Some of those posts are venomous to say the least (on both sides).



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  • 8. At 10:43am on 07 Nov 2008, kaybraes wrote:

    It's hardly a setback for the SNP, it's an escape for the British government. If Brown had lost, the men in the red ties would have been queueing at his door by now. If the SNP can cut the majority by 40% in a Labour stronghold where the Prime Minister lives, in spite of all the campaigning by the Labour " big guns " then the Tories will destroy Labour in England at the next election. As for Brown's prowess as a financial expert, this is a fallacy, it was the policies he put in place that led directly to the collapse of the financial institutions in this country as soon as the going got tough. Things , I suspect are going to get much worse, and it remains to be seen how much support Brown will command when the unemployment figures start to go through the roof.

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  • 9. At 10:43am on 07 Nov 2008, Blackivar wrote:

    I find the attacks on the political commentators lack of foresight humourous.

    How many of us did any better?

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  • 10. At 10:46am on 07 Nov 2008, Eoin_og wrote:

    I think this is somewhat harsh on the SNP - Labour lost a substantial slice of their majority since the last time this ward voted for an MP. Granted that expectations were not fulfilled, but the SNP didn't do a bad job of bringing voters over to their side. Labour can also claim a victory as many factors were against them - not least the economic crunch and the 'Labour have been in power too long' chat. So both sides did ok.

    I would agree it is a shock to SNP momentum, but would hardly say it has stalled. I think a longer-term perspective is required on that one, not reaction to one or two events.

    Finally, an intriguing point you raise about the next general election. Labour will be fighting the tories in England, but the SNP in Scotland - will the messages contradict each other at some point or another? I imagine they will.

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  • 11. At 10:51am on 07 Nov 2008, JohnMcDonald wrote:

    Hmmm. Hardly surprising or wrong that the SNP should push the idea that they were looking for a win in Glenrothes but - and this is a big but - how come so many other agreed with their reading of the runes? You included - "Tight but looks like the SNP may have taken the seat."

    I think Labour were as surprised as everyone else at the result and their majority.

    And, as for the future, I can't imagine that Alex Salmond will be taking the advice - well meant no doubt - from Labour, Tory or LibDem that he should take to wearing sackcloth and ashes...

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  • 12. At 11:01am on 07 Nov 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    4. "... the fact that around 4000 less voters gave their vote to Labour this time..."

    Actually, Labour increased their overall vote tally as well as their overall share.

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  • 13. At 11:02am on 07 Nov 2008, nosetam wrote:

    Just the kind of response I would expect from Brian Taylor, one of the most undisguisably anti-SNP journalists on the BBC.

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  • 14. At 11:05am on 07 Nov 2008, that wee C wrote:

    Brian,
    I think the press & media should be investigated for bias pro Labour and some times anti SNP.

    The claim of Freedom of the Press sounds empty after the recent disgraceful articles.

    Run a search for Glenrothes on any Scottish Newspaper and re-read them

    Terrible.

    I cancelled the Herald

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  • 15. At 11:08am on 07 Nov 2008, spartans11 wrote:

    Obviously the SNP will be bitterly disappointed not to win, but there's not really much for Labour to be happy about either. Having lived in the area I know how deeply ingrained the support for Labour is. As Brian stated, this election was very much a local affair and not really an indicator of any significance.

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  • 16. At 11:12am on 07 Nov 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    What Honeymoon? Salmond, his party and policies have been insulted, hectored, ridiculed and ignored since day one. If that's your defininiton of a honeymoon...

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  • 17. At 11:13am on 07 Nov 2008, theorangeparty wrote:

    Some perceptive analysis here Brian and some even more perceptive posts!
    An impressive result for sure, but what this means is that Brown couldn't even stem the tide in his own backyard, holding onto Glenrothes with a slimmed down majority and a 5% SNP swing.
    The SNP were simply out-gunned and out-manoeuvred as the government pulled out all the stops to prevent a humiliating defeat.
    I reckon Brown and New Labour were just in the right place at the right time, as I point out here.

    http://theorangepartyblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/brown-just-pulls-off-glenrothes.html

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  • 18. At 11:13am on 07 Nov 2008, nosetam wrote:

    PS. And Taylor has many to compete with, not least Jack McConnell's old pal Kirsty Wark, who just love to snub and drub Salmond and the SNP. Then ,of course, there's virtually the entire Scottish tabloid media, whose combined scare-mongering SNP-assassination attempt on the day of the 2007 election was the most shocking example of extreme political bias I have ever witnessed in our print media. It shows the the incredible, growing grass roots support the SNP has when they are still increasing their share of the vote against such odds.

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  • 19. At 11:19am on 07 Nov 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    14. The printed press are free to align themselves to any party they like. That's what is meant by 'freedom of the press'.

    I suspect you would not be protesting if all the papers were pro-SNP.

    That very few, if any, have aligned themselves to the SNP is something you might want to look into.

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  • 20. At 11:23am on 07 Nov 2008, Blackivar wrote:

    #19 Reluctant-Expat

    Scottish Standard anyone - what happened there?

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  • 21. At 11:25am on 07 Nov 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    If the Press are free to align themselves with whomever they wish they why not admit to their bias and be more open and honest about it?

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  • 22. At 11:31am on 07 Nov 2008, freedjmac wrote:

    Brian,

    Post 1 by the Rev hits the right point for me - just how have ALL the pundits, politicians, pollsters and bookies got this so wrong?? It ill behooves anyone (though they already evidenced on this thread) to crow about the Labour victory or the death of independence.

    I remember when I first went to work in Glenrothes some 18 years ago, I was told by a non-native, 'there funny folks, they Fifers'! He was right then and right now, and it seems all the voters canvassed by pollsters have played their cards very close to their chests. I found the words of L Roy quite telling. In the first three or four sentences he praised one G Brown over and over and over and over again. And I think that's the key. Despite all the political chicanery and posturing (and did you hear Murphy, Carmichael and Wallace on GMS this morning?) the Fifers are not yet prepared to turn on one of their own.

    That said, I have no issue with the FM getting a bloody nose! I trust some senior folks in the SNP will take him aside and tell him firmly to swap the hubris for humility.

    Bottom line, though, is I don't think this will make a single bit of difference in UK political terms, except for LRoy who will now enjoy a nice wee earner for a while. Come the General Election the man who supported the Iraq war, de-regulated the City such that this financial crisis has a 'made-in-Britain' stamp on it, cow-towed with Maggie and, made the most ill-judged political appointment in a generation by bringing Mandy back into Government, - that G Brown will be consigned to the history books.

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  • 23. At 11:39am on 07 Nov 2008, Eoin_og wrote:

    I would discourage the attacks upon the media purely because it cannot be finished in any meaningful way - the BBC does an excellent job across the board of being impartial, and if Brian's views do not accord with either your own or your view of impartiality, please restrict yourself to commenting upon the substance of the post. You have the opportunity to put across your own views in replies - no need to personally attack the posters of other views, Brian or otherwise.

    That aside, I would agree that this election does not seem to herald a lot of significance, and media coverage of it was hugely overshadowed by the American election (which was historic and extremely important, to be fair). Another intriguing point though - did the factor that 'a vote for the SNP at Westminster is a wasted vote' play any part in this?

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  • 24. At 11:43am on 07 Nov 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    21. I think it is very obvious where each paper's loyalties lie.

    Remember that the press is also there to challenge the government of the day, at whatever level, so you have to expect considerable anti-SNP bias while the SNP are in power.

    And I wouldn't be surprised if we see a lot more since this result.

    Brace yourself.

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  • 25. At 11:45am on 07 Nov 2008, GregorAddison wrote:

    #12,

    I stand corrected. Perhaps the 5% swing to the SNP has come from different sources. It looks like the collapse in the Lib Dem vote saw their voters turning to Labour and the SNP. And I'm sure there were a few ex-Labour voters who voted SNP. That, of course, is difficult to know. The Lib Dems, however, can't be too pleased to have lost just under 4000 votes and their deposit. It doesn't bode well for Tavish Scott. The two horse race between Labour and the SNP seems set to continue.

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  • 26. At 11:51am on 07 Nov 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    22. "Come the General Election the man who supported the Iraq war..."

    The majority of the electorate (incl Scotland) also supported the Iraq War at the beginning.

    "...de-regulated the City such that this financial crisis has a 'made-in-Britain' stamp on it..."

    It is the light-touch regulatory regime in the UK that has helped make us, and will keep us, a world-leader in the industry. And don't forget that in Apr 07, Salmond called for even less financial regulation.

    "....and made the most ill-judged political appointment in a generation by bringing Mandy back into Government."

    Have you noticed how Labour's fortunes have significantly recovered since his return?

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  • 27. At 11:51am on 07 Nov 2008, Anagol wrote:

    Having heard this morning that there had been, according to the governor-general, a "dreadful" result for the SNP in the Glenrothes by-election, I naturally assumed that, on a massive voter turn-out, a substantial swing against the Scottish National Party had occurred.

    Resigning myself, therefore, to the grim prospect of finding that all hope of rescuing my country from the life-threatening clutches of the UK had disappeared overnight, I thought there must be little point in examining the results closely. Then I remembered that, with all due respect, I probably should not be taking Mr Murphy's word for anything and so forced myself to gaze into the presumed frightful reality of the horrible event.

    And what did I find? The SNP share of the vote is up by 13.52 per cent, representing a 5 per cent swing to that party. I realize, of course, that Labour people tend to have difficulties with numeracy as well as literacy, but these figures would appear to suggest that there has been, in fact, no swing against the SNP at all and that, not only has its share of the vote not gone down but it has risen substantially. As for the voter turn-out, 52.3 per cent is hardly remarkable. In a supposedly safe Labour seat this is not a sign of massive community enthusiasm for the Labour candidate. Let us be honest. It is hardly arrogant or partisan to observe that this a low turn-out by any reasonably objective analysis. The most recent UK general-election turn-out for this seat was low, but this is even lower.

    What conclusions should be drawn? The first conclusion to draw is that one should draw one's own conclusions. The second conclusion to draw is that, in light of the first conclusion, there are no further conclusions of mine that you should pay uncritical heed to, as I should be presumed to be as biased in my own way as everyone else is in his or hers. Nevertheless, it is perhaps not too arrogant to confide in you my relief at not finding myself faced after all with the prospect of certainly spending the remainder of my life as an unwilling citizen of the UK.

    One further point may be worth offering for consideration. It is not a conclusion but is merely a thought that anyone of any political persuasion might wish to bear in mind, I think. As the Glenrothes by-election was, for reasons of which you may be presumed to be well aware, a contest which the Labour Party dared not lose, it brought to bear on it all of the resources that that party could muster from the whole of the UK and did so in a way which, while not impeccable, showed that some lessons had apparently been learned from its organizational debacle in the Glasgow East by-election. Unfortunately for the Labour Party, this is an unrepeatable feat, by which I mean that, by definition, nothing of the sort can be managed in a UK general election, at which the sitting Labour MP will have to rely mainly on party workers from within his constituency. As is well known, however, Labour Party activists are somewhat thin on the ground in Scottish constituencies these days compared to SNP ones. All else being equal, which, of course, it may not be, the Labour vote at Glenrothes may be expected, therefore, to decline further and to decline further in other Labour-held constituencies.

    To conclude, we are only just entering a potentially deep and enduring recession at this point, one which the Labour UK administration cannot escape a degree of responsibility for despite all the spin that there has been. By the time of the UK general election, unless bouncing Brown is emboldened to call a snap election, the economic damage that may well have been inflicted on Scotland will quite possibly determine the nature of the political landscape that will be formed then more than any other single factor. However, I invite you to dismiss this thought from your mind and form your own conclusions, by all means. Whatever you do, do not accept those of the governor-general.

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  • 28. At 11:54am on 07 Nov 2008, wonderbramley wrote:

    Can I suggest this is more to do with English money rescuing Scottish banks and the Scots realising just how dependant on the union

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  • 29. At 11:57am on 07 Nov 2008, minuend wrote:

    Let Labour and BBC Scotland journalists enjoy their success because before too long the recession will fuel calls for a change of government - and as we all know Gordon Brown doesn't do change. I do believe that the SNP will win Glenrothes in the 2010.

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  • 30. At 12:00pm on 07 Nov 2008, forfar-loon wrote:

    #7 Blackivar: look again at the last blog. Many of us who hoped for an SNP win accepted the result with good grace and congratulated Labour and Lindsay Roy on an effective campaign and good victory. Part of democracy is accepting the wishes of the demos after all.

    That said, a healthy slice of humble pie is definitely in order for Eck. If there's one thing worse than arrogance it's misplaced arrogance.

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  • 31. At 12:01pm on 07 Nov 2008, BillBeattie56 wrote:

    The SNP might be down but they are certainly not out, its slick electoral machine will quicky re-boot for the next challenge.

    Labour played its usual negative campaign with a lack lustre candidate that was even ignorant of the remit of a Westminster MP.
    Even their canvassing had to be bolstered up by parachuting in their all their MP's, MSP's trade union dinosaurs and cartloads of "English" students on polling day??

    Gordon Brown can crow as much as he wants at the result, however I suspect his confidence its not strong enough to call a general election. As the recession bites it will be his bubble that will ultimately burst!!

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  • 32. At 12:04pm on 07 Nov 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    I stand by my contention. If a Paper is free to be biased then it's free to admit that bias. Surely a media outlet's integrity is compromised if it purports to be impartial yet is "obviously" guilty of bias.

    The Press is not "there to challenge the government of the day" which is exemplified by the media's support for a Nulab govt in Scottish affairs. And the SNP whether in or out of govt have never had anything but a biased press to contend with.

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  • 33. At 12:11pm on 07 Nov 2008, Wee Archie Gemmill wrote:

    #9. "I find the attacks on the political commentators lack of foresight humourous.

    How many of us did any better?"

    The difference being, we're not the ones who are paid to be good at it for a living.

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  • 34. At 12:14pm on 07 Nov 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    If we had an oil fund like Norway we wouldn't have needed "English money" paid for by Scottish tax-payers and Scots' bank deposits.

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  • 35. At 12:19pm on 07 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    We have a local by-election in my part of Ayrshire on 11 December, due to the death of an SNP councillor.

    The ward covers 2 small towns whose young men have been fighting each other since at least the mid 19th century!

    In 2007, we elected 1 SNP, 1 Labour, and 1 Independent. However, voting for "your town" was probably more important than the party, for those not (and even many who were) committed to a party. In the by-election, I suspect that the local allegiance of the candidates will be decisive.

    It will be an SNP or Labour councillor who is elected, but will tell us nothing about the relative strengths and weaknesses of different parties outside our wee arena.

    A by-election in a multi-member ward has a totally different dynamic than when one votes for several candidates.

    Under PR, I'm not sure that any conclusions can be drawn from local by-elections.



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  • 36. At 12:21pm on 07 Nov 2008, Stuart Ritchie wrote:

    I think the turnout can largley explain how the media and us political anoraks got this one wrong. The SNP must have known they had around 13,000 votes. Given that turnout usually drops by over 10% (most of the time by alot more than that) the SNP must have thought that would be just enough to win. The fact that it was on par with the General Election of 2005, through everyones calculations out.

    Congratulations to the Labour candidate very good result for them, The SNP, Tories and Lib Dems will all be concerned at this result. I have to say i never think it is a good idea to have the Leader of the local council as your candidate - Too much ammunition for opponents. They always have to take tough decisions and i think this cost the SNP in this election.

    After this result and the rumours that Darling will again steal policies off of Vince Cable and have a tax cutting budget, could we see the bizarre circumstances of a PM calling an General Election during the worst recession in a century? Still doubt it but not sure anyone with confidence could say no GE in 2009.

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  • 37. At 12:23pm on 07 Nov 2008, tammienorrielass1 wrote:

    Why did Lindsey Roy look so shell-shocked when he entered the Count?

    Was this not supposed to happen?

    Had he been 'conned' into standing as he would not be going to Westminster?

    Had it dawned on him that he has as much chance of doing anything for the constituency there as a snowflake on a bonfire, particularly on the things he and the Labour party were pushing during the campaign? He would still be of FAR more use as Rector of the school. There at least, he would be in a position to achieve something and in an environment where he is comfortable-something he definitely was not during the campaign.

    As for the diehard, we always vote Labour we do not think brigade why on earth were you thinking that issues which you should address to the Fife Council or Holyroood were what was important? A 'protest vote' maybe, but why not send a message to Westminster? Something it can do something about.

    Maybe you like dithering over a financial situation partially created by your heighbour or think that energy prices are ok or that the likelihood of umpteen highly skilled banking jobs, because of incompetence is acceptable. Maybe you think that a fuel payment for pensioners is great, but that the raids on private pensions are OK.

    You have been conned, by a biased ill-informed campaign as have the media.

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  • 38. At 12:24pm on 07 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    Every party tries to spin everything it can, but my award for the most outrageous attempt goes to the Tories -

    Chris Grayling, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary
    BBC News

    Mr Grayling said that despite coming third and losing their deposit in the Glenrothes by-election, the result still gave the Conservatives "a platform" to re-establish themselves in Scotland.

    "We didn't have a deposit to start with," he said but added: "We've moved from fourth to third and I think we've got a platform to start to build a proper platform in Scotland."

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  • 39. At 12:28pm on 07 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #33 Rev_S_Campbell

    I suspect the days of quality reporting are long gone.

    The modus operandi of journos now seems to be the same as many of us have - trawling the web for any information, rumour that can be easily found - or even more easily taking the feed from the Politics Home website, which trawls the political blogs automatically.

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  • 40. At 12:32pm on 07 Nov 2008, irnbru_addict wrote:

    I was disappointed in the result but it's fair to say that even the Labour Party didn't expect to win. Before polling finished, the only person who seemed confident of a Labour victory was, bizarrely, Henry McLeish!
    Congratualtions to Labour. The result for them was absolutely magnificant. Mid term, in a recession, with a deeply unpopular PM and they held the seat more than comfortably with an increased vote. They deserve praise. The fact they used dirty tactics? So what, everybody would, that's politics.
    All that said, I'm still spewing my ring about it....

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  • 41. At 12:35pm on 07 Nov 2008, hadrianswall wrote:

    There is no doubt this is a disappointing result for the SNP. However, let Labour and Unionists in general enjoy their day.

    This will not stop the SNP. Where is the next battle.

    Freedom

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  • 42. At 12:36pm on 07 Nov 2008, Green Soap wrote:

    Good to see Salmond "Trumped"

    After last weeks pandering to a Billionaire, (and not for the first time either), its good to see the common man put the Smug One in his place.

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  • 43. At 12:38pm on 07 Nov 2008, falkirkblues wrote:

    I expect the good people of Glenrothes will have a rude awakening between now and the General Election. The loss of jobs, high energy charges and many other negatives regarding the economy. Gordon Brown and illegal wars, mismanagement of the economy and generaly anti-Scottish policies will come back to haunt him. I expect Lindsay Roy's Political career may not be as long as he thinks

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  • 44. At 12:41pm on 07 Nov 2008, victorserge1970 wrote:

    Scots economy rescued by English money, I see we have a comedian in our midst. The world economy is heading for a major crunch and the billions of money thrown at the banking system by a bankrupt UK government will do little, if anything, to solve our economic woes.
    With UK debt at a level a banana republic would be ashamed of and low interest rates likely to lead to a still further weakening of the pound, I think it's a tad premature of Brown's supporters to herald him as the UK's saviour.
    Unfortunately for Brown most people have short memories and by the time the next General Election is called the feel good factor will no longer feel quite so good once the recession starts to bite. Cue an ungrateful public turning to Dodgy Dave and his Etonian chums.
    Labour should enjoy their moment in the sun but long term I can't see any other result than Scotland and England becoming increasingly semi-detached.

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  • 45. At 12:55pm on 07 Nov 2008, JHBURNS wrote:

    Well Mr Taylor - so you and your company's favourite son's party got clobbered.

    Alex 'ba heid' Salmond - the rabble rouser and his rabble got routed in Glenrothes.

    No doubt you will have, by tonight's broadcast have figured out a way to spin things in the SNP's favour - but let's be honest Brain - you and all you cohorts were gearing up for a win - in fact I am am sure you would have "stuck your neck out" in forecasting one - its a pity you don't have one - a neck that is.

    I detest Reporting Scotland - it is without doubt one of the arms of the SNP's nasty propaganda machine.

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  • 46. At 12:56pm on 07 Nov 2008, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    #14 Reluctant Expat,

    You fail to understand that the press are owned by a handfull of organisations or people such as Rupert Murdoch. These same people get corporate favours from the Labour and Tory party's in return fr their support... Cash for peerages anyone?

    The fact that the SNP do not get the same support suggests that they do not sell out in the same way as the Westminster corrupt party's... ad long may this continue.

    As for the result, yes it was dissapointing, but in no way a disaster.

    Let Brown have his moment, cos it won't last long. This recession is going to get far worse and Labours failures will become clear.

    Rome wasn't built in a day, but the fact is that the SNP are still taking votes off Labour and in traditional Labour heartlands.

    The issues which affected this election were (in no particular order)...

    1. The US elections (Glenrothes was timed for this very fact.)

    2. It was Brown's backyard.

    3. People falsely believed that Brown saved the world economy. (this certainly will be proved wrong as the tax payer starts to pay for the bailout)

    4. The recession has not had a great affect on employment figures.... yet! (just watch more construction jobs go and particularly watch HBOS)

    Personally, the people of Glenrothes have voted selfishley, as they think they are going to be ok... but my prediction is that they will be regretting this decision in 6 months to 1 years time. Then the scene will be set for the SNP to take this seat at the next General election.

    Saor Alba.

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  • 47. At 1:00pm on 07 Nov 2008, minuend wrote:

    Imagine the headache in Glenrothes this morning when they realise that they have voted in another LABOUR NUMPTIE as their MP.

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  • 48. At 1:05pm on 07 Nov 2008, bomikko wrote:

    I'm calling this Labour's "Goldilocks by election". I don't believe the conditions will be "just right" for them for a very long time to come.

    I've been writing about this on my blog.
    http://truthaboutscotland.blogspot.com/

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  • 49. At 1:12pm on 07 Nov 2008, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #24 RE

    "Remember that the press is also there to challenge the government of the day, at whatever level, so you have to expect considerable anti-SNP bias while the SNP are in power."

    Am I correct in saying that the SNP are in power in the Scottish parliament and that the labour party at Westminster?

    This being a Westminster by-election, surely the government of the day was/is the labour party. Thus, by your own arguement, should there not have been a greater challenge given to the labour party
    from the press?

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  • 50. At 1:16pm on 07 Nov 2008, U11769947 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 51. At 1:19pm on 07 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    For those of us who had hoped that the Lib-Dems might move towards more autonomy for Scotland, we have to hope that the tenor of this -

    Danny Alexander, Chief of Staff to Nick Clegg
    BBC News

    Mr Alexander said that the “honeymoon is over” for Alex Salmond and the SNP, and added that he believed the Liberal Democrats gave a good account of themselves in Glenrothes.

    “It was a disastrous night for the SNP. Alex Salmond’s honeymoon is over.

    “It was always going to be a tough contest. We did a really good account of ourselves on the campaign trail. We got our message across well.

    “They (the voters) rejected Alex Salmond, they rejected independence."
    is not how Tavish Scott sees the situation.

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  • 52. At 1:22pm on 07 Nov 2008, salmondella wrote:

    #46 ummmmbongo

    Don't hide from the truth. This election was fought on local issues and quite frankly the SNP aren't producing the goods locally. People are seeing cuts locally and they are starting to get annoyed.

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  • 53. At 1:22pm on 07 Nov 2008, Blackivar wrote:

    How can peole in one breath refer to "the good people of Glenrothes" and then in the next deride them for voting for their part of choice (which in this case was Labour)?

    There are posters claiming that the electorate was lied to, bullied, co-erced, misguided and frightened into voting Labour - it almost seems like it would impossible to consider the idea that the voters made a reasoned and calucated decision when they voted.

    (Of course, these posters always make informed decisions themselves)

    Again, the point must be made, just because someone doesn't vote SNP doesn't mean they are a fool.

    This attitude is hardly humility in the face of an udeniable defeat.

    Instead of asking why the electorate weren't "enlightened" enough to stick an X next to SNP ask instead why they SNP couldn't convince them to do so.

    What is it that makes the SNP unelectable to many (indeed the majority).

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  • 54. At 1:23pm on 07 Nov 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    And I see the nationalists' usual attitude of 'denial and disregard' has kicked back in.

    "Labour won?! Why, the people won't stand for it!"

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  • 55. At 1:23pm on 07 Nov 2008, Jeremiad wrote:

    I'm amazed that no one has spotted the true irony of this election. The SNP need not worry over much about the result. Labour, on the other hand, should be very worried. With the LD vote in freefall who exactly will Labour go into coalition with at the next Holyrood elections?

    No wonder David Mundell was smiling last night. This result would suggest the Tories will hold the balance of power in 2011. Expect a bidding war by Labour and the SNP to court the Tories.

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  • 56. At 1:41pm on 07 Nov 2008, PappaSmurf wrote:

    All those that are criticising the BBC stance with regards to the SNP should go back and look at what BBC stands for. If there is no Britain the B at the front disappears, it would have to be SBC!!! If the SNP bring that about then I doubt you'd even know there was anyone else to vote for except the SNP.

    On a National scale the SNP are small fry in comparison to Labour and even Tory and Lib Dem, their only real stranglehold is on Holyrood which actually doesn't have as much power as Salmond thinks!

    I would also point out that while SNP won the most seats in the Scottish Elections they didn't actually get the equivalent percentage of votes.

    If Alex Salmond and his cronies were so sure of their position then they woud have called a referendum straight away and they didn't because they didn't believe they would win it.

    I think Brians points are extremely valid, people are sick of hearing that everything is for a wider reason, the economic collapse is because of others the UK is just being swept along, the care home fees are the same as elsewhere, we don't care if they are we care what is happening in our constituencies. The sooner MP's and all other politicians realise this then the sooner we will get a better government for all.

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  • 57. At 1:43pm on 07 Nov 2008, rabbiehippo wrote:

    #29/43/47 Aye i dont think the man will be representing his seat for long either. Either because he will be knocked out in 2010 or he will upset his masters somehow. He didnt look a very credible candidate to me. It looked like others were holding his hand and at times he looked confused. Theres also a bit of SNP hatred there i think...when Peter Grant shook his hand he couldnt even look him in the face..then tried to mock him during his speech. When 2010 comes round i think a lot will have happened to Labour and they are obviously loosing England but i think the SNP will learn from this and tighten up the ship.

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  • 58. At 1:44pm on 07 Nov 2008, U11769947 wrote:

    I'm the leader of the pack'
    That makes me such a LUCKY JACK'
    Here they are' There so "APPALLING"
    OK Brownedov do your trolling!

    Nice to see U to see U nice............................

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  • 59. At 1:53pm on 07 Nov 2008, themightyshed wrote:

    A good result for Labour - no denying it.

    A bad result for the SNP - ditto.

    A bad result for democracy (yet another example of negative campaigning tactics being effective - this week's score is: Hope 1 Fear 1)

    But if this result proves anything, it's that 3 months is a long time in politics. From Glasgow East to Glenrothes in a few short weeks... it's all to play for in the crucial next 2-3 years in Scottish politics.

    My sense is that Labour will not have it so easy in either the UK or the Scottish general elections. They're still likely to be booted out by the Tories at Westminster. That'll leave Ian Greyyyyyyawn against Salmond for 2011, against a backdrop of a Tory government with no mandate in Scotland.

    Different ballgame altogether.

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  • 60. At 2:04pm on 07 Nov 2008, U11769947 wrote:

    Where is that final posting from Bighullabaloo?

    Candy shop, anyone!

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  • 61. At 2:10pm on 07 Nov 2008, nosetam wrote:

    #45 - What are you talking about? Media bias in favour of SNP?!
    Front pages on Scottish Parliament election day 2007 ...
    Daily Mail - "This man [Salmond] wants to destroy Great Britain"
    The Sun - "Vote SNP today and you put Scotland's head in the noose"
    The Mirror - "Stop the wrecker [Salmond]"
    Daily Record - "Do not sleepwalk into independence. Do not let a protest vote break up Britain"
    You see, we need the media to be clear in their instructions because we Scots are not very clever and can't really work things out for ourselves!
    And the Beeb? Forced to apologise for Kirsty Wark's sheer rudeness on the election of Scotland's new First Minister (well, she wouldn't want to feel awkward on her next holiday abroad with Jack McConnell ...)
    In fairness, they'll probably pass this, so I suppose it could be worse.
    By the way, I'm not an SNP voter, just incensed by blatant media bias who likes to back the underdog (which, in terms of media support, the SNP still very much are)

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  • 62. At 2:28pm on 07 Nov 2008, nedafo wrote:

    Brian

    Was I just hearing things or did Linsay Roy really make the boast during his acceptance speech that BoE interest rate was at an historically low level and that unemployment rates were also at unprecedented low levels, all due our great leader, Gordon ? On the interest rate point, his analysis is factually accurate but I'm not sure that Labour should be boasting over the fact that we are heading into such a severe recession and demand in the economy has weakened so much that the BoE is no longer worried about inflation and is in fact worried about deflation. As for the unemployment rates, watch this space....

    I can only suppose that either (a) Mr Roy is economically illiterate (hurray, another member of the legislature without a scoobies on economics; just hat we need!) and/or (b) thought he would lose and therefore prepared his speech in a hurry.

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  • 63. At 2:34pm on 07 Nov 2008, Anagol wrote:

    As will not have gone entirely un-noticed, one trusts, amid all the usual brouhaha and hype, the decline in Glenrothes Westminster constituency electoral support for the Labour Party vis-a-vis the SNP between 1997 and 2008 is palpable. Between 1997 and the present day the gap between the Labour and SNP shares of the vote of 33.7 per cent has been reduced to 19 per cent, representing a substantial decline in Labour's position in this heartland constituency in relation to that of the SNP as well as a decline in the Labour share of the vote over the period. It appears incontestable, therefore, that the party which is moving forward here is the SNP.

    In a period of economic uncertainty and some anxiety for the electorate this is a creditable performance for the Scottish National Party, which, however, will rightly not be satisfied with it, as its ambition for Scotland impels it to move forward fast. While this rate of progress may have been as much as was possible in the present exceptional circumstances, the SNP may reasonably be expected, in line with its pattern of performance to date, to improve on this at the next Glenrothes Westminster election, which cannot be very far away.

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  • 64. At 2:39pm on 07 Nov 2008, nedafo wrote:

    I think the Icleandic banks debacle and financial crsis has effected the Nationalists cause. Voters are quite rightly worried over whether an independent Scvotland could have bailed out the Scottish banks. The reality is that the Scottish banks are too big for an independent Scotland. It is no good for nationalists to answer the point by saying, "if we had an oil fund". We don't at the present time. It must however be galling for the nationalists that one of the major causes of the financial crisis, the lack of regulation, is a UK responsibility and is not devloved.

    This got me thinking. If a weakened banking sector damages the nationalists cause, what else would have a siimilar effect. Here is a thought. What about a windfall tax on oil and gas companies; it would discourage future investment in the North Sea and damage the long term prospects of the industry and therefore the nationalists' economic case for independence. It would also be hugely popular with a majority of the public. Okay, so it would have a detrimental effect on the UK's energy security but so what.

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  • 65. At 2:45pm on 07 Nov 2008, portcharlotte wrote:

    To those that argue there is a media bias against the SNP I think there is a case. When ,usually London based, journalists engage with Alex Salmond there is a tendency to be surprised that he actually answers them and is not as deferential as they expect. I think by and large they don't do their homework and carry presumptions into interviews that get challenged by Salmond and they show their irritation at Salmond not agreeing with them. Problem is they don't give enough attention to the Scottish issues, they are not well enough briefed and generaly not well enough prepared for the interview and attempt to carry it off with expressions of contempt and incredulity. I'm in London at the time of this blog the working assumption of the people around me feeding off the media views is that the SNP are now a busted flush, the Scots have come to their senses, independence wont happen and England will continue to annex Scotland to protect England's oil resources and holiday homes, for that privelege England will continue to subsidise Scotland which it does to excess.
    When asked who will win the next UK general election, the Labour supporters are asuming that they can now get back to the real fight against the Tories now that they've seen off the battle on the northern front. When asked who will win the next Holyrood general election the answer is who cares it doesn't matter a toss. Asked if they know Brian Taylor the answer is who??

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  • 66. At 2:46pm on 07 Nov 2008, edinchris wrote:

    What was interesting about this result was that Labour actually got more votes than last time, despite the economic crisis and people getting fed up with Labour, while the Lib Dem vote collapsed.

    What does this reult mean for the parties involved?

    Lib Dems - Should be v worried. It is obvious that Nick Clegg and Tavish Scott are not particularly inspiring - no surpise there!

    Conservatives - The fact is that most Scots still equate the Tories with Maggie. They are still too much of a "South of England" party and if David Cameron aspires to be PM of a United Kingdom, he has to do some big thinking about how he can change that image and persuade Scots to vote for him

    SNP - Labour's increased number of votes showed that there was tactical voting going on. This is a big worry for the SNP. There are many people in Scotland who will never vote SNP as they believe that breaking up the UK will be a mistake. In the past their votes have been split between the 3 other parties, which allowed the SNP to come in through the back door and win the Holyrood election. Now, a lot of these people have woken up to the threat posed by the SNP and are voting tactically. This will cause them problems in future!

    Labour - Their support may be stronger in Scotland than in England, but they are still (and have been since 1997) the only party to have a broad appeal across the UK. To quote Mark Twain "the reports of their death have been greatly exaggerated"

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  • 67. At 2:48pm on 07 Nov 2008, one step beyond wrote:

    Re post 60, Derek Barker, I have been away from this blog for some time but just tuned back in to hear bighullabaloo's final post.

    Come on big hullabaloo don't be shy.

    While your at it bighullabaloo can you one final time explain the difference between a promise and a commitment - best wishes

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  • 68. At 2:57pm on 07 Nov 2008, Sgurr_na_stri wrote:

    What does this say about the people of Glenrothes who voted Labour? Gordon Brown turned a blind eye to the excessive lending by the banks to fund his boom. Now he is reaping the bust. He is obviously a mighty clever politician though as he dodges & weaves on a path to make it look like he is the saviour! As Paul Daniels would say--That's Magic!

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  • 69. At 3:11pm on 07 Nov 2008, Globaltraveller wrote:

    I'd have to disagree with the naysayers above, I think Brian provides a very fair and balanced assessment of the situation as we see it now, in the clear light of day. It is, perhaps, just about the most balanced assessment you'll find.

    I would like to take issue with wonderbramley and the post at #28, though.

    The problem is that no taxpayers money - English or Scottish is being given up to the banks. Any recapitalisation proceeds will be raised through a government gilt issue - in effect the government will raise debt to provide any cash injection that they may be required to.

    Over time, as the government reduces any shareholding they may have in a bank, the proceeds of any sale will be used to - in effect - "pay off" that debt. The equilibrium effect on taxpayers will, therefore, be negligable.

    For an independent Scotland, the ability of any Scottish Government to behave in the same way as the UK one has, depends on the monetary union that Scotland belongs to. As that will either be "Sterlingzone", or "Eurozone" come independence, there will be little difficulty. All the government would require to do would be to use their "credit rating" and mechanism of "monetary stability" to be able to borrow the capital required.

    This was what Sweden (pop 9m), in the early 1990s did, when it suffered its own "banking crisis". The Swedish model has been avariciously replicated by Gordon Brown, and claimed as his own, however.

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  • 70. At 3:15pm on 07 Nov 2008, pollyowls wrote:

    This result is about what could have been expected in normal political times - a 5% swing to SNP from Lab. However, the surprise is because of the background and build-up to the election.
    This looks like such a bad result for the SNP because they told anyone who would listen they were so confident they were going to win the seat.
    Perhaps this is just a return to normal politics, but the two council wins for Labour are equally important - whether this is more than the "Brown bounce" remains to be seen.

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  • 71. At 3:20pm on 07 Nov 2008, sham1313 wrote:

    labour have done well because they put forward the image that they were the underdogs and their attack on the extra care charges

    also mentioning the word cut in every sentence labour knows exactly what people fear and will use it to their political advantage,

    spending the next 16 years living under a westminster conservative government might not be such a bad thing for labour fortunes in scotland

    if labour win the next scottish election to hell with it i am just going to emmigrate

    my first post just had to have a moan


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  • 72. At 3:25pm on 07 Nov 2008, PappaSmurf wrote:

    #66 - Re the Tories I have to agree with your sentiment, they are still very much viewed as Maggies party and also very much as a South of England Party, even by those in the north of England.

    That said they need an opportunity to prove themselves otherwise, if they don't get into Westminster I don't see how they will do this.

    Traditionally, the failure of Labour nationally would have afforded this oppportunity but with the raise of the SNP the job in Scotland is more difficult for Cameron and Co.

    Still there is only so long that the SNP can blame Westminster for the ills of Scotland without forcing a referendum or at the very least a drastic change in the way Scotland receives its funding, somethign that could ultimately result in a fairer balance across all home nations and be to the detriment of Scotland and the SNP's ambitions.

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  • 73. At 3:31pm on 07 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #47 minuend

    "Imagine the headache in Glenrothes this morning when they realise that they have voted in another LABOUR NUMPTIE as their MP."

    Roy is anything but a numptie. He is a man of considerable talent, and we could have used his expertise in casting a critical eye on education reform at Holyrood.

    He's just a number at Westminster, and it's symptomatic of the disunited kingdom, that he will have no input into the very necessary reform of education in England, by giving them a different perspective. He won't be listened to simply because he will be seen as irrelevant to England.

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  • 74. At 3:44pm on 07 Nov 2008, rabbiehippo wrote:

    #71 ..... ' 16 years living under a westminster conservative government' ... christ you'r being a bit pessimistic there .... do you think they would last that long?

    Labour can avoid cuts themselves only because they are gonna borrow and do deals with the big companies to save our bacon just now ...... problem is in years to come we will have to pay.

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  • 75. At 3:45pm on 07 Nov 2008, one step beyond wrote:

    I was surprised by the result. You have what was apparrently a deeply unpopular labour Governement, a leader with the charisma of a lettuce. We are in the middle of a recession, house repossessions increasing, house prices going down, unemplyment going up.

    We are towards the end of a third term labour Government, who do appear tired and have made many mistakes.

    Despite that they win a by election and the SNP only manage a 5% swing.

    Traditionally the people give the incumbents a good kicking in bye elections, what on earth happened?

    To win a general election you would need to consistantly see swings of 15% plus in by-elections, even then it would not be certain. The SNP need to really study what happened here.

    I think post 66, Edin Chris may have the answer, it appears many are voting any one but SNP, even if they hold their noses while they do so

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  • 76. At 3:50pm on 07 Nov 2008, PappaSmurf wrote:

    #69 your point is fair regarding the lack of tax payers money involved but in reality the issue comes with the "credit rating" part, the UK can get the funds, the bulk of which is going to what the SNP have dubbed Scottish Banks, but could an independent Scotland?

    Now fair enough the Scottish Economy counts towards this with the dwindling Oil supplies and the Whisky and Tourism industries, but there needs to be more to support an independent credit rating, to underpin what would in effect be £31bn in debt that would be needed to cover this over and above the normal credit used to maintian the economy

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  • 77. At 4:02pm on 07 Nov 2008, Jim Thompson wrote:

    The Labour party actually increased their share of the Glenrothes vote by 3%, so why are some saying there is a swing towards the SNP from Labour?

    The SNP increased their share of the vote by 13% - mostly from the Liberal Democrats loss of 10%. The remaining 3% came from the minority parties.

    Well done to the Labour Party.

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  • 78. At 4:07pm on 07 Nov 2008, Jim Thompson wrote:

    Old nat: "He's just a number at Westminster, and it's symptomatic of the disunited kingdom, that he will have no input into the very necessary reform of education in England, by giving them a different perspective. He won't be listened to simply because he will be seen as irrelevant to England."

    What a stupid observation of the facts. I thing 37billion pounds means Scotland is definitely NOT irrelevant to England or the rest of the UK.

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  • 79. At 4:32pm on 07 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #76 SimonAlderson

    The real cost of the 31 billion (or the part of it that is actually used) will be the difference between the cost of borrowing it and the 12% being charged to the banks for it along with the value of the preference shares when they are sold back to the private sector.

    Banking is a globalised industry, and the UK is supporting RBS and HBOS because they are seen as being significant benefits to the economy, once the crisis is over. For example, it would have been open to the Government to insist that RBS sold off ABN-AMRO to increase its capitalisation, instead of providing the capital themselves.

    It is not supporting "Scottish" banks, but future money-spinners headquartered in the UK.





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  • 80. At 4:36pm on 07 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #78 Jim_Thompson

    Roy has considerable expertise in education, but none in finance.

    You are confusing the issues which are the responsibility of Westminster, with those which are dealt with at Holyrood.

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  • 81. At 4:44pm on 07 Nov 2008, handclapping wrote:

    Brian

    No one seems to have noticed

    for 2005 2008 change

    the Union 26774 22274 -4500
    Independence 8731 13326 +4595

    I hope this doesn't rattle RE's cage!

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  • 82. At 4:44pm on 07 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    Mike Smithson at PoliticalBetting makes a good point -

    "I also wonder whether it was a good idea for the SNP to have had a local councillor, least of all the leader of the group, as the candidate. This, inevitably, made it easier for Labour to focus on the council’s performance and made their attack on care charges that much more potent.

    It’s for this reason that I don’t think it is a good idea for local councillors to be parliamentary candidates in either by elections or general elections in their areas and this applies to all parties. "


    One wonders how much worse the Republicans would have done in the US, if they had run a candidate who tried to defend Bush's policies.

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  • 83. At 4:54pm on 07 Nov 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    71. Then we have found in the SNP's armour.

    They promised everything in their 07 manifesto and are now struggling to produce.

    The removal of the bridge tolls, the council tax freeze, the cheaper prescriptions, the 'national conversation' website, the 'Scottish Government' rebranding and the free hospital car parks (among others) are all having to be funded from somewhere else in Holyrood's budget.

    The SNP has not said where, so Labour just needs to find out for themselves and then heavily publicise it all.....along with the major broken promises such as the first-time buyer grants, student debt, class sizes, the non-existent school building programme etc......and also Salmond's u-turn on banking regulation (Apr 07:"There's too much regulation!" and then Oct 08: "There's too little regulation!") to negate any opposition on the financial crisis.

    The SNP's comfort zone, provided by the 'honeymoon' period, has just evaporated.

    Now the fun begins.

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  • 84. At 5:01pm on 07 Nov 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    81. No idea what you are talking about but I'll hazard a guess.

    Are you perhaps another nationalist who thinks that people just absolutely must be pro-independence if they vote for the SNP?

    Oh dear!

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  • 85. At 5:11pm on 07 Nov 2008, draboy wrote:

    A weak candidate and cowardly electorate are to blame for this result for the SNP

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  • 86. At 5:29pm on 07 Nov 2008, handclapping wrote:

    84 Reluctant-Expat

    - Are you perhaps another nationalist who thinks that people just absolutely must be pro-independence if they vote for the SNP? -

    No, its just that you and your unionist chums seem to think that any vote against the SNP is a vote for the union!

    You must look at the broader picture. Who cares about Alex Salmond. He's a politician. Expendible.

    I do think Mr Roy is good for Westminster, a real person who has done something in his life. They need more people in Westminster, far too many party hacks who have never had a life outside of politics e.g. G.Brown?

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  • 87. At 5:31pm on 07 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #85 draboy

    Seems pretty nasty to describe a candidate as "weak" because she was in a wheelchair!

    Have to agree with you about the electorate - totally cowardly to make up your own mind, if that disagrees with draboy.

    However, it's worth being reminded that there are small-minded people who support every party.

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  • 88. At 5:32pm on 07 Nov 2008, darwinsmonkey wrote:

    Unfortunately Brian, the SNP are incapable of learning from any experience. Just witness the above.

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  • 89. At 5:32pm on 07 Nov 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    One thing I am especially looking forward is seeing how Salmond copes with this post-honeymoon period.

    This so-called 'economist' was a deer caught in the headlights when the credit crunch started (as was Swinney, that 'other economist'). His one solitary tactic was to identify a bandwagon, jump on it and then try to claim it as his own.

    Two examples:

    1. Lots of debate about recapitalising the banks as an alternative to nationalisation (Salmond eventually starts to preach the same thing, saying he believed this all along).

    2. Industry repeatedly calls for major interest rate cuts, as seen in the US, to soften the hard landing (Salmond eventually starts to preach the same thing, saying he believed this all along).

    Well, now there are no bandwagons to jump on and the Weeble is going to have to start thinking for himself!

    Like I say, now the fun begins.

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  • 90. At 5:56pm on 07 Nov 2008, Anaxim wrote:

    Blaming the SNP's failure to take the seat on media bias and running a council leader ignores the deeper problem that the SNP's core message has started to drift apart. It's gone from joining the arc of prosperity to 'this crisis is affecting small and large countries equally'. Not the most kick-ass narrative.

    Meanwhile, ethnic nationalism seems to be quietly supplanting the civic variety, judging from Salmond's loopy comments about having a Scot in the Whitehouse and the relentless focus on ancestry tourism.

    Finally, the Trump effect. Whilst Labour are at least giving the impression of connecting boot with banker backside, the SNP are still grovelling like it's 2007. Does anyone else still think that it's a good idea to promote Scotland as a fat cat playground in middle of a financial meltdown?

    As for the Lib Dems, it's a lousy showing indeed.

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  • 91. At 6:02pm on 07 Nov 2008, goatchurch wrote:

    Good post, Brian. Thanks. It fits with my observations (although I'd like an apology from the press for relying on bookies odds instead of polling data).

    The problem with the vote for the Westminster Parliament is that people have no idea what it does, so they decide it on issues that are of absolutely no relevance -- and the political parties encourage this.

    Little by little, these local stories complete a picture which explains why the Parliament of the people is in such shape that it systematically allows us to be misgoverned in so many ways.

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  • 92. At 6:06pm on 07 Nov 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #5 .... #89 Reluctant-Expat

    Magnanimous in victory, I see.

    Congratulations to your side for getting out its vote - I always predicted an uphill climb if the turnout exceeded 50% and to manage over 52.3% on a roll more than a year old was astounding, irrespective of the rest of the campaign.

    Enjoy the moment, but don't forget that it was a skirmish in a long campaign between unionists and home rulers. It took a long while in Ireland but home rule was won in the end. The sad thing there was that the unionists were so stubborn that nothing but independence was possible by the time it was granted.

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  • 93. At 6:09pm on 07 Nov 2008, rabbiehippo wrote:

    #89 Derek ... are we just gonna get the usuall from you from now on .... slag off the SNP but not either answer questions put to you or put forward your own ideas ... do you think Mandy is a good and honest person to be in the job he is or do you not always agree with the party line ...

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  • 94. At 6:13pm on 07 Nov 2008, handclapping wrote:

    #84 Reluctant-Expat

    As you have no idea what figures mean, let me explain:-
    In Glenrothes the number of votes for the pro-union parties have fallen between 2005 and 2008 but the number of votes for the SNP have gone up in the same time.

    Now I know that you dislike the SNP and everything it stands for, principally independence but why else should the votes for the union be dropping?

    You are a man that knows things, I'll ignore your#251 on the US decides thread, so I would really like to know what you think about it.

    And what can the Union do to fight back? I mean you do your best to counter the nats but we can't go on loosing 1500 votes per constituecy per year or we'll all be wearing tartan in no distant future and there won't be a Scotland you'll want to come home to.

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  • 95. At 6:17pm on 07 Nov 2008, rabbiehippo wrote:

    #90 Anaxim ... are you telling us that the 6000 jobs and the 1500 permanent (supposedly) are not a good thing in these times......the spin offs from the golf course will help boost the economy in Aberdeen.... should the course be world class as proposed and a big tournament is held will generate lots of money..... anywhere in the UK would have been wished for this sort of project so blaming the SNP for realizing what a bonus this is ...is rubbish. Gordon himself is trying to stimulate growth and get people to invest in the country so what is the difference with Donald Trump ....

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  • 96. At 6:18pm on 07 Nov 2008, WaveSoarer wrote:

    What must really worry the SNP is that the couldn't swing this by-election despite saturation coverage by his thousand strong team of canvassers, I wonder how many of them come from the area, and his own numerous visits to Glenrothes. It would be impossible for them to repeat this in all Scottish seats at a general election, a Scottish parliamentary election, let alone an indpendence referendum, and I can't see them growing their support. Too much posturing and pomposity from Salmond and his team. The narrowest of wins for his party at the last elections to the Scottish parliament is hardly a resounding call for independence. This by-election proves that. As a Fifer brought up in Glenrothes, but now living outside the area, I'm delighted that this message has been sent in such unequivocal terms. I've lurked this site for a long time now and I've seen only a handful of the usual suspects bang-on about independence (even then I expect that they post under various guises). Independence? Get over it folks, it's not going to happen.

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  • 97. At 6:29pm on 07 Nov 2008, PappaSmurf wrote:

    #79 old nat

    My point, was not that the government makes nothing from this, it was that under independence they would not be UK headquartered banks but Scottish Headquartered banks and the Scottish Government would need the credit to bail them out not the UK the 31bn is based upon the monies requested by RBS and HBOS.

    The SNP would have to have find the credit to raise this based solely on Scottish GDP.

    This would be more akin to what happened in Iceland, which is bankruptcy

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  • 98. At 6:36pm on 07 Nov 2008, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    @52 Salmondella, the 'perceived' local cuts in spending are principally due to the massively poor deal Scotland got from the Barnett formula after the 2007 SNP election victory... and in no small part to the Labourite insistance on spending a half billion on the Edinburgh tram project I might add...

    http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/internet/internet_homepage/council_news/final%20tram%20construction%20programme%20announced%20as%20scheme%20moves%20to%20next%20phase%20-%2024%20april%202008

    In actual fact though, both the Scottish and UK parliaments are moving to advance the programmes of capital investment projects such as the massive school building project (only slowed down for the moment due to the financing debate regarding the move from PFI to the Scottish Futures Trust)... and they are doing this in order to try to stave off the recession (not that it will be 100% successfull though!)

    So I would ask you that what cuts are the SNP supposedly making that upsets you, bearing in mind that the SNP prevented Labour from closing A&E hospital units and took great steps to assist student funding.

    I think you should understand that Holyrood only has limited powers over capital finance and tax raising. If you think there is a bottomless pit of money, then maybe you should join Jack and go chasing dem darn beanstalks?

    Saor Alba.

    Ps. If we actually had fiscal autounomy, maybe we would be able to budget for Scotlands' requirements a little better?

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  • 99. At 6:40pm on 07 Nov 2008, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    .... Pps. Is Glenrothes not full of Second World War Veteran Pensioners anyway???

    ... Should we be surprised that the older generation are pre-conditioned to vote Labour, no matter what the circumstances???

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  • 100. At 6:42pm on 07 Nov 2008, Globaltraveller wrote:

    #76 SimonAlderson

    I think oldnat at #79 nailed your post, but I'd add a few points.

    In the hypothetical scheme of things, had Scotland and England been politically and economically independent of one another in September/October 2008, when this crisis snowballed we'd have had one fully headquartered Scottish bank, and one Anglo-Scottish institution requiring recapitalisation.

    Would it, therefore, have been fair for the Scottish Government to have to fully provide recapitalisation to HBOS - an institution headquartered in Halifax (England), as much as in Edinburgh (Scotland)? It is a contentious issue, but there is much in the argument that it was the Halifax arm of the operation (rather than the BoS arm) that was the conduit which caught the financial contagion in the first place.

    Similarly if The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg can work together to bail out the Dexia Bank (headquartered in Belgium but with significant shares in the banking systems of all three countries) then would the countries that currently comprise the UK not do the same? RBS, despite being headquartered in Edinburgh, has significant head office functions in London, is quoted on the London Stock Exchange and derives many of its roots from the London financial sector (eg Natwest) would fit squarely in that mould. Political independence for Scotland would hardly change any of these attributes.

    As for your other points. I think you'll probably be well aware that there is much more to Scotland's economy than banks, oil, whisky or tourism, just like there is much more to England's economy than a bloated financial sector, based in the City of London, which is tottering on the brink.

    As my primary post alluded to (and oldnat at #79 expanded on), provided Scotland was part of a stable monetary zone (which it would be), there would have been no problem in borrowing the capital necessary to recapitalise the banks. The money borrowed would have been proportionate to the expected future returns of the institutions in question (the hint being the institutions rather than the country).

    That is exactly what the British Government is doing, it is what the Swedish Government did - and a whole host of other entities thereby. Scotland would have been no different. Much of Iceland's problems stem largely from the fact it is not part of a stable monetary union, which is why there is serious talk of a fast-track Icelandic application to join the Eurozone in the medium to longer term.

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  • 101. At 6:45pm on 07 Nov 2008, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    @61 Nosetam,

    Cheers mate, I don't care who you vote for but that post was the best.

    The mainstream corporate controlled media are a joke... and people who fall for it are the butt of the joke!

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  • 102. At 6:52pm on 07 Nov 2008, BrianWasMilesWrong wrote:

    What a load of rubbish your blog is Brian.

    Minutes after the polls closed you predicted the SNP would win. I mean where on Earth did you get that from, or was it simply wishful thinking as the Natz have been doing for weeks?

    Labour's Victory is a serious slap in the face to that fat egostistical oaf who leads the SNP, and thinks now that merely saying that the SNP will win, is somehow going to make people vote that way.

    With all their boasts and fibs, the SNP are a joke party, and their leader is a bigger joke - his credibility is NIL after yesterday.

    The SNP are finished. Last nights utter humiliation of Alex Salm,ond and the SNP - marks the end of the SNP as a credible force. When you start to take the voters for granted, expect to be taken down a peg or two.

    Three byelections were fought yesterday, and Labour won three byelections. This proves that Scotland's voters have come to its senses, and is putting real world issues before the Brigadoon rheotric and fantasies of the SNP.

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  • 103. At 6:57pm on 07 Nov 2008, BrianWasMilesWrong wrote:

    When we compare the claims of some Political Pundits to the REALITY of last nights comfortable Labour Victory - perhaps we should all pay much less heed to the Linkage Institution of the BIASED UK Media and frankly tell pundits like Brian to go boil their heads! Even in his comments of today, he's very critical of the Victorious candidate. Give a rest Brian.

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  • 104. At 6:57pm on 07 Nov 2008, Globaltraveller wrote:

    #72

    Do you not think that something which in your words would be to the "detriment of Scotland" done under the auspices of the "Union", not have devastating consequences on the integrity of that aforesaid Union?

    The Tories will have to play a very canny, if not impossible, game when it comes to Scottish finances when they get in government. They will have to juggle two irreconcilable problems: The first being the widespread myth that Scotland is subsidised by England - which in English terms would be ameliorated by a cut in Scottish expenditure; The second being the belief in Scotland - held not just by independence supporters - that Scotland gets a poor economic deal from the Union.

    Any moves by the Tories which would be viewed as a "cash cut" in Scotland's expenditure, or a withholding of Scottish resources would certainly set the heather alight!

    The only way to avoid such problems would be to make Scotland fully fiscally autonomous. But, that's just the same as independence anyway.

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  • 105. At 6:57pm on 07 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #97 SimonAlderson

    I think it's an error (though politically understandable) to compare the Scottish HQd banks with the Icelandic situation.

    Iceland's problem was compounded by being a small country with an independent currency (a situation I've never advocated, and even the SNP hasn't for the last 20 years). They had allowed their guarantee fund to be massively under-capitalised by their banks, hence their Government was committed to the shortfall.

    As far as our banks are concerned, they might not have been able to get the credit (I don't know) to bail out the whole of these banking empires, but the sale of foreign banks that they owned would have significantly reduced the need for capitalisation, hence the full 31 billion would not have been required.

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  • 106. At 7:17pm on 07 Nov 2008, Oldfifer wrote:

    As a SNP supporter I was dissapointed at the result but had said that I thought that we would not win. However where you have a candidate who never really looked as if he really wanted to be an MP and who blatantly lied on Newsnight to cuts in his school and then coudn't explain when a bit of paper showed that actually his budget had gone up.I do not see Mr Roy shining at the big place in London.

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  • 107. At 7:29pm on 07 Nov 2008, enneffess wrote:

    Thought I'd leave a posting until a few had contributed, well over a hundred!

    A few things:

    "cowardly electorate"
    That is unfair and arrogant. Are you saying that anyone who does not vote for the SNP is cowardly? Does this apply to those who supported the pensioners candiate? Scottish Socialists? If you think that then consider the fallout had a major figure in the SNP had said that.

    "if Scotland had been independent, banking crisis etc"
    The fact of the matter is that Scotland is not independent. You cannot change what has happened with the banks. Stop going on about what could have been and rather concentrate on what could be. By all means learn from the past but do not dwell on it.

    #102 "the SNP are finished"
    They are not finished. Yes, they lost the election, and independence is not very likely in the short term. However they will remain there, albeit they have got a lot of work and rethinking to do.

    #61 #101 re Biased media.
    OK, there is some bias. But the SNP activists swarmed over Glenrothes to spread their message. So with the exception of 13,000+ SNP voters everyone else fell for the media lies?


    #86 handclapping
    "You must look at the broader picture. Who cares about Alex Salmond. He's a politician. Expendible."

    Not at the moment. If the SNP lose Salmond, they have had it. Nicola Sturgeon surprised me last night by saying the Labour campaign was negative. That's the equivalent of saying "a big boy did it and ran away". I expected more from her.

    I'm still surprised at the result however. We had our wonderful Home Secretary away in cloud cuckoo land about her highly prized ID cards, proving she is a fine replcement for Patricia Hewitt. Prescott was in Glenrothes; of all people I though they would keep him at home.

    The SNP are also appearing to blame Westminster for the local issues (home charges?). Welcome to the real world. If you are in charge, the responsibility lies with you. Voters do not usually give a monkeys as to why, all they see is you. Had Labour been in control of the council it might have affected the results.

    Labour are far from comfortable. But I think Iceland has had a major impact to people's thinking.

    As for the Lib Dems: I forsee changes of leaders within twelve months. They are being squeezed and I think this will be reflected across the UK as a whole.

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  • 108. At 7:40pm on 07 Nov 2008, Tom wrote:

    I am very disappointed from the latest by-election results.

    Scottish Labour led a campaign based on misleading the public and scaremongering. Did they deserve to win? No, unless we should trust a person who had already lied on several occasions. Education issues anyone?

    However the Scottish National Party also put themselves into a difficult position. Did they not expect Peter Grant's council record to be attacked? The Nationalists should have picked someone who never had a political track record like Labour have done.

    I believe the Nationalists attempted to duplicate the Glasgow East by-election. Perhaps they should have fought over national issues rather then local? Local issues tend to be under the Scots Parliament control anyway but the Nationalists could have highlighted the cost of Browns 'economic managment' that has apparently saved us... Even added that along with high costs of fuel, food and other items Brown has also ensured that our children and their childrens, childrens will be paying off debts...

    Better luck next time. Learn the mistakes and ensure that next time we are better prepared.

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  • 109. At 7:40pm on 07 Nov 2008, bingowings87 wrote:

    Is bighullabaloo coming out to play??

    Come on buddy, it's only a flesh wound.....

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  • 110. At 7:46pm on 07 Nov 2008, uk_abz_scot wrote:

    Brian - I agree the SNP independence juggernaut has been halted. There was even a small swing to Labour. A very good result.

    The bile coming out of usual Daily Mail/Evening Standard mob as they type into the comment section of Nick Robinson's blog smells of fear for the first time in a long time.


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  • 111. At 7:49pm on 07 Nov 2008, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    I am gobsmacked like many others by this result but totally disgusted at the Labour campaign which was utterly disgracefull. Does Labour have any ideals, any policies any reason for existence? You wouldn't know if you had been in Glenrothes.
    In a relentless nasty and negative campign it misrepresnted the Fife Council's policy on Home Care as its only weapon and did so mainly late on and right up to polling day.
    I hope the SNP and the Council in Fife will spend the next few months exposing the Labour distortions to the easily led who believed them.
    Sad day indeed when Labour has to stoop so low to hold onto a safe Labour seat.
    THe SNP had an opportunity to campaign in this dirty way at Glasgow East due to unsavoury factors surrounding some in the Labour party in that area are but chose not to do so. I am glad the SNP does not campaign that way.
    What I am sure happened here is that the SNP established a very large number of SNP supporters many weeks ago in this seat and based its campign in concentrating on regular contact and encouragement to these.
    They completely underestimated the huge damage the day care issue was doing and presumed voters identified early on as supportive had stayed that way.
    The SNP had an opportunity to rebut the allegations (and they were easy to rebut) but didn't do so with any vigour as they didn't understand their significance. Over the last couple of days I was probably one of an army of SNP activists delivering positive messages to erstwhile supporters who had flipped back to Labour.
    There is little real political significance to this election and it certainly won't signal any lessening of ambition by the SNP

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  • 112. At 7:50pm on 07 Nov 2008, Tom wrote:

    Neil_Small147.

    #107.

    Alrite Neil.

    I believe the results yesterday has shown that we should never predict the future.

    "Yes, they lost the election, and independence is not very likely in the short term.2

    If Labour can take home a suprise victory, then could Independence still happen? No one knows. But I think we should never assume something won't/will happen.

    "Nicola Sturgeon surprised me last night by saying the Labour campaign was negative. That's the equivalent of saying "a big boy did it and ran away". I expected more from her."

    I have to step in here. A negative campaign can effect results - big time. Picture this. It's 2010 and we all are witnessing the Pro-Independence Movement and the Unionists debating the future.

    If the Pro-Independence Movement explained what could happen after Independence compared to Labour telling you that the worst will happen, who would you vote for? Independence or to stay apart of the Union? The chances are you will choose to vote to stay apart of the Union. Simply because at least you know what to expect from the Union compared to Independence which could be completely different.

    Besides why would you want to vote for the Nationalists? They have cut school budgets...

    ;-)


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  • 113. At 7:52pm on 07 Nov 2008, inmykip wrote:

    #89 oh Reluctant you're like an old fish wife telling tales.....then maybe you are an old fish wife, you certainly know how to tell a tale or two don't you, anyway no matter what you are I find your rants are entertaining and comical, mostly rude, often inaccurate and thankfully irrelevant to the real world.

    Here's how independence will come about, as the Scottish Parliament get more powers, the confidence of the Scottish electorate and the MSP's will rise, as it increases they will want more powers, eventually as we go through this cycle of power/confidence there will come a tipping point where people will think .......hey wait a minute we're sufficiantly confident and competent to go it alone, at that point independence will become a very serious option ( or possibly a federal approach), I don't expect it to come about in 2010 but maybe 2020 at an outside guess, worth a punt at the bookies anyway.

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  • 114. At 7:53pm on 07 Nov 2008, Tom wrote:

    #110.

    There was even a small swing to Labour? I see, but Labour started with a clear majority of over 10,000. How much of a majority do they have now? 6,000?

    The SNP have increased their vote it appears.

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  • 115. At 8:30pm on 07 Nov 2008, crazyislander wrote:

    Oh goody, Labour has one its own seat back BUT with a reduced majority. Hardly surprising given the quite mallicious lies being spread about by the great and the good (well they'd like to think they're good) from the London Labour Party. And the fact that it was buried under the US Elections just shows how feart Brown was.

    I was stunned at the amount of coverage the BBC gave the whole thing. Good grief, they even had James Landale up there muttering away.

    Set back for the SNP? How do you work that one out Brian? The SNP are still in power at Holyrood and likely to be for some considerable time. Brown on the other hand has his card marked. He has managed to squirm about under all this financial crisis stuff always carefully referring to it as a, "global" financial crisis whilst hoping the country will forget that he has caused much of the crisis himself with his loopey pals Blair and Bush. How many other countries have had to more or less nationalise all their banks? How many other countries have the levels of personal debt that HE has caused? NO Brown, you and your Flash Harry team have had your go, beat it. The rest of us will be stocking up on apples and shoelaces to peddle on street corners when your diabolical incompetence finally does us all in and we hit the New Depression.

    And Glenrothes? Well, good and heretofore sensible Fifers, you now deserve all you're gonny get. Another piece of voting fodder for the Labour lobbies. And any sick miners out there on Incapacity Benefit who voted Labour, enjoy your, 'interview' at the Job Centre so that they can see what you CAN do rather than what you can't. You really deserve that. I bet that was only little thing that wasn't touted on the doorsteps by Gordon and Mrs Gordon (the Sarah Palin of Labour????).

    And Alex, stop greetin' and get your head up. You are still in charge thank God, but next time, sink the boot in. No more Mr Nice Guy, you are dealing with a slimey and unscrupulous foe who appears to be be devoid of principals. Let's face it, anyone who employs Mandelson and Canmpbell really HAS something of the night about them.

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  • 116. At 8:31pm on 07 Nov 2008, Anaxim wrote:

    #95 rabbiehippo

    Thousands of low-grade jobs that the local council decided against. Hardly surprising, considering the Aberdeen area has low unemployment. Salmond called it in and spent a ton of political energy getting it passed, presumably as viewing it as vital to the national interest.

    Call me crazy, but I'd call things like power stations and bridges as vital to the national interest. Not gated communities with golf courses.

    The nationalists often decry others as subservient, but they've got a gillie mentality of their own.

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  • 117. At 9:09pm on 07 Nov 2008, Tom wrote:

    Anaxim:

    #116.

    I'm not debating the fact that power stations and bridges are important or not. They are, however I am from Aberdeen and I favour Trumps Golf Course.

    You were clever to point out that Aberdeen(City) and of course Aberdeenshire have low unemployment ratings. But why are you not quick to point out the main reason why that is? It's thanks to the Oil Industry that the North East of Scotland has low unemployment. Tens of thousands of jobs and opportunites are connected to the Oil Industry.

    The oil will eventually dry up. The oil companies will then have no reason to have operations here, then what? Thousands will be possibly laid off at once and what other opportunites do we have? Ah, without the oil wealth many other companies and businesses will begin to move or down size because people won't have the money...

    At least the Golf Course will provide employment and opportunites while generating up to 100 million pounds into the local economy. Good for Aberdeen, good for the north east and good for Scotland as whole. Independent or apart of the Union.

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  • 118. At 9:19pm on 07 Nov 2008, handclapping wrote:

    Brian

    Another wierd thing about this election:- the Labour were treating the SNP as the "Government" and giving them laldy over the home care charges yet the SNP vote still went up. I'm hoping it's because people don't see the SNP as the Gov't yet, when they do that will be really scary.

    I mean bye-elections are meant to be about giving the Gov't a kicking and if anything has come out of this result it is that the SNP did worse than expected. People aren't starting to think of the SNP as the Gov't are they?

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  • 119. At 9:26pm on 07 Nov 2008, PappaSmurf wrote:

    #100 Global Traveller

    I accept your point however you are incorrect in one aspect and that is that HBOS does not have two headquarters, the subsidiary companies have seperate headquarters however HBOS as a legal entity floated on the Stock Market has 1 headquarters and that is at the Mound in Edinburgh and thus would be a Scottish Company not an Anglo Scottish Company.

    With regards to the stable economy aspect and the interactions I do not think that this would necessarily follow, the global markets are fully intertwined yet each nation has had to deal largely with its own financial institutions. If Scotland gets what the SNP are pushing then we will be responsible for ourselves and the rest of the home nations will not be responsible for dealing with our mess, part of the global issue or not, the English will do what they have done in Iceland and make arrangements to resolve the accounts of their citizens they will be under no requirement to do otherwise.

    If we move ahead with independence Scotland would need to reapply to the EU, it would need to ensure that we met the criteria for entry, as would the rest of the UK, all home nations would stand in isolation from the rest of europe.

    Your point regarding selling off overseas parts of the organisations also fails as ultimately in this global crisis there are few places to sell so who are you going to sell them to?

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  • 120. At 10:04pm on 07 Nov 2008, Globaltraveller wrote:

    #119 SimonAlderson

    No, I think I'm quite correct in stating that Halifax (an English company) is headquartered in Halifax which is in England. Halifax being, of course one half of the HBOS group - the biggest half of the HBOS group, and the part of the group with the financial problems. Legally HBOS is an Anglo-Scottish company formed by merger.

    Certainly the HBOS Registered Offices are located in Edinburgh, however that means little. Equivalently, the Group Registered Office of the Lloyds TSB Group is in Edinburgh, with the Lloyds banking subsidiary headquarters in London, but I rarely hear Lloyds TSB being described as a Scottish bank!

    All of which is why I'm sure that any English government would have stepped up to the plate, after all Halifax has a much bigger reach in England, than it does in Scotland, being based there and all. In fact it would have been economic necessity as well as obligation. It would have been their reponsibility to, not just for their citizens, but the economy too.



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  • 121. At 10:09pm on 07 Nov 2008, U11769947 wrote:

    The snp were expected to win the seat
    and the leader of the snp made several visits to Glenrothes.

    I believe he even made the televised statement, quote "yes we can and yes we will" in reference too winning the election.

    Giving that the FM made this his personal
    goal! and failed.

    Do the snp now! have a leadership crisis.

    Is AS a burden to the party.

    Should he maybe consider a new phrase,
    "no he cant and no he didn't"

    Should he consider his position?

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  • 122. At 10:17pm on 07 Nov 2008, Dougie MacDuibh wrote:

    Wahey!

    So now we're led to believe that, after a year and half of the ham-fisted and dithering Brown government, and a string of Labour defeats, that his party's holding of the Glenrothes seat turns everything around – relaunching Brown's leadership credibilities and trumpeting the summary end of the SNP government's so-called honeymoon period???

    Far from the SNP's invigorating performance in government, and deft handling of crises largely brought about by Westminster-influenced events, Brown can lay claim to no honeymoon whatsoever, having stepped straight into the mire from the moment he took office, and barely put a foot right since.

    What this result actually represents is a victory for the politics of fear and dependency, for characteristic and relentlessly negative Labour campaigning, in which they focussed their venom entirely on the cynical misrepresentation of a local issue - a campaign reliant on helpers bussed up from England, and in which high-profile Labour figures were show-cased pressing the flesh with only hand-picked party supporters - all in the name of sending another bland yes-man, who frankly managed to make Iain Gray look almost colourful, down to retirement in the palace of Westminster.

    The self-serving unionist comments in the wake of this result speak volumes - as does the bare-faced spin of the two main unionist parties who sunk without trace and miserably lost their deposits.

    If this was democracy in action - and it surely was - then it is lamentably ironic that the electorate had to resort to supporting the old party of fear and failure in order to send a message to the party of positive vision and aspiration.

    It is no less ironic that, if more than one distinct party embodied such vision and commitment to a successful and self-confident Scotland, the electorate need not face such a stark choice between aspiration and accountability.

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  • 123. At 10:28pm on 07 Nov 2008, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    Number 106, Old Fifer,

    Firstly, I appologise to you for my post 99, I guess there are some older folk like me who do not have a blind allegiance to a political party. (ie. people who have the intelligence to think for themselves *;o)

    but you are 100% right.

    Labour probably won because the head master was the headmaster of thousands of those voters over the years and they just happened to know him.



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  • 124. At 10:29pm on 07 Nov 2008, Tom wrote:

    Derek.

    121.

    Leadership crises? I believe it was the entire Scottish National Party which lost the by-election. Alex Salmond and the entire party done their best and will hopefully learn and re-group for the next show down.

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  • 125. At 10:46pm on 07 Nov 2008, crazyislander wrote:

    Who the hell cares about where HBOS is based? The nasty, "you have exceeded your overdraught limit by sixpence and now owe us your bladder and a chunk of your liver" mince comes from Perth or at least mine does.

    I wish this was 1965 and I was a cute wee rascal that women found irresistable and banks were for old people who worried about their superannuation.

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  • 126. At 10:46pm on 07 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #119 SimonAlderson

    "If we move ahead with independence Scotland would need to reapply to the EU, it would need to ensure that we met the criteria for entry, as would the rest of the UK, all home nations would stand in isolation from the rest of europe."

    This idea has been debated frequently before.

    In essence, there are conflicting views over what international law says on this. There are no hard and fast rules, and any decision would effectively be a political decision made by the EU countries - no one can say what would happen.

    Hence my preference for a loose Confederal UK, to avoid the problem, and let them find a solution for Belgium first - likely to be the first EU state to disaggregate, I think.

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  • 127. At 11:19pm on 07 Nov 2008, aye_write wrote:

    You know I'm not so sure this by-election result is so bad for the SNP.

    Another Scottish MP able to vote in Westminster is not pleasing the English voters, judging by some other blogs. They do have a point. Their displeasure though tends to prompt a significant amount of anti-Scottish sentiment in blog postings. Scottish voters who read this may be stirred to feel more inclined to desire distance from the Union.

    Gordon Brown stays. So far, the English don't want him, so a Conservative UK govt. next is no more unlikely. The implacations of that are debatable, but Gordon has time 'til then to make more gaffes that are insulting to Scotland. It is helpful in defeating Labour to be able to criticise him.

    But mainly, the SNP can halt the subconscious potential drift towards coasting. The people of Glenrothes did not appreciate the notion that their views were taken for granted with the SNP's "We will win" assumption, understandable or not though it may have been.

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  • 128. At 11:53pm on 07 Nov 2008, enneffess wrote:

    115. At 8:30pm on 07 Nov 2008, crazyislander


    Your post is one of the most insulting I have ever read.

    Sick miners? Some of them have advanced lung diseases, caused by digging out coal so people like you can stay nice and warm. Oh, and helping the Scottish economy while they were at it.

    You, and others, seem to think that anyone who votes for anyone except for the SNP has mental health problems or is claiming benefits.

    If you are representative of the SNP - which oldnat will surely deny and shoot you down - then no thanks. Grow up.

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  • 129. At 00:29am on 08 Nov 2008, Bill__Posters wrote:

    #127 aye_write

    "You know I'm not so sure this by-election result is so bad for the SNP."

    Strangely, this is a thought that I have been entertaining myself in connection with speculation that bouncing Brown may be emboldened to call a general election in the near future. Had the SNP won the by-election this week, that would have been out of the question, presumably.

    Superbrown may now conceivably calculate that the SNP has become unlikely to win enough Westminster seats to hold the balance of power if there is a hung parliament, although that is by no means certain in view of the fact that special factors applied in the Glenrothes contest, not least the availability of lots of Labour Party footsoldiers from England, who could, of course, not be available in a general election. The SNP's strength on the ground compared to the dwindling Labour Party membership in Scotland might not be sufficiently accounted for by Labour in their euphoric relief at retaining what should have been a safe seat for them.

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  • 130. At 01:01am on 08 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #128 Neil_Small147

    crazyislander's #115 was so long that I had skipped over it. Thanks for drawing my attention to it.

    He may be a member of the SNP, but from what I know of them, he's not representative.

    Every party has idiot supporters who do more damage to their cause than any of their opponents.

    A separate blog for him and expat might be a good idea (but I think the Scotsman and Herald have probably secured that market).

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  • 131. At 01:10am on 08 Nov 2008, Donald Brose wrote:

    There is no question whether Scotland would be successful as an independent state. It clearly could. BUT does it wish to be.? There is a lack of confidence in the Scottish character. Somehow we are only brilliant with other peoples money. We cringe in our shell if it is our own. I would exemplify the dramatic and catastrophic merger of BOS with Halifax. It was a marriage of a barrow boy with a distinguished old lady. Till you see the picture Scotland you will live in your own shadow. Que pena!

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  • 132. At 01:15am on 08 Nov 2008, aye_write wrote:

    Quite, Bill_Posters. Could Glenrothes lure Labour to take their eye of the Scottish ball?
    (as Gordon continues to seek to enthrone himself in ever more UK power?) That would be great entertainment.

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  • 133. At 01:22am on 08 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #127 aye_write & #129Bill__Posters

    "You know I'm not so sure this by-election result is so bad for the SNP."

    Frankly, I don't give a damn whether it helps the SNP or not. I do think it helps the movement for Scottish autonomy (Home Rule / Independence - whatever we decide on).

    The SNP "honeymoon" had gone on too long (due to the incompetence of the Holyrood opposition) and they did give the appearance of being arrogant.

    I was impressed that Salmond not only understood, but publicly accepted, that they made mistakes in their campaign. That gives me hope.

    Ideally, I'd like to see a political party structure more along the Catalan lines of both left and right parties supporting autonomy, but in Scotland, we're limited to the SNP - as long as the other parties remain branches of their UK trunks.

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  • 134. At 01:37am on 08 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    As always, a thoughtful response to Glenrothes fromJ. Arthur ......

    The Beeb software seems to have a problem with his moniker!

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  • 135. At 01:46am on 08 Nov 2008, aye_write wrote:

    "Frankly, I don't give a damn whether it helps the SNP or not. I do think it helps the movement for Scottish autonomy (Home Rule / Independence - whatever we decide on)."

    Obviously the SNP are imperfect, but if you want your model of autonomy then do you not have to support the SNP - or else you hinder that?

    Quite frankly, I don't give a damn if the SNP have some faults. They are our hope for fairness, independence.

    It's not whether they are your particular cup of tea but whether they can bring about the change you want.

    I'm not sure from your post what your alternative was.

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  • 136. At 02:16am on 08 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #135 aye_write

    I don't have any choice but to support the SNP, as it is the only party we currently have which pushes Scottish autonomy.

    My point was simply that I'm not interested in Party success, but Scottish success - and I don't want to conflate the two.

    Scotland is important - the SNP are only important if they can progress Scotland.

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  • 137. At 03:03am on 08 Nov 2008, aye_write wrote:

    Oldnat,

    Fair doos.

    It's tricky. How to consolidate the two?

    I have parked my hopes for Scottish success at the door of the SNP for now as I know that after independence I can vote for the party I choose.

    However, people do assimilate the two (party success, Scottish success) and if the party is seen to be falling short they can loose faith in the very notion of furthering their nation.

    I just hope, as I have hoped since I was old enough to hope for it, that Scotland (soon)gains independence.

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  • 138. At 09:27am on 08 Nov 2008, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    Aye_write and oldnat,

    Interesting comments. Shouldn't the Lib- Dems change their view on Scottish autounomy? They are obviously finished, along with the Tory's, as a force in Scottish politics.

    I always thought that their unionist position never sat well with their libertarianism and they might just be able to move into that niche in Scottish Politics and provide an alternative to the SNP. Just wondered what you guy's thought?

    I'm probably just speaking for myself as I am a bit of a liberal and have voted for them in the past (Charles Kennedy), but I am also a nationalist and of course independance is the #1 priority.

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  • 139. At 10:03am on 08 Nov 2008, salmondella wrote:

    #bongo

    I understand perfectly well how Holyrood works but the SNP just don't accept it. The art of being a government is recognising the tools at your disposal and utilising them properly. All we hear is what could have beens and what ifs - quite frankly lame excuses. I did not vote in Glenrothes - it is the people there who decided that SNP aren't good enough and it is they who probably feel that local cuts are an issue. Don't raise the issue of student debt because promises by the SNP to eradicate the debt were a total con to gain votes from unsuspecting students, graduates and their families - an absolute disgrace that a party supposedly representing the Scottish people could treat the electorate with such contempt.

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  • 140. At 10:40am on 08 Nov 2008, rabbiehippo wrote:

    #128 Neil ... from my take ...Crazyislander is not saying the miners are mentally ill ... but physically ill. What i perceive his post to be is that some of these people are blindly voting Labour but are about to get clobbered by the changes to incapacity benefit that Labour are bringing/brought in . Now i dont know if this is the case regarding incapacity benefit but if it is, dont you think Labour are hypocrites..... They used the healthcare charges against the SNP at Glenrothes but they are doing or gonna do the same to the ill miners.

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  • 141. At 10:56am on 08 Nov 2008, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    So unlike the vast majority of Americans the people of Glenrothes would seem not to want change.

    We must assume therefore that they are happy with the low economic growth, massive house price inflation, record household debt levels and the ever expanding trade deficit that Gordon Brown has given us.

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  • 142. At 11:39am on 08 Nov 2008, regmitchell wrote:

    #141 Wee-Scamp

    Exaggerations and distortions simply detract from your own case and could cause readers to view any other, valid, points you make with some sceptism.

    "...the vast majority of Americans..."
    In fact McCain got 46.6% of the vote and Obama got 52.5%. Is that what you consider a vast majority?

    "massive house price inflation..." Have you read even ANY news items about the housing market over the past 12-15 months? Hello.... prices are falling, by aprx. 20-25% p.a.!

    I'm convinced perhaps the other points in your post are maybe correct(?).

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  • 143. At 11:50am on 08 Nov 2008, Jim Currie wrote:

    Brian, I am disapointed but not surprised by your comments. Is this what is termed 'journalistic license'?

    How on earth can you compare what went on in Glenrothes to the normal political run of events, particularly at this time?

    Those who cast their votes for Mr. Brown, cast their votes for the out-dated 'spin doctor' system. Who on earth do they think was and still is behind the UK's financial woes? Mr. Brown is throwing their and Tax Payer's money at a problem caused by blinkered, greedy people - egged-on by short-sighted politicians.
    This time, their ' Old Labour Horse' was first past the post. When they remove the blinkers they'll see their left (no pun intended) with a ' tired old nag'!

    I sincerely hope the people of Scotland exhibit the nationalistic strength of character that has enabled them to cast off the ancient (not old) labour ideals and not be duped as easily as the folks in Fife.

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  • 144. At 11:59am on 08 Nov 2008, Bill__Posters wrote:

    #136 oldnat

    I take your point and agree with it.

    Personally, like many others, I dare say, I am unenthusiastic about various aspects of party politics and would probably steer clear of it if it were not for the constitutional question, which some people in England would like to resolve, apparently, by integrating Scotland into that country altogether, although Scottish unionists will deny it.

    Clearly, if one does not accept that one's favoured party is capable of error, one is oneself in error. By the same token, any party that considers itself to be incapable of error is doomed and any party leader who considers himself or herself to be infallible thereby demonstrates a dangerous level of fallibility.

    Although not au fait with the detail of Mr Salmond's response to the by-election result, I gather that he is not claiming to be infallible and that he is acknowledging that there are lessons to be learned. This confirms, it seems to me, that the SNP is capable of benefiting from recent events. Those who learn as they go along reduce their fallibility, which is all that any of us can hope for.

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  • 145. At 12:05pm on 08 Nov 2008, freedjmac wrote:

    Well now, Brian,

    Just when you think the surprise of Thursday's result could not be exceeded, along come Messrs Burt and Matthewson and truly set the cat amongst the pigeons!!

    The honeymoon will be well and truly back on if these two gentlemen succeed in their audacious proposal!

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  • 146. At 12:57pm on 08 Nov 2008, crazyislander wrote:

    Oi Neil_small147

    Instead of letting your fingers rattle across your keyboard, try reading my comment. I am well aware of the considerable contribution to this country made by miners and their families.

    I resent a stupid lecture from somone who has missed my point. That point was, if you go out and vote for a party which has as one of its main policies, the removal of Incapacity Benefit and you are a sick and diseased miner, you will fofeit my sympathy.

    These people will sooner rather than later be called to their local JobCentre PLUS for an, 'interview' to see what they CAN do to return to work and then forced onto Jobseekers allowance (£26.00 per week less ie., £60.00) or sent on enless, 'training for work' courses. I cannot therefore have sympathy for such an individual as they have slit their own throats and those of others by reinforcing a non-socialist , fiscally and morally bankrupt government.

    So, what is the view on this policy of the new Glenrothes MP? Yes, I think we can all guess, very much pro! Did he mention that when he footered about the Miners Clubs and doctor's surgeries? No, you bet your life he didn't.

    Are you Neil, in favour of this policy? Are you one of those who says, "well we have to stop fraud and reduce the amount the taxpayer pays out in benefits" and other such Sun/Daily Mail rubbish?

    In future Neil, don't be the man with the big nose by not reading a comment more asiduously. Think on

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  • 147. At 1:22pm on 08 Nov 2008, Anaxim wrote:

    Thomas Porter #117

    Believe it or not, there's more to Aberdeen than oil and golf courses. For example, FirstGroup, headquartered in Aberdeen, is one of the world's largest bus companies. They own the iconic Greyhound buses in America, which is pretty cool. The SNP don't talk this up nearly enough.

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  • 148. At 1:51pm on 08 Nov 2008, regmitchell wrote:

    Anaxim 147 (& ThomasPorter 117)

    P.R. job...! FirstGroup (not just worldwide buses - trains and trams too!) and apart from the mentioned US Greyhounds, they also have the major franchise for the equally iconic American yellow school buses, under the holding name of FirstStudent. Mind you, there's a bit of negative publicity there according to my Google..... Their shareprice is also picking up again now!

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  • 149. At 2:07pm on 08 Nov 2008, Haggistrap wrote:

    I am an SNP supporter and credit it where it is due, Labour did well.

    It does not matter how they got there, everyone can use the same tools.

    I believe this reality check for the SNP is a good thing and hopefully will result in a revised & stronger strategy.

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  • 150. At 2:09pm on 08 Nov 2008, Tom wrote:

    Anaxim:

    #147.

    Believe it or not, but the Oil Industry has the greatest impact on Aberdeen. I am not suggesting that Aberdeen has nothing else to offer, I am making clear that the Oil Industry has been one of the main reasons unemployment has been below average.

    Did you know over twenty five percent of businesses in Aberdeen rely on the Oil Industry? The figure rises when you include businesses which benefit from the Oil Industry's work force. These people are paid huge wages, which of course is spent in Aberdeen.

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  • 151. At 2:25pm on 08 Nov 2008, rabbiehippo wrote:

    #150 Theres gonna be a lot of redundant helicopter engineers when the oil runs out .... but saying that you wont have fuel to fly the damned things anyway ;o)}

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  • 152. At 2:29pm on 08 Nov 2008, Ukingdom wrote:

    The problem for the SNP is quite straightforward, with each win they claim it is because the majority want separation from the United Kingdom. Clearly the electorate do not have the same aspirations.

    Such would be futile because we are one nation. If only the SNP could have realised this, they may well have won Glenrothes. In the event they let the people of the United Kingdom down and given victory to our common enemy Brown and Co.

    I say to my friend "Oldnat" and others urge you leaders to look beyond your immediate goal, the real aim is to rid us of Brown, Meddlesome, Harman and Co for if you cannot see the wider picture you are doomed to the dustbin of history.

    The Tories are not the enemies you are too comfortable in portraying, seek the vision to talk to them, you will find common ground and a way forward but not if you remain a single issue party. Your failure at Glenrothes may yet be forgiven.

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  • 153. At 2:31pm on 08 Nov 2008, northhighlander wrote:

    Re133

    I would like to think that Alex would learn from this and focus on making government work. However his initial comment on blaming labour's negative campaign was a bit rich, the SNP are no slouches in this area. Don't complain if you get shot when you fly with the crows.

    I also think Jim Sillars made the most sensible observations on the contest, the SNP should listen to his voice.

    Lastly Alex is not an Obama. He has to portray a SNP that extends beyond him. He does not have the universal appeal he thinks he has. Sots don't like arrogant show offs.


    As regard to the cause for constitutional reform, the SNP will never push a federal structure, we need another horse in the race for that to become a reality.

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  • 154. At 2:39pm on 08 Nov 2008, Tom wrote:

    Ukingdom:

    #152.

    Your rant against the Scottish National Party is slightly embarressing because neither Nationalist nor Unionist Party brought up Independence.

    The Scottish National Party lost for several reasons. They picked the wrong candidate, they should have realised that Peter Grant would have been attacked constantly. The Scottish National Party also failed to put confidence back into voters during the banking crises (despite Scots Government being unable to do much anyway, apparently the public still expect them to do something!).

    It also never helped that Labour were quite misleading in their claims which would have put anyone against the Scottish National Party. Last but not least Brown has managed to maintain that there are no major banking problems which would also have an impact on his image.

    I would suggest that Brown call a general election. If the financial crises continues or quickly becomes worse then Brown would be back as the unpopular Prime Minister. Politically, its far to big a gamble hoping that things will get better when this may be the best times we are going to have for now.

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  • 155. At 2:40pm on 08 Nov 2008, regmitchell wrote:

    ThomasPorter 147

    No argument with you there. But some might say that's perhaps too many eggs in one basket? I do follow Anaxmin's point. Not suggesting we chuck any of the eggs out, just encourage some more baskets. Now there's oil, buses and... Trump!

    Meanwhile, back on the subject of Glenrothes, it's a bit diisappointing to see some posters on here are now actually blaming the electorate. That seems a bit desperate, reiminiscent of WW1 Generals blaming the soldiers for defeats.

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  • 156. At 2:49pm on 08 Nov 2008, Tom wrote:

    Regmitchell:

    Of course. Trump is another 'good egg' to go with our already impressive basket.

    I agree. The electorate was not the problem, Alex Salmond admits there were mistakes made along the way. I've acknowledged and made my own conclusion about why Labour won/SNP lost.

    It's politics at the end of the day though. This is how its played.

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  • 157. At 2:52pm on 08 Nov 2008, Planejock wrote:

    151 rabbiehippo

    They'll just have to re-adjust to working on Firstgroup's battery and hydrogen-powered (note I didn't say wind-powered!) buses & trains then, won't they?
    And get their bus passes early!

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  • 158. At 2:58pm on 08 Nov 2008, rabbiehippo wrote:

    Thomas ... it wouldnt have mattered if Peter Grant was the candidate or not ..they still would have attacked the council cutbacks. But as crazyislander has pointed out other things will come back to haunt Labour in that constituancy. That and all the other stuff thats gonna kick off soon . Gordon is making out he is some world leader . Just wait till OPEC bumps the price of oil up again. He was lucky that oil went down when it did or he would have had less votes.

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  • 159. At 3:23pm on 08 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #153 northhighlander

    "As regard to the cause for constitutional reform, the SNP will never push a federal structure, we need another horse in the race for that to become a reality."

    If I agreed that was the case, I'd stop posting here about Confederalism (much to peoples' relief, no doubt!)

    The SNP will always advocate "Independence", but the leadership have effectively redefined the term, since my days in the the SNP in the 1970's.

    The decision by the SNP to embrace Europe, the Euro, the Lisbon Treaty have effectively transformed the SNP into a European Confederal party.

    The decision to campaign for a Scottish Parliament confirmed that they had adopted a gradualist approach as an effective tactic.

    Recent rhetoric has been more on fiscal autonomy as the next step.

    The advantage for the Scottish people of gradualism is that progress towards autonomy will only proceed at the speed which the voters want.

    The real downside to the Glenrothes result would be if the Calman Commission watered down any moves towards greater powers for the Parliament.

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  • 160. At 3:26pm on 08 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #158 rabbiehippo

    "they still would have attacked the council cutbacks"

    Yes, but a candidate who wasn't a councillor, could have dissented from Fife Council's decisions - and blamed the Lib-Dems influence!

    Lies and half-truths are the meat of election campaigns - though fortunately never on this blog!

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  • 161. At 4:25pm on 08 Nov 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    The two former heads of the BoS and RBS, both of which are now in dire financial trouble due to their incompetent management, call for the current bosses of HBOS to be sacked and that they should take charge instead!

    And Salmond says they are "much respected figures" and "he'll take their claim very seriously"!

    Those idiots ruined our two greatest banks!

    The plot has been well and truly lost at Bute House.

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  • 162. At 5:00pm on 08 Nov 2008, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    #150 Thomas_Porter wrote:

    "Did you know over twenty five percent of businesses in Aberdeen rely on the Oil Industry?"

    ... Thomas, did YOU know that 100% of businesses worldwide rely on the oil industry?

    ...oh, and I mean rely 'DIRECTLY' on the oil industry?


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  • 163. At 5:13pm on 08 Nov 2008, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    #152, Ukingdom wrote:
    "The problem for the SNP is quite straightforward, with each win they claim it is because the majority want separation from the United Kingdom. Clearly the electorate do not have the same aspirations.

    Such would be futile because we are one nation. If only the SNP could have realised this, they may well have won Glenrothes."

    ... so what are you suggesting here? That a quarter of the population of Scotland who do want independance are denied their right to vote for it?

    ...Is it a democracy or a dictatorship you are after?

    ...Ps. you show me where or when the SNP have stated that the majority want political autounomy for Scotland? As far as I was aware, the SNP exists as a party to promote and put this option forward to the Scottish people... and it will be for the Scottish people to determine their verdict.

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  • 164. At 5:14pm on 08 Nov 2008, rabbiehippo wrote:

    Further to my post regarding conflicting banks in the HBOS/ Lloys TSB merger here are some for the Glenrothes area


    HBOS PLACE LLOYDSTSB

    1 GLENROTHES 1
    1 CUPAR 1
    1 LEVEN 2
    2 KIRKALDY 0
    1 LOCHGELLY 1
    2 DUNFERMLINE 2

    So you can see that people in this area will also loose jobs due to Labour pushing through this merger.

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  • 165. At 5:26pm on 08 Nov 2008, enneffess wrote:

    140. At 10:40am on 08 Nov 2008, rabbiehippo wrote:
    #128 Neil ... from my take ...Crazyislander is not saying the miners are mentally ill ... but physically ill. What i perceive his post to be is that some of these people are blindly voting Labour but are about to get clobbered by the changes to incapacity benefit that Labour are bringing/brought in . Now i dont know if this is the case regarding incapacity benefit but if it is, dont you think Labour are hypocrites..... They used the healthcare charges against the SNP at Glenrothes but they are doing or gonna do the same to the ill miners.

    --------

    I know what he was saying. It was the way he wrote it. The implication was that everyone who dared to vote Labour was stupid. I read the post four times before I commented.

    I understand incapacity benefit and training for work. I was on them due to a serious illness 8 years ago. I'm back where I was in terms of salary etc but I had to work at it. I also know there are people who are happy to live off benefits rather than work, and therefore will vote Labour. But don't tell me 19,000 people are all on benefits.

    I know Labour are hypocrits, and want to see them booted from power. However, the SNP are not the perfect party either.

    Labour saw an opportunity to play dirty and took it. The SNP were in my opinion stupid enough to use the Council Leader. I have no doubt is he probably a good politician, but it should have been obvious what was going to happen.

    I'm glad to see Alex Salmond humble for once, unlike Nicola on election night. Perhaps finally he has realised he needs to stop being smug and be a little bit more realistic.

    The SNP fell short by 3,500 votes on Thursday, despite a massive effort. Perhaps they should play dirty.

    Most of the electorate are not stupid. They can see when people are playing mind games. But politicians have to remember what is important to most people: food, warmth, a home and financial security. Independence or unionism is only a main point for a relative few.

    Also remember that Labour won two council by-elections as well. I don't know about the areas but were they expected SNP targets?

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  • 166. At 5:40pm on 08 Nov 2008, rabbiehippo wrote:

    165 Neil the SNP's choice might not have been right but ill bet he new what his budget was for his area ..... unlike the frightened rabbit that was Roy ....

    Some good will come of this tho ... The SNP should regroup and look at what happened. Next time they will be ready. Mind you it doesnt help when you have the newspapers against you or the BBC for that matter.

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  • 167. At 5:43pm on 08 Nov 2008, handclapping wrote:

    #164. rabbiehippo

    I was there in the High St today so its at least

    2 KIRK"C"ALDY 1

    I won't mention East Fife 0-2 Raith Rovers!

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  • 168. At 6:02pm on 08 Nov 2008, crazyislander wrote:

    Well Neil_small147, bully for you, you got yourself nice and well and are making your old salary again. I am genuinely pleased to hear it. But, oh, what about the poor sick miners you professed to be so caring about? NO amount of "working at it" is going to make anyone suffering from mesothelioma get better or get a job much less one at their previous salary(that should wage, miners didn't get salaries). You are the lucky one, there are thousands of people who are not. Chronic illness is no joke and no amount of cynical government meddling is going to make it any better.

    And good heavens, you know there are, "people who live off the back of benefits". Were you able to manage on £86.00 per week when you were ill? Do you think anyone right in the head would choose to live in penury rather than work unless they had to?

    In fact, do you even know the price of a loaf? Good luck to you with your recovery, you best hope however that you don't have a relapse or take some other malady for there won't even be an Incapacity Benefit then.

    If there are thousands of people on sickness benefits the government should see that we have a large sick population and NOT as the gutter press and the BBC would have us believe, a bunch of scroungers. If they come to realise that, rather than punishing the sick, provide them with proper care and a living income.

    Now as to my suggesting that anyone who votes Labour is mad. ANY ordinary human being with so much as a kernel of a social conscience would find that such a kernel would be incompatible with support of Labour.

    And oldnat, I am NOT a member of the SNP. I'm not a member of ANY political party nor will I ever be. I want my country to run its own affairs for better or for worse. Right now, that leaves only the SNP as my choice.

    I do happen to think that Alex Salmond and his team have done an excellent job in their first 18 months. I only hope they can keep it up. One thing is certain though, they need to realise that Labour are formidible liars. They have years of experience at scaring their voters into thinking only they are capable of running things. The gloves must come off and the boot has to swing.

    I am also sorry that you found my comment too long. Of course as you are OLDnat I am mindful that the elderly have short spans of attention. I'll try to be brief in future to suit you. On second thoughts, na.

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  • 169. At 6:53pm on 08 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #168 crazyislander

    Fair enough. I think I misunderstood your post.

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  • 170. At 7:06pm on 08 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #165 Neil_Small147

    "Labour won two council by-elections as well."

    I thought I'd have a look at the details of how the votes broke down in Forth as the votes were re-allocated.

    Labour started off with a 172 lead over the SNP on 1st preference votes.

    The next preferences of the Greens, Socialists and Independents broke 36% SNP, 27% Lab, 1% Con, 2% LD.

    The critical point came when the LD next preferences broke 27% Lab, 22% SNP, 20% Con.

    The Tory next preferences broke virtually equal 18.6% SNP, 18.4% Lab.

    Interestingly in the final calculation 37% of SNP next preferences went to Labour, who ended up with a 4% lead over the SNP.

    I'm not sure what any of this means! - but on this margin of difference, there are clearly a significant number of voters who can be SNP or Lab depending on the current mood.

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  • 171. At 7:49pm on 08 Nov 2008, amicusalba wrote:

    Wow - Chill 'crazyislander', It seems your username reflects your persona. You are one angry guy / girl.

    I now understand universal traits - social consciousness and Labour are incompatible; 'old people' are to be typecast but sick benefit claimants are not; Labour are formidable liars but the SNP is not; and (rather ominously) the "gloves must come off and the boot has to swing".

    I know one thing, old nat (and therefore old people) can spell ;-)

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  • 172. At 8:18pm on 08 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #171 amicusalba

    Enough of the "old people" !!!

    Old people are those 20 years older than me (and have been for the last 40 years)

    :-)

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  • 173. At 8:20pm on 08 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    Good for BBC Alba!

    Currently showing the United v Aberdeen game.

    (Wish the result had been different)

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  • 174. At 8:27pm on 08 Nov 2008, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    #168, I have to agree... your average Labour voter is intellectually challenged and must have lost their moral compass in Basra... infact, it was probably left in a briefcase on a train to Baghdad!

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  • 175. At 8:37pm on 08 Nov 2008, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    #171, amicusalba... it has to be admitted though, that anyone who voted for a party which caused 100,000 (approx.) murders in their last two terms in office and lied to their gullable public to carry these crimes out, has to be either a little short on grey matter or just as evil as the guilty.

    ... the Labourite politicians are all running around wearing poppy's, but none of them remembered the word's "Least we forget".

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  • 176. At 8:40pm on 08 Nov 2008, aye_write wrote:

    I remember having a little bit of involvement in a branch of the SNP in the early '90s and, I'm sorry, but it was cringeworthy (and disheartening) to watch them "in action". Todays party has arguably transformed itself into the successful party of government.

    So, if has had the ability to make such large strides ('til now), it would seem likely it will absorb the Glenrothes result to it's future advantage.

    In order to win the seat, the SNP had to appreciate the extent to which Labour absolutely could not afford to loose it. As such, it was a special case...

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  • 177. At 8:59pm on 08 Nov 2008, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    There are a lot of SNP supporters who don't agree with all of their policies, aka Trump for one, but wish detachment from Westminster and all of it's undemocratic ruling and corruption.

    I came across this
    Westminster Diary the third title 'DEATH BY COMMITTEE?' shows how all things are OK as long as it suits the overlord.

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  • 178. At 9:01pm on 08 Nov 2008, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    There are a lot of SNP supporters who don't agree with all of their policies, aka Trump for one, but wish detachment from Westminster and all of it's undemocratic ruling and corruption.

    I came across this
    Westminster Diary the third title 'DEATH BY COMMITTEE?' shows how all things are OK as long as it suits the overlord.

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  • 179. At 9:21pm on 08 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    Aberdeen still losing to United, just like this afternoon (funny that!) so I thought I'd have a look at the September and November Baillieston by-elections.

    How depressing.

    Turn out Sep - 23% : Nov - 21%

    Both of them 2 party contests between Lab and SNP

    Sep - SNP - 48.3% : Lab - 44.5%
    Nov - SNP - 45.5% : Lab - 49.5%

    Sep - 29 % Lab next preferences to SNP
    Nov - 33% SNP next preferences to Lab

    Even among the small number who were committed enough to vote, roughly 30% of the only 2 parties that matter, seem to be flexible as to which party they'll vote for at any particular election.

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  • 180. At 9:26pm on 08 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #178 cynicalHighlander

    Thanks for the link.

    I look forward to the Glenrothes Gazette reporting Lindsay Roy's contributions to the South-East of England committee! - might be some mileage in this for both Scottish and English Nationalists!

    I'll post something on this on NR's blog to wind them up!

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  • 181. At 9:50pm on 08 Nov 2008, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    #180 oldnat
    Couldn't let this anagram go! priceless

    The Houses of Parliament Loonies far up the Thames

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  • 182. At 10:21pm on 08 Nov 2008, amicusalba wrote:

    #175 BoNGO_1.

    I don't believe that anyone would justify the Iraq war in hindsight and I believe that it devided the country even in foresight. This is a single (albeit a most important event) that will be the biggest question mark / stain in Labours history. The lead that they took in Kosovo is judged differently. And my view is as a life long career soldier.

    As Tip O'Neill said "All politics is local" and that is how the majority of the people of Glenrothes voted. They were not idiotic, dumb or had no social conscious. They voted on what mattered to them. However you want to look at it; blame lies fairly with the SNP that they could not 'expose Labour lies', dispose an unpopular government, or convey a message that constituents believed or wanted.


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  • 183. At 10:47pm on 08 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #181 cynicalHighlander

    Sorry, can't work it out.

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  • 184. At 10:54pm on 08 Nov 2008, enneffess wrote:

    170. At 7:06pm on 08 Nov 2008, oldnat

    Oops, I forgot about the blooming preference voting.

    Funny thing with Conservatives in Scotland is that they have quite a few councillors, and some will always be there.

    I've given up on crazyislander, I don't know who is in favour of, but he seems to be having a go at everyone!

    I think the country is fairly split over the SNP and Labour. The financial crisis has helped Labour, and the two ex-BOS and RBOS execs do not help matters with regards to the HBOS issue. They are playing right into the hands of the media.

    Alex Salmond has his work cut out a bit. The "arc of prosperity" needs to be ditched. First Iceland is in, then it isn't really. People want to know what Scotland can realistically do, not a comparison test.

    Out of interest, what are the SNP's plans for benefits etc under an independent government? Will people suddenly lose out? Bet Labour will play that card, and most likely the Tories as well.

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  • 185. At 10:56pm on 08 Nov 2008, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    #183 oldnat

    Soryy it didn't come out as Copied.

    The Houses of Parliament anagrams as

    Loonies far up the Thames

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  • 186. At 11:33pm on 08 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #185 cynicalHighlander

    With global warming, it also anagrams to

    "Thames far up the Loonies"

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  • 187. At 11:43pm on 08 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    184 Neil_Small147

    There will be wards in some areas where Tories and LDs will be able to win a council by-election, but in most areas, they need a multi-member election to avoid being squeezed.

    I remember the SNP being triumphant over the 1st Baillieston by-election victory, as Labour are doing with the 2nd. I'm not normally critical of Brian Taylor, but in this case his

    "How, though, to explain the fact that they also lost two council by-elections to Labour last night, one in Glasgow, one in Edinburgh? Their momentum has stalled."
    is ridiculously overstated, and political commentators should really know better.

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  • 188. At 11:47pm on 08 Nov 2008, Greetings_Earthlings wrote:

    And so beneath the darkening clouds that are sweeping over the skies at the commencement of the season of economic woe that is beginning to settle upon this dotty little planet, where the commanding heights of commercial stock-exchanging and commodity-trading are conducted like some globally-interconnected wild-West gambling joint of the lawless regions of mid-19th-century America, the electors of Glenrothes have shown themselves to be apparently oblivious to what is about to happen to them in consequence of the financial crisis which these primitive practices have brought upon their world. A moment of global history is taking place in a region of consciousness to which their insensitive antennae are apparently not attuned, picking up little more, it seems, than something known as TV soaps or fitba matches and the like, viewed not infrequently in something called a pub, where indolent sages of little brain and wizened brawn sup their inebriating potions while exposing their spectacular ignorance for all to hear.

    Into this community of unsophisticated supine citizens a pack of ravening wolves from the south descended, as expected, and panicked the flock of sheep, sending them heading off, as one might expect, not in a direction which reason might indicate to be likely to present them with the greatest degree of safety and well-being but straight into the jaws of their desperate overlord pursuers. Would that I had underestimated the electorate of Glenrothes.

    Having made their bed, they will now have to lie in it. If they find it uncomfortable, will the Labour UK overlords blame other administrations again when the next elections come around? You can bet your bottom dollar they will, whatever that may be, for this is the new game in town. Confuse the electorate by blaming the other tiers of government for the disasters visited upon them by the overlords. Ruthless, aren't they? But you knew that, surely.

    So what are the opponents of UK overlordship going to do about it? Go away and revise their strategy, presumably, bearing in mind that the electorate of the Labour heartland is particularly gullible and prone to self-harm and so is peculiarly difficult to enlighten and win over. The pro-independence movement has got its work cut out. Confused and misled though the electorate may have been, its verdict has clearly to be respected and responded to, for that is the democratic way, of course. Electorates and juries must be deemed to be infallible even when they are judged to be fickle and misguided. If you don't care for that, don't go into politics and don't get into trouble.

    Weaknesses in the SNP's armour have been identified and so should be repaired. This by-election can beneficially serve as a test bed for policies either being implemented or currently proposed. The electorate has been shown to be not persuaded, for example, by the proposals concerning raising of age restrictions on sale of alcohol in shops. In a democracy, even an imperfect one - is there any other kind? - the voter is king even if you think you know better. So obey him. The electorate has expressed distaste for the imposition of certain means-tested care charges by local authorities. Although there has been misrepresentation in connection with these, there is plainly a problem here, and it will have to be addressed.

    Other weaknesses that can be exploited by its opponents to turn the electorate against the SNP government must also be faced up to and dealt with if it is to have any prospect at all of achieving its primary aims. It must tidy up its act, in other words, so as to be in a strong position to present its independence-referendum proposals at the proper time.

    Fortunately for the SNP, the First Minister himself is evidently intent upon heeding the message from Glenrothes:

    "While it's certainly true that we had virtually untrammelled political success for 18 months, nothing in politics or life continues in that vein forever. The job of confronting a setback is to learn lessons, to overcome it and come back stronger. That's what we intend to do." Very wise.

    Unwilling to try your patience any longer, realizing and indeed appreciating as I do that some of you are very wise too, I will now disappear until the next elections, unless some irresistibly seismic event occurs in the meantime, such as the Scottish Labour leader uttering a sentence at FMQs without reading it from a script.

    Toodloo.

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  • 189. At 00:11am on 09 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #184 Neil_Small147

    Having complained about long posts, I'm replying to you in sections!

    "Alex Salmond has his work cut out a bit. The "arc of prosperity" needs to be ditched. First Iceland is in, then it isn't really."

    Obviously Iceland played badly with its recent crisis, but it may be a good example again in the future.

    1. They won't embrace the extreme version of Brown's "post neo classical endogenous growth theory" again - which was the source of their banking problem.

    2. In a globalised economy, a small country (like their larger neighbour in the UK) is endangered by having an independent currency. You will know they are considering adopting the euro - and there are a number of mechanisms under which this could happen.

    3. The world community is confident enough in Iceland's ability to recover to loan them the cash - not just the IMF, but a consortium of European countries including Poland.

    4. Iceland's greatest strength is energy. Last time I was there I talked to an American engineer who was there to work on their renewable energy programme, which already provides 100% of their electricity. They are in the process of converting their fishing fleet and vehicles to hydrogen power, and this was planned to make them totally fuel independent by 2050.

    5. Aluminium production is hugely power intensive, and Iceland is already a major producer - one suspects that the current crisis will reduce the environmental opposition to the new plants which are at the planning stage.

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  • 190. At 00:44am on 09 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #184 Neil_Small147

    "People want to know what Scotland can realistically do, not a comparison test."

    The problem that the Nationalists have had, is that Scotland was constantly portrayed by the Unionists (mainly Labour) as being too small and poor to be independent. Using other small countries as examples was the necessary response.

    While oil destroyed that argument, we were then told we were being selfish.

    The trouble with the oil argument was that it took the focus away from the required restructuring of the Scottish economy. Oil will allow Scotland to make the transition, but now that the UK has spent much of it, it's no longer the saviour that some SNP supporters seem to think.

    The SNP has understood the need for restructuring - hence its business friendly policies, and the concentration on energy renewables.

    UK Governments of both parties, as well as the SNP, placed their faith in financial services (see where that got us).

    However, business & finance services were only 16% of Scottish exports in 2004. I read recently that these services provided 70% of the UK balance of payments gap (I couldn't find comparative Scottish and UK figures). It seems likely that the derivatives collapse will affect the UK much more than Scotland.

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  • 191. At 01:09am on 09 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    Glenrothes voters - enjoy

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  • 192. At 01:14am on 09 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    Shetland's future status

    Glad that SNP and LDs are responding positively to this.

    I doubt that the Tories care, but how will Labour respond?

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  • 193. At 08:36am on 09 Nov 2008, rabbiehippo wrote:

    #192 Labour..... i daresay they will be might pee'd off. They wont want to loose out on taxes, especially if a new oil field is discovered off the Scottish West coast.

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  • 194. At 10:31am on 09 Nov 2008, raisethegame wrote:

    If anyone needs a reason to support the SNP read the piece in today's Scotland on Sunday under the headline: "Brown to deny Scots Parliament more powers"
    Holding the Glenrothes seat has sent him (and the Scotsman) into heady transports and he obviously thinks the Scots love him again so he can swat the pretensions north of the border. It would seem he's not bothering to wait for the report from the Calman Commission.
    Here's an extract
    "In the wake of Labour's Glenrothes by-election victory over the SNP, the Prime Minister will argue there are no reasonable grounds for changing Scotland's devolutionary settlement.

    Nationalist ministers have argued that powers – for example, over gun crime, taxation, broadcasting and electoral law – should be transferred to Holyrood immediately.

    But in a 120-page document to be released tomorrow, Brown's Government will pour cold water over every area, arguing the current division of powers is still the best for Scotland and the UK.

    Senior sources close to the Prime Minister declared the move as a bid to show a "more confident" UK approach to the SNP threat in Scotland following the Glenrothes victory."

    Give him an inch.....

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  • 195. At 10:55am on 09 Nov 2008, enneffess wrote:

    187. At 11:43pm on 08 Nov 2008, oldnat:

    I agree with your comments. The SNP progress hasn't stalled - yet. But AS must change his tactics.

    He has to get away from claiming almost anything successful is Scottish. It is getting tiresome.

    Gordon Brown is not going to give away more power. Part of the problem is likely to be fear of the effects on the English economy, and partly because the SNP are still behaving in an politically immature manner at times.

    Glenrothes was a kick up the backside.

    Could Jim Sillars be waiting in the wings here?

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  • 196. At 12:08pm on 09 Nov 2008, rabbiehippo wrote:

    Neil ... whats the situation with Jim Sillars. I was at an SNP rally just after he won his by-election but im not aware of the reasons for his leaving the party.... for that matter what about Margo Mcdonald. I lived in England for a while and therefore heard nothing of Scottish politics at the time......

    Perhaps we are going to see a new level of politics from the SNP buy the look on Alexs face in an interview .... i daresay the gloves will come off now....

    Brown has made a misjudgement too regarding Mandelson .... the man was in the company of a russian billionaire who is barred from entering the US because of suspected Russian mafia links.


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  • 197. At 12:25pm on 09 Nov 2008, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    My initial prognosis - that the SNP would not win Glenrothes - proved to be correct.
    I got confused in the course of the election but my initial feeling was the correct one. The media which had an interest in damaging Gordon Brown at Glasgow East did the opposite in the last few months up to the Glenrothes contest with the object of confirming him as Labour leader.
    Now that the revolt against GB in the Labour party is dead you will find the agenda running away from him again as he is confirmed as a lame duck leader to be beaten at the next election.
    Latest opinion polls show his support falling away again with the Tories now showing 13% ahead UK wide.
    Perversely GB remaining Labour leader is good news for the opposition including the SNP.
    Ignore the strange Glenrothes result, though I understand more than myself are deeply puzzled by it. Having been at dozens of by-elections I usually can call them by the feel you get from the electorate. I got no sense whatsover of a comfortable Labour victory.
    However there may have been two factors at work which contributed to the result.
    1) Whereas before Tory and libDem voters may have voted tactically for the SNP to beat Labour it is probable that the unionists among them may now be voting tactically to beat the SNP
    2) The very late Labour campaign, which was mounted as the Brown Bounce and visits from Sarah Brown were having little evident effect, was disreputable in the extreme and has nothing to say about national political issues. It was described in the Herald as "negative scaremongering verging on dishonest" and that about sums it up. SNP understimated the effect and did not make any effective attempt to rebutt much of it - and it was all fairly easily rebutted. I suspect Labour may pay for this when many voters discover they have been deceived.

    Lets get all this into perspective. This was a ultra safe Labour seat at which Labour pulled out all the stops including deploying the Prime Minister. Sensation. They held the seat with a greatly reduced majority.
    This is a one-off - the last stand if you like but Labour is inelectable on the UK stage.

    The notion that the SNP should at this point win all the safe Labour seats it contests is nonsensical and there is no danger to Alex Salmond's position because of Glenrothes.

    However as an SNP activist I would be a lot happier if the opportunity to promote the case for Scottish independence was put as a major component of all SNP campaigns and it is time now that the potential in an independent Scotland was painted more energetically by the party.

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  • 198. At 12:58pm on 09 Nov 2008, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 199. At 2:22pm on 09 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #194 raisethegame

    On Tuesday, the Calman Commission will discuss the details of their Initial Report.

    On their website, I can find submissions from the Greens and Lib-Dems, but nothing from the Tories or Labour in Scotland.

    Now we have this last minute "no change" from Brown (and there may have been something from the other UK parties, which hasn't been leaked yet).

    We'll soon see if the Commission has genuinely examined the evidence they were given (in which case they should follow the Lib-Dem line), or whether they are Labour's creature, and suggest no (or only cosmetic) change.

    Politically, we may yet see significant change, and a significant gulf between the Lib-Dems as just another Unionist Party, or whether they come out fighting for their constitutional preferences.

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  • 200. At 2:53pm on 09 Nov 2008, handclapping wrote:

    Brian

    There will be one for whom this is a glad confident morning, Gordon Brown.

    Remember after Glasgow East he was in danger of loosing his seat? It looks as if even allowing for the SNP to run a really negative campaign on the "Government record" he will still get back with a 8500 majority instead of the 18200 he has now, so that's a relief then.

    Pity though; Kirkcaldy could have put itself on the map as the only place to have voted a sitting PM out of office at a General Election!

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  • 201. At 3:12pm on 09 Nov 2008, northhighlander wrote:

    Re new powers and shetland

    Witgh regard to the article on new powers for Holyrood, I feel that there is a lot of debate required before anychanges are made to the devolution settlement.

    One of the main problems with the current Parliamnet is that the SNP seem to be more concerned with creating the correct environment for a referendum than getting on with governing the country. When they do concentrate on governing they have some good ideas. More making things work is required to convince the electorate of the benefits of any constitutional change.

    A good 2-3 years of work in parliamnet can convince the electorate of the positive benefits of futher change. But that requires a different approach from the SNP, I hope that is the positive development from Glenrothes.

    So why would a UK Labour government want to grant more powers to provide a wider range of issues for Salmond to pick a fight on? I don't agree that this should be the case but a significant number of voters in Glenrothes didn't want the change envisaged by the SNP, and national polls back this up.

    So Calmans findings needs debated properly and for this to happen then the SNP need to get involved. Then some change can be made to happen, if the electorate want this to happen.

    Regarding Shetland, good luck to them, what they propose is the only way small communities will ever get the government they want free from either Westminster domination or Holyrood domination. There really is little difference between them for those in remote and rural parts of Scotland.

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  • 202. At 3:21pm on 09 Nov 2008, handclapping wrote:

    Brian

    I am more interested in what the voters are telling us rather that the "Politics" of interpreting the result. Yet another wierdness of this vote is the squeeze put on everybody else.

    Vote for 2 main parties; 2005 75.3% 2008 91.6%!

    I mean votes of over 90% are what you expect in Stalinist regimes and this was a bye-election, you know a chance to kick over the traces and vote for fun.
    Can anyone explain what has been going on here? There is definitely more than meets the eye and the "explantions" of the parties are just so much hot air and spin. They obviously don't and didn't know; can you enlighten us please?

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  • 203. At 3:34pm on 09 Nov 2008, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 196

    Rabbie, I hope you are right, we see a new style of politics from the SNP.

    I hope they realise Alec is not universally popular and start to show the rest of the team to better effect. A presidental style of politics doesn't work here. People also don't like arrogance.

    Also they must not develop the argument Labour used negative tactice in Glenrothes and go further down this road. The SNP need to present a positive vision of change.

    A review of the recent financial crisis showed the SNP came up with little that showed how any changed constitutional settlement would benefit the nation in this type of crisis.

    Now I appreciate the difficult politics and the need for some consensus, but a positive message was required. Instead we got a mish mash of illthought out ideas that made GB look good as there was coherant alternative vision.

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  • 204. At 3:45pm on 09 Nov 2008, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:


    mutterings starting about this very odd result

    http://scot-land.blogspot.com/2008/11/vote-fraud-in-glenrothes-was-election.html

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  • 205. At 4:12pm on 09 Nov 2008, enneffess wrote:

    196. At 12:08pm on 09 Nov 2008, rabbiehippo wrote:
    Neil ... whats the situation with Jim Sillars


    To be honest, I have never really paid much attention to the man, and his comments were a surprise. Maybe not now, but I'm wondering if he is looking to take on Alex Salmond should a referendum on independence fail. Again, I'll admit I know nothing about the relationship between the two of them, but it is politics. And Salmond is at time confident to the point of arrogance.


    201. At 3:12pm on 09 Nov 2008, northhighlander wrote:

    One of the main problems with the current Parliamnet is that the SNP seem to be more concerned with creating the correct environment for a referendum than getting on with governing the country.


    I think that statement sums up precisely what is wrong and a factor in why the SNP failed to take the seat. The independence argument has taken priority over almost everything else the SNP promised. Anything that goes wrong is blamed on England - much in the same way that Gordon Brown blames the world.

    This needs to stop. It plays straight into the hands of Labour and the Tories, both who have far more superior spin machines.

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  • 206. At 4:16pm on 09 Nov 2008, enneffess wrote:

    204. At 3:45pm on 09 Nov 2008, sneckedagain wrote:

    mutterings starting about this very odd result


    Yep, conspiracy theories to the fore again!

    Brian may admit to this, but branches of the media prepare a number of articles in advance of a major news story where a result is awaited, simply so they can be first off the starting blocks. Government ministers certainly do.

    Or maybe I've just invented a new conspiracy theory!

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  • 207. At 4:22pm on 09 Nov 2008, Skip_NC wrote:

    Just a wee something to think about on a lazy Sunday: In what way is this post's thesis supported by its body?

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  • 208. At 4:42pm on 09 Nov 2008, northhighlander wrote:

    re 204

    That really is a sad attempt I'm afraid. Democracy requires that we all accpet the result.

    Better to learn the lessons and move on.

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  • 209. At 5:21pm on 09 Nov 2008, BrianSH wrote:

    #208 There has always been a wider degree of electoral fraud across the UK than has ever been admitted or investigated.

    Ghost ballot boxes, certain sorters who can be very creative where the 'X's' are and of course the abundance of 'spoilt ballots' in the last Holyrood election.

    Originating in the Monklands, everyone (and their dogs) know this to be true.

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  • 210. At 5:37pm on 09 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    northhighlander & Neil_Small147

    Not that I'm disagreeing about fight-picking by the SNP, but I'm unclear as to why you see this as one sided.

    Both Labour and SNP pick fights with each other (that's politics), but I presume you are referring to the Unionist charge (since before the 2007 election) that the SNP would/do use Holyrood to "pick fights" with Westminster.

    Would you care to furnish the list of examples where this has actually happened?

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  • 211. At 5:39pm on 09 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    sneckedadagain & Brian SH

    Move on.

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  • 212. At 5:41pm on 09 Nov 2008, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    #208 northhighlander

    The postal votes took a strange jump from a normal 2000 to over 5000, is that not enough to at least ask questions.

    election lawSeven charged with postal ballot fraud

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  • 213. At 5:52pm on 09 Nov 2008, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #190 oldnat

    Hopefully they will keep on developing the biotech sector, that way I'll be able to get a decent job back home in Scotland.

    Wish I could get BBC Alba here in Notts I couldv'e watched my team for the first time in weeks.

    Mind you its never good to watch your team lose, so I had to settle for the rugby instead! Oh well.....

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  • 214. At 5:56pm on 09 Nov 2008, handclapping wrote:

    #207 Skip_NC
    In what way is this post's thesis supported by its body?

    One way it isn't is by the implied assertion that a >50% increase in the SNP vote is evidence of the end of a honeymoon.

    As a spotty youth I was a tory but the student nats had better parties and 1000 votes at an election was sufficient for a real hoolie - Freedom by 1969!.
    50 years later, wow, what a change. England is still stuck with the tweedledum tweedledee politics in fact a lot worse as most of the politicians have never had a job outside of politics. Savour Prezza, he's a dying breed.
    I'm glad I came back, Scottish politics is much more interesting.



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  • 215. At 6:10pm on 09 Nov 2008, WeCanCount wrote:

    Brian, you and all the pundits and all the pollsters got it right from what they were told but there was a large group who didn't tell the truth.

    Do the Maths Brian - before the election, 5000 moved from Labour to SNP. This made it close and this all the experts, including Labour and SNP, agreed. This is why Jim Murphy was prepared for a defeat.

    Tory and LibDem people tend to vote - so where did the missing 5000 right wing voters go? It was they who went left in an anti-nationalist movement.

    Labour would have us believe that they were so inept that they didn't see that they had an extra 5000 voters amongst their ranks.

    Why is this swing of 10000 votes from right to left not being addressed?

    Rerun the tapes of Friday morning's BBC Scotland phone-in and listen to the Tory gentleman tell how he and his whole family "held their noses and voted Labour to wipe the smile off Alex Salmond's face".

    Brian, stop analyzing where you went wrong. You all got it right from the information you had but no-one saw the new dimension to "tactical voting" and voter misinformation.


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  • 216. At 6:19pm on 09 Nov 2008, LYDIA-REID wrote:

    1. Labour lied to get this seat so that will eventually be seen by the poor folk that believed what they said.
    2. When this depression starts to bite the same people will wish they had not voted labour.
    3. Any party who can add a last minute amendment to the HFE bill, which will allow scientists to remove parts of reproductive organs to create hybrid embryos, from our most vulnerable, with no discussion north or south of the border cannot be trusted.
    4. Any party who use their power to hold back funds from Scotland because a different party is in power cannot be trusted.
    5. With only a few of the relevant facts to consider written down above why tell me would any sane person vote for this party.
    6. Salmond conducted himself in defeat better than any one of Browns cabinet, he was honest.

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  • 217. At 6:59pm on 09 Nov 2008, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 218. At 7:08pm on 09 Nov 2008, enneffess wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 219. At 7:18pm on 09 Nov 2008, Bangingonabout wrote:


    Lydia-Reid (#216) seems to represent a large number of SNP supporters on this blog by seeming to equate "anti-SNP" (and "pro-union" for that matter) with "pro-Labour".

    I believe WeCanCount (#215) and various posts of Brownedov have it right when they put down the Labour victory to tactical voting.

    The SNP can attack Labour all they like, I doubt if it will make much more difference because it is expected of them and Labour are ready for them.

    They need to address the fact that many people (and I am one of them - though not pro-labour) do not like the "Smug 'n' Posturing" party. They are not convinced about the arguements for Independence and do not trust Salmond and co (any more than they trust any other politician).

    The SNP say they are going to hold a referendum in 2010 so they can show the electorate that they can govern effectively. If they want to win, that is what they need to concentrate on.

    They need to get LIT through and show it working and they need to get the "Scottish Futures" stuff up and running and show that they can run things effectively.


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  • 220. At 7:19pm on 09 Nov 2008, enneffess wrote:

    216. At 6:19pm on 09 Nov 2008, LYDIA-REID wrote:
    1. Labour lied to get this seat so that will eventually be seen by the poor folk that believed what they said.
    2. When this depression starts to bite the same people will wish they had not voted labour.
    3. Any party who can add a last minute amendment to the HFE bill, which will allow scientists to remove parts of reproductive organs to create hybrid embryos, from our most vulnerable, with no discussion north or south of the border cannot be trusted.
    4. Any party who use their power to hold back funds from Scotland because a different party is in power cannot be trusted.
    5. With only a few of the relevant facts to consider written down above why tell me would any sane person vote for this party.
    6. Salmond conducted himself in defeat better than any one of Browns cabinet, he was honest.


    Point 1 - what is your evidence.

    Point 2 - the SNP in power would make little difference. The same argument was applied to the Tories after Black Wednesday.

    Point 3 - that's a personal point of view I would imagine and not a valid point regarding Glenrothes.

    Point 4 - same old argument again. How much money is Westminster supposed to give us? Maybe they are not giving us everything, but then again the SNP could stop wasting some of it.

    Point 5 - what makes a non-SNP voter insane? My local MSP is useless as a constituency MP. At least the Labour ones respond even if their party is a disaster.

    Point 6 - Alex Salmond is not perfect. He's a politician.

    Rather than blame everyone else, why not look at WHY people did not vote and plan ahead.

    We would like to see Labour kicked out of Westminster, but moaning about it won't help. People want to see what the SNP CAN do before trusting them with their vote.



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  • 221. At 7:50pm on 09 Nov 2008, BrianSH wrote:

    I see the SNP problems in Scotland as quite simple, there needs to more than one major party advocating independence in Scotland to promote competition.

    This would also end the debauchery of the Lib-dems, Labour, Tories vs SNP we see so much of on the telly-box.


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  • 222. At 8:33pm on 09 Nov 2008, irnbru_addict wrote:

    There are quite a number of issues springing up, all good fun:

    - Negative politics: I posted my response to this before, it was...so what? Politics is politics. Politicians will lie, cheat, spin, hang themselves whilst wearing womens underwear and suck drug filled oranges. They are politicians after all, it's what they do.

    - Labour voters being mentally ill/have learning disabilities/go to bed with goats. I'm tempted to say "well that's what they do" but I'll resist. Some contributors to this thread have shown that around 30% of both the Labour and SNP vote is interchangeable. Therefore elections are there to be won or lost. Blaming the electorate is just silly. (although I have done this before and do have a certain sympathy with a view that Labour members at least must be really weird).

    - Sillars/Salmond: personality clash dressed up as a debate over independence now campaign/devolution as stepping stone. I've talked to them both, honourable men both. Just can't stand each other.

    - Kosovo and Iraq post no.182.by amicusalba. Yeah I agree. In the light of history, I was wrong and Blair was right over Kosovo but he was oh so wrong on Iraq.

    Labour? Bunch of ......but hey, they're not going to just roll over and give up nicely are they? Stop complaining about negative politics...it works, so use it.

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  • 223. At 8:52pm on 09 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #221 BrianSH

    Dead on (or at least 2 parties advocating fiscal autonomy).

    But I can't see there being room for a new party in Scotland, with any chance of success, or even the Lib-Dems having any chance in most of the Central Belt.

    A "Scottish Labour Party" would be the most likely contender - but that needs Labour in Scotland to stop following the London line.

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  • 224. At 9:06pm on 09 Nov 2008, Anaxim wrote:

    The SNP's problem is that their economic narrative, always their best card, is increasingly out of date. The oil price is like a yo-yo, the arc of prosperity is bust and the deregulated, sorry, 'nimble' economy is out of fashion in a new era of state intervention.

    They've embraced Keynesian economics recently, but haven't put their backs into putting forward a strong, fresh economic narrative. Mind you, nationalism isn't an economic ideology, so it doesn't come naturally to them. Plus, a statist case for Scottish independence is more difficult to make than a free-market case.

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  • 225. At 9:36pm on 09 Nov 2008, Skip_NC wrote:

    #204 Handclapping,

    That's pretty much what I thought but, as an expat, I felt I was poorly-placed to comment. Simply because this result is good for Labour (which it undeniably is) does not necessarily make it a bad result for the SNP.

    I can relate to your point about 1000 votes being cause for celebration. I campaigned in Edinburgh East over twenty years ago and we celebrated beating the SDP by two votes in the regional council election. More to the point, I remember the same candidate saying the folliwng year in the general election campaign that no SNP vote was ever wasted because each one, even in defeat, advances the cause of Scottish independence.

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  • 226. At 9:51pm on 09 Nov 2008, handclapping wrote:

    #215 WeCanCount

    Thanks for that analysis. If normal service is resumed at the General Election then this will be a marginal, Labour by less than 1000.

    Not only is the SNP behind the curve here but also in converting people to "independence". It will be at least 2012 before pro and anti will reach equality in the confirmed voters and then there are the 48% of don't knows/caresof whom anything between 8 and 18% will vote, but how?

    Wendy was right - Bring it on - was the correct thing for Labour but the SNP may yet regret nailing their colours to the mast of 2010 for a referendum. Too soon I think.
    Also it would be an autumn referendum; not a good idea. It needs to be in the spring when people are more optimistic eg Glasgow East spring, Glenrothes autumn.

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  • 227. At 10:26pm on 09 Nov 2008, enneffess wrote:

    222. At 8:33pm on 09 Nov 2008, irnbru_addict wrote:

    - Sillars/Salmond: personality clash dressed up as a debate over independence now campaign/devolution as stepping stone. I've talked to them both, honourable men both. Just can't stand each other.


    I think that's where the danger for the SNP lies. I reckon if Sillars sees that Salmond is slipping he will pounce. Not yet, but possibly before a referendum. If he thinks that Salmond will not win, he might go for the jugular in the hope in gives the SNP a "bounce". But it's too early to consider that.


    223. At 8:52pm on 09 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    A "Scottish Labour Party" would be the most likely contender - but that needs Labour in Scotland to stop following the London line.

    That is a possibility of the Conservatives thump Labour at the next general election. It is by no means a done deal yet, but that might give the Scottish Labour MSPs the opportunity to change. But 2010 might be too early.


    The HBOS saga continues. I think Alex Salmond is on dangerous ground supporting the ex-bosses here. After all, would they not have been part of the business strategy that put the banks where they are?



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  • 228. At 10:54pm on 09 Nov 2008, irnbru_addict wrote:

    I did have one other point.

    The Glenrothes vote is really bad for the SNP because even though they increased the vote compard to the last UK election, it remained roughly equal to the last Scottish election.
    i think that the last UK election is an irrelevance. If the SNP is standing still compared to 18 months ago and Labour is moving up, then it means trouble.

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  • 229. At 11:26pm on 09 Nov 2008, enneffess wrote:

    228. At 10:54pm on 09 Nov 2008, irnbru_addict wrote:
    I did have one other point.

    The Glenrothes vote is really bad for the SNP because even though they increased the vote compard to the last UK election, it remained roughly equal to the last Scottish election.
    i think that the last UK election is an irrelevance. If the SNP is standing still compared to 18 months ago and Labour is moving up, then it means trouble.

    ------------------------

    The SNP only really have one chance at their goal, and let's be honest, the current credit crunch/financial crisis etc has had a negative effect. Why? People look at Iceland, which was lauded by the SNP. Then it went bankrupt. No amount of debate or bluster can remove the genuine fear that some people will have.

    OK, we are in a recession, jobs will be lost, inflation goes up. But in the past things have recovered.

    But to go alone with such uncertainty? Oil is highlighted as an important commodity, but the price has almost halved from the recent highs. People look at that as well.

    HBOS/Lloyds issue is important, but to many people it will not affect them directly. So why would they care?

    It's what affects people directly that counts.

    Perhaps the SNP should ask those in Glenrothes who voted Labour WHY.

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  • 230. At 11:41pm on 09 Nov 2008, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    #182, what do you mean "you don't believe anyone could justify the Iraq war in hindsight?"

    ... That is exactly what they (Labour) did !!!

    Do you not remember the false 45 minute claim?... or the FALSE claims of WMD's?... or the timely death of Dr David Kelly?... Does Blairs' absolute determination for war in the face of mass public outcry? 2 million people marching in the streets of London and more in other city's around the UK?

    They LIED, end of!!!

    The war was to control the remnants of oil in the middle east.

    Both the Afghan war and the Iraq war are the same campaign (don't be fooled by the rhetoric in the news). They are both for the same purpose. Don't be surprised if Iran and Pakistan end up being attacked by Obamas' USA either... those countries are firmly in the crosshairs due to their important geological features.

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  • 231. At 11:53pm on 09 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #205 Neil_Small147

    "Anything that goes wrong is blamed on England"

    Can I repeat my #210?

    "Would you care to furnish the list of examples where this has actually happened?"

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  • 232. At 00:12am on 10 Nov 2008, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    Latest opinion polls ove the last few days UK wide show the Tories pulling away from Labour again. There is a 13% Tory lead in one of them. Glenrothes was a one off which will not do anything to deflect the certainty of a comfortable Tory win at the next UK election .
    Glenrothes saw the obvious emergence of an anti SNP tactical alliance but it is unlikely that that will hold for a General Election at which Scottish Tories wll certainly have no reason to vote for Labour as they did last Thursday

    An anti-SNP alliance suits the SNP as the polarisation they need has to form round the constiutional question and not on the old left/right lines.
    Tory,Labour and LibDem diminish each other by being part of this alliance and annoy many of their supporters

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  • 233. At 00:15am on 10 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    Brian's thread tomorrow will be (I imagine) UK Labour's proposals to the Calman Commission on Scottish Government funding.

    This has been widely leaked, but not in consistent directions.

    It's worth looking at the relevant terms of the financial provisions of the Scotland Act.

    The "Consolidated Fund" is the Scottish Government Bank Account and most income is what we normally refer to as the "Block Grant".

    What I wasn't aware of is the weakness of the statutory basis of this -

    "The Secretary of State shall from time to time make payments into the Fund out of money provided by Parliament of such amounts as he may determine."

    If the Government wants to determine the basis of Murphy's decision as being the net revenue from specified taxes, then he can do so by dictat.

    The end of Barnett, and the simultaneous punishing of a Scottish Government which doesn't toe the Westminster line?

    We'll see.

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  • 234. At 00:36am on 10 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    Remember the pre-Glenrothes spin about how Labour's alterations to the English court system gave so much more protection to their house-owners than in Scotland?

    Note this from the Financial Times

    "A landmark High Court ruling has paved the way for mortgage lenders to sell the homes of borrowers in arrears without seeking a court order, bypassing Gordon Brown’s efforts to make repossession a “last resort”.

    The ruling, which the judge described as having “wide-ranging implications”, strongly reaffirms the statutory right of lenders under a 1925 law to sell a property independently after two mortgage payments are missed."

    But don't expect a comment from the Govan Law Centre or a Scottish paper (or Brian for that matter).

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  • 235. At 06:34am on 10 Nov 2008, rabbiehippo wrote:

    #220 Neil now i know you read Private Eye as well so #216 's point 3 has some bearing on Glenrothes. Did you not read that it was suspected that the bill was time restricted and held off till after the bi-election just in case it swayed some voters against Labour.

    #221 If the Liberals had any sense they would jump on board with the SNP. At the end of the day there has to be a referendum for independence so its not like its the end of the Union just cos the SNP is in control. Also the Liberals would be shown to be a credible party within Scotland through working with another party for the right policies.

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  • 236. At 10:49am on 10 Nov 2008, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #234 oldnat

    Do you think if the SNP highlighted this ruling and its implications in the light of the criticism they received for not following Westminster's lead, that it would be deemed as negative campaigning by those who oppose them?

    It still astounds me that there are those who label the SNP's methods as 'negative' and the unionist's 'positive'. How you preceive each comes down to your own point of view. To view the SNP voicing concerns about Westminster policy implications on Scotland, including the withholding of funds, as negative; whilst simultaneously arguing that they should 'make do' better with the funds they are given strikes me as bizarre. So the SNP should be happy to dance to someone else's tune?

    The unioinst view point that the SNP should not complain about being unable to implement the policy they'd like due to;
    a. limitations placed on them by the devolution settlement and/or;
    b. not being fiscally autonomous and having to operate within the means of the block grant issued by Westminster; but instead should 'just get on with it' is ridiculous.

    Just because these are the rules of the game at the moment doesn't mean the SNP shouldn't query them or lobby for wholesale change, they are the only party in Scotland at the moment that will challenge the unacceptable status quo. Meanwhile they have been and are performing well so far within the constraints of the unsuitable constituitional settlement.

    The present devolved settlement is not working for the UK as a whole. England is rightly unhappy about not having a devolved legislature of their own, which is an issue for the people of England to lobby for. Scotland is rightly unhappy about not having control over its own finances, which is a necessary step to show once and for all whether Scotland would be better off independent or as part of the union. The SNP can show they are capable of governing at the moment within the confines set by devlutotion and Westminster, however to show that Scotland is a viable economic entity, fiscal autonomy is a must.

    The Calman commission in my view was always an exercise of limited use as it did not consider or investigate the option of full independence (and you'd have to ask why not, what were they afraid of?). However even if the commission were to call for more powers to be devolved to Hollyrood and/or steps to be taken towards fiscal autonomy; it now looks as though the labour hierarchy at Westminster have their own ideas already and are preparing to disregard the findings of their own commission.

    If this is the case it's a complete and utter farce.

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  • 237. At 10:52am on 10 Nov 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #170, #223 oldnat
    #221 BrianSH

    I was (just) able to stop myself from posting over the weekend, believing it's too early for a balanced opinion, but I'm certain there are lessons to be learned on tactical voting - hopefully for both of the progressive parties who believe in greater powers for Holyrood.

    Thanks oldnat for the Forth by-election info. It's the first information I've seen which may give real indicators to explain some of the tactical voting that went on at Glenrothes: "The critical point came when the LD next preferences broke 27% Lab, 22% SNP, 20% Con. The Tory next preferences broke virtually equal 18.6% SNP, 18.4% Lab."

    Without knowing much more about the candidates, we can't be sure, but I do find it very surprising that the LibDem preferences split so strongly in favour of unionists rather than fellow home-rulers. It's certainly a wake-up call to both the LibDem And SNP high command that potentially they have much in common and should not allow themselves to be carried away by the ultimate goal of the SNP for fear of losing the immediate battle over home rule.

    I tend to agree with Gaby Hinsliff in the Grauniad's Sarah Brown: the real reason Labour won in Glenrothes? from Friday afternoon, that: "Used to answering the question 'What went wrong?' about byelection campaigns, the question 'What went right?' has them [Labour] stumped. They wish they knew."

    I also note that neither the Grauniad nor the BBC are trumpeting any of the triumphalism we heard from Murphy and "Duff" Gordon over the weekend. Even the Herald seems to be cooling it just a little. Yesterday's Murphy: Scottish parliament must be "more accountable" has dropped off their main Politics page, although the Scotsman still shows yesterday's Brown to deny Scots Parliament more powers on their's. We'll have to wait and see whether that announcement was just a flyer or actually comes to pass. If it does, it could and should be the basis of a new alliance between home rulers against unionists.

    Perhaps the good news for the English Tories in the weekend poll is understandably making everyone a little cautious.

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  • 238. At 11:10am on 10 Nov 2008, aye_write wrote:

    221. At 7:50pm on 09 Nov 2008, BrianSH wrote:
    "
    I see the SNP problems in Scotland as quite simple, there needs to more than one major party advocating independence in Scotland to promote competition.

    This would also end the debauchery of the Lib-dems, Labour, Tories vs SNP we see so much of on the telly-box."

    Hmm, would this work? Splitting the SNP vote woud be a good thing? It wouldn't be a Labour party dream?

    I've always thought it best to put minor points aside and back the SNP all the way until we get independence. The rules aren't that if we have independence, from then onwards we can only have the SNP.

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  • 239. At 11:30am on 10 Nov 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    238. "I've always thought it best to put minor points aside and back the SNP all the way until we get independence. "

    Unconditional support for anything and everything the SNP does, solely because they also support independence?

    Surely not!

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  • 240. At 11:55am on 10 Nov 2008, Al_Ford wrote:

    The political arena is where there develop among the major protagonists active there political products, programmes, analyses, commentaries, concepts and events among which the general public which is exposed to that arena so defined, reduced as they are to the status of mere consumers of what they are presented with, must make their choices, limited as they are by the processes referred to and subject to misunderstanding the further they are located from where these processes take place. That is to say that the political arena, as defined by those who are able to define it, exercises a censoring function by limiting the domain of political discourse and thus the domain of what is politically thinkable. Those whose agenda cannot be advanced within these limits are effectively shut out, even in a society in which, in theory, there is freedom of speech.

    The ball park, in other words, to translate all of that into more down-to-earth language, is defined by those who exercise control over it, and, as it is also their ball, the rules of the game are their rules. So at the Westminster Glenrothes by-election the ruling UK political class exercised its prerogative to rig the game to suit itself, which is why they mixed up local, devolved and reserved issues into such a confused mish-mash that the, with all due respect, not notably sophisticated electors of the constituency were confused and led astray by a mass influx of servants of the ball-park owners, transported up from the south for that purpose.

    As has been remarked already, this is a one-off event. The Labour Party cannot fight general elections in quite this way, as the manpower simply cannot be available to it. By pulling out all the stops it has simply saved its bacon on this occasion, as the loss of the Glenrothes seat would have undermined its UK government to an unacceptable degree.

    For the next UK general election the Labour Party will have to contrive to devise a substitute for all those activists brought in from England. For strategic purposes the SNP should assume that it will succeed in doing so and be ready to cope with that. To that end a thorough review of policy and strategy is presumable under way.

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  • 241. At 11:59am on 10 Nov 2008, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    #239

    I want independence but at the same time I also want independence with political diversity. Having a single party post independence would not be acceptable but then that wouldn't happen.

    When independence is won there will be at least one or two parties in addition to the SNP.

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  • 242. At 12:09pm on 10 Nov 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    So Glenrothes has seemingly wiped out the nationalist efforts on this blog. Finally!

    Apart from the odd one still grasping for a ray of light among the darkness that has enveloped this latest independence campaign, can we now return to the good old days where we discussed reality-based politics as opposed to the endless nationalist rants based on ridiculous claims, campaigns, conspiracies and pie-in-the-sky dreams and notions?

    I'll start:

    With growing rumours of a major tax-cutting package from Labour, the Conservatives have been slowly unveiling their tax platform. So far we have:

    1. Abolish stamp duty for first time buyers on homes up to £250,000,
    2. Raise inheritance tax threshold to £1m,
    3. Cut corporation tax from 28p to 25p,
    4. Encourage council tax freeze.

    More details expected tomorrow.

    I would also like to see the basic tax allowance raised (hopefully that is next) but the sizeable drop in Corporation Tax can only make the UK a more attractive place to base your corporation.

    The UK has long been the first choice for European HQs for non-EU multinationals, such a drop could even start drawing firms from Ireland (much hindered by distance from the continent, poor transport infrastructure and the expected hike in taxes as EU grants dry up).

    (240. Bighullabaloo?)

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  • 243. At 12:10pm on 10 Nov 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #239 Reluctant-Expat

    It's obviously neither your point of view nor mine, but so long as we're stuck with the antiquated, quasi-democratic plurality voting system for Westmidden, it's a choice many voters have to make blinfly in an ttempt to make their vote count.

    If you're as confident as you seem to be that home rule is a busted flush, you might do well to consider how many LibDem and Tory voters switched to Labour and recommend fair tactical voting to your high command in place of the blind tactical voting which clearly took place in Glenrothes.

    See City of Edinburgh Council's Ward 4 Forth By Election Results for details of the preference assignments.

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  • 244. At 12:22pm on 10 Nov 2008, aye_write wrote:

    "Unconditional support for anything and everything the SNP does, solely because they also support independence?

    Surely not!"

    Absolutely - It would work; it would get what I want. But then I do not need to be convinced that Scotland should be independent, like others do.

    It isn't a matter of how well Scotland could be run by which political party. (Just because one party might make a mess of it , and they all usually do anyway, doesn't mean independence is wrong.) Not being independent is wrong because we do not have a democratic say over who we are governed by, so making any argument about the merits of a political party irrelevant.

    As a Scot, my vote does not count - the system in the UK overrides me. That's it.

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  • 245. At 12:33pm on 10 Nov 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #237 Brownedov

    Re the Lib-Dems

    In general, there is an over-tendency to associate voters attitudes with those of the party they "usually" vote for, and to assume that they are similar kinds of people in all parts of the country.

    In the US, the polling "trends" data for each state called the election correctly for every state to a remarkable degree of accuracy, and the aggregated figures were within 2% of the actual result.

    A lot of this is because of huge funding available to Universities, as well as polling organisations, to poll not just on voting intention, but on very detailed sociometric data county by county.

    We are largely stuck with UK polls, and on the rare occasions we get a Scottish YouGov poll it is never broken down regionally.

    We simply have no idea if Edinburgh LDs are similar to Fife ones. It's all guesswork.

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  • 246. At 1:07pm on 10 Nov 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #242 Reluctant-Expat

    If you seriously believe what you say in that post, you're more blinkered than I thought. Your new tax-cutting agenda might just play well on the NR threads if they could believe a word NuLab say, but good luck to you if you believe that now some "traditional" Labour voters have returned to the fold NuLab can carry on with its right-wing agenda and ignore them again.

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  • 247. At 1:14pm on 10 Nov 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #245 oldnat

    I fully accept what you say. My #237 was more an expression of bewilderment at what part of the LibDem agenda would get someone's first preference vote but result in an arch-unionist scooping it up in a later round.

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  • 248. At 1:14pm on 10 Nov 2008, aye_write wrote:

    245. oldnat wrote:
    "We simply have no idea if Edinburgh LDs are similar to Fife ones. It's all guesswork."

    I agree with that. And looking at what trends these, or any voters displayed in the past, I don't believe can forecast their future habits either - just as the stock market can't really predict the future value of shares.

    Folk are folk wherever they are and many who vote one way now could quite feasibly vote the opposite way if their background was substituted for another's. Just because we see ourselves as being correct, would we still have evolved our "correct" point of view in unfathomly more difficult circumstances?

    Some would, but I'd say they are in the minority. Very few of use are special. Additionally, most voters don't analyse all the statistics and ponder the finer points of every argument. They are not politicians and they don't have time. Their judgement has a lot to do with which party they decide to trust most, based on the arguments they have had the opportunity to hear.

    Although I very much disagree with them, I don't see the Labour voters of Glenrothes as feeble minded and I would advise all nationalists to guard against such hostile thoughts. If supporters of a party you didn't vote for make derogitory remarks about you, it will not make you more inclined to vote for their party - at all.

    Those Glenrothes voters, being ordinary decent folk, don't naturally want to turn thier back on an old friend, in this case that's Labour (and perhaps more so during these tough times). Our job (my opinion) is to persuade them that Labour is (most definately) not their friend.

    Dear me, Scottish politics is a sorry tale!

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  • 249. At 1:37pm on 10 Nov 2008, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    I believe the assumption that today's LibDems are home-rulers in the mould of the old Liberals is probably very far wide of the mark.

    My experience tells me that LibDem revivals over the last couple of decades have been brought about by a soft Tory vote voting LibDem. These may well go back to the new Cameron Tories and I suspect this is already happening as you look at the LibDem collapse

    I also believe that (shock,horror) a substantial percentage of them are attracted to the pragmatic new SNP .

    Personally I am convinced that most of what is left of the old home rule Liberal vote is already in the SNP.
    What is in today's LibDem Scottish outfit has no real connection with the traditional Liberals, which party I'm sure would have comfortably entered an alliance with the SNP in a Scottish parliament.

    My mother's family of West Highland Liberals have all been SNP for a generation now and oddly enough my wife's mothers relations, who worked for the Liberals in the Borders, are all now SNP.

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  • 250. At 1:42pm on 10 Nov 2008, David wrote:

    The folk in certain towns and villages in Fife vote Labour without even thinking about it.

    Labour have had 10 years of boom times and the towns and villages vote Labour are still some of the worst areas in Fife.

    The affluent areas of Fife are represented by the Liberal Democrats. There must be a reason for that.

    Labour's grand plan for Scotland seems to be to have everyone either working for the public sector or on benefits. They are a disgrace.

    The people in Glenrothes, Cardenden, Leslie, Methil and Kennoway should take a look at the places they live and ask why they are still complete dumps, after more than 10 years of a Labour government.

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  • 251. At 2:42pm on 10 Nov 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #249 sneckedagain

    A fair point - it certainly is beginning to look as though the SDP wing is close to total victory over the old Liberals who merged. Although the Scottish LibDem website still has a few articles about its hopes from Calman and beefing up the Scottish Parliament generally, the home page is more anti-SNP than anything positive. One the Federal site, there's a "new look" which as so often makes everything hard to find. The 2007 conference policy on completion of devolution is still there, but only for those actually looking for it.

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  • 252. At 3:38pm on 10 Nov 2008, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    Anent the LibDems it is interesting to remember that Johnny Bannerman was a Liberal and a founder member of the SNP and was an elected member of the former while simultaneously holding a position in the latter.
    His daughter, the late Ray Michie MP, was very aware of the respect her father enjoyed in both parties and was very comfortable and generous in her relations with the SNP despite furiuous contests for the Argyll seat.
    Perhaps these days are gone but the mutual respect shown by Ray and Neil MacCormick in electoral competition was very different to the much less cordial relations we have today.
    Ray was a "home-ruler" and, remembering conversations I had with her, probably a nationalist, and it was entirely possible to be that in the Liberals, even as recently as 20 years ago.

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  • 253. At 3:40pm on 10 Nov 2008, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    The perception that something odd happened at Glenrothes is underlined by the fact that I cannot remember another by-election at which there were no published opinion polls.

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  • 254. At 4:14pm on 10 Nov 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    253. Are you suggesting there was a conspir.....No! Surely not!

    Are you?

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  • 255. At 5:32pm on 10 Nov 2008, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 210 oldnat

    I use the word "seem" deliberately. The rhetoric of Alex is always to cloak all arguments in what we could do without England, and that Westminster is always stealing scottish reources.

    This rhetoric presents an image of someone constantly spoiling for a fight. It is every bit as odious as the unionist arguments which are also cloaked in a constant stream of negatives.

    I wholly accept that the SNP are correct to question the actions of the Westminster government, but please change the record to a more positive manner. :ets have a positive vision for a change.

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  • 256. At 11:04pm on 10 Nov 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    That's the one great thing about Alex and the SNP: their continual positive message despite the foul tactics of labour and it's derisory treatment of Scotland.

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  • 257. At 11:36pm on 10 Nov 2008, aye_write wrote:

    256

    I think of Alex Salmond as being quite matter of fact about the country. But there seems to be a significant number out there though that see him as smug, arrogant etc.

    When he says things about Scotland and Scots being capable, is that when those people see him as arrogant? Is saying, "Scotland can" a reason to be ridiculed?

    I can understand why Unionists can't be doing with him, as it is annoying for them that he is a skilled politician.

    He doesn't particularly offend to me. I was just wondering...

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  • 258. At 11:59pm on 10 Nov 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    People calling Alex Salmond arrogant and smug? Takes one to know one I suppose.

    I think some Scots, I would say so-called Scots but I'll temper my disdain for the sake of blog harmony, are so pitiful that they cannot handle anything positive being said about Scotland, cannot handle someone talking Scotland up that they scramble desperately to describe him as something Scots rightly hate most: arrogant. Of course another reason they call him smug and arrogant is because they cannot defeat him on principle or indeed on policy. He's too good for them. He isn't arrogant at all. He's confident because he's well researched and has the better of people who will revert to any tactic to scupper the SNP and indeed independence.

    I am simply grateful to him and think the way the media in Scotland and the UK and the way in which his opponents speak of him is nothing short of disgusting. I feel so angry at his treatment at times that I have a hard time not believing his opponents to be Quislings and traitors. I would wish to remain temperate about them but the lies and redcutionism of Scotland, the patronising condescending hugely damaging nonsense Scots and Scotland endure and to which Salmond is a focal point for abhors me no end.

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  • 259. At 00:38am on 11 Nov 2008, aye_write wrote:

    Bluelaw, thanks. I recognise your dissappointment - I think it puts a lot of good nats off politics.

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  • 260. At 00:44am on 11 Nov 2008, aye_write wrote:

    I have further pondered - I reckon a lot of it is down to fear. That, at least, can be tackled. (I hope.)

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  • 261. At 02:16am on 11 Nov 2008, gassiot wrote:

    It is worrying to read many of the comments. To suggest that any electorate has no right to elect the MP they choose even if the contributor thinks this irrational is arrogant.

    Everyone seems to agree that without the financial crisis Labour would have struggled to retain a safe seat.

    In those circumstances everyone would have foretold the end for Labour in Scotland and in any general election in the UK.

    Nobody can know why voters chose a particular party and in this seat the permutations are endless.

    It is at first hard to believe that a charge imposed by the SNP run council but apparently also by councils of different political persuasions elsewhere should affect the result but by-elections in reality do hinge on such things.

    Once he has overcome his disappointment AS may conclude, rightly in my view, that nothing has changed. The SNP still has control of the council and at a General Election may well benefit from a desire, if such then exists, to bid goodbye to a Labour Government.

    General conclusions about the future for the SNP on the basis of this result are premature.

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  • 262. At 11:31am on 11 Nov 2008, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    The more I think the less I believe the Glenrothes result.

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