Political Volatility

salmond-tracedFirst outing for my Alex Salmond cartoon, after I read today in the Spectator that according to a new Ashcroft poll the SNP could win 55 out of 59 seats in Scotland at the General Election now just 3 months away.

The Spectator has two maps of Scotland. One shows the results of the 2010 election, the other what the result could be in 2015:


Blue is Conservative, red Labour, orange Lib Dem, and yellow Scots Nationalists. Labour is the biggest loser. I think this would mean that Labour is unlikely to win the election. And losing all their Scottish seats would contribute greatly to the expected collapse of the Lib Dem vote.

UK_mapBut the political mood south of the border is almost equally volatile, with the rise of UKIP. Yet the third UK map (right) in the Spectator doesn’t seem to show any UKIP wins predicted at all. Another view:

What are the chances of Ukip gaining a lot of seats?

It all depends on how long their surge in popularity lasts. Recent polls put them on between 13 and 23 per cent, with an average figure of about 17 per cent – a stunning increase from the three per cent share of the national vote they achieved at the 2010 general election.

However, Britain’s first-past-the-post system does not favour minority parties. Indeed, the Electoral Calculus website suggests that Ukip will win no seats at all if their share remains at 17 per cent. But if that national share continues to rise, everything changes – and Ukip are not far off the tipping-point. 

An Electoral Calculus table suggests that with 20 per cent of the national vote, they could win eight seats; 24 per cent would produce 46 Ukip MPs and if they could hit 28 per cent they could become the second party – ahead of the Conservatives – with 140 seats.

Since UKIP are given 23% in a recent Survation poll, they might be getting quite near the point where they could get 50 seats.

But if The Scots Nats make a clean sweep of Scotland, that’ll put Scottish secession from the Union back on the agenda.

varoufakis-traceAnd now for an outing for another cartoon I created today, of Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s new ‘rock star’ finance minister. (I’ve now also got Alexis Tsipras, Mario Draghi, Angela Merkel, and Vladimir Putin cartoons).

I have no idea what’s happening with Greece, but they seem to have broken the ECB/IMF/EU Troika that has been in control recently. Latest news seems to be that the ECB may cease propping up Greek banks:

The European Central Bank has increased the pressure on Greece by banning the debt-stricken country from using its bonds as collateral for cash.

Officials at the eurozone central bank has said a waiver that allowed Greece to swap its junk-rated debt for money would expire on February 11.

The move means Athens will now have to provide its banks with tens of billions of euros of additional emergency liquidity in the coming weeks almost certainly at less attractive interest rates.

Interestingly, Yanis Varoufakis (who studied economics at the University of Essex) has his own WordPress blog. On which we may read Heard the news? Greece’s finance minister is no extremist – THE TELEGRAPH.

His blogging seems to have slowed up a bit in recent days, but there’s plenty to read there.

I’ve started adding sub-menus to my References page under the banner at the top. One of the sub-menus is Nicotine, and I’ve added a link to a comment by Rose yesterday. It’s the first link in the References section. This might be quite a good way to start to link to stuff in the comments.

If people have any comments, or posts of mine, or other links they’d like to see in the References section, let me know. Perhaps we can start to build an interesting reference section.


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14 Responses to Political Volatility

  1. roobeedoo2 says:

    ‘Rock star’ is right – I think Yanis looks like Michael Bolton, minus the hair:

  2. Smoking Lamp says:

    Update on the Silversurfers poll: As of this post the poll results are slowly returning to the pre-censor levels. Re: Should smoking be brought back into pubs?
    5154 people have voted; Yes 46% ;; No 54%

    • jltrader says:

      In an allegedly free society, smoking should be brought back even if the results of that poll were NO 99%. And if it turned out that it was the real result, it would be seen in the market place over time with 99% of pubs banning smoking themselves.

      • nisakiman says:

        Which is why the blanket ban was brought in. Of course the market would provide as many smoking / non-smoking pubs as there was demand for. But then the lie that non-smoking pubs are universally popular would be exposed, because there would in reality be very few non-smoking venues. Most would be smoking, and they would be busy. The myth that people don’t want smoking in pubs has to be maintained, or else the endgame will never come to fruition.

        As ever in Tobacco Control, the end justifies the means. The devastation of the hospitality industry is just collateral damage – a mere trifle in the larger utopian scheme of a tobacco-free world.

  3. petesquiz says:

    My prediction for the upcoming General Election is that Ed Miliband will be Prime Minister with Alex Salmond as his Deputy! It’s not the result I want, but I can’t see the Tories gaining votes, the Lib Dems will lose big and UKIP will only win a small number of seats.

    I suspect that’s why Alex Salmond is standing for Westminster so that he can be in a position to negotiate an independent Scotland as part of a coalition deal!

    • Smoking Scot says:

      @ petesquiz

      You may be correct with your predictions and I wholly agree with the thinking behind Salmond’s standing as an MP.

      What may also emerge is a rather tawdry “anti-right-wing” coalition – and to an extent that’s why the SNP want in on this.

      The price the country will pay will be substantial. Salmond has little hope of winning an independence referendum whilst the price of oil remains below $90 per barrel, so he’ll be shooting for “Devo Max”, which is another way of saying they want everything except the really expensive bits (military, coast guard, overseas embassies and so on).

      The big question is how long any “anti” coalition might last? Whatever he is, Miliband is not a statesman (and is unlikely to “grow” into one), whilst – intellectually – Salmond’s in a different league.

      Certainly any support offered will come with very rigid strings and once he’s got what he wants, Salmond has no reason to prop up what will be a walking disaster area.

      On the other hand, the Conservatives will have just cause to get rid of Cameron. That leaves Ms. May and Mr. Johnson as the most likely contenders. For various reasons I’d prefer to see Ms. May.

      If it is Ms. May, then I suspect we’ll also see an end to Osborne… nice!

      UKIP and to a certain extent the Greens, are the Jokers in the pack. Odds checker has even odds for less or more than 5 seats at the moment. The odds on Mr. Farage becoming an MP are very high and I’m pleased to see that some betting establishments are taking bets on an outright win for UKIP, albeit at odds of 150 for every 1!!

      Very much lower expectations for the Greens, however they’re really little more than a drain on the more cerebral Labour voters. That’s a terribly nice thing and I hope it continues.

      Anyway here’s the link. It’s to their main page and the bit you may find interesting is the right hand box about “involving coalition”. Fascinating, partly because some people will make pots of money out of these odds!! 90 days or so is an awful long time.


      FWiW the Scots are quite canny and there’s likely to be a big difference when it comes to the Scottish assembly elections in May 2016. By then any SNP association with Labour will be seen as a political liability (and am I the only one who sees the SNP bounce as a direct result of Salmond resigning as 1st Minister?).

      • petesquiz says:

        It certainly looks like the most difficult to call election in my lifetime, I just hope my prediction doesn’t come true – a coalition of the Left would be very bad news, although at odds of 6/1 it might soften the blow a bit! One can only hope that UKIP gain enough seats from Labour (unlikely, I know!) that they become a balancing force on the Right.

        I think the only people making money on this election will be the bookies – so many bets to tempt us ‘poor’ punters!

  4. http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2012/05/unholy-alliance-big-pharma-medical-profession.html

    The unholy alliance between Big Pharma and the medical profession

    Barbara H. Roberts, MD | Meds | May 12, 2012

    • Niacin, in high doses, does all the right things to blood fat levels: it lowers triglycerides, lowers LDL cholesterol, and raises HDL cholesterol. The hypothesis proposed by the study designers, Drs. B. Greg Brown and William Boden, was that “extended-release niacin and simvastatin would prove superior to simvastatin alone at equivalent on-treatment LDL cholesterol levels in reducing clinical cardiovascular events in patients with established vascular disease, low HDL-C, and high triglycerides

      Niacin as Miss Rose pointed out is Nicotonic acid or nicotine………I believe it was

  5. Will says:

    Every argument I see against smoking in bars consists of “I love being able to come home not smelling of smoke”. I find these people even more infuriating than the health nazis as they believe it’s their legal entitlement to control how private businesses operate – do they not understand the difference between public and private places?

  6. Frank Davis says:



    This means that Greece now has 10 days, or until the Monday after next to decide whether it will stay in the Eurozone or Grexit.

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