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[LINK] “Why The SNP Is Poised To Win In Scotland”

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At Five Thirty Eight, John Curtice makes the case why the Scottish National Party is expected to sweep the country come the impending British elections. Despite the referendum setback, the party is credible in a way its peers simply are not.

[M]any voters who back Scottish independence have hitherto not voted for the SNP in a U.K. general election. According to the Scottish Social Attitudes survey, only 55 percent did so in the last election in 2010, for example. Consequently, the SNP won only 20 percent of the total vote in Scotland (and six seats) on that occasion, well below the 45 percent it was to achieve in the devolved election just 12 months later. Labour, in contrast, maintained its dominant position in the 2010 election, with 42 percent of the vote and 41 seats.

However, the referendum has served to make support for independence and backing the SNP more or less synonymous, even in the context of a U.K.-wide election. Last September’s ballot focused voters’ minds — and especially the minds of those who voted for independence — on the future of Scotland. The question of who might be best able to govern Britain as a whole has been put in the shade. Consequently, supporters of independence see little reason why they should not follow up their “yes” vote with a vote for the SNP in May’s general election.

Recent polling evidence suggests that as many as 84 percent of those who voted “yes” in September (and who are willing to indicate how they will vote in May) now say they intend to vote for the SNP on May 7.1 Included among these “yes” supporters are the 40 percent or so of 2010 Labour voters who voted for independence, over three-quarters of whom are now backing the SNP.2 Conversely, only around one in 10 of those who voted “no” in September are now backing the nationalists — though that is still more or less enough to compensate for the limited number who voted “yes” in September but are now not backing the SNP.

However, the increased salience of the independence debate in voters’ minds is not the only reason that many former Labour supporters have switched to the SNP. During the referendum campaign, the SNP was also able to lay out its vision for the country, claiming that an independent Scotland could be a more equal Scotland. This argument directly challenged Labour’s position that it was better able to bring about greater social justice, not least by using the resources and the institutions of the U.K.

It is an argument that seems to have hit home.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 10, 2015 at 9:49 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • At Acts of Minor Treason, Andrew Barton is very unhappy with the misuse of the Hugo Award.
  • Anthropology.net notes that DNA has been retrieved from an ancient and mostly fossilized Neanderthal fossil.
  • Centauri Dreams examines the early history of the Milky Way Galaxy.
  • Crooked Timber looks at the controversies over religious liberty.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze considers how extraterrestrial life can be detected through disequilibria in exoplanet atmosphere and notes the recent Alpha Centauri B study.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that by 2018 a laser will be deployed on a drone.
  • Geocurrents shares slides from a recent lecture on Yemen.
  • Language Hat examines the Yiddish word “khnyok”.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the Republican race.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the unpopularity of political jobs among young Americans.
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes SpaceX’s problem with retrieving the first stages of its rockets.
  • Torontoist looks at beekeeping in Toronto.
  • Towleroad notes a Kickstarter fundraiser for Emil Cohen’s photos of queer life in Providence.
  • Transit Toronto notes the expansion of free WiFi throughout the subway system.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that divorce papers can be served via Facebook if it is the most practical alternative.
  • Window on Eurasia fears a summertime Russian attack on Ukraine, notes Russian fears of rebellion at home, and looks at Russian Internet censorship.
  • The World’s Gideon Rachman wonders if the Greek demand for Second World War reparations will bring the Eurozone crisis to a head.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes the essential lack of difference on government spending between Labour and the Tories and looks at flawed computer databases.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO notes that the average price of a home in Toronto has risen above six hundred thousand dollars.
  • D-Brief observes an acceleration in the deforestation of the Amazon.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper examining the environment of close-orbiting exoplanets.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money mocks the standards of Rolling Stone, and Jann Wenner.
  • Steve Munro studies the frequency of service on the St. Clair streetcar line.
  • Peter Rukavina notes that the proportion of women running for political office in Prince Edward Island’s election next week is far below their share of the population.
  • Torontoist looks at homelessness and underhousing in the Toronto inner suburbs and explains the rights of tenants.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy explains why a Colorado bakery could refuse to write an anti-gay inscription on a cake.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at the writings of a Kalmyk Eurasianist and examines the popularity of ethnic nationalism in the Russian intelligensia.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell provides more evidence of the poor judgements of the United Kingdom’s Liberal Democrats.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • blogTO shares vintage photos of Weston Road.
  • Centauri Dreams features a guest post on the fast radio bursts that had all astir.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper about the circumstellar disk of AB Aurigae.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes problems with Russia’s development of a stealth fighter.
  • Language Hat links to an examination of the way the words “chikungunya” and “dengue” are used to describe the same disease.
  • Languages of the World takes a look at one dying Russian dialect of Alaska.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money is surprised anyone is surprised Britain is spying on Argentina.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that demand in China and India is already driving research and development.
  • Peter Rukavina looks at the mechanics of the Internet presences of Island political parties.
  • Savage Minds announces the return of the intermittant online anthropological journal Anthropologies.
  • Transit Toronto links to a collection of Greater Toronto Area transit news.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy reacts at length to the finding of the report on Rolling Stone‘s mistaken rape story, noting that the fraternity in question has a good case for libel.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Crimean Tatar news outlet closures and notes that Ukrainian government ministers widely speak English.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • blogTO notes that Toronto will be holding a public meeting on ways to host the city’s music scene.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at a recent transit study of Alpha Centauri B that hints at the existence fo a second close-orbiting planet.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper on rogue exoplanets.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at Korean military aircraft procurement.
  • Steve Munro writes at length about the minutiae of TTC signaling contracts.
  • Torontoist notes that most people in a recent Forum Research poll want alcoholic beverages to be available in grocery stores.
  • Towleroad argues that the show Looking could have benefitted from a mote interesting take on sex.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy suggests the Indiana religious freedom law isn’t as bad as described.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russians are misled about their relationship with China, notes the relative decline of the arms industry vis-a-vis more advanced competitors, looks at the impact on Crimean mass media of Russian annexation, and examines problematic links between Russia and Latvian Russophones.
  • The Yorkshire Ranter continues to write (1, 2, 3) about the ill-thought Biryani Project.

[LINK] “Sturgeon Says Nationalists Can Win Every Seat in Scotland”

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Bloomberg’s Robert Hutton reports. British politics can get very interesting, I think.

Scottish Nationalist leader Nicola Sturgeon said her party can win all of Scotland’s 59 seats in the May 7 U.K. general election.

The SNP is meeting in Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city, for its pre-election conference on the back of a huge surge in support after failing to win last year’s referendum on independence. Polls suggest the SNP may win as many as 50 districts and become the third-biggest party in the House of Commons in London.

“No constituency is off limits for the SNP in this election,” Sturgeon, who’s also the first minister in the Scotland’s semi-autonomous government, told activists Saturday. “We will fight for every vote and every seat. Let’s get out there and turn these poll predictions into reality.”

Written by Randy McDonald

March 30, 2015 at 10:40 pm

[LINK] “The Scottish Streets Where a U.K. Election Will Be Won or Lost”

In an extended article, Bloomberg’s Rodney Jefferson looks at Scotland, where in the next British election the Scottish National Party may not only drive out Labour but end up providing needed support for a Labour minority government. Shades of the proposed Liberal-NDP coalition government under Stéphane Dion some years ago, here.

Six months after a referendum on independence put politics back into pubs and living rooms, the movement that brought voters out in record numbers and rattled financial markets has evolved into a mass phenomenon sweeping Scotland.

Rather than retreating after Scots voted to remain in the three-centuries-old union with England, the nationalists have harnessed that radical spirit and directed it at the U.K. Parliament at Westminster. SNP membership has quadrupled to 100,000, or one in 43 Scottish voters, and polls suggest the surge in support will translate into votes in May, placing Scotland once more at the heart of deciding the U.K.’s fate.

“It’s unprecedented, on a different scale,” Nicola McEwen, associate director of the Centre on Constitutional Change at Edinburgh University, said in an interview. “The referendum was never about a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ I just didn’t foresee how the extent to which the ‘yes’ alliance mobilized behind the SNP.”

The Scottish nationalists meet this weekend for their pre-election convention in Glasgow amid unprecedented electoral expectations under new leader Nicola Sturgeon. The party’s rise is reverberating beyond Scotland’s borders because polls point to the U.K. election producing no clear winner, potentially handing the SNP a decisive role in who governs the country which they are committed to splitting up.

[. . .]

Polls show the SNP, which opposes the Conservative-led U.K. government’s fiscal austerity, is ahead in at least 40 of Scotland’s 59 districts. It currently has six lawmakers at Westminster. If the polls are replicated on Election Day, the SNP could become the third-biggest force in U.K. politics, with the main opposition Labour Party which has dominated Scottish politics for decades the biggest casualty.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 26, 2015 at 10:26 pm


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