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Malcolm: you are being deliberately obtuse on this …

Comment posted Canary goes belly-up in Yes Scotland campaign by Dr Douglas McKenzie.

Malcolm: you are being deliberately obtuse on this issue. The Scottish Government represent the Scottish people, regardless of how many people actually voted for them or indeed who did not vote. That is the nature of democracy.

I am not aware of ever having made a statement that ALL Scots support the SNP (that would be manifestly ridiculous). What I object to though is you counting those people who did not vote as being anti-SNP. You simply cannot make that assumption (and the polls suggest it is incorrect in any case) and I would like you to desist from what is a deliberately misleading statement that you must know is false.

Dr Douglas McKenzie also commented

  • OK – at least we know where the number is coming from. But do you not see why your logic in equating all of those who did not vote with being anti-SNP is, to be generous, misguided? Opinion polls suggest that support for the SNP is running at pretty much the same as the percentage of votes cast for the SNP at the election, so a proper interpretation is that those who did not vote would have voted in much the same way as those who did actually vote.

    In a democracy the only votes that count are those that are cast.

  • Malcolm – and you are forever misrepresenting the SNP’s share of the vote at the last election. Since I have pointed this out to you on several occasions, I can only conclude that you are deliberately trying to mislead readers.

    If you read my post again, you will see I talk about the Scottish electorate and not just the Scots.

    At the risk of being tedious, let me just gently reiterate why your numbers are wrong: the SNP won almost 45% of the total vote (average of constituency and list polls). This is fact and can be seen here:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/election2011/overview/html/scotland.stm

    Now, I’m not sure where you are getting a figure of 24% from but it is clearly wrong. I presumed that you were applying the turnout percentage (50%) to the share of the vote but that would suggest your maths are even worse than your analysis as that would give around 22.5% not 24% Perhaps you could explain where the 24% figure comes from (I seem to remember I asked you this the last time and you just ignored it).

    You also presume that those who did not vote for the SNP are necessarily against independence (or indeed the SNP led Scottish government). However, on the list results, 12% of the total votes (a quarter of a million votes in total) went to candidates other than the main 4 parties (SNP, Labour, Tory, Lib Dem). Given that 2 Green MSPs and Margo MacDonald were elected, we can presume a fair proportion of these votes went to them and some to the SSP – all of whom who support independence. Unfortunately the BBC does not give a sufficiently detailed analysis of those quarter of a million votes but let’s assume 2/3rds went to the Greens, MM and the SSP. The number of “other” votes on the constituency was only 21,480 so not important either way.

    What this then shows is that on the constituency vote, the SNP had 902,195 votes to the combined unionist parties votes of 922,827 and on the regional vote we have an estimated 1,037,509 votes for pro-independence parties and 953,542 for the Unionist parties (Con-Dem-Lab).

    So all in all pretty evenly split. Of course this was an election for the Scottish parliament and NOT a vote for independence so the votes cast for the pro-independence parties cannot be assumed to be “Yes” votes in the referendum but neither can all of the votes that went to the unionist parties be assumed to be “No” votes.

    I know you don’t like these facts Malcolm but they are the facts. The SNP was elected by the highest percentage of the vote of any party since the Scottish parliament was reconstituted and they can therefore be properly said to legitimately represent the desires of the Scottish electorate (at least as far as it wanted the SNP to form the Government).

    So, where do you get your figure of 24% from?

  • I see that Newsroom has moved on from describing the SNP as having fascist tendencies to being merely totalitarian (which is at least a more appropriate, if still inaccurate, description). She is of course not alone in this and various commentators having been going on about Scotland becoming a one party state equivalent to Zimbabwe (which, ironically, is slowly becoming a more pluralistic state).

    This has been brought about by the SNP winning a majority in the Scottish Parliament, representing the democratic will of the Scottish electorate. Funny how minority and coalition governments are always decried at Westminster, where first past the post is seen as the necessary tool to deliver “strong” government but when a party in Scotland achieves a majority (despite the quasi-proportional voting system) this is seen as being not “strong” but “monolithic and intolerant” to quote Newsroom. Maybe someone doesn’t like the Scots to have a clear voice and leadership in government? Heaven’s forbid, we might actually get something done for a change!

    Having experience of leadership and sharing my experiences with fellow CEOs, one of the abiding shared experiences was that, no matter how much effort was put into communication with staff, employees would invariably cite the need for improved communication as one of their top gripes. So it seems with Mr Harvie. He acknowledges that he who pays the piper etc (and the SNP are definitely the source of the referendum piper’s largesse) but I wonder if his public utterances are more about jockeying to gain more influence within the Yes campaign rather than any genuine complaint about SNP “one road” leadership? He knows that the importance of the Greens in the campaign is more about credibility than practicality: the Greens are not going to deliver much in terms of either money or foot soldiers to the campaign. I suspect that Mr Harvie recognises only too clearly the extent of his power to influence policy within the Yes campaign and is cleverly using what limited influence he does have to maximise the Green’s bargaining power within the campaign. Such is the role of a good party leader and astute politician, Expect the Green Party to formally endorse the campaign in October at their conference.

    So, are the SNP totalitarian in their leadership of the Yes campaign? What do other non-SNP groups within the campaign say? From today’s Herald:
    “Meanwhile, Colin Fox, convener of the Scottish Socialist Party, said their experience was different to that of the Greens.
    He said: “As far as we are concerned we are fully part of the Yes campaign, and my attitude is that it has been a success.””

    Margo MacDonald (not a natural cheer leader for Mr Salmond) also expresses her firm commitment to the campaign and sees her role as a mediator and facilitator in ensuring that all of the parties within the campaign rub along together. She notes that there is a need to improve things but I don’t detect anything other than an acknowledgement that we don’t live in a perfect world.

    I’ll be interested to see how the “No” campaign get along together, given their supposed antithesis over policy except on the Union.

Recent comments by Dr Douglas McKenzie

  • Rustle with Russell
    More utter rubbish from Lynda Henderson. Have you actually spoken to Bob Allen? Whoever told you the story sold you a pup and in your arrogance you cannot admit to be wrong so you make up this story that he was persuaded not to resign.

    Your position is completely untenable.

  • Russell back in the bathtub, now trying to sink Keith Brown’s boat
    I’m afraid you condemn yourself by your own words. I don’t think that anyone reading what you have written here and the language you have used would conclude anything other than that you have a deep dislike for Mr Russell and that dislike is leading you to basically lose all sense of either proportion or impartiality. It doesn’t matter how well (or otherwise) you know Mr Russell you are clearly exercised by your interpretation of his actions and it is leading you well beyond the pale in what I would consider fair comment.

    This vendetta against Mr Russell and the SNP is destroying FA’s credibility and I have to confess that I’m seriously considering whether or not to continue reading FA (which will cheer Malcolm up if nothing else). I for one am becoming increasingly disenchanted by the constant negativity and sheer nastiness that has crept into this blog. I say that with a lot more sorrow than anger because I think that FA could have been great and indeed still could but there has to be a degree of balance, civility and indeed humour. All we are getting here is bile and it is causing me heartburn.

  • Russell back in the bathtub, now trying to sink Keith Brown’s boat
    To be honest, this post clearly shows that you are speaking from your personal dislike of Mr Russell rather than an unbiased analysis of the man. Phrases such as “publicity hungry coward” are well beyond what is reasonable comment.
  • Russell back in the bathtub, now trying to sink Keith Brown’s boat
    You don’t seem to understand the separation of a MSP’s duty to his or her constituency and their responsibilities as a Government Minister.

    Yet again, this is another instance where a member of the Government can do no right: speak up and be condemned as “desperate” or stay silent and be accused of not serving your constituents’ interests.

    It is just as well that Mr Russell has broad shoulders!

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