Search topics on this blog

Showing posts with label David Torrance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label David Torrance. Show all posts

Monday, 16 December 2013

My Tweets – Monday. Donors, culture, powers after a No vote

I can help: they're campaigning to keep Labour MPs jobs, salaries and expenses intact on Westminster gravy train Peter Curran@moridura 9m @leeb0147 All the Scottish puppets of three Union parties will offer recommendations, worth zero - immediately binned by Westminster bosses.

Peter Curran@moridura 10m Brian Monteith:"opinion polling showing UKIP could do well in Scotland in next June’s elections" What elections June 2014? EU 22 May 2014?

Peter Curran@moridura 25m

@leeb0147 Any increased powers would be electoral suicide for a UK party that proposed them in 2015 manifesto, or introduced them. DevoMinus

Peter Curran@moridura 27m Brian Monteith:"it is as if the Scotland Act is the dog that does not bark, that it has been muzzled by its owners" You got that bit right.

Peter Curran@moridura 34m What Brian Monteith, BetTog and 3 unionist parties avoid like the plague is that Unionist Scotland has near zero influence on more powers.

Peter Curran@moridura 35m Brian Monteith "strange aspects of debate that neither BetTog campaign nor three main unionist parties mention Scotland Act" Not strange. Sinister

Peter Curran@moridura 38m

Read Monteith's incredible smoke screen and nonsense on more powers, then read my blog … and …

Peter Curran@moridura 40m This must be black humour: it's removed from any reality. There's a good reason why the Scotland Act is avoided by BT …

Peter Curran@moridura 42m Brian Monteith: "If unionist parties . argue that they will give further powers to Holyrood . their record suggests they can be trusted" !!!

Peter Curran@moridura 47m @LichtieFreedom Your tweet was addressed to me, Graeme - no link to Marion

Peter Curran@moridura 53m @LichtieFreedom Who's Marion?

Peter Curran@moridura 54m @LichtieFreedom It has been unkindly suggested that I DID come from anothe planet. When I mix with deadhead No supporters, I feel that way..

Peter Curran@moridura 56m @MackinonMarquis My ebook has a Mackinnon in it, Rhoda.

Peter Curran@moridura 58m @Ross_Greer @JoanMcAlpine @GailLythgoe Is it being recorded, Ross? YouTube?

Peter Curran@moridura 1h @pilaraymara Great article on Scots and home, Pilar. Here's the traditional song of Scots leaving, promising return. …

Peter Curran@moridura 1h @MarketWatch Money isn't 'real' but it's taxable. Bitcoins are a currency, not money.

Peter Curran@moridura 4h @joycemcm B - and maybe C?

Peter Curran@moridura 4h If I'd just arrived in Scotland from nearby planet, I'd be convinced to vote YES by the arguments and character alone of those supporting No

Peter Curran@moridura 5h Anyone who doubts that there's a Scot/Brit Establishment hostile to the independence of Scotland only has to look at BT's big money donors.

Peter Curran@moridura 5h Arsenal FC chairman, Old Etonian Sir Chips Keswick (wife daughter of 16th Earl of Dalhousie) gave BetterTogether £23k …

Peter Curran@moridura 5h Donald Houston, Ardnamurchan Estate owner - huge donor to Better Together - also owns Glenborrodale Castle Hotel and the Adelphi distillery

Peter Curran@moridura 5h Sir Keith Craig and Christopher Wilkins gave £10k each to Better Together. Both linked to Hakluyt … Now there's a thing

Peter Curran@moridura 5h £10k donation from Sir Keith Craig - works for intelligence-gathering firm Hakluyt. Christopher Wilkins gave £10k. He helped found Hakluyt.

Peter Curran@moridura 5h Andrew Fraser, stockbroker - £1m donor to Tory Party - gave Better Together £200,000. Blair McDougall welcomes such Tory donors, such cash.

Peter Curran@moridura 5h Donald Houston, Ardnamurchan Estate gave £600k to Better Together: £500k thru Rain Dance International and Beinn Bhuidhe £100k in own name.

Peter Curran@moridura 5h Historical novelist Christopher Sansom, whose novel 'Dominion' attacked SNP, has given £294,000 in total to the anti-independence campaign.

Peter Curran@moridura 5h Scotsman catches up with donor story: big pic of UK-OK Blair McDougall. UK's not OK, Blair - haven't you noticed? … … … 

Peter Curran@moridura 6h @lipmarty75 @StephenMcGann It would not be as meanignful. It's perceptions vs stats reality, and Scotland is very different in both areas.

Peter Curran@moridura 7h @lipmarty75 @StephenMcGann We have a thriving Muslim community in Scotland, making a great contribution to our economy and our national life

Peter Curran@moridura 7h National Collective have committed the unforgivable sin from a unionist perspective - they have made an independent Scotland fashionable ... 

Peter Curran@moridura 7h @Fankledoose How could I? I am one - but proud to be a member of National Collective, trying to get fit enough to join the partying ...

Peter Curran@moridura 7h What represents Scottish culture better than the youthful, joyous, partying, literate, artistic, musical, intelligent National Collective?

Peter Curran@moridura 7h Christians united in love and harmony? Naw, same auld squabbling Kirk factions and as ever, money, property, power. gay-clergy-row.22958926 …

Peter Curran@moridura 7h @StephenMcGann @GlaikitGeezer @IpsosMORI This chart is not UK - it's Census population 2012 England and Wales. Scotland and NI not included

Peter Curran@moridura 7h Very odd comment from a Marco Antonio Godoy. YouTube marked as spam, but I let it through for a laugh. Scroll down …

Peter Curran@moridura 7h A culture is more than its art: it is a people expressing their values and their choices through their art, behaviour, languages and choices

Peter Curran@moridura 7h David Torrance misunderstands in saying a culture is more than who rules us. It's about who the Scottish people choose to rule them.

Peter Curran@moridura 8h @pilaraymara Thanks, Pilar - I hope Clifford clears his name. Many Scots fought and died to fight Franco's fascism in the 1930s

Peter Curran@moridura 8h Court confirms judgment of the Fonsagrada, which condemned Clifford Torrents Colman, who hammered off the Franco plaque, to pay 434 euros

Peter Curran@moridura 8h A culture springs from the people, David Torrance. Scotland's people express their wish for independence significantly through their culture

Peter Curran@moridura 8h "Our culture is more than the result of who rules us" A unionist, David Torrance, rattled by National Collective. …

Saturday, 5 May 2012

The Scottish local election results - the inquest and the spin

In business and in consulting and training I was always fascinated by the behaviour of managers when faced with difficulties or failure to achieve objectives, especially when they involved interaction with others. Broadly, the reactions were of two kinds - blaming behaviour and objective analysis. The blamers never learned from their failures - they simply justified them by attributing failure to circumstances beyond their control, or the behaviour of their opponents, or went into denial, claiming that either no failure had occurred or that the outcome didn’t matter. Blamers then repeated their failures ad infinitum.

The analysers rapidly identified factors that were completely beyond their control, and went on to analyse those that were within their control, examining their own context, strategy, tactics and behaviour to pinpoint the weaknesses:  they then modified their approach, and learned the lesson for future events.

This is how true professionals behave. It is how successful people behave, whether they are doctors, surgeons, engineers, pilots, footballers, managers, lawyers, musicians, comedians - or politicians.

The professional approach does not ignore the behaviour of others - it takes it as a given, and considers how to effectively deal with it. In other words, it is “How do I play the hand I have been dealt most effectively?” not “The hand I was dealt was beyond my control therefore I am absolved of blame or responsibility for the way I play it.”

However, politicians  have to deal with the fact that perception is reality, perhaps to a higher degree than in other professions. While being objective and analytical in private, they must consider how their successes and failures are perceived in public, because that perception influences voting behaviour. The danger in this is a bit like the comedian facing a hostile or unreceptive audience - if he or she falls into the trap of seeming to blame the audience - or worse, laugh at own jokes and be self-congratulatory - the failure is fatally compounded.

Grace in defeat, and wry acknowledgement of failure are not qualities one normally associates with politicians. When it comes, it comes as a breath of fresh air, but is not always recognised as such by the majority, and is often exploited as a weakness by opponents. The supposed unofficial motto of Balliol College tends to be invoked - never apologise, never explain


Much of the above behaviour regrettably has been evident in SNP emails, tweets  and some blog responses to the election result in Glasgow, although not, thankfully, from the Party official spokespersons, nor in the main from the real activists who did the hard work of canvassing and leafleting. They welcomed the overall success of the SNP campaign across Scotland and pointed out that Glasgow Labour simply held what they had expected to lose, whereas the SNP had made significant gains in what was always going to be their most challenging fight.

The Great BBC Conspiracy Theorists are out in force of course, obsessed by the presentation of the results and the numbers on television, and apparently oblivious to the aspect of BBC coverage that has something relevant and vital to say, such as the clip I posted of the Scottish section of the Newsnicht panel who offered opinions on this. 

To try and reduce the amount of indignant “Did you know that …” emails and YouTube comments that I will soon have to delete relating to this clip, let me say that I know the backgrounds and previous incarnations and occupations of Lorraine Davidson and David Torrance (not to mention a rash of other information of the McCarthyite genre that I am regularly gratuitously offered) and I have closely followed the articles and commentaries of Iain Macwhirter over many years. My interest was in what they said, not in Machiavellian speculation as to why they said it: what they said was highly pertinent, and something that the SNP must evaluate carefully.

Lorraine Davidson:The SNP have had a good night, but because of the symbolism of Glasgow, and the headline that that is - in the same way that Boris/Ken show is the headline in the UK story, that’s the perception and the illusion that voters are left with.”

The report that followed addressed what clearly is a vital question - turnout - and the implications of low turnout for the perceived legitimacy of democratic processes, with Ross Martin’s (CSPP) view that we are in the ‘danger zone’ when we begin to fall below, say, 40%, and the results are “a little bit squeaky in democratic legitimacy terms”. (There are ominous portents for me in this statement on local elections for the crucial question of the ‘legitimacy’ of the Referendum outcome in 2014 an engagement in the referendum arguments and processes.) Ross Martin welcomed the local differences in turnout as perhaps a hopeful sign of engagement and localism. As he tellingly observed, when we go below 30%, “the game’s a bogey” and serious questions need to be asked.

Gordon Brewer positioned the discussion around the fact that both Labour and the SNP “seem to have legitimate claims to have done best” and a certain ambiguity in the outcome.

David Torrance:I think the SNP have clearly won this election …

Let me freeze frame on that statement for a moment, for the reason that those conspiracists who are convinced that David Torrance is a dyed-in-the-wool Tory and UK apologist and a planted lackey of the Great Beeb Conspiracy against Scotland’s Independence (instead of the biographer  of Alex Salmond, author of a number of respected political and historical works, and a thoughtful commentator on Scottish and UK politics) will have totally ignored or blanked out this statement - those of them who had not already announced their fear of watching the programme because of expectations of bias (as some did on Twitter)

David Torrance:I think the SNP have clearly won this election. Winning elections is measured by total number of seats and share of the vote, and they appear to have won both. And they have certainly won it. I think it was more of a psychological victory for the Labour Party, because they simply didn’t expect to do this well and indeed the SNP expected to do quite a bit better.

That’s it in a nutshell for me, and anyone who disagrees with that is grinding axes, spinning and not looking objectively at the facts and the numbers. That takes us to another fact that some nationalist supporters would dearly like to ignore - that the SNP had greater numbers of activists on the ground , were better organised and had better data about core support than Labour, yet did not do as well as they hoped and expected. There can only be one reason for that - something in the message, and in the behaviour of the SNP at senior policy level did not - and does not - resonate with a significant number of Glasgow Labour voters. But there were also local issues: every party member knows what they were, and I don’t intend to give them more airtime here.

Lorraine Davidson:I think the SNP have won the election but they have lost the expectations game. The problem that they had was that, with Glasgow - which was going to be a stunning prize for them, and an important part of the journey towards the referendum - they had to first of all put themselves in contention as serious players to win that election. Hence the Spring conference and the predictions that they were going to take Glasgow, a couple of months ago.

“The problem with that is that when you create that kind of expectation around an election, you’re then left trying to explain away why you didn’t pull that off. The reason they didn’t pull that off was that it was totally unrealistic - they were never going to be able to pull that off.”

Although I don’t agree with Lorraine’s last conclusion - that the SNP were never going to pull it off (remember May 2001?) - I think it is a fair and accurate assessment of why Labour were delirious and the media mesmerised by their success in holding off the challenge. The other key factor is of course the fact that the single transferrable vote is designed to reduce radically the likelihood of overall majorities, just as the dHondt method of voting for Holyrood elections was, and when an election leaps that formidable hurdle, it is seen as an achievement and a highly significant one, just as the SNP second term victory was. As Lorraine Davidson then rightly pointed out, the SNP strategists are going to have to look very hard at the implications of the Glasgow and the Edinburgh results for the Referendum.

Iain Macwhirter was next to comment. Of late, Iain Macwhirter has been uncharacteristically strident in his criticisms of the SNP. Normally the most relaxed and urbane of commentators, he suddenly became very forceful and a bit dogmatic, notably in his attacks on Alex Salmond (the Ewan Cameron/Gary Robertson radio exchange on Good Morning, Scotland being a case in point.). But here, he had reverted to the old style, and to my ear was almost anodyne in his analysis.

He started by saying that, given the landslide victory of May 2011, including winning a lot of Glasgow seats, that it was realistic of the SNP to think they could win the city in the local elections, or at least break Labour’s grip on the city. “Clearly they allowed their expectations to run away with them, but I don’t think it was unrealistic for them to make that attempt.”  He went on to make the important point about recovering momentum and enthusiasm.

Iain Macwhirter:The truth is that both Labour and the SNP won this election - they both made advances.”

Anyone who seriously challenges this statement, Labour or SNP, is being blinded by partisanship. As he said, both sides have been “picking over the carcass of the Liberal Democrats …”

David Torrance:You can read too much into these results, but the major effect is psychological …”

He went on to say that Labour had managed this result with, in the words of one Labour person, “a party machine that was broken.”

If the SNP don’t take these comments on board, they are in danger of losing not only momentum, but the referendum narrative. I believe that the Party strategists are clear about this, but in fuelling the “we won - Glasgow was just a disappointment” spin on the results among some of their supporters, they are taking a big risk.

I leave the last word with David Torrance, which will of course be interpreted by some as supporting Labour and attacking the SNP, which is ludicrous, given Torrance’s background. It is absolutely accurate, and should be a clarion call to the SNP to think hard about Glasgow and the West, and the psychology of the West of Scotland voter. Commenting on Labour’s management of this result with few resources, and against the formidable SNP machine, he said -

David Torrance:Just imagine what Labour can do with more money, when they have a greater confidence in what they are doing - and a better developed message.  It’s a slight, modest halt on the SNP advance - no more than that - but it gives Labour something to build on.”

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Independence Lite–unionist enthusiasm?

Last night’s tweeting time, and exchanges about Independence Lite by other tweeters led me to an article by David Torrance, the Scottish Tory, not David Torrance MSP, Member for Kirkcaldy.

David Torrance (Iain Dale blog) Something must be done

Here are my 140-character views – why say more?

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

David Torrance, once Parliamentary aide to one-time Tory Shadow Scottish Secretary, David Mundell at Westminster. Independence lite views?

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

It's unionists who are touting independence lite. They're on the run! That's a good reason for me to oppose it and press for the real thing.

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

'Thinking men's nationalists' DAVID TORRANCE. On whose blog? Iain Dale's - "best known for his conservative-minded British political blog"

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

I hope I am a thinking man's - and woman's - nationalist. You won't find me on Iain Dale's blog - or supporting independence lite.

From Unionist beers - with health warning