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Schools in south Edinburgh are pretty much full. Some combination of immigration, a spike in birth rates and the general good quality of the schools attracting people to the area means that most of the primary schools and all of the secondary schools are expected to be over-subscribed over the next ten years.

Various people are trying to find various ways of addressing - basically building a new primary school and a new annexe for the secondary schools.

One of the factors that is driving increased rolls is that my local secondary school picks up the Gaelic Medium teaching for Edinburgh and the Lothians.

I've been very sceptical about the promotion of the Gaelic language in southern and eastern Scotland for years now. Now the implications of the policy are begining to impact my own children's education I'm now more personally sceptical.

I don't think this very strongly but I do think it.

Even if you have a severe mental illness you are not exempt from moral responsibility for your actions. I am thinking of the sorts of mental illness that involve someone become a serial murder of other people.  There are many, many statements of basic moral codes and I think it is obvious from them that murdering people is frowned upon and pretty universally so.

If someone finds themselves in a position where they think it might be an okay thing to do they have access to all of human culture saying "It's probably not okay."

There is an external reference point to check the internal workings of your brain against. And I think someone who can reason remains morally obliged to periodically calibrate their own mental process against the outside world and where there is a significant difference between the two take efforts to understand that difference, check the validity of intenal and external models and take action to Do Good or at least avoid evil.

I totally get that it becomes fuzzier the less extreme the action but at the extremes I think, if the inside of your head says it's okay to kill someone you retain moral culpability for not double checking with the rest of the humanity.

Other people appear to disagree with me - so I'm keen to calibrate my own moral processes. I'm prepared to be talked out of this.


Trying to start work on explaining our quality assurance process to a client. That is not going so well.

Recently I have done

Saw my dad for a beer.

Went out for a Michenlin starred dinner with My Lovely Wife, then a New York dinner style breakfast, then pizza - all in one weekend.

I've been booking things like massages and gin distillery tours.

Training - Two personal training sessions. I've run through the set MLW bought me for my birthday and I've decided to commit to doing two a week for the next 6-12 months. This is quite expensive so I may need to buy fewer pies at lunch.

Work -

Variance analysis for our half year performance. I have blamed the government. Not just mine, but yours too.

Got to the bottom of one of those niggling accounting things that no-one else ever understands or cares about but which suddenly pop up when your accounts are qualified (this is a bad thing) your debt covenants are pulled and you discover you are bankrupt. Mostly they cause irritation and disharmony.

I've also done some work on intellectual property rights when contracting with governments and some bid costing.

Democracy - nominated myself for Unlock Democracy's Council.

I'm doing some analysis of the Scottish Election results. So far I've looked at Lothians, Glasgow and Highlands and Island. I'll work my through the rest of the regions in no particular order then I'll have a look at the #BothVotesX stramash.

Drama - wrote up a plan for a drama workshop I'm running in a few weeks.


I'm a bit tired but feeling a little perkier than recently.

Does it make me a bad person that I am looking forward to the Conservative Party getting in to a mid-nineties style open civil war with both themselves and with UKIP?
That I don't actually care about the Hugo Awards or any of the Puppies (other than the opportunity to troll them with an old school reference by setting up the Mad Puppies, then the Bad Puppies and the Dangerous to Know Puppies). I think I ought to care - but I don't.

Bit worried that we (the UK) might actually vote to leave the EU and then we (Scotland) will have to go through the whole #IndyRef process again.

That my son is brilliant and my daughter is working hard. The youth of today, eh?


Mary Beard's programme about Rome.
I opted out of Welsh Scandi-noir detectoring and read my book instead.

Also watching my garden grown. Following a recent tidy and a bit of planting it is looking pretty good. It's starting to look like the 4D concept I had when I started work on it.


Randall Monroe's What Iff - which I bought as a present for MLW but she discovered it whilst tidying up and thought it was for me so I wasn't able to gift it to her. I think she'd like it.

Also reading Pyramids by Terry Pratchet. I've not read it for years. Quite enjoying it so far.

And I'm making my way through the Flashman books by George MacDonald Fraser.


Analysis of Holyrood elections.
Correspondence with inter alia my dad about energy policy, renewable energy and nuclear power economics.
Notes on how to workshop Shakespeare for Fun and Profit.
I have ordered a replacement Kindle.

I continue to be sad about losing the other one.

It was cheaper than the last time I looked at one. The cover is still the same price.
My next stop takes me north to the family home in the Northern Isles for a look at the Highlands and Islands. A land of wild winds, huge constituencies and  Liberal Democrat voters. Turn out in the Highlands and Island was 58.9%. Glasgow managed 47.4%. Some people in the Highlands and Islands have to swim to the polling station and they managed a clear 11% better turn out than the Glaswegians who only have to stumble out of the pub in the morning to vote. And, yes, I am going to continue to mock Glasgow for its appalling turnout. When fewer than one in two of you bother to vote you deserve all the mockery you get.


Regional Votes

% of Vote

Constituency Vote

Constituency %

Constituency Seats

Evenutal List Seats

Total Seats

% of Seats
SNP 81,600 40% 91,088 44% 6 1 7 47%
Conservative 44,693 22% 39,493 19% 3 3 20%
Labour 22,894 11% 24,246 12% 2 2 13%
Scottish Green 14,781 7% 0 0% 0 1 1 7%
Liberal Democrats 27,223 13% 47,465 23% 2 - 2 13%
UKIP 5,344 3% 0 0% - 0 0%
Women's Equality 0 0.00% 0 0% - 0 0%
RISE 889 0% 0 0% - 0 0%
Solidarity 793 0% 0 0% - 0 0%
Independent 3,689 2% 1,253 1% - 0 0%
Libertarian 0 0% 0 0% - 0 0%
A Better Britain – Unionist Party 0 0% 0 0% - 0 0%
Animal Welfare 0 0% 0 0% - 0 0%
Scottish Christian 3,407 2% 1,162 1% - 0 0%
205,313 100% 204,707 100% 8 7 15 100%

Looking first at the real votes on the regional list. The order of election was Conservative, Labour, Conservative, Conservative, Green, SNP, Labour.

This is another region where the SNP pick up a disproportionate total of the overall seats, 40% of the vote garnering 47% of the seats.

That Green seat is now held by John Finnie, one of two former SNP MSP's to resign from the SNP over NATO membership and sit as quasi-independents in Holyrood. The other was Jean Urquhart who was the lead candidate for RISE in the Highlands and Islands. Both MSP's, after resigning from the SNP committed themselves to honouring the SNP's manifesto as they had been elected on the regional list in 2011 on that manifesto. A pair of honourable individuals.

The Green's seat is a 5th round pick. So provided that the other honourable duo of McArthur and Scott hold the seats of Orkney and Shetland it should be a good prospect for the Greens to retain the seat.

The last seat to be allocated was for Labour and the margin looks pretty narrow. Some 800 or so more Conservative voters would have cost Labour the seat.

There is the usual leakage of SNP votes in constituencies to the regional vote but in the Highlands and Islands the big swing between region and list is away from the Liberal Democrats who mislay some 20,000 votes between one ballot box and the other. The Conservatives increase their share of the vote in the PR list, the Greens didn't stand in any constituencies and the small parties pick up 14 thousand votes between them. No Better Britain - Unionism party or Animal Welfare Party in the Highlands or, sadly, the Women's Equality Party but the Scottish Christian Party pick 3 thousand votes on the list putting them just behind an independent candidate. Rise and Solidarity barely trouble the scorers.

Looking at counter-factuals. The Conservatives could have won a list seat at the expense of the Labour Party. Perhaps they should have bused in some volunteers. Only one seat was close enough to have perhaps impacted the list race. Moray saw the SNP win by 2,875 votes over the Consertatives. The SNP would have picked up a compensating seat on the regional list.  Na h-Eileanan an Iar looks closer than it is. It's a small seat. The winning margin for the SNP over Labour was 3,496 - which would make this marginal in the big city regions - but turn out in the Western Isles was over 60% and this was the only seat in which the SNP polled more than 50% of the vote.  The SNP did finish first or second in every seat.

Final thoughts on the constituency votes. Both Liam McArthur and Tavish Scott hold their seats of Orkney and Shetland with comfortable, nay epic, majorities. Mcarthur  and Scott gathered 67% of the constituency vote. The Nothern Isles seem to have put the Carmichael business behind them and sent two Lib Dems to Holyrood. I'm personally pleased about this.
Along the M8 to Glasgow where nearly as many people voted as didn't bother. Turn out was 47.4% which compares pretty badly with the 57.9% turnout in Lothians. Seats are more disproportionately allocated than in Lothian. The SNP polled 45% of the proper vote but left with 56% of the seats. The Greens 9% of the vote for 6% of the seats.


Regional Votes

% of Vote

Constituency Vote

Constituency %

Constituency Seats

Evenutal List Seats

Total Seats

% of Seats
SNP 111,101 45% 128,443 53% 9 - 9 56%
Conservative 29,533 12% 28,906 12% 2 2 13%
Labour 59,151 24% 70,378 29% 4 4 25%
Scottish Green 23,398 9% 6,916 3% 0 1 1 6%
Liberal Democrats 5,850 2% 7,865 3% - 0 0%
UKIP 4,889 2% - 0% - 0 0%
Women's Equality 2,091 0.84% - 0% - 0 0%
RISE 2,454 1% - 0% - 0 0%
Solidarity 3,593 1% - 0% - 0 0%
Independent 0% 699 0% - 0 0%
Libertarian 271 0% - 0% - 0 0%
A Better Britain – Unionist Party 2,453 1% - 0% - 0 0%
Animal Welfare 1,819 1% - 0% - 0 0%
Scottish Christian 1,506 1% - 0% - 0 0%
248,109 100% 243,207.00 100% 9 7 16 100%

The order of regional seat allocation was Labour, Labour, Conservative, Green, Labour, Labour, Conservative.

The last seat looks like a good seat for the Conservatives. In the final seat allocation they had a margin of about 3,000 votes over Labour, the Greens and the SNP. To win the seat would require those parties to increase their regional votes by 20%, 13% and for the SNP a whooping 30%. A safe enough seat for the Greens but lots of work to do to win a second list seat.

There is evidence of constituency votes switching from the SNP and Labour to the  Greens and a host of small parties. These smaller parties polled just over 19 thousand votes between them.

The Liberal Democrats do noticeably worse in Glasgow than in the Lothians with 3% of the regional vote, only about 1,000 ahead of UKIP. The Women's Equality Party do a little worse in Glasgow than in the Capital. Just over 1% of the vote in Edinburgh, just under 1% in Glasgow. Rise and Solidarity do a little better in Glasgow. Had they combined themselves they would have finished above the Liberal Democrats in 5th place. 313 more people love animals in Glasgow than love Christ. Or at least 1,819 people are prepared to vote for the Animal Welfare Party and only 1,506 for the Scottish Christian Party. Both were beaten by A Better Britain - Unionists who favour a unitary British state with social democracy for all.

The SNP hold a very strong position in the Glasgow constituencies. They won all nine of them. Their smallest majority is over 3,700 and in all but two of the nine seats they won an absolute majority. The only excitement in the constituencies is that the Greens, running Patrick Harvie in Glasgow Kelvin came second to the SNP with 24.3% of the vote. The Green / Labour vote share if combined would have seen the Green's take the seat. The SNP would have then won a top up seat in the regions so not much incentive for Labour there but, really, these minor parties ought to stop messing about and splitting the left of centre vote. Harvie winning is about the only plausible counter factual I can think.

 Once again, 111 thousand regional votes net the SNP nothing extra but provided a solid back up to the constituency vote, Had they slipped up in marginal Kelvin they'd have been relieved to see that many people in Glasgow went #BothVotesSNP.

I'll be trawling through the Scotitsh election results with some excel and some plausible counter-factuals - trying to assess how close the election result was. I'm going to start with the Lothians because it's home turf and, as a Green party member, a fertile strip of beneficent and right minded voters.

Overall turn out was 57.9%. Seats generally aligned well with the regional vote tally. There is evidence that people are shifting their votes from the First Past the Post constituency vote to the regional list vote with votes flowing from the SNP. Lib Dems and Labour to the Conservatives,  and Greens.


Regional Votes

% of Vote

Constituency Vote

Constituency %

Constituency Seats

Evenutal List Seats

Total Seats

% of Seats
SNP 118,546 36% 137,996 42% 6 0 6 38%
Conservative 74,972 23% 67,837 21% 1 3 4 25%
Labour 67,991 21% 84,975 26% 1 2 3 19%
Scottish Green 34,551 11% 4,644 1% 2 2 13%
Liberal Democrats 18,479 6% 29,095 9% 1 1 6%
UKIP 5,802 2% - 0% 0 0%
Women's Equality 3,877 1% - 0% 0 0%
RISE 1,641 1% - 0% 0 0%
Solidarity 1,319 0% - 0% 0 0%
Independent 1,344 0%
Libertarian 119 0%
327,178 100% 326,010.00 100% 9 7 16 100%

Starting with the regional list (also known as your proper vote). Seats were won in the following order.

Conservative, Green, Labour, Conservative, Labour, Conservative, Green

Had the Lib Dems not won Edinburgh Western and the Tories not won Edinburgh Central and Labour not won Edinburgh Southern the Greens would not have won their second seat.

The second Green seat is pretty marginal. In the last d'hondt round the Greens had 17,275 and Labour 16,668. Labour would need another 834 votes to gain the last seat over the Greens. The SNP would have need 2,042 extra votes to pick up the last seat over the Greens. Pretty tight.

If all of the UKIP voters has switched to the Tories this would not have been quite enough for them to gain a 5th seat.

The first Green seat is pretty safe. Won on the second round by a comfortable margin. It would need an additional 2,935 votes for the Greens to win the seat on the first d'hondt round.

Looking at the Constituencies - it is arguably the case that Alison Johnstone cost Alison Dickie Edinburgh Central for the SNP. In which case, from a Green point of view, good. As a Conservative loss in Edinburgh Central would have cost the Greens Andy Wightman's second Lothian list seat.

This assumes that all of the Green voters would have voted SNP. They might all have plausably voted Labour, in which case the Greens have cost Labour a second constituency seat.
Edinburgh Southern, Edinburgh Western and Edinburgh Pentlands are close. Not razor thin but close. Modest swings would see Labour lose Edinburgh Southern, the SNP lose Edinburgh Pentlands or the Lib Dems lose Edinburgh Western. Each of theparties would make up the seat on the regional list. A Labour or Lib Dem loss would do so at the expense of the Greens.

118 thousand list votes didn't get the SNP much. They were pretty comfortable winners in the constituencies they won. They would have needed a few thousand more votes to over-hang and win a list seat. But, if they'd have a couple of thousand extra votes they might well have won one of the constituencies and not been awarded the list seat.
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.