Tag Archives: Tory Party

Airdrie and Shotts Result 2019- The Outcome

From Sky NewsThe night of the 12th December into the 13th was a long and eventful one. As I was following the Scottish coverage I missed just how many big names went in our southern neighbours electoral battlefields. It was a night of big surprises, but in other ways delivered just what I expected.

What I expected was a Tory majority and that was exactly what the outcome was. Boris Johnson’s “Get Brexit Done” message was simple and repetitive and no attention was paid by many to the devil in the detail.

Corbynism is now dead and gone and we can “look forward” to another two or three Conservative governments before we get any kind of reprieve. Anyone who still believes that another Labour government is just round the corner really does need their head examined.

The SNP did exceptionally well in Scotland, better than I had expected to be honest. I was delighted to see Jo Swinson gone, and it will be interesting to see how much money the Lib-Dems threw at that seat.

Locally the SNP also did better than I expected. In Coatbridge Hugh “Two-Jobs” Gaffney became merely Hugh Gaffney as Stevie Bonnar took the seat back for the SNP, despite the ongoing infighting in the branch. In Airdrie the SNP’s Neil Gray saw off the challenge of Helen McFarlane of the Labour Party, and did so comfortably. Early in the campaign I had stated that the SNP lost around 10,00 votes between 2015-2017 and this was partially due to their failure to motivate those who had previously supported them to get out and vote.  That’s not a mistake that was repeated this time, with Nicola Sturgeon making a number of high profile references to Indyref 2020. This wasn’t really repeated in local leafleting though and I thought this may be a weakness. It wasn’t perceived as such.

There was also much effort on social media at organising and directing tactical voting. Former Labour MP and now Scotland in Union Chief Executive Pamela Nash was the main proponent of this with her Tactical Voting Advisor being used to advise British Nationalists which way to vote. Such was the volume of chatter that I saw it as likely that if the SNP failed to enthuse it’s lapsed support then the Labour Party would be the beneficiary of those who had stated they were going to “hold their nose and vote Labour (in reference to Jeremy Corbyn’s alleged IRA support).  So what happened?

Firstly, let’s look at turnout. In 2017 Airdrie and Shotts had 64,146 registered voters. In 2019 that had DROPPED to 64,008! That’s not much, but you would expect the registered electorate to rise, not fall. In the great scheme of things it’s not much, but then again it’s not far off Neil Gray’s majority in 2017. Of those registered 39,772 voted in 2019, up on 2017’s 38,002. So, with an extra 1770 voters turning out, how were those votes carved up?

The SNP increased their vote by 3,638.

Labour lost 1,368 votes overall.

The Tories lost 1,802 votes.

The Lib-Dems increased their vote by 617.

The Greens took 685 votes (didn’t stand previously).

Given that it’s unlikely that voters would switch from pro-Indy/Anti-Brexit SNP to anti-Indy/anti-Brexit Lib-Dems, we might see much of the Lib-Dem increase coming from Labour/Tory voters who were against Brexit.

We can probably put much of the remaining Tory loss down to tactical voting for Labour, and this could mean around 1,500 votes went to what they viewed rightly as the SNP’s main challenger.

Which begs the question: what happened to the Labour vote? If we assume that around 1,500 votes were lent by the Tories, then Labour retained around 11,200 votes from 2015, dropping almost 2,900 votes somewhere along the way.  Were those voters simply not energised by Jeremy Corbyn this time round? Did they stay at home and not bother voting at all? Or did they switch to the SNP and Greens? Those are questions which Labour will no doubt be asking, but which the SNP must also ask too. Because they need to know whether their rise in this election came from lapsed supporters or people who switched from their constitutional opponents, and if it’s the latter, have they changed their mind on the constitutional question?

As for Labour, they need to ask the same question and decide where their future lies. At the head of the party is a wounded leadership still resolved to backing the union, but how much of the remaining rank and file are now open to independence?

And what of my predictions? I saw the British Nationalist tactical voting coming and had turnout followed similar lines at 2017 Labour would have comfortably taken the seat. What I didn’t see was the total collapse of the Labour vote which rendered the tactical voting null and void. Time will tell whether they rebuild to former levels or not. I wouldn’t put money on it though.

Misleading Scotland – Dodgy Bar Charts and Alternative Facts

The last election leaflet has now been delivered and there have been some whoppers. At this election across the UK it has been reported that there have been some rather dodgy bar graphs used in the electoral material which take the statistics from the previous elections and present them as, well, something else entirely. So how have we fared in Airdrie & Shotts?

Here’s the Airdrie & Shotts result from 2017.

The SNP took 37.6% of the vote, followed closely by Labour on 37.1%. The Tories increased their vote, but still trailed in around 5,000 votes behind on 23.4%, while the Lib-Dems lost their deposit with a mere 2.1% of votes cast. In the 2019 leaflets issued by all parties both the SNP and Labour decided not to use bar charts. From the SNP’s point of view that’s understandable as such a graphic would show how close they were to being unseated, and might encourage tactical voting against them. As challengers it’s therefore strange that Labour failed to do so, as it would have showed them as strongly placed and at the same time revealed the claims made by the Tories and Lib-Dems as misleading. How so? Here’s how…

Lorraine Nolan Leaflet

The Conservative candidate presented a graph showing them romping ahead of Labour and would indicate to the casual reader that they were in pole position to challenge the SNP. One problem: the graph showed the rise in their vote share, not their actual vote share, and would need around a 70% rise to beat the SNP! That’s right. Seventy. Seven Zero. Top marks for audacity, nil points for accuracy.

William “the ghost” Crossman.

Not to be outdone the Lib Dem candidate William Crossman, who appears to have either been photoshopped onto his leaflet or popped off the train at Airdrie for a selfie and then jumped on the first train back out (has anyone ever seen him?) made the claim that the Lib-Dems are “challenging the SNP across much of Scotland”. By much he means some and that certainly isn’t in Airdrie. In his chart he’s decided to use the results of the 2019 European Election to show how the Lib-Dems increased their vote by almost 7%, which if replicated in this election could see the Lib-Dems increase their vote share from 2.1% to 2.2 and a bit %. Haud me back!

In but a few short hours we’ll see who comes out tops, but if there are awards for brass neck and bullshit the Tories and Lib-Dems would be the clear winners. Congratulations!

For comparison I uploaded all the 2019 electoral material I received to the site electionleaflets.org and you can view them all HERE.

Orange Order Supporters to Vote For “Pro-IRA” Corbyn Party

The Silent Majority

In the 2010 and 2015 Westminster elections the Tories in Airdrie consistently polled around 7 or 8% of the vote, somewhere in the region of 3,200 votes. If there was one thing that Ruth Davidson did well, it was to identify her market. Right wing, traditionalist, pro-military British Nationalists. Step forward the Orange Order.  ‘Colonel’ Davidson appealed to them and motivated them to rally to the Tories, a move which saw the Tory vote in Airdrie almost treble in 2017 and saw their candidate take almost 9,000 votes. So successful was this tactic that it took voters from the Labour Party and saw Neil Gray of the SNP take the seat with a majority of only 195. It did not go unnoticed among them that had they stayed with Labour they would have unseated the SNP candidate. They haven’t had long to wait and that lesson is still fresh in their memory.

Current BritNat Tactical Voting Guide for Airdrie

Well organised and secretive with an extensive network of contacts, the above image and others like it are now being aggressively shared on social media and the Loyalists are being asked to be a bit less, well, loyal. It’s being accompanied by sentiment such as “hold your nose and vote Labour” because having spent years convincing themselves that Jeremy Corbyn is an IRA supported they now find themselves having to back him to oust the SNP. If successful it could see potentially thousands of votes switch from the Tories to Labour and could hand the seat to them, and is likely to be successfil given that the head of the Orange Order in Scotland is a Labour councillor in Airdrie.

Neil Gray’s only chance of retaining the seat now lies in the hands of the people who he failed to motivate last time, almost 10,000 voters who simply dropped away over a period of two years for reasons unknown. Outspent and outgunned by Labour last time in terms of manpower, things have not improved greatly and the restrictive nature of the campaign will not help. At present he has failed to meet his very low crowdfunding target which does not bode well as this campaign is all about leafleting and social media advertising. Without activists parties rely on paid for mailshots delivered by Royal Mail, not a problem to dark money Tories and Union funded Labour, but a real issue to an MP who can draw on neither of those. As an MP with a significant salary you might think that a fair chunk of that would be tucked away for such occasions. All will be revealed after the election, but in all likelihood Labour will again come out on top of the spending chart, followed by the SNP, with the Tories third and Lib-Dems and Greens at the coo’s tail. With the Lib-Dems spending a massive £88 last time (yes, really- £88!) the Greens should manage to outspend them at least, even though both are likely to lose their deposits.

Do Scots Understand How Devolution Works?

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, 20/11/19

I feel I must reply to Kenneth MacKintosh’s letter in this weeks Advertiser as it contains some basic errors and inaccuracies, so much so that it really makes me wonder how it even got published. Who needs fake news when you have fake views.

Mr MacKintosh said that the Labour Party must fight this election on our health service and education. It is disappointing to still be seeing that people do not seem to understand the different levels of government which we have in Scotland, and what responsibilities each one has. Both health and education are devolved and come under the auspices of our parliament in Holyrood, and the correct time to debate them will be at the Holyrood elections in 2021. This is a Westminster election, and due to devolution and the Tory “English Votes for English Laws” legislation the parties in Scotland should be concentrating on those areas in which they are allowed a say in at Westminster; this would cover such issues as immigration, foreign policy, employment law, defence and the constitution.

Too many of the Labour/Tory/Lib-Dem politicians are happy talking about health, education, etc because this mirrors what their main parties are talking about and will be in line with what will appear in the main UK news broadcasts. For example, if London Labour is discussing transport then the Scottish branch of the party will do likewise, even though it’s a Holyrood issue and their policies aren’t applicable in Scotland. This can only happen due to the public’s own misunderstanding of our politics, but it’s a misunderstanding all parties are happy to exploit, and you must ask what they stand to gain by doing that.

Finally Mr MacKintosh notes that the Scottish Government underspent its budget last year. This has happened every year since the creation of our parliament and is necessary as Scotland runs a “pocket-money parliament” and is not permitted to build up a deficit. Everything has to be accounted for and our country cannot go over. Were the Scottish Government to spend its entire budget and then experience an unforeseen event which required a large amount of funding they would be forced to go cap in hand to London to be bailed out. Given that many English voters already view us as spongers who live off their generosity it’s unlikely that this would be popular. Prior to 2007 the Labour Party were in the habit of returning the underspend to London, but since they lost power that money has been carried forward to future years so it isn’t lost completely and can then be spent the next year. Of course the Britnats label this as a “slush fund”.

It would of course be far easier if we simply removed the most wasteful and remote of these levels of government; to give Scots a parliament which controlled its own economy and could legislate, borrow and build a better country without having to ask permission from our neighbours first. Then our success or failure would be our own, with no need to “blame” someone else as Mr MacKintosh puts it. But that would mean taking some responsibility for our own actions, wouldn’t it?

Moscow Calling?

Screenshot_20171110-143047.pngSince the 2014 referendum campaign many Scots have been using the Russia Today channel to obtain an alternative viewpoint on the news. I don’t think anyone is under any illusions that it exists to counter the news feeds of western governments.  Many people have been happy to share the content shared on RT when it suits their particular agenda. Labour politicians have appeared on it on numerous occasions, and in fact when questioned on their use of this platform stated that “Spokespeople appear on a wide range of outlets with a strong emphasis on domestic broadcasters to present our plans to transform Britain.”

The Tories aren’t immune either, with many Tory MP’s also appearing on the channel and taking the Kremlin’s ruble.  The SNP are also regular guests, much to the chagrin of Tories like Murdo Fraser.

So, to get this straight, Labour, the Tories and the SNP are all to varying degrees against using RT, except when it suits them to actually appear on it.

Which is why todays Yoonstream meltdown is all the more hypocritical. Former First Minister Alex Salmond has had his chat show optioned by the RT channel and will appear once a week giving his take on the goings on of the day. It’s thought that it will follow in the format of his recent stage show and will be produced by Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh. This has sent unionists into a frenzy, there being much wailing and gnashing of teeth from across the Yoonisphere. One might have thought that this was somehow the end of days and not a chat show.  The Herald, the BBC, Ruth Davidson, Batshit Jill, Uncle Tom Cobley and all have united is despair; the hated Alex Salmond has been given a media platform which bypasses their control, to speak to the people. The campaign to make Ruth Davidson appear a cuddly, chummy figure has nothing on the campaign now running to decry RT as a tool of the Kremlin, Alex Salmond as a mouthpiece of the Kremlin, and Scottish viewers as the enemy within.

It seems to me that the British Nationalists in Scotland having worked together to remove Alex Salmond from politics are now demanding the rights to decide when, where and who this currently unemployed former politician can work for, and while they can cry out as much as they like, the fact is that for may of us it is no big deal. We’ve already started watching RT anyway. No media is impartial, it is simply a tool, and it can be used for you or against you. I’d prefer it to be used for us than agin us, and in the absence of an impartial Scottish broadcast media it would be remiss of Alex Salmond NOT to take the opportunity to use it, and to grab it with both hands and smash the British state media over the head with it.  Убирайся, Алекс!

The Walk Of Shame

Today Unionists in Scotland go to the polls to endorse Tory policies such as the Rape Clause, the Dementia Tax, stripping the triple lock on pensions, slave labour wages, zero-hour contracts, putting the boot into the country in general and the poor in particular.

They’ll be endorsing the replacement of council housing with private slum landlords; homelessness, foodbanks and stripping away breakfast from school-children.

They’ll be the ones endorsing taking benefits from the disabled and passing the terminally ill as fit to work. They’ll be saying yes to fracking, yes to weapons of mass destruction and yes to bombing other countries and telling the refugees they create to bugger off- Britain’s full thank you very much.

They’ll be supporting sectarianism because, well, Ruth Davidson is waving the flag and they aren’t going to look beyond it to see who she’s gathered on the other side.  Because it might just be a mirror.

They’ll be doing all this because they are proud to be British and want to send a message to Nicola Sturgeon that they don’t want a second referendum, and they’ve become so robotic in their repetition of what she’s saying that they no longer actually understand the difference between one election and another as every election is a de-facto referendum anyway.

So what if their parents lose their free bus passes or their kids have to without food and when they become ill they have to make the choice between buying food, heating their homes or choosing which of the medicines they can afford out of the ones they have been told they need.

And they’ll put a cross in the Tory box and they’ll walk out of the polling station with their heads down, avoiding the eyes of the neighbours they are condemning and if asked they’ll tell you they voted Labour like they always have and scurry away on the walk of shame. Safely behind their door, they’ll cheer every Tory gain and raise a glass to Ruth Davidson, the little tank girl. And they’ll sleep soundly, knowing that they are all right jack.

Vote Tory: Just Don’t Come Running To Me If You Break Your Leg…

Letter to the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser: 19/10/15 (Published 21/10/15)

Letters Page, Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser
Letters Page, Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser

Dear Sir,

I was almost sympathetic to the plight of Airdrie and Shotts Conservative and Unionist candidate Eric Holford which he detailed in a letter last week. Having travelled to England to attend the Tory conference he was allegedly subjected to some name calling by protestors. Perhaps he would prefer it if we were to follow his example and only issue insults by keyboard on social media, where he brands supporters of independence as “Nicola’s Clowns”. Perhaps he should ask himself what has motivated these people to travel from far and wide to vent their anger in person. It could be that the media acts as a filter and that they feel their message is not getting through to the government. I agree with him that it is unlikely that these protestors will make him change his mind about the present Tory UK government’s changes to the benefits system or ‘cuts’ as the rest of the country would call them. As I said previously, I was almost sympathetic to Mr Holford, until he stated that he held up Ian Duncan Smith as a hero. Mr Duncan Smith is to welfare reform what King Herod was to babysitting; more psychotic than heroic in my opinion.

Mr Duncan Smith has overseen a system where around 90 people a month die shortly after being classed as fit to work. Mr Holford would have us believe that by somehow removing the benefits from disabled people they will magically find jobs which will give them money and self respect. Instead they are being left with no jobs and no benefits either. Fantastic institutions such as Remploy, which employed disabled people and people with learning difficulties who would often have found major difficulty in obtaining mainstream employment, have been closed down and their employees thrown on the scrapheap. Is this the policy of a heroic individual? To me it’s anything but.

The Conservative and Unionist Party have recently been making a lot of noise about how they are the only party still firmly supporting the union, and this will be a major selling point of theirs in the 2016 Holyrood elections. But to vote for Mr Holford or his party solely on the basis that they wave the union flag is a grave mistake. Tory poster girl Ruth Davidson says that she wants to scrap free prescriptions. Mr Holfords personal views on the NHS are available on social media. I get the impression he supports a freeze on NHS funding so as to create a real terms cut to funding, for has clearly said that the NHS should be subject to austerity until Britain’s debts are paid. He also stated that the more we spend on the NHS, the more peoples lives are extended, and the more survivors there are the more those people cost to care for. There is a real danger that Mr Holford could be an MSP next year, and with views like that people must seriously consider if he or his party are fit to be anywhere near government. If you have any concerns about you or your family’s long term health and wellbeing, you should bear that in mind before voting Tory. And if after that you do vote Tory, when the cuts come, and they will, please don’t complain. It’s what you signed up for.

Yours Sincerely,

James Cassidy,

Tom Clarke MP, Oil Fund and Election 2015 (Advertiser 11/01/15)

Letter to the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser:

Dear Sir,

The glee which Tom Clarke revels in over the latest oil prices was barely concealed in his column in last weeks Advertiser. By his estimate around 35,000 jobs are now under threat of being lost. Yet these are 35,000 jobs which we were told by the likes of Mr Clarke and by his cronies in the Tory Party that would be safer under the “broad shoulders” of the UK. Well here we are, apparently not so Better Together. The crisis is here and those broad shoulders are shrugging and saying it is up to the SNP to come with a solution.

What is even more sickening is when the likes of Labour’s Jackie Baillie try to make capital out of this by demanding that the SNP set up a resilience fund to help cope for times when the oil price slumps. Ms Baillie has spent much of the last two years campaigning against an oil fund. Indeed a mere five months ago she on behalf of the Labour Party was stating that creating such a fund would strip money from essential public services. This clearly demonstrates that the problem with telling lies is that you have to remember which lies you have told, otherwise you end up contradicting yourself.

Since the 1970’s successive Labour and Tory governments have refused to set up any such fund, so why call for one now? The 1974 McCrone Report which was also covered up by successive Labour and Tory governments recommended setting up an oil fund, so again I wonder, why call for one now, and why call for one from a government which doesn’t actually control that revenue stream? The answer is simple. On May 7th Mr Clarke and all his colleagues are facing annihilation at the polls. Labours actual membership figures are so low that they will not release them while the SNP are now the 3rd largest party in the UK. You can almost smell the fear from Mr Clarke and his colleagues because this is a horror movie scenario for them. One by one they wait to be picked off, not knowing who is safe and who is next for the chop, so they run around wildly, panicking and shouting nonsense.

Mr Clarke’s last statement in his column was that the Scottish people aren’t daft. He’s right in that respect. We aren’t daft enough to fall for the flip-flopping lies that the Red Tories are throwing around, we aren’t daft enough to believe that voting Labour will keep the Tories out (which it didn’t in 1979, 1983, 1987, 1992 or 2010) and we won’t be daft enough to vote Labour on May 7th.  

Yours Sincerely, 

James Cassidy,