Log in

Recent Entries Friends Archive Profile Tags To-Do List
I am entirely okay with the Scottish election results.

Although I was (and am) pro-independence in 2014, in practice it's not really on the table this Parliament - barring Brexit disasters. I don't think it's the most important issue facing our country. Plenty of stuff that we could have discussed didn't get talked about during the referendum and we should deal with some of that before going round to that particular constitutional question again.

I think the SNP are a competent government. I like that. They are also sort of centre-left. I like that - well more than a centre-right government. Rhetoric doesn't quite match the action and I think I know why that is. I can live with it.

I think the SNP have a tendency towards centralisation and close control and a broad stripe of authoritarianism. Which I don't like.

They have a tendency to be a bit soft on environmental and energy issues when jobs or the interests of their donors are affected. Which I don't like.

I don't want a Tory government (see pro-independence) and I'm not sure I quite trust the Labour Party to be different than the SNP in terms of being centralising, authoritarian not-quite-as-centre-left-as-they-think-are and I don't trust them to be competent

So a situation where the SNP remain in government but in a minority government requiring support from the more left wing and more environmentally minded Greens and from the more localist and liberal Liberal Democrats actually suits me just fine.

And if this means that it is 20 years until indepedence instead of 10 or that independence never happens - well that's a price I'm perfectly willing to pay for better, more democratic, more radical government today and over the next couple of decades.

Other plus points include...

The Labour Party having to have a long hard look at itself and I hope come out as a more liberal, more radical, more democratic, more vibrant organisation.

The Tories being the lead opposition party and getting some scrutiny beyond "Ruth Davidson looks mighty jolly on a bison and isn't it progressive that the Tories have a woman-lesbian-Glaswegian-person as leader."

The Greens get a decent chance to build up some organisational structures and some expertise over the coming 5 years.

People might stop shouting "Saor Alba - c'mon wour Nicola!" as if that some how made everything alright.

Frankly, it's about as good as it was going to get.
I doubt the Tory election expenses scandal is going to bring down the government.

It looks like the Tories may have over-spent in 29 seats during the General Election. If this is so that might trigger by-elections but I think only in the 22 seats they won.

I can't readily see a list of the 22 potential seats but given the target areas lets guess 10-ish Lib Dem and 12-ish Labour potential wins.
If the opposition parties won all of the potential by-elections the Tories would have 308 seats to Labour's 244. Adding up all the probably Conservative supporting parties they would have 319 from 4 parties, the non-Tory supporting parties would have 325. This assumes a complete rejection of the Tories by the Lib Dems. But the party disposition looks more unstable, requiring six party co-ordination and including the SNP working with the Labour Party.

If the Tories held half of the potential by-election seats they would have 319 seats and their "coalition" would be 330 to the oppositions 313.

Not sure the Lib Dems or the SNP would fancy bringing down the government and triggering a general election under those circumstances.

So the best case for the Labour and Lib Dem parties is a weak Tory minority government. The more likely case for the opposition is a pretty stable minority government - particularly in England.
Mixed results on my predictions of the Scottish election results.

The SNP did less well than I expected. I'd predicited them winning an absolute majority based on a more or less clean sweep in the constituency vote on a vote share of just short of 50%. As it turns out they won 59 out 73 seats on 46.5% of the constituency vote. Their list vote share of 41.7% was significantly lower than I expected. They've gained constituency seats but not held up their list vote enough to avoid a net loss of seats.

I expect when I get hold of the detailed results there will be a couple of near misses and something about vote efficiency and d'hondt to be said. Hey ho.

The Tories did much better than I expected. I thought the Labour Party would just about hold on to second place overall. The Conservatives ended up with 31 seats to Labour's 24. The Tories behind the Labour Party on vote share 22% to 22.6% in the constituencies but ahead 22.9% to 19.1% in the regions. The Labour Party constituency vote looks widely dispersed and therefore inefficient.

Who'd have thought that one of the posher bits of Edinburgh would turn out to be a Labour stronghold?

The Greens did a little less well than I thought they would. I'd predicted 8 seats, they (we) won 6. However, a pretty decent result for the Greens who triple their representation, increase their vote share in the regions, return two MSP's for Lothians and did pretty well in Glasgow Kelvin and Edinburgh Central. The 2.2% increase in regional list vote share seems to have been enough for the Greens to take the last seat in several more regions.

Lib Dems win 5 seats. 4 Constituencies and 1 list seat. I think a bit of an improved situation for them. Their local infrastructure seems to be recovering and it's nice to bank a few constituency seats. I think the Lib Dems winning a few constituencies will be a factor in the Greens wining six rather than 4 seats.

UKIP no seats. Not even close. I thought they would be closer to winning a seat in a few regions. 40 thousand votes across the country. 2.0% vote share. I doubt they will pick up any councillors off the back of that position.

Looking further down the list results Solidarity and RISE both polling very low numbers. Between them about 25 thousand votes and 1.1% of the vote share. It's probably game over them. I'm not sure how they can keep an party infrastructure going with no representation and no prospect of any.

The Women's Equality Party polled just short of 6 thousand votes. That's probably not enough to build from. Particularly in a Parliament where 4 out of the 6 party leaders are women but it's good to see the apparatus in place for an electoral rebuke if Parliament continues to treat half the population as if they were not fully human.

Turn out was 55.6% - up about 5% from the 2011 election but no where near the referendum turn out.

A minority government. A majority in Holyrood for indepedence with 63 SNP and 6 Greens but I see no evidence that the nation is champing at the bit to have round two right now. The SNP with decent blocks of opposition on all sides. That should make for a more interesting Parliament.

in terms of winners and losers. Big winners are the SNP. Yes, they didn't do as well as the polls predicted or as well they did last time but any election you walk away from still being in government is a big win. The Tories and the Greens should be happy. I suspect this is peak Tory. It might be peak Green. The Lib Dems appear to have finally weathered the storm and rounded the point and other nautical analogies. The Labour Party will be disappointed. They need to win 20 seats from the SNP to have a chance of forming a government. UKIP very disappointed.

As for the predictions - were the polls wrong or was there a late swing away from the SNP? Was I paying enough attention? Or did SNP voters think they had the constituencies all sown up and distribute their list votes? Is that even the right question to ask. Difficult to tell.

More thoughts on the trajectory of the Parliament a bit later.
I have lost my Kindle.

I think I left it in the park yesterday lunch time. That was the last time I remember having it. It is possible it fell from my pocket sometime after that.

It might be somewhere else I suppose but I doubt it.

I've filled a lost property report. I've sent a file to the device with my phone number on it.

I'm not hopeful of having it returned.

A few election predictions. None particular controversial or insightful.
Read more...Collapse )
Day #4: Your favourite heroine

We are but warriors for the working day - and so have missed the weekend and a few days whilst I've been working.

My favourite heroine are a double act - Mistress Ford and Mistress Page. They determine that they are not to be triffled with and set about Falstaff with vigour and humour creating almost all the action of the play. The play is about their decision to remain faithful to their husbands, their action to ward off a pernicous suitor and their responsibilty for the relationships with their husbands that they chose to have.
I was recently asked (and flattered to be asked) for my thoughts on energy by someone who was engaged in a post-grad in energy studies. This is what I sent them.

Read more...Collapse )

That's my energy starter for ten.
A sunny weekend.

Saturday saw the Captain and I take on a morning of sporting endevour.

Soccer at 9.30 for an hour. He wasn't keen on going and had to be strong-armed in to it but had a lovely time once we'd walked out of the house and across the road to the football training. His team won the kick about. He was very pleased although not as pleased as one of his fellows who did a great header.

Later that morning to Rugbytots for the first session of the new term. The class is expanded with about half a dozen kids moving up from the younger class. They had no idea what they were doing. The coach's mantra that rugby is a simple game - you run forward and pass backwards seemed to be one concept too many for them. I'm sure they will get the hang of it in a few weeks.

That afternoon the Captain had a birthday party and MLW was machinating on something with other parents so I had a nap.

I was invited to join the Captain for his evening bath and we had a good chat about what it was like at primary school when I was his age.

Sunday saw us go to a trampolining birthday party and then on to Dirleton Castle. Dirleton Castle is a medaevil castle near North Berwick. It was built in the 13th Century, modified in the 15th Century and again in the 16th Century before being put out of commission by Cromwell in 1650. Largely it seems to have been home to some of Scotland's Troublemakers in Chief including some family who were involved in the murder of Riccio and the attempted kidnapping of James VI. It would have been an effective castle in its day and when modified it looked like an not unpleasant country house. After Cromwell broke it the grounds were bought up by a neighbour who built a country house nearby and the castle mouldered away - an unnecessary and outmodded form of defence.

The Captain had been there with holiday camp a few weeks before and acted as our guide. Mostly showing us where the latrines were. This seemed to be a particular fascination of his. He did a fine job of showing us round. He'd remember lots from his last visit and was very able to talk about the castle and his visit. He enjoyed the murder holes and the latrine holes and the prison pit. Generally, holes. MLW liked the new bits. I liked the orginal storage cellars where, because there was no money in feudal Scotland, the rent was kept after being harvested. The highlight of the visit was the Captain rolling down the side of the moat, including one epic slide on his back, headfirst. The Boys Brigade were very taken with the Captains grass sliding prowess.

We shared our visit with about 150 Boys Brigade members on a combined troop outing. We kept out of their way as much as possible. We did manage to get ourselves trapped in the main hall with them between us and the door whilst the leader promised them a sermon from some visiting minister and started giving them a warm pitch about how their discipline and Christian faith would stand them in good stead when times got hard. That being as it may we decided it was time to cut our loses and make good our escape but we had to walk behind and then in front of the speaker and then carefully through the ranks of the Lothians combined Boys Brigade. I'll say this for them all, their discipline and Christian faith certainly helped the chief keep going in the face of our walk out. He didn't miss a beat.

The Boys Brigade had laid on some entertainments for themselves so we got to watch an archery demonstration and then some novice archery. As informative and amusing as you'd expect. The Captain was well taken with the notion. It took some effort to keep the Captain from basically standing behind the butts shouting encouragement. Honestly, I think he believes himself to be indestructable.

The Captain and I spent a happy hour in the sunshine perched on the rock escarpment below the walls looking at slaters and talking about paleontology and Oliver Cromwell.

Home via a Chinese buffet.

I watched a Stewart Lee stand up routine and then Death in Paradise before bed.
Brutus. He's one of my favourite historical heroes - the noblest Roman of them all - trying to do the right thing uncynically in a cynical time and place - and failling because of the manner of this nobility. Unlike the snakeoil salesman that is Mark Antony or the scheming propagandist Octavian, Brutus fails to recover the Roman Republic because the tries to explain honestly, but not smoothly, his motives and because he treats Mark Antony with honour and as a citizen of the new Republic he hopes to secure.
I've been hanging out with people. It's been nice.

A college friend of MLW's has been in town. He's an academic and is researching merchant banking in the 18th century so in town to check out some archives.

I managed to grab a beer - well two - with widget_fox. 7 Giraffes - a favourite beer of mine. Two of them make 14 Giraffes. The cafe was nice. I've been their once before, and remembered that it was nice and had a nice courtyard garden at the back. The weather wasn't quite warm enough for sitting out but it's nice to have the option.

Then home for some spicy roast chicken deliciousness, a nice bottle of wine and a small sample of Highland Park 12 and 15 year olds. Both delicious.

Last night MLW and I took her friend to Calistogia in town for some food and some more lovely wine. Very nice steaks. Delicious Californian red wine. The Scotch Malt Whisky Society for a drink afterwards. Some more Highland Park for our guest.

Tonight I think I have the job of taking the internal audit team from head office out for a few beers and burger. If the weather holds I may even sit outside with them.