2007 - 2021

Euro Trash

UKIP's Farage returns to ScotlandListening to David Coburn, Scotland’s new representative from the proto-fascist UKIP  spluttering and flayling about under the most gentle of questioning on Good Morning Scotland this morning gave some hope. When these people – rather than their chummy leader – are actually given exposure – might people realise how useless they are?

That’s maybe optimistic, assuming that the 139,687 people who voted for them did so on the basis of a trawl through their policy manifesto. They didn’t. They voted for what they represent, and whilst it’s easy to blame the rolling PB broadcast that has been the BBC coverage over the last few months, it doesn’t really work as an excuse.

What a desperately depressing evening of watching results across Scotland, England, Wales and Europe deliver victories for the right, the far-right, racists, fascists, homophobes and misogynists. In England the roll-call of candidates at counts across the lands was jaw-dropping with the BNP, English Democrats, Britain First, Tories and UKIP lining up to take, collectively, hundreds of thousands of votes in a visceral expression of xenophobia.

In Scotland SNP came first across the country followed by Labour, then Conservatives, UKIP, and then the Greens. The only ray of light in the evening was the utter rejection of the now busted-flush of the Liberal Democrats.

Are the media to blame? Maybe in part but it’s a sideshow from some of the harsher realities of Scottish political culture.

If they are to blame we should blame less the BBC and more the relentless drumbeat of tabloid fervour over the past thirty years.


What does it mean and does it matter?

While a UKIP seat from Scotland is both shameful and depressing, maybe it’s the jolt that is needed to let people realise that the cosy assumption that the wider country holds the high-profile values of National Collective or RIC is based on a false prospect.

In Scotland UKIP got 10% of the vote on a 34% turnout.  It was a perfect storm of voter-apathy, a split-tactical vote and media-exposure that beamed this right wing-sect into the political sphere in Scotland where they have virtually no members and no political base. Let’s remember this is the first electoral representation of any kind for UKIP: councillor, MSP, or MP in Scotland.

One of the extraordinary consequences of this result is that a party that purports to be against the ‘Euro gravy train’ will gain hugely. Each UKIP MEP will claim £1m per year in staff, salaries and expenses for every single year they are in the EU Parliament.

That’s some anti-EU revolution.

But whilst it’s easy to castigate and caricature UKIP as nutty, homophobic racists, it’s part of a wider political failure, and neither the Scottish Green Party or the SNP can be immune to criticisms of their campaigns and their tactics.

As Tommy Ball wrote on twitter: “When Scotland needed the SNP to step up and keep UKIP out, they chose someone who was electoral poison to Left-wingers for the third seat.” And it’s true, once word got out that Tasmina was a former Tory candidate, many people wouldn’t vote for her.

The Greens also made mistakes. They did well to beat UKIP in Glasgow (Green 15359 UKIP 12638) and they recorded the highest Green vote in Scotland ever, defeating the Liberal Democrats into fifth place, but the harsh truth is they lack charisma and populism and bite. That a party with no base in Scotland can defeat the Greens is a farce. Gary Dunion and Maggie Chapman played a good game on social media but the enduring image of the SGP is one that is rootless and unable to reach beyond the Guardianista. That’s as big a problem for Patrick Harvie as the debacle is for Willie Rennie.

There’s wider question raised by these results. The unionist commentariat will be lining up with desperate glee to pronounce that “See! Scotland is just the same as everywhere else.”

However, as John Finnie MSP put it:

“Perhaps as depressing as UKIP securing a foothold in Scotland is the shameful glee with which it has been met by unionists politicians.”

Indeed the picture of Labour politicians celebrating the election of the far-right is sobering. And it is a problem for the Labour and Tory activists, because while much is uncertain from all this, two things are also absolutely clear:

First, we are now much nearer a UK general election ending in a Tory/UKIP coalition. There’s now open talk of UKIP and Tories working together at elections. This is a concept incomprehensible a few months ago.

How will the prospect of Boris and Nigel in the Rose Garden play in the referendum?

Second, as England goes charging on with a madly incoherent anti-EU movement, the only way to really assure you remain an EU citizen is to vote Yes.

So let’s start asking business (because that seems to be the new default position) how they feel about being pulled out of the EU? It puts Better Together in a very awkward place where all of their rhetoric of grand unity is in tatters. For the No campaign to focus on Europe, certainty and stability now looks like a remarkably stupid thing to do. Better Together? Safer Together? Scotland is now lashed to a political movement running away with UK politics and dedicated to withdrawal from Europe.

All of the repeat-cliche language of internationalism and being part of a bigger union now looks like abject nonsense.

What response should we take?

We need to articulate why immigration is essential for Scotland, we need to defend an open progressive tolerant society against the powers of blame and bigotry. This can only be achieved through independence.


Comments (114)

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  1. Chris Darroch says:

    Very good article. I enjoyed reading that.

    1. Vincent McDee says:

      There may be a big backlash if this snafu http://edinburgheye.wordpress.com/2014/05/24/should-the-euro-elections-be-declared-invalid/ has been done with Official cosent, as any one of the EU Citzens affected can complain to EU Courts and they declare the whole result invalid.

  2. Andrew Skea says:

    Isolating ourselves from rUk will not isolate us from the problems of UKIP. It will magnify these problems. Can you imagine Scotland having a land border that os also the EU border?
    We need to stand shoulder to shoulder with the reasonable people of rUk who want to stand up to Nationalism.
    I am ashamed that Scotland is the most Nationalist country in the whole EU (SNP + UKIP = 39 %). We need to stop appeasing the simplistic arguments of Nationalism.

    1. Abulhaq says:

      Oh Andrew….calm down dear! Your simplistic statistical math don’t figure.

    2. bellacaledonia says:

      Christ, that’s really bonkers

    3. David Agnew says:

      Once again the desperate desire to bundle the SNP in with UKIP. UKIP are a party of anti-womens rights, they are anti-workers rights, they are openly bigoted. They deeply hostile to Scotland even having a devolved parliament. They are shockingly hostile to the idea of an integrated Europe. They represent the very worst aspects of humanity when fuelled by apathy and ignorance.

      To even attempt to bundle in the SNP with this crowd is deeply insulting. The SNP campaign for economic and political independence from Westminster. They have never slandered anyone to the extent that they have been. Salmond himself is regularly smeared, being compared to Hitler, pol pot, Genghis Khan, Gaddfi. Farage & co have been feted and celebrated by the MSM. No matter how outrageous his party behaves, he gets away with it.

      You are ashamed? Are you even aware that UKIP has set the tone of debate in the UK and the Westminster parties are all being dragged along with them? I am ashamed of the UK. I am ashamed of what its becoming. I am frightened of what its becoming.

      I ask you to consider this. Who voted UKIP? What section of the Scottish vote do you think would put a cross next to a UKIP candidate. It wouldn’t have been an SNP voter. It would not have been a socialist. It would not have been an old school labour man. It wouldn’t have been a lib-dem voter – I would not put it past their politicians, but not their voters. to pro european.

      I am watching the unionist campaign crowing and gloating over this victory. I think we know who’s supporters ticked that UKIP box. Frustrated Tories and maybe a cross section of new labour.

      In other words people who believe in Union. People who support union. People who want that union to continue, ticked that box and put a swivel eyed, women hating, racist baiting, tub thumper who specialises in monstering immigrants. This isn’t the failure of the SNP. This is the failure of the Westminster system. This is a failure of the UK.

      I am deeply embarrassed by and ashamed of those Scots who could vote for a party like that. In the end it changes nothing. It only confirms that Scotland needs to leave the Union. For the sake of its own health and peace of mind.

      1. john carstairs says:

        so well writen I had to copy and paste well said David Agnew

      2. rabthecab says:

        Absolutely spot on David, and very well put.

    4. There is a big difference in wanting to run our own country and wanting to close doors and throw people out,I think you may know the difference but not sure.

  3. Abulhaq says:

    Disgraceful but intriguing result, when officially confirmed. Conjecturally, this openly gay candidate may have attracted a rag bag of the marginalized. One might hazard a guess that orange lodgers, homophobes, old style “racialists”, BritNats of all ethnicities and even sympathetic gays voted for this “ex-territorial”, London-based “entrepreneur” and “businessman”. As sickening as this event is it ought to kill some of the complacency regarding any Scottish exception. It HAS happened here. As Europe sees antisemitism on the rise stoked by drift to the thuggish right we need to deal with this weed in our own garden. The oxygen of publicity may be the way to do it. Ukippers have big gobs and feet to match but surprisingly few gray cells. “Farij” will no doubt shoot “north” to gloat. He and his “catamite” deserve a very warm welcome.

  4. David says:

    I’m English and ambivalent to Scots nationalism. I hope that the fact that the Tories and UKIP picked up so many votes in Scotland is a wake up call to nationalists though. It is a lazy and very dangerous assumption that Scots are somehow all a left wing and tolerant people (my Irish Scots grandmother from Glasgow has plenty of stories from her early years in Glasgow to counter that alone). There is every reason to believe that an indy-Scotland could elect right wing and centre right governments. It is shocking that English nationalist right-wingers (Tories and UKIP) picked up so many votes, I suspect the vote share of the Scots right will be higher in an indy Scotland when the SNP fragments (I imagine it has a fair share of Scots right wingers) and it’s right wing members form a new right in Scotland with the Tories and UKIP.

    Essentially drop the lazy and wishful thinking that a Yes votes ends all form of politics in Scotland and a left wing consensus is created, universally loved and adored by all Scots. The rightward swing has occured all over Europe and there’s nothing special about Scotland to avoid it.

    Repeat, I am not bashing independence. Just the naive assumption that you won’t have to fight the right post-Yes.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Hi David, thanks for the comment. I agree, I’m sorry if that didn’t come across. I precisely don’t assume that you won’t have to fight the right post-Yes and pre Yes vote.

      1. David says:

        Sorry yeah I wasn’t aiming it at you, more against some of the arguments made by nationalists I have seen. ‘Vote Yes to keep the Tories out’ kind of thinking, the right (sadly) won’t disappear, indeed it’s entirely possible that an Indy Scotland could see a new kind of Scottish right that could end up running the country.

    2. Garrion says:

      I think David has the point that most needs listened to. The whole exceptionalist (wha’s like us?) concept was going to bite us in the hin’ end at some point, and it looks like, luckily, it happened at a time when we can still correct our thinking and do something about it. It may even work in favour of yes, judging by the performance so far of the mouthbreather in question. Let’s see this as a warning that the people who most need to be convinced are pretty much the ones most resistant to the ideas that form the core of the promise of independence. They’re Scots too.

    3. David Agnew says:

      I think you have a point. Maybe we had a cosy assumption of Scottish attitudes. Maybe not Left-wing nirvana, but a belief that having resisted and then fighting off Thatcherism, that we would be resistant to that sort of party plying its trade here. Thinking on it now its easy to see the collapse of the Tories as not a collapse of right wing parties, but just the collapse of that party. They were the architects of their own misfortune, They owned that failure and the loss of trust that followed. Could this be a splitting off of the Tory vote then? A party that could barely register a single percent in the general election gains enough to win an MEP. Is it a protest? Against whom? The SNP? hardly, as they gained votes. Was it tactical voting in an attempt to throw the yes campaign a curve ball? Possible but surely it would have made more sense just to vote for a union party. I am having to concede, sadly that UKIP’s narrative of blaming all our ills on Europe, gays and Romanians gained traction here.

      It is a wake up call that there still is an element of the Scottish electorate that is right leaning and easily led.

      The shock to my system is that a party that is amazingly anti-Scottish, with its attitudes to devolution and Scotland’s role in the union, could have gotten a seat here. But it did get a seat here.

      1. MBC says:

        UKIP changed its view on the Scottish Parliament once it realised that would not fly up here. Pity the parties of the left cannot adjust their views of Euroscepticism and get out of their ivory towers and look at reality. Nothing has changed in Scotland, except that a party has come along that has offered the voters a chance to voice their frustrations against the Euro diktat. It was a pity the left couldn’t do that. You don’t have to be anti-EU to see that Europe badly needs reform any more than you don’t need to be a racist to acknowledge that mass immigration is a social and economic disaster. But heh, pigs might fly.

      2. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

        It’s a matter of the tone….

      3. MBC says:

        Alastair, Yes I know, the tone. But I’m talking about the voters. The fact that no reasonable centre left party can manage to address legitimate criticism of the EU is what has driven some voters to vote UKIP. It would be interesting to know why. Aren’t you curious? Or are you damning your fellow countrymen the minute you disagree with them? Essentialising them as racists? Without enquiring further?

        I suspect that if any polling was done it might not be immigration. We don’t actually have a big immigration problem in Scotland. (Though I noted that most UKIP voters were in Edinburgh – where there is a large eastern European population). I suspect it is other sorts of EU madness that has disenchanted voters. Small and medium sized businesses for instance. They face a lot of ridiculous red tape because of the EU.

      4. Graham Hughes says:

        MBC: To be fair the biggest vote for pretty much everybody was in Edinburgh, it was by far the biggest counting area. UkIP actually did worse in Edinburgh than anywhere else in Scotland only getting sixth place

      5. Dundeebud says:

        David, you have to remember that Scotland is a diverse nation. So, there will have been many who voted UKIP who were not born in Scotland alongside many who were.

        Wiith respect to your comment about a new Scottish right running this country some day, I posted an item on YES Sotland Facebook page some weeks ago to the effect that it is entirely conceivable that one day there will be a right-wing government in Edinburgh and a left-wing government in London. I see nothing wrong in that prospect. It is simply a logical possible outcome of having an independent Scotland. I did not receive a single ‘like’ for that comment.

        For the record, I am left-wing in philosophy and politics and am a 100% YES voter.

    4. Muscleguy says:

      I live in a council ward here in Dundee that returns two Tories to the council. At least with the enlarged wards under PR we know have a chance of somebody we vote for getting in though.

      We have seen the BNP as well as UKIP on voting papers. We need no lessons from an Englishman on having to deal with the right thankyou.

      It seems that you are someone who has bought into the myth of every Scot being a radical left winger. Which has never been true. There are not more Tory MSPs and MPs because their vote is rather dispersed, not because it is absent.

    5. Fordie says:

      The ‘Vote Yes to keep the Tories out’ argument reflects the desire to rid Scotland of WM Tories who are not reflective of the Tory condition in Scotland.

      It doesn’t reflect the fact that there will be a significant vote for right wing/Tory like parties in iScotland. Who yes, might quite properly in a democracy, be the party in Government. But they’ll be Scotland’s tories voted in by the Scottish electorate.

  5. Seán says:

    ‘And it’s true, once word got out that Tasmina was a former Tory candidate, many people wouldn’t vote for her.’

    I suppose when many SNP supporters and floating voters expressed concern about her selection the party should have listened then. Fact is, the SNP would probably much rather see the Greens fail to gain or for the Lib Dems to maintain a foothold than see Coburn get in. He likely won’t last beyond one term and a UKIP representative in Scotland is manna from heaven for the independence campaign. Though perhaps I am allowing the SNP too much credit there.

    1. Doug Daniel says:

      I can’t pretend I didn’t chuckle at Murdo Fraser’s tweet that Tasmina had now defected to UKIP.

      The cross-party support required for a Yes obviously means we shouldn’t be overly harsh on people traversing party lines, but really, a former Tory candidate? With a spell in the Labour party in between to boot? Hmmm.

      If Maggie Chapman and Tasmina’s roles had been reversed, I wouldn’t have even considered voting Green last week. As it was, I ended up voting SNP purely so I didn’t feel guilty if UKIP managed to sneak in on the back of SNP voters lending their vote to the Greens, and was still undecided as I picked up my pencil in the voting booth.

      1. jdman says:

        “and was still undecided as I picked up my pencil in the voting booth.”

        I feel so unsophisticated 🙁
        I went to the polling station to vote SNP went into the booth, voted SNP and went home,
        Why cant I be so undecided and cosmopolitan?
        do I need to get out more?

  6. Bob Waugh says:

    Agree with all the points you make, but there is something else. UKIP is such a nasty piece of right-wing populism and its criticism of the EU (its core issue) are so extremely ignorant that progressives have tended to rebut them in a way that allows UKIP to present us as credulous Euro-fanatics. What is missing is any real debate on what has happened to the EU since the advent of neoliberalism in the 1980s.

    Yes, neoliberalism was not so successful on the continent – Christian Democracy is not just another form of Toryism – but the balance of the deal between capital and labour that is at the base of EU ideology has tilted due to globalisation and “outsourcing”. Labour across Europe is weaker (even in Germany) and less able to negotiate (at national and European level) decent work conditions. The emphasis has increasingly shifted to making European economies more “competitive” with all that entails. The single currency project illustrates that perfectly. Whole societies in southern Europe are threatened with poverty in the name of “fiscal rectitude”.

    The left in Europe has to become properly “Eurosceptic” (not Europhobic which is what UKIP really is.) As a starting point it has to demand the ending -or at least the drastic downsizing – of the single currency project so dear to inhabitants of the Euro-bubble in Brussels.. No more mouthing of complacent platitudes. So the SNP has not only to consider the wisdom of nominating Tasmina – it also has to consider how to restrain the Eurocredulous Alyn Smith MEP.

  7. Derek says:

    Now that the people of Europe have filled the EU with right-wing extremists, does a left-leaning Scotland actually want to be part of it?

    1. Fordie says:

      That would be a fair question if it was accurate. It’s not.

  8. YESGUY says:

    I dont see the UKIP as a threat to Scotland. They won a side issue here, talk to folk on the street and they’ll tell you so.This was also a victory for the BBC who gave them a huge amount of air coverage that the SNP and/or YES voters will never have.

    Mr and Mrs average are looking for the Sept Referendum to make changes. Almost everyone i spoke to about Europe changed the subject quickly to the indi campaign , Europe didn’t matter for now, we’ll sort that out after the Ref.

    Still i see the UKIP rise as a bonus for all the YES voters. This is being shown on MSM everywhere and people will see the stoosh it’s causing . Labour and the Lib/dems are the losers and we are the winners here.

    Tory’s will be looking forward to their elections with relish. That’s a positive whatever way you look at it

    Keep faith Scots .

  9. Andy Gilmour says:

    Good article, but interesting failure to note that the Greens got more than double UKIP’s vote in Edinburgh, and were actually closer to taking that last seat than the SNP were of making it 3.

    Given a sensible voting system (or indeed balanced media exposure – aye, that old unicorn) they might well have got an MEP out of it.

    The UKIP (+BNP & Britain First) vote shouldn’t really be a surprise. 10-15% of xenophobes/racists in the population is, if anything a conservative estimate.

    The biggest single problem was non-voting, particularly in Glasgow. Lower than 30% turnout is a disgrace, no matter that it’s up on the last Euros. When there was genuinely something at stake, folk didn’t bother. Pathetic.

    1. Albalha says:


      Of course it’s an academic exercise but from what I understand the SNP were 32 089 votes short for the 6th seat and the Greens 32 221.

  10. gonzalo1 says:

    I felt there was a lot of pro-UKIP sentiments rumbling just under the surface here in my wee west of Scotland town and the metropolitan elite, not only Guardianistas in Islington but Salmondistas in Edinburgh, got this spectacularly wrong. It went undetected. Whilst sipping their Chiantis and their lattes those chattering classes failed to read the mood of much of the country: that is the other country of ordinary people. Why was that?
    I don’t look forward going down to my local bowling club and hearing the comment ‘I voted UKIP’ a dozen or more times, but I need to know the reason why.
    The undercutting of local workers wages and conditions over a long period of time by employing/hiring cheaper eastern Europeans has rankled with many. Cheap labour is now an election issue. How many trade unionists voted UKIP? Quite a few, I suspect.
    The other main issue is that of crime, eastern European crime to be more precise. I wonder when the ballot boxes were counted in the Govanhill area of Glasgow’s now run-down south-side how many UKIP votes came out. Remember there was, very recently, a big anti-rape march through the streets there. There were people from all sides of the community in the march but the anger was directed at the authorities for their perceived condoning of violent crime by individuals from one minority in particular – the Roma gypsies. Yes, it is controversial and I know it is not politically correct but having worked all over Glasgow they are being blamed by many women because the descriptions and appearances of the rapists fit the Roma gypsy profile- dark, scruffy, and don’t speak much English. And, according to the police there are more cases of sexual assaults/intimidation in Govanhill than anywhere else in Scotland.
    It is these thoughts that have engaged much of the electorate. It is the pathetic response from the political elite, they blank them out, they deflect, they deny, that has angered a lot of people and that is why they have voted in their millions for the only politically incorrect choice – UKIP. When Farage spoke about the many Roma crime gangs operating in this country, and used police sources to back his arguments up, that rang a bell.
    It is tragic, I certainly do not support UKIP’s many obnoxious politics but I talk to a lot of ordinary people in ordinary jobs out there and it is clear the elites don’t. Time to waken up Cameron, Milliband, Clegg AND Salmond and Sturgeon. Listen to what people are telling you!

    1. Abulhaq says:

      Some years ago standing on the platform of a rural train station, within earshot, i was regaled with a tirade against immigrants and foreigners by a middle aged “respectable” woman accompanied by some friends. The friends were plainly embarrassed but said nothing to contradict her. The reasoning was illogical, simply an outpouring of emotional bile. The target could so easily have been Jews, Arabs, Catholics, Pakistanis, gays or anybody or thing the speaker didn’t fancy on that particular day. Nevertheless, it was a curious rant as it arose from events that had occurred somewhere in England and in a social context she could know very little about.
      I suspect Ukip draws a good deal of its support from the likes of that lady. Fear unleashed is a dangerous monster.

  11. Tog says:

    The fact that UKIP got an MSP is almost completely due to who the SNP selected for the third seat. I certainly got the impression that this was gifted by Alex and Nicola to a chum against the objections of other senior party members. Then Tasmina was given a very high profile in the campaign and seemed the default choice for debates rather than more experienced candidates. When on a Newsnight debate she said Ukraine was not part of Europe particuarly given Salmond’s recent problems over his comments on Putin it was a step to far for me at least. To then highlight in the last week that the contest for third place was between the SNP and UKIP also made clear who to vote for if you did not want the SNP to get three seats. Given that many on the Better Together side who would never otherwise dream of voting UKIP were all to well aware of the importance to the YES side of a third SNP MSP and of Scotland having no elected members of UKIP to make clear the political gulf between rUK and Scotland this was the gift of a penalty kick for Better Together that would give them two easy goals. Selecting a previously high profile Conservative was just the icing on the cake. So despite keeping their vote and getting more votes than anyone else the SNP made themselves look like fools. And it is not down to the BBC, the print media in Scotland, UKIP or anyone else the blame for this rests wholly on the senior ranks of the SNP who got sloppy and took the electorate for granted and got what they deserved.

    1. Dougie Brawls says:

      Tog your spot on, when I heard Alex Salmond telling everyone who to vote for to keep UKIP out, I thought..no Alex wrong move, an ex tory into the bargain was a mistake that will haunt them for ever

      1. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

        In political life everyone carries old baggage. Couldn’t she have a genuine change of heart?

      2. Doug Daniel says:

        “In political life everyone carries old baggage. Couldn’t she have a genuine change of heart?”

        How many changes of heart can one person really get away with in politics? She already had two of them in the 90s when she moved from the Tories to Labour and back to the Tories again…

      3. Ken MacColl says:

        Going from Tory to Labour and back to Tory nowadays does not seem to represent any great shift to me.

        cf ; Winston Churchill as a political chameleon

    2. Iain says:

      All SNP members received a ballot paper to vote for their choice of EU candidates. Tasmina came in third, behind Hudghton and Smith. I suspect SNP members voted for her, not only because of her evident ability (although she may well lack political experience), but because they liked the potential enhancement of the Party’s diverse membership and representation.

  12. florian albert says:

    After the Cowdenbeath by election in January 2014, I pointed out that there was no candidate to the left of Labour and SNP – neither of which is particularly left wing.
    In the Euro elections, the left was absent again.
    What Mike Small refers to as the ‘cosy assumption’ that the views of RIC and National Collective might be held by the wider country would not have withstood five minutes electoral campaigning.
    As gonzalo1 states above, the view that immigration is lowering working class wages is very widely held.
    The longer the left stays clear of electoral politics, the more detached from voters it becomes and the harder it is to re-engage.

    1. muttley79 says:

      The Scottish Greens are significantly to the left of the SNP and Labour.

  13. yerkitbreeks says:

    Good article, but the sentiments come as no surprise to those who have read Gerry Hassan’s “Caledonian Dreaming” which debunks the impressions given that as a Nation we are so different to the English, Welsh and Irish.

    I’m not too maudlin over this – it will blow over and some new revelation will be cooked up to distract the 80% who, Chomsky says, need to be kept busy with crap so’s they don’t think about their poor lot in life.

    If the predictions are correct and there is a big IndeRef turnout the dynamics will be so different. Expect the MSM to turn up the heat on UKIP who now, presumably, will have to get some decent policies together in order to have a go in 2015.

    1. muttley79 says:

      I think it has been a wake up call to a certain smugness in the Scottish political class and ‘Civic Scotland’ (whatever that means) that we are an egalitarian society. Scotland suffers from massive inequalities as well, and it is time the middle and upper classes in Scotland faced up to it, instead of giving their pious Jock Tamson’s bairns talk.

  14. muttley79 says:

    As a SNP supporter, I have got the sense that since May 2011, the leadership of the SNP have started to believe their own publicity, and become too complacent in general. Their judgement is not flawless and it appears they have been taken in by Tasmina Ahmed-Skeikh. She has been a member of three political parties in Scotland. It strikes me that she is a political opportunist and careerist. The SNP leadership have got to get a grip. There is no point in SNP and Greens blaming each other for UKIP’s breakthrough in Scotland. It has happened now and we have to make sure we win in September. Failure to do so means Scotland will suffer enormously.

    1. MBC says:

      I was wondering that myself, if Salmond’s trendy pushing and pushing of the careerist multi-culti metropolitan ticks-all-trendy-lefty-boxes Tasmina was disinclining simple hard up working class Scottish folk from voting SNP for a third seat. As they say in Chewin’ the Fat:

      ‘Hey! You’ve taken this too far!’

    2. dennis mclaughlin says:

      Tasmina – Tory – Sheikh…….a complete blunder by our usually sure footed AS.
      Come on SNP wake up and get your shirt sleeves rolled up’ cos this flight’s just got started

      1. MBC says:

        Nobody’s blaming Tasmina, but those that chose her to be third on the list and thought a London born ex-Tory careerist would connect with working class Scots. Hubris or what? Locked in your own bubble or what?

      2. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

        mbc….tearing ourselves apart, a Scottish weakness, over this is exactly what the kippers, and the entire BT edifice, would get off on. we should not lose sight of the target. shoo-in coburn’s “victory” is pretty small beer; not even a footnote to history which is definitely on our side, not his.

    3. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

      Under the european electoral system you vote for a party. after the event a victor is chosen from a list. blaming Tasmina for this upset is like blaming turkeys for chistmas.

    4. Fordie says:

      Disagree Mutley. A Euro vote has nothing to do with the candidate and everything to do with the party. Tasmina was just unlucky. Though I won’t comment on her change of hearts!

  15. joseph O Luain says:

    Recently in W H Smith’s I found my self commenting loudly ( to my wife) about the dire state of the British media. I was referring to an openly racist headline in, I believe it was the Scottish Daily Mail. I was stopped in mid-comment by a wee woman, a pensioner from Govanhill, who indicated agreement with the headline. According to her it was the immigrants who’d torn the heart out of her once quiet and peaceful area. This kind of perception is all too common in those areas where we find large numbers of immigrants.

    Let me say, I can perfectly well appreciate why immigration is a positive thing for Scotland’s future. But none of that blinds me to the fact that a vast amount of immigrants have been dumped in particular areas of Glasgow and other Scottish cities and that there presence there is too often resented. (They have, not surprisingly, become easy-targets in the accounting for all of society’s ills.) So far so cliched you might say. Consider this then: In a recent BBC Immigration Expose (aye, right.) it was candidly admitted by a UK Treasury apparatchik that we owe the unprecedented rise in immigration primarily to UK Labour’s fears that in the relatively buoyant economy of the early part of the century, wage-inflation would become a problem.

    This fear was of course posited on the belief that cheap-money was here to stay and that the economy would continue to grow jobs. That belief, as we now know, couldn’t have been further from reality. We got the immigrants, but we didn’t get the jobs needed to ensure their livelihood, not to mention their dignity. The old lady from Govanhill can’t quite get her head ’round that and neither can her family friends and neighbours.

    When we attack UKIP voters , as some of us will, it might be a good idea to take a look at the bigger picture and to admit that a lot of people in Scotland just don’t get it and have voted UKIP because that party was there to take their vote-of-despair.

    I remain broadly pro-EU but I believe that Scotland, post-independence, must adopt a position of critical-engagement rather than happy-clappy acceptance of all things E.U..

    1. MBC says:

      Hear, hear. Uncontrolled immigration is a disaster especially in an economy that is flatlining. The wee woman from Govan is expressing the same sentiment that Mrs Gillian Duffy asked Gordon Brown in 2010 when he called her ‘that bigoted woman’ when she complained about being overwhelmed by eastern Europeans. Mrs Duffy had seen her community change for the worse because immigration on that scale had led to huge pressures on the local residents. Gordon Brown didn’t have to live there in that mess. The hubris of the man and of all the left living in comfortable housing and middle class jobs is disgusting. All social studies show that integration occurs only when immigration flows don’t overwhelm localities. It makes me really mad that these policies can be made by people who don’t have to live with the consequences. Housing, for instance. If you are a Scottish single man on a low wage you can forget about a council house. But if you are an eastern European with a large family you have more points even if you’ve only been in Scotland five months than the guy who was born here and lived his entire life here and paid his taxes. You have more rights.

      1. Fordie says:

        Or woman. I agree that single people or those without children are treated unfairly. Not just in council/social housing.That’s not though directly related to immigration.

    2. yerkitbreeks says:

      This is salutary, Joseph. The Swedes, over the years so good at rescuing refugees, even have created a demographic problem in Stockholm by creating a ghetto and thus the start of divisive “multiculturalism” rather than “multiethnicity”.

      The superb data from the old IQ tests in Scottish schools in the 40s – 60s showed how impossible it was without social engineering for somebody to progress out of an “estate” – and these were relatively homogenous Scots at the time.

  16. MBC says:

    You’ve got to stop calling Eurosceptics racist. It’s not racist to query mass immigration that overwhelms local services and completely alters the identity of places or crazy rules from Brussels that threaten Scottish jobs, or the unaccountability of the European Commission. Europe isn’t the yellow brick road. There is nothing inconsistent with being pro-Europe in a broad sense but being critical of the way EU is currently working. These are valid questions. Those who voted for UKIP in Scotland want reform in the EU and want to hang on to our national sovereignty. As for UKIP’s candidates, I’d agree quite a few of them are gaff-prone fruitcakes. I.e., they blurt out the kind of verbal diahorrea that the ordinary man in the street is apt to come out with in an unguarded moment especially after a dram. Professional politicians are teflon coated and silver tongued, but where does that get us?

    But as for the voters, don’t call them racists. They are sceptics. There has long been a Euroscpetic wing of the SNP which Salmond refused to listen to.

    1. David Agnew says:

      Does Europe need reform, most definitely Should that charge be led by a party who engage quite openly in casual and banal racism? No, it should not. So you want me to give them a free pass and put it down to banter? No I will not. I cannot and will not give a free pass to a political party that sounds and acts like it escaped from the pages of “Alf Garnett” and “Love thy Neighbour”.

      And that’s the issue here. The party that refer to blacks as nig-nogs and sambo. Who call Africa bongo-bongo land. A party whose MEP’s are regularly mouthing off one outrageous comment and another, are to be allowed a free pass because they openly sceptical of Europe. All the comments? Well that’s down to a wee bit of banter and few fools. But they’re honest fools with heart, not like those polished lying politicians, what have they ever done for us. Sorry, no, that’s just bullshit mate. You’re making excuses here and deep down you know it.

      All I am hearing from you is the same fuzzy thinking and lazy bromides about Europe that were being pedalled by the news of the world from the 80s. Your “fears” of mass immigration “swamping” services have been voiced here from way back in the day. From one generation to the next we have seen monstering of various immigration groups. The Irish in the 19th century. Jamaicans in the late 40s and 50s. Indians and Pakistanis after them. we’ve had monstering of the poles, now its Romanians and Bulgarians. This is a country that was built on mass immigration. The impending disaster…well we’re still waiting to see if those Romans coming over here with their daft notions of bathing and under floor heating was a good thing. So it could be a while before we know if the Irish question is still a threat. See what I mean? your comments are baseless. They were baseless when the Irish were being openly mocked and they’re baseless now. It’s just the nationality of the immigrant that’s changed.

      You want to be sceptical about Europe fine. You think we need reform of immigration, fine. Make your case, present your facts coldly and rationally. If you can do that and not have tones of banal racism, then many people will listen. You want to vote for a party that is prepared to do that, then fine. If you vote for UKIP be aware that you voting for party that has no policies on any of the issues you mention.
      All it wants is to kick immigrants out and get itself out of Europe. Its regressive, backwards looking. Fiscally illiterate and has a huge gaping void were a party should have a progressive forward looking manifesto.

      1. MBC says:

        it’s the powers of the European Commission I object to. Nobody voted for them, they are appointed and make all the rules. The Euro parliament just passes them. Your moral panic about UKIP is overblown. They and the other populists will have no impact whatsoever. The German block controls over 450 of the 750 seats and will appoint the Commission. There is no accountability. I am still reeling from a certain Herr Fischler that closed down the Scottish fishing fleet some years back. He didn’t even come to Scotland to get rained on. It was just like he had issued a parking ticket.

  17. Dan Huil says:

    I think the ukip “result” in Scotland will be a blessing in disguise.
    A wake-up call for Mr Salmond not to take SNP voters for granted; a wake-up call for SNP voters who were too insouciant to vote; a wake-up call for all left-of-centre voters in Scotland who thought ukip was an English phenomenon, and a wake-up call for all of us who want to see an independent Scotland.
    I’m still optimistic about September as the turn-out will be double of what it was last week and by then most undecideds and once-in-a-blue-moon voters will have seen the backward-looking ukip-influenced future that awaits us all if Scotland should vote No.
    Stay cool.

    1. MBC says:

      I wish. But I don’t think so because they don’t think they have anything learn. Europe is not working as it should and needs reform.

      1. Dan Huil says:

        First things first: Vote Yes

  18. Douglas says:

    Mike Small´s piece is the best I have read about the Euro results anywhere so far.

    First and foremost, in terms of UKIP in Scotland, there should be no surprise for anybody who is not a genuine “ethnic nationalist”, which is to say. there is nothing in the Scottish “identity”, if such a thing exists, which safeguards a certain percentage of Scots from blaming the “other” for what are neo liberal policies and their natural end result. .

    And Bob Waugh’s post above is spot on. The European Union was an amazing achievement, but it was an achievement created directly in reaction to the unfettered capitalism of the neo liberal model.

    The EU was forged between Christian Democrats (in Europe, by parties somtheing like Ted Heath’s Tories, or Churchill and the old Conservative Party) and Social Democrats, (more or less like the old Labour Party).

    It was NOT a creation of neo-liberalism, and the market was to be subservient to the greater goal of a united Europe after a century of inter-European mass murder. 100 MILLION EUROPEANS DIED BETWEEN 1914 AND 1945 IN EUROPEAN WARS.

    The ideology of the EU used to be Europe first, European prosperity, European growth and fairness and social cohesion.

    Now the ideology of the EU is neoliberalism and so where is the surprise that people reject Europe?

    Marx said of unfettered capitalism that, if left to its own devices it is a force so powerful/ creative/ destructive that “all that is solid melts into air”.

    And the EU, under the austerity regime, which is unfettered monopoly capitalism gone wild, will most probably melt into air because the EU has abandoned the principle of solidarity which, to a great extent, it was founded upon .

    Remember too what the EU have done in the south of Europe, They have committed a democratic atrocity. They have written a 3% to GDP spending cap into the democratic constitutions of Spain, Italy and Greece, against the will of the people.

    Into the Constitution no less…! And then they wonder why they are hated. The EU deserves to be hated.

    But we must discriminate between Europhobes (Farage), Eurosceptics (Cameron and co) and Eurocritics (the pro European Left) who believe in Europe but want to reform it on democratic lines.

    I am a Eurocrtitic, and we need to rekindle the idea of Europe which has been gifted by the neo liberal fools who have usurped the European project for their own ends, without having realized that the neoliberalism and “the European project” are fundamentally incompatible goals.

  19. Douglas says:

    As for the SNP’s decision to run a former Tory as its sixth candidate, can I just register in the public domain my sheer contempt for that decision? My utter contempt for the SNP and their way of thinking.

    Alex “you have to take the bourgeoisie with you” Salmond, who would be nowhere without the unflagging and totally disproportionate vital energy poured into the cause of Scottish independence by the Scottish Left.

    Alex, Nicola, if you field an ex Tory, why won’t they just vote Tory anyway? Go and think about it for a week somewhere quiet and peaceful. Bad politics, bad strategy and bad ethics.

    The SNP should have rallied behind Maggie Chapman, a decent candidate, for the sixth seat….

    A bad day for the shiny bright new future….

    1. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

      the function of the “broad church” SNP is as a vehicle for the achievement of independence. the detail can be left until after the realisation of that goal. im a republican, the snp aint a republican party. but i bide my time. Tasmina is getting some stick for having shopped around. that’s politics. she rested on the snp. good for her.

      1. MBC says:

        It’s not Tasmina but those who catapulted her in and thought she would be a good idea that are being criticised. Poor decision.

      2. Douglas says:

        Maggie Chapman was a good candidate and I wish I had voted for her, I regret I didn’t…..

        ….you, Frew Bell, and the SNP are just handing fuel to the fire of the Labour Party voters and their suspicions about the Tartan Tories; it comes down to stupidity, madness, idiocy, or maybe I’m doing you all an injustice and it’s really copious supplies of alcohol on the side, illegal drugs, crack cocaine even….

        To have .fielded an ex Tory when the Tories and UKIP are running candidates and we need to win Labour Party voters over on the eve of a referendum is stupid beyond words…the Tory voters in Scotland will never swing, the Labour voters might…a big mistake in my small pocket handbook of Independence Strategies bought second hand in a flea market the Republic of Itdisnaematter..

        As for the mighty SNP that Kirk of rosy cheeked Scots and their fatuous organ players, I’m only kidding about the drugs, sheer stupidity accounts for almost everything and I’m sure they can handle some criticism from the disgruntled, impoverished parishioners who believe in no faith but like to hurl abuse from the sidelines…

        The SNP have made a mistake, another mistake…it is not a big mistake but the timing suggests they understand nothing about what it will take to win independence

      3. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

        maybe, but after the event we are all wise men.

      4. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

        Douglas….you have so much to learn about practical politics. besides if independence isnt cool for you no amount of political flannel will change your opinion. revolutions are always initiated by minorities, active, assertive minorities. left to the masses things stay the same.

  20. Saltire2014 says:

    Excellent analysis, thanks. In relation to your question about media and rise of UKIP: “If they are to blame we should blame less the BBC and more the relentless drumbeat of tabloid fervour over the past thirty years”. I agree with that but was wondering if you knew of any recent academic studies detailing how Scottish people get their news now? Was having a look online (!) and could only find a recent US report but it may provide useful parallel pointers to our situation here vis-a-vis the referendum: http://www.americanpressinstitute.org/publications/reports/survey-research/personal-news-cycle/.
    For Scotland is it still mainly TV? What about age/gender/income breakdown? Presumably online BBC reports are a major source of news for many people now; if not replacing TV then complementing it but quite likely remaining a significant platform for UKIP propaganda?

  21. I found almost painful trying to read the recycling of Ukip trash that is many of the posts here.

    The accepted assumption that mass immigration is a realty, and worse it has altered entire swathes of our cities and countryside, is both a ludicrous thesis, and historically inaccurate. In addition, assertions stating Scotland has never been government by right-wing parties ith right-wing policies but now faces that prospect is an example of the ignorant spouting ignorance.

  22. Douglas says:

    Frew-Bell, the referendum is to be won on the Left, not the Right, any fool can see that….and if it were to be won on the Right, I’d probably just pack my bags and go..

    As Brodsky said:

    “Picts? I call them pigs those Scots!”…and so do I…

    the aresholes of the SNP who fielded a former Tory….

    A disgrace and a betrayal of the independence movement.

    1. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

      Oh Douglas….that shit Farage and his pet Scotch monkey have certainly got you by the balls. I personally would vote for independence if the devil himself were its advocate. the end does justify the means. one can just be that bit too pure. being detached from realpolitik for far too long Scots need to get in touch with their ruthless Machiavellian self or else the unionists will make mincemeat of us. this is a relearning curve my friend.

      1. MBC says:

        Sorry, you are dead wrong there Frew Bell. The end does not justify the means, therein lies madness. It is not just that we win that counts but also how we win. If we win by poison then we die by it too for then we kill the thing we love.

      2. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

        just seen your reply. In an ideal world your sentiment would be noble. In the world as it is it looks like folly. Few countries have regained their independence by gentleman’s agreement. I do hope ours will be one of the few. However, the auguries are not good. The rapid rightward, bullish shift in British politics indicates we will need to have our wits about us. The British state has always played dirty. To quote from Henrik Ibsen “you do not wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for truth and justice”. If that means getting down and dirty, so be it.

  23. aresholes of the SNP who fielded a former Tory….

    The SNP has attracted people from all walks of life, of all beliefs, because of a common cause. Scotland does not belong to any specific person other than people born here, or now choosing to live and work here.

    What are you protesting about? You sound as if you’re concocting propaganda for the unionists.

    1. Douglas says:

      I’m protesting about the sixth SNP candidate being a former Tory supporter -, a provocation of the highest order; a trick or a trap; I like most of my generation who grew up with Thatcher have a visceral hatred of the Tories – when we could have all been voting for Maggie Chapman, a progressive politician….

      …and please, spare us the sanctimonious crap that you and so many SNP supporters give us about the broad church rubbish. I am thoroughly sick of the SNP line, “oh,but we got you here..”.

      We got YOU here because we voted for you despite an ambivalence to Scottish nationalism…

      …if YOU continue to field former Tories you will probably retreat to Perth from whence you came..

      WE being the Scottish Left, more or less, give or take….

      1. Well, the former Tory sympathiser of temperate opinion – and there are many shades of Tory – was ignored in favour of one of extreme prejudice.

        The “we got you here” reeks of synthetic claptrap. For whom do you speak?

        Still mad the SNP fielded a candidate not of a pale skin?

  24. Fordie says:

    Let’s remove the word shameful, and those like it, as relates to Scotland. This is the sort of language that has embedded The Cringe. I’m not accepting any personal responsibility, nor should any others.

    It is only shameful with regard to the minority who voted UKIP. And I guess they wouldn’t agree.

    And given that this is a democracy and that the vote is PR, this is the reality. There will always be those who vote for parties that the majority find distasteful.

    Unfortunate is the word. And certainly depressing.

  25. I’m protesting about the sixth SNP candidate being a former Tory supporter

    If only that was true.

    You are protesting at the SNP’s choice of a candidate of former right-wing sentiment who got beaten by a candidate of extreme right-wing sentiment. The glaring illogicality leaves only one conclusion.

    You object to the colour of her skin. You believe that is her downfall as an SNP candidate. The fact that it did not trouble the SNP troubles you.

    Yet she was beaten in a low voter turnout by a candidate who detests associating with anybody who has a skin colour darker than a caramel. And it appears from his ugly utterance today that includes Italians.

    Where does that leave you?

    1. Doug Daniel says:

      Woah there, unless something’s been deleted, nobody brought up skin colour until this post, and there’s only one mention of Italians on this entire page.

      There are completely legitimate concerns over Tasmina, going back since she first defected to the SNP in 2000 and had to apologise for criticising Salmond over NATO. I for one have been sceptical ever since I was bored by her speaking at the 2012 spring conference, and her passionless speech at the rally last year hardly helped matters. She may indeed have become a huge proponent of independence since her Tory/Labour years, but unfortunately she comes across like the kind of wannabe professional politician that joins a party based on their popularity with voters, rather than their values and policies. That may be totally unfair to her, but impressions matter in politics.

      And the way the SNP top brass so obviously pushed her when it came to organising the list order (what a coincidence that the 24,000th member was her daughter at the exact time people were deciding how to rank candidates…) certainly didn’t help matters. There were some excellent candidates in the long- and short-lists that were overlooked because the top brass decided they wanted Tasmina pushed to the fore – Natalie McGarry and Chris Stephens to name but two.

      1. Doug

        I have no opinion of the merits or otherwise of the SNP candidate, failure to win the seat a sure dent in any political ambitions she might harbour. I do not think we need to heap opproprium upon her.

        I do, however, have an opinion of people who describe SNP members in insulting terms. In that I am in agreement with Setondene who comments a few posts below.

        You indicate a wish for a higher standard of candidate – I have a want and expect a higher standard of debate, that is, debate as opposed to dispute, or personal, public rant.

        If a new Scotland is not about achieving better standards in everything what is it about?

  26. John Page says:

    Less than four months to go

    1. Could you be a little more specific?

      1. Douglas says:

        You Grouse Beater are a British spy.

        If you’re not, then you are a disgrace to the independence movement.

        You simply cannot go about accusing people of racism to score a political point. It is a totally outrageous and entirely unjustified charge.

        Just who are you? What is your real name? I want to know who you are…you can see who I am by clicking on my name, So why don’t you tell me who you are?

        If you have the nerve to accuse somebody of racism on no grounds at all, then tell me who you are….I want to know, and believe me, I will know eventually..this doesn’t end here.

  27. @ Douglas

    Your tirades are completely irrational, haranguing borrowed from Ukip’s handbook for non-thinkers. You denounce everybody and expect to be taken seriously.

    By contrary nonsense you claim the SNP did not submit a candidate extreme enough to win the seat. And still you cannot perceive the stupidity of what you have said.

    1. Douglas says:

      You completely misrepresent me.

      You call me a UKIP supporter and a racist because you don’t agree with my point of view which is that the SNP should have been pitching more to the left and not the right?

      You can’t just go about calling people racists….that’s a very serious accusation, and a nasty, viscous lie in this case.

      I’ve never seen an accusation like that on Bella on my life before….

      Conversation over.

    2. bellacaledonia says:

      Can I ask that this conversation ends or has a better tone? Douglas is a long-standing Bella contributor and long standing supporter and doesn’t deserve to be accused in this way. I’d suggest a retraction and apology are in order. We should be able to disagree without descending like this.

      Two yellow cards, reds in the pocket.

      1. setondene says:

        ‘Douglas is a long-standing Bella contributor’. Maybe so, but judging from his language he is spoiling for a fight. Not surprising that someone gave him one.

      2. Douglas says:

        Fair enough Setondene, I have had better days I am sure, but a wee bit of spoiling for a fight is possibly not a bad thing given that we are 4 months from the referendum and the UKIP/Tory vote at the Euro elections comes within a whisker of equalling the SNP vote…a wake up call, surely.

        It is not a good result at all as far as I see it, we should be fielding left and not to the right.

        Och well…

  28. douglas clark says:

    I don’t know why we are beating ourselves up over this. The absolutely Bizantine way that the Euro elections work means that only an expert in d’Hont has the slightest prospect of voting tactically. Lallands Peat Worrier spells it out on his blog and I need a Solpadine!

    I think it was the wee ginger dug that pointed out that the highest area vote for UKIP in Scotland was lower than the lowest area vote for UKIP in England.

    It is, still, two nations.

    1. That would be my calculation of how someone unfit for the job was elected – too many people think the European elections unimportant, they don’t vote, hence the least fit candidate wins. by dint of voter apathy. Those that do vote are attracted by the candidate’s appeal to basic prejudices.

      1. Incidentally, a supporter on another site contends a proportion of voters have to be purely tactical, that is, ensuring the SNP did not secure the seat. There’s wisdom in that insight – at least, I have to believe so for reasons of sanity!

    2. MBC says:

      I also read somewhere that a certain number of UKIP votes (maybe as many as 10%) came from SNP Yes voters hacked off at the way Europe is undermining potential Scottish sovereignty. This is a constituency that Alex Salmond has ignored. But there has always been a Eurosceptic wing of SNP voters.

      I noted UKIP came third in Moray, whereas most other places it came fourth, fifth or sixth.

  29. My fear on this is a little simpler than the details for and against immigration or anything else UKIP “stand for”.

    It’s about the way the power and influence of the BBC has been proven to work in brainwashing the populace. Consider this – would UKIP have got anywhere near, in fact anywhere at all, if Nigel Farage hadn’t had hours upon hours of friendly airtime on the national TV channel over the past 6 to 10 months? (maybe longer) We’ve seen evidence of BBC bias against the pro-independence movement over this same time period. Now they know the “experiment” in propaganda delivers the required results. It doesn’t matter that we can refute whatever distortions/bias is broadcast. It really doesn’t matter. Just give the negative side airtime again and again and again and again. They KNOW it works now. They got 10% of Scots to vote for a man who lives in London and whos party has no relevant policies for Scotland. That’s scary.

    I’m not sure what the answer is for the pro-indy team. We can’t broadcast, not everyone reads blogs like this one, so we need to be talking to everyone. The grass-roots needs to be burning!!

    1. It’s about the way the power and influence of the BBC has been proven to work in brainwashing the populace.

      That’s a fair point. I would never have known the Ukip candidate existed were it not for his time interviewed on BBC. And each time I saw him struggle to construct a thought in his head I said to myself, “No one in their right mind will vote for him.”

  30. Douglas says:

    I’m going to throw a wobbler in here….the SNP should have run a candidate like Tommy Sheridan or Colin Fox as their sixth candidate, or Maggie Chapman herself. .

    I know that sounds bizarre, I don’t take it for granted that the above mentioned would have accepted to be an SNP candidate, but that is the kind of imagination we need to win the referendum, we need a mass Popular Front from the SNP centre to the Left; these are exceptional times in Scotland and we need to think in a different way for a few months…

    The Euro elections were important, and this was a missed opportunity…

  31. Douglas says:

    Also, let’s remember the turn out in Scotland, a mere 34%, a shocking figure, well below the 43% average for the rest of Europe.

    This, on the eve of the referendum, and a moment in Scotland’s history when people have never been more politicized. A huge failure by the Scottish professional political class…and I stress the word professional, people who draw a salary for their political views.

    The SNP, the Greens and the other parties should have fielded candidates jointly under the banner of Independent Scotland in Europe 2016….this was the dress rehearsal for the referendum!!!

    Instead we get sleep walking politicians…we get sleep walking politicians from all of the pro indie parties.

    The whole context was dominated by UKIP, UKIP set the agenda…

    This was a rallying point, a chance to articulate the new post indie Scotland….the more I think about it, the more frustrating it gets.

    1. MBC says:

      But the turnout was up on the last Euro elections, I believe, by five points.

  32. douglas clark says:


    That feels too much like replying to myself to be comfortable.

    The level of voting is in line with, though slightly below, the UK average of 36%. Your idea that it should reach the European average of 43% is, frankly, soaring in it’s ambition. Let us not forget, as we walk along the street, that hardly anyone positively voted for them.

    The whole election, for what it was worth, was about sixth place here. I saw very little agenda setting, ’cause UKIP don’t have more than a ‘pair’ when it comes to policies. I should genuinely like to know what their policy is on continued funding of the LHC or ITER, after walking away from the EU. I assume, although I do not know, for they fail to tell us in any manifesto whatsoever, what exactly is wrong with subscribing to international courts of human rights.

    Else, of course, the pub drunk, heavens no, not oor Nigel, could swallow a few beers and re-introduce the death penalty for witches, warlocks and werewolves. Which would see those of us without a UKIP membership card in the invidious position of having to peacefully protest against him and then be accused of that darkest sins, Scottishness.

    They thump on about the EU (agin) and immigrants (agin) and that’s it.

    There is, frankly ‘no soul’ in our friends in UKIP. The world is just a scary place where, being the pub bore and jumping on a horse to go home, which might take you past a kirk……



    I doubt when it comes to it they would be agin to a Shengen equivalent for, what was it called again (?), och yes, the ‘Old’ Commonwealth

    Only the WASPs that invaded and defeated the ‘enemy’ are worthy of entry into this land of knights and ladies, ‘there be dragons’ and a world coloured pink.

    A long, long time ago, I read ‘I Buried my Heart at Wounded Knee.’

    And so did I.

  33. James Dow A voice from the diaspora says:

    There is a significant English population in Scotland, perhaps they forgot which country they were in and identified Nigel as one of their own in need of help. (Which he does need, not the voting kind)

  34. douglas clark says:

    Lest I be accused of hyperbole, my namesake calls this the ‘eve’ of the referendum. Under no, non hyberbolic opinion is this the ‘eve’ of the referendum. We are moving, inexorably, towards the ‘controlled’ period. I expect that ‘people power’ will outweigh ‘media power’, if media power is defined as old style journalism.

    I base that on unique views per page statistics, for independence sites, which are heading towards orbit! Oh! and they do that with a complete lack of semi-naked celebrity women on the pages of our opponents. It takes a commitment to read this sort of stuff without the ongoing titilation that constitutes 99% of the Daily Mail’s side bar. I don’t know about you,but I am utterly bored with ‘wardrobe malfunctions’, I seriously doubt the wardrobe is capable, at a level of active conciousness of being malfunctional. Whereas the Daily Mail, on the other hand…….

    Bella and others show ‘town hall meetings’ stowed out with people wanting to hear the case, and usually entry and exit polls suggest that we get the better of it. The ‘ground troops’ arguement also appears overwhelming.

    Given the schizmy nature of ‘Better Together’ I am fully expecting (not) an Orange Order for Radical Independence as a sub sub sub breakaway from Orange Order Brightens Up. There is no reason whatsoever that these people shouldn’t be canvassed, apparently loads of Rangers supporters are on our side already.

    I expect the ‘soft’ no vote – I believe that only about 10% of the ‘no’ vote is actually ‘hard’ – is persuadable.

    But, I suspect, that persuasion will happen at the personal level, not the political level. I have had a modicum of success in explaining that, after indpendence I will vote Green. Some folk seemed astonished that we’d still be a democracy, such is the invidious nature of the idea that the SNP is going to be a dictatorship.

    Full disclosure, I am currently a member of the SNP. When we become independent I will probably vote either for Robin McAlpine or Patrick Harvie’s parties. For they are the people who I think can take us to the next level, Your mileage may vary and that is good!

    It is up to every one of us to try our hardest to persuade waverers and downrights ‘no’s’ to see the light.

    For this is not about politicians.

    It is about us taking contol of our political destiny, wherever it may take us….

    For who is better to do that than the people who live here?

  35. Given the schizmy nature of ‘Better Together’

    How long before Farage’s smiling mug complete with half-empty pint is on Better Together posters?

    Does the election of a racist in Scotland denote Scotland is racist? Absolutely not.
    Does the election of a racist denote Scottish values mirror English values? Absolutely not.
    Does one unreliable half-man, half-biscuit denote more will be elected? Absolutely not.
    Should we panic over a fool elected to serve abroad and not in Scotland? Absolutely not.

    We should concentrate on what we can achieve and enshrine in our parlaiment and a Constitution.

  36. lastchancetoshine says:

    The elephant in the room is 3/4 of the electorate don’t give a f.. aren’t interested, which may be just as well as more than half of them when really pushed may well come down on the “anti political” side of the fence which is the real attraction of UKIP and many a libertarian right party before them.

    On Tasmina, her selection goes far further than the Euro’s, surely she embodies just the type of career politician we are trying to leave behind? if she actually had some sort of epiphany and believed the SNP was the way forward for anyone else rather than herself, she’d be working for it in the back room rather than standing for election.

  37. joseph O Luain says:

    On entering Bella-Land this morning I noted more than a slight whiff of cordite hanging in the air. Nigel and co. it seems to me, will be crying tears of deep joy when they thy read of our wee internecine exchange of fire. (Pass me the hammer and wedge please, Mr Coburn.)

    Passion when mixed with frustration is a lethal draft, guys … Stand back a while before going for your guns. Re: Tasmina, her Scottish Con’s connection will have guided the odd pencil here-and-there, I’m sure of that, but it wasn’t a huge issue with most voters. UKIP took the vote-of-despair – that’s their stock-in-trade, after all – that’s why they’re dangerous. For us to be giving succour, albeit unintentional succour, to fascists seems to me extraordinary.

    Going o/t for a sec – Yesterday saw yet another black-day for democracy in Scotland. Ponsonby is such a useless bastard he couldn’t find a Yes voter in all of Dundee? Add to this that other load of dross, Scotland 2014, where Danny Alexander was finding it difficult to hide his glee, (another example of a programme made for us, not made by us).

    Because I can get just as passionate as the next punter I am strongly suggesting that we organise a tented picket down there on sleepy old Pacific Quay and that we stay there until we get a result. The publicity would be priceless and we might even manage to kick-start a debate into the sickly and biased nature of of our media outlets. Given that most people get their news from the telly, have we any real choice in the matter?

    1. Graham Hughes says:

      Danny Alexander might have found it difficult to hide his glee but he found it even more difficult to hide the fact that he hasn’t got a clue of what he is talking about. He seemed to have swallowed both The Little Book of Political Clichés and the Better Together list of debunked scare stories and was regurgitating them both at random in the absense of any credible answer. At one point he even spoke about not erecting borders between the two countries. Presumably no-one tought to brief him that he debunked that myth himself last week.

  38. Graham Hughes says:

    *That should be “thought” to brief him, of course I am sure this uses software that introduce typos when you press the “post comment” button.

    1. Danny Alexander …… hasn’t got a clue of what he is talking about

      He reminds me of Beaker, the hapless assistant to Dr Bunsen Honeydew in the Muppets. Check it out – I’m sure I have the imagery right.

  39. Political Tourist says:

    As a voter i’ve never heard of any of the candidates so somebody being an ex Tory didn’t sway me.
    You either vote SNP or Greens etc or you don’t.
    Do you think your average Ukip voter knew the candidate was gay.
    Doubt it.
    Would it have mattered, yes probably for a large section of right-wingers, i doubt gay marriage or gay anything else is their scene.
    The scary part of this is, a party with zero membership and a candidate nobody had heard of, walked away with a prize.
    More fool the Scottish Left for thinking the Right isn’t out there.
    Just think one day the Scottish might have it’s own Nigel or Maggie.
    What then.

    1. Political Tourist says: Just think one day the Scottish might have it’s own Nigel or Maggie.
      What then?

      We’ve had many like them and worse. That’s why less than 500 people own half of the land.

      1. Political Tourist says:

        Whilst Scotland might have had or has some off the wall right-wingers they certainly haven’t won a general election in an independent Scotland.
        Probably closest thing i’ve seen to such a thing would be a New Labour/LibDem coalition in the present Home Rule set up.

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