07 April 2010

Nag, nag, nag...

Nick Clegg, yesterday:

"This isn't the old politics of a two-horse race..."

The Scottish LibDem website:

In many parts of Scotland, the Liberal Democrats are the only alternative to Labour for the Westminster elections.

In these areas the Conservatives and the SNP are in a poor third or even fourth place and cannot win. Only the Liberal Democrats can deliver real change.

John Sleigh, LibDem Candidate for Aberdeen South, on a page entitled 'Two Horse Race':

Neither the Tories or the Nationalists can possibly win here. Voting for them now will only help Labour hold on in Aberdeen South. Only by voting for the Liberal Democrats can we stop Labour taking our area for granted.

Andrew Reeves, March 30th:

Finally the Conservatives in Aberdeen South have realised that the general election is a two horse race between the Labour MP and Liberal Democrat John Sleigh.

Andrew Reeves, April 3rd:

Well, David Cameron has admitted what we already know in Scotland, that the forthcoming general election is not a fight between Labour and the Conservatives, but in fact between the Liberal Democrats and Labour, who have the most Scottish MPs between them.

Andrew Reeves, today:

So, the battle on May 6th in East Lothian is between Fiona and Stuart Ritchie, the Liberal Democrat candidate as it is we who are in second place here.

So we have Nick Clegg announcing the end of a two-horse race, and Scottish LibDems, most notably Andrew Reeves, still peddling the two-horse race idea. Perhaps there is only a two-horse race when the LibDems are one of the horses.

But this is what we're used to from them - the same old hypocrisy from those charlatans of Scottish politics. The people who claim to be the only relevant challengers to Labour, despite having lost their deposits in the last three By-Elections.

The people who claim to be democrats, then refuse to support a referendum on Scotland's future, despite wanting one on, well, just about everything else.

The people who in 2005 claimed to be 'winning for students' while one of their candidates was calling for a limit on the number of student flats.

The people who claim to want transparent government, then reject an inquiry into the goings-on in Glasgow City Chambers.

The people who say they're against the Iraq War, then celebrate when the party who got us into it win By-Elections, just because they're not the SNP.

The people who say they're against ID cards, then celebrate when the party who wants to introduce them win By-Elections, just because they're not the SNP.

The people who say they're against detention without trial, then celebrate when the party who brought us 42-day detention win By-Elections, just because they're not the SNP.

The people who say they want fairer local government tax, then celebrate when the party who wants to keep the regressive Council Tax win By-Elections, just because they're not the SNP.

Well, they'd better hope that people don't realise that the LibDems are trying to con them. Far from representing a real, positive change, the LibDems are the party of chicanery, of deceit, of saying anything just so one day they can junk actual policies and just tell you to vote for them because the bar chart with the wonky scale says so.

Because when people do find out, and they inevitably will, then this is where the LibDem horse will end up:


Steven F said...

Tavish Scott was especially shameless on yesterday's Reporting Scotland, telling viewers that it (the Election) wasn't a two horse race, except in seats like the one he was in(a Lib Dem target), where it was. All in one breath!

Anonymous said...

sorry but you have the wrong type of glue. Animal glue is very hard (like the old mcgowans toffee) and needs to be 'melted' in a receptical surrounded by hot water (needed to keep the heat up so that it does not start setting too quickly. It smells horrible when used and the dead horse smell lasts for about 2 weeks afterwards.

The first part is interesting though. As an SNP supporter, does it make more sence in these areas to vote red to try to reduce the blue lead and get the hung parlaiment whilst getting the libs to loose that particular race and have one less for place for the hung parliament, giving the welsh and scottish nationalists a better chance. Just a thought.

Caron said...

Westminster elections are always tough for the SNP because the brutal truth is that you are pretty irrelevant there - and you know it. You can tell you know it from your general nerviness. Alex Salmond was all over the place at the last FMQs before Easter - so not like him. I remember as far back as 2001 a dear SNP friend of mine being so angry with me and not able to look at me for a couple of days after the election result. Your target of 20 seats, set in the heady days of 2007 is looking impossible to achieve - and you know it.

Nick Clegg was right to say that the choice is between the old parties who will hoard power for themselves and the Liberal Democrats who will bring meaningful change. He talked today about Westminster reform - I couldn't find anything on the SNP website about that, which underlines our irrelevance.

I suspect Nick might just be vaguely familiar with the fact that we have used the phrase 2 horse race in the odd election, so there would have been a deliberate hint of irony in his words. He's saying that across the country, more Liberal Democrat votes will bring more Liberal Democrat MPs. Lots more Liberal Democrat votes will bring lots more Liberal Democrat MPs.

On a local basis, the system is such that the party in second place does have an advantage. Strange things happen, like in 2007 when Jim Tolson won Dunfermline West from 4th, but there were local extenuating circumstances there...

I'll stick my neck out and say that I reckon we don't have much chance in Glasgow East - it's a Labour/SNP fight. Similarly, there are seats that are straight Labour/Lib Dem fights, like Edinburgh North and Leith, Edinburgh South, Aberdeen South, Glasgow North where voting SNP or Conservative simply throws a lifeline to Labour. We saw that in South in 2005 when Labour talked up the Tories in order to dissuade people from voting for the true challengers, the Lib Dems - and it worked for them then. People are wiser this time.

So what I'm really trying to say is that Nick and Andrew are both right. Oh, and I've never, ever in my life celebrated a Labour victory.

Gareth said...

They are totally pious and hypocritical. Cannot stand the buggers, so much so I did a bit of photoshop..... what do you think?


Will said...

Steven F, thanks for another example of the LibDems' desire to have their cake and ha'penny.

Anon, I hold my hands up re the glue - I just used a picture of glue for illustration purposes but I did not know that so I feel like I've learned something!

In terms of the tactical voting, though, it's worth pointing out that there are only a handful of Scottish seats in this election where Labour and the Tories comprise the top 2. In most of them, it doesn't come up.

That said, I have a distrust of tactical voting, for two reasons: first, it's the epitome of negativity, voting against Party X rather than for Party Y; and second, it effectively places politics in a state of permafrost where you end up voting for the top 2 parties over and over because they're the ones who can win. Never mind that you don't agree with them. A massive political sea change could happen right under our noses and we'd never spot it because people voted for who they thought would win instead of who they wanted to win. That thought depresses me far more than a candidate I don't like getting in through the middle: it would make politics more fluid and I don't think that would be a bad thing.

Gareth, I think you're crediting Nick Clegg with a bit more verve and pizzazz than he deserves... :)

Caron, where to start, save to wonder if actually, I'm the one who touched the raw nerve here? The rants about the SNP not doing as well as we want to - I'll come back to those and they take you to a place where you don't want to go, I suspect. As for 2001, well, I imagine your friend was angry at the universe and unable to look at anyone given how that result went, but that's another story.

And the 'Nick Clegg was being ironic' line? Give me a break, that's what you say if you utter something daft in front of edgy cultural snobs.

You're a decent, intelligent woman with, and I have to say this, a great taste in TV, Caron. Why can't you see that it's dishonest to claim the end of the two-horse race on one level (ironic or not), whie banging the two-horse race drum in the places it suits you?

Anyway, to the nitty-gritty. You were very happy to highlight SNP failure - and so, by extension, Labour success - in the last two By-Elections. That SNP policy is far closer to LibDem policy on so many issues than Labour policy is, you were quite happy to dance on the political graves of the anti-Trident, anti-ID cards, anti-detention, anti-Iraq candidates! And does this phrase ring a bell?

"The sooner [the SNP are] out of office the better."

It should ring a bell, you used it a few weeks ago. Given the immediacy of your statement and the parliamentary arithmetic as it stands, you ended up endorsing Iain Gray for First Minister.

The bottom line is that the difference between the SNP and LibDems couldn't be more stark. The SNP won't form or take part in a Government, but SNP MPs will stand up for the principles they believe in and be an effective voice for their constituents. That work is what makes the SNP relevant.

By contrast, the LibDems are fighting in enough seats to have a mathematical (if nothing else) possibility of forming a Government and could well find themselves determining who does form a Government. Yet we all know that as in 1999, as in 2003, as they wanted to but couldn't in Scotland in 2007 and as they still thought about doing in Wales despite their previous public support for the 'everyone but' coalition, the LibDems will, once again, drop their keks for the illiberal Labour party.

Reality bites, I'm afraid...