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Current location: Scotland
Member since: Mon Sep 7, 2009, 12:57 AM
Number of posts: 5,973

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When you need to confirm you're not a robot (Twitter video)


Johnson is an immediate spur, yes, but

he's just the latest and most blatant Westminster leader to be utterly tonedeaf and arrogantly dismissive of not just Scotland's, but the (especially northern) English regions', Wales's and Northern Ireland's concerns as well.

Because of population distribution, MPs from southern English constituencies will always heavily outnumber those from outside England and its other regions. This may not matter as much if a UK government is sensitive to the needs of the areas outside the southeast of England, nearer London, but few have done more than offer lipservice in recent times. Especially with the current government, Westminster acts as the English parliament and the Tories have enough MPs to override pretty much any opposition.

The drive for Scottish independence isn't new. It was behind the precursor to the Labour Party that sprang up in Scotland early last century.

It was a minority movement for many years, but eventually the tensions of the UK's uneven government led to two referendums on devolution and the establishment of a national assembly for Scotland. The first referendum was sabotaged by English MPs who changed the rules to effectively give the dead votes (and was one factor in the demise of Callaghan's very troubled Labour government that ushered in the Tory Thatcher years). Pressure from the EU led to the second referendum, which voted convincingly yes to devolution. Wales and Northern Ireland later gained their own devolved assemblies, but Scotland's has most powers.

Initially, the Scottish assembly was envisaged as little more than a sop and a talking shop, like a glorified local council. As it began to hit its stride and gain powers, the SNP's vote share rose until it eventually managed to win a majority of seats in the Scottish assembly (which had been believed impossible because the proportional representation system of voting had been set up to avoid one party, especially the SNP, taking power and to encourage coalitions). The SNP has been in power in Scotland since, sometimes relying on coalitions, as it does with the Green Party at the moment.

It was hard to gain agreement from the UK government for the 2014 referendum on independence, and it was then hard fought. Initially, support for Yes to independence polled much lower than No, but over the course of the lengthy campaign, it grew until it caused serious alarm in Westminster. One major focus for the No campaign was EU membership and the argument that if Scotland became independent, it would not be welcome in the EU, not least because what was left of the UK would do its best to make sure that was the case. SNP debaters did point out that there was the possibility of a referendum that might take the UK out of the EU, and also that the laughable at the time figure of Boris Johnson might become UK prime minister. Both these prospects were heavily pooh-poohed as ridiculous.

You'll know enough of the UK's recent history to understand how that all panned out after the independence referendum went 55%/45% No. Scotland then voted resoundingly 62% to remain in the EU in the subsequent referendum.

The argument now is that the UK leaving the EU is a fundamental change of circumstances that warrants a fresh Scottish independence referendum to take account of the new situation. On top of that, promises were made in the post-referendum settlement for more powers for the Scottish parliament that have not been honoured (Labour figures tend to want to talk about federalism in the UK as a solution, but there's no serious support for it and power tends to be centralized under any UK government), and there's a constant buzz from Johnson and other high-up Tories to strip powers from the Scottish parliament, or even abolish it altogether. Meanwhile, Scotland's SNP MPs, who form the third largest party in Westminster, are routinely abused, belittled and patronized by the Tories. They don't seem to grasp that when they do that, they abuse, belittle and patronize those of us who voted for them as our representatives.

Opinion polls over the last year have shown support for independence in Scotland rising to consistently around 60%. This has been driven partly by the ongoing Brexit debacle, partly by the mismanagement of the COVID crisis by Westminster, partly by the perception that Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has done a far better job of communicating and marshalling resources and heeding scientific advice on the pandemic, but not least by the lack of respect from the Tories and their incompetence and blatant corruption in handing out contracts for PPE etc. The main counter-argument from those who oppose Scottish independence at the moment is that the first independence referendum was described by SNP politicians at the time as a "once in a generation opportunity". They want to focus on the words "once in a generation" and ignore the context of "opportunity", and want to define a generation in this case to extend up to 40 years.

Johnson's the obvious figurehead for all that dysfunction. I don't think he and his cabinet are capable of charming voters in Scotland after the experiences of the last few years, even if they had any inkling to try to do so.

Donald J. Trump Presidential Library online

Enjoy. Don't forget to exit through the Grift Shop.


Trump campaign says Sidney Powell not a member of legal team

Source: Reuters

(Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign issued a statement on Sunday distancing itself from Sidney Powell, a lawyer who made baseless allegations of voter fraud at a campaign press conference on Thursday.

“Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own,” Trump campaign lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis said in the statement. “She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team. She is also not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity.”

The announcement came one day after a judge dismissed the campaign’s lawsuit seeking to halt President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania, dealing a major blow to Trump’s flailing efforts to overturn his Nov. 3 election loss.

Read more: https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-trump-powell/trump-campaign-says-sidney-powell-not-a-member-of-legal-team-idUSKBN2820UB

Linked article updated to 16 paragraphs since first posted.

Real Clear Politics Made a Sharp Right Turn. What Steered It?

A Popular Political Site Made a Sharp Right Turn. What Steered It?

Real Clear Politics has been catering to campaign obsessives since 2000. It pitches itself as a “trusted, go-to source” for unbiased polling. The Trump era changed its tone, and funding sources.

For three days after every major news organization declared Joseph R. Biden Jr. the victor of the presidential election, one widely read political site maintained that Pennsylvania was still too close to call.

The delay was welcome news to allies of President Trump like Rudolph W. Giuliani and friendly outlets like The Gateway Pundit, which misrepresented the site’s decision in their efforts to spread false claims that Mr. Biden’s lead was unraveling.

That site, Real Clear Politics, is well known as a clearinghouse of elections data and analysis with a large following among the political and media establishment — and the kinds of political obsessives who might now have all the counties in Georgia memorized. It markets itself to advertisers as a “trusted, go-to source” admired by campaign and news professionals alike. Its industry benchmark polling average is regularly cited by national publications and cable news networks.

But less well known is how Real Clear Politics and its affiliated websites have taken a rightward, aggressively pro-Trump turn over the last four years as donations to its affiliated nonprofit have soared. Large quantities of those funds came through two entities that wealthy conservatives use to give money without revealing their identities.


I haven't placed any great trust in RCP since the 2008 election, when I noticed its slate of polls changed from week to week to focus on those that gave more favorable results for the Republicans. I assume that pattern continued after I stopped paying it much attention.

Cummings to leave No 10 with immediate effect

Boris Johnson's chief adviser Dominic Cummings has left Number 10 with immediate effect, BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg says.

Mr Cummings spoke to the PM earlier on Friday and it was decided it was best for him to go immediately after days of turmoil, our political editor said.

The former Vote Leave supremo had been at the centre of a power struggle in Downing Street in recent days.

The PM's director of communications Lee Cain has also left.

Mr Cummings was seen leaving No 10 a short while ago carrying a box.


Oh well. Perhaps his father-in-law's estate has an opening for a scarecrow.

Much whooping here: #DominicGoing

Nearly 80 percent of Americans say Biden won White House, ignoring Trump's refusal to concede

Nearly 80% of Americans say Biden won White House, ignoring Trump's refusal to concede - Reuters/Ipsos poll

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nearly 80% of Americans, including more than half of Republicans, recognize President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the Nov. 3 election after most media organizations called the race for the Democrat based on his leads in critical battleground states, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Biden - who needed 270 Electoral College votes to win - had 279 of those votes to 214 for Trump with results in three states not yet complete, according to Edison Research. In the popular vote, Biden got 76.3 million, or 50.7% of the total, to 71.6 million, or 47.6%, for Trump.

The Reuters/Ipsos national opinion survey, which ran from Saturday afternoon to Tuesday, found that 79% of U.S. adults believe Biden won the White House. Another 13% said the election has not yet been decided, 3% said Trump won and 5% said they do not know.

The results were somewhat split along party lines: about six in 10 Republicans and almost every Democrat said Biden won.


Here's to unsung heroes

“She Is a Master”: Joe Biden’s Campaign Manager Told the Political Future—And Was Right

Jen O’Malley Dillon, the first woman to manage a winning Democratic presidential campaign, has somehow managed to keep a low profile. But her deft behind-the-scenes direction just cost Donald Trump the presidency.


There is, of course, plenty of credit to go around inside the Biden and Democratic worlds. The candidate leaned on old hands Ron Klain, particularly when coronavirus hit the country; Mike Donilon, a consultant who has been with him since 1981; and Steve Ricchetti, who has significant ties to the corporate world. Lawyers Bob Bauer and Dana Remus assembled hundreds of attorneys to fend off Trump’s attempts at suppressing votes. Anita Dunn (who happens to be married to Bauer) was elevated to run the campaign at a pivotal moment, taking control after Biden’s dismal fourth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses; she was especially influential in crafting communications strategy during the general election campaign. Symone Sanders was with Bernie Sanders in 2016; her jump to Biden three years later shored up his connections to progressive, Black, and younger Democrats. In Pennsylvania, Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman’s plan to chip into Trump’s rural-vote margins worked, while activists boosted Biden’s margins in Philadelphia and its suburbs. In Georgia, Stacey Abrams and Lauren Groh-Wargo didn’t waste their time moaning about Abrams’s bitter 2018 gubernatorial-race defeat, instead constructing a key Peach State turnout and voter-protection operation. In Wisconsin, state Democratic Party chairman Ben Wikler fought off a hostile Republican legislature and judiciary and flipped a crucial state.

Yet no one did more than Dillon, the rare and most powerful new kid in Biden’s inside circle, who today becomes the first woman to ever manage a winning Democratic presidential campaign (and the first of any party, if you don’t count Kellyanne Conway’s nearly three months atop Trump’s 2016 run, when she replaced Paul Manafort). Dillon, 44, worked her way up through the Democratic-campaign ranks as a field organizer, moving from John Edwards to Barack Obama in 2008, then becoming executive director of the Democratic National Committee before rejoining Obama in his 2012 campaign. Beto O’Rourke’s hiring of Dillon, in March 2019, to run his primary campaign, was considered a major triumph for the former Texas congressman, but he still never got traction. When O’Rourke dropped out, Biden pounced. He knew Dillon from his vice presidential years. Last March, Dunn reached out to Dillon first, before Biden heavily recruited Dillon to head his general election machine. “Jen is a brilliant strategist who knows the battleground states like the back of her hands, and who knows the Democratic Party mechanisms and infrastructure down to what type of data infrastructure needs to be built to reach persuadable voters,” says Ben LaBolt, who was an Obamaworld colleague. “She is a master of both the brass tacks of traditional campaigning and the modern, digital ways of campaigning.”


Stacey Abrams garners praise from Democrats for mobilising voters, as Biden inches ahead in Georgia

Around 800,000 new voters have been added to Georgia's voting rolls since 2018, says Ms Abrams

Stacey Abrams did not deny her anger when Republican Brian Kemp was declared the winner of the Georgia governor's race two years ago, after a bitter contest marred by widespread irregularities and allegations of voter suppression.

Instead, she channelled that anger into the work she had started years before to organise and mobilise an army of voters to break the Republican Party's lock on state politics and create a government that looked more like the new Georgia.

That army, anchored in metro Atlanta and in smaller pockets of predominantly black cities and counties, helped to push former vice-president Joe Biden several thousand votes ahead of President Donald Trump in the state this week. ...


There must be more. Add them to this thread if you like.

Let the grovelling begin ...



Boris Johnson

Congratulations @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris



Nigel Farage

The first polls are closing and I am absolutely optimistic.

Drudge Report headline

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