Politics Scotland

GE17 – The Hubris, Hysteria, Hypocrisy and Hopelessness – Plus Prediction of Result


Sitting in my office at St Peters, which has now been turned into the polling station for a day,  I cannot forget this is an important day for the UK as one of the most important elections in decades takes place.    I usually make myself a hostage to fortune by offering a prediction on these occasions – so I will continue the tradition….but first let me offer just a brief analysis of the campaign as I see it.

Hubris of the Conservatives – 

May began this election in a strong position – and I suspect that she will finish with an increased majority,  but maybe not what she was looking for.  I think she has had a bad campaign – not just because she is bad campaigner (which she is) but because of her hubris.  She called this election about Brexit and immediately made it about herself – ‘strong and stable’ was always going to be a hostage to fortune.   She had a 20% lead in the polls because of Brexit – and made the mistake of thinking it was because of her.  Now that lead has shrunk to around 5-10% and the Tories have somewhat belatedly returned to Brexit as their campaign.

Hysteria of the Corbynistas – 

Corbyn has had a good campaign – not just because he is a good campaigner (he is) but because the media liberal progressives are desperate to have someone to hang their hopes on.   He is the Bernie Sanders of UK politics.  But it is hysteria.  It means that normal intelligent people forget all the facts about the past and because they ‘believe’ in the fantasy put forward by Labour, they basically forget any idea of ‘fact checking’ any of the policies.    ‘Believe in Hope’ is not exactly a concrete manifesto, but when you are desperate,  and see the Tories as the personification of evil, it will do.  What I find ironic is that who desperately railed against and mocked populism, have suddenly turned populists themselves and hope against hope that their man will be elected.   Another irony is that I am sure if the Labour party had a decent leader and unequivocally backed Brexit, they would have won this election.

Hypocrisy of the SNP – 

They have had as bad a campaign as the Tories.  They have been all over the place on Scottish Independence, the EU and what the election is about.   First we were told that this was not an election about Scottish Independence (so why vote SNP?), then we were told that it was (more SNP MPs would mean a mandate for IndyRef2), then it was hardly mentioned in their manifesto.   The position on the EU was equally confused.  Was it SNP policy to remain in the EU?  Yes, maybe, Yes but… And then throughout the campaign we have heard very little about what the SNP have done and can do…its all been about stopping the evil Tories, who are apparently not having a revival in Scotland but still remain a threat!   Quite how the SNP can stop the Tories in a Westminster election has never been made clear.   For me the absolute low for the SNP was Sturgeon’s calculated clype and put down of Kezia Dugdale.  It was nasty and cynical.  She must have known it would only benefit the Tories – and I think the SNP are more interested in keeping Labour down so that they can benefit from the anti-Tory vote that is still strong in Scotland.  Hence the ‘Toree, Toree, Toree” mantra repeated ad nauseam.

Hopelessness of the Lib-Dems – 

They too have had a dreadful hopeless campaign.   This is because of their leader Tim Farron, who has come across really badly, and because of their policy of basing it all on Brexit.  They wanted to position themselves as the party of the 48%, but made the fundamental mistake of not realising that half of that 48% are democrats who think that Brexit should now go ahead because that is what we voted for. Besides which the election has not been about Brexit – (the terrorist attacks, Tory incompetence and Corbyns good performance being the main reasons why) – and so they have been stuck in no mans land.  Which is a shame because they have some good policies and the House of Commons will be the poorer for only having a literal handful of Lib- Dem MPs.

The Prediction:

Conservatives – 360

Labour – 217

SNP – 48

Lib Dem – 3

Plaid – 3

Green – 1

N. Ireland – 18


Final Lesson: 

(apart from the egg on my face if I have got this result totally wrong!).

I don’t like elections being made about leaders – although of course they are a factor.   It’s interesting to see the billboards outside St Peters reflect this – the SNP and Labour ones do not mention their leaders – the Tory says that our candidate is ‘the candidate of Ruth Davidson’.  Why would that make anyone vote for them?!

My local newsagent summed up the feelings of many people – ‘I don’t know who to vote for – they’re all crap’!  But we should not give up on democracy.  I still have hope.

I hope May will have learned some humility from this, she is not (nor should she try to be) Thatcher Mark 2.

I hope that the Labour party will return to its senses and come out of the Corbynista cultlike mentality.

I hope that the SNP will get back to being realistic and doing ‘the day job’ and forget all the ‘we are the Saviours of Europe’ fantasy.

And I hope that the Lib-Dems recover as well.  We need a multi-party democracy and returning to the two-party system –  because of the demise of UKIP and the collapse of the Lib-Dems – is not healthy.

Meanwhile I give thanks that I live in a democracy, that I can vote and above all that I am a Christian whose hope is in Christ, not in any political leader or system.   Now I have to go into the church, where, unbeknown to those trickling past to cast their votes, we are doing something even more important – praying for the Lord to renew, reform and revive our beloved land!



  1. Dear Sir, an interesting article but with respect, if you are speaking about “hubris” absolutely no one in current politics defines the word more than Ms Sturgeon. Her hubris driven diatribe is never and never has been supported by any level of fact and her stance on the EU absolutely flies in the face of reality. It’s ALL about Ms Sturgeon and regardless of the destruction she heaps on, and would heap on Scotland with her drive for independence, is utterly disgraceful.

  2. On the whole I agree with your analysis of the election campaign although I have to admit that I don’t spend much time watching coverage on the TV or reading the newspapers. Corbyn has done amazingly well and May has messed things up. But how Labour’s share of the vote in the opinion polls can have risen defies any logic. Labour’s manifesto in 1983 was described as the longest suicide note in history and Labour’s manifesto in 2017 is, to put it mildly, no better. How many seats the Tories and Labour win will depend on how far the opinion polls have got it right, bearing in mind, of course, that opinion polls are not predictions.
    I do, however, think that your suggestion that the Lib Dems will win only three seats somewhat overly optimistic but I hope you are right. I will be very surprised if my own seat of East Dunbartonshire is not a Lib Dem gain. The SNP share of the vote has gone down nationally since 2015, the sitting SNP MP has not done much over the past two years to create local support and the Lib Dems are throwing everything plus the kitchen sink into regaining the seat they lost in 2015. SNP campaigning in the constituency is lacklustre to put it mildly. Edinburgh West and North East Fife might well go the same way. They might even gain some seats in the rest of the country based on local campaigning efforts. But I had to laugh when I saw a Lib Dem poster in the Thirsk and Malton constituency. It said “Lib Dems winning here.” In 2015 the Tory MP had a majority of nearly 20,000 and the Lib Dems came fourth.

  3. The comment from Mr McGeachy underlines how irrational the anti-SNP vote is Scotland. We are now in very dangerous territory in Scotland there is an emerging nationalist unionist split that is now driving political behaviour irrespective of other normal political factors. We have a UK parliament that will be hung with none of the main stream commentators factoring in the impact of EVEL on how the parliament will actually operate especially with a lame duck PM and the inevitable plotting of her potential replacement. I don’t usually make predictions but this feels like Feb 74 all over agin we will be back at the polls within 6 momths

  4. Yeh, you were in the ball park with your prediction David. Broadly speaking you clearly have your finger on the pulse.
    Who would have thought it, Political Pundit par excellence 😉

  5. Our church in Edinburgh runs a monthly “Connect Lunch” to help you get to know folks and you can Host or be hosted for as many as you can handle. My wife and I had the pleasure of hosting and so enjoying the company of your youngest E-J. Lovely girl in every respect and a credit to her parents – great sense of humour and an all round delightful company – presumably takes after her Mum! Of course your name came up – in passing and of course I got the low down on the real DR!! In truth we have all prayed for your return to sound health and it seems that His healing hands are upon you – and that’s great too.
    I hear you’re off to Oz – again!! Expenses paid speaking tour/family visit. Still I’ve no doubt there are safe hands to ‘mind the shop’ while you’re away. Though rather like your comments re the 1st Minister and Day Job – I rather wonder if you’re not at risk of falling into the same trap.
    The election is past (egg on face?!?!) so please don’t rush to get back into Political Commentating, take as much time as you need down under (maybe in a darkened room) to review what you’re really called to do. Maybe complete your PhD at Moore College? The Economist says it all more accurately and in balanced measure – despite your desperate accusations of bias. (Bias?!? coming from a ScotNat Dundee supporter – and no doubt DC Thomson fan to make matters worse.) The important thing about our elections is the anticipation of outcome don’t you think? Once it’s over we just adjust our emotions to fit. Although I have to admit there wasn’t a single moment when I felt even the faintest tinge of commiseration for “Smart” Alex.
    Your piece on SEC/SSM was timely and having been a member of St T’s for several decades – before relocating to Presbyteriana, I have much sympathy with the good evangelical folk there. “Watch this space I think!” Despite your plug for the Record I look forward to reading his article next month. Meanwhile I take this opportunity to wishing you a safe and enjoyable trip to Australia and continuing recovery from your most recent illness.
    God bless you and your family and flock

  6. Just as well false prophets are no longer stoned.
    Self interest and fear, won the votes, the day, the election. But that may be mere unattractive cynicism of politics on my part.
    The gospel is of eternal significance, politics is not and it is too easy for Christianity to be evaluated by the politics we espouse.
    There is a sense that you still hanker after after that thwarted student political position.

    I’m looking forward to hearing Sinclair Ferguson at a Bible Convention in Northumberland during the first weekend in July and attending the upcoming Keswick Convention, with its Reformation anniversary theme.

    All of this is a return to feeding and watering necessary to live as sojourners, pilgrims and strangers in this world.

    I appreciate your blog generally, but mostly the writings on scripture and sermons . It would be interesting to know which type of your entries get the most responses, hits. I suspect that they are not the categories that interest me the most.

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