Glenrothes PR disaster

October 23, 2008

I feel sorry for Sarah Brown.

Ushered into the Glenrothes constituency to try and boost her husband’s flagging party, the Labour campaigners turned what should have been a well-orchestrated media campaign into an absolute shambles.

The Prime Minister’s wife was ushered round 9 pre-selected homes in Cardenden.

Unfortunately it seems that the Labour ushers were a bit too much for the journalists.

From The Scotsman:

‘Journalists who then found themselves walking beside Mrs Brown struggled to avoid being tripped up as party members muscled in, trying to form a protective phalanx.

Then came the most extraordinary piece of control freakery of the day. “I want you guys on the green,” said the man from the Labour Party. “There will be six or seven guys with guns who will keep you away from her. You may be shot and then it won’t be my problem.” ‘

Threatening to kill the assembled journalists can’t have gone down well with the press.

This only days after the Commonwealth Journalists Association issued a declaration against the abuse of journalists at their conference in Malaysia:

“We will expose and embarrass. We will lobby our own governments to pressure these despots into treating journalists with basic human respect.”

Various papers just went and interviewed those on the street not fortunate enough for a visit instead:

The Herald:

‘Darren Brovan, 23, a joiner who said he was not given the option of a visit from the PM’s wife, watched the tightly managed procession from an upstairs window.

‘He said: “It doesn’t seem very fair that she’s not going round everyone’s house, though I suppose I wouldn’t have answered the door to her anyway. I lost my job last month, because of the credit crunch, and I think that’s the government’s fault. But what would be the point in me bringing that up with the Prime Minister’s wife? What difference would it make? She’d have forgotten my name in two minutes anyway.” ‘

The Scottish Daily Express:

‘Anne Murray, 45, who did not have a Labour banner in her window, was apparently unworthy of a visit.

‘She said: “I would have asked her, ‘Where’s your husband?’

“She should have been here last night when there were three police cars and an ambulance in the street. I can’t tell you why because I would have my windows put in.” ‘

And the people she did visit?

The Scottish Daily Express:

‘One of the doors she happened to stop at was that of Joni Doig, 37, the daughter of Labour councillor Margo Doig. Joni said: “She was lovely and said she thought Labour might win. We know them quite well. My dad did a bit of painting and decorating for her and Gordon in their house in Inverkeithing last year.”

‘Kathleen McNulty, Councillor Doig’s next-door neighbour, also received a visit.’

The Scotsman:

‘Natasha Burns, 18, held her 18-month-old son, McKenzie, who was agog at the goings-on. She said: “He couldn’t believe the commotion. She was just talking away to him and he said: ‘hi’ when she said: ‘Goodbye’.” ‘

A typical street in Cardenden then, merely coincidentally where a Labour councillor lives.

What gets me is Sarah Brown was a founding partner of Hobsbawm Macaulay Communications, a public relations company. I bet she is livid over Labour’s handling of her photo-opportunity!

I’d guess if she visits the Glenrothes constituency again she’ll want a lot more say in how things are run.

Its hardly the start to the campaign that Labour could have wanted.

Sarah Brown was supposed to be Labour’s spearhead in the Glenrothes campaign, according to the Daily Record.

They have a quote from Labour’s Scottish Secretary, Jim Murphy:

“Sarah will shine on the doorstep. Her decision is a real boost for our campaign and it’s a signal Labour is fighting for every single vote.”

When he meant Labour was fighting for every vote, it meant using guns then?

Oops!

add to del.icio.us:add to Blinkslist:add to furl:Digg it:add to ma.gnolia:Stumble It!:add to simpy:seed the vine:::Glenrothes PR disaster:post to facebook:Add to Technorati Favorites


Gordon Brown and the internet

September 23, 2008

So it seems that Gordon Brown will unveil an internet connection programme that will apply in England but not in the rest of the UK?

Is this part of the plan to get the UK higher up the world broadband league table where the UK sits 13th?

But its strange that this programme will take place only in England. Not Northern Ireland, Wales or Scotland.

Because England leads the UK in broadband takeup!

So because the UK Government is refusing to give Barnett consequentials to Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, the rest of the UK misses out.

Don’t get me wrong. I’d much rather Barnett was scrapped and Scotland had full fiscal responsibility instead (I’m sure the Northern Irish and Welsh have their own ideas) – but while we’ve got the system, it should be seen to be operating.

Otherwise it can only fuel Plaid Cymru and the SNP in their bid for independent nations.

So the nation with the highest broadband takeup in the UK gets all the money, and the rest of us gets nothing! Wasn’t Barnett supposedly based on need?

Wales broadband takeup is only 45%. Northern Ireland is 52%. Scotland is 53 %.

Broadband takeup in Glasgow is 32%. I have already posted a blog comparing Glasgow’s internet reach with the Glasgow circulation of the Daily Record and found the newspaper is marginally ahead of those that read news on the internet.

What that means of course is that more people get exposed to the Daily Record’s Labour propaganda than get their news from the internet.

Indeed the whole Internet Connection Programme can be seen as politically motivated in Labour’s interest. It keeps Labour strongholds like Wales and Scotland’s public free of any dissenting Labour voice and also in England promotes freedom of expression where Labour is weak and also tries to quell any demand for an English Parliament at the same time.

Of course, some Labour bloggers may find this a good idea, given they say a leaning on the internet of nationalist blogs in Scotland.

They fail to realise that its precisely because the public have little newspaper or media support backing their aspirations of independence, that they have had to take to the internet to try and get their views heard! Again, that’s something I have blogged about before.

Incidentally, this blog has just had over 25 000 page views since I started at the end of May. (Thanks to everyone that reads!)

I think that’s not bad, since I still don’t know what I’m doing!

Thanks to Gordon Brown’s ‘not Scotland’ policy, I guess all the Scottish bloggers will be disappointed that the Scottish internet take-up will remain stagnant. (The same goes for Wales and Northern Ireland.)

Another Union dividend.

add to del.icio.usadd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vinepost to facebookAdd to Technorati Favoritespost to NowPublicpost to googleadd to Yahoo! add to Live Favourites


England v Australia Olympic battle

August 29, 2008

While politicans try to make political capital of the Olympics it seems that a spat has developed between England and Australia over the medal tally.

It started when The Sun drove mobile billboards around London and Sydney saying ‘Where the bloody hell were you?’ and pointing out Team GB’s superior gold medal tally to Australia.

Now the Australians have hit back saying that Australia have 14 gold medals compared England’s 13.

The Australian Daily Telegraph have now performed a similar stunt.

‘Above you in the medal table’ the Aussies claim.

I’m just waiting for the Australian Government to publicly endorse the SNP and Plaid Cymru and demand Scottish and Welsh independence!


Olympic successes and Google Earth

August 28, 2008

It seems that Chris Hoy was upset by The Scotsman’s reports that he said a Scottish Olympic team would be ridiculous.

He is quoted in the Daily Record (Its something when even the Daily Record shows up how anti-SNP The Scotsman has become!):

“I feel a bit upset that I have been quoted as saying the idea of a Scottish Olympic team is ridiculous.

“If and when a Scottish team was put together, I would be delighted to represent Scotland in the Olympic Games.

“But before that happens, so much needs to be done for the athletes to be able to compete at the highest level.

“As a cyclist, there isn’t a facility in Scotland where I can train throughout the year and that’s why I have to base myself outside Scotland.

“I am proud to be Scottish, but at the same time it’s not feasible to think we can compete as a nation without the right facilities.”

So he’s just calling for an improvement in facilities, and seems to have clarified his past comments.

I’m sure he would much rather train in Scotland if the facilities matched those of Manchester.

And that’s the rub. Athletes can train anywhere that have the right facilities. Many of the successful Jamaican Olympic team trained in the United States, for instance.

The 2014 Commonwealth Games should provide a legacy of facilities for our athletes for years to come.

Some athletes don’t need much in the way of facilities:

Kristin Armstrong, an American Olympic cyclist in Beijing, won the Gold in the Women’s Individual Time Trial in Road Cycling.

Kristin Armstrong winning the Gold with help from Google Earth

It seems all she needed was her bike, her husband’s GPS and a PC running Google Earth.

She took the GPS when she trialled the Olympic route in 2007. She then went home, imported the data into Google Earth, and then matched the elevations of the Chinese Olympic route to a similar route at her home in Boise, Idaho for her training.

Now that is smart thinking.

And in Beijing she cruised to a Gold Medal.

You can just bet Google Earth will be playing this up for years!

Incidentally, Emma Pooley from England won the Silver, one of the medallists in Team GB. She is based and trains in Zurich, Switzerland. I’ll bet she wishes she thought of that idea! Or indeed, Nicole Cooke from Wales – based in Lugano, Switzerland, who finished fifteenth. But she did win the Gold in the Road Race.

Finally a hat-tip to Daibhi Anseo who pointed out in the comments to my post on Home Nations Olympic teams in history that a cycling team represented Scotland in the 1912 Olympics in Sweden.

I’ve not found a picture yet but I have found the names of the Scotland cycling squad:

John Wilson
Robert Thompson
John Miller
David Stevenson
Charles Hill
James Stevenson
George Corsar
Arthur Griffiths

They finished fourth and just missed out on a medal. The hosts Sweden came first and took the gold, obviously having the advantage of regularly training on the Olympic route.

If only Google Earth was around in 1912!


Blogging – a minority sport?

July 17, 2008

On a recent BBC television programme Holyrood Live, the chair of the Scottish Broadcasting Commission Blair Jenkins quoted figures they researched indicating the source of people’s news.

TV approx. 80 %
Newspapers approx 55 %
Radio approx 25 %
Internet approx 20 %

I would imagine these figures would be similar across the UK, with these provisios garned from Ofcom:-

Scotland has a 53 % takeup of broadband.
England has a 58 % takeup
Northern Ireland has a 52 % takeup
Wales has a 45 % takeup

The UK on average has a 57% takeup of broadband.

(Ofcom also breaks Scotland’s takeup down by region:-

Aberdeen 64%
Edinburgh, Highlands and Islands, Dundee 62%
Glasgow 32 % )

Glasgow’s figure is low because there is less takeup of PCs.

It is also clear that the figures in Glasgow, its largest city, are slowing down Scotland’s takeup figures as a whole! If Glasgow had a figure close to that of Edinburgh, Dundee or Aberdeen then Scotland would be higher than the UK average with a figure higher than 60 %.

Ofcom’s figures for the UK show are a slight improvement than the standard

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/cm/cmrnr08/scotland/

So it would be fair to say that the figures for the internet news mentioned in the Scottish Broadcasting Commission would probably be slightly higher in England, probably around 22 % closing in on radio. If reflected on Northern Ireland and Wales the internet news figure would be slighly lower.

What does all this mean for Scottish bloggers?

Well it really means that percentage-wise our Scottish audience figures will be low. How many internet users could be swayed by news or political blogs online in Glasgow East, say?

Glasgow has a 32% take up of broadband. Its probably less in Glasgow East, but Ofcom’s figures don’t break down by constituency.

So if we take the Glasgow East constituency of say 60000 (compensating for the lower broadband take-up and making the arithmetic slightly easier); only 1/3 of people there will have broadband.

That’s 20 000.

Now only a fifth of those use the internet for news.

That’s 4 000.

That’s a maximum amount of Glasgow East people that political bloggers and online newspapers etc can reach.

But compare that figure to the Daily Record.

Average daily circulation figure in Scotland around 360 000.
Population of Scotland about 5 million people.

Thats 7.2% of the population.

7.2% of 60 000 (roughly the Glasgow East electorate) is 4320.

A remarkably close figure to the internet figure.

The difference is that the news hungry internet people have a world of choice to get their news, and those reading the Daily Record are stuck with the Record’s view on everything from politics to big brother and the Old Firm.

What better reason could there be for extending the broadband take-up in Scotland?

Scotland has 53% broadband take-up. South Korea has 93 % broadband take-up.

South Korea has legislation making new house-builders put broadband in place as standard. What’s more its usually better and faster (mainly fibre-optic technology) and cheaper than the standard in Scotland.

Something to think about for Scotland.


Sunday Telegraph poll doctored SNP vote down and Labour vote up in Glasgow East

July 15, 2008

As polling details from the Sunday Telegraph poll are placed online by ICM, it shows that the filter mechanism that they use actually lowered the real SNP vote, and increased the Labour vote.

Of the 516 constituents they asked only 303 were willing to say who they would vote for.

Of the 303 who indicated their voting intentions:-

131 would vote Labour.
124 would vote SNP.
28 would vote Conservative.
10 would vote Liberal Democrat
10 would vote for Others

In percentage terms that breaks down as:-

Labour 43.2 %
SNP 40.9 %
Conservative 9.2%
Liberal Democrats 3.3%
Others 3.3%

In other words there is a 2.3 % difference between Labour and the SNP.

So the SNP now just require a swing of over 1.15% to take the seat!

The reason why ICM released the doctored figures to the Sunday Telegraph is to do with the filtering mathematics they use on the poll.

For instance, as it has been a very safe seat in the past ICM have gave Labour the majority of the don’t know vote.

This implies that the don’t know vote will come out again in favour of Labour.

But as I quoted the Labour Campaigner yesterday, the Labour vote is very soft and reluctant. There is no justification for assuming that they will turnout and vote Labour.

The ICM’s adjustments may well be valid for General elections but I think these type of adjustments are misplaced for by-elections.

This doctoring of figures is ICM’s usual technique so we can assume there has been no political bias in their adjustments.

However it does serve as a cautionary tale for those willing to place great store in opinion polls.

Nonetheless the true figures provide a great lift to the SNP campaign and are a warning shot to Labour.

I expect this by election to be very close indeed!


Labour’s own polling shows SNP vote soaring in Glasgow East

July 14, 2008

Just one day after the Sunday Telegraph released their poll showing that the SNP vote has gained 16% and that the Labour vote is down by 14%, the Times reports that Labour’s own internal polling for the seat shows that there is now only 2500 votes between Labour and the SNP!

The Sunday Telegraph poll suggested that the SNP were fast closing the gap on Labour, then only needing a swing of 7% to win the seat.

Labour’s own polling now suggest that the SNP are breathing down their necks in Glasgow East, much closer than the Sunday Telegraph predicted.

If Labour’s polling is accurate then it means that there is now only 8.08% of vote between the Labour Party and the SNP – if the turnout figure matches that of the 2005 election.

That means that the SNP now require only a 4.04 % swing from Labour to the SNP to win the seat.

It shows that the SNP have grabbed all the momentum in the by-election, starting as they did needing a massive 22% swing a week ago when the campaign started.

Every day closer to polling day the swing from Labour to SNP grows larger, and the SNP draw nearer to a historic victory.

Don't you think he looks tired?

Will Gordon Brown’s tactic of having such a short by-election campaign save Labour?

Labour’s own campaign team want the by-election today before their vote haemorrhages away to the SNP completely. As each day passes more votes are lost.

The Times article quotes a Labour Campaigner speaking a few days ago:

“A significant amount of our vote is soft — it’s either reluctant Labour or it might not turn out because it’s not happy,” said a campaign insider. “I would be confident if the election was today, but there’s a whole fortnight to go and there are lots of factors outwith our control.”

There’s now less than a fortnight of campaigning left and a lot of spring in the SNP’s step around the constituency.

Will the SNP campaign momentum provide one of the biggest by-election upsets of our times?

And bring about the downfall of Gordon Brown?