The mistakes I made and what I learnt from the election


5:58 am - May 15th 2015

by Sunny Hundal    


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A lot of people made mistakes in predicting outcomes in the 2015 General Election, mostly because the polling was so out of sync with the eventual result. I made predictions based on polling too, and it was embarrassing enough when they turned out to be very wrong.

But I made other assumptions in the last election cycle and its only right to own up to them. Partly, I feel its important for my readers, but partly I think its worth articulating them so I can learn from my mistakes.

The biggest mistake I made was this. Over the last 2 years, the Labour leadership’s ratings on leadership and economic competence started trailing that of the Tory leadership. I.e. Cameron was consistently seen as a better leader than Miliband (a gap that grew), and Cameron-Osborne were ahead of Miliband-Balls on economic competence. Because the polling stayed broadly positive, I assumed this was having very little impact on voting intentions. I also assumed that when it came to the crunch, people would vote with their hearts than on competence. BFM (Big Fucking Mistake).

Clearly, it has now been proven beyond doubt that if voters don’t see you as a credible and strong leader, then they won’t trust your promises. It doesn’t matter how much they like your policies (Miliband’s policies were quite populist) – they just won’t trust you to deliver them. They won’t place their faith in you. This should be a lesson for all of us on the left. Ed tried hard to shift those perceptions, and he improved, but he didn’t try harder and earlier. I had assumed (mostly because of the polls) that voters didn’t think this was a big enough deal. Clearly, it was.

The other big mistake was with UKIP. I assumed, again based on polling data, that UKIP hurt the Tories more than Labour. Many in the Labour leadership assumed this too. And this was true to an extent. But we didn’t anticipate that the Tories would be much better at tempting back Tory->UKIP voters than Labour->UKIP voters.

I suspect Tories did this mostly by raising doubts about Miliband and his tie-up with the SNP. They said the election was going to be close — too close — and that this metropolitan geek was going to be under Nicola Sturgeon’s thumb. “It would bring chaos.”

It played not only into their English nationalism but perceptions of Miliband’s weakness as a leader. Ex-Tory voters clearly got the message and returned back. Far too many ex-Labour voters didn’t, primarily because we didn’t connect with them, emotionally and culturally (I’ll come back to that point another time).

The point is that Labour-> UKIP switchers hit us harder than many of us (including myself) expected, especially in places like Southampton Itchen. That assumption was also a BFM, though its unlikely Miliband could have stemmed that flow easily.

So yeah, I hold up my hands and admit it: both of these were pretty big assumptions and I got them wrong.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Has there been any polling of how the Scottish population rates the economic competence of SNP?

2. douglas clark

bjsalba,

Dunno about economic competence on it’s own, but measures of overall satisfaction in how they are doing seem pretty high.

Indeed it could be argued that they can’t be judged on economic competence unless and until they have full control of resources, including, of course, the ex-regio, oil revenues. And tax raised in Scotland but gathered in London, etc, etc, etc….

Perhaps I should refer you to this site:

http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/10-key-economic-facts-that-prove-scotland-will-be-a-wealthy-independent-nation/

where the arguement about economic independence rather than the SNP, per sé is pretty well at the game, set and match stage.

3. Alex O'Leary

I complete underestimated – as did many – how strong the anti-SNP hysteria would actually be, and it doesn’t reflect well on people’s understanding, that an essentially competent centre-left Scottish government party got talked up as rabble-rousing Marxists annexing Berwick. It didn’t help that Labour also helped feed this narrative.

Do you not think there’s an element of those voters who would ‘suffer’ most under the Conservatives’ welfare and economic measures, and therefore be likely to vote Labour, being harder to mobilise? One of striking things about Scotland is how many voters were mobilised, with turnout being significantly higher than England. You start touching upon cultural connection, and I think this plays into some of those issues. They were generally populist measures, but outside London, and some other city seats, such as Bristol West and Cambridge, they didn’t really have any impact. Even some of those gains were not slam-dunks.

4. douglas clark

Sunny,

I think the point that the Labour Party, and perhaps your good self too, has to learn is that straight talking is a virtue rather than a hinderance. Politicians, at least of the left, should sack every lunatic triangulationist and other fool and actually have the balls to stand up for what you believe in.

OK, you lost and it hurts.

But you are on a collision course for merging with the Death Star if you keep along the compromise route.

Where are the Labour Party on the Mediterranean Sea crisis? Up their collective arses about who should man the deck of the Titanic.

Salmond made a minor speech that said we should take a fair percentage of the people that are drowning.

Did he preposition that statement on ‘how it would play’? I doubt it very much. He said it because he thought it was morally right.

Sunny, until Labour addresses it’s moral compass it will be forever unelectable to government.

5. douglas clark

Alex O’Leary,

We are at one of those daft moments when there are people in the North of England wanting to join an independent Scotland.

At the moment it is just fluff, static in the traffic, but, who knows…..

I might see that as a desperate cry for something other than Westminster, but I would say that, wouldn’t I?

6. Left of Centre

Sunny,

You talk mainly about the failure of the pre-election polls to accurately predict the results. The way I see it, the polls failed to take account of the apparently large number of so-called ‘Shy Tories’ who, presumably, voted Tory in Con-Lab marginals, and Tory in many previously Liberal-held seats. Many people who fit into this demographic may, indeed, have only made their mind up as late as polling day. Though, from what we hear from Newsnight the other day, it looks as though those doing private polling for the Leader’s Office had an inkling that the result might be almost as bad as it ended up being.

I’m personally more interested (aren’t you?) in remedying the situation for next time. The question we have to ask ourselves is ‘what went wrong’ for Labour since, lets face it, if we don’t understand the errors of the last five years, we won’t do any better next time, in 2020.

1) For me, the massive error, or B.F.M. as you put it, of the last parliament was the Miliband-Balls leadership’s complete failure to address the Tory claim that the Labour Government’s social expenditure crashed the economy prior to 2010. Interestingly, Balls, when he ran for the Labour leadership in 2010, made an excellent speech on this very subject, at Bloomberg. I don’t know if you saw it – he made all the right Keynesian points re: the limited fiscal deficit run by Labour prior to the crash; the need for expansive public borrowing and expenditure post-2008 to keep the economy afloat; the fact that this explained the massive deficit coming out of the recession; the fact that fiscal austerity would be economically disastrous and result in a double dip recession, low productivity and stunted growth for a prolonged period.

It was an absolute disaster that he did not continue very strongly with this line when shadow chancellor. When growth returned in early 2013, Balls and Miliband allowed the Tory-led Government to harp on nonsensically about the success of their ‘long-term economic plan’. Why an earth did they not continue Balls’ earlier argument by saying something along the lines of: ‘well, yeah, after strangulating the economy for the best part of three years, with predictable results, unsurprisingly, when you allow for a degree of fiscal loosening the patient will show signs of being able to breath again – albeit it in a still weak and unsatisfactory way. It didn’t have to be this way, as we always said’.

If they’d done this, they could have framed their own (sensible) economic analysis, whilst deflecting Tory and Tory press criticism regarding their ‘economic competence’. Instead, look what actually happened, and how the Tories and their media allies skilfully deployed the ‘Long Term Economic Plan vs Labour Economic Ineptness’ narrative to scare voters in marginals and the South of the country, in particular, re: the prospect of a Labour Minority Government propped up by lefty Celts (more on crazed Celts in a moment, lol).

2) Another pretty epic B.F.M. was, in my opinion, the timidity of Miliband’s leadership. I actually voted for Balls in the previous leadership election in 2010, largely on the basis of his original stance on Labour’s fiscal and economic record in Government. Nevertheless, it was clear from the beginning that Miliband (my second choice in 2010) was essentially taking the party in the right direction. Along with the social democratic overtures of ‘one nation’ and ‘predators vs producers’, we had massively popular (lets please not forget how popular they were) policies on intervening in failed oligarchic energy markets, a higher minimum wage, abolition of zero hours contracts , reduction of tuition fees etc. The problem, for me, is that these policies did not go far enough, and they weren’t argued coherently and consistently enough, day in, day out. It was too much a case of the Leader making a set piece speech, at Conference, in which he said broadly the right things, albeit rather timidly, and then disappearing for a good half a year. For example, throughout the course of the last parliament, there was massive popular support for a public debate about the 90’s privatisation of the railways, and how rail users have got the rough end of the stick in terms of their fairs. Miliband should have made issues such as this key talking points; by doing so, he could have more forcibly, clearly and effectively argued his social democratic agenda.

I believe that, if Miliband had pursued this kind of strategy (with a more activist-led movement on the ground, as he promised he would instigate early on his leadership), we would have been able to hold on to hold on to a lot of our Scottish seats where, lets shout it out loudly in the vain hope that it might shut Lord Mandelson and other Blairite acolytes up: WE LOST BECAUSE DISILLUSIONED LIFELONG LABOUR VOTERS THOUGHT THE SNP WAS A PARTY WHICH BETTER REPRESENTED THE NEEDS OF WORKING PEOPLE. I believe that a more powerful, coherent social democratic message, combined with a successful defence of our so-called ‘economic competence’ would not merely have saved a number of our Scottish seats, but would have allowed us to better combat working class UKIP support in the North and (ironically, given what most of the punditry believes) would have secured us better results in marginal English seats. We could have argued the case that creating a more equal society, and dealing with all of the social ills which Miliband was trying to talk about (including other things that he should have been talking about, as I said above), is a prerequisite for catering for people’s so-called ‘aspirations’. In other words, more healthy societies allow people to have higher aspirations. As it stands, we didn’t push this nearly hard enough, and therefore we didn’t make nearly enough gains in winnable seats such as Nuneaton, Swindon etc (though as it stands, we didn’t do nearly as badly as most people seem to be saying in Midland and Southern England; a 3 and a bit percent increase in our share of the vote in comparison with 2010, and 10 seats won off the Tories (the Tories won 8 from us)).

And now for a couple of smaller, tactical errors:

1) We shouldn’t have fielded a candidate against the Greens in Brighton Pavilion. In return, we should have lobbied the Greens not to stand against Labour candidates in marginals. I haven’t got the results in front of me, but I seem to recall that the number of votes secured by the Green candidate in Morley and Outwood would have been more than enough to win this seat for Ed Balls.

2) This is actually a slightly bigger error, and it fits in with your recent criticism of James Murphy’s leadership of Scottish Labour. Our campaign North of the Border was, to be frank, a shambles of epic proportions. Murphy should NEVER have been Scottish Labour Leader. I believe that Gordon Brown probably ought to have taken this position (although it was clear he didn’t want it). Whatever one thinks of Brown, when he speaks North of the Border, he speaks eloquently and passionately about social justice in a way that he could never quite manage when he was centre-stage as a UK political figure. He speaks in a way that left-leaning Scottish voters would potentially listen to. Did you hear his speech in late April on poverty, or his rallying cry a day or two before the election? Brown should, in my opinion, have been the central figure in Labour’s election campaign in Scotland, and he should have prepared this campaign long in advance, as leader North of the Border.

Incidentally, I believe that, as things stood in Scotland, Brown, had he stood for re-election in Kirkaldy and Cowdenbeath, was the only Labour figure of the 40 or so who lost their Scottish seats, who was capable of holding on to his seat. I watched an interesting video of interviews with random Scottish voters. Many of them, unsurprisingly, said they would be voting SNP. When asked why, they couldn’t cite policies or anything like that – their reason was more more profound, and far more worrying for Labour: they claimed, rather obliquely, that the SNP had their interests, both as working people and as Scots, at heart more than Labour did. This constituted something of an epoch defining, revolutionary politico-cultural shift away from Labour. Only in Kirkadly and Cowdenbeath did voters express their voting intentions differently. When asked who they would be voting for, they said SNP. But when asked who they would vote for were the former Prime Minister still on the ballot paper, many said Labour. Brown should have stayed on, though admittedly, 2 MPs rather than 1 in Scotland would not have mattered much, in the grand scheme of things…

To be fair the Left/Labour have only themselves to blame regarding the anti SNP movement in England. Some of that will be purely anti Scottish stuff, I get that, and that is fair enough. However, given that the Left/Labour have spent the last two years megaphoning that an independent Scotland would end up a Northern Greece within two weeks of Salmond been given the keys to Holyrood, then you cannot blame middle England for having second thoughts. The Labour Party have been happy to see Scotland as a far away place that the Right Wing press would leave well enough alone, but they pull out all the stops at elections.

I have said before that every debate on every media forum has had a ‘but you wrecked the economy’, wild applause, line in it, for which the Labour/Left spokesman on the panel ignored. The Left were never up for defending Gordon Brown attempt to turn around the economy after borrowing to prop up the Tory voting bankers. Fair enough, but there is little point allowing that lie to fester and say ‘but we didn’t the Thursday before the election.

Sometimes we can overthink things. Now I can only speak for where I live, but here, Labour’s biggest mistake was in candidate selection. I live in a swing constituency. The Labour MP who was thrown out in 2010 had been heavily implicated in the expenses scandal. The Conservative who was elected in 2010 has claimed virtually no expenses, and sends out a monthly statement of any expenses claimed.

In addition he turns up to local events like litter picking where he is seen to muck in and get his hands dirty. He responds to queries promptly, helps with problems, and generally does the job you would expect a decent constituency MP to do.

For this election, the local Labour Party decided to reselect the expense claimer who had been thrown out in 2010; you can guess the result.

I could be wrong, but I’m doubtful whether the SNP scare was that important. Voters usually make up their minds before the short campaign. I think the lie about the economy and Labour’s disconnect from many working class voters were probably the key factors.

Sunny.

I have read your article and I have put a couple of obvious points forward. However, as far as your original premise goes, I think we (and hopefully, the broader progressive movement) can agree on these things. Looking a bit deeper and giving it some thought, I would like to add a few more thoughts regarding the pathetic state of the British Left.

I voted SNP like over a million of my fellow Scots. I cannot speak for all of these people, but I, for one am sick and tired of the complete failure of Labour, both nationally and in Scotland to oppose or even challenge the Tory/Right Wing narrative. The Right set the agenda at every opportunity and there was the entire ‘Progressive’ movement lap dancing away, in the vain hope they may get some kind recognition. No matter the subject the Right said something and the Left had no effective counter, instead the starting point was always to accept the Tory premise.

The most obvious one was the ‘you caused the deficit’ line. Not only did the ‘Left’ (inside and outside of the Labour Party) make no real attempt challenge that, but some who either call themselves, or are called ‘Progressive’ actually started to espouse that very narrative as well. On more than one occasion we had so called ‘decent’ Lib Dems like Ming Campbell and Vince Cable pull this one out as well. So, what was the long term strategy behind this? Okay, it may have ingratiated yourselves with the Right, but as a long term strategy?

Secondly the bigotry debate. Probably the single biggest facet of the last five years was the rise of the bigotry in British politics. This bigotry was aimed at benefit claimants, unemployed, the sick and the disabled. The second line being children, the obese, Muslims etc. The problem with feeding bigots, is that it never enough. When you concede ground on a little bit of bigotry, you have to be prepared to redraw the battle lines in ever decreasing circles. As long as you are prepared to give ground to a bigot, you are going to be doing this for ever.

Thirdly, there appears to a complete failure to understand to nature of your enemy and the nature of their strategy. There seems to be an assumption that these Tories are decent, if misguided people. Sadly, the evidence from the last five years points to the completely the opposite way. These people take every opportunity to tar the Left with smears and lies.

Attacks on the BBC and the supposed ‘Left Wing’ bias is one example. This is on-going since the nineteen eighties and comes out at every turn. This was done to muzzle any attempt at scrutiny or expose injustice. The Left were just too fucking stupid to see what the Tories where trying to achieve. Almost the first thing the Tories did in 2010 was to hole the BBC under the waterline to almost paralyse the BBC and scare them from putting their policies from under the microscope. And it worked. It worked so well that ANY attempt to hold the Government of the day (Blair complained as well at the time) to account was scuppered. How did the Left react to allegations of Left Wing bias? They accused the BBC of Right Wing bias. That’s right, they attacked the BBC. Not attacked the Tories or UKIP for spitting out the dummy out regarding their record or their policies. Not the fact that the Tories are unable to withstand scrutiny, not the fact that they hate a ‘free press’ when it doesn’t suit them. Nope, they attack the BBC.

Lastly, and one of the most scathing attacks on the Labour Party. DEFEND YOUR MAN! Too often the Right go after the leadership, yet the Labour Party NEVER DEFEND THEIR MAN. Not Brown, not Miliband and it seems that Chuck Umma has thrown in the towel because he has been under the microscope. So Brown is ‘a bit weird’ according to the press, silence. Miliband ate a bacon sarnie, silence, is a bit of a geek, silence. The Blairite/Brownite squabbles are all fine and dandy, but too many people are suffering under Tory rule for this shite to continue. Boris can do anything and his side will smile, shrug their shoulders and snort and everything moves along. Jeremy Clarkson punches a man in the face, and there is a petition to keep his job. Katie Hopkins calls for gunboats in the Med, nope, nothing. Brown smiles on you tube! All of the media go bananas and the Left agree. Christ on a bike, DEFEND YOUR MAN.

So, it looks like Scotland and the rest of the UK are parting company. Given that you are willing to sacrifice the entire Post War Settlement rather than grow a pair and take on the Tories and risk ‘not being liked’ by some of the most despicable lice in the Country, good riddance.

Oh, by the way, the Iraq war? Can we drag that over the coals again? because the general public are still hungry for more.

Jim @7, while I would agree with you a little on what you say about bigotry (in some newspapers particularly), its not as simple as that and I do find Scots and people like the Playd Cymru leader dishishing out that term quite liberally, a bit hard to take. I don’t know where you live in Scotland, but I don’t think a majority of Scots would be in favour of parts of Scotland changing as much as some English cities have through immigration. Would people in Dundee be completely fine about it becoming as multicultural as Leicester? Would Edinburgh cope with the kinds of immigration that many London boroughs have? I’m sure it would cope, but it would become a different place too, and I don’t think all Scots would be as left wing about it as they sound now.
Many of ”the bigots” who voted Ukip are the kinds of people who feel that there was too much immigration, and many of them in places like Kent and Essex, are either former residents of central London, or from places out on the geographical edge of the great changes that took place in the London demography.
I don’t usually call that bigotry, but more like typical human responses to change.

Damon
Hi
Scotland has had at least one wave of mass immigration, albeit over a hundred years ago, that has alleged to have changed the Country the same ways that Eastern European immigration has; Every aspect of Scottish culture has evidence of this immigration wave written into it. Those tremors are still there, even if the bi monthly ‘Old Firm Games’ no longer exist.
Do not misunderstand Scotland’s position here. Scotland is not some ‘nicey’, ‘nicey’ – ‘Cambellwick Green/happy’ family Utopia. There is HUGE resentment an Eastern European immigration in Scotland. Unemployment (and subsequent benefit cuts) is biting and mass immigration is (rightly or wrongly) being blamed; housing, NHS education etc are suffering as well. Fortunately, Scotland has not descended into the strutting Nationalism of UKIP. Whatever the SNP stand for (and despite what the Right Wing press tell you), it is not some kind of Shortbread tin, finger pointing, snarling at ‘the others’ exclusive Nationalism. The SNP are seen as having our beliefs, goals and aspirations at heart. The SNP are a Left of centre party who want social housing, a humane welfare system and decent public services. Had the SNP not put forward an alternative to Tory punishment, I dread to think what would have happened in Scotland.

thanks for your comments – agree with a lot of what has been said here.

The candidate selection point is absolutely key too. Its quite dispiriting how crap some Labour candidates were (but then they were very good in other places and still lost).

On the economy, I don’t think Labour would have gotten away with saying they wouldn’t make ANY cuts going forward. But they should have challenged the past – that I agree with.

Jim @9 – Fair points you make there. About the Irish migration too. I lived in Glasgow for a while in the 90s so have an idea what it’s like. I always found most people pretty sound. Not so different to English at all. I lived across from a posh academy school where there were a lot of rich West End type students and their parents in the big cars collecting them from school. While most Scots could never bring themselves to vote Ukip, there are probably a lot of people with similar outlooks, it just presents itself differently.

I’m sure low paid workers there have the same kinds of employment reality as south east England. There being such an oversupply of labour, that the job agencies have enough people on their books that wages are kept down, and that if you don’t want to work for their low wages, they can get someone else with just a phone call.
People on the left keep insisting that that hasn’t happened though – and it’s one of the reasons for the turn to Ukip I think. At my job agency in London, the rate for van drivers is £7 an hour, which is a disgrace. But they have plenty of people who will work for that so why pay more?
Low wages, high rents, no chance of ever buying a house, and if you moan about it you get called a bigot. I can see why people turned against the left. Even though some Labour people were saying there were problems there, they suffered because of the idea that Labour were fully behind the PC ”you can’t say that” narrative.

My opinion …. Andy Burnham is not a winner for Labour.
He’s part of the reason I’m a bit cool about Labour.
Any time I’ve heard him ”droning on” about the NHS, I’ve felt the urge to switch off. I also felt a bit insulted by the Labour leaflets that came through the door with the ”24 hours to save our NHS” message. It felt totally patronising and a spun message.

Even Sunny Hundal’s 20,000 tweets to get behind Labour in this campaign (which I looked at from time to time) left me thinking that politics was either a waste of time, or a hobby.

15. John P Reid

Damon’s right, Andy would have been the best leader we never had last time
Not sure about Liz, Mary or Yvette, Yvette would have made a great deputy leader, if she was more forward, I could see her being a future leader, like Harriet should have stood in 2010

Shame Emma Reynolds or Gloria aren’t standing,

16. John P Reid

Len Mckluskys support, as Mcklusky is saying back my views or I’ll back the SNP would be a death wish, as Burnhams a former Blairite, won’t sound convincing if a Mcklusky tells him what todo

17. Newmania

Hardly surprising you would miss English Nationalism is it,you don`t care about England and you are not ethnically English, well not entirely.

Damon

The SNP wiped Labour off the board from a Left Wing position. They have even won with a commitment to end the ‘Right to Buy’, a position that Labour could never support down South. Labour’s timid response to every Tory attack means they are unable to oppose any Right Wing agenda and must be see seen to out Tory the Tories.

The Labour Leadership contest has already turned into A ‘Stars in their eyes’ Tory-A-like contest, fine. Nothing to do with us, the first thing the new leader of Labour should do is give a cast iron promise to jettison Scotland from the Union. Too many innocent Scots have suffered at the hands of the Tory vermin.

You people down South love to see the weak suffering, well that is your choice, you never challenge or question a Tory? Again that is your choice. however, I cannot watch a colleague of mine be made redundant because he needs a lung transplant on one day and told he is fit for work on the following Friday. Not in my DNA to support such cruelty. Sorry if that make me a ‘non aspirational’ person, but I cannot sit by and watch as decent people suffer at the hands of Tory scum and not call it as I see it.

The last election was the last chance for Liberal Democracy to gain the ascendency and reclaim the Post War Settlement. England has chosen a path that leads to a Victorian culture; slave labour, slum landlords and oligarchy. I cannot argue with twenty million odd English people.

All I as is that we in Scotland get the chance to take another path. Who knows? We may end up destroying ourselves in the process, but better to die on your feet that live on your knees.

Hold on a minute guys. Ed Miliband was not the problem here. The issue was the constant hatchet job the Right Wing press threw at him. Labour could have Jesus Christ as leader, but if your Party make no attempt to defend their man as the mud flies around, you are going to have the same result.

The papers only do this sort of think because it works. No doubt Andy Burnham would have had pictures of him eating a bacon roll posted as ‘evidence’ of his unsuitability as the Leader of the Country.

I cannot remember any of the potential leaders of Labour addressing any of the issues raised here. Now, after the election we were hearing complaints from the Right of the Party of a failure to reach out to ‘aspirational’ people. So, where were they? Chucka Umunma said he could bring these people into the fold, but I cannot think of a single statement to this effect BEFORE the election. Why not?

Jim @15 It’s quite easy being left wing in theory, but do the sums add up? Poor countries could have politicians who could say they are going to do this or that, but they just can’t, because they don’t have the money. Morocco is poor, and if someone there made a manifesto like the SNPs you’d have to say they were being delusional because the country is poor.

But, I basically agree with much of what you said. I didn’t support Scottish independence for reasons of attachment to Scotland, but maybe we do need to see some quite radical things happen to shake the UK up quite sharply. And even though the SNP landslide in parliament is not representative of Scotland as a whole, if nothing is done to change things, this will be a more unpleasant country to live in.
Personally I’d like to see full PR and let all the political parties fight out their ideas in a more representative way.
And Scotland can do its own thing and leave us English to sort out the Tories.

It would be nice to see something happening in the next couple of decades anyway, just to make life a bit more interesting.

21. douglas clark

damon,

How do you make the arguement:

“And even though the SNP landslide in parliament is not representative of Scotland as a whole…”

I’d have thought 49.97% of votes cast was pretty persuasive…

22. Dave Roberts.

As you seem to be in an apologising mea culpaish mood Sunny, could we have your thoughts on Lee Jasper and the missing millions and the ongoing events in Tower Hamlets two events that you called completely wrongly? I’m not holding my breath. I think you’re only putting your hands up to this mistake because so may other people made as well as you.

Jim

I cannot watch a colleague of mine be made redundant because he needs a lung transplant on one day and told he is fit for work on the following Friday. Not in my DNA to support such cruelty.

Just came along here for a peek for old times sake and am astonished to find you are still spouting this kind of nonsense.

Sort of life affirming, really!!

24. douglas clark

pagar,

lat us assume for a moment that Jim cannot back up that statement.

Jim where are you? Please give us chapter and verse.

But there is a lot of evidence of people in terminal conditions being allowed to be ‘fit for work’.

You probably can’t be arsed but this is fairly damning.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/atos-fit-to-work-assessments-branded-farcical-2225751

I have many, many more.

It is up to the dear reader to determine where you are coming from. I suspect you are not a life affirming sort of chap at all!

Hi Pagar

You may or may not recognise these kind of stories, I have no idea what appears on your radar. However, you have to understand these kind of things happen all too often and too many people are telling the same kind of stories for it all to be some kind of conspiracy. Last week a Scottish Newspaper, who opposed the independence campaign, had a story about a woman who missed her appointment by ten minutes at the dole because she took her daughter to the toilet. As a result she has suffered a four week sanction.

The progressive movement have suffered a huge defeat at the ballot box, so it pretty clear that these type of stories have had little or no effect in gaining public sympathy. That is fair enough, you cannot argue with the votes, or non votes of twenty million odd people; people like me are in the minority, that doesn’t necessarily mean we are wrong, but it does mean we have to re examine ourselves. Pagar, your ideology has won the day. You will see the State go into decline to the position it was in pre war over the next ten years.

For many on the ‘British Left’ they strategy appears to be to go into denial mode and, like you, deny the blatantly obvious cruelty inherent in Tory ideology and form some kind of alliance with these people. I cannot speak for everyone else, but that is not an option for me. I cannot see these type of things and pretend that everything is okay.

In practical terms that means that I, for one, wish to see a complete separation of our Countries.

Hi Jim

Strangely enough, I agree with you that creating a means tested welfare system then applying individual sanctions via an inflexible bureaucracy is cruel. I’m no more a Tory than you are!!!

Regarding Scottish independence, there is now such a dichotomy of political opinion between the two nations that it does seem that separation is the correct and inevitable outcome.

Pagar

It is not only cruel it is deliberately cruel. There is nothing accidental about the worst sanctions imposed on decent people. However, the Left appear to want the rest of us to be willing to ignore such actions ‘for the great or good’. However, I, for one cannot simply ignore it. I see examples of deliberate actions, based around an undercurrent of scapegoating and demonisation of millions of people and I cannot bring myself to shrug them off as simply ‘one off’ incidents.

I firmly believe that Cameron, Osbourne and IDS have sadistic streaks in them that seek out the vulnerable in society for punishment.


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