danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
I was corresponding with a USian colleague about the impact of Brexit on our business and offered him some Brexit Buzzwords that he could drop in to conversations in the US so as to appear knowledgable and on the ball.

I offer 15 of them below. Feel free to add your own

  1. Article 50 (has not been invoked)

  2. Corbynista (#JezzWeCan - equivalent to #FeelTheBern)

  3. £350 million

  4. Cornwall (voted for Brexit, would like the UK goverment to guarrantee its EU funding)

  5. Sewell Convention (the memorandum that lays out the process for changing the devolution settlement for Scotland)

  6. Dundalk - Newry crossing - (the bit of the Northern Ireland / Republic of Ireland border with the most traffic - if I recall correctly this is where a senior IRA commander had a farm that literally straddled the border.)

  7. Wiff Waff is Coming Home.

  8. "Actually I've got €50 onTeresa May becoming PM"

  9. The pound, oh my god, the pound.

  10. Kubler Ross Grief Cycle

  11. "Nicola Sturgeon is perhaps the most astute politician in the UK."

  12. #IndyRef2

  13. "Actually I've got €50 on Tom Watson becoming Labour Leader."

  14. Guardian reading metropolitian liberal elite (you say that as if it's a bad thing)

  15. Unwritten constitution.

danieldwilliam: (machievelli)

A serious thought about the EU Referendum and the possibility of a second Scottish Independence referendum.

I was, and am, in favour of Scottish Independence within the EU.

I was, and am, in favour of the UK remaining part of the EU.

I wish I could have both. If we can not have both I think we should pick the EU over the UK.

Ideally, for me, Scotland would become independent from the UK whilst both were in the EU. There would be a natural and pre-existing trading arrangement. We (Scotland) would have to ride out a few years adjusting to running our own country, getting a workable currency and setting our tax rates right. It would be difficult in the short term but I think, on balance, probably, better economically and politically in the medium term. This is a guess not a promise and I might be wrong. Other people thought so and I respect their thought processes and their right to their own values and risk preferences.

But we don't live in an ideal world. There appears to be no sweet spot where we can have easy trading relationships with both the rest of the UK and the other 27 members of the EU. The next few years are going to be economically challenging in exactly the same way as Scottish Indepdence was always going to be. Avoiding the sunk cost fallacy we have to make the best of the situation we are in today, not the best of the situation we thought we were in a week ago. We have to go forward from where we are. Where we are, today,  is in flux, with both peril and opportunity on all sides.

And so, it might now be the case that Scottish Indepedence as  part of the EU is the best option for my country even if it wasn't when the rest of the UK was an EU member state.

If that is the case I think we should do it quickly. To quote the first and greatest British playwright

"Thereis a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of theirlife is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures."


"If it were donewhen 'tis done, then 'twere well It were done quickly"

The position of the SNP before the EU referendum as I saw it was a) to reserve the right to hold a second referendum to Scottish people, and b) to actually wait until there was a pent up demand for independence. Fair and resonable under the circumstances in my view. But slow, so slow, so flat footed.

I think those circumstances have changed. We have a very strong vote for Remain in Scotland. Is that a proxy for a vote for Independence? Maybes Aye, Maybes Nay. There's only one way to find out soon. And find out soon we must. There is an opportunity for Scotland to profit from England's error. If we move quickly, quickly to establish a firm invitation to remain in the EU, quickly to hold and win an independence referendum and then quickly to set our trade and taxation policy so as to predate on England's uncertain future by encouraging international businesses currently located in England who want an Anglophone location in the EU to relocate to Scotland rather than Ireland. Which if they are going to do, they will do sooner rather than later.

Are the people of Scotland up for this? Only one way to find out. If we wait until we are certain the opportunity to walk away from the implosion of the UK with at least our own country and economy and people intact will be gone.

So I think Sturgon should get on a plane and fly round every European capital and ask them to jointly and severally invite Scotland to stay in the EU. If successful she should announce a referendum to be held before Christmas. If that is for independence then we negotiate SExit alongside Brexit and stay in the EU.

If unsuccessful we are not any worse off. If we wait to see how damaging Brexit will be and how that actually affects public opinion the damage to us will be done and the opportunity to ameliorate that damage with some prudent, sharp business will be lost.

To be clear - I am absolutely advocating that we (Scotland) conspire to stab our closest ally and dearest friend in the back. Et tu Scotus. We should not stand with them whilst they try to work out how to be a non-European nation. We should take advantage of their distress to prosper ourselves. What choice have they left us? What choice have we left ourselves.

I vote for #IndyRef2 within six months.

danieldwilliam: (machievelli)

The Tartan Shortbread Institute of Scotology has been busy peering in to the future of the UK England to determine if there actually is any future for any of us now. There’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that the Institute has secured EU funding from the Social Cohesion Fund. The bad news – well we’ve found ourselves locked up on a small island with a bunch of racists lead by the Chuckle Brothers. To pass the time until our taxi arrives to take us back to Europe here are 25 True Facts about Life After Brexit

  1. A radical change in education policy will be the first act of the new UK government. History, Economics and Science will be removed from the curriculum and replaced with Casual Racism and C’mon Engerland Studies.

  2. The Queen will abdicate and then be deported. Britain will become a republic. There doesn’t appear to be any other way to get round the fact that our Royal Family are unwelcome EU economic migrants who moved here from Germany and Greece to build a better life for themselves and their children.

  3. After stemming a massive run on the banks by personally standing in the streets of Newcastle handing out five euro notes Mark Carney will be given a knighthood for his services to not fucking things up any more than they already are. He won’t be able to accept the knighthood, because he’s Canadian and not a UK citizen.

  4. With the UK leaving the EU the European Union has lost the fifth largest economy in the world and will have to rely on the Germans to run everything and make everything. The Germans seem remarkably unconcerned by this onerous responsibility.

  5. After losing the Labour leadership election to an empty sack of potatoes dressed in a kimono and lightly garnished with gladioli Jeremy Corbyn will become our lead exit negotiator with the EU Commission. Wearing only a heliotrope smoking jacket he will be tasked with negotiating the terms of the UK's exit from the EU. He will bring a touch of vigour and enterprise to the EU that has been sadly missing of late. By the end of the negotiations Pimlico will be a Workers Revolutionary Paradise and the rest of London will belong to Donald Trump.

  6. Wiff Waff is coming home. It's being carried home by about a million ex-pat Brits from Spain. They have exactly the keen reflexes and go get 'em attitude we need to make ourselves the Wiff Waff capital of the Commonwealth.

  7. The Commonwealth will vote to expel us. No reason, well, no reason other than the fact that we’ve destroyed our own economy so are of no value to them and have just revealed ourselves to still be massively racist dicks. Also, without the Queen we no longer have anyone interesting to send on visits when the governments of Commonwealth nations want to distract their own population from corruption scandals or their own economic woes. Now they don’t have to. Instead they can just point at England, the world’s sixth largest economy and laugh.

  8. The new Prime Minister of the UK will be hand picked by the 1922 Committee from amongst the brightest and best Old Etonions not currently too busy running daddy’s hedge fund or in prison for illegal arms trading. If you are lucky it will Teresa May.

  9. You are shit out of luck. The new Prime Minister of the UK will be Boris Johnson. Unlike Mario Cuomo who campaigned in poetry and governed in prose Johnson will campaign in Latin and govern in incoherent, self-serving gibberish but still, never mind, there’s always the Wiff Waff. And the casual racism. Oh and the UK will still be the world’s seventh largest economy.

  10. The south of England can ignore global warming and the risk of droughts. Hose pipe bans will be a thing of the past. The roses of Kent will be watered by the bitter, bitter tears of EU citizens who are going to be sent back to where they come from. NB this does not apply to Boris Johnson who is an American of Turkish descent or Nigel Farage’s German wife.

  11. Scotland will leave. We will take our Wiff Waff paddles with us.

  12. People worried about the fragile peace in Northern Ireland will thank a catholic God that the IRA are reasonable people.

  13. A moment of national contemplation and celebration will occur giving thanks that this whole sordid affair has passed off without a shot being fired. Well, except for the ones that murdered Jo Cox. A bit like immigrants you personally like, those bullets don’t count.

  14. Port Talbot steel works will close but the Welsh will still be able to make a living doing whatever it is they do in the 21stcentury’s eighth largest economy.

  15. No one will point and laugh at us during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. This is largely due to the fact that Brasil has problems of its own with a massive scary plague, inept and corrupt politicians, a tanking economy and uneasy relationship with a colonial past. Birds of a feather.

  16. Pairing off against Jeremy Corbyn and Michael Gove in the Brexit negotiations will be newly appointed EU Commissioner Alex Salmond.  Only kidding. We’re sending Billy Connolly – you boys look like you need cheering up and we have to respect that the EU is negotiating with the world’s ninth largest economy. Negotiations will drag on for years as Connolly attempts but fails to finish an anecdote about a Glaswegian shepherd wrestling a fish supper in his wellies.

  17. London will demand a devolution settlement on a par with Scotland but with full fiscal autonomy. That’s full fiscal autonomy for the rest of England. The bits with no jobs or money. New Premier Sadiq Kahn will cancel fiscal transfers and solidarity payments to the North of England on the grounds that most of the money is made by EU citizens and they don’t see why it should be spent on schools and hospitals in a foreign country.

  18. Round about the time that Scotland and Northern Ireland leave the UK the former Great Britain will realise that the Great in Great Britain refers to its size relative to Brittany when both of those areas were part of the Angevian Empire and just because you call something “great” doesn’t make it actually great unless by “great” you mean xenophobic, myopic and destitute.

  19. In 2019, just ahead of the next English General Election, from out of the sack of potatoes occupying the Opposition dispatch box will emerge Gordon Brown, the King over the Water, who will lead the Labour to a stunning election victory just in time to be served with a repossession notice by the French. They would like Hastings back.

  20. Douglas Carswell will defect to Plaid Cymru.

  21. The main economic activity of the rump of the UK will be betting on how long the recession will last. This will sustain the UK as the twelfth largest economy in the world.

  22. Bob Geldolf will organise a fund raising concert on a barge in the Thames for impoverished Mackums. No one will go.

  23. The third runway at Heathrow will finally go ahead. At long last someone will find a use for all those sodding Wiff Waff paddles. They can be used to guide the private jets of Russian Mafioso to their personal tax free terminal building. The Pret a Manger in Terminal Five will overtake the UK to become the world’s seventeenth largest economy.

  24. Freed of costly regulations like workers’ rights, paid holiday and health and safety legislation the working classes of the North will enjoy a cultural renaissance where they rediscover the whole point of class solidarity, internationalism and organised labour. Paul Mason will martyr himself with a searing blog about international capitalism or something. The General Strike of 2026 will bring the world’s 47thlargest economy to its knees.

  25. England will be knocked out of the 2022 World Cup at the semi-final stage by Germany on penalties. An embarrassed Angela Merkell will be heard to mutter “You really can’t help some people can you?”

danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
This isn't a prediction but more of a prior or a baseline.

As you sow, so shall ye reap and sometimes you are not the harvester but the harvest.

If Scotland is to become independent and pick up any benefit of businesses wanting to keep an Angolphone office inside the EU it will need to become independent within the EU pretty fast. I'd be disappointed if Sturgeon wasn't on a plane to Brussels and Bonn today.

Indyref Part 2 within a year. Yes wins by a narrow margin. Scotland opens popcorn but realises it actually has some work to do so sells the popcorn. Watch the predatory corporation tax rate and the subtlely lax banking regulation. (Let's hope we have the sense to keep some of the tax revenue back for the next crash.)

Chaos in the Tory Party. They either need to back off the central plank of their economic policy of reducing the deficit through spending cuts or they need to magically make the economy not be affected by the referendum result or admit that their economic credibilty is worth about as much as the pound. So, the emergency budget will be devisive - for them - and brutal for the working classes in the North of England and the Midlands. I'd expect May to emerge at Tory leader and the next PM.

Chaos in the Labour Party. Corbyn is utterly pish. Essentially backed Leave.  I thought he'd manage to communicate with people and shift the Overton Window a bit but it feels like he's sitting at his desk writing strident blog posts, filing his paperclips and gazing at the pin-ups in the Morning Star. However, the Labour right hasn't re-organised in to a coherent post-Blarite grouping and, to be honest, doesn't have much in the way of quality to offer either.

I think we probably avoid a snap general election. Jeez, that would be messy.

Plan A - we (they) end up having a second EU referendum post exit negotiations on the question "Do you want to stay in the EU or take the actual deal on offer?"

Plan B - Britain (aka England) gets left to dangle for a year or more and ends up in the European Economic Area but on pretty strict terms, probably including Schengen. (I personally won't be sorry about this. I like the EU, I like free movement, I like every closer union and being forced to join the EEA will be a much needed punch to the nuts of post-imperialist little Englanders. Also, I'll be living in a post-independence Scotland.)

Those are not our Plans A and B but the German's Plans A & B.

Ten or twenty years after England joins the EEA it votes to rejoin the EU finally shorn of its illustions that the rest of the world owes it any favours.

The working class of the North of England and the Midlands continues to be slowly evicerated by the Conservative Party. If you want a vision of the future, imagine a hand-made Italian brogue stamping on a face, forever.

But not I think in my country.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
Last week's weekend was a belter but tinged with worry.

Mostly lovely and sunny with some odd weather to make things interesting.

Saturday morning had the usual early start to watch Red Dwarf with the Captain. Then soccer in the park with his school. I was observing to the dad of one of the other kids that the kids seemed to have gotten the hang of kicking the ball when the Captain got a sturdy shot right in the chest which ricocheted in to his face, flooring him. He was a hurt. So much so that I was half way to him before he was coaxed back to his fit.

After a snack it was time for rugby. The Captain was sin binned for offside during the tag game. Harshly I thought. Unfortunately the fact that the Captain was sitting on the sidelines slipped the mind of the  coach and the Captain was out of the game for quite a while. He took this in quite good spirits. Considering. Generally a good standard of play but not quite as keen as usual all round. What was nice is that the kids are begining to remember each other and interact as pals.

Saturday afternoon was snoozey.  I fixed the new loo seat. It is silver. I'm not sure I love it but I don't hate it. Had a bit of a nap whilst listening to the cricket whilst My Lovely Wife and the Captain painted paint samples on to paper so we could compare colours to the short-list of wallpaper. We discovered that the understair cupboard door had been painted shut by the painter. My opinion of tradesmen took another knock - painters in particular.

Sri Lanka would be a better team if they picked a few batsmen and bowlers to go along with the 11 fielders they seem to have brought to England.

The living room is to be redecorated with similar wallpaper and paint to the current offering. I favour a wallpaper pattern with some peony roses which I would team with a red couch.

MLW then watched the Musketeers (which I'm sceptical about at the moment) and House of Cards (US version) which I think is great.

Sunday also started early. Most days start early. We went to see watch the start of the Edinburgh Marathon and cheer on a couple of friends. We saw them both but, slightly embarrassingly only after they had spotted us. Then brunch with WidgetFox in Soderburgh, the Swedish cafe in Quartermile. They do a few things very well. I enjoyed my breakfast. It was lovely to see WidgetFox. We spoke about cricket and cycling and whatnot.

After brunch MLW, the Captain and I set off for Crammond. We crossed the causeway to the island and walked clear across the island to the Firth of Forth. Adventure abounded. It was a long and winding road and we had to rely on our native guide on the trek. At least this was the Captain's view. The far end of the island had a) more bunkers - we went in them all, b) lots of broken glass which we avoided c) what looked like day two of a weekend camping and drinking and dancing party (The Captain did not care for the loud noise - I was impressed by the quality of the stereo d) a great view of one of the islands made to look like a battle ship and used as a decoy.

This prompted a discussion of the battle of Jutland (it being the anniversary this weekend), British naval strategy during World War One - the blockade of Germany, starving the Germans, not losing a battle being more important than winning one. This was followed by the German bombing and submarine campaign in the Second World War directed at blockading Britain. Then we talked about the Captain's great-great-granddad who had fought in the Boer War which took us to concentration camps. Marathons reminded us of the Graeco-Persian wars.  Later the Captain wanted to know about a war that had happened since he was born - so Syria.  All in all not very jolly but he was fascinated and kept asking questions. Including asking me how I knew so much about things.

We went out for tea to a Chinese buffet. Very nice as these things go. Buffets are easier with the Captain because he can eat straight away and can look after himself. The spicy aubergine stood out for me.

MLW was babysitting so I read the Captain some stories and then watched a bit of television before reading an interesting book about Homer. So far it is very much about the emotional experience of discovering Homer but pretty light on facts or theory. I'm sure we'll get to it, but so far the author likes Homer.

The bad news came at the very end. Woke up very early on Monday to a message from my sister. She had spent the night at A&E having cut her hand very, very badly on a broken glass. This sucks for all sorts of reasons beyond the obvious.  The news today is that she has probably escaped permanent tendon damage but will need an operation on Thursday.
danieldwilliam: (acting)

Last night I watched A Midsummers Night's Dream as adapted by Russel T Davies.

I quite enjoyed it.

I have mixed feelings about the play. It's the most hipsterish of Shakespeare' plays. Which means it was probably writen by the Earl of Oxford. Not content with writing one play we get the play within the play. And the Mortals are performing for the Fairies, who are performing for us. Hamlet also has an internal play but that's about the use of propaganda. This play is about itself.  It's a play about plays, about players, and playwrights, a play about being in a play, a play about plays about plays. And therefore as exciting as a night at the Baftas.

I also find the Mechanicals quite unamusing. They feel forced and unfunny. A bit like my accountancy exams; the main thing I enjoy about Bottom is when he's over.

On the other hand I enjoy the farcical element of Hermia and Helena, Lysander and Demetrius wandering through the forest each in love with the wrong person, misconstruing everything that is said and getting more and more irrational and lost. Which then bumps up against the plotting and cross-plotting and plots gone awry of the Fairies.  Then love triumphs over pride and everyone is happy. There's no dog on a string but you can't have everything.

I also have mixed feelings about the adaptation. It was brilliantly lush. Well performed. Fast enough paced. I'm not convinced by the pseudo-fascist trappings or the death of Theseus or entirely sure what was going on with Hippolyta.

What I loved about the adaptation was the brilliant performance of Fisayo Akinade giving Flute's brilliant performance as Thisbe. In amongst all the silliness and ham, intentional and untentional, he rounded off the peformance with a reminder that stories, and plays and films do have the power to move us and to change us.

Early one morning I shall try the Captain on it and see if he goes for the bright colours and the silliness.

danieldwilliam: (machievelli)

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.

danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
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.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)


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.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
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.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
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.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
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.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)

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.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
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.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
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.
danieldwilliam: (electoral reform)
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.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
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.

danieldwilliam: (electoral reform)
A few election predictions. None particular controversial or insightful.
Read more... )
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
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.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
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... )

That's my energy starter for ten.


danieldwilliam: (Default)

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