Why are the polls so stubborn?

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I was looking at What Scotland Thinks poll of polls today (see above) and wondered why the polls really haven’t shifted at all in favour of YES. Currently we are looking at 52% No and 48% Yes, very close I accept that, and not requiring a large swing, but should we be expecting more?

On the back of Brexit, the most right-wing Conservative Westminster Government in a long time, the implosion of Labour, ever-increasing demands for social protections and the ever-increasing gap between rich and poor, we are just not seeing any great change in the polls.

Many commentators feel that the perceived collapse in the economic arguments have had an impact on the case for independence. Even with the fall in Oil prices Scotland’s GDP is roughly 1% behind that of the UK as a whole, not the end of the world at all. It is fair to say that economics plays a huge part in how many people will decide their vote but have we underestimated the feelings that people have for the union.

I’m not talking about the yoons, there is no changing their minds I don’t think, but what is it with the others. I know people who have little but would still vote no and I don’t think it can be only down to fear.

I am at a loss as to why the polls have not really moved from the 2014 figure. I would not be expecting a huge lead but I am surprised the difference is still 4%, any ideas?

1AM UK Time

In 3 hours time Hilary Clinton will debate Donald Trump in the first debate of the US Presidential Elections. By the time you read this it will all be over but the nightmare for many will only have just begun.

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This will be the most watched political debate ever with an estimated 100 million people tuning in to watch, it could also have a huge say in who eventually wins the race to the White House. Now I normally don’t comment or discuss other countries politics, mainly because I am very ignorant of them and also it is really not our place to do so. There is no question though that whomever becomes the President of the United States affects us all, effects all countries in the world.

80% of all financial transactions in the world are conducted in dollars, as are 87% of all foreign exchange transactions. America provides around $33 Billion Dollars per year in foreign aid around the world. The US economy makes up 20% of the global economy and the US military are by far the most advanced in the world, so this debate does in fact matter to us all and not just to Americans whom I will admit right away that I have a great deal of time for. I spent some time there years ago and learned that the American people are not the American Government, they are a hard-working and honest people who pretty much want the same as you and I do.

ABC puts Clinton on 47% and Trump on 46%, so it’s all to play for as far as the race goes. The simple reality is that neither are very good, not good for America and certainly not good for the rest of the world. Neither come across well, neither are trusted by many Americans and around the world. Both are for big business and happy to continue to pursue the narrow-minded neo-liberal agenda that we continue to suffer here in the UK and one that continues to fail us all. Neoliberalism is a 19th Century model that has no place in our time, both Clinton and Trump support the ideas of Adam Smith who advocated the end of government intervention in economics, he argued for no tariffs and free trade for all, and look where we are today.

Both Clinton and Trump support the premise that the market rules, both appear to believe in cutting public services and public protections, support deregulation and privatization, ring a bell anyone. Neoliberalism has concentrated not only the wealth but the power in the hands of the few, while eroding the power of the working classes and the trade unions, we all better get ready for more of the same, if not worse. No matter who wins, we will all be the losers. Theresa May will be happy either way as she can work with both, she will support both sides and big business will be happy as things will stay the same.

In the UK many are putting their faith in Jeremy Corbyn, however, like Bernie Sanders, he will not be allowed to win. Clinton and Trump will make it harder for social democratic policies and principles to take hold in the USA, and therefore make it harder for those same policies to take hold here as we become more and more beholden to the financial markets and large corporations who have these people in their pockets. Tonight’s debate is pretty depressing as the choice, like our own last general election, provides no choice. The result is pretty much the same or more likely much worse than we face now. I don’t envy Americans to have to choose between these two, what a sad state of affairs for America and sadly for the world.

The winners, as I already said,  will be those who will see an ever greater concentration of power into the hands of the few. Ring a bell anyone.

No Friend of Scotland just Indifferent

So Jeremy Corbyn, as expected, won the latest Labour Leadership Contest 2016. Corbyn won with 61.8% of the vote over Owen Smith, actually increasing his mandate in the process. What does this mean for Scotland as Corbyn is no friend of Scotland just really indifferent. Jeremy Corbyn is not that popular in Scotland, a YouGov poll in July had Corbyn on
-36% in general and -47% among Labour members, Owen Smith is rumoured to have won the popular vote amongst Labour members in Scotland.

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Jeremy Corbyn’s voting record on Scotland is also indifferent, he was absent for most of the votes on the Scotland Bill but did manage to be against greater tax raising powers for Scotland, he voted against measure for national insurance, voted against the Scottish Parliament having power over Child Benefit and Tax Credits, voted against Scotland having powers over Abortion Laws but voted for the minor tweaks to social security measures coming to Scotland. Hardly inspiring. Corbyn has demonstrated the usual Westminster ignorance of Scottish politics with accusations like the SNP privatised Scotrail and Cal Mac, Labour Politicians were even advised not to mention the word Scotland on visits but to emphasise towns and cities. Corbyn is a strong advocate for Irish unification but Scotland appears to leave him cold, and while he may not stand against any future Scottish referendum, he gives the impression that he doesn’t really care all that much.

So what does the Corbyn win mean for Scotland? Sadly it will mean at least another 10 years of Conservative Government, maybe even more. I am indifferent on Corbyn in most ways, he seems ok and is providing some in England with an alternative, I would certainly rather have him than Theresa May, but he will be pilloried even more in the Yoon press. No doubt the New Labour plotters won’t go away, many believe that Tom Watson, Deputy Labour Leader, is behind the various attempted coups against Corbyn and I have some sympathy with that given some of the things I have read about him.

It will be interesting in some ways to see what happens, Corbyn will plod along being pilloried in the media, plotted against by Labour MPs and being pretty much ineffective against the Tories. Kezia Dugdale may or may not survive but I don’t get the impression that Corbyn cares either way. So for Scotland we are at yet another cross roads, devolution will go no further. We will be faced with even more pressures as Barnett is slowly eroded over time as more and more privatisation creeps into English Public Services, effecting our pocket money and putting the Scottish Government into ever-increasing difficulties around the budget and public services.

Corbyn’s indifference will have a detrimental effect on Scotland and his election will in many ways put us back in our box as far as Westminster is concerned, yeah we will be annoying but overall just a midgie to be swatted away. Corbyn’s election is probably not good for Scotland.

Unlucky, incompetent or both! I give you Kezia Dugdale

Kezia Dugdale had a wee mishap with the voting system at Holyrood yesterday during the Council Tax debate where she failed to support a Conservative amendment which would have defeated the Government.

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Kezia is adamant that she pressed a button, now it’s not hard to press a button, even Willie Rennie was able to press the button, so Scottish Labour are now demanding an investigation into this shocking debacle.

Parliamentary authorities are saying that they have checked the system and it is working fine. When I heard this story last night I just thought it really could have only happened to Kezia Dugdale. I would also think that most of the time it would just be unlucky, but it’s Kezia Dugdale.

My theory is that she didn’t press the button, she was thinking about her shopping, her weekend in Liverpool, her hair dresser appointment or whatever, but she was certainly not thinking about the issue or the vote. A vote that is really not about Council Tax but about defeating the SNP and she missed her chance lol.

Kezia has a history of gaffes, from twitter trolling complaints to supporting independence to not supporting independence. She said Labour would not finish 3rd in last Mays elections, to the manifesto coming out the day before the vote, to comparing the Leave campaign during the EU Referendum to the YES Campaign during the Indy Referendum, comparing YES voters to the more extreme leavers.

Kezia Dugdale cheers me up and makes me laugh, Kezia Dugdale is the gift that keeps giving and long may that continue.

Silly Conference Season – I give you Willie Rennie

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Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, at the Liberal Democrat Conference at the weekend said he agrees with Tim Farron that there must be another EU Referendum on any deal agreed with the EU on the back of Brexit, but no future referendum on Scottish Independence. Willie feels that he is right to demand that the British people should have their say on the final deal in a referendum, just not the Scottish one, he should have been making this argument about the Smith Commission.

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Willie also throws in an SNP bad here and there when he says “While our Leader Tim Farron was making the case for cleaning up after the chaos of the Brexit vote our First Minister was on a mission to make it a whole lot worse”. “Nicola Sturgeon’s response to breaking up Europe is to break up Britain too”.

Willie gives his reasons as he wants to see Scotland in the UK and Scotland in the EU, “in a No Borders approach we will oppose independence and we will support strong relationships with Europe”, so basically our constitutional future can only be what bouncy castle Willie wants and he calls himself a Liberal. The problem is Willie can’t have both can he. He has no power to demand anything, he threw himself behind the coalition that pretty much killed off the Liberal Democrats in the process and driving millions into poverty and zero hour contracts, no Willie doesn’t get to decide. Willie gets one vote the same as everyone else.

But basically referendums are good if Willie likes the kind they are .Willie also talks about the Scottish Liberal Democrats gaining seats at Holyrood from the five they had before the election to, well five, I think I might be missing something as five is the same as five, its not six or eight, but five.

As usual Willie wants to see investment in the Police, in Nursery provision, in Education and in Mental Health, all of which will be paid for by his penny on income tax that was rejected by the voters in May. Willie calls this progressive, optimistic and outward looking. More like navel gazing. If Willie really wants investment in public services Willie needs to fight the Tory cuts that’s just keep coming and support the SNP to build the economy.

Willie finishes by having a wee go at the Tories, well he has to it’s Scotland and he wants you to believe that he isn’t really a Tory, he didn’t really stand and campaign beside the other Red and Blue Tories in Better Together, that he didn’t support the pish that was the Smith Commission and the shit that became the Scotland Act, no bouncy castle doesn’t want you to remember these things.

I have a wee message for Willie. Go do one. The voters will decide what happens in the future for Scotland, 45% of people voted for independence in 2014, current polls say 48% would vote for independence in another referendum. Willie, Scotland is on a journey that has only just started, you are not part of the solution, you are a part of the problem. The day that you stood beside Tories to talk Scotland down and scare older people with your Project Fear you lost the argument. You are a fake Liberal, and failed politician, and if you had any sense you would go now before you finally kill off the Liberal Democrats in Scotland in totality, Liberalism is a good thing and an important argument, it’s just a pity there is no Liberal Party in this country.

 

A Good Deal – I Doubt it.

So Theresa May, unelected PM of the United Kingdom, believes that the UK will get a good trade deal from the EU and a curb on migration, yeah right.

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According to May the EU will sign up to a good deal because they believe in free trade, was she sniffing something on the way to the UN Conference in New York. Many Europeans have indicated that they do not want their countries to give the UK a favorable deal, voters in France, Germany, Spain and Italy expect that the UK will get an unfavorable deal.

The simple reality is that the EU will not budge on the free movement of people and neither will the UK so I just don’t see either giving ground. Giving ground is not in either’s interest for different reasons, mainly political. The general feeling appears to be that preserving the needs of the 27 members states will be the EU’s priority and who can blame them.

I suspect that the UK will be so desperate for any deal that we will probably end up with something that is pretty poor but couched as an amazing deal by the right-wing press such as the Express above. We should be concerned and ashamed that there is no plan for brexit. The SNP were always being asked for plan b when they had delivered the blue print for independence in the White Paper, the same has to apply now to the UK Government.

I voted no in the EU Referendum for political reasons and I don’t regret that. The EU has to change if it is to survive in my opinion, but unless brexit forces a re-think on the EU we should be expecting the worst as far as any trade deal goes. Time will tell but I do believe that the current PM and the current government are not capable of representing the UK at any level and will not get a good deal.

Some are suggesting another referendum and that would not surprise me. Many others suggest that Scotland will vote YES in another referendum within two years but I just don’t believe that YES would win, the fear is still too strong.

Interesting times.

Something Different: The Disaster Movie

Being a cynical old fart I have always loved disaster movies. From bad special effects to fantastic special effects I have always enjoyed them so here are my top 5 in no particular order.

The Towering Inferno (1974).

Huge Office block built on the cheap goes up in flames because of dodgy wiring and traps people in the top floor. Has Steve McQueen and Paul Newman as joint leads, possibly two of the coolest dudes to have ever lived. The film also had Fred Astaire, William Holden, and Robert Wagner. Classic and good special effects for the time. A Christmas Fav, I know, told you I’m a miserable git.

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The Day After Tomorrow (2004).

Dennis Quade sets out to save his son as climate change freezes North America. Add in some romance, rabid wolves, great special effects and lot’s of lot’s of clichés. Class in every way.

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The Swarm (1978).

So bad it is fantastic. Michael Caine and Richard Widmark fight to save America from deadly African Killer bees. Helped by Henry Fonda as the scientist this is a really bad brilliant movie with the most stupid soldiers known to have ever existed in a movie lol.

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The Poseidon Adventure (1972).

Not the kind of adventure any of us would want to go on. Gene Hackman, Shelly Winters, Ernest Borgnine fight to escape their upturned huge Ocean Liner in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Did anyone ever try to hold their breath for the same length of time as the underwater swim scene in the movie, I could never do it but it’s a classic and another one I quite like at the Christmas Holidays, the re-make was shit.

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Flood (2007)

The British made film sees London get flooded after a tidal surge breaks through the Thames Barrier. Robert Carlyle and Joanne Whalley fight to save the day and rescue people. Not very good special effects and rubbish story line but of course some fantastic English fighting spirit to save the day as only the English do it better according to the film.

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Now I have only stuck to what I would consider pretty much natural disaster films but you could add in Zombies, invasion films etc but Zombies will be covered at a later date as I love Zombie movies too.