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Time to talk bins

Brian Taylor | 11:30 UK time, Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The air war will, of course, continue right up to polling day.

Before voting on Thursday, the final messages will be refined, delivered and broadcast.

But alongside all that is the ground war: always critical, these days far more sophisticated.

Among many intriguing items on GMS this morning, I caught the report from the Stirling constituency which featured vox pops highlighting the concerns of individual voters.
Did you hear it? Well worth a listen. Folk were worried about familiar themes: jobs, the state of their city, public services.

But those concerns were tailored. An elderly woman reflected on what she perceived as a general decline in the condition of the place she lived.

A parent voiced concern about school provision. A man from rural Stirlingshire urged attention upon.....rural Stirlingshire.

Which proves a point. Down the years, I have watched umpteen eager politicians who are desperate to put their issue/obsession over to the voters.

Flow of votes

They are frequently disappointed - occasionally irritable - when the voters want to talk about something else. Those politicians, needless to say, scarcely win, unless they amend their style.

Which is where the air war and ground war coincide. Parties hope that their range of messages will get through, somehow, in the weeks, months and years prior to a contest.

On the doorstep, they have to tailor those directly to the concerns raised by folk.
You must go with the flow of the voters.

If they are worried about the refuse collection, there is little point in delivering a panegyric on the merits of European integration. Better start talking bins.

As I have discussed previously, sophisticated canvassing now involves producing a mosaic picture of a constituency: who is worried about what, who needs reassurance on a particular point. Suitable leaflets / visits will duly follow.

By now, of course, it's largely down to core messages - and to getting the vote out on the day.

Positive or negative

All the parties are fully aware of two points re polls. One, they may be wrong. Two, they may not translate into a uniform picture on the ground.

Of course, if the swing is in, then it will have an impact, positive or negative. But, if that swing is limited, it can be countered by local constituency effort: targeted canvassing, lifts to the polls.

Of course, parties also want to ensure that any swing in their favour is reflected in both the constituency and regional list options. Hence the renewed stress on all sides on both votes.

Fascinating stuff.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Taking out the rubbish and referencing labour in the same sentence is quite apt!

    C McK

  • Comment number 2.


    Is it down to messages - or performance?.

    And really, an election is not a war, although perhaps some parties
    see it that way to their detriment.

  • Comment number 3.

    Brian, funny how polls that showed Labour to be in the lead had to be taken seriously and BBC Scotland were trumpeting that Iain Gray was to become First Minister as a consequence, but once the SNP overturned Labour's lead in the polls came the advice via BBC Scotland that such polls could well be wrong.

    Funny that, no'!

  • Comment number 4.

    Folk were worried about familiar themes: jobs, the state of their city, public services.

    And who can blame them. The damage Labour managed to do to the Scottish economy was probably worse than even Thatcher managed and now the amount we're paying to service Labour's overdraft makes it really difficult to see when the real upturn will come.

    The really astonishing thing though is that Labour genuinely believe they should be rewarded for what they did by being elected to run Hollyrood. It's mind boggling really that they still talk about creating jobs. Two simple examples - 1) Labour allowed BAe to contract a Chinese communist company to build the huge crane they need to assemble the aircraft carriers and that would have provided a lot of jobs here 2) Labour kicked off the programme to privatise the air sea rescue service giving the contract to a Canadian company who will buy some new US built helicopters with funding from RBS. How many UK jobs could that have created if the helos had been built by Westland and how many RAF and RN jobs will go?

    There are of course numerous other examples but I haven't got all day.

  • Comment number 5.

    'Postive or Negative'

    Brian forgets to mention the possible impact of Postal votes which are expected to be higher than ever. Here there are 2 factors imo:

    The high probability of postal vote fraud coupled with the lack of exposure of any fraud.
    The fact that many postal votes will have been sent prior to Labours disastrous election campaign and prior to Mr Grays lack of leadership was exposed for all to see.


  • Comment number 6.

    As you say Brian, all politics is local and personal. The only party I've seen talking about Scottish and Scot's issues at this election has been the SNP though. Labour and the Lib Dems have been re-fighting the Westminster election (actually it seems Labour has been re-fighting the Westminster elections of the 1980s). If Salmond wins, then it is because he has paid attention to the people of Scotland (if Gray wins then we need UN observers at the next set of elections).

  • Comment number 7.

    Brian,

    The finishing line is indeed just ahead, as the link to this thread on the main Scotland [sic] politics puts it, but you would barely notice from BBC Scotland's coverage, which has been not so much biased as Nelsonian in its willingness to turn a blind eye to what's been happening. Coverage of the BBC's own non-live leaders' debate has been minimalist and unavailable to overseas viewers, and seems to have entirely failed to notice STV's two live debates, streamed live to the world, the second of which is taking place tonight at 20:30 BST / 19:30 UTC.

    You're certainly right that it's now mainly a matter of getting the vote out on the day, but I'm less sure of what you say on the polls. My understanding is that the BBC does not commission party polls, but your one on the "manifesto" issues came precious close. But is there anything in the BBC charter to prevent your reporting them? I don't think there can be, from what little you have had to say regarding them during the campaign, but there's been precious little reporting of them on air or on this website, where there isn't even a prominent link to Scotland Votes'summary of recent polls.

    I do realise that you work within difficult constraints, but overall BBC Scotland coverage of this Scottish general election barely rates a C-.

  • Comment number 8.

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

  • Comment number 9.

    People have deserted New Labour in their droves.
    Locally, the existing 'list' New Labour MSPs are apparently now paying people to stuff leaflets through doors. The previous "activists" have finally seen through New Labour.
    I think it is probably down to total disgust with Blair's illegal invasion of Iraq, Brown's incompetence over the Economy and the fact that Ian Gray's team have nothing to offer the Scottish people.
    The SNP have been welcomed on the doorstep as a breath of fresh air - Putting Scotland First.
    Vote SNP twice on Thursday - for Scotland and for Scotland's children.
    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 10.

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

  • Comment number 11.

    Time to talk [rubbish]

    I had harboured hopes that we were past the stage of our beloved media simply pasting and copying press releases from The Party, but perhaps not.

    Welcome back Brian, it's been a while. Hard to believe that our polls open in less than 48hrs. How long will this one remain open I wonder. Until the next poll is announced? Until we get to see a live TV debate? Until Elmer falls on his sword?

    Two votes, one answer - both for our children and grandchildren.

  • Comment number 12.

    Brian,

    "Time to talk bins"

    Aye, indeed Brian, time to talk bins.

    Like the bin that the labour party (north british branch) is about to end up in.

    Like the bin that the conservative (north british branch) is about to end up in.

    Like the bin that the "liberal" "democrats" (north british branch) is about to end up in.

    In fact, I think we are about to enter a political phase in Scotland that will see the precious "union" ending up in the bin. I sincerely hope so, as it is well past its sell by date.
    Had westminster and the unionist parties been honest with Scotland and treated Scotland with the respect that it deserved, given that Scotland has been underpinning their borrowing with our oil and whisky, then we might not be where we now are.

    Unfortunately westminster and the unionist parties in Scotland have lied, cheated and decieved the Scottish people for too long now and we have simply had enough.
    It is time for a change in Scotland, and that change is independence from our deceiptful partner down south.

    Only those people with a vested interest can possibly want this unfair and unjust union to continue. People with en eye on an OBE, perhaps, or an ermine pass to the westminster gravy train.

    The trecherous Scotland Bill designed by the unioinst parties to emasculate the Scottish Parliament was the last straw for many. "New powers" for the Scottish Parliament, aye, right! More like a wee sweetie dangled in one hand, while the other hand hides the cosh. NO to the Scotland Bill.

    INDEPENDENCE FOR SCOTLAND

  • Comment number 13.

    Brian,
    I also heard the snippet on WWJ. The woman talking about school department closures was basing everything that she said on "Rumours". Do you think that it is right that "rumours" are so influential? Is that not just another name for scaremongering? Which party has based their entire campaign (both phases) on scaremongering? Should it not be the job of our national broadcaster to verify or dispell these rumours? Why did the BBC broadcast these rumours as fact? Would the BBC not have done a service to the electorate to investigate these rumours?

    John

    John

  • Comment number 14.

    Quote on this page:
    ""Nick Robinson:
    "Further to my POST YESTERDAY [my emphasis] I note the prime minister's words on the impact which the death of Bin Laden..."""

    And your last blog Mr Taylor was on...?

    Need to up your productivity methinks.

  • Comment number 15.


    #7 Barbazenzero

    That’s interesting your link to Scotland votes. It's funny how the Herald polls in particular seem to be skewed, out of kilter, towards Labour. Perhaps these ones, which were trumpeted by BBC Scotland, were polls of BBC Scotland employees?

    Could it be that the Herald anti-Scottish too?

  • Comment number 16.

    From #5. At 12:13pm 3rd May 2011, EphemeralDeception wrote:

    ""The fact that many postal votes will have been sent prior to Labours [sic] disastrous election campaign and prior to Mr Grays lack of leadership was exposed for all to see.""

    No the forms on which you had to record your postal vote were sent out after Subwaygate etc.

  • Comment number 17.

    Certainly there are many folks concerned with unemployment, health/social services,housing, policing, education etc. But there are little pockets in this corner of the UK that appear to be immune from those things listed, one such little pocket that I accidentally came across at the week-end was near the Bridge Inn (Ratho) a private housing development with prices ranging from circa £350-1/2m the latter ones will come with their very own private moorings! For sure others will know of some more little pockets.................

  • Comment number 18.

    "Flow of votes"

    Would these be NI and N England ones Brian?

  • Comment number 19.

    One thing I've noticed, is the lack of prominence that the BBC has given to the news that the Windfarms in Scotland at points have been producing so much electricity that we had to be paid to turn them off before we overloaded the grid. It does, fairly fatally, puncture the argument that Scotland has no natural resources apart from ever-decreasing reserves of oil, and that renewable resources cannot supplant fossil fuels. It also holes below the waterline the argument that Scotland is a net drain on the UK. Scotland is keeping England's light's burning.

  • Comment number 20.

    There are reports of a Joke that possibly used to do the rounds in the Soviet Army.

    Two Soviet Generals are sitting having a Cognac in a café in Paris. “So Comrade”, one says “ Who DID win the Air War ?”

    Boots on the Ground Win Campaigns, and I’ve seen Very Few Boots on the Ground from Northern British Parish Branch UK Labour. They have sat on the result from 2010 that returned the Feeble Forty-One and said, Don’t Worry, Ed, it’s all in the bag.

    Leafleting Solid Labour areas at the weekend that we haven’t touched for years, the SNP are getting an active, positive welcome, where in 2010 we were getting negativity and even abuse.

    There is a phase change in Scottish Politics, Brian. The SNP will be The Government, either as part of a Progressive Coalition or a Minority for the next five years.

    Time for Pacific Quay to Get With The Program.

  • Comment number 21.

    "But those concerns were tailored. An elderly woman reflected on what she perceived as a general decline in the condition of the place she lived."

    Would 'stitched' be more apt?

  • Comment number 22.

    Yes,its make your mind up time.Do we trust in a party which sees this election mainly as a leg up for its Westminster leader and is willing to use what appear to be bogus economic figures in its campaign? Or do we go for the party which has done fairly well from a minority position and has normal ambitions(for a northern european society) for our country. Thursday will be "THE AULD GRAY CHICKEN TEST", as the good old rock show from Labour favoured epoch nearly had it!

  • Comment number 23.

    Sir Alex Fergeson ,our great Govan man of the people has told us all at the weekend to vote Labour. Fantastic! He must have been on the phone from his multi million pound mansion in Cheshire asking if things were still as good as he remembers them in Govan when he was a wee boy. Still the exact same would be the answer, except we now have inside toilets but no jobs. I have never read so much tosh in my life. If he said what i read he needs treatment.
    Ah, what about Sir Sean i hear some say. The difference is he would like an independent Scotland and the SNP is the vehicle for this. After independence we could have any party running the country not only the SNP. ( and he pays his tax wherever he works before someone asks)
    I think our man Sir Alex is loosing touch with the mood of the country. Same old faces, same old arguments, except we now have the powerhouse of the SNP to counter them and show these people up for the fifth columnists that they are.

  • Comment number 24.

    Surfing twitter this morning I couldn't help but notice the apocalyptic message of doom being spread around by Labour Lackeys vying to discourage voters from splitting the union.

    Seems quite a cynical ploy, considering Labours most recent charge that the SNP are "obsessed" with independence.

    Really? I haven't heard Swinney, Sturgeon or Salmond get up on their respective soap-boxes about independence in the last 3 weeks - unless they were specifically asked a question on it.

    It would appear to me that the the parties genuinely obsessed with independence are the one's spreading tomes of despair and misery should their little clique of Westminster washouts get punted at the polls. Hasn't anyone at the BEEB noticed this and brought them to task on the subject?

    If Iain Grey has been saying jobsjobsjobs (for the boys) for the last 6 months, in the last week it's been nothing but "now the tories are back" "independence" "Hell on earth" "Fire and brimstone" "Death of Scotland" and various other sundry comments of unionist scaremongering tosh.

    The only other leader that grates as much as Grey is Tavish and his nasal drone of insignificance. Here's a man trying so hard to look like a 3rd option he barely looks like a 4th or 5th option.

    It would be splendid if he lost his seat along with Grey - it would be Christmas come early for the Scot's electorate being rid of the hapless stammering gamekeeper and the close-minded arrogance of Shetlands answer to Steve Davis.

  • Comment number 25.

    Polling Day indeed draws near Brian.

    The following thoughts just occurred to me.

    Polls suggest Labour may find their parliamentary group made up of a higher percentage of List MSPs than previously (as the SNP Constituency lead appears greater than their List lead)

    Add to this that Labour do not duplicate Constituency candidates on their List.

    I would hypothesise that it would also be fair to say that Labour's most capable and experienced candidates are Constituency candidates?

    Does the combination of these assertions mean that it appears likely that the Labour Group post May 6th will be of even lower rank and standing than their current group?

    Oh my. That is a truly terrifying thought.

  • Comment number 26.

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

  • Comment number 27.

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

  • Comment number 28.

    Both the air and ground war is over for me, as registered postal voter Ive already put an X next to Roseanna Cunningham and another next to Alex Salmond (for first minister)

    On Friday afternoon I hope to return to a Scotland that is governed by the SNP.

  • Comment number 29.

    No political campaign is ever going to win anything; all a party has to do is hope that one or more of its opponents contrives to LOSE support.

    I suspect that tonight's televised debate will be dull, dull, dull - in the cases of the SNP, Labour and the Conservatives, because they will be keen not to offend; and poor Tavish because he cannot help be but as he is.

    Tavish - wear a T-shirt tonight, emblazoned with the slogan "I DON'T AGREE WITH NICK" and you might save a couple of your colleagues from the same oblivion to which Liberals in Canada have consigned themselves....

  • Comment number 30.

    Hi Brian,

    I just heard you on the Jeremy Vine programme, and you seemed to be much more in touch with the realité there than you tend to be here.

    I'd have to say that I was quite glad to hear that, as I suppose your coat would be on a bit of a shoogly peg if you, the BBC Scotland Political Editor, were unable to give an accurate insight into the likely outcome of an imminent election. Wouldn't it?

    George

  • Comment number 31.

    I heard the snippet of vox pop from GMS this morning and was not suprised to hear that the selected voices were just what 'Mr Gray' would have ordered.
    Very subtle ( aye right) is what I actually said out loud. I sincerelly hope that enoight people vote for an SNP positive message on Thursday and cut loose from the negativity party and aunties BBC apron strings too.

    ONE single seat majority and I'll be a happy man.

    Your recent posts have been difficult for you Brian as you 'had nowhere to run to and nowhere to hide' Oh am I getting confused with - -what his name! --- you know him .. You shared a sandwich with him i'm sure. Anyway give hime my regards. H'e toast whatever happens.

  • Comment number 32.

    I try to take a logical approach to voting. My options. Labour. Failed to handle the economy leading to the banks gambling and losing too much, encouraged cronyism quangoes political correctness, Now preaching about the dangers to the economy of Independance. They managed to wreck the economy bring more red tape and levels of beaurocrisy creating a financial mess without independance!
    The Conservatives. Never had an influence in Scotland and as their votes are in the south they would logicaly try to appeal to those voters, to maintain power Doing nothing for me. Lib dems (and Labour and Conservatives) do as they are told by party HQ. Again a long way from where I am.
    SNP. first time in office, made good progress even though in a minority. Health service getting better (didnt improve with Labour), employment getting better (worse with Labour) Seem to be genuinely interested in Scottish issues things that matter to me.
    There is the "spectre" of an Independance refferendum, but wheres the harm in giving the people a vote? I dont see the harm in it yet they are dead set against it. It makes me wonder why?
    "It distracts from jobs" The London based parties claim.
    So a government can only do one thing at a time?
    If the SNP can govern Scotland and create jobs, and more importantly Optimism! then I want more of that. I welcome the debate that will preceed a refferendum lets hear the facts before we decide anything.

  • Comment number 33.

    Ok Brian... we'll talk 'Bins' if yeh wanna...

    ...This has bin a disasterous election for Labour, as they have bin found out on pretty much all their policies. The SNP on the otherhand have bin really competent, bin professional and bin soaring in the polls from the get go. The SNP have clearly bin getting the message across where-as, Labour have bin flip flopping and bin stealing all the SNP's ideas and still they 'refuse' to 'come clean' on their true policies... its' doubtful whether they will have bin believed come the 6th.

    As for the BBC... well, they've bin completely anonymous ever since they saw that the SNP bin winning the arguments. You've bin as aloof yersel as the lesser spotted Iain Grey in Union Street hu've ye no?

    Ah well, its' bin fun and i'm pretty sure that the SNP activists have bin saying much the same as this post about bins on the doorsteps.

    Ta ta for noo ;o)

  • Comment number 34.

    "Does the combination of these assertions mean that it appears likely that the Labour Group post May 6th will be of even lower rank and standing than their current group?

    Oh my. That is a truly terrifying thought."

    I don't see too much to worry about there Dear Wendy (#25), whoever sit on the Labour opposition benches will vote for whatever the SNP are voting for... but the other one! It wouldn't make a difference even if it was monkey's in red rosettes really ;o)

  • Comment number 35.

    So no blog from the Scottish Political Editor the weekend before the actual vote. Then we have this, mostly talk about a Vox Pop!!! of course the problem with these is that it is all in the editing, no need for scientific methods, no research, no analysis of policy, no discussion about costings. Then we discussion about air wars and ground wars, it is an election not a war, I assume this is a reference to teh generally held view that the SNP have trounced the air war, but Labour claim to be winning the ground war. Of course there is a vital difference one can be verified and the other cannot.
    It may be fascinating stuff but I continue to hope for more.
    Perhaps if you looked for at least some sort of firm evidence about how things are going you could do worse than look to the bookies, they rarely get things wrong. Paddy Power has the SNP moving to 1/8 to win most seats, Labour have moved out to 9/2, this is staggering odds to offer for a political ballot in Scotland and odds that have moved significantly in the last seven weeks. Perhaps it is some evidence of who is actually going to win this election never mind the "wars"

  • Comment number 36.

    #25 dear_wendy

    "Polls suggest Labour may find their parliamentary group made up of a higher percentage of List MSPs than previously (as the SNP Constituency lead appears greater than their List lead)".

    Unless every opinion poll with fieldwork in April is wrong. that's a certainty. Remember that because of the boundary changes, Labour are "notionally" only defending 44 seats (35 plurality + 9 list). It's also a known fact that neither Iain the unready nor others of his "shadow cabinet" have provided themselves with "parachutes" on the list, so if they lose their plurality seats they're out.

    YouGov is potentially the most favourable pollster to Labour because it effectively weights on Westminster voting intention without distinguishing between those who "lend" Labour their votes for Westminster but not for Holyrood. Even so, on their latest poll, for which fieldwork finished on the day of the royal wedding, by my reckoning Labour would be up 4 seats overall but down 7 plurality seats. Scotland Votes is less optimistic for Labour, suggesting that on the YouGov numbers they will only end up 3 seats overall, but they suggest Labour will "only" be down 2 plurality seats.

    Either way, there looks to be a substantial entry of "new" Labour list MSPs.

    "Does the combination of these assertions mean that it appears likely that the Labour Group post May 6th will be of even lower rank and standing than their current group?"

    Should Labour "lose" the election, might it not be a "blessing in disguise" for a decapitated Labour Holyrood contingent to start re-building from scratch?

  • Comment number 37.

    Brian,

    No disrespect, you understand, but the BBC has been found seriously wanting ion this election campaign!!

    All your programmes and your posts go AWOL just because there have been a few holidays!!

    Do the politicians, the campaigners go on holiday??

    The BBC North British version has been found seriously wanting in this whole campaign.

    You are your fellow journalists should be posting like mad - there seems to be a sea-change going on in Scottish politics and you guys are on holiday?? Check the Sunday Herald and Scotland on Sunday to verify!

    The weegreychickencarcrash was reported in the Herald today!!

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/election/you-shouldn-t-need-to-become-a-showman-to-be-a-politician-1.1099127

    Talk about someone living in lulu land!!

  • Comment number 38.

    BBC Scotland is obviously dumbing down this election as there favoured party are not running away with it they should surely have time to send me my referred post email. Time to get back to radio Wales who are not so partisan.

  • Comment number 39.

    Welcome 'back' Brian, pity you missed most of the last week of the election campaign. Just copy and paste the following and you'll at least have one credible blog entry:

    "The SNP are going to win."

    Happy to waive copyright.

  • Comment number 40.

    Maybe if the current Labour party leadership are defeated they'll bring back "Flash" Jack McConnell. I liked him, and lets face it, what lost him the last election wasn't the upsurge of the SNP, but the presence of Tony Blair. I remember watching the news conference with jack and Tony and thinking that everytime Blair opened his mouth Jack winced because he could almost feel the polls dropping. I shan't be voting Labour this time around you can be sure, not with the Gray man of nowhere in charge.

  • Comment number 41.

    STV has a new poll ... not looking good for Mr Gray. Anyway of out leafletting tonight while the sun is shining so might miss the leaders debate on later. So much for the 10,000 canvassers promised, if I saw one tonight I'd eat my hat (if I had one)

  • Comment number 42.

    From STV - Wow!
    The SNP is on course for a landmark victory in the Scottish parliament election, according to a new poll.

    The poll, conducted for STV News and likely to be the last before polling day, shows the Nationalists gaining enough of the vote for 61 seats, 14 more than they had in the last parliamentary session.

    Meanwhile, the poll indicates a major slump in support for Scottish Labour, with Iain Gray’s party taking a total of 33 seats.

    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 43.

  • Comment number 44.

    Labour caught YET AGAIN with "duff statistics". So say independent statisticians:

    http://www.straightstatistics.org/articles

    Surely the work of Straight Statistics is deserving of your attention, Brian?

  • Comment number 45.

    I flicked over to radio Scotland at 6.00pm expecting to hear about the latest poll nothing so it must be imagination! Some simple searching and voila a TNS one.

    changes since 2007 in brackets - TNS poll

    Constituency:
    SNP 45% (+13%)
    Labour 27%(-5%)
    Con 15% (-1%)
    LD 10% (-6%)
    Regional:
    SNP 38%(+7%)
    Labour 25% (-4%)
    Con 16% (+2%)
    LD 9%(-2%)
    Green 8%(+4%)

    Good news eh Brian?

  • Comment number 46.

    There was something amusing about the difference in how so many news outlets treated the first polls that showed the SNP pulling ahead and how they treated that last YouGov poll. That first poll everyone and their brother shouted, "But it must be a rogue poll."

    Now do you just suppose SOMEONE should have mentioned that possibility about the latest YouGov poll? Maybe?

  • Comment number 47.

    The more likely an SNP victory, the more I fear a back-room deal between/among other parties to oust Wee Eck at all costs.

  • Comment number 48.

    Re 44. At 17:50pm 3rd May 2011, AMJHAJ wrote:
    Labour caught YET AGAIN with "duff statistics". So say independent statisticians:


    Thanks for the link, fascinating

    Wonder if this will come up in the next debate

  • Comment number 49.

    Re 41 & 42
    Surprising how many polls seem to be missed at the moment. I would have thought these polls would have got more of a mention as all I seem to be hearing is that the gap is closing.
    Thanks for the link. It has kept my spirits up

  • Comment number 50.

    36 hours to the polls opening and the SNP appear to be carrying the Scottish people with their message. The lead on Thursday will be diminished from this high, mainly due to postal influences, but it is still looking likely the pro-independence parties will emerge bigger, stronger, more resilient and in tune with the wishes of over half the electorate of this country.

    What's happening?

    Has Scotland the nation finally found the backbone to dump the habitual misrepresentors who have treated their support so contemptiously for generations?

    Has it just been a case of ... 'Oh look we can actual run our own affairs and quite successfully too!'... and realising how shabbily they have been treat?

    Or is it the case that as a nation we are actually a sophisticated intelligent electorate capable of making our own minds up and we actually quite like what the future could bring?

    Whatever the reasons Scotland after May 5th 2011 will never be in the thrall of the Labour Party again. It will never again consider itself, to wee, too poor or too stupid.

  • Comment number 51.

    Once again the comments are peppered with insults aimed at non SNP politicians and the BBC/Brian. I hope the looking likely SNP administration are more magnanimous than their supporters here, or we are in for an unpleasant few years.

    Key question is what to watch tonight - El Classico or Leader's debate? Both seem nailed on for separatists, but you never no.....

  • Comment number 52.

    Logging off just now to watch STV, I expect Alex to 'Salmond' Gray since this is the last of the TV debates - just like at FMQs

  • Comment number 53.

    #51. ggg, that's pretty darn funny considering the horrible name-calling from Labour in particular towards Alex Salmond.

    You really think people haven't noticed? Check facebook sometime.

  • Comment number 54.

    TV debate.

    The old guy who brought up minimum pricing and Labours failure to support it really creamed Elmer... maybe the message will get through, but too late to make a difference, given the huge round of appluase.

  • Comment number 55.

    BBC Scotland have a lot to learn from STV.

  • Comment number 56.

    JRMac:

    i am not going out hunting for insults in other places, my point was i don't think i have seen any Salmond name calling on this blog, but a litany of childish pops at Gray and Taylor.

    re fitba vs hustings - both have some fancy footwork, a few stumbles, but no knock out blows yet.

  • Comment number 57.

    Thursday is D Day for Labour in Scotland. Destruct Day

    From the Scottish Left Review

    “We have a Labour ‘movement’ in Scotland which deserve a rapid death. There can never have been a point in time when the Labour Party in Scotland was quite as dreadfully, pathetically pitiful. It has a leader that everyone knows is there on the basis of the ability to take instructions. Its loudest voice appears to have been given to a young careerist by the name of Richard Baker who has decided that self-righteous drivel about ‘knife crime’ and ‘soft on crime’ is how it is going to win in Scotland. It has a ‘health’ policy which would oppose Aspirin if the SNP supported it. This party has become a juvenile, reactionary, third-rate, witless and talentless sack of nonentities with no vision, no principles and nothing to say worth listening to. There are those who think that a decent leader would be all they need to ensure a win in the 2011 election. The fact that there is not a single candidate in the entire Parliamentary Party is telling. That the main choice of the ‘commentators’ was until recently Jim Murphy MP shows just how dislocated from reality the whole scene has become – when he was put head-to-head with someone other than the Daily Record and actual people (not the Daily Record version of ‘actual people’) were asked to rate him, only five per cent thought he was any good. And that’s their best hope? There are still good people in Labour, but they’ve largely given up.”

  • Comment number 58.

  • Comment number 59.

    Gray wasn't 'Salmonded' by Alex, as I thought he would be.

    Massive statement from M. Salmond tho': If he wins the Referendum to NEGOTIATE for Independence he won't come back to the country to see if the terms are acceptable.

    So on Thursday I'll be voting SNP for the constuency vote, and Margo for the regional vote.

    When the Referendum comes along I'll be voting 'NO' because I will give no one 'carte blanche' on this county's future!!!!!

  • Comment number 60.

    ggg You may not, but I sure have include comparisons of Salmond to Mussolini which I consider an automatic Godwin's Law lose. I've seen him insulted in all sorts of ways so the "Labour is so clean" line doesn't get far when you look at the truth.

    I don't consider it good politicking but very few people who post here are politicians either. They're people many of whom have strong emotions on one side or the other.

  • Comment number 61.

    Once again the comments are peppered with insults aimed at non SNP politicians and the BBC/Brian. I hope the looking likely SNP administration are more magnanimous than their supporters here, or we are in for an unpleasant few years.
    -----------------------------------

    Just the SNP circlejerk brigade, at least they have something to crow about this time round. 1/10 for Alexs Army at the bookies now.
    The only real question is how bad is it going to be for Labour, or do they have sufficient core supporters to prevent political armageddon in Scotland.
    75% of folk like the SNP cooncil tax policy.
    The core Labour vote will be a critical anti-independence grouping when decision time for the Scots is upon us.

  • Comment number 62.

    AlistairG,

    agree, thought that was the stand out point tonight, an Independence referendum would be to give him the power to come up with what ever deal he could get for separation, and we would be stuck with that, with no democratic right to see if we agree with the offer and cost.

    Independence at any cost?

  • Comment number 63.

    #60. That surprised me, but I'm not sure he meant it quite that way, because I have heard him say that there issues that would be put to a referendum such as joining EU and possibly the Monarchy. But can every issue possibly be put to the vote? I mean looking at it from a practical standpoint.

    Still, I can see wanting answers before voting. I wouldn't make assumptions on a single statement like that though. But voting "no" (or "yes") on a referendum is exactly what he says is every Scot's right which makes sense.

  • Comment number 64.

    #58
    Labour - Slipping and Sliding

    How about this for Friday(for Little Richard Baker in particular)

    http://www.youtube.com/artist?a=GxdCwVVULXeUzfBiBXugbIe2hhF9VmAX&feature=watch_video_title

  • Comment number 65.

    JRMac - not claiming anyone is perfect, just reporting what i see. The unseemly jeering seemed to come from one camp on the teevee debate tonight as well.

    It will turn voters of the whole process, not just a party, which is a shame.

  • Comment number 66.

    #59

    I didn't read it like that at all.

    What I understood was that it would be a staggered process with an initial referendum to get approval to start discussing the independence conditions and once those conditions have been agreed then a second vote on whether the people agree those conditions.

  • Comment number 67.

    wee-scamp - Salmond was clear to me, if he wins his referendum, he will not come back to the people, we will be stuck with whatever deal he can pull together.

    Giving people a democratic voice is only good when it suits, it would appear.

  • Comment number 68.

    66. At 23:28pm 3rd May 2011, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    #59

    I didn't read it like that at all.

    What I understood was that it would be a staggered process with an initial referendum to get approval to start discussing the independence conditions and once those conditions have been agreed then a second vote on whether the people agree those conditions.

    Correct. Tavish was trying to score a political point nothing more.

  • Comment number 69.

    #65. ggg -- sad tp say, I suspect you actually believe that.

    One's own side is never "unseemly" while the other side is always a monster.

  • Comment number 70.

    #68. At 23:46pm 3rd May 2011, cheesed_off wrote:

    66. At 23:28pm 3rd May 2011, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    #59

    I didn't read it like that at all.

    What I understood was that it would be a staggered process with an initial referendum to get approval to start discussing the independence conditions and once those conditions have been agreed then a second vote on whether the people agree those conditions.

    Correct. Tavish was trying to score a political point nothing more.
    ----------------------------------

    It seems to me that is something that should be clarified and if people aren't happy with the answers, they should make that VERY clear.

    It was one comment in the middle of an election and hardly the end of the matter.

  • Comment number 71.

    #3, indeed ... sustained BBC bias throughout the election campaign,

    "Fascinating stuff".

  • Comment number 72.

    Ref #66 - Wee-Scamp
    Lets get this straight.
    At 46 mins and 27 seconds(including the adverts) of STV's transmission tonight.A menber of the audience asked, " If the SNP win on Thursday they will claim a moral right to introduce a referendum in 5 years time if the Scottish people want it."

    At 48 mins and 42 secs. Ponsonby asked Alex Salmond ".... once the settlement is negotiated will you put that to the people in a referendum?"
    A.S. replied, "No, I follow the precedent set in the devolution referendum in 1997..."

    At 49mins and 20 secs in Ponsonby said, "Lets be clear, when you you've done the negotiations, when NI contributions are disagreegated, when you will be able to answer tough questions about what the defence force will be...... you're not going to trust the people on Independence?"

    A. S. "No, we will do exactly what was done in 1997...."

    So if you can't hear properly maybe you can read properly.

    Don't get me wrong:

    1. The SNP have been a competent Government in Scotland for the last 4 years and they therefore deseve re-election.
    2. I DO want Independce, probably, but I am NOT willing to give anyone 'carte-blanche' about it :I want the final say to be that of the people of Scotland. What Alex Salmond said tonight (or rather last night now) is that he was not willing to do that.

  • Comment number 73.

    Now what part of the word, "No" don't you guys understand?

  • Comment number 74.

    the independence thing is perfectly clear. There will be a referendum asking "do you support the principle of Scotland being independent Y/N?" If "N" process shelved for next generation, no further money spent. If "Y" money and time spent hammering out deal->GoTo->2nd Referendum. "Deal for Scottish independence, do you support Y/N?" If "N" as above, if "Y" Independence, celebration.

    If Alex gets no support at stage one then it means we aren't forking out a lot of time and cash. It makes sense to get an agreement in principle before going into detailed negotiations, it also means if we don't get that agreement the nation is saved a lot of money.

  • Comment number 75.

    #12 "Unfortunately Westminster and the unionist parties in Scotland have lied, cheated and decieved the Scottish people for too long now and we have simply had enough.It is time for a change in Scotland, and that change is independence from our deceiptful partner down south "
    Where does this sort of thinking come from? - because it's not from real life! - how excatly has Westminster gone out to decieve Scotland (as apposed to Newcastle or Liverpool or Lewisham). This is what is known as political rhetoric...it's got no substance. I don't want my cousin in Cardiif do become a forgeiner. I don't want to to listen to the Beatles and think of them as forgein!
    That's what the SNP want. Think about that before you vote for a party that claims to be left of centre but in reality is half made up of Tartain Tories from the Highlands. Do you want to live in an Ireland or an Iceland and before you say yes...have you been there?

  • Comment number 76.

    I've just read #75 and (besides the spelling inaccuracies - that I sometimes do too) it's total tripe!

    The SNP do not want you to think of peoples elsewhere on these islands as forgein (sic)
    What a load of bilge you're writing, but be glad you live in a democracy and are able to write it without fear of prosecution!!

  • Comment number 77.

    Sorry for the Typos...but what exactly then does "Independence" mean? - it means becoming a foreign country? - it's not bilge - it's a fact. You will end up with division and riots probably in Glasgow - there is no difference between a SNP supporter and a St George flag flying Little Englander - none -
    It's just a bit more PC (at the moment) in Scotland to be seen supporting the NATS but deep down they (the hardcore) are the same sort of people.
    A Nat in Scotland would be a Little Englander in England.

  • Comment number 78.

    Judging from most of the comments on other BBC message boards, English people already regard Scotland as foreign. And worse, a colony to be ruled, not a joint partner within the UK.

  • Comment number 79.

    "2. I DO want Independce, probably, but I am NOT willing to give anyone 'carte-blanche' about it :I want the final say to be that of the people of Scotland. What Alex Salmond said tonight (or rather last night now) is that he was not willing to do that."

    And you're willing to give up that easily? Then frankly, I suspect you don't want it very badly. It's years until there would even be a referendum, lots of time for details like that (yes, details) to be changed.

  • Comment number 80.

    "there is no difference between a SNP supporter and a St George flag flying Little Englander - none -"
    Actually that is the bilge and racist bilge at that saying that Scots can't have a nation without riots, etc. As far as the Beatles being "foreign" so what? You then couldn't listen to them? I mean if that's the best argument you can come up with for the Union, you really need to give it some serious thought.

  • Comment number 81.

    "Where does this sort of thinking come from? - because it's not from real life! - how excatly has Westminster gone out to decieve Scotland (as apposed to Newcastle or Liverpool or Lewisham). This is what is known as political rhetoric...it's got no substance."

    I've got two words for you. McCrone Report.

    If after you have gone away and read the report and made yourself aware of how it was hidden for 30 years you still fell the same then I suppose there is just no convincing some people.

  • Comment number 82.

    There's too much doubt against independence for it to be viable, most nats are youngsters, passionate and breathless, but unrealistic.
    The arguments against are powerful, whatever happens it will be a close thing.

    1.The SNP is being a very good and responsible administrator and doing stuff the people like, this is because they need something very big in return.
    (since when did the ruling classes do anything for nothing)
    2. The only half decent politician in Scotland is Alex Salmond. As has already been shown in the past, the SNP and every other Scottish political party consists of numpties. Without Mr Salmond the SNP, like the rest of 'em, is/was dead in the water.
    3. The Scottish ruling classes have already sold the Scottish people out once in 1707, abdicating WITH THEIR OWN HAND, the right to run this Nation or any prior claim to be our real leaders.
    4. We are already getting a relative degree of autonomy with our own Parliament within the union, (whoever came up with that one was pretty smart because it fosters a lot of support for a status-quo).
    5. Who REALLY gets the benefits of Independence? the ruling classes. They can sell us out to London, which has already been done, or they can sell us out to Brussels and retire with a big bag of euros and a plum job in the euro-welfare machine.

    There's FAR too many unknown parameters to vote yes.

    Who gets the benefit of Scotlands massive renewables industry, and it IS massive, It's sitting on the top left corner of Europe, a place truly desperate for energy.
    Is it getting handed over to private companies for a few poxy jobs or is it being Nationalised so that like our water industry, everyone derives a benefit?

    Empty political promises are useless, an insult to the braincell, there needs to be proper democratic accountability if we're really "moving onwards and upwards".

    There is only one real Democracy in the whole of Europe, Switzerland.
    It's the only country in Europe with a system where the people control the politicians, and not this joke system we have in Britain where politicians steal, and if they get caught they just hand it back and go on as normal.
    I'm not keen on yet ANOTHER system which encourages smooth talking well dressed well educated thieving gits.

    So, putting it simply.
    -There's a couple of things to sort out first-big things-
    -political promises are useless, the reality of life proves that politicians are the last people anyone can trust-

    -swapping one set of no-accountability thieves for another set of no-accountability thieves really isn't going to cut it, if we ARE going to go it alone then we need some huge safeguards to control our politicians.

  • Comment number 83.

    The last, final, and most important reason for stapling our politicians immovably to a proper Democratic Federal Constitution via a heavy duty nailgun is this:

    We will never ever ever be given another opportunity like this, and neither will our children.

    Don't sell yourself off cheap Scotland. You will regret it for evermore, just like the last time.

  • Comment number 84.

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

  • Comment number 85.

    Alex Salmond and John Swinney, please take note.

    Even somewhere like Barbados enshrines the rights of individuals to land ownership while maintaining public access for all.
    A multi-millionaire can have his 20million pound beachfront condo sitting alongside a 5000 dollar fishermans hut, each owns the land his home is built upon, and no-one gets booted out of anywhere just because..."the rich guys have landed".

    Privacy: All beaches in Barbados are open to the public. Properties which front onto a beach may own the land to the high-water mark only. Access to the beach is a right for every Barbadian and many of the sea front properties must provide a public right of way across their land to the ocean.
    http://www.mybarbados.org/barbados/info_htm/barbados_beaches.htm

  • Comment number 86.

    The union has had 300 years to deliver this "better world" for Scotland and it has failed at every turn. It's time for something new.

  • Comment number 87.

    "-There's a couple of things to sort out first-big things-"

    Ady, where I'd disagree is that there are only a "couple of things" that would need to be sorted out. But wouldn't an actual referendum campaign rather than a parliamentary campaign be the place to try to sort those things and and for the people of Scotland to decide which way THEY want to go for at least the next couple of decades?

    I think a lot of us want to hand over a better world, although at the moment we're not doing a very good job of it (and here I'm referring to the US). But is accepting the status quo the way to do achieve that? Personally I don't think so.

    For Scotland, not being a Scot but an interested onlooker, I don't know but I am pretty convinced of one thing that Mr. Salmond did state: that it is for the people of Scotland to decide.

  • Comment number 88.

    I'm tired of listening to people being interviewed about this election especially from places I'd cut my right hand off just to have the privilage to live there! As soon as they open their mouths to discover that they are not part of the indigenous population! I'm sure its just not my own thoughts of being a foreigner in ones own country! Guess what? there's not one of any of those touting for your X can deliver on this issue, NOT ONE!

  • Comment number 89.

    I would just like to thank Tavish Scott for the best endorsement yet of Alex Salmond
    In his shrill voice, he gets that way when under pressure, he stated
    "It just goes to show what a wily and clever Politician Alex Salmond is"
    Yes Tavish that is what Scotland needs, A clever politician

  • Comment number 90.

    Last night's Leaders' Debate only served to strengthen the "new" name for Iain Gray as "Iain the Unready". He was full of rhetoric but little else and certainly not a match for Alex Salmond.
    Iain the Unready's only policy was to create jobs - from where and how would Scottish Labour raise the money to finance those new jobs? He could only cite the Glasgow Airport Rail Link - yet another expensive white elephant which could be accomplished by utilising the current railway lines and be done at about a quarter of the price, have less interruption to the airport and provide access to more people.
    Tavish Scott, who acts like a "little boy" in discussions and is ready to "spit his dummy out" all the time had very little to offer except keeping the status quo with the Scottish Police Forces and a reference to the highest paid Civil Servants.
    Annabelle Goldie used her superior intelligence, well certainly more so than "Iain the Unready" and "Little Boy" Tavish to put forward sensible policies which she said had been totally costed.

    The winner was undoubtedly Alex Salmond,
    Second was Annabelle Goldie
    Long way back in Third place was "Little Boy" Tavish Scott
    And way own and virtually off the radar was Iain "the Unready" Gray.

    I would imagine that the days of Iain Gray as Leader of the Scottish Labour Party are severely numbered. I just wonder who is standing in the wings ready to pounce. He has certainly been a total disaster for Scottish Labour and Scotland as a whole. Maybe he could go back to his last job - or maybe they would not have him back - if so, I wonder why???

  • Comment number 91.

    Listening to Alex Salmond on the Radio just now. There's a clear difference on leadership qualities. Iain Gray, its all soundbites with no clear explanation of how he will achieve what he promises. Then there's Alex setting out what is needed for Scotland to better itself even within the UK. Its obvious that the SNP outclass the other partys even on the UK stage.

    Both votes for the SNP !

  • Comment number 92.

    Remind me again what procedure in 1997 it is that Salmond wants to follow. Oh yes, that'll be a referndum then.

    You really shouldn't listen to the scaremongering put out by unionists about tomorrow's vote being a referndum on independence. The only people mentioning the 'I' word are the unionists, in a last desperate bid to save their failing positions.

    I want to see five more years of good governance. If we get the chance to say yea or nay to Independence around the end of that period so be it - let us then say yea or nay based on the experience we've had by then and the visions for the future at the time.

    For now let us all vote for our children and grandchildren, twice. The 'I' word can come later, it is most certainly not decided tomorrow. Stop the scaremongering please. The only thing to be afraid of is a fade to gray.

  • Comment number 93.

    As expected, Iain Gray continues to put a brave face on whilst Andy Kerr, conspicuous by absence, possibly searching his garden shed for a sharpening stone.

    Could it be possible that Iain's knife crime proposals are aimed at self preservation ?

  • Comment number 94.

    A good and lively debate last night. The winners were:

    1. The Audience.
    2. STV
    3=. Alex Salmond & Auntie Bella
    Last = Iain Gray & Tavish.

    Iain Gray was doing OK until he blew up in the last 5 minutes when under pressure from the Audience.

    Wee Eck wasn't as positive and hard hitting as normal but still did enough.

    Auntie Bella did what she does best - pity she's wasted in the Tories.

    Tavish? What can you say.

  • Comment number 95.

    Salmond was clear to me, if he wins his referendum, he will not come back to the people, we will be stuck with whatever deal he can pull together.
    Giving people a democratic voice is only good when it suits, it would appear.
    ----------------------------------------------

    My sentiments entirely.
    With the Scots getting the poo end of the stick as usual, just a different set of ruling class hands holding the stick.

    No point in voting yes if that's the case.

    Flag waving and singing flower of Scotland badly isn't enough.

  • Comment number 96.

    Only just over 24 hours of scaremongering left.
    My hamster still has its head intact.
    Off out to push some leaflets through the doors.
    New Labour RIP - sad end to a once great Party.
    SNP and Alex Salmond - 2 Votes tomorrow - One for Scotland and one for Scotland's Children.
    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 97.

    The last set of ruling classes who ran Scotland signed us over to London then stood to one side and watched the Highland clearances being carried out.
    Swinney has already shown us that the SNP has no qualms about forcibly evicting Scots from their homes if rich people turn up.

    Trust OUR leaders? I don't think so.

    I want a proper democratic constitutional noose thrown around the necks of our Scottish leaders, which we can tighten if (or is it when) they start to act like English Landlords.

  • Comment number 98.

    And this is for those youngsters looking at it all through irn-bru tinted spectacles.

    Tartan Tories isn't a bad analogy.

    We've already got Swinney kicking Scots from their homes for rich foreign incomers and Salmond climbing into bed with Rupert Murdoch.

    Stay away from the SNP kool-aid guys.

  • Comment number 99.

    Oh I'll be voting SNP this time around. Both votes.

    Doesn't mean I won't be keeping a VERY close eye on our homegrown tartan tories though.

    As The Police song goes:
    "...every move you make every bond you break I'll be watching you..."

  • Comment number 100.

 

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