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Murrell Cocked the Campaigns up in 2016 and 2017 and Was Rewarded for His Incompetence – Unbelievable

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Devolved Government in Scotland

The 1999 introduction of a Scottish parliament, with devolved powers (forced on the UK government by the EC) should have been a game changer. For the first time in 300 years Scots had a forum allowing discussion of matters local to Scotland over which their elected representatives would be able to bring about change. But the established political parties simply rubber stamped the wishes of the Westminster parliament on the electorate. The Labour and Liberal Democratic coalition government, (elected to office in 1999 at the start of the new parliament) proved to be incompetent at all levels of government and voters transferred their support to the Scottish National Party (SNP) who, (with the allowance of operating as a minority government) provided progressive, efficient and enlightened government.

In 2010 the SNP were rewarded for their achievements gaining a stunning victory taking over government with an overall majority (turning the Westminster gerrymandered electoral system on its head). This period of government was very successful, even when confronted with the implementation of destructive financial austerity measures brought about by failed Westminster politics. The party was rewarded with a return to government in 2015.

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The Scottish Voter

In the period up to 2005 the majority of voters in Scotland voted as their family and neighbours did. Voting was largely tribal and class driven. Workers backed Labour whilst the rural communities, white collar workers and upper classes supported the Tory party. But the impact of the Scottish Parliament, Illegal wars in Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. And the rapid expansion of the internet challenged the old ways and political party’s experienced the impact of declining voter bases as vast amounts of new information, previously denied the public became wide spread through internet driven social networking. From 2014 enlightened Scots became increasingly more independent thinking and a new class of voter was born. One which demanded from politicians information and policies relevant to their individual needs. 

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The 2017 General Election and the Tories

The 2017 General Election in Scotland exposed Scottish voters to “data mining” a new form of politics providing tools and profiling information allowing Conservative candidates to communicate personally with their prospective constituents. The benefits were astounding. The Tories gained a stunning result, increasing their MP’s from 1 to 13 in total. Pollsters were flabbergasted at the turnaround in the voting since the SNP appeared to be invulnerable. But Tory candidates had been well briefed about the individual targets within their constituencies. It was a voting strategy, new to UK politics which, using predictive data models identified, engaged and persuaded voters to turnout. This was achieved through the use of internet, phone and personal surveys combined with many other data sets, created by teams of contracted data scientists, psychologists and political consultants allowing the campaign to map the Scottish electorate based on ideology, demographics, religious beliefs, strongly held opinions on key issues e.g. Independence, The Orange Lodge, Celtic, Rangers, The SNP and or political personalities.

The information gathered provided Tory campaign strategists with a predictive analysis based on thousands of data points on just about every voter in Scotland. From that teams of political consultants and psychologists, hired by the Party directed the campaign and candidates on what and how to say it to selected groups of voters. Other voter targeting, included use of Facebook adverts, one to one scripted phone calls and provision of the content of messages for door-to-door canvassers ensuring consistent communication with voters on any issue. What won the day for the Tory party in 2017 was that they utilised “data mining” to gain a comprehensive understanding of the Scottish electorate and then used every communication aid available facilitating discussions with voters about matters important to them as individuals. Throughout the campaign the Tory tactic was to constantly broadcast the “no new referendum” message stressing that this was an important major difference between the Tory and any other candidates firmly imprinting this in the electorate’s minds. In contrast the SNP campaign lacked inspiration was poorly directed and failed to get the voters out. Information is power and the laid back approach of Peter Murrell, the SNP strategist allowed the Tory Party to outwit him. He failed the Party. Had Murrell been the Chief strategist of any political party other than the SNP he would have been given his marching orders. Incredulously he was given a huge pay rise and a pat on the back.

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Personal data on Facebook – Tory Strategy

The “My-Personality” app was launched in 2007. In excess of six million people completed the questionnaire, allowing psychometric centres to access their Facebook profiles. This permitted an algorithm trawl through the persons likes and social media posts. The information gathered allowed the creation of statistical models which used “digital-foot-printing” to predict personality types. The Tory Party contracted  analysts who dipped into the large database of anonymized information, and targeted the Scottish electorate.

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Mar 2017: Data Mining – a Tory strategy – The Petition Against a Second Scottish Independence Referendum

A petition stating; “We in Scotland are fed up of persecution by the SNP leader who is solely intent on getting independence at any cost. As a result, Scotland is suffering hugely. The majority of Scottish voters wish to remain in the British union, despite Nicola Sturgeon’s latest demands for a Scottish referendum, according to the latest polling from YouGov.”

The petition was a “data mining ploy” prepared and added to the internet by the Tory media team. The tactic worked since it succeeded in raising the public profile of the possibility of another Independence referendum, which (at the time) had not been given mention by anyone other than the Tory Party.

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Apr 2017: Use of Gathered Data – Analysis of Petition Outcome

I was aware of the Tory tactic and compiled an analysis from publicly issued data which allowed me to produce a predictive 2017 election outcome. Electorate totals were included and a percentage signatory total was established for each constituency. From that I used the mean figure of 3.75% to forward project the outcome of an Independence referendum, should one be held after Brexit.

The figures suggested that from an electorate of 4,021,203 the outcome of another referendum would result in a: 48.00% “Yes” vote in favour of independence with 52.00% preferring to remain with the Union. The information would be best used to forward plan strategy. Edinburgh, Aberdeen, East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire recorded higher than average figures favouring remaining with the Union. Other regions were less fixed.

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The 2017 General Election Forecast Outcome

The General Election in Scotland will not be a re-run of the 2015 General Election and the landslide victory achieved by the SNP cannot realistically be achieved. My analysis suggests 25 seats might change hands with the Tory Party being the main benefactor and SNP financial resources and teams of activists will need to get out in force in the under-noted constituencies otherwise they may be lost.

This group of seats are marginals – Risk decreases as the % number drops:

71749: Edinburgh West, Michelle Thomson MP : 4388-6.12% Lost

69982: East Renfrewshire, Kirsten Oswald MP: 4241-6.06% Lost

66966: East Dunbartonshire, John Nicolson MP: 3977-5.94% Lost

65846: Edinburgh South, Ian Murray MP: 3579-5.44% Labour hold

73445: West Abdn, Stuart Blair Donaldson MP: 3961-5.40% Lost

80978: Edinburgh North & Leith, Deidre Brock MP: 4280-5.29% Held

66208: Paisley & Renfrew, Gavin Newlands MP: 3158-4.77% Held

68875: Argyll & Bute, Brendan O’Hara MP: 3277-4.75% Held

62003: North East Fife, Stephen Gethins MP: 2937-4.74% Held

67236: Stirling, Steven Paterson MP: 3175-4.72% Lost

77379: Ochil & Perth, Tasmina-A-Sheikh MP: 3645-4.71% Lost

79393: Gordon, Rt. Hon Alex Salmond MP: 3711-4.68% Lost

68056: Aberdeen South, Callum McCaig MP: 3618-4.65% Lost

79481: East Lothian, George Kerevan MP: 3676-4.63% Lost

72178: Edinburgh S-West, Joanna Cherry QC: 3283-4.55% ) Held

72447: Perth & N-Perthshire, Pete Wishart MP: 3033-4.19% Held

71685: Moray, Rt. Hon Angus Robertson MP: 2995-4.18% Lost

78037: Lanark & Hamilton-E, Angela Crawley MP: 3272-4.19% Held

68483: Dumfries, Clydesdale, David Mundell MP:2816-4.11% Held

74179: Berwick, Roxburgh, Selkirk: Calum Kerr MP: 3026-4.08% Lost

86955: Linlithgow, East Falkirk, Martyn Day MP:3570-4.11% Held

68609: Banff & Buchan, Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP: 2772-4.04% Lost

73445: W. Abdn,  Stuart-B-Donaldson MP: 3961-5.40% Lost

71685: Moray, Rt. Hon Angus Robertson MP: 2995-4.18% Lost

68056: Aberdeen South, Callum McCaig MP: 3618-4.65% Lost

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One reply on “Murrell Cocked the Campaigns up in 2016 and 2017 and Was Rewarded for His Incompetence – Unbelievable”

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