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The Union Dividend

This is what union means, so glad we are members.


Is it a question of Polling?

I have been having a wee think about polling recently, political saddos like some of us follow them, James Kelly at Scot Goes Pop analyses them really well, Wings Over Scotland commissions excellent and informative polls, and the unionist media interpret them as negatively as they possibly can to paint as negative a picture of the SNP and YES as they can.

Now polls do help to provide information to voters and political parties/organisations, there is no mistaking that at all. They help determine the direction of a campaign and how to get the right message to the right people. During the referendum Ipsos/Mori and Survation were virtually spot on in calling the result around a month before the referendum while ICM put YES Scotland ahead in a poll that shook the No campaign and that many believe resulted in the now famous VOW. Many others believe that the poll putting YES in the lead that led to the Vow swung the result on the day to No. Wether it did or didn’t I’m not sure but the more I reflect on the result, and the impact of polling in 2014, the more I am starting to think that maybe all polling, including private polling, needs to end at least one week before a vote.

It has been noted that many voters don’t make up their mind until the last-minute, that polls result in sensational and misleading headlines, and that the error of margin makes some polls meaningless. 38 countries around the world have various conditions regarding polling before elections, some don’t allow any polls the day before, Spain 5 days, Greece 15 days, and Honduras 45. Should we follow suit?

Highly respected former speaker in the Commons Betty Boothroyd felt that “the polls on the referendum are very confusing and contradictory. I am worried that they potentially could influence the outcome of the vote. I think the time has really come to do as the French do. We should ban them up to a week before polling day. Then people can make up their minds without all these confusing polls”.

Andy Rain writing in the conversation in 2016 wrote “used properly, opinion polls help inform and enhance our democratic choice. It’s important to remember that they are representative snapshots of opinion, not election predictors – but they can be an important tool for measuring, and indeed telling politicians, what voters think about particular issues, parties and candidates.

Yes, of course they can influence our behaviour, especially in first-past-the-post elections, where their findings can enable us to vote tactically, rather than waste our vote on a candidate we know won’t win. But the obvious answer to that is to change the electoral system, not deprive us of the information to get at least something out of it”.

I accept that polls can be fun, they do provide information that is useful and informative in the main but the more I think about it, even thought the evidence is mixed and there would be a problem with fake news, the more I would like to see polls stopped at least a week before a vote, if not longer, to allow people to just make up their minds on what they know and understand things to be. I get frustrated at the so called vow, and how that came about after YES Scotland were reported to be in lead and the impact it may have had on the result. Our politics is broken, first past the post elects Governments on sometimes less than 40% of the vote, our politicians, and news media, lie all the time, they also use polling to influence how they want people to vote and in the image they prefer.

Surely the time has come to make changes, to find a way to return as much honesty and integrity to our political system as possible before it is too late and the nightmare that we are living in now becomes power for the course.

Is May now toast?

So I have been watching Theresa Mays statement to Parliament this afternoon and to be honest she looks like toast to me now. David Davis and Boris Johnson are gone, rumours of backbenchers sending letters to the chair of the 1922 committee and a Tory Party more split than ever.

The cabinet agreed at that weekend to accept a common rulebook with the EU, a joint jurisdiction on law, a facilitated customs arrangement (whatever that means), and a mobility framework that ends free movement but favours EU nationals. Now of course I don’t think many people will believe the EU will accept these proposals so we have to be looking at a hard Brexit.

Now I said from the start that I thought May wanted a no deal Brexit but needed the EU to be seen to be the bad guys as the only way she could survive. That appears to be more likely now as far as any deal goes. Things do go in Mays favour though to a small degree, Labour are a joke and in as large a mess as the Tories.

Some are saying this afternoon that May won’t survive the day:

That won’t happen as May is ruthless in staying PM but surely she won’t survive until the next election in 2021. Now I voted leave and have since been clear that I regret that vote on many fronts, I don’t think there will be another EU Referendum, not if the Tories want to stay in power but I can’t see how May stays as PM all that much longer.

The Government are in a mess, Labour are in a mess, the DUP will not accept any deal that makes Northern Ireland different, and the Liberal Democrat’s want to say yes to the referendums they like and no to the ones they don’t. When May talks about sovereignty of the U.K. she means

None of this is anything less than shambolic, can May survive this? Can Scotland afford to stay? What England wants Scotland gets and what May has achieved is the worst of all worlds, May surely now is toast.


Things appear to be moving fast. Interesting times.

Something Different: ABE

When the SNP held their summer conference the impartial, balanced, accurate, and above criticism Sarah Smith of the BPC (British Propaganda Corporation) asked delegates if they would be supporting England at the World Cup. Sarah, the wee scamp, was looking to stoke up anti-English feeling and give herself the opportunity to claim SNP members were anti-English but I don’t think any took the bait. Well they couldn’t have as it would have been headline news until the end of the year on Reporting Scotchland.

Now many in the yes movement, in the SNP, and wider afield have publicly said they will be supporting England in the World Cup and tomorrow’s quarter final against Sweden. I have even heard Jim White, Alan Brazil and other Scots in the media relate to England as ‘we’ and if that’s what they want to do of course that’s fine.

However, I am not a member of the SNP or a representative of the YES movement and I am most definitely in the ABE (AnybodybutEngland) camp, and not ashamed to admit it. Now I don’t expect to get the grief that Andy Murray got when he declared ABE at the last World Cup but hey Yoons and Rangers fans are Yoons and Rangers fans so you never know.

Now before I have to declare a Yoon Alert I have nothing against English folk other than how many of them vote and virtually all of their MPs, who lets face it, couldn’t be more anti-Scottish in Parliament if they tried, supported by the anti-Scottish Scottish Unionist MPs. So, I am happy to declare that tomorrow I will be a Sweden fan and the reason is the English media. The standard of commentary and analysis of the World Cup has been shocking at best, Lineker and the rest have not only been dismissive of every other country, downright rude, and borderline with some of their comments, they demonstrate an absolute failure to be impartial and balanced and yes, when I am forced to pay the TV tax I expect balance at least.

England haven’t really played a top side yet other than when their reserves got pumped by Belgium’s reserves. Sweden will be a different game altogether for them tomorrow and while England have already won the World Cup, and are bringing it home, there is only the small matter of at least 3 games to go. Now if England win the World Cup good luck to them, between Brexit and that eventuality it might even help the independence cause given that it will be on all the channels, all day, every day for the next 100 years and STV will pay a bumper cost to continue to show England games live on tv while ignoring Scotland games, you know the country they profess to work in and report on.

So come on Sweden, put England out, and I will very happily listen to Talk Sport for 3 hours after the game as the England commentators and English fans absolutely slaughter them for having the bare faced cheek to lose. Should they win and play Russia or Croatia in the semi finals, guess who I will be supporting and I make no apology for it.

Resign, people like McVey have no place in politics

So McVey has been caught blatantly lying to Parliament, there’s a surprise.

I blogged about this Stain of Inhumanity as John McDonnell called her before and today it is worth blogging about this awful woman again.

McVey stood up in Parliament in June and said that the National Audit Office wanted the role out of the diabolical Universal Credit speeded up and that the system was working when in fact it said it wanted a pause on the programme as there was no evidence of the benefits of the system. In fact, as Polly Toynbee points out in the Guardian today,

The NAO found that the DWP’s own surveys showed 40% of claimants said they were experiencing financial difficulties, 20% were not paid in full on time, and 25% said they couldn’t make an online claim. The NAO concluded: “The benefits that it set out to achieve through universal credit, such as increased employment and lower administration costs, are unlikely to be achieved.” Worse, it found a quarter of new claims were paid late, so debts and rent arrears soared: when universal credit is rolled out, local food banks see a 30% upsurge in use, according to the Trussell Trust. Because payment takes five weeks, 60% of new claimants need an advance, which becomes a debt: the NAO says the system will never deliver all claims on time.

McVey however is claiming she misread the report, no she did not, she lied. Sir Amyas Morse, Chair of the National Audit Office, had to make it clear when he wrote to McVey as he had not been able to set up a meeting with her. He noted that:

“I am now reluctantly writing to you to clarify the facts,” he wrote, saying the NAO’s report had been signed off on 8 June. “Our report was fully agreed with senior officials in your department. It is based on the most accurate and up to date information from your department … it is odd that by Friday 15 June you feel able to say that the NAO ‘did not take into account the impact of our recent changes’.”

He added: “I’m also afraid your statement on 2 July, that the NAO was concerned that universal credit is currently rolling out too slowly and needs to continue at a faster rate, is also not correct. My recommendation makes clear that the department must ensure it is ready before it starts to transfer people over from previous benefits.”

Morse also criticised the minister for claiming the report showed that universal credit was working. “The department has not measured how many claimants are having difficulties … 40% of them said they were experiencing financial difficulties and 25% said they couldn’t make an online claim,”

Frank Field, the Labour MP, says McVey has apologised for “dissembling” in one respect. But she has not apologised for the other two things the NAO complained about: McVey saying the report was out of date, and McVey saying the report showed universal credit was working.

It’s bad enough that we know too many politicians hold the voters in contempt but they are actually holding the parliament in contempt as well. All that does is take us one step closer to losing more and more of our democracy, and people like McVey are a stain on our humanity! Now I am not Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, in calling for people to resign or be sacked but his horrible excuse for a human being should not be near power or parliament, she is evil, end of.

It’s official, the Labour Abstain and Unionist Party are Shit

A youguv poll today shows the most horrific vermin filled Tory Government ever, full of hate and xenophobia, have increased their lead over Labour.

Just how useless are the Labour Abstain Party, the Tories are the worst Government in my lifetime up against the most useless main opposition party in the history of everything.

I am just astounded at the fact that English voters would rather have this Tory Government over Labour, says it all really. Kinnock was bad, Blair was worse and Corbyn is useless beyond belief. If Scotland doesn’t get out we better get ready for a new Victorian Age and perpetual Tory rule.