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Making lemonade

Posted on July 06, 2015 by

I started lurking on in the run up to the referendum and enjoyed reading the “robust” debates. A couple of months after the vote I got more actively involved and was immediately puzzled as to why many PBers, commentators, party strategists and – particularly – supposedly infallible bookmakers were all struggling to accept the accuracy of the Scottish opinion polls.


At this point the polls were already indicating that Scottish Labour was going to lose many of its 41 seats and could end up with fewer than five. I started commenting that from where I sitting in Stirling the opinion polls were accurate, the SNP surge was real and indeed that it had not yet peaked.

As a newcomer, I looked around for the best Scottish betting market and decided to focus my efforts on the William Hill Scottish Labour seats market. When I started placing my first bets in early December 2014 the odds were:

0-5 seats – 125/1
6-10 seats – 66/1
11-15 seats – 20/1
16-20 seats – 10/1

I started building my book by placing £5 to £10 per day – which was all William Hill would allow – on the 0-15 seats markets and I hedged my overall stake with a breakeven bet at 16-20 seats.

I continued to be surprised at how resistant many folks seem to be to the reality of situation in Scotland – each day seemed to bring a new theory as to why the SNP were going to do much worse than what the opinion polls were indicating.

The election of Jim Murphy as Scottish Labour leader on 13th December was a pivotal moment. My Twitter feed went into meltdown with political commentators proclaiming Jim as the saviour of the party and how terrified the SNP were of him. Carried away with this new orgiastic Cult Of Murphy, the bookies decided to ignore the opinion polls, so for the next week William Hill maintained the prices above.

The first poll to be published after Murphy’s appointment was by Survation – it was released on the evening of 21st December and it showed the SNP lead was still increasing. William Hill finally started cutting their prices: 0-5 seats was slashed in the afternoon from 125/1 to 66/1 (after a teaser tweet from Survation) and then to 40/1 once the poll had been published.


After the festive break the GE2015 Scottish campaigns got underway, with Murphy still receiving across the board support from the MSM. Even after his “infinite nurses” pledge and a flurry of other bizarre policy announcements, the MSM remained firmly behind him, but the opinion polls continued to indicate that Scottish Labour were headed for annihilation.

The bookies finally started to realise the game might be up. Hills 0-5 seats prices were reduced to 33/1 on 3rd January, 16/1 on 4th January, 8/1 on 8th January, 4/1 on 15th March and remained at 4/1 until they were reduced to evens on 5th May.

By then, though, I’d managed to get enough invested for my betting strategy to pay off handsomely. I’d staked £1,500 and made a profit of £20,700, of which I’ve donated 50% to MND Scotland and the various independent blogs I follow.

The revisionist media rhetoric about Murphy’s brief reign is that he faced a hopeless task when he took over on 13th December 2014, although as we’ve seen that’s in direct contradiction to most of their views at the time. We all knew better. But it’s worth noting how the political imbalance in the Scottish media has an upside too – it can affect the real world in ways we can use to our advantage.


*Calum Ferguson has been living with Motor Neurone Disease since 2010. He’s raised over £53,000 for MND Scotland since the independence referendum, and his Just Giving page can be found here.

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  1. 06 07 15 15:12

    Making lemonade | Politics Scotland |

92 to “Making lemonade”

  1. Helena Brown says:

    I am sure many of us would have been happy to Fund Calum in his quest to make some money out of the bookies and if you don’t mind me saying all the Unionists who could not see the annihilation coming for Labour.

  2. Tamson says:

    Gaun yersel’, big man!

  3. Grouse Beater says:

    Fascinating essay, Calum.
    Of course, state newspaper task is to uphold state wisdom, hence newspapers were very slow (reluctant?) to announce a sea-change in the public mood.
    That aside, having lost a month’s fees on the Referendum I did not bet on the demise of Labour’s Scottish branch office.

  4. Macart says:

    That’s brought out a smile on a wet Monday afternoon. 🙂

    Many thanks Calum and well done.

  5. Murray McCallum says:

    As well as a great read, this is a good quantative record of a status quo blind spot (or media bias if you like). A denial that change is coming.

    Outstanding work Calum. You really stuck to your belief / model.

  6. Dan Huil says:

    Nice one. Any betting advice for next year’s Holyrood election?

  7. george says:

    well done 😉

  8. Andrew Scott says:

    Well done. Job beckons as tv pundit!

  9. rongorongo says:

    The idea of harnessing the political hot air spouted by UKOK supporters and the MSM to power good causes/personal wealth is ingenious. Probably a good lesson to consider next time the media seem overwhelmingly frustrating.

    On the subject of bookies – I notice that PaddyPower paid out on backers of a Yes result in Greece. Just who is showing the good financial prudence in that one?

  10. Dr Ew says:

    Very impressive, Calum.

    Did give me pause to wonder if Jim Murphy was placing even larger bets on the same outcome!!!

  11. msean says:

    Well done,and well spotted. Didn’t hear of any early payouts on this one unlike the independence referendum or the Greek ref.

  12. Richard Taylor says:

    The Grauniad had a piece on this just before the election where they said that the overall feeling among pollsters was “OMG! The SNP will get 50 seats? That can’t be true! Halve it, say 20-25 seats, that’s more realistic”.

  13. Richard Taylor says:

    Hence,”the SNP are on 46% of the vote, which could win them as many as 20 seats at the GE.”

  14. Les Wilson says:


  15. Graeme Borthwick says:

    In my view the Referendum was fiddled by HMG…there is no way England could currrently countenance Scotland leaving the UK.
    I wondered if they would fiddle the GE, but they seem to have allowed us a straight run and used the result to frighten Middle England into voting Tory. They know that Scotland will eventually be free and their policy is to play for time and pump out the oil and anything else they can steal.
    So Murphy was right, he said “Vote SNP and you will get a Conservative Government”.
    So how do we get our Freedom now? Perhaps we should get some advice from Greece.

  16. Andy Borland says:

    That’s one of the most deliciously enjoyable stories I’ve read on Wings.
    Nae offence Rev!
    Great work Calum.

  17. Petra says:

    Calum thanks for sharing your story with us and well done to you in making so much money on betting on the odds of Labour doing well or not in the election.

    I hope this post finds you as well as is possible at the moment and that many individuals will donate to your ‘Just Giving’ page. Sending you all my best wishes.

  18. paul gerard mccormack says:

    I salute you.
    I am in awe.

  19. woosie says:

    Graeme Borthwick;

    I agree about the referendum fiddle. I’m not up to speed with such things, but aren’t the ballot papers kept for a recount if demanded/sponsored?

    Anyway, if we get another shot, all remember; A POSTAL VOTE IS A NO VOTE!

  20. Joemcg says:

    Have to admit my confidence on us getting even over 20 seats was not high, even up to the eve of the vote.Think the referendum result gave me the fear TBH. Well done Calum! More guts in you’re wee pinkie than the average no voter!

  21. Joemcg says:

    Woosie-not au fait with the rules but my friend and I spotted shredder trucks hidden from view outside the Ingilston count in the early hours of the morning on the 19th. Trying to hide something? Very dodgy. Still have the pics to prove it.

  22. orri says:

    My view is that the result was a far narrower NO vote than portrayed but was, in part, due to “abuse” of the postal voting system by some registered in Scotland with no intention in ever living here. Come the GE those voters chose to cast them locally. It was kind of obvious on the night where we’d been had when the unionists blabbed about it. It explains why there was no official exit polls and why, as usual, we didn’t get an individual tally of postal votes.

  23. Lollysmum says:

    Gerry Mulvenna from IndependenceLive singing his own song, Spirit of 2014-just been posted on YouTube

  24. IvMoz says:


    Natalie Bennett has complained today that the Greens are under-represented in the Lords & wants Green peers.

    If only the Greens were as principled as the SNP when it comes to the HOL.

    They’re supposed to be progressive but are being shown up as another bunch of Westminster troughers.

    This coupled with Lucas’s actions on the Scotland Bill means I won’t even consider them for my second vote in 2016.

  25. Valerie says:

    A great read, Calum, and a great outcome.

    Keep well and strong, and hope all your future stakes are just as lucrative!

  26. caz-m says:

    Talking of betting Calum, I’ll bet you that the Scots get hammered by Osborne in Wednesday’s Budget.

    And after the slaughter, I hope Kezia Dugdale and Scottish Labour have the balls to look their constituents in the eye and say,

    “I told you we’d would be better together”.

  27. call me dave says:


    You invested your money well on that occasion.
    Well done on your hard work raising these sums of money.

    English votes for English laws get worse the more you look at them

  28. ScotsCanuck says:

    …. sweet !!, as they say Calum “a nice wee earner” & well played by you.

  29. Petra says:

    @ woosie says at 4:36 pm ”Anyway, if we get another shot, all remember; A POSTAL VOTE IS A NO VOTE!”

    Over 800,000 people used postal votes in the Referendum (20% plus of the votes) with experts pointing out that it’s open to fraud in a number of ways: at least fourteen ways identified.

    Analysis of postal voting in Argyle and Bute seemed to highlight that more people used postal votes than was possible.

    Maybe the fact that postal voting is open to fraud is something that could be displayed on billboards in future?

  30. bjsalba says:


    I live in a seaside town. Scary how many holiday let homes had registered voters for the referendum, They were empty at the GE.

    I wonder if they paid full council taxes for any part of the year.

  31. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

    Congratulations Calum! Great stuff!! 😀

    “I got more actively involved and was immediately puzzled as to why many PBers, commentators, party strategists and – particularly – supposedly infallible bookmakers were all struggling to accept the accuracy of the Scottish opinion polls.”

    TBH you shouldn’t have been as politicalbetting is infamous for it’s anti-scottish spin and westmisnter bubble thinking.

    The owner of that site make’s no secret of the fact he’s a Cleggite on the right-wing of the lib dems. While for 75% of the time that site is actually run by out and out Cameroon and tory activist.

    Hence the extraordinary spectacle of it’s comments section being uttterly dominated by right-wing dogma and tory tabloid thinking while it’s articles almost always display westminster bubble thinking.

    Once you factor that in it’s pretty easy to see why quite a few people have made a killing by having actual intelligence from the ground on scottish politics.

    Same thing happened in 2007 and 2011. The bookies and westminster bubble sites like that simply went with the received ‘wisdom’ of right-wing tory newspapers and establishment media and BBC commentators. Needless to say their view from the westminster bubble was totally at odds with the reality on the ground so plenty of sharp folks made a great deal of cash off the back of them.

    Sadly, it looks like the bookies may have been burned once too aften and there’s nothing like the same jawdroppping odds on offer for Holyrood next year.

    However, there may be some room for punters as there seems to be a great deal of westminster bubble thinking with regards to the tories in scotland. True, the polling doesn’t quite support them getting a hammering just yet, but it would be incredible if Cameron’s EVEL, the ditching of the vow, a barrage of nasty party policies and the upcoming split in the tory party over Europe will not affect their vote and hit it quite severely.

    It is Labour’s extraordinary weakness right now which may well be masking that. It also makes betting on how things will fall risky/fairly lucrative when Labour and the tories are both so weak and unpopular.

    I’d still bet on a slight Labour recovery and the tories suffering badly under Davidson at Holyrood as Goldie could do nothing to stop the rot either.

  32. Jules says:

    Sadly for me Calum you fleeced me for around 300 quid. I took the opposite bet in an attempt to hedge myself against disappointment on May 7th.

    As a strategy it worked well – I couldn’t have cared less about the money when I got to see Murph, Curran, Davidson et al out on their erses…!

  33. Thepnr says:

    Nice bit of punting Calum. Often enjoyed a punt myself a fair while back, less so now and only rarely. Wish I’d paid attention though to those odds of 125/1 for 0 to 5 seats.

    Looks like ridiculous but brilliant odds now.

    If the referendum result was rigged why is the Revs poll still showing the No vote 6% ahead?

    Have Yes actually lost voters since the referendum? Bit of a puzzler that is.

  34. caz-m says:

    Favourite get-out for voting NO from your average Scots pensioner was,

    “av goat a couple a wee pensions, a don’t want tae lose them”.

    It was a case of,

    “F**k You, I’m alright.”

    The words,

    “Selfish bastards” comes to mind.

  35. HYUFD says:

    Orri Yougov had it 54-46 No based on a survey of those who voted on election night. Panelbase, commissioned by this very website, had it 53-47 No even last weekend

  36. icyspark says:


    Scotland Bill committee stage (day 4) has just begun:

  37. Petra says:


    @ call me dave says at 5:20 pm ”English votes for English laws get worse the more you look at them

    If people weren’t aware that we’re living in a Dictatorship surely they will now. If this goes through it’s doubtful that anyone other than an English man or woman will be a UK Prime Minister, CoE or even a member of the Cabinet in future. On a positive note they’re speeding up the demise of this archaic, corrupt Union with no input from anyone else.

    Craig Murrays opinion of the Greek crisis.

    ‘Bail-Out or Sell-Out?’

    ”The resignation of the Greek Finance Minister is the clearest possible indication that my last posting was correct and that Greece is ready to climb down in negotiations, in exchange for any sliver of a fig-leaf. The “Troika” is very keen that there will be another bail-out because of course the money goes to the bankers to whom the political elite are beholden. It is increasingly plain that Tsipras does not have the balls for debt repudiation. Yesterday’s choice was meaningless; debt repudiation is the only real alternative.

    No bail-out will make any difference, we will be enmired in the same issues again every six months, but with less drama. The Euro will survive because it is the resilient currency of the World’s largest economy. Merkel will continue to manage it cleverly – she has just demonstrated that Germany can determine who is Greece’s finance minister. Greeks will suffer through more austerity, comforted by yesterday’s meaningless shout of defiance, and large corporations and banks will get their hands on Greece’s remaining state assets.

    I think the lesson from this is that the 21st Century corporate and banking state is beyond amelioration. Any change needs to be a fundamental challenge to the system. It will seem strange to future generations that a system developed whereby middlemen who facilitated real economic transactions by handling currency, came to dominate the world by creating a mathematical nexus of currency that bore no meaningful relationship to real movements of commodities.”

  38. Lesley-Anne says:

    Well done Callum on playing the unionist media at their own game … and WINNING … BIG style! 😀

    Perhaps Stu might like to have you back in the month’s leading up to next May’s election with more of your betting critique and advice for all of us “betting newbie’s” so that perhaps even more of us can *ahem* stick it to the unionists, electorally speaking as well as financially speaking, next May. 😉

  39. Petra says:


    ”I live in a seaside town. Scary how many holiday let homes had registered voters for the referendum, They were empty at the GE.”

    @ bjsalba says at 5:25 pm ”I wonder if they paid full council taxes for any part of the year.”

    Same in my area too Orri and that of friends who live in in Inverness-shire, Lewis and Harris. The owners could vote in the Referendum regardless of where they actually live (main home) in the UK or they could let their holiday homes out to people who could then vote as long as they had registered before the 2nd September. I’m not too sure how much the owners actually pay in Council Tax. Something I’ll have to check out.

  40. Dal Riata says:

    Well done Callum!

    Re the Indyref1:

    What the hell has happened to the investigation initiated after Ruth Davidson’s admission of illegal sampling of postal votes by Better Together?

    From the International Business Times… of September 25, 2014!…:

    “Police have been asked to investigate whether members of the Better Together campaign breached electoral law by revealing Scottish referendum postal votes before the polls closed.

    A number of complaints were made to the Electoral Commission after Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said 45 minutes after the polls closed she was “incredibly encouraged” after ‘No’ campaign agents had been “taking tallies” of postal votes in sample openings weeks prior to the count.

    Whilst opening of ballot boxes by campaign agents in the days and weeks before the voting officially closes is a routine procedure, it is a criminal offence to reveal the results of these openings. Any agents found guilty of doing so can face up to 12 months in prison and a fine of up to £5,000.

    The complaints came after Davidson told Scotland Decides: “We have had people at every sample opening around the country over the last few weeks… and we have been incredibly encouraged by the results from that.

    “Going into today, going by the postal votes that were cast, our side would have had a lead and I think that we have a confidence, I hope a quiet confidence, that the quiet majority of Scots have spoken today.”

    “Different local authorities have had openings around the country. It is illegal to discuss that while any ballot is ongoing, so until ten o’clock tonight no one could talk about it.

    “But there are people in the room that have been sampling those ballot boxes as they have been opened and they have been taking tallies and the reports have been very positive for us.””

    So, then, almost ten months have passed since the start of the investigation. Any news on progress? Anywhere? How/Where can information be found? Why is it taking so long?

  41. Grouse Beater says:

    The resignation of the Greek Finance Minister

  42. Andy-B says:

    Well done Calum.

    Good on you for giving to others, even though you don’t keep well yourself.

  43. caz-m says:

    BBC Reporting Scotland reporting from Glasgow Airport on the Greek crisis tonight and they asked one of the tour operators for their advice on travelling to Greece.

    Who was this random tour operator? Yes, Barrhead Travel.

    BBC Scotland giving one of their mates from Better Together a free plug on live TV.

  44. heedtracker says:

    What an amazingly good thing to do, give so much ill gotten gains:D to

    Is Motor Neurone Disease what Dr Steven Hawking has?

    It also makes a total mockery of the old tripe, bookies are the ones that really what’s going down.

    Although, to be fair to bookies, its hard to even begin to imagine what it was like coming under the full blast of UKOK Project Fear hysteria, BBC Crash Gordon rage, sneaky queeny making creepy threats in Balmoral church car parks etc…

    Without Bliar McBloater’s Project Fear, Slabour were left all on their tod and look at what happened

  45. Dr Ew says:

    @IvMoz 5:15

    To be crystal clear, Iz, it is the Green Party of England & Wales seeking representation in the House of Lords; the Scottish Greens’ policy is NOT to accept places in an unelected upper house. Check back and you’ll find the SGP has turned down the opportunity in the past so rest assured that point of principle needn’t concern you when considering your Holyrood 2016 second vote.

    Regarding Caroline Lucas’ vote on the FFA, it’s true she was attempting to represent Scottish Greens’ position on that particular amendment, but also worth noting she supported almost all of the other SNP’s tabled revisions.

    More to the point there is a wholly legitimate and respectable argument that says FFA could be a poisoned chalice with potential to seriously damage confidence in the SNP Government and the cause of independence generally – if implemented without borrowing powers. Indeed Wings itself has strongly implied as much in several articles, along with other possible debilitating constraints; regular readers will have grasped this site is fairly lukewarm on FFA. Does it then follow Wings is somehow letting the side down or unworthy of your support?

    In other words, rejecting the FFA amendment as presented in the Commons last week is not a repudiation of independence but a different perspective on how to secure it in the longer term. A tactical difference and not one of principle as some seem too ready to believe.

    I’m not picking on you specifically, Iz, and only mention this because this topic has generated posts here and several other Indy-supporting sites that have been depressingly poor in their analysis, often petty, occasionally nasty and worryingly tribal. Astute followers, meanwhile, will notice criticism of the Green position from the SNP leadership has been rather muted. This is partly because they appreciate the debate is far more complex than some knee-jerk denunciations on social media would suggest, but I suspect also because they understand if Labour pursue a “second vote” strategy for 2016, then a strong second vote Green campaign is more likely to damage Labour than a double SNP vote. While there’s still along way to go, it is likely that an SNP landslide in the constituencies means intelligent use of your vote for another pro-Indy party would deliver not just a chamber more strongly for independence but, crucially, a more diverse Parliament campaigning for a Yes vote if and when a second referendum is called during the 2016 mandate.

    The 2014 Yes campaign thrived on its diversity. Sniping comments and condemnations over a policy disagreement or tactical strategy only makes rebuilding that common purpose more difficult next time round. Think about it, folks.

  46. ArtyHetty says:

    Just wow, thank you Calum amazing analysis.
    I sometimes dip into when time allows, a book called, ‘Techniques of Persuasion, From Propoganda to Brainwashing’ by J.A, C. Brown, 1963, but still very apt.

    The polls can also be a way to attempt to convince and steer the way in which the electorate make their decisions. If they say this will happen, the electorate will be so controlled, like robots that it will actually result in that way.

    The thing is, in reality it does not quite work like that. Well it does in some places, but not in Scotland or Greece!

  47. orri says:

    Not sure if I’m being disagreed with or not. 53 and 54 both being lower than 55.

    To clarify, by exit poll I meant of votes cast in person. The quoted figure for the postal ballot was about the 80% mark. I think as far as votes cast went postal ballots were close to 25%. If those figures are anywhere near accurate then a poll taken of those who cast their vote in person would have shown a 53% Yes.

  48. ArtyHetty says:

    Dr.Ew @5.15pm

    The Greens have blotted their copy book for me, sorry.

    See ScotgoesPop for analysis on what your votes will do and/or possibly result in regards the Holyrood election in 2016, we have to be very careful how we play this one, so we don’t end up with majority or unionists in Holyrood next year, a scary thought indeedy.

  49. Ken500 says:

    How did the Bookies pay out on 0-5 seats when they won 56? They got over o-5 seats.

    Would a bet on outcome between 45 – 50 seats have won?

    Lost on the Referendum because of the inaccurate Polls prediction
    Lost on GE because of inaccurate Polls prediction.

    How do people put on large bets in the Bookies, because they restrict bets to small amounts. Why they accept large stakes from certain people but restrict the amount for other people.

  50. woosie says:


    Well spotted. I used Barrhead travel about 4 holidays in a row before indyref, never again. I actually heard the owner and a couple of cohorts in a local pub stating – not privately – “vote no or we go”! Lucky for him I was sober.

    We can only hope the real message from the brave Greeks gets through to more no-voters; that big business owns democracy.

  51. Doug McG says:

    Council tax on holiday homes should be double or triple the normal rate , not reduced , killing a community by not being there is not a good thing.

  52. Ken500 says:

    Oh, see Labour/Unionist seats GE

    That was a good prediction at that time.

  53. John H. says:

    You did well there Calum. I thought it looked like a good chance to make a few bob too. I hardly ever bet though, and having just lost £500 on the referendum I was a bit wary for the GE.

  54. msean says:

    Watching this Scotland bill on telly. Same old,should just bring our MPs up the road.Democracy in action.

  55. Ken500 says:

    The Greens are worst than the LibDems for reneging on their own policies. Have wasted £Million/Billion in public money campaigning against pedestrianise of the City centre. Colluding with Unionists with one vote in administrations to prevent the pedestrianised and improved facilities for disable access, walkers, cyclists buggies etc. Colluded with Landowners to prevent essential roads and an airport extention for better and easier travel arrangements. All Against the majority wishes and the public interest. Building carbuncles with limited support. People are protesting in the streets. The Greens are a disgrace.

    Just vote SNP /SNP that will keep out Unionists and their Allies.

  56. Doug McCallum says:

    Well done Callum!

    I believe that the Scottish MSM, uk MSM and the sate broadcaster tried to help labour in Scotland in every way they could in Scotland.

    This support ranges from talking up labour’s chances, plus publishing manufactured stories of benefit to labour and stories to detrement of SNP.

    As you state over the past nine months this has backfired on unionists, but laws of nature tell us this can’t last, ………….. or can it?

    Best wishes for your future fund raising!

  57. Ken500 says:

    There could be a residential qualification 2/3 years, the same as for Student Loans, for the next Independence Referendum. Quite legitimate. Those with the biggest stake, no those just passing through, can vote. If it is a relatively easy administration, to organise. Other countries have residential qualifications on voting access.

    It might be quite difficult to organise the EU Referendum vote. They are restricting so many folk from voting. It could be an administrative nightmare.

  58. Ken500 says:

    Greens wasting public money on Inquiries that take weeks and months, delaying tactics which take years and out up the cost of essential projects and stall economic develop. Adding hours on to people’s working day. Against the majority wishes and the public interest. A tiny minority have done this all over the country.

  59. msean says:

    Here they come,the MPs who didn’t actually sit in on the debate,doing the imperial masters will,a proud time for democracy. Not.

  60. Thepnr says:

    A number of posts on this thread are really quite depressing. Many it would seem can see no further than the end of their own nose.

    Ignorance will hold you back, look for enlightenment. You’ll feel all the better for it.

  61. Dr Ew says:


    How exactly have the Greens “blotted their copybook”? By sticking to their principles? By disagreeing with an SNP policy over which some within the upper reaches of the party have also expressed concern? By clearly stating that alternative ideas about how to achieve independence exist – and what it could be once we get there?

    I worked hard throughout the Yes campaign and enjoyed working with lots of SNP folk – still do, in fact. We disagree on stuff and that’s fine. We have strong common purpose on several issues, most notably a couple of very major ones – WMD removal and Trident.

    I disagree with the SNP on NATO membership, as do a significant number of its own members. Last year I disagreed with the SNP position on currency, and indeed would argue that leaving of monetary sovereignty in the rUK’s hands created a highly vulnerable hostage to fortune that Osborne, Darling et al exploited to the full in the campaign – and would have done so for real in the event of independence, had it suited their purpose.

    If we’re going to be independent, let’s control our own currency like a proper grown-up nation. That’s the root of the Scottish Greens’ critique of FFA; more powers are one thing but without key levers of economic policy these can be highly destructive.

    And that’s why I worry when I read phrases like “blot their copybook”, as if there can only be one true orthodoxy on Scottish Independence and any who dare to deviate or even question are dismissed without even engaging on the argument or worse, subjected to unthinking ad hominem attacks (not that I’m suggesting that’s what you’ve done here, to be clear, but I have read some truly insulting stuff and been subjected to some pretty choice phrases myself.”

    Not so long ago the SNP policy was to withdraw from NATO and for an independent currency. Then it was for NATO and joining the the Euro. Now it’s for a shared pound. Policies evolve, that’s fine, but so is debate and challenge and alternative thinking – indeed, it’s healthier and that’s how strong democratic parties – and movements – thrive.

    To be blunt I suspect the SNP amendments on FFA were posturing, political gaming in fact, and the Greens simply got caught in the crossfire directed at Labour. FFA without borrowing powers (at least) could create a millstone that would drag down confidence in our ability to go it alone, especially within an austerity obsessed monetary regime dictated by Westminster. That’s why I’ve been disappointed by the knee-jerk reactions to last week’s vote.

    As regards the Scot Goes Pop analysis on second votes, it makes many fair points but this far out it’s pretty meaningless, and even closer to the day it’s fair to say the du Hondt / MMP system will make it a bit of a crap shoot.

    What I would say is every Green MSP next year will mean one less Labour, AND the prospect of a more diverse, left-leaning pro-independence Parliament. That’s a much stronger base to fight another Indyref post-2016.

  62. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Dr Ew at 7.59

    Have to disagree with you on the main thrust. “FFA” assumes borrowing powers and instead what the Greens apparently said was that FFA was dangerous in a currency union. This of course is untrue. All our councils have borrowing powers (much more than the Scot Gov) and they are all in a currency union.
    The same would apply to all the countries in the EU. Does anyone imagine that Italy or Belgium or France do not have huge fiscal autonomy or borrowing powers because they are in a currency union? Absolute tommyrot (whatever that means).
    Poor stuff, Patrick

    What is worse is the Greens’ apparent naivety. They do not seem to understand the game that is being played for Scotland.
    Or perhaps the Greens in England are not unanimously for Scottish independence and find their association with SNP damaging to them in England and Patrick Harvey has been bounced into explaining away Caroline Lucas’s damaging vote.

    On the list vote it is dangerous indeed to vote for other than the SNP. It was the surprising huge vote on the last list that actually got the SNP its majority. The higher we get in FPTP the harder it is to get list seats (It was designed to stop us ever getting an overall majority after all) and we need all the list votes we can get.

    A vote for the Greens on the list that might have been Labour is very good for us.
    A vote for Greens on the list that might have been SNP is very bad for us indeed and could actually result in more Labour survivors

  63. msean says:

    Look at the flock heading back to the pubs. All that effort standing for Parliament,just to vote with the flock.

  64. Slightly O/T … did anybody else miss this one, or was it just me. LOL, LOL, LOL, roflmfao! Says it all.

  65. caz-m says:

    Message to Scottish Labour,

    “The Party’s Over” (literally)

    The party’s over
    It’s time to call it a day
    They’ve burst your pretty balloon
    And taken the moon away.

    It’s time to wind up
    The masquerade
    Just make your mind up
    The piper must be paid.

    The party’s over
    The candles flicker and dim
    You danced and dreamed through the night
    It seemed to be right just being with him.

    Now you must wake up, all dreams must end
    Take off your makeup, the party’s over
    It’s all over, my friend.

  66. msean says:

    Think there seems to be some problem with the time it takes posts to appear.

    This Welsh Labour guy seems to not understand that the Scottish Government has to follow rules re trains and other tenders,rules that the other parties who were in UK governments signed up too. Following their rules that they introduced.Easy to see why Labour is finished. Toys out the pram stuff.

  67. Indigo says:

    I struggled to watch that Welsh Labour MP msean, shocking level of ignorance

  68. crazycat says:

    @ Dr Ew

    What I would say is every Green MSP next year will mean one less Labour

    Not only is that not true (they could replace Tory, LD or even SNP-allowing-Labour-to-get-extra), it rather undermines your statement that we are too far out to pass judgment.

  69. msean says:

    This present white suited Labour type is even worse,keep it up,keep him talking,he must be making driving voters to indy supporting candidates for next year. Other guy turns up and asks where SNP are,lol,where you been since this bill started mate? Labour never present to fight for Scotland. We won’t forget at election time.

  70. Fred says:

    The SNP is a very broad church, there’s nothing to prevent Green’s voting for the SNP. Once Scotland gets its independence I might even vote Green myself but until then the Greens are an irrelevant sideshow and a distraction from the goal of freedom & democracy.

  71. Chic McGregor says:

    Good on you Calum. I set up a monthly donation of £10 to MND Scotland at the time of the ice water challenge (rather than do the challenge).

  72. Indigo says:

    Sadly though msean the Wings Panelbase showed it’s pretty unlikely that any no voters will be watching this – so very frustrating to see our elected representatives’ solid, well considered amendments being disregarded and the SNP’s track record being deliberately mis-represented

    Want to switch off, but feel compelled to watch

  73. Ken500 says:

    Why was Caroline Lucas trying to represent the Scottish Greens position. They are supposed to be separate autonomous Parties, that are only affiliated. Caroline Lucas would have to vote on her own position on the motion. Did she support Scotland being give the powers that were promised or not? If she supported Scotland being the powers that were promised, she should have voted Yes. She was not there to represent an affiliated Party. She is there to represent her own constituents. Did they think Scotland should be given the powers that they were promised. Does every voter in the rest of the UK think Scotland should not get the powers that they were promised? MP’s are supposed to be representative of their voters views, not sheep following the flock.

  74. Grouse Beater says:

    PNR: “A number of posts on this thread are really quite depressing.”

    Chin up, pnr! Just think, you could be a surfer in Malibu instead of fighting for your country’s freedom- oh wait! That’s not the best of examples. 🙂

  75. Roll_On_2015 says:

    @ Dr Ew

    Much as I support some of the Green’s policies, I believe that a dose of reality has to rule in the Scottish GE next year in order to get the unionists out of Holyrood and for there to be an SNP majority.

    Scottish GE’s:

    2007 Vote
    Constituency = Vote SNP
    List = Vote Not specified

    2011 Vote
    Constituency = Vote SNP
    List = Vote Alex Salmon for FM

    The 2011 election result was a large SNP majority. To maintain that majority then there can only be one solution; any other way is a gamble.

    2016 Vote
    Constituency = Vote SNP
    List = Vote Nicola Sturgeon for FM

    Once Scotland has regained its rightful place in the world then anything is possible… but to get to that place it needs a majority to table a referendum.

  76. schrodingers cat says:

    the arguements here about the list vote are ignorant, uninformed piffle, from both sides

  77. schrodingers cat says:

    this is the actual result from 2011 Mid Scotland and Fife
    SNP -1
    Annabelle Ewing
    Labour -2
    Claire Brennan-Baker
    Richard Simpson
    Tory -1
    Elizabeth Smith
    LibDem -1
    Willie Rennie

    Snp=116691 45%
    Lab=64623 25%
    Tory = 36458 14.1%
    Lib = 15103 5.9%
    SG = 10914 4.2%

    Round 1
    Snp= 116691 45% /9= 12965
    Lab= 64623 25% /2 = 32312
    Tory = 36458 14.1% /1 = 36458x
    Lib = 15103 5.9% /1 = 15103
    SG = 10914 4.2% /1 = 10914

    Round 2
    Snp= 116691 45% /9= 12965
    Lab= 64623 25% /2 = 32312x
    Tory = 36458 14.1% /2 = 18 229
    Lib = 15103 5.9% /1 = 15103
    SG = 10914 4.2% /1 = 10914

    Round 3
    Snp= 116691 45% /9= 12965
    Lab= 64623 25% /3 = 21541x
    Tory = 36458 14.1% /2 = 18 229
    Lib = 15103 5.9% /1 = 15103
    SG = 10914 4.2% /1 = 10914

    Round 4
    Snp= 116691 45% /9= 12965
    Lab= 64623 25% /4 = 16155
    Tory = 36458 14.1% /2 = 18 229x
    Lib = 15103 5.9% /1 = 15103
    SG = 10914 4.2% /1 = 10914

    Round 5
    Snp= 116691 45% /9= 12965
    Lab= 64623 25% /4 = 16155x
    Tory = 36458 14.1% /3 = 12153
    Lib = 15103 5.9% /1 = 15103
    SG = 10914 4.2% /1 = 10914

    Round 6
    Snp= 116691 45% /9= 12965
    Lab= 64623 25% /5 = 12924
    Tory = 36458 14.1% /3 = 12153
    Lib = 15103 5.9% /1 = 15103x
    SG = 10914 4.2% /1 = 10914

    Round 7
    Snp= 116691 45% /9= 12965x
    Lab= 64623 25% /5 = 12924
    Tory = 36458 14.1% /3 = 12153
    Lib = 15103 5.9% /2 = 7551
    SG = 10914 4.2% /1 = 10914

  78. schrodingers cat says:

    this is an example if 30,000 snp votes were given each to the greens and ssp Example
    Round 1
    Snp= 56691 /10= 5669
    Lab= 64623 25% /1 = 64623^
    Tory = 36458 14.1% /1 = 36458
    Lib = 15103 5.9% / = 15103
    SG = 40914 /1 = 40914
    SSP = 30000 /1 = 30000

    Round 2
    Snp= 56691 /10= 5669
    Lab= 64623 25% /2 = 32312
    Tory = 36458 14.1% /1 = 36458^
    Lib = 15103 5.9% / = 15103
    SG = 40914 /1 = 40914
    SSP = 30000 /1 = 30000

    Round 3
    Snp= 56691 /10= 5669
    Lab= 64623 25% /2 = 32312
    Tory = 36458 14.1% /2= 18229
    Lib = 15103 5.9% / = 15103
    SG = 40914 /1 = 40914^
    SSP = 30000 /1 = 30000

    Round 4
    Snp= 56691 /10= 5669
    Lab= 64623 25% /2 = 32312^
    Tory = 36458 14.1% /2= 18229
    Lib = 15103 5.9% / = 15103
    SG = 40914 /2 = 20457
    SSP = 30000 /1 = 30000

    Round 5
    Snp= 56691 /10= 5669
    Lab= 64623 25% /3 = 14541
    Tory = 36458 14.1% /2= 18229
    Lib = 15103 5.9% / = 15103
    SG = 40914 /2 = 20457
    SSP = 30000 /1 = 30000^

    Round 6
    Snp= 56691 /10= 5669
    Lab= 64623 25% /3 = 14541
    Tory = 36458 14.1% /2= 18229
    Lib = 15103 5.9% / = 15103
    SG = 40914 /2 = 20457^
    SSP = 30000 /2 = 15000

    Round 7
    Snp= 56691 /10= 5669
    Lab= 64623 25% /3 = 14541
    Tory = 36458 14.1% /2= 18229^
    Lib = 15103 5.9% / = 15103
    SG = 40914 /3 = 13638
    SSP = 30000 /2 = 15000

    Tory 2
    Labour 2
    SSP 1
    SG 2

  79. schrodingers cat says:

    terry kellys blog site generates more heat than light, he trolls below the line in his own blog site insulting those who disagree with him but for a psephologist, he avoids the numbers and half the negative comments are based on a mistrust of the greens, as if this changes the numbers

  80. schrodingers cat says:

    the reason the greens opposed the ffa was because of the question of the currency union. this isnt news. the greens have opposed the cu since 2013, as did jim sillars. claiming that the scottish greens are closet nationaist doesnt change the arithmatic. I could change the names of the parties people could tactically vote for in the list, from greens/ssp to jim sillars/solidarity, but that wont change the arithmatic either. given the choice between having wullie rennie or andy wightman, people will chose andy.

  81. Bill Fraser says:

    Clever fella>Wish i had thought of it at the time.

  82. schrodingers cat says:

    now the case against such tactical voting. the latest poll shows support for the snp at 60% for holyrood. but a week is a long time in politics. we are talking about an election which is in 9 months from now! the above arithmatic is sound, no doubt about it, but it depends on the snp winning all 9 constituencies, the snp won over 60% of the vote in glenrothes in may, (broke the swingometer :0 i wouldnt bet against the snp winning in glenrothes in 2016. but NEF is not glenrothes, indeed, NEF is one of the weakest snp seats in scotland.41%, the lib dems will stand their highest profile candidate in scotland here, wullie rennie, and they will throw everything but the kitchen sink against us. if the tory voters in NEF realise that the only way to stop the snp here is to vote libdem. we will be up against it. NEF, even if the polls show another landslide in scotland, is not a foregone conclusion. if we lose NEF and we have tactically voted for eg, solidarity, in the list vote, we wont pick up an msp from the list vote. the snp could lose its majority. It is also possible to win list seats even if we win all 9 constituencies, the snp won 1 list msp in 2011, in north east scotland, even though they won all of the constituencies in that region. albeit, that was with 52% of the list vote. trying to tactically vote in the list paper, is not without risks

  83. schrodingers cat says:

    the arithmatic for voting tactically is sound, no doubt about it, if the people vote in 2016 in the same way they did last may, then the opportunity for tactical voting is mathematically consistent. the real question is, ….can we afford to take the risk?….it is too early to make that call

  84. Valerie says:

    Some robust defence of the Scottish Greens by Dr Ew, and fair comment on why the Scottish Greens oppose FFA as it is being proposed – they are entitled to that view.

    However, I think Harvie was exceptionally rude and ill tempered, when he posted “SNP types are annoyed by Lucas vote against FFA”

    Who is Harvie to call us SNP types? Do we not get that enough from other quarters?

    Secondly, why was it such a big deal for Lucas to vote with the Tories, why didn’t she just abstain, given her single vote is pretty meaningless against the barrage. An abstention would have been a good place to argue the Green position from, instead of getting into a defensive position when Patrick Harvie was questioned by the “SNP types”

    I had a LOT of respect for Patrick before and since the Ref, but he went right down in my estimation last week, for his condescending name calling.

    In my dealings with Green supporters on anti fracking, I would never insult them by referring to Green types. We are supposed to be on the same side.

  85. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Valerie at 12.16

    Well said. Unreliable friends

  86. Dr Ew says:


    Fair poimts. I really disliked Patrick’s “types” remark too, a silly barb, but in his defence I would say it was a one-off “reaction” tweet when Greens were being subjected to highly partisan and often highly personal attacks from SNP members across social media.

    @Dave McEwan Hill
    Unreliable friends? See above – friendship cuts both ways.

  87. Robert Forrest says:

    Thanks for this Callum, highly entertaining but may have been interesting staying on the betting topic. A couple of little stories from me and observations

    I no longer stay in Scotland. Iv’e not taken part in the electoral process for about 10 years. Before then every election for 20 years I voted SNP, so i’ve never backed a winner. lol…I was gone by the time Nicola first won glasgow south.

    I’m not saying anything too clever when I say a good indicator of ‘bentness’, is any action or inaction in the betting markets.

    Alas Callum !!…Pity we didn’t know each other. The bets may have been a little steeper. Both true stories.

    1) I once seen a Glasgow punter get 200 grand on Dunfermline at 7/2. When the ceiling for a price change query was 500 quid. He won 700,000.

    2) I was once standing with a guy in a bar. He gave me a betting slip to look at.
    20,000 pound win 10/1
    John MCain to be next US president.

    “WIT ? 20 grand…hees’nae’chance. Obamas a stick on”

    “Cummon Jock, that is not a bet on the election. Obama will win that. This bet is my way of getting a bet on him being assassinated before becoming president. Very touchy betting subject.

    I don’t bet but pay attention to the odds. The last 3 elections in Europe have been very interesting.

    I will take it you understand odds and if you don’t you are at least clued up in fractions due to our fantastic education system.

    SCOTTISH REF: NO 1/8 to 1/5
    YES 6/1 to 9/2

    These are the rough range the odds moved. The initial odds are compiled by inputing available data into a logarithmic formula. Then the odds can go up or down due to things like very good polls or big bets.

    I’m not sure if everyone had access to this but I think it was open. The betting level was not great but ALL the money was on YES. The odds on YES increased a bit…..WIT ! then came the poll were they screwed up. That should have had a dramatic effect on the price but done nothing.

    Every piece of evidence apart from the +10% for NO in the polls pointed towards a YES win. The whole thing embarrassed the bookies. Don’t take any sides, don’t make a hulabaloo and don’t take any risk.

    My opinion is for whatever reason the big british bookies thought it was maybe fixed but are not really part of the state machinery and we know what happened to Marsellus’s bets on the boxing.

    GE 2015: Callum you shouldn’t probably have got the opening odds you did…The surprising thing is, in the Referendum the polls gave an almost perfect forecast but the other info was ignored.

    For a bookie it’s good to know the winner before an event. So it’s logical you would use the method so successful from the REF….but they ignored the polls. In the GE they didn’t have the same suspicions and the pressure was off.

    Greece: More polls showing large margins of error on state media…everyone saying it was going to be close-Everywhere but the Greeks that I spoke to leading up to it almost perfectly predicting the result.

    The first thing probably through Merkel’s head when the Greeks told her they were going to have a referendum…How can I cheat. I better phone Dave. I’d bet on it.

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