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Coalition electoral tactics

Brian Taylor | 15:05 UK time, Thursday, 28 April 2011

With Nick Clegg on the campaign trail in Scotland, attention has understandably shifted towards the potential impact of the UK coalition upon these Holyrood elections.

Tavish Scott may lead an autonomous party in the Scottish Liberal Democrats but he knows - he knows only too well - that does not provide him with immunity from voter disquiet over Westminster issues.

Talking of which, did you catch his remarkable party election broadcast? After outlining a range of key Scottish policies, he confronted directly the prospect that Scots might turn against his team because they were in a UK pact with the Conservatives.

Indeed, he majored on the "T-word" - Thatcher, that is, not Tories. Scotland, he averred, had learned to distrust the Tories. The LibDems were about containing the Conservatives, not advancing them.

Broadly, Mr Clegg pursued much the same theme on his Scottish campaign tour today. It was, he said, 2011, not 1979. The LibDems would not allow the same "damage" to be wreaked upon Scotland again.

Tricky call for the LibDems. Do they defend the coalition flat out and against all comers? Or do they modulate that defence, tailoring it to circumstances?

In Scotland, they have now plainly chosen the second option - which is to depict themselves as the voice of moderation in an electoral arrangement driven by necessity.

Such a tactic might be inevitable in Scotland - but, of itself, it might also add to the strains within that UK coalition. Unless, of course, Team Cameron accept that rough things must be said in elections.

That prospect is probably assisted, ironically, by the AV Referendum. Team Clegg are already deploying fairly blunt language against the Tories over that issue. Scotland merely adds to that mix, seen in a UK context.

In any case, Mr Clegg will not have to face the electors until the close of Westminster's newly fixed term. His challenge is years away. Tavish Scott is facing the electorate next week.

Initially, Mr Scott seemed slightly unsure as to how to treat the coalition issue. Distance himself completely? Claim gains like tax exemption and pensions uprating? Defend Clegg to the hilt?

Now - and particularly with that party election broadcast - he has found a formula. He will find out next week whether the voters are buying.

Turning to the senior partners in the UK coalition, it was Annabel Goldie at last year's election who tried a punning gag about the UK LibDem leader. A cleg, in Scots, is a horse fly: capable, according to Miss Goldie, of leaving a "nasty little blemish to remind you of how troublesome it once was".

But this time around the Tories are attempting to mirror the LibDems in one regard:that of offering to act as a shield.

Their strategy over the last few days has been to forecast an SNP victory - hoping thereby to stir their instinctive support into turning out and voting for a sizeable Tory phalanx as, again in Miss Goldie's words, "a bulwark".

Far from disavowing the coalition to any degree, Miss Goldie talks of the necessity of curbing spending, of its intrinsic virtue.

As noted here before, two very different tactics by the UK coalition parties. With the same objective: winning Holyrood votes.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Brian,

    And the relevance of this is precisely what??

    Neither of these parties will be players in the post-election Holyrood.

    Salmond has made it very clear that there will be no coalition with the Tories - maybe even the SNP constitution forbids it?

    And if the polls are to be believed, most of the SNP gains will come from the FibDems, so why would you go into coalition with a party you've just defeated in the (real) election??

  • Comment number 2.

    Very disappointed Brian, could do better?

    No mention of labour, the greens or any other major player in these elections never mind the SNP.

    What’s been happening out there ASDAGATE? I.e. Mr Gray running out of the Ardrossan ASDA perhaps? What a laugh! I thought that BBC Scotland were supposed to have Scottish news? Looks like STV beat you on that one. You can see the footage on their website.

  • Comment number 3.

    What on earth has next week to do with the UK "leaders" Brian?
    A year ago, we were told that the SNP couldn't get involved in UK electioneering. We had our wee election in 2011 - so they kept Mr Salmond out of the TV Debates.
    From the reaction on Any Questions, its very clear that the SNP could win over the North of England with its policies!
    Meanwhile, out on the doorsteps, most folk still distrust and many despise the Tories.
    They might quite like the feisty Bella - but at a distance.
    What is interesting is how many people are disgusted with the LibDems. They really do despise Danny Alexander - "ginger rodent" was the most endearing comment I heard about him.
    As for New Labour - they just laugh at the chaos and the comical "Run Rabbit Run" antics of Ian Grey and his propping up by Eds Miliband and Balls - letalone that retired comedian Lord Izzard.
    Scotland is beginning to believe in itself, its people and its resources.
    Lord Foulkes will be telling the BBC that the SNP are even deliberately causing the sun to shine down on Caledonia.
    It must be awfy awfy difficult being a canvasser for the Liberals or New Labour in Scotland?
    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 4.

    From the BBC News site - "Nick Clegg has promised no "wilful harm" will be done to Scotland by his coalition government. "

    I feel so much better now, after all, he is a man of his word.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    This is from the Liberal Democrats constitution:

    "We believe that sovereignty rests with the people and that authority in a democracy derives from the people. We therefore acknowledge their right to determine the form of government best suited to their needs"

    Yes, the same party that absolutely opposes a referendum on the Scottish constitution. But as we know, Scotland is different, apparently....

  • Comment number 7.

    I am much encouraged that the Eds are coming up among us.
    This merely underlines that the "Scottish" Labour Party does not exist as an entity and is merely a compliant division of London Labour.
    Another Ed came up in 1314 and got a bit of a duffing up.

  • Comment number 8.

    After gazing into my crystal ball, scratching my head and talking to my inscrutable cat I am confident to make a prediction about next week's final figures.

    SNP 59 seats
    Labour 39 seats
    Tory 17 seats
    LibDem 6 seats
    Green 6 seats
    Others 2 seats

  • Comment number 9.

    Are Cameron, Clegg and Miliband currently being paid by the Scottish taxpayer to run the country as PM, deputy PM and Leader of the Opposition?


  • Comment number 10.

    Brian. Have to agree with djmac7. What is the relevance of this article? If you need to avoid discussing the main parties at least tell us about the Greens who, amongst the smaller parties, look likely to make the positive headlines on 6th. May.
    Having read this from a London perspective it makes even less sense.
    You come across better on TV with a quick reaction to events. When you have time to choose your own slant & consider what you write it appears to be an edited BBC 'party line'

  • Comment number 11.

    The bit that I saw last night of the LibDems broadcast showed Mr Scott talking about the increase in personal allowances brokered by the LibDems as part of their pact with the Tories.

    While I welcome the fact that this reduces the tax bill for those lower down the income scale it has nothing to do with Holyrood and this election.

    Mr Scott is afraid he will suffer at the polls because of the LibDem coalition with the Tories but at the same time wants the reflected glory of the one, widely welcomed, policy to come out of the Coalition at Westminste - the incease in personal allowances which redresses Mr Brown's tax raid when he abolished the 10p rate.

    This just demonstrates the LibDems pic'n'mix approach to policy.

  • Comment number 12.

    "No wilful harm", sounds just like the weasel words he used to justify the U-turn on tuition fees and VAT. Basically he is saying he is going to do harm, but it will be accidental. That's reassuring to know that we Scots are just going to be collateral damage from English parliamentary debates.

    As for Labour, I do wish they'd stop using Scotland to fight Westminster battles. How about promising to use the Scottish Parliament to work on Scottish issues instead of scoring points for the English media? Even Annabel Goldie has worked this one out. It comes to something when the Tories are running a more Scottish Campaign than Labour or the Lib Dems.

    Of course, by their very nature, the SNP are the only party truly focused on Scotland, for them it is Westminster that is the distraction. I wish Alex Salmond luck though. He's ran the best campaign, and deserves to win.

  • Comment number 13.

    ""#4. At 16:19pm 28th Apr 2011, bmc875 wrote:

    From the BBC News site - "Nick Clegg has promised no "wilful harm" will be done to Scotland by his coalition government. " ""

    Mr Clegg has not promised that no harm will come to Scotland just that what harm comes our way will not be 'wilful' - i.e unintentional. Like unintentional wrongdoing?
    So that's OK then? Eh, NO!

  • Comment number 14.

    Brian,

    I have to agree with others here that this topic is barely relevant to the forthcoming election. The similar damage-limitation exercises which Bella and Tavish are undertaking may eventually become an interesting footnote to the campaign should either of them prove able to buck the downward trends of their respective parties in the opinion polls. If Labour do substantially better than anyone expects, it might just conceivably be something to discuss after the count, while we're waiting to hear who emerges as the next FM, but that would be betting against the casino.

    What didn't work for "Scottish" Labour is hardly likely to succeed for the two smaller unionist parties. Odd, though, that Labour's Miliband Minor doesnt yet seem to have "got it", and has been railing against Mr Clegg for "propping up" the Tory-led government as the current "top story" on the Scotland [sic] politics page of this website informs us.

    Unless BBC reporting of what they have had to say is inaccurate in the extreme, the odd thing is that none of them - not even Miliband Minor's Scottish prefect - seems to have said anything about how they plan to protect Scotland from the Thatcherite tories of the UK government - something even journals like the Herald and the Scotsman seem finally to be asking.

    When this topic closes early due to universal ennui, perhaps you would give us your take on why Asdagate seems to have been well reported on STV but not noticed by BBC Scotland?

  • Comment number 15.

    what would be the reaction if Sarkozy came to England during the next election and started telling people which way to vote?

    then again perhaps we don't like being told what to do so bring Cameron and Miliband back up!

  • Comment number 16.

    #10 djwomble

    The BBC's editorial policy obviously can't allow anything 'off-message' to be put out.

    Maybe Brian actually writes what he genuinely believes, but is ultimately 'hostage to a stringent redaction policy that results in the postings systemmatically released in his name.

    It's not that the man is without principles - just that he is an MSM journalist, and like all of us, has bills to pay ... ;-)

  • Comment number 17.

    12 and 13. Irony?

  • Comment number 18.

    re AsdaGate - normally when people are caught running out of supermarkets they get their pockets searched

  • Comment number 19.

    Does Nick Clegg seriously think that he is anything other than a liability to the party north of the border (or, indeed, anywhere else)?

    Scottish LibDems have spent much of the campaign trying to distance themselves from the policies and actions of the coalition at Westminster, yet in one ill-considered [and, in all probability, ego-driven] trip north of the border, Clegg reminds everyone that each and every 'Scottish' LibDem candidate is led by, and answerable to, him....

    ...

    I am, however, looking forward to the coverage of election results coming in (watching/recording BBC Scotland on Freeview, recording England and Wales on my satellite recorder for later pleasure), if only to witness the LibDem annihilation and the party's spokespeople's attempts to put a positive spin on a near-wipeout.

    I'm betting on no more than 6 LibDem MSPs when Parliament reconvenes at Holyrood, and I am almost tempted to vote Green to try to help push the LDs into fifth place.

  • Comment number 20.

    Come on, Tavish.

    If you want your party to have any credibility, say it loud and say it proud: "I don't agree with Nick....."

  • Comment number 21.

    "No wilful harm."

    An attempt at a 'Get Out Of Jail Free' card: "if harm is done, it will be because we weren't up the job and were too incompetent to understand the effects of our actions/decisions."

    How much does this man receive from the pubic purse for holding a totally unnecessary vanity office of Government?

  • Comment number 22.

    Re 14 BB,

    'When this topic closes early due to universal ennui, perhaps you would give us your take on why Asdagate seems to have been well reported on STV but not noticed by BBC Scotland?'


    Might it just have something to do with the video clips showing the weegreychickencarcrash making his way through the wrong exit door and having to turn himself around again!!

    Just how many reversals can one politician manage in an election campaign??

    BBC Scotland will NOT tell you!

  • Comment number 23.

    Is there a not so subtle ploy by the state broadcaster to airbrush mr gray out of the labour campaign ?

    No mention of asdagate, reporting all focussed on tweedledum who has come up to tell us all how to vote. I think we need to be further misinformed.

  • Comment number 24.

    Regarding this blog it is double plus daft.

  • Comment number 25.

    In terms of Scottish politics, there should be an analogue of Godwin's Law: any mention of Margaret Thatcher, and the mentioner is deemed to have lost the argument.

  • Comment number 26.

    #13 cwh
    "Mr Clegg has not promised that no harm will come to Scotland just that what harm comes our way will not be 'wilful' - i.e unintentional. Like unintentional wrongdoing?"

    Quite so. Or more accurately "friendly fire".

  • Comment number 27.

    If bigging up Labour and dissing the SNP and the "first minister" doesn't work, just go with anything. I like your thinking.

    Unfortunately for Labour and their dwindling media support, I don't think there is anything anyone can do or say now, that would give credibility to a hapless Iain Gray.

  • Comment number 28.

    26 Barbazenzero
    In the Unionist Leaders minds (sic) you may be considered to be an "insurgent" and if you are not careful, then "no deliberate harm" may equate to Scotland suffering "collateral damage" in order to protect the interests of Westminster.
    If Salmond wasn't allowed to participate in the UK "Leaders Debates" last year, then what on earth is their relevance up here?
    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 29.

    Swimming against the tide maybe, but an interesting blog. SNP's rise and Labour's decline has been well discussed, Tavish will have a hard job, the victim of an unpleasant but absolutely necessary coalition that the UK needed. What would we rather have. A weak lab-lib or a minority Con government? Real macro economic, defense and international relations needs a strong government.

    UK leader are relevant, as this is a regional UK election. Working relationships with Westminster are important.

    But the main thing about this blog which is good, is that is about politics and the full range of parties in the Scottish election. Better than name childish name calling, talking about non stories re supermarkets and seeing political bias in anything that does not support the individuals' political views. But that's just my view....

  • Comment number 30.

    "attention has understandably shifted towards the potential impact of the UK coalition upon these Holyrood elections."

    No it hasn't.

  • Comment number 31.

    8 sneckedagain

    Your 2 others

    Would they be Margo, and the Independent in Shetland, whose odds are shortening.

    Has there ever been an election where TWO leaders lost their seats in the same election?

  • Comment number 32.

    If the maths make a 2 party coalition possible (ie SNP + other) and its looking increasingly likely it will then its only the Greens that are a viable option - why do you not mention that Brian?

    The other 3 (notionally including Labour in this) wont support an independence referendum which means the SNP will simply (and quite rightly) tell them to go away.

    In any case, for the LibDems to somehow sneak into a coalition after what will be a complete doin next week would be a shocker.

  • Comment number 33.

    29 - ggg

    There was me thinking you must be a Liberal - until this - "UK leader are relevant, as this is a regional UK election. Working relationships with Westminster are important."

    But don't the Liberals believe in Scottish home rule in a federal UK? Shurely shome mishtake!

  • Comment number 34.

    31. At 20:41pm 28th Apr 2011, reincarnation wrote:

    "Has there ever been an election where TWO leaders lost their seats in the same election?"

    When a scavenging carnivore eats a Scot and a sweet berry makes some else's day grey will be icing on the cake.

  • Comment number 35.

    Hey! Brian.. Brian look its Gray in the ,.,Brian look a story Br.. Brian labours getting stuffed in the polls .. BRIAN .. Brian .. brian ......!!! The Scottish electi... brian???

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 36.

    Evening all , to solve the issue that #2 #18 #22 think is important that we get to the bottom of and #29 thinks is pretty infantile surely what we need is an investigative journalist or an impartial public service broadcaster to contact the retailer involved and arrange to view the cctv images from within the branch IF Mr Salmond was hiding or indeed if Mr Gray ran or walked away again it would all be there in glorious technicolour in real-time - no spin no silly statements.
    Sid

  • Comment number 37.

    29. At 20:38pm 28th Apr 2011, ggg wrote:

    "... this is a regional UK election."

    ===

    Scotland is not a region, it is a NATION - forget about the politics, it is a simple fact - and next Thursday's is a NATIONAL election.

  • Comment number 38.

    29 ggg

    "Working relationships with Westminster are important."

    Indeed they are. Not, of course, in the sense that Scots should vote for a party that just went along with the Westminster agenda. Nor would it be sensible to support a party that articulates conflict with London as their aim.

    In the context of the latter of these points two parties stand out as being totally unworthy of Scots votes -

    Labour, who have made it clear from the beginning that their sole aim is to fight the Tories and uise a Scottish base just to get Labour back in power at Westmister. Additionally, folk will remember how long it took for a UK Labour PM to acknowledge Salmond's existence as FM.

    LDs who, for reasons of party survival, need to pretend that they are a different party from that in Coalition in Westminster. Witness Scott's ludicrous "Conservatives would have burnt Scotland at the stake" claim. Ineffective posturing is the last thing we need.

    Salmond has shown over the last 4 years that, while standing up for Scotland, he (contrary to Unionist fears and scares) hasn't looked to create conflict.

    While having no chance of becoming FM, Goldie and Harvie do not give the impression of creating conflict for its own sake.

  • Comment number 39.

    "As noted here before, two very different tactics by the UK coalition parties. With the same objective: winning Holyrood votes."

    ===

    Yet, in both cases, the Scottish divisions of those parties claim to be 'autonomous' (it wouldn't do no bandy about words like 'independent'), but this campaign has shown that the representatives of each will be placemen/women of their London masters.

  • Comment number 40.

    @30

    I have commented on another place (you will all know where) that there should be no coalition with disreputable Lib/dems, who will point, like a weather vane, in whatever direction the wind blows.

    I have also said "I would not be surprised" if some Lib/dems and Tories split away from their London minders and became proper 'Scottish Parties'.

    This election can be the watershed for a completely new political landscape it's that important. The SNP cannot afford to lose this election.
    I wish them well!

  • Comment number 41.

    I get the distinct impression that BBC Scotland's political editor would rather not talk about the election at all.

  • Comment number 42.

    39. reincarnation

    'Labour, who have made it clear from the beginning that their sole aim is to fight the Tories and uise a Scottish base just to get Labour back in power at Westmister. '

    For a good chunk of us unionist anti-Tories, that's quite an attractive reason to vote for Labour.

    33 - fully admit i am not fully conversant in current lib dem Scottish policy at local vs regional level, just think they made the right decision for the UK last year and deserve some credit for keeping Cameron in check (to a degree). Suspect most of it though it was going to be a lot worse at UK level last year. Clegg should just not have looked so gleeful about it all!

  • Comment number 43.

    Ref #29 RRR

    I read your comment with some interest. Althiough I disagree with some of your assertions at least your comments were not that of a out and out nitwit. And that is what this blog should be about.

    I can't agree with your stament, "... as this is a regional UK election."

    This is NOT about regional government, it's about the government of this NATION for the next 5 years.

    I do agree however that, "Working relationships with Westminster are important." But that surely means that Downing Street sould be calling Bute House as often as Bute House calls Downing Street. That would really be 'respect'.



  • Comment number 44.

    #42 - "For a good chunk of us unionist anti-Tories, that's quite an attractive reason to vote for Labour. "

    Except you have to way up what they claim they will do with their track record. And their track record in a very similar situation was, to say the least, pathetic. The feeble 50 were called such for a very good reason. Too busy troughing it to really fight for Scotland and her peoples. So, look at the current batch of Labour MPs at Westminster. Is there any evidence, any at all, that they are performing better than those 50 waste of spaces? Unfortunately, the answer is no, there is absolutely zero evidence that Labour MPs at Westminster are doing anything at all to hold back the ConDems.

    Is anyone really convinced that having the Grayman as First Minister at Holyrood will magically transform these Labour MPs into a real fighting force?

  • Comment number 45.

    Interesting, the way Tavish Scott managed to convert from frantically distancing himself from his pals in the ConDem coalition to "we're proudly keeping the Tories in check" in less time than it takes to pick out a disgusting orange tie from the rack, or hand out a bag of pick-and-mix sweeties to unsuspecting voters.

    His party may be plummeting to defeat, but at least he'll go down with some shred of dignity - which is more than can be said of the Gray man, and the recurring car crash that is the Labour campaign.

    Whereas Alex Salmond was systematically excluded from last year's televised debates, Gray has had every London Labour careerist, and a few other comedians to boot, up here speaking on his behalf, while the man himself hones his fighting skills by being caught slinking in and out of shops, leaving his grubby press office to rewrite the truth to fabricate playground attacks on the SNP.

    And as Labour-leaning media commentators plead with their party to get "more negative" in a bid to save their own electoral hides, Gray seems to be taking their advice to heart ... if not quite in the way they hoped! :-)

  • Comment number 46.

    43 AG

    not trying to be overtly controversial with concepts of nation, as it is subjective and tied into questions that were covered off in the census (interesting to see results of the census' sense of nationality vs. voting in election).

    My point was more that we have interlinked levels of representation. Councilers, to MSP, to 7 list MSPs, to MP, to MEP. The interaction of these levels of government are relevant to Scotland.

  • Comment number 47.

    42 ggg

    "For a good chunk of us unionist anti-Tories, that's quite an attractive reason to vote for Labour"

    I don't know how old you are, but some of us remember the "Feeble Fifty" from Labour last trime around - and they were in Westminster!. Rather like the "Feeble Forty One now".

    If they are so incompetent that they can't resist Westminster Tories in Westminster, thenmaybe we sent a bunch of useless haddies down there.

    Now, I quite understand that you think stopping the Tories ruining the English NHS is more important than building the Scottish NHS. That you think stopping the Tories from introducing "Free Schools" in England more important than developing Scotish schools. That you think stopping the Tories from cutting English LAs savagely is more important than limiting the damage to Scottish LAs by making the cuts deeper in central than local government.

    Your MPs can't do that. How in the name of the wee man do you think putting Iain Gray in as FM is going to save the English from the consequenceas of what they voted for?

    If you Unionists think that Iain Gray is going to scare Cameron into changing direction then your understanding of reality is closely related to the Birthers in the USA!

    Or is your sense of self-importance so great that you think they too will tremble at the prospect of Iain Gray as FM.

    Sarah Palin - "Sigh. I can't compete with Iain Gray's charisma. I'll give up now."

  • Comment number 48.

    A very funny bit re Labour's campaign at the start of Newsnicht using scenes from 'The Thick of It'. Unfortunately there was nothing funny about ghastly McTiernan (former spinner to Tony Blair) who was on along with Prof Curtice and Iain MacWhirter. Gordon Brewer let McT do an awful lot of talking as he expanded his theme that Labour's problem was just that they had made a mistake at the beginning of the campaign by targetting Westminster instead of the SNP but now that they had turned their guns to the right quarter it was all coming right in time for next Thursday (and their knife crime policy is really resonnating on the doorsteps he said ). MacWhirter agreed with some of what he said and Curtice was circumspect about them having enough time to get back the ground they've lost but neither of them said a lot to knock him off his perch - there could still be surge next week so all who want an SNP victory MUST redouble their efforts and keep up the momentum

  • Comment number 49.

    47 - reincartation

    c'mon, claiming a unionist is like a birther is low. And i don't see the rational, except to offend.

    I suspect Grey and Salmond will be equally ineffectual at influencing Cameron.

  • Comment number 50.

    44@


    That encapsulates it all nicely for me.


    On another note!
    More cold water from Newsnight Scotland with free scoff on how labour can claw back the 'smaller than thought poll rating lead'.

    Some mild raps on the knuckles for the relaunch strategy but they say it is not too late to make a difference as the 'working class' labour vote is still there ready to be inspired to do their duty on May 5th.

    Hey! The election is not over until that fat lady (cant remember her name on this site) sings.

    I urge all voters to vote SNP.


  • Comment number 51.

    #49 ggg ...thats nae short for gigity gray is it ?

    'I suspect Grey and Salmond will be equally ineffectual at influencing Cameron.'

    I think you will find that the SNP do not want planning to go back to Wastemonster. I cant see Gray putting up much of a fight if thats proposed in the Scotland Bill. Only the SNP (along with the Greens) will put up a fight to stop new nuclear power stations being built here.

  • Comment number 52.

    49 ggg

    I wasn't comparing all Unionists had the intellectual capacity of the birthers - only those who imagined that the result of a Scottish general election would make any difference to a Tory Government.

    That was the fundamental flaw in the whole Labour campaign - that Scotland didn't matter, only Westminster did. But that message was clear nonsense (as you have now recognised).

    It was interesting to see in your original post that you thought "real macro economic, defense and international relations needs a strong government."

    Not a consensual government, or a principled government, or a unifying government - but a strong government.

    The kind of strong government that pretends to a world status that it cannot afford; a strong govrnment that involved us in the illegal Iraq war; a strong government that builds then mothballs two aircraft carriers as costs escalate; a strong government that privatises essential defence capability like air-sea rescue (Prince William out of a job soon after his wedding! How's he going to support a wife when he's on jobseekers Allowance?) :-)

  • Comment number 53.

    I think Clegg and his chum Cameron are already doing wilfull harm to Scotland. Firstly they're hitting the oil and gas sector with another £2bn in annual taxes and that has already led to cancelled or delayed projects and they will lead to job losses. Secondly though it's being reported on another site - you know which one - that the coalition is going ahead with Labour's privatisation of air sea rescue services and making the cuts in the Coastguard service it threatened.

  • Comment number 54.

    #52 Reincarnation

    'How's he going to support a wife when he's on jobseekers Allowance?) :-)'

    According to Morrissey (who he I hear you say)

    '"Why would I watch the wedding?" Morrissey asked. "I do seriously believe that they are benefit scroungers, nothing else."

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-13207190

    I suppose at least he has some National Insurance contributions. :o)}

  • Comment number 55.

    I notice the picture from St Andrews of preparations for their party tomorrow on the BBC Scottish news site is a sea of Union flags - wouldn't it be nice if there were even a few St Andrews crosses displayed. After all, she's getting Strathmore, isn't she?

  • Comment number 56.

    I had posted the other day about tickets for the BBC debate in Perth on Sunday and how I was issued a ticket which was subsequently withdrawn, BBC very apologetic but they had issue too many tickets. I did notice they were still advertising tickets on web and TV. So being a bit mischievous got my wife to apply, only difference being she ticked box as likely to vote Labour, I had ticked the SNP. What a surprise we got when yesterday she got a ticket issued to her, yes despite the BBC having claimed they had over issued tickets she got one.
    Now what is going on, I can understand that mistakes can happen its part of the human condition, but if the BBC spoke true about too many tickets issued then how come they are still issuing new ones? Now if what they meant was that they had got the audience balance wrong then why did they not say that?
    I suspect that some of the more conspiracy minded folk might see dark movements here, me I tend to see cock up rather than conspiracy, but it does leave you wondering

  • Comment number 57.

    56 Soosider
    I have every confidence in the impartiality of the BBC in North Britain.
    I have every confidence in the impartiality of the ex New Labour activists who manage News and Politics emanating from the BBC in Northern Britain.
    Gordon Brown and David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Tavish Scott have assured me that there is no anti-SNP bias whatsoever.
    See me - see stitched up the back ................
    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 58.

    52 - reincarnation.

    I think that elected governments need to govern, we elect them for a term, then judge them at the end of it. they will have to make unpopular decisions, but the will be judged on the back of it. i am proud of the role Britain played in the freeing of Iraq, but appreciate that some will fell less comfortable with it. I do not agree with all Labour have done, and also support policies such as the Tories review of incapacity claimants and SNPs free prescriptions, whilst disagreeing with many of their offer offerings whilst in power.

    So, yes i want strong government, whatever the hew and then i will judge them at the ballot box.

  • Comment number 59.

    Hi Soosider,
    I wish I could have given you mine, as, although living in the Antipodes, - I was selected for a ticket.
    E-mail from Storm Huntley:
    "You have been selected to take part in the BBC Leaders Debate!
    Please arrive at the concert hall by 1630. Doors close at 1645, we will not be able to admit late arrivals."

    However it was not transferable:
    "Tickets can only be used by the person who was allocated the ticket by BBC Scotland - please do not pass them on to somebody else."
    I have replied, thanking Storm but saying, " Ah cannae mak it."

    I wish the SNP all the very best for the 5th but I really wish they’d stop boasting about the result and the way the country will vote. It never does one good to count the chickens... you all know the rest.

    Modest and diplomacy let Iain et al make the shrieking and prophecies.
    Kiwi Mike

  • Comment number 60.

    ... And as everyone from Gary Rhodes to Zadok the Priest tussle over their seats for the much anticipated Royal frenzy, one is steeped in compulsion to sook in the bejewelled euphorrhoea we are collectively colonised by ...

    (To be announced in a Murray Walker voice!)

  • Comment number 61.

    Anybody home?

  • Comment number 62.

    58. At 08:22am 29th Apr 2011, ggg wrote:

    "i am proud of the role Britain played in the freeing of Iraq, but appreciate that some will fell less comfortable with it."

    Like the millions of displaced citizens and the 10's if not 100's of thousand collateral damage victims, the destroyed infrastructure coupled with the deformed birth defects from the use of depleted uranium armaments. You feel proud typical imperialist notion.

    Sad.

  • Comment number 63.

    Since the illusion of 'democracy' has returned!

    Change of plans - police abuse of power

  • Comment number 64.

    Was the comment facility turned off in case anyone made nasty comments about the Earl of Strathearn and his missus?

  • Comment number 65.

    #64 reincarnation
    Interesting tactics to preserve the Union that he's a Duke in England, then skip Marquess and but an Earl in Scotland then down another, Viscount, to Baron in Ireland. Is this an insight into the relative importance of the respective Crowns in the eyes of their wearer or of her Government? Probably the latter as it fits well with the "too poor, too wee, too stupid" mantra.

  • Comment number 66.

    #8. At 08:22am 29th Apr 2011, ggg wrote:
    "i am proud of the role Britain played in the freeing of Iraq, but appreciate that some will fell less comfortable with it."

    I don't think you get to be proud of un-intended consequences. That would be like Nazis applauding WWII because it got rid of a nasty, anti-semitic, authoritarian government in Poland.

    #8. At 00:11am 29th Apr 2011, raisethegame wrote:
    "Unfortunately there was nothing funny about ghastly McTiernan (former spinner to Tony Blair)"

    Ghastly indeed. One chap whose looks exactly match his soul (or lack thereof).

  • Comment number 67.

    'Pippa' stole the show!!

  • Comment number 68.

    Answer to 64. Yes

  • Comment number 69.

    To ggg@49
    "I suspect Grey and Salmond will be equally ineffectual at influencing Cameron.".

    Only the wee Gray moose will be ineffectual at influencing Cameron, because Salmond won't even be trying. His interest will be in running Scotland for the Scottish people, not scoring points with Westminster politics. Gray will be the one with his eyes off Scotland and on the southern antics.

  • Comment number 70.

  • Comment number 71.

    65. At 17:11pm 29th Apr 2011, handclapping wrote:

    Interesting tactics to preserve the Union that he's a Duke in England, then skip Marquess and but an Earl in Scotland then down another, Viscount, to Baron in Ireland.

    ===

    This is nothing new.

    On his wedding day in 1986, Prince Andrew was created Duke of York, Earl of Inverness and Baron Killyleagh.

  • Comment number 72.

    Were you away at one of Scotland's two street parties today, Brian? Whatever the reason for your absence, it's sad that you were too busy too have your "Big Debate" today. Why was that? It does seem odd that Radio 4 can manage to put on their regular "Any Questions" tonight. Could you have forgotten that there's a general election going on?

    By the by, there's a wonderful quote from Labour's Johann Lamont on this website's Votes bid ongoing on wedding day: "Scottish Labour believes that co-ops and mutuals are not just a proud part of Scotland's history - they have a major role to play in Scotland's future".

    I wonder how that's playing in Dunfermline and how Alex Rowley - the Labour candidate - is playing it? Could the DBS scandal allow the L-Ds to hold on to the seat, I wonder, or - after the FM's attempt to keep DBS going - could the SNP come from 3rd place to take it?

  • Comment number 73.

    #64 reincarnation
    "Was the comment facility turned off in case anyone made nasty comments about the Earl of Strathearn and his missus?"

    Must have missed that last night, but when I read it this morning I misread it as being about "the Earl of Streatham and his missus", which conjured up wonderful images of garden parties on the lawns of Nelson Mandela House in neighbouring Peckham, entirely in keeping with Lord Gnome's "Brenda".

    In fact, it wasn't just BwB that was down most of the day, but the entire BBC id system. Very convenient for the mods, though.

  • Comment number 74.

    #72 Barbazenzero
    Please be aware that this is a sensitive issue. Rowley is the man most likely to "inherit" Gordon's Westminster seat. There is a "silver" thread running through the City of London that allows takeovers in certain cases. Lloyds Bank had a little local difficulty with sovereign credits and were allowed to take over the TSB. LloydsTSB were having a little local difficulty with property loans and thought they were being allowed to take over HalifaxBoS. I think it was a much larger Building Society that was allowed to take over the Dunfermline after the D's bad loans had been stripped out and with the odd £ billion or so to equalise the liability for all the Dunfermline depositors taken on by the lucky recipient of the Government's permission to make the takeover. I wonder if the merged Building Society made a thumping loss in the takeover year despite having been presented with a sqeaky clean Dunfermline?

  • Comment number 75.

    reincarnation,

    With no recent opinion polls out, as mentioned in another place I have been trying to get my own seat calculator working and can now predict all 129 seats based on Prof. Denver's "notional" 2007 results and normalising of the vote shares in each of the 73 plurality seats and 8 d'Hondt regions.

    I am not sure that I have actually proved anything other than that Scotland Votes must use a very similar algorithm, and cannot be attempting to calculate the list seats before having "called" each of the plurality seats.

    Inputting the 21 April YouGov percentages, I get:

              Notional     Scotland
    Party 2007 seats Votes BZ
    SNP 46 61 61
    Lab 44 40 39
    Con 20 13 17
    Grn 1 8 7
    L-D 17 6 3
    Margo 1 1 1
    GG 0 0 1

    Scotland Votes don't seem to have adjusted their "Margo" algorithm for Georgeous George. It looks as though if he can get just under 12,000 votes he can take the last Glasgow list seat from Labour (if they go no lower) or the SNP (if Labour slump further).
  • Comment number 76.

    #75, Barbazenzero

    If your prediction for the L-D return is correct, perhaps someone should give Bill Oddie's (or Graeme Garden's or Tim Brooke-Taylor's) telephone number to the party: the Goodies' trandem could come in useful...

  • Comment number 77.

    #74 handclapping
    "Please be aware that this is a sensitive issue. Rowley is the man most likely to "inherit" Gordon's Westminster seat."

    I do appreciate that, which is why I thought Ms Lamont's remarks might be of particular interest in Dunfermline. Obviously there may be local issues which change things, but on the latest YouGov and MORI polls, it looks as though the L-Ds should be in third place, with Lab and the SNP very close ahead of them. On MORI's figures, it suggests Rowley narrowly taking the seat whilst on YouGov's it gives the SNP's Bill Walker the edge.

  • Comment number 78.

    #76 Innocent Bystander
    "If your prediction for the L-D return is correct, perhaps someone should give Bill Oddie's (or Graeme Garden's or Tim Brooke-Taylor's) telephone number to the party: the Goodies' trandem could come in useful..."

    If my algorithm is correct, the three would be: Tavish - retaining Shetland, Willie Rennie - top of their Scotland Mid & Fife list & Alison McInnes - top of their Scotland North East list.

    I'm actually disappointed that my results are so close to Scotland Votes, since I fear their algorithm doesn't properly take into account the way the AMS system works to compensate parties for missing out on plurality seats. I'm hoping that there will be new polls this week-end to tell us more.

    To get to 61, for example, the model would have the SNP winning 32 extra plurality seats whilst losing 17 list seats, for a net gain of 15 MSPs. Labour's compensation for losting 16 plurality seats would win it 11 extra list seats, for a net loss of 5 MSPs.

  • Comment number 79.

    76. At 21:23pm 29th Apr 2011, Innocent Bystander

    One can't drag the Goodies good name down to that level, shanks pony is there limit.

  • Comment number 80.

    78. At 22:06pm 29th Apr 2011, Barbazenzero

    Tavish is not that well thought of in Shetland.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/briantaylor/2011/04/coalition_electoral_tactics.html?postId=108429255

  • Comment number 81.

    Barbazenzero

    Thanks for the calculations. Hopefully, I'll get my PC back, repaired and working, tomorrow, and I'll be able to do better than just guess!

    Turns out one of my drives was running hot and needs to be replaced - a nice analogy for Iain Gray, I thought!

  • Comment number 82.

    I'm not sure exactly [or at all] how the Scotland Votes methodology works, but I tried putting in 50% SNP, 50% Labour in both Regional and Constituency votes, and one Conservative, one LibDem and one Independent were also returned (Labour 65, SNP 61)!


    That said, more reasonable numbers do suggest that coverage of the vote counts will be entertaining indeed.

    What chance a [UK] Cabinet re-shuffle (and coalition agreement rewrite) on Friday? Call Me Dave could easily use the overnight results to threaten Clegg with going to the country if the LibDems didn't take the crumbs offered: Who's the Daddy, Nicky-boy???

  • Comment number 83.

    #80 cheesed_off
    "Tavish is not that well thought of in Shetland."

    As I've said re Dunfermline, local factors will always be relevant and can buck any trend, and we may have some "Portillo" moments to savour next week at the plurality counts.

    All any model can do is to apply polling results across the board in the hope of accurately mapping trends.

    Tavish may be good or bad as a constituency MSP, but he did have 2/3rds of the total votes last time, so anyone who defeats him will have to be pretty special. Good luck to them if they are.

  • Comment number 84.

    #81 reincarnation
    "Turns out one of my drives was running hot and needs to be replaced - a nice analogy for Iain Gray, I thought!"

    I'm afraid you'll have to admit that when an important election is coming up you should ensure that all the vital components you need for it are running smoothly and in full working order well in advance and ....

    Er, yes, it is rather a good analogy for Mr Gray. Perhaps the leader of the Labour party in 2016 will have more foresight.

 

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