Friday, 4 May 2012

The reality of the disaster.

Listening to the local council election results on the BBC, STV, iPlayer and the rest one could be forgiven for believing there was an SNP wipeout akin to what transpired for the Liberal Democrats.

The council elections are about so much more than national parties and national issues, local personalities, effective local people, historical trends and local issues all factor into the placement of votes. When major issues such as national politics, media bias, slander by insinuation and austerity are factored into the mix of a transferrable vote system, what would ultimately happen was almost unidentifiable.

Labour did get their vote share to hold up on an increasingly small turnout, as did the SNP.

The SNP have surpassed the 400 councilor mark for the first time in their history, Labour again failed to do so.

Less than ten years ago Labour could boast of regularly achieving over 500 councilors in Scotland, riding the tails of an opposition crest that saw the party sweep much of England and Wales before it there seems to be little cause for celebration in Scotland. Had the results of the r-UK been repeated in Scotland the red rose could well have been back to its former glory days. These results never materialized.

The message for the Unionists, what they will perceive and take from this campaign is that personal attacks, repeated and incessant against prominent nationalists worked. This will become the modus operandi from now through the referendum.

In spite of an increase in seats for the SNP the Unionist focused media is spinning a simple message; it was a disaster for the Nationalists. The Nationalist juggernaut has hit the buffers. Salmond has been stopped. Even before the polls are fully counted these were the messages appearing.

This particular poll surely marked the first time that a conservative gleefully tweeted about a “Labour hold”.

The reality is that the fields are now set for the referendum and the ammunition issued. The Union will believe, in spite of the evidence, that its program of insinuation and defamation through inference was functional. The nationalists will see slower but steady gains.

The Union propaganda machine will have renewed faith in its ability; it will churn out as much negativism with renewed vigor as possible. It will save choice stories to utilise as “scoops” at opportune moments. The Nationalists will realise the truth is creating more converts. The combined Union vote share is slowly dwindling and that a Union vote is a Union vote i.e. The party is of no consequence.

Buoying the Nationalist outlook will also be the fact that the SNP put forward candidates in barely half the available seats, yet saw an electoral success rate of around 75%. This is far beyond what any individual Unionist party could ever hope to achieve. This level of success was also obtained knowing many Nationalists would be torn between party vote and that of a competent well respected incumbent - unionist or independent.

The SNP will not be unhappy that the Conservatives have seen further reductions in both their vote share and their representation at local level, that the Liberal Democrats have now been effectively marginalised simply brings the picture into sharper focus. It is now starting to be self evident to the average voter that the picture in Scotland is Nationalist/Unionist. SNP or Labour. The stage is set for 2014 with the Nationalist vote not only holding but increasing.

The demise of the Lib-Dem’s showed their vote splitting between Labour and the SNP. The Unionist vote is effectively diminished. This is not how the mainstream media will report the situation, but then with anything less than 90% of SNP candidates being elected they were never going to give a positive spin for the Nationalists anyway.

There is much to be grateful here for Alex Salmon’s party, they had everything but the kitchen sink thrown at them in the way of negative propaganda, and still they returned more councilors. Consider also that they are the national governing party in a time of austerity and that’s not simply surprising, it’s an outstanding result.

Outstanding perhaps, but a stepping stone nonetheless. 2014 is the prize. This election showed that 2014 is winnable, especially with more London induced austerity to come, but it will not be a simple or easy win, and it was never going to be.

2014 will require every resource the Nationalist movement can bring to bear; it will require every nationalist engaging with two or three individuals who perhaps hold anything from a Union to an uncertain view on 2014. It will require every sincere Nationalist to get one or two of these people to the poll in 2014, for in spite of all the spurious or contentious local issues that were involved May 3rd 2012 told us something very clearly, something the mainstream media simply can’t highlight.

May 3rd 2012 told us that the overall trend continues that with each ongoing election in Scotland the Union finds itself diminished.


  1. To make the big step to Independence, we MUST get out from behind the computer keyboards. The "CyberNat" community has been amazingly effective but it has its limits; while I was leafleting at the polling station, a number of people stated that they'd never seen a canvasser nor a candidate from any party and were annoyed about that - they felt they were being taken for granted. We have to engage in a traditional as well as an online manner - I think we should take a leaf out of John Major's book and do some soapbox canvassing. Our candidates have to be more visible, and we have to give ourselves more healthy exercise going door to door. I could have done much more. I'm sure many of us could say the same.
    Bob Leslie

  2. Salmon’s

    Good article, thanks Hazel -- I think we're all a little disappointed not to have destroyed the Brit nat vote rather than simply diminish it.

    Still, it's an increase but we didn't win Glasgow and that's alarming w.r.t. an eventual YES vote.

    In any case, the Labourites can't be celebrating but they are relieved.

    I agree with Bob and many others that the SNP campaign was weak.

    One door-to-door canvasser is worth 10,000 keyboard warriors.

  3. Once again you have hit the nail on the head. Following week after week of unremitting attacks from the MSM, the SNP have achieved a remarkable result, albeit less than we had hoped, yet still the MSM portray it as almost a defeat. In a nutshell, the MSM, led by BBC Scotland, have decided that the Holyrood opposition is so woeful that they have taken on that mantle. Expect it to continue through to 2014.
    My question to our own commentators when appearing on TV, is why do they not point this out?

  4. This chap was having difficulty posting this here, so on behalf of :

    Dave Coull

    I have tried to comment on this article on Hazel Lewry’s website but keep getting refused. So, here’s the comment I tried to make:
    It is wrong to talk about the referendum on independence for Scotland as being "Nationalists" versus "Everybody Else". It isn't going to be like that, and what you SNP folk need to learn is that it MUSTN'T be like that. A referendum isn't an election. No politician becomes a representative at any level of government as a result of a referendum, and no political party gets to form an administration at any level of government as a result of a referendum. Patrick Harvie MSP has made it clear that he and his colleagues in the Green Party will be campaigning for independence. Peter de Vink, a pillar of the Conservative party in Scotland for nearly 40 years, has indicated his support for independence, and, despite frantic efforts by the party leadership to get Tories to toe the party line, he is not the first, and he certainly won’t be the last, pro-independence Tory. Likewise, despite the Labour leadership trying to maintain a line in the sand, Labour party members have been openly discussing either a pro-independence vote, or Labour Party abstention/neutrality, on a couple of Labour websites. And of course there is the Scottish Socialist Party. Yes, I know they didn't do well in these council elections. So what? In a referendum, it really is a case of ALL votes count. Then there are numerous individuals, some of them famous, and most not. I’m one of the non-party-political individual supporters of independence who are not supporters of Alex Salmond or his party but who will be actively campaigning for a "Yes" to independence in the referendum. I reckon, regardless of what the party leaderships say, about 42 percent of Labour voters could vote for independence, about 30 percent of LibDems voters could vote for independence, probably about 15-20 percent of Tory voters could vote for independence, most SNP voters will obviously back independence, and also nearly all SSP and Green Party voters will vote for independence in a referendum. First-time voters (those who are 16 at present will be 18 by Autumn 2014) are going to be overwhelmingly pro-independence. I even know a woman in her 50s who has never voted for any politician in her entire life who says she will the be first in the queue to vote for independence at the referendum. I predict we can win the referendum comfortably for independence in every region of Scotland. But in order to do so, you're going to have to stop thinking of this as an SNP campaign. It isn't.'

    1. You are 100% accurate in your assessment of the referendum, however the foot soldiers who will be required to carry the message are certainly what one would refer to as "Nationalists" and those campaigning strongly against it "Unionists".
      It will be a cross party vote, a cross party issue, but the references to Unionist and Nationalist will frame this debate, as they have every other movement seeking freedom from London rule.

      NB: In order to comment on the blog, you need to be following.

  5. Yes they can talk like this but Scots are not daft .and we know exactly where we stand-and they cannot take away what has been achieved I reckon they are all sitting analysing the situation to see where we stand with indy vote!!-remember low turnout which will not occur then--also there possibly will not be so many wasted votes-and the actual voting system not so complicated as there are still loads of mistakes getting made by voters with this system.

  6. I think Dave Coull has hit it right on the head! In the run-up to the referendum, we need every Independence supporter on board, speaking out in favour. Mudslinging - as we've seen - is an obvious tactic when a notable individual or party is concerned, but you'd have difficulty slinging mud at an issue - especially one which all the factual arguments favour!
    On the subject of factual, (Rod MacFarlane pointed this out) this is just the sort of thing you associate with a 3rd World country. Not content with playing up the SNPs vastly increased share of the Glasgow vote as some kind of major SNP setback, the BBC have misreported the election figures! BBC report results as follows
    SNP 424 councillors +57,
    Lab 394 councillors +58
    So Labour increased their vote by 1 councillor more than the SNP? Nope.
    The REAL figures (check 'em!) are:
    SNP 424 councillors +61 (363 in 2007)
    Lab 394 councillors +46 (348 in 2007)
    Naughty BBC!

  7. STV report it correctly: