Nobody’s fool!

There’s more to politics than arithmetic. But if the numbers can be arranged in a way that serves personal ambition or a partisan agenda then it will suit the purposes of those who put their egos and agendas before Scotland’s cause to seek to convince people that only the numbers matter. Cheerleaders for the chancers and snake-oil peddlers of the cunning plan parties are fond of saying ‘the numbers can’t lies”. To which I reply GERS!

I have no personal animosity towards Dave Thompson. But he impresses me as the kind of politician I abhor – evasive, slippery, self-righteous, condescending, plausible and just a bit iffy. I watch him in action and see a set of well-rehearsed mannerisms and a rhetoric that is all slogans and soundbites and no substance. This is a guy who could talk for a full hour and not say anything. I don’t trust him.

When AFI was first presented its big selling point was that it was not a political party but a means by which small parties seeking to hitch a ride into Holyrood on the back of the independence campaign could join forces for that purpose. We were told that it existed solely and exclusively to be an ‘alliance’ and not a party in its own right. To date, the only person to rally to what is rapidly becoming Dave Thomson’s personal electoral banner is Tommy Sheridan. Knowing Tommy as I do, I find this inexplicable. I would not have expected him to act so precipitously. I would not have expected him to make himself and his party hostage to a something that was a totally unknown quantity. It was not smart politics.

It may be that firebrand Sheridan and oleaginous Thompson complement one another. But I don’t see it. Tommy can do better. I think that realisation may not be long in dawning.

For the moment, however, the ‘alliance’ is a bit sparse. And it looks like staying that way. The Scottish Greens have said they’re having nothing to do with it. Perhaps because they’ve seen what Tommy Sheridan sooms to have missed. More likely because they have much to lose and nothing to gain from helping Dave Thompson return to Holyrood. In the unlikely event that they’ve thought beyond their own electoral interest then they’ll have figured out that Scotland’s cause has nothing to gain either from Dave Thompson’s return to to Holyrood. Only Dave Thompson wins.

The only other cunning plan party getting any kind of attention is ISP. And there is no way they’ll be joining the Dave Thompson election campaign. Not if the tone of exchanges between their rival fairground barkers is anything to go by.

Bottom line! There is no ‘alliance’. And there never will be. How long Tommy Sheridan will be content to deliver leaflets with Dave Thompson’s picture on the front remains to be seen. But even if that marriage of convenience lasts until the election I doubt it will survive the stresses and strains of what promises to be a very stressful and turbulent election campaign. There is no ‘alliance’. There will be no ‘alliance’.

What does this imply for AFI? One would assume that having failed in what was supposedly its sole purpose, and having made such an issue of NOT being just another political party, AFI would fold. But try asking Dave Thompson at what point prior to the election he will acknowledge that the project has failed and must therefore be abandoned. You will not get an answer. You’ll get the well-rehearsed mannerisms and the sogans an soundbites. And when he eventually stops talking you will have had no answer. I’ve tried. So I’m talking from personal and horribly frustrating experience.

What this tells me is that whatever it may have started out as and however it may present itself now, AFI is nothing more than a vehicle for Dave Thompson’s personal ambition with ‘independence’ no more than a useful marketing device.

Some will accuse me of being overly cynical. I’m not sure one can be too cynical in the current political climate. My own cynicism has in the past saved me from the embarrassment of falling for Tony Blair’s vacuous charisma. There’s barely a day passes that my cynicism doesn’t save me from the blandishment of cold-callers making various promises and threats in an effort to take my money.

Come to think of it, that’s what Dave Thompson’s patter sounds like! It sounds just like the pre-recorded spiel of those cold-callers promising me free stuff or threatening me with having my National Insurance number ‘suspended’. (No, me neither!)

I’m not falling for any of it.

14 thoughts on “Nobody’s fool!

  1. People were fooled in 2016 into voting for RISE/SSP/Solidarity/Green with their regional ballot. The result: the loss of the SNP overall majority. Not a good outcome.

    My problem this time is that the SNP leadership priorities are not mine. My policy preferences are as follows:

    1. Restore Scotland’s self-government
    2. Restore Scotland’s self-government
    3. Restore Scotland’s self-government

    n. Restore Scotland’s self-government

    The SNP leadership seems to place issues such as Gender Recognition, Hate Speech and Equality somewhere above the satisfactory resolution of the constitutional question on the party’s to do list. (I have ignored the pandemic management as it is, hopefully, a temporary phenomenon and will eventually pass).

    SInce 1999 I have always voted SNP 1 & 2 in order to maximise the SNP popular vote. I understand d’Hondt/AMS and know that it is unlikely that you can game the election of regional list candidates. And that doesn’t matter anyway.

    My constituency candidate in Edinburgh Southern (in the Deep South, Ian Murray Country, the Heart of Darkness – take your pick) is a former constituency worker for Joanna Cherry whom she considers as her mentor. So she gets my vote.

    However, if I were to cast my ballot for the SNP on the region then I would be implicitly endorsing the recent NEC gerrymandering of the lists. I am all for fairness and equality but this must not result in the grossly disproportionate over-representation of ANY group. (It should, of course, be based on the merits and demerits of individual candidates as per democracy – a seemingly old fashioned idea according to the current upper echelons of the SNP but there you go). It also leaves the lists open to manipulation by the unscrupulous as, in the case of disabled, any potential candidate can “self-identify”.

    I’m not too fond of the Greens as they have a huge biology denying segment as well.

    I have to confess that it’s a bit of a dilemma really.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. In my constituency I am keen to see the last of Willie Rennie. So I will be voting for Stephen Gethins’ ex constituency chap because the SNP is most likely to defeat Rennie. Still not sure about the list though. Don’t like Greens much because they’re not actually very green, but it looks like the only alternative. Voting SNP on the list in mid Scotland and Fife seem a bit like a wasted vote. But if so many members are leaving or not going to vote SNP now, maybe it makes more sense.

      Although I am a member, SNP does not represent my priorities nor offer my preferred strategic option. I vote for it and continue to be a member for its nominal commitment to independence. And in the hope that it might kick out the entryists and return to basics. But given the way the party is organised right now, I don’t see that happening very soon.

      As a demonstration of how deeply the rot has set in. Recently I am to be given new medication for my condition. Among all the other warnings about side effects on the information leaflet I was given by my oncologist was the following: do not attempt to get another person pregnant while taking this drug. Money spent on making sure leaflets issued by NHS Scotland are purged of all allegedly non inclusive language could in my opinion be better spent advancing the prospects of actual independence.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Duncan & duncanio

        I have run the numbers on my own d’Hondt system spread sheet with the latest poll (Ok I know many people don’t like polls and they can be wrong, but you have to have some idea to how the voters will vote). I live in the Stirling area so I have only researched the Mid Scotland & Fife region, it looks like this:-

        On the list vote the polls say SNP 43%, Tories 21%, Labour 18%, Greens 10%, Libdums 6% & others 2% – this would give the SNP 0 MSPs, the Tories 3, Labour 3 and the Greens 1. Sounds bad I know but that is what the system will give. The ‘others’ includes the ISP, SSP Solidarity, etc, etc, that all share that 2%. This should give you some idea of how far the ISP is of getting a super majority. I don’t say this with any pleasure as I would have liked to have one united indie Party that could have been a serious competitor. That’s gone for this election I’m afraid.

        However, I ran the numbers with the Greens at 12.5% of the vote and then they got 2 list MSPs and Labour lost one. Now, I know the Greens are Independence-lite and I don’t always trust them but they are better than the alternative. Anyway, it does seem that in MS&F, a small rise of 2.5% or so may give the Greens 2 MSPs. To get 1 SNP list seat in MS&F, it would take a hike of 8% or so in the SNP regional vote, which would seem unlikely.

        Hopefully, with the Polls showing a majority for the SNP with the constituency vote, and an overall majority gained, the Greens will hopefully not be able to hold the balance of power, but would also give a large majority of Parties advocating Independence. This looks like the only way to get anywhere near a super majority in my opinion.

        This just my view of course, but it may give you something to think about or you can research it yourselves.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. What use is a super-majority? It’s a super-mandate that’s needed. A super-majority doesn’t help. There is nothing of relevance that can be done with a super-majority that can’t be done with a simple majority. Politics is more than just arithmetic.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. You could vote AFI. Martin Keatings will be top of their list in Mid Scotland & Fife. (Sorry, Peter!)


  2. No voting option is risk free with this mixter maxter of a voting system we’ve been landed with .The polls are good but the margins in favour of SNP are thin and getting no thicker . There seems little prospect of new Indy grouping being able to make any kind of serious impact , especially if they end up splitting the Indy vote . Looks like we’re stuck with the devil we know , hoping to build change for Indy from within.The realisation that Boris is unlikely to concede a section 30 is slowly dawning on grassroots SNP folk .We need to work on spreading that realisation up the good chain .

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Peter,

    Perhaps I should have used ‘comprehensive’ instead of ‘super’. Sorry about that. I have had ‘super majority’ in my mind when hearing people promising such a majority by voting for other indie parties. I
    wrote my post on your blog and others, to try and show how difficult any new indie party will find it to make any sort of impression in the May election. So I have highlighted the arithmetic involved and that
    arithmetic may be very important indeed.

    A comprehensive majority will give the SNP more leverage on Westminster when demanding a section 30, and also give us more leverage to force the SNP to use the comprehensive mandate to push forward to independence. A comprehensive majority would raise public expectations about a section 30 and any possible action after a refusal.

    And yes, you are right to say ‘Politics is more than just arithmetic’, but it would be foolish to ignore the arithmetic at this time, because this election is really going to be all about the numbers. After the election it will be another ball-game all together!


    1. Whether you call it a super-majority or a comprehensive majority doesn’t alter the fact that it is useless. I repeat for what certainly seems like the millionth time, there is nothing that can be done with a super/comprehensive majority which cannot be done with a simple majority. Arithmetic is also used in calculating and expressing weight. You seem to be thinking only in terms of relative number. But weight also matters in politics. Given that a working majority is all that is required in terms of relative numbers adding further numbers doesn’t do anything. It has no effect. It is wasted effort. Once the necessary working majority is achieved it is time to move on and start thinking of how to add weight to the government’s mandate.

      The mandate comes in two ways. You are looking at only one – number of seats won. You are not giving due attention to the vote share element. The most obvious way in which vote share adds weight to a mandate is if the share exceeds 50%. THAT is what we should be aiming for after securing a working majority. THAT is what matters most if you have your ‘eyes on the prize’ of independence rather than on the prize of an MSPs status and salary.


  4. I don’t see any real argument here. You seem to want the smallest majority and I want the biggest. I want the least unionists in the parliament but you don’t. I believe the mandate will be enhanced and have added weight with a bigger majority – what can be wrong with that?

    If the Constituency vote is over 50% as you want, we will have a mandate, but it is very unlikely if the regional vote will be as high in my area (and yours as well likely). I have shown you in my above post how the numbers add up on the regional vote in MS&F if the voting goes anywhere near the way the polls are pointing to. Voting SNP in the 2nd vote would be a complete waste. I don’t want that, and most others will not want that either.

    And let me tell you Peter, I have always got my eyes on the prize of independence. If I vote for the SNP in my region, an MSP will be elected, that MSP will still have status and salary, but it will likely be a unionist MSP who will be working against independence.


    1. You only want the biggest majority because you haven’t yet got your head aound thefact that it’s useless. You probably never will. The big majority is the shiny bauble that holds you hyonotised, Don’t worry about it. There will always be shallow-thinking, gullible oeople. Any cause must deal with that element.


      1. That’s not answering any of my points at all, it’s just condescending and patronising nonsense. The shiny bauble that holds you hypnotised is your inflated ego.


  5. Peter – you are obviously free to make up your own mind about the pros and cons of AFI but your personal attack on Dave Thompson is completely uncalled for. Dave is “one of our own” in Inveryess and we respect him greatly for his commitment to independence and the way he was willing to leave the party which he has dedicated so much of his life to in order to try to find another way of bringing independence closer. He is also a really thoughtful, articulate and intelligent man. So disappointed to see the unnecessary and unjustified vitriol in your piece, and I know that others in Inveryess (regardless of their thoughts on how to vote in May) feel the same way.


    1. I’ll say what I think. No vitriol. Just casual observtion. He’s obviously made a different impression on you. You don’t hear me telling you to keep that to yourself.


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