Could the SNP bubble be about to burst? Aye right, Tom Gordon, have a look at the Garscadden/Scotstounhill by-election

cicero1

Image: pompeiinetworks.wordpress.com

In the Herald today (15th October 2016), Tom Gordon uses the words of the Roman political writer, Cicero (106-43 BCE) to warn the SNP and its supporters to be afraid, very afraid because:

‘Whenever a thing seems at its zenith, you may be sure its destruction has already started.’

Cicero was writing about the Roman Empire’s unforeseen collapse. Gordon is suggesting the same might be happening with the SNP. There are a few flaws in Gordon’s hypothetical structure too. First, Cicero was well out. The Roman Empire in the West had another three centuries and more to go after his demise. The Empire in the East had about 1400 years to run! What Cicero had got wrong, understandably perhaps, was that Rome was nowhere near its zenith but merely on the upward slopes and with a long way to go. Second, though there is much writing by other journos suggesting the same ‘SNP-peak’ as Gordon does, there is no empirical evidence to support them. Look at the results of the Garscadden/ Scotstounhill by-election, in Glasgow last week. Here at the first preference results:

Party    2016 votes    2016 share    since 2012    since 2007
SNP 2,135 42.6% +15.6% +19.6%
Labour 1,944 38.8% -22.8% -17.8%
Conservative 510 10.2% +7.6% +4.9%
Green 242 4.8% +2.1% +0.9%
Liberal Democrat 97 1.9% +0.8% -2.8%
UKIP 83 1.7% +0.8%  from nowhere

 The 20% swing to the SNP suggests sustained strength, undimmed by any recent undermining of the SNP government in a campaign of denigration by the almost uniformly pro-union mainstream media in Scotland. Gordon might want to remember that Cicero was jailed for his criticism of the rulers of Rome. I’m just joking of course. That the SNP took less than 50% of the vote does not suggest the ‘granite monolith’ of political dominance Gordon attributes to the SNP if his theory is to make any sense. Couldn’t it mean just as plausibly, that the SNP remain an unfinished project with as much chance of further successes as of any decline? The above results strongly suggest the latter.

And, as for the ‘Tory surge’, these results suggest it’s more a media construct than anything vaguely real.

Here’s a better quote from Cicero which Tom Gordon might want to consider:

‘Nothing is more unreliable than the populace, nothing more obscure than human intentions, nothing more deceptive than the whole electoral system.’

 

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