2007 - 2021

The East Renfrewshire Problem

YESAt the 2014 independence referendum, turnout in East Renfrewshire, one of Scotland’s leafiest constituencies, was 90 per cent. By contrast, in Glasgow and Dundee, the two poorest cities in the country, it was 75 per cent and 79 per cent respectively. East Renfrewshire voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Union. Glasgow and Dundee backed independence.

Nine months later, at the UK general election, 54 per cent of voters turned-out in Glasgow North East, the bulk of them to elect SNP candidate Anne McLaughlin as their MP. Meanwhile, in Edinburgh South, where Labour’s Ian Murray fought-off the SNP’s advance, there was a 74 per cent turnout.

This pattern was repeated at last week’s Holyrood election. Average turnout in the 14 constituencies that elected pro-Union MSPs was 61 per cent, six per cent higher than the overall national turnout. Conversely, some of the lowest turnouts occurred in the SNP’s Glasgow heartlands: 44 per cent in Maryhill and Springburn, 45 per cent in Pollok, and 46 per cent in Shettleston.

You don’t need a degree in psephology to see what’s going on here. The trend couldn’t be clearer. Wealthier Scots vote in higher numbers. They are also statistically more likely to support the Union and, in turn, a unionist party. Poorer Scots are less likely to vote but more likely to support both independence and the SNP.

The Yes campaign, then, faces a problem. The SNP will be able to maintain its dominant status at the next two elections, in 2020 and 2021, because the unionist vote is split, unevenly, between three parties, the Tories, Labour and the Liberal Democrats. But in a referendum, there are only two options: Yes and No. Supporters of the UK won’t have to divvy-up their ballots between Ruth and Kez. They will come out en masse, East Renfrewshire-style, to defend the Union.

Unionist Scotland, in other words, is a relatively solid, coherent bloc built around a motivated and prosperous electorate, not a scattering of diverse political interests. It’s easy to forget that in the scrum of an election campaign, when everyone’s howling at one another from a dozen different angles.

Unionist Scotland, in other words, is a relatively solid, coherent bloc built around a motivated and prosperous electorate, not a scattering of diverse political interests. It’s easy to forget that in the scrum of an election campaign, when everyone’s howling at one another from a dozen different angles.

So, how should the SNP respond? Can the unionist firewall be vaulted? The most obvious strategy would be to boost turnout in poorer areas. The SNP has 116,000 members, active and well-attended local branches, and significant resources. It is a formidable electoral machine. This summer, Nicola Sturgeon will launch a new initiative to broaden support for independence. It would make sense to include a mass voter registration drive as part of that, with efforts focused on those communities where levels of political disengagement are rising.

At the same time, Sturgeon will have to target the softer sections of unionist opinion. A sustained majority for independence won’t be possible unless a chunk of the No voting public changes its mind. The good news is that Ruth Davidson could end-up doing a lot of work for the Yes campaign in this respect. Just as the surge in nationalism has hardened support for the Tories, so too might the Tory surge harden support for nationalism, particularly among beleaguered left-leaning Labour voters who have seen their party’s prospects in Scotland collapse and don’t expect Jeremy Corbyn to win the next UK general election. Under Davidson, the centre of unionist gravity will shift (further) to the right, leaving unionism’s dwindling band of leftwing stragglers in an even more isolated position.

How carefully, if at all, is the SNP considering any of this? Back in 2014, neither the SNP nor Yes Scotland seemed remotely interested in addressing the specific social and class barriers that stood in the way of independence. Their plan was to develop as wide a coalition for Yes as possible, in the hope that it would inch them over the line on polling day. The result was a bungled pitch that lacked ideological consistency.

Since 2014, there has been an assumption among Yes campaigners that another referendum is inevitable, which is probably correct, and that a Yes vote is guaranteed, which definitely is not. True, backing for independence has gradually ticked up over the past 20 months. But the East Renfrewshire problem is very real, and it isn’t going away. The Yes campaign should start mapping a path around it, sooner rather than later.

Comments (90)

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  1. Dougie Blackwood says:

    Well written and accurate. I was a polling agent in Helensburgh at a polling station that was for a mixed class electorate. I could tell that we were losing in there at about 3 to 1. The constituency returned Jackie Baillie and I suspect even some Tories voted for her.

    In this constituency Ministry of Defence has tied up their payroll with fear of losing their jobs and Helensburgh always had a large Tory vote. Going round the doors at the referendum and for Holyrood it was anybody but SNP. At Westminster the sitting Liberal was easily ousted by SNP but that was probably seen as a protest vote.

    The article is right; we now need to pay more attention to the middle areas, maybe leave the mansions where we will never get traction and so spend more effort on the older and retired voters.

    1. willy says:

      Paying attention to the wider electorate will be essential if we ever want to secure independence. But even before independence was achieved there were many on the left who howled that the SNP were the enemy. Indeed, in your own area there were SSP who declared they would and did, spoil their constituency vote for the SNP, with the result that Jackie Ballie was returned with the slenderest of majorities. Good stuff the left. You should have just voted Tory!

  2. Bert Logan says:

    It does come down to campaigning heavily to get people to see the lies. It also comes down to media. Anyone who does not see this … look at Turkey … look at the UK! There is barely any ‘real’ nationalist media ‘lying around’.

    I feel the next referendum will require two of the main enemy media to switch.

    Fat chance.

    1. Dougie Blackwood says:

      There was a whisper that the Scottish Sun was leaning our way but other than that it looks like “Nae Chance”.

    2. Alex says:


  3. Steven Milne says:

    The Yes campaign in 2014 did a very thorough job in attracting left leaning former Labour and Lib Dem voters who felt abandoned by the Tony Blair rebranding and the coalition government respectively. They also attracted the poorest members of society, who are much less likely to vote than their more prosperous counterparts, with what I regard as disingenuous claims that independence would improve their circumstances.

    All of these groups at present seem to remain loyal to the SNP which means that they have a near monopoly on the left wing/protest vote, at least for the time being.

    The SNP today is considerably further to the left, at least in terms of its rhetoric, than a decade ago but it has played to a left wing audience which means that aspirational, middle class Scots now find them repellant.

    Left wing politicians have a great deal of difficulty in accepting that a majority of the population 1)do not share their resentment of “the rich” and 2)like to think of themselves as both middle class and aspirational even if they earn a below average income.

    1. ian says:

      I left the UK seven year when foodbanks and zero hour contracts did’nt exist quite clearly the uk’s economy has been on the decline and continues to be so.The SNP as you know fine well have limited powers to negate the miss management of the economy but probably you are one of the i’m all right jacks so why would you care.The UK has a trickle up economy and continues to transfer private debt into the hands of the public so why should many not resent the rich?The fact that people through ignorance or choice support political parties which have been responsible for this sorry state of affairs says little for their moral fibre.

      1. Steven Milne says:

        I never cease to be amazed at the lack of self awareness exhibited by left wingers.

        Do you think that you are likely to convert people to your way of thinking by branding them stupid and/or wicked?

        You might be unhappy about certain aspects of society but you must surely recognise that general living standards for the UK as a whole have improved immeasurably over the past 40 years.

        I am not overly concerned about the existence of the super rich who are a miniscule section of society as a whole. Only 15,000 people in the UK earned >£1 million last year out of a total population of 65,000,000.

      2. Janette says:

        Where do you live now Ian /

    2. Astropoet says:

      I’m aspirational and middle class, and so are a fair few people I know, and I don’t think the SNP are repellent.

  4. TheWealthOfNations says:

    I worry that we in the SNP are trying to be all things to all people. I don’t see how we can push our vote share up towards 60% or more. I think it would be much easier to help our pro-indy allies to eat into the unionist vote that will never vote SNP.

    Our summer initiative needs to be a cross-party one that explicitly sets out to build support for independence and to identify existing supporters and encourage them to become more engaged.

    Data policy must be, from the inception, to share information freely so that all partners benefit equally from the effort. AFAIK the Yes campaign gathered vast amounts of data that it just deleted, data that could have been used by our allies to maximise the pro-indy turnout.

    It should also focus on postal votes. We need to identify and canvas every postal voter in Scotland. Trust but verify. We should also promote PV’s heavily to our identified supporters.

    I’m convinced we should be running a parallel PV campaign with the same sort of massive GOTV effort that we put into election day.

    With as many as 1 in 5 electors having a postal vote elections will be won and lost in that demographic alone often without reference to Party manifestos.

    1. Alan says:

      Agree about the PV. The Yes side needs to focus on that. My experience of the GOTV effort on referendum day was that it was huge but fruitless. I, along with two other guys, was assigned to Yoker/Scotstoun. We spent hours on end running all over those areas offering people who might need it assistance to get to their polling station. Not one person took us up on that. One girl even had a broken leg and still told me she’d be fine ! Inevitably some of these folk won’t have bothered to vote in the end. The Postal Vote offers far more potential in my view if we can drive registration up.

      1. Dougie Blackwood says:

        We need to think about postal votes. Many of our supporters beieve it was swindled in 2014. We maybe need to think about who gets it.

        1. TheWealthOfNations says:

          Precisely the point of contacting every postal voter…

    2. Mrty says:

      Wow I have a better idea, why don’t we try and convince people that it’s the right way to go regardless of class? We spend so much effort into how we can get more of the voters who voted but never talk about how we have a society that truly is for all regardless of class, everyone is in society, we have to stop this fantasy that if everyone voted it would have been yes it wouldn’t and until we accept that it will never happen, create a society for all and I mean ALL

  5. Archie Hamilton says:

    I’m pretty sure that I’ve posted a comment in a similar vein to this one on a previous occasion without anyone giving it any serious thought. Most likely because it runs contra to the thinking of many if not all BC posters. It doesn’t seem to occur to many on the left that Scotland is not now, nor is it ever likely to be, some kind of Socialist Utopia.

    As has been mooted elsewhere we need to find a way of getting the Independence message across to the older voters to re-assure them and prevent the No campaigners from constantly scaring them with endless negative stories about their pensions and other structures which they’ve known all their life. Similarly, we need to address the issues which concern voters of centre right persuasion who may be willing to consider voting Yes but who are, at present put off by what they perceive would be a Scottish nation in which they would be an isolated minority.

    I’ve got no doubt that the biggest majority of right of centre voters are confirmed No voters but until they have a political party which they accept will properly represent them in Holyrood I really don’t see any of the “soft” voters being won over.

    Certainly, in East Renfrewshire / Eastwood which consistently gives a high turnout of politically motivated voters that is the case.

    1. Steven Milne says:

      I would be an example of a right of centre voter who ten years ago was ambivalent about independence and could easily have been persuaded to vote for it.

      However I would now class myself as a committed Unionist because I have been appalled both by the behaviour of a large number of SNP/Yes supporters plus their vision of an independent Scotland as a Socialist Utopia.

      The current chat of the SNP regarding a second referendum reminds me of the One More Push strategy of Labour under Neil Kinnock and John Smith in which they kept doing the same things again and again in the hope that enough people would desert the Tories. It didn’t work and it needed Tony Blair to come in and rip up the old rule book.

      Barring a “Black Swan” unexpected event (Brexit wouldn’t even come close) there is no chance of SNP winning independence unless they adopt a One Nation approach, cut out the endless whinging about Westminster and stop branding No voters as cowardly/greedy/brainwashed by the media.

      Their current tactics are quite simply deeply unattractive to the majority of No voters and they are tainted by their association with extreme left wing figures/groups such as Tommy Sheridan, Greens and Common Weal.

      1. Archie Hamilton says:

        Aye well, maybe we’re a lttle late for you, Steven. I get the impression that you’ve spent a lot of the last 10 years soaking up the party line (and obviously not that of the SNP).

        I am however confident that there are sufficient others of a more flexible outlook who warrant being given some support.

        Whilst I agree with you that some of the more rabid Yes supporters can be a little off putting, I can assure you that there are those in the No camp who are equally rabid and divorced from reality – sadly not just of the Facebook / Twitter warrior variety.

        1. Steven Milne says:

          Can you be a bit more specific about the party line you think I have been soaking up ?

          I am certainly not a devotee of any particular political party and I believe that I am sufficiently intelligent to make up my own mind on matters based on my own experiences and observations.

          1. Frank says:

            Out of interest I’m curious as to why you visit this site. Is it for the same reason that I read my mother in law’s Daily Mail – I want to know what the enemy is thinking and also I enjoy looking down my nose at those who are politically and culturally inferior?

          2. Archie Hamilton says:

            Think of it as a very loose party encompassing pretty much all of the anti Independence trains of thought, Steven.

            I was in no way meaning to suggest that you are anything other than able to think for yourself. However I think that I would be correct in saying that the likelihood of you being converted to Yes is pretty slim.

  6. Joe Rocks says:

    This is a serious problem ,turnout is always lower in deprived areas.Firstly the electoral register is always out of date,the population is more transient.For various reasons people are reluctant to register,some because of council tax and poll tax arrears and some are hiding from debt collection agencies .

    The Labour Party always had this problem in the past and the SNP is going to have this problem in the future ,you can bet 95% of Unionist middle class Scotland will vote in Indyref2 .

    If we are going to win Indyref2 were going to have to increase turnout in working class areas.How do we do this .There is no need to reinvent the wheel,no need to think of new ideas or new approaches because if you examine elections all over the world they have all been tried before and failed.

    The only tried and tested method to increase turnout is shear bloody hard work and lots of door to door canvassing.not a one off mass canvassing which is good for a media headline but is pretty useless in In tackling low turnout.
    What needs to happen ,before Indyref2 a list needs to be drawn up of say of the 100 polling districts ( polling districts are the basic building blocks of the electoral roll usually 2 or 3 couple make up a council ward) in Scotland with the lowest turnout.

    Then instead of 1 mass canvass ,door chopping needs to commence a year before ,with a view to contacting nearly every resident as is possible .That means night after night door chapping identifying possible Yes voters ensuring everyone in the household is registered .After compiling the list about 2 months before the referendum every Yes voter needs to be visited again to ensure that they will be able to vote and postal & proxy votes arranged if needed.
    On polling day reading cards needs to be delivered to every Yes voter and a huge knock up needs to be undertaken on polling day ,ie every Yes voted needs to be contacted to remind them to vote or give a lift ,watch the dog whatever to get them to the polls.

    I suspect this will fall on deaf ears .I will be told that’s old style politics .The left in Scotland are great at blogging tweeting ,waving banners placards but are too bloody lazy ,that’s why the left parties fail to make a significant breakthrough at elections .They don’t work hard enough they will do anything to avoid doing the work required.

    I fear the next Indy ref will be the same lots of people rallying demonstrating ,whilst a few hardy soils do the real essential work of getting the Yes vote out on polling day.

    1. Paul says:

      Agree with you there. I campaigned relentlessly in Provan and we got a 57% yes vote. This is Glasgow North East and had the second lowest turnout this time round so it proves that door chapping and a concerted effort, even in areas with historically low turnout, can reap rewards. However, more could have been done.

      The mass rally the night before the referendum in George Square was brilliant but I arrive after door chapping at 10pm and couldn’t help but wonder what the yes vote would have been had the thousands in the square been out chapping doors and calling friends and family.

  7. Onwards says:

    The case for a YES vote needs to encompass middle class voters more than it did.
    Unfortunately when the SNP promotes moderate centre-left policies, it finds itself getting attacked viciously from those on the far left, to the extent that the abuse is often worse than they reserve for the Tories.

    A broad based alliance for independence would include groups and parties from all sides of the political spectrum, putting differences aside and working together.
    IMO we could do with a centre-right party campaigning for independence, more than another radical left one.

    Self-Government has to be an aspirational vote, not just a defensive vote.
    I think the vision of Scotland promoted by the SNP has to be a moderate social democratic one. The concept of some sort of socialist utopia with higher taxes is a vote loser.
    A social democratic Scotland might not be ‘radical’ enough for those on the far left, but it is still a damn sight better than remote Tory governments in Westminster.

    A future YES campaign shouldn’t be scared to promote the patriotic side of independence too, which was treated very cautiously by the party.
    No matter the shade of future governments, they will be *Scottish* governments, decided by the people who live here. We will have a far stronger identity and brand in the world as we emerge from the background of the union jack.

    That shouldn’t just be a pride thing, but a practical boost for tourism, business and jobs. But the self-respect and pride from running our own country shouldn’t be diminished, and it’s an argument that cuts across all incomes and social groups.

    1. Archie Hamilton says:

      Regardless of whether it be a left of centre party or a right of centre party I think most people become wary when patriotism and politics get entwined.
      I do however want to see a centre right party which puts Scotland to the fore.

      I’m entirely fed up with the kind of Unionist politics which are based on economics and social policies which are tailored for London and not for Scotland or for that matter Cornwall or Cumbria amongst others.

      Politically the English regions seem content with what they have on offer (or at least precious few seem vocal enough to let others know they are unhappy). So it has to be time for Scotland to strike out on our own for our own.

      1. David Sangster says:

        Yes, Archie, and part of the confusion around “politics and patriotism” arises because of the unpalatable truth that some of the SNP’s supporters would not vote Yes in an independence referendum. I suspect these may be the above-mentioned middle class who quite like the SNP’s brand of Social Democratic policies, but for whom independence is always going to be a step too far.

        While on the subject of demographics, oldsters like myself are inclined to feel that having been British citizens for (in my case) seven decades, another decade or so won’t make much difference. I did vote Yes and would again, but I can understand why many would not. There’s a catch-phrase country folk about here often reach for : “Fine the way it is”.

  8. Steven Milne says:

    I visit this site in a small attempt to raise the standard of political debate in Scotland by explaining my views logically.

    Hopefully we can get beyond the point where people state that those with a different view have “a lack of moral fibre” or are “politically and culturally inferior”.

    For the record my views have been shaped by:

    1 Living in England and Northern Ireland has made me appreciate the shared British identity

    2 Throughout my working life in various industries I have realised how free markets create wealth which benefits the whole of society

    3 I have observed how people who look to take responsibility for their own actions and behaviour are generally much happier and better adjusted than those who look to blame other people for their problems

    1. Coul Porter says:

      Steven, I share your quest for light rather than heat. Consequently, I would answer your 3 points as follows:

      1] England with a population of c60 million does not share, by dint of simple arithmetic, it dominates and is often synonymous with Britain in global perception.

      Had you lived in Southern Ireland, you may have encountered a different perspective on the ‘British identity’. I am a Highlander from ‘Clearance Corner’ – an area which was once at the mercy of the cynical manipulation of the United Kingdom emigration laws. In for seaweed – out for sheep.

      2] Free markets do indeed create wealth. However, such is human frailty that they also create secrecy and corruption. Commercial confidentiality notwithstanding, it is paramount that they are fiscally accountable – thus the ‘whole of society’ benefits.

      3] Society should be judged not only on the proactivity of the high rollers, but also on the level of humanity available to those unable to take responsibility for their disadvantage.

      1. Portjim says:

        Well said.

        Stevens 3rd point about taking responsibility pretty much sums up why I favour independence, although it is reasonable to blame others when their imposition on you of the solution to their problem is your problem!

        In more general terms, while I understand the desire to lay out the detail of an independent Scotland, beyond short term essentials like what currency we use on day 1, this is futile. The detailed shape / structure of Scotland will be what the people decide it should be.

        I wouldn’t expect political alignments to survive independence – I’m sure the current broad-church SNP would suffer some degree of fragmentation and we may even see genuinely Scottish labour / conservative / liberal parties. How socialist / centralist etc depends on post-independence voting.

        That is why things like msp’s resigning from the SNP over NATO membership baffle me. At the moment, it is a moot point – after independence it becomes a real issue and that is the time to take a stand.
        Similarly, the issue of monarchy /republic should be settled by a further post-independence single-issue referendum.

    2. KP says:

      I’ve lived in England and the north of Ireland too, it made me think a lot about how living in a false democracy harms us.

      We don’t have a free market.

      On Individual responsibility and being healthy and well adjusted –

      One monkey is not a monkey and it’s the same for humans. There’s ways we shape and co-create each other.

      When people live in conditions that make it possible for them to find or create a sense of control over their life, and belonging and meaning then it’s likely that they’ll be happier and healthier.

      Lesley Riddoch in “Blossom” writes about what becomes of us physically and psychologically when most healthy routes to a sense of control, belonging and meaning are blocked by the state and global capital, and how co operative community action and local democracy, (that’s truly local and democratic), overcomes this. A fair bit of what she’s talking about is ordinary in other countries that aren’t so left wing either. It’s the UK that is out on the extremes here. There are more ways forward than just an all controlling state and/or big money.

      There’s a lot of research on how we grow emotionally and neurologically under stress, or in a secure enough world. All this begins not at conception but in the generations before. The research on epigenetics is telling us how living under damaging conditions means psychological and physical suffering is passed on to our children and grandchildren. If conditions improve the harm can be reduced over a lifetime. But we’ve generation after generation living in communities in severe stress and an economic and system that actively maintains and increases this. Seeing “taking responsibility for ourselves” solely at the level of individual choices is meaningless.

      I know lots of comfortably off people who look like “well adjusted”, “responsible” grown ups, but when you get talking to them a fair bit of their sense of self worth and their place in the world depends on having others to look down on, people they want to see as weak and unable or unwilling to take responsibility for themselves. They believe economic suffering is deserved, and that vulnerability to it is evidence of poor attitude, being deficient in some way, or being not quite fully human. Us feckless poor are their burden. They live surrounded by others who share the circular thinking that we get what we deserve and deserve what we get. Their sense of “Us” and belonging and control in the world, is dependent on their belief in a subhuman them. It’s socially acceptable to manage uncomfy emotions by using and dehumanising others in this way. We all do some of this “Just World” thinking, but there’s evidence that relative wealth is one factor that can increase the tendency to cope with life this way and makes people more comfortable with cheating others out of resources. They look like well adjusted responsible adults – they vote, file tax returns and recycle – but as long as they’re maintaining their sense of self and belonging in the world by using others in this way they aren’t “taking responsibility” in any way that makes sense to me. The false democracy that makes it possible to keep on increasing inequality, depends on keeping enough people thinking and living their lives this way.

      There’s many reasons people voted No, but this is some part of it for all the No voters in my life. A question for me is how to interact with the softer but still angry No voters, without making ourselves a mirror image of right wing hard No’s, demonising, dehumanising, or pitying them as psychologically harmed by intergenerational relative privilege. Anger in response to what’s going on is healthy and needed, but how to use it well and not deepen the divide? The kind of words I’m using about the No voters in my life tell me I’ve not got so far with answering my question. We can put anger into something useful showing there’s an alternative, but it’s not enough to change the way these conversations go.

      1. Steven Milne says:

        The last time I looked we had a free market. I can choose to shop at Tesco, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons etc or to grow my own food.

        Perhaps I just don’t understand because I have been “psychologically harmed by inter generational relative privilege” and need some therapy from Lesley Riddoch or Pat Kane to cure me.

        1. KP says:

          “The last time I looked we had a free market. I can choose to shop at Tesco, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons etc or to grow my own food.”

          That doesn’t describe the free market. And with the history of land ownership patterns and land ownership regulation in Scotland, (have a read of “The Poor had no Lawyers” by Wightman), and the way this interacts with how the supermarkets and food industry lobbyists operate, it’s obvious the free market isn’t in action here.

          And neither this situation, nor a truly free market economy can ever create a world where we all have access to good enough food.

          “Perhaps I just don’t understand because I have been “psychologically harmed by inter generational relative privilege” and need some therapy from Lesley Riddoch or Pat Kane to cure me.”

          My fault – I didn’t lay the self-sarkyness on thick enough with the “intergenerational relative privilege”. I was talking about the really f-ing absurd knots i get into trying to understand people whose actions are causing harm, but still somehow end up using words and ideas that judge them just the same.

          “intergenerational privilege” does limit people though, but we could do with a less wanky phrase for it.

          If you’re as keen as you say to improve the standard of debate and find ways we can create more light and less heat, that’s not a bad idea – you could learn lots from Kane and Riddoch about all that. I could too.

          Interesting though, what you’ve chosen to not answer

          1. Steven Milne says:

            I didn’t actually spot a specific question anywhere in your lengthy essay KP but here is one for you:

            You claim that you “know lots of comfortably off people.. (whose)… sense of self worth and their place in the world depends on having others to look down on ”

            Can you please gives names of just 3 of these people please?

        2. Black Rab says:

          Your an arse. There are no free markets. The power to choose to buy something from a particular seller doesn’t indicate a free market. Markets are all clearly rigged. Society isn’t a market. You, for instance, have no authority on what, why, where or when things get sold and who profits and where profits go. You are out with the decision making process.
          You appear to be happy with the empty choice of being offered a selection of places to buy things from………whoop de fucking do, chalk up another victory for the human race. I have more ambition for society. Your a dead head fuck wit.

  9. Graeme McCormick says:

    Joe is so right. Hard graft is required to speak to everyone including areas you’d expect a no vote. Find common cause and it’s amazing how people will soften their anti I dependence views.

    But the YES movement have to face up to the fact that just as majority home ownership and mortgage fears was the nemesis of Trade Union power so personal asset value protection is what motivates the haves Independence must offer a coherent alternative financial system which delivers that protection better than what we have at present. Annual Ground Rent can provide that .

  10. Josef O Luain says:

    Lots of sense being offered above, the active promotion of postal votes etc. Thank you all.

    Yep, too many of us Schemeniks just refuse to act like middle-class folks. What is to be done? Mr Joe Rocks (above) has probably supplied us with a large part of the answer: hard, sustained graft in low turnout areas.

    Expending valuable energies towards the No voting leafy suburbs is largely a waste of time, I’m afraid. Most of the reasons why it is a waste of time have already been aired, above.

    The SNP leadership, for whom I have immense respect, is simply not historically disposed to relentless, all-out, sustained campaigning in the schemes. Given that their “sustained majority” can only come from such locales, this is unfortunate, to say the least.

    Thank you, Mr Joe Rocks.

  11. Richard MacKinnon says:

    Mr Maxwell claims in his final paragraph, that Yes voters believe a second referendum is inevitable and that “this is probably correct”. Can I take this opportunity to reassure Mr. Maxwell that he does not speak for me.

  12. Joe Rocks says:

    We lost the referendum by just under 390k votes 660k of those registered to vote did not turn out.We know the areas with low turnout.Those of us that were at the count can verify the research that was carried out that those areas with the lowest turnout were the most heavily yes.

    It would seem logical to me that there remains a huge number of Yes votes to be gained from the 660k who did not vote.If we got 1 in 5 of those non voters to vote Yes that’s 172 k voters or another 2 or 3% to Yes could make all the difference the next time.

    I think this is an area that has been neglected during post referendum analysis ,facts are the No side got 90% turnout of their voters Yes only got about 75% of ours .

    A whole section of the Yes movement has not grasped that the most effective campaigning technique which has been proven time and time again is chapping doors and then chapping more doors and then chapping even more doors.

    I just wish the penny will drop and people get prepared for the next time

    1. Steven Milne says:

      How would you address the fact that tax revenue from North Sea Oil has reduced by approx £8 billion per annum since the last referendum? this equates to £1,500 for every man, woman and child in Scotland.

      1. Lawrence Anderson Burley says:

        Steven, to this question I would say:
        1) Westminster has done an appalling job of safeguarding our (Scottish, but also UK wide) revenue from oil against a rainy day. Drop in oil revenue is hardly the SNPs fault. It’s of course a good resource to have – if your neighbour doesn’t siphon all the revenue away to staunch its endless deficits., That’s why prudent countries set up oil funds. See Norway’s: at £500+BN! Norway has approx. same population as Scotland, approx. same reserves, started lifting oil around same time against same weather and technological challenges… What the hell has Westminster done with all that money? You are a Unionist: do you appreciate the positive effect on relations between Scotland and R-UK, and amending of indy sentiment if successive Governments had set aside even one penny a barrel over the years to buttress our budgets ?? The difference that one gesture of solidarity might have made?
        2) Frankly what has oil got to do with independence? Do you think independence is based on one resource? Would you say European mid-size, ancient polities similar to ours, with democratic traditions, hard working people, respected universities – such as say Denmark, Finland, Czech Republic, Switzerland – are all doomed because they do not have oil? They are getting on fine.

        1. Matt Quinn says:

          It seems any question asked of SNP and it’s followers is answered with a variant of: “It’s all Westminster’s fault”.

      2. willie says:

        Ah ha, the curse of having oil. Currently all oil revenue goes to Westminster. Thus within the UK if Scotland got it’s per capita pro rata share, which it doesn’t, this would be about 8%. Independent of course, Scotland would receive 100% of oil revenue. So, what not to like about that. Would help top up the shortbread biscuit tin a tad.

  13. tubeofmunchies says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever found so many people (Separatists) so angry, hostile, confused and agitated after winning an election (while slightly increasing their total votes, though with a slightly decreased vote share, and of course no majority).

    What are you so upset about?

    What is it you are afraid of?

    Why aren’t you happy? Why aren’t you celebrating?

    1. Rob Duncan says:

      How does this ‘anger’ manifest itself ? interested to know, so I can keep a look out for it.

  14. punklin says:

    How carefully, if at all, is the SNP considering any of this?

    Wrong to assume that they aren’t, I’d say.

  15. Mealer says:

    Clapping doors.Do it.

  16. Doug Daniel says:

    I worry that people put too much faith in the idea of boosting turnout. Short of frog-marching people to the polling station, you can’t do anything about people who simply can’t be bothered to go out and vote. At the recent election, we tried to encourage our supporters to register for a postal vote, and I think it had a degree of success, but even that relies on people being motivated enough to fill out a form and post it. Chances are, such people would have gone out and voted on the day anyway.

    Trying to boost turnout will have diminishing returns. Let’s face the facts – we will never reach 100% turnout in deprived areas, so that will always put us at a disadvantage unless we try to widen the appeal of independence to those who are already motivated enough to vote. This is something that many in the self-declared radical left just can’t seem to understand.

    1. Joe Rocks says:

      Doug I do understand ,that on the ground it does not feel as though campaigning works .I know from my own experience ,once a knockout is conducted in a specific ballot box you can see turnout figure rise.
      There has also been several in-depth studies into the effect of on the ground campaigning which concludes it is very effective.

      During the 1970 General Election a study was undertaken by researchers and the Labour Party in Dundee.Two adjacent block of flats in a safe Labour seat.One block of flats was left alone whilst the other blocks of flats was canvassed and a GOTV operation put in place .
      Not only was the turnout in the block of flats which was canvassed 10% higher the Labour vote was 81% compared to 73% in the uncanvassed block.

      1. Doug Daniel says:

        I’m not saying on the ground campaigning doesn’t work – I would vehemently disagree with anyone who does say that, in fact – simply that we’ll never reach 100% turnout in deprived areas, so placing all our eggs in the turnout basket is a guaranteed route to failure. Even if we managed, we’d probably be lucky to scrape 50%, and realistically, we want to do more than just scrape a win for the second referendum. We need to be getting support from comfortably-off folk who actually vote as well.

        1. Joe Rocks says:

          Doug where have I advocated putting all our eggs in the turnout basket.What I am simply stating is that we could have done a lot better in getting the vote out in deprived areas.
          In many areas canvassing returns were patchy.
          I am also simply a stating an observation of mine that when it comes to elections the left are lazy.They blog away hold great demos and spend half their time navel gazing whilst avoid doing the hard graft that wins elections

          1. Doug Daniel says:

            Think we’ve got crossed wires here, I was just making a general comment, not aimed at anyone in particular. All the articles from the left I’ve read in recent days seem convinced that the key to winning next time is focusing completely on class and just trying to ensure a bigger turnout, and thus turning our backs on the attempts to get folk in the centre to support independence.

            Totally agree about the demos etc, though. You can’t help wondering if we might have gotten closer in 2014 if the folk who were partying in George Square in the run up to the referendum had been out chapping doors instead. Often, these “high visual impact” practices seem more like backslapping than proper campaigning, a way for some folk to make it look like they’re helping out, when really they’re never around when it comes to the hard graft. It always seems to be the keyboard warriors who complain that there aren’t enough demos etc.

          2. There certainly was a phenomenon of being fooled by being in a hall with hundred (or thousands) of people whilst many more were at home quietly saying ‘No’. But on the other hand how to sustain people if don’t have some celebration?

          3. Doug Daniel says:

            I’m not sure. I’m maybe the wrong person to answer, because I’ve gotten such a kick out of campaigning these last few years that it’s become completely self-sustaining and I find it difficult to understand folk who need a kick up the backside to help the cause. I suppose I’m just naturally wary of anything that feels like it’s creating a distraction from the main task at hand.

          4. John says:

            Joe , you seem to have a good insight to this , could you tell me why these deprived areas are so reluctant to vote . Is it because they are just too lazy , if it is then we can do without them . Is it they don’t want authorities to know where they are , again if it is we can do without them . Is it because they don’t understand politics very well , if it is they can be helped along the way but not preached at . Is it because they have no faith in any political party at all so think voting is a complete waste of time . Or is it a mixture of all .

  17. Doubting Thomas says:

    There has been a lot of talk about Labour voters jumping over to Tory which helped the improved result for the latter in the election.
    Nobody has made any comment on the areas in the north of Scotland which have turned blue where it was actually SNP support which jumped ship.
    The issue for wee Nicola is that she needs to maintain the core voter base and improve on it by encouraging people who vote to support her.
    Having established that the turnout in poorer areas is unlikely to improve clearly she needs to target “middle” class people who are motivated to vote BUT these are the very people she is targeting to impose higher levels of taxation on than like kind elsewhere in the UK.
    On this basis alone it would not convince me to vote SNP nor to agree with a further referendum being held.
    I don’t think I am alone in thinking like this and don’t give me any guff about one for all and all for one …..I see too many people taking from the system illegally without any semblance of conscience.
    It is clear the far left failed miserably in the election and can offer no support to the independence cause except to continue with all the shouting and abusive behaviour which has been their trait.
    Looks very much to me like wee Nicola has blown it big style and completely underestimated the feeling of middle earning Scotland.
    She would do well now just to honour her initial response and make this a once in a generation issue and get on with fixing what they have broke in the last nine years.
    If she sets about governing for all of the people as she says she will there is still an opportunity to the country back into economic growth.
    If she does not and continues to pursue the pipe dream God help us all.

  18. Ramstam says:

    Leafleting between elections should be aw aboot political education. Tell folk the truth aboot Scotlnd’s position in the UK and they’ll be mair likely tae be inspired tae turn oot for Indyref2.

  19. KP says:

    Steve Milne

    There’s no reply button on your comment so I copied your answer to here.

    “I didn’t actually spot a specific question anywhere in your lengthy essay KP but here is one for you:

    You claim that you “know lots of comfortably off people.. (whose)… sense of self worth and their place in the world depends on having others to look down on ”

    Can you please gives names of just 3 of these people please?”

    out-pedanting gets dull, and doesn’t “improve the standard of debate” but I’ll rephrase, “I find it interesting what you choose to engage with and choose not to engage with whenever people here respond to you by discussing alternative experiences, perspectives and evidence”

    I wrote a long post on a complex issue. I am piss-poor at writing concisely on complex things. In terms of volume of comments here, you find more to say.

    How would naming the No voters in my life in this context “improve the standard of debate” and help us produce less heat and more light. You’ve said that’s what you’re here for. You’ve talked about your personal experience of people who are less happy and less “well adjusted” also having the tendency to blame others for their situation instead of taking responsibility for themselves. I don’t see how it would be useful here for you to name them either. I hope you don’t.

    1. Steven Milne says:

      I often find that people with left wing views attempt to win arguments by branding their opponents as evil/greedy/cowardly/stupid/selfish. (Jeremy Corbyn is a rare exception).

      I prefer to use reason and logic and what I have learned from experience.

      I strongly believe that free markets benefit the whole of society and need to be encouraged. Look at the advances made by China, India and Eastern Europe in the past 30 years since they chose free markets over central planning.

      Inequality of wealth is a price well worth paying for the benefits of free market capitalism. If your first priority is to tackle inequality then you need to accept that you will throw the baby out with bathwater.

      I do not accept the left wing view that society is divided into the heartless and the helpless and that we need an ever expanding state in order to protect the latter from the former.

      Life is full of challenges but I find that I deal with them much better when I adopt a positive can-do approach rather than adopting the attitude that I am a victim of powerful forces outwith my control.

      1. KP says:

        “I often find that people with left wing views attempt to win arguments by branding their opponents as evil/greedy/cowardly/stupid/selfish. (Jeremy Corbyn is a rare exception).”
        I prefer to use reason and logic and what I have learned from experience.”

        Your arguments depend on branding others as weak, stupid, selfish, cowardly, self victimising and irresponsible. That’s why I responded.

        “I strongly believe that free markets benefit the whole of society and need to be encouraged. Look at the advances made by China, India and Eastern Europe in the past 30 years since they chose free markets over central planning.
        Inequality of wealth is a price well worth paying for the benefits of free market capitalism. If your first priority is to tackle inequality then you need to accept that you will throw the baby out with bathwater.”

        In the issues I, (and others) discussed and the reading material suggested to you, I was saying this is a false dichotomy, there are more and better ways forward.

        “I do not accept the left wing view that society is divided into the heartless and the helpless and that we need an ever expanding state in order to protect the latter from the former.
        Life is full of challenges but I find that I deal with them much better when I adopt a positive can-do approach rather than adopting the attitude that I am a victim of powerful forces outwith my control.”

        Again, in the issues I discussed and the reading material I suggested to you, I was saying this is a false dichotomy, there are more, more interesting and better ways forward.

        I don’t experience your responses to people here as so logical, rational or positive. People who insist, against evidence, that there can only be two ways to see the world, and whose self image is that they are generally right because they are more rational and logical than others, can be vulnerable to making themselves irrational and illogical when this sense of superiority makes them less willing and able to look at and process evidence and information that doesn’t confirm their position. That’s not a positive way of dealing with life’s challenges, it’s really hard to tell online, but it can come across as a bit anxious and rigid. Have a read around the evidence on the issues I and others discussed, it’s all easy to find stuff.

        1. Steven Milne says:

          Can you point to where I branded others as weak, stupid, selfish etc?

          This is certainly not how I view the world. This is how I see left wingers view the world, I perceive them as believing that a minority of the powerful and wicked exploit the masses who are weak and helpless.

          There are utopian alternatives to the free market economy but throughout history these have led to economic stagnation and tyranny. See Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mugabe etc.

          Critics of the status quo in the UK do not seem able to give an example of an alternative model of society which has resulted in successful outcomes in practice (as opposed to in theory).

          1. KP says:

            “Can you point to where I branded others as weak, stupid, selfish etc?”

            If you’re calling those harmed by economic violence, self victimising and irresponsible, it’s fair to say that also covers weak, stupid and selfish.

            “This is certainly not how I view the world. This is how I see left wingers view the world, I perceive them as believing that a minority of the powerful and wicked exploit the masses who are weak and helpless.”

            Again, you want to believe everything’s binary, so pretend we all see it that way. I wasn’t talking about “wickedness” or saying there are two types of people, I was talking about the human-wide vulnerability to edit reality so as to be able to make irrational, dehumanising judgements of others, that are often a means of justifying and maintaining an unequal share of resources and status. Both the research evidence and my experience suggest this human failing is exacerbated by inequality of wealth. There are other, better ways to live with each other, if we want to.

            “There are utopian alternatives to the free market economy but throughout history these have led to economic stagnation and tyranny. See Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mugabe etc.”

            Trapped by the idea that there are only ever two basic ways

            “Critics of the status quo in the UK do not seem able to give an example of an alternative model of society which has resulted in successful outcomes in practice (as opposed to in theory).”

            As said above, within europe, the UK is way out on the extremes in terms of inequality and false democracy. A fair chunk of what I’m talking about is already ordinary in some other countries in europe, not utopian. Reducing harm by reducing inequality is not utopian. Starting to move towards something like real democracy makes that and a lot more, is realistic. Be positive, take a risk, read Blossom, read the other links people put up here and other sites. I think there was something recently about co ops in Spain weathering the crash better than other companies. Isn’t it ahistorical, illogical and negative to believe if something hasn’t been created before now, it can’t ever happen, can’t ever work?

            Have a read about inequality, stress and epigenetics. It’s just one of the ways that others’ “choices” influenced the making of the me and the you that make the choices that impact the potential of others around us and down the generations.

            There’s good evidence that secondary victimisation – misattributing responsibility for a violent act onto the victim to be able to maintain your own status and belief in a just world – causes serious harm to the longterm psychological wellbeing of survivors of violence. People who see those harmed by deliberate economic violence as responsible for their bad situation are indulging in secondary victimisation. Living in a culture that constantly tells those lies to you and about you multiplies the harm. I hope I’m wrong on this, but it could be that some no voters will only get this if it starts to impact upon them, if their incomes and opportunities are sucked away upwards and they find themselves blamed for it.

            I think we might be getting boring, or maybe I’m just speaking for me. Got to cook my tea and get to bed. Night.

          2. Chris Hanlon says:

            You keep mentioning this ‘free market economy’ thing, where have you encountered that?

            A free market economy is one where rational actors are free to compete fairly on a level playing field using perfect information.

            Legislative capture by barely regulated monopolies and cartels has created a violently biased environment where irrational actors stumble about in the dark ignorant of the innacuracy of the information they are certain is correct.

            Even those that ‘benefit’ from this system are blind to the fact that they would be objectively better off if they were willing to accept a smaller slice of a bigger pie.

            The irony is that if we could break out of that mould our economy would accelerate so fast the debate about this would become rapidly academic.

  20. old battle says:

    In 2016 what is the Unionist V Scottish Sovereignty electoral position?
    The aggregate Unionist vote in 2016 was 1.2 million while the aggregate Indi-vote was also 1.2 million. This is quite a dramatic contrast to the Referendum. The Unionists have lost 800,000 voters from the 2 million plus REF vote! Where have they gone? The proto-nationalists of the YES campaign dropped 400,000 from the 1.6m Referendum vote.
    Yes, apples and oranges BUT to be clear, the SNP, the lead agency for Independence need to find another 800,000 votes from 2016 in order to find 2 million votes, the conditions under which they might secure a victory at another referendum.
    Yet there is another troubling concern. The Unionist vote in 2015 was approx 1.3 million (Lab 707,147, SC&UP 434,097 Lib Dems 219,675) and in 2016 it was 1.2 million. The collapse of the vote from the 2 million plus Referendum numbers raises some serious questions. Are there 2 million unionist voters in Scotland or 1.2/1.3 million?
    Is it realistic for the nationalists to find another approx 800,000 votes without the support of Labour or the Lib-Dems? Or can an alliance of the 1.2/1.4million SNP core vote with a more popular Green party vote of say 300,000 produce a winning total? Or will the unionist vote collapse under the influence of blue Toryism?
    The Stewart Hosie programme of persuasion begins in July. The vote as of 2016 is peels at 1.2 million. There is a huge mountain to climb, but with toxic Tories now carrying the jack-flag of Unionism is there not a real opportunity to grow the numbers?

  21. Steven Milne says:

    Short, sharp question for KP?

    What practical actions would you like to see taken to reduce inequality and what would be the outcome of these actions?

    Extra marks will be awarded for a concise answer.

    1. KP says:

      Ach, am not so fussed about “concise”, we can do our best but we’re not good at everything. Anyways, half the time when people are being concise they are deliberately missing the points. I’d say that’s what you do here.

      If you’ve a genuine interest in what’s already happening in countries more democratic than the UK, and what’s realistic within a democracy, take a bit of time and read the books and links people here have told you about and read around the subjects suggested to you. Then when you come back, you can have more useful, interesting conversations about it. If that’s what you want.

      What I want? A few things to start with, then build upon –
      True Local democracy
      Land reform
      AGR/Land value tax
      Basic Income
      Economic and environmental regulation that starts to build some protection from the global economic set up and builds a more balanced economy
      Economic regulation that favours co operative and community owned business that put their profit back into what benefits people and environment
      Regulation that supports community owned and run renewables, food production and lower impact energy efficient housing. All this urban as well as rural
      Public investment in wave power
      Begin to wean ourselves off oil
      A health service focussed less on firefighting, more on causes
      Education that helps us grow happier more confident kids who stay curious. For many it’s day-prison and dogtraining.
      Enable gaelic and scots, for a hundred reasons inc – when we lose our own ways of talking we lose ways of seeing and being in the world that we all need to make good decisions together.
      Arts supported by much of the above
      Ongoing improvement in democracy supported by much of the above

      The biggest outcome of taking steps to reduce inequality is reducing inequality.

      There is plenty evidence out there that shows this improves health and happiness for all. Reducing inequality removes the cost of providing the services that are designed to contain the harm caused by inequality, and so enable increasing inequality in a false democracy.

      We don’t have the free market you believe in but don’t understand, we have a huge anti democratic controlling state that runs our economy against us.

      None of what’s on my list is creating a bigger state than what we have already, just a different more accountable one. Some of what’s on my list has been normal in some european countries for a long time, and some others have got going more recently, either under govt policy or groups of people getting on with it.

      You want individuals to take responsibility for themselves and say people who believe our economic system causes harm are trapped in a self destructive victim identity. I’m talking about clearing enough space and freeing up enough of our resources for people to work together to run their lives. That’s a very long way from a victim identity.

      You talk about the importance of being positive in order to be able to deal with life’s challenges. It’s positive to trust we can make decisions and manage resources best democratically and co operatively.

      The details of the benefits of most of what’s on my list to people, economy, environment are all clearly, (and sometimes concisely), discussed in sources people have flagged up for you here on Bella or have a look on common weal. Go on, take a risk, be positive, self educate.

      True Local democracy. In Norway the community councils run the hospitals, in Scotland they can write a planning objection letter to the council who put it in a file. Locally run services under real local democracy meet people’s needs better and more efficiently.

      Land reform – looking for what’s prettymuch normal in some other european countries. Benefits – food security, environmental, access to housing (urban and rural), a sense of belonging to where we live, control over our own lives, stimulates rural economy, enables communities to

      Land value tax – post after post on here explains the many benefits of this and gives links. I’ve not seen sensible arguments for why this can’t work.

      Basic Income – even some right wing economists are coming round to this, no longer seen as utopian. There’ve been trials and some are ongoing – no significant downsides found so far. Health and happiness increased. Costs in providing other services decreased.

      Economic regulation that starts to give us some protection from global economic set up

      Economic regulation that favours co operative and community owned business that put their profit back into doing whatever benefit people and e nvironment. Regulation that supports community owned and run renewables

      Investment in wave power. Wean ourselves off oil.

      None of this is creating a bigger state than what we have already. We don’t have the free market you believe in but don’t seem to understand, we have a huge anti democratic controlling state that regulates our economy to benefit a small minority.

      All of this is about building protection from the control of global capital and about govt and oversized councils becoming accountable and freeing up some of the resources they and unaccountable financial sector and currently hold.

      1. KP says:

        Ach shyte – all of what’s there after “self educate” was just draft scribbles, ignore it.

        1. Steven Milne says:

          KP – why don’t I go away and read up on Lesley Riddoch and Pat Kane and you go away and read up on Frederick Hayek and Milton Friedman?

          1. KP says:

            Yes, go for it, but you’ve been pointed towards a lot of other sources too.

            Some differences between you and others writing here, and why I’m encouraging you to read some more

            1) We’re all of us told about the free market on the TV radio and in newspapers. I and others here understand what a free market is and that our economy is not run as a free market. You haven’t yet grasped what the free market is.

            2) Against all evidence you only see two possible ways of living and can only see our politics on the “other” side next to Mao, Mugabe, Pol Pot, Stalin.

            3) The tv, radio and newspapers don’t often discuss the areas on the list in my post above. They don’t often discuss why we want independence. If you’re interested in understanding why we want these things, or just interested in persuading us out of wanting all this, you’d have to make that choice to go and find out more. You seem mighty resistant to that idea.

            You said you came here to improve the standard of debate. That’s not what we’re doing. It’s not just differences in beliefs, you aren’t showing that basic level of honesty in communication that’s necessary for meaningful discussion. It’s been easy to fall into answering you in kind. That gets boring. And a bit wanky.

            I’ll keep reading, hope you do too.

      2. tubeofmunchies says:

        “True Local democracy. In Norway the community councils run the hospitals, in Scotland they can write a planning objection letter to the council who put it in a file. Locally run services under real local democracy meet people’s needs better and more efficiently.”

        I’m open minded about these kind of ideas. The reality is that in the UK (and in lots of other parts of the world) many people want a kind of benevolent dictatorship, where someone just does it all for them.

        Simple question: WHY do you believe that this will come to pass in an iScotland, when the SNP (who would, certainly for many years at the outset be the governing party) have done the exact opposite i.e. centralise.

        on the face of it, an iScotland would be a microcosm of the UK, with power and control centered in Edinburgh, instead of London.

        Please explain why you believe real decentralisation, local democracy and ‘power to the people’ would come to pass in an iScotland.

        Please don’t say ‘we’ll be having a Socialist revolution’ or start every sentence ‘because Scotland … )

        1. KP says:

          That was in the 2nd half of my post, included by mistake.

          I haven’t anywhere said that all this will happen in an independent Scotland. I was asked what I wanted to see happen.

          One of the points I’ve been making is that countries that are already doing some of these things e.g. Norway and the cottage hospitals, aren’t socialist states. They’re just better at democracy than the UK.

          Many vote for the SNP as a route to Independence, not in approval of their centralising.

          Roughly half the country wanting Independence and another chunk wanting at least devo max, tells me that a higher proportion of people in Scotland both want to live within a better democracy and believe this is possible.

          Yes, the same interests will scramble for control of an Independent Scotland. A little bit harder for them without FPTP, and we don’t have to make it easy for them.

          Moving away from a false democracy towards a more real one, and the things that are already begun, like land reform, co ops and community owned renewables, give people a sniff of what it feels like to be involved in making the choices that can change their lives and their community. Maybe we’ll like it and keep working for more.

    2. Black Rab says:

      Tax haven abolishment. Thats a massive start for inequality. Slavery, feudalism and capitalism, all systems of exploitation, capitalism being an improvement on the others but we could and should do better as we have the technology. We have to develop the political will…………your not helping.

  22. Ian Kirkwood says:

    Those disengaged who might vote yes are disengaged for one reason. They are the manufactured outcasts of our chosen revenue system. Our tax system was devised at Westminster to maintain inequality by donating socially generated site values to owners instead of collecting it to run public services.

    The starting point for re-engagement is to invite those cast out by the tax system back into society by embracing AGR (Annual Ground Rent) and ditching the taxes that cause poverty. http://www.facebook.com/AGRforScotland

    1. Steven Milne says:

      “Our tax system was devised at Westminster to maintain inequality”

      This is balderdash. All governments redistribute money by taxing the well off and making welfare payments to the less well off. The inconvenient truth is that 1% of income tax payers in the UK pay 30% of all income tax.

      This group of people who earn £150k + generally have a skill set which is in short supply and is valued by the market for example.

      Exceptional sporting or creative skill

      Capable of managing large/complex organisation

      Creation of new products or services

      Outstanding ability as a surgeon, lawyer, financier etc

      All of the above groups of people, in additional to having a special aptitude would have to work very, very hard and to make a great deal of sacrifices.

      Most people, including myself, would simply not be willing to put in the requisite level of hard work or sacrifice to reach that level.

      No doubt there are some who reach the top 1% by dint of luck or some sort of unfair advantage but they will only form a very small minority.

  23. Steven Milne says:


    I would highly recommend the book “How To Develop Your Sense Of Humor” by Leo Markum.

    1. KP says:

      I’m off to the bookshop today, I can get you a copy, and a Milton Friedman for you too.

  24. arthur thomson says:

    Greed is a powerful motivation for some people. But we surely have always known that. It isn’t a surprise that the greedy will get off their greedy arses and vote when it suits them.

    I have no time for greedy people and have no desire to do anything to accommodate them or to contribute to their lifestyle. On the contrary, I wish only to undermine their power. Far from being appealed to, these people have to be marginalised and their antisocial attitudes exposed.

    I anticipate that the bubble of toryism that has been inflated in the Holyrood election is going to present the opportunity to do that. These well to do professional scroungers, who are one of the two pillars of the unionist cause, are Thatcher’s people. Davidson and her support are Thatcher’s people. The idea that these people can be persuaded to the cause of independence is daft. They have to feel, actually feel, the displeasure of the majority of the population. They have to feel that sense of an overbearing, critical presence such as they have been inclined to put onto others who they have denigrated and impoverished. They are and will continue to be the opponents of both independence and common decency.

    Galvanising popular disapproval of these people and what they stand for is what will motivate people to get out, vote them down, take their power from them and put it to the cause of independence.

    1. tubeofmunchies says:


      I’d be most grateful if you could:

      Define “Greed” and further, when those greedy people have ‘too much’, define how much is ‘too much’ (and how much is ‘enough’)

      My wife is a medical consultant earning close to £100k. Median income is about £25k. It has been observed she has ‘too much’. Do you agree?

      “the greedy will get off their greedy arses and vote when it suits them”

      Which is pretty much a fundamental of our democratic system. Are you exhorting that these ‘greedy’ people should be prevented from voting – when it suits you?

      “these people have to be marginalised ”

      How inclusive, and democratic of you. Tell me, how should they be marginalised? Gulags?

      “These well to do professional scroungers,”

      My wife could be classed as ‘well to do’ (she lets me hang around – relatively i am not a high roller). Is she a scrounger?

      “who they have denigrated and impoverished.”

      Who are these people? And whom have they denigrated and impoverished? and by what means?

      “They are and will continue to be the opponents of both independence and common decency.”

      it’s my view that Socialists and other hard-left types are the enemies of common decency.

      “Galvanising popular disapproval of these people and what they stand for is what will motivate people to get out, vote them down, take their power from them”

      That sounds quite threatening. How do you think that will go down with the moderate, calm, sensible people in the centre who decide elections?

      You sound like a very angry, aggressive, threatening individual. I’m glad I don’t live near you.

      Rash prediction: there will now follow a long, rambling, pseudo-philosophical rant in response.

  25. Muscleguy says:

    I helped get the vote out here in Dundee on the morning of the referendum. A carload of 5 of us were sent to a leafy suburb to trudge down long gravel drives and ask folk with 3 cars in said drive if they needed help getting to the poll.

    Meanwhile service buttons in multis and etc operate until 12noon. So is it any wonder turnout was down here? I campaigned with RIC, I tramped those stairwells, wheedled access in the evenings etc and I know our support was strong.

    But the get the vote out was organised by Yes Scotland, ie SNP staffers. Who did not know the estates, did not ask for RIC canvas returns, did not organise people to chap doors in multis or loudspeaker vans to cruise the estates reminding folk. None of that happened.

    One of our RIC group tells of being pursued down a close during one canvas by a high junkie in the Hilltown. Turned out guy just wanted voter reg forms for himself and his girlfriend. The question is, did anyone remind them to vote? Their votes counted too.

    This issue needs to be addressed and the SNP, only newly in possession of sink estates is still poorly placed to do this. Next referendum RIC will again be tasked with canvassing those areas and I will be there. Will our efforts be undone on referendum day?

  26. Blythspirit says:

    The SNP may have around 116,000, but I know from personal experience in Edinburgh that only a tiny fraction actually bother to get up of their arses and contribute shoe leather and sweat to the campaigns.
    It is easier to talk to each other on Facebook, since that does not involve climbing stairs and standing on stalls, but talking to each other is not going to win us independence.
    We must have a campaign leading up to the next the next referendum which targets the 1.8 million of us who did not vote given that they are typically poor, unemployed and apathetic , albeit for good reasons, but would probably vote Yes if engaged and activated.

  27. arthur thomson says:


    There are plenty of decent people earning good salaries and/or earning a good income from ethical business who neither promote nor support the greed culture that is the underlying ideology of the Tories.

    As to Gulags or the notion that I do not accept the ABSOLUTE right of everyone to vote, you got these ideas from your own defensiveness. I argue only that more people should get informed, get motivated, get out and vote and democratically remove the power wielded by those who support/promote the culture of greed ie Thatcherite Tories.

    I hope that is concise enough for you.

    1. tubeofmunchies says:


      “There are plenty of decent people earning good salaries”

      That’s very big and magnanimous of you. My wife is a conservative and in the past has voted Conservative. Even you might not be surprised to hear that as a medic, she is not impressed with the Conservatives / Jeremy Hunt right now. She knew ‘7 day NHS’ was in their manifesto (though they all come out with this kind of guff) but what wasn’t in there was ‘I am going to deliver it by squeezing more out of all of you (not just junior Dr’s) rather than adding much in. At the recent English local elections, she made a ‘protest vote’ of Green – but she rather likes all the Green Crap, ho ho).

      Presumably, nevertheless my wife is a Bad Person? And should have her income, wealth and ‘power’ stripped from her by right-minded, correct thinking people like yourself? So you can then share it out amongst your ‘more deserving’, right minded, ethical, moral friends? By Force, if necessary, no doubt.

      “decent people earning a good income from ethical business”

      And who decides / arbitrates what does and does not represent ‘ethical’ business, and whether the gains from those businesses are obtained by “fair” means, or foul? That would be the Court of Arthur Thomson, presumably?

      “you got these ideas from your own defensiveness”

      Pardon? Listen to you. You’re the openly hostile one, exhorting that the wealth, income and power held by individuals / groups who happen not to agree with you and you seek to arbitrarily dicate are ‘undeserving’ or ‘greedy’ should be stripped from them. By Force if necessary, no doubt.

      “I argue only that more people should get informed”

      Those ignorant thickies! Living in the 21st century, when more information from a greater, wider range of sources, is more easily available than it ever had been at any time in history.

      How FORTUNATE they are that right minded, correct thinking people like you are around, to point out how ignorant and uniformed they are! And how they’ve got it so wrong, how they’ve been ‘brainwashed by the right wing neoliberal poodle media” and show them the error of their ways. By Force, if necessary, i expect.

      “democratically remove the power”

      Yes, i bet you’d like to ‘democratically’ ‘remove the power’ or just take what you want from others that you failed to create yourself.

      Would that be on a “Day of Reckoning” – ?

  28. John Page says:

    This is Corporatists Hell and the 20 odd other names going back a couple of years. Ignore him. A troll with personality issues and some weird hang up with his Scottish upbringing

  29. Sam says:

    @Steven Milne


    Health inequalities are comparisons made among different countries and within different areas of a country. Comparisons are made of life expectancies and periods of life free from disability. Although Scotland and the rest of the UK were right in the middle of the pack in comparisons across around 17 different countries, we have slipped to bottom or near bottom.

    Research points clearly to political decisions at local, national and international level as being the determinants of health within countries. Health inequalities are rooted in poverty as are so many social ills.

    I am no expert in this field (or any) but I did some reading on the subject prior to the indyref. There is a wide body of research, particularly at Glasgow Centre of Public Health. It points to the blighting of lives (sometimes from the point of conception) and enormous waste of human and financial capital as a result of inequalities in the UK.

    If you are interested, you might start with looking at or reading the 10th Kilbrandon Lecture given by Sir Harry Burns, former Chief Medical Officer of SCotland. Sir Harry explores the effects of poverty at the molecular level and how the trajectories of the lives of children and adults can be affected by poverty.

    You might also try “What would be sufficient to reduce health inequalities in Scotland?” by Dr Gerry McCartney.

    I direct you also to a scoping exercise by the cross-party Holyrood Health Committee last year into health inequalities. Among the expert evidence presented was that new research points to part-time work and zero hours contracts being more damaging to health than long-term unemployment.

    The best means to address poverty is to re-distribute wealth, power and income. To do that effectively any country needs to have control of the economy and welfare policy. We don’t have that and are unlikely to get it in the short term. It would be of less consequence if the policies coming out of Westminster were less damaging to the interests of those earning least.

    1. Steven Milne says:

      Can you give me a few specific, practical examples of how you would propose to “redistribute wealth, power and income”

      1. tubeofmunchies says:

        “Can you give me a few specific, practical examples of how you would propose to “redistribute wealth, power and income”

        Steven, come on now.

        Because Scotland.

      2. Sam says:


        If you want to stop pissing about and take an interest in the subject for its own sake do your own research. Here is another link for you and then you can run outside and play somewhere else – in the traffic?

    2. tubeofmunchies says:

      “The best means to address poverty is to re-distribute wealth, power and income”.

      Hold on – i thought that in New Scotland, not only would this not be the best means, it would actually be unnecessary. In New Scotland, (because Scotland) there would be need to ‘re-distribute’ wealth, power and income?

      The impression I’ve been given, from Saint Nicola the Strong and Infallible of Govan, and from this website, and elsewhere, is that there is a Bigger Cake.

      This Bigger Cake has existed all along. The Bigger Cake is Big; sufficiently so that if everyone had a slice, they would have a bigger slice of the Cake than that which they currently receive.

      However, this Bigger Cake has been stolen and hidden from The People of Scotland by Tories, Neoliberals and Unionists.

      But not only this. Not only is there a Bigger Cake, there could be an Even Bigger Cake. This Even Bigger Cake has not yet been baked. The Even Bigger Cake would be ENORMOUS; proportionally compared to all the other country’s Cakes, it would be one of the largest Cakes in the world.

      However, the Tories, Neoliberals and Unionists have made sure that The People of Scotland never bake this Cake, in a deliberate malicious ploy to hold them back and keep them down.

      If only The People of Scotland were Independent, then they would be Free to bake the Even Bigger Cake.

      And everyone would have a slice, and everyone’s slice of Cake would be bigger than the slice of Cake they have now. THAT is just how big the Scottish Scottishy Scottishest Even Bigger Cake would be; if only, and critically, ONLY IF Scotland were “Independent”.

      So tell me, where has this crazy heretic talk of “redistribution” come from?

      We are reassured, constantly, by Saint Nicola, this website, “the Wee Ginger Dug” etc. etc. that in New Independent Scotland (because Scotland) there will be no need for redistribution – because there is an Even Bigger Cake.

        1. John Page says:

          I don’t think “arse” fully captures the extent to which tubeofmunchies is a creep. He has been trolling Bella for ~ 2 years under a string of such names, the last being impossiblysmoothcobra and the longest lasting I think was Corporatist Hell.
          He is a narcissist whose disorder is fed by sneering put downs to others to demonstrate his cleverness. There is also some weird Scottish upbringing going on despite his claim to a successful life in England.
          Given that he craves attention above all else (even if it has to be under an assumed name and deliberately courting controversy) the best thing is to ignore him.
          John Page

      1. douglas clark says:

        tube of munchies,

        You say:

        “We are reassured, constantly, by Saint Nicola, this website, “the Wee Ginger Dug” etc. etc. that in New Independent Scotland (because Scotland) there will be no need for redistribution – because there is an Even Bigger Cake.”


        For that is not my understanding at all.

        And just to add, why the designation of our First Minister as a Saint? If you want to beatify Ms Sturgeon I suppose that’s up to you. There are those of us that just think she’s a pretty good politician.

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