On Thursday night Alex Salmond declared that "No one saw it coming" when he spoke of the Conservative and Labour Party's revival as the Scottish National Party lost 21 seats in the UK General Election.
This post details the accuracy of my predictions with election results since September 2014 and how the things that facilitated my predictions come down to:
Network Effects + Feedback Loops (#IndyRef) - The 5 Stages of Decline (#GE2015) = #GE2017
I also argue that the #GE2017 results can be traced back to 21st and 22nd September (The weekend after the Scottish Independence Referendum)... Something that I tried to highlight to the SNP at the time.
Not Being Heard
I have tried to engage with people at the SNP in a meaningful way since September 2014.
- I tried to get in touch straight after the Independence Referendum
(SNP Check your inbox on 21st Sept 2014)
- I tried to let people know that I see signs of trouble at the height of their success
- I let them know that I spoilt my paper in 2016.
Well... I have spoken up before, during and after various train wrecks of initiatives that people in Education have been involved with. I have also tried to raise the alarm since September 2014 with The SNP with the content of this post.
Regardless of when you speak out or the reaction the fact remains... opportunities for change are lost!
Susan Cain highlights this in her book that the introverts who tried to raise the alarm about the impending banking crisis were not heard. The risk taking extroverts saying that "We didn't hear the introverts"
I have little interest in politics and use the example below to demonstrate to Mr Salmond that I saw this all coming a mile off... and in the hope that my voice and ideas might be heard with future education ideas or, in the event that I leave education, to demonstrate my community management skills and insights.
On this Day #GE2015...
As the hangover from #GE2017 takes place and people are discussing Theresa May's future I am reminded of what I was doing on this day in 2015.
This also happens to provide a little balance that it's not just the SNP that I find elitist, arrogant and really don't care about anything but themselves
(Sorry, you can argue about lots but my experiences are mine to internalise, and that has been my experiences with the political classes... I can easily justify this statement, just ask me about them!)
The day after #GE2015 I started to work on a document where I share my experiences about what I felt was happening in politics since August 2014.
I wrote this document in a coffee shop where, based on the conversation the people next to me were having, they were rather senior people from the Labour Party. During a lull in the conversation I did something that I have only ever done once or twice before, I said "I'm working on a document that I think could help"
The only other 1-2 times I've done this is when I have been extremely confident that I could help.
Whether because he was an arrogant Old School Boy type or because every man and his dog had an opinion (And an interest) in politics in Scotland in 2014-2015, he said (in a rather dismissive kind of tone) "No you're all right mate" and preceded to look at me as if I were something that he'd scrapped off his shoe.
I continued writing with a wry smile on my face because I felt my insights had more merit than many of the political pundits, "his loss I thought to myself... no skin off my nose either way!"
Two days after this encounter the big photo shoot took place with all the SNP MPs under the Forth Road Bridge and the post-Independence Referendum hashtag got a make over - from #The45Plus (Or whatever they decided to use by 2015) changing to #Team56.
It was then, two days after the record swings, unprecedented landslide victory that I said to myself
"The SNP is in the first stage of decline"
I highlight this in a post at the time but also emailed a few critical friends to say
"The SNP are in trouble... you heard it here first!"
"No one saw it coming"
I've made some rather accurate predictions since September 2014.
The comments and extracts below include a summary of the most relevant comments regarding what could have happened... starting with where it all went wrong September 2014.
...And I don't mean being 5% short of Independence... I mean in the 2 days that followed the result on Social Media.
How One Weekend in 2014 Affected the SNP in 2017
I am not political in any way, shape or form. I'd given up on the political classes a LONG time ago. But in September 2014 I started blogging in support of the SNP.
This had NOTHING to do with Independence, The SNP or Politics. It had EVERYTHING to do with the potential of the CULTURE that they had created. See Page 1 of this Ideas for 2016 & 2019 Candidates for more info (Written in May 2015 and circulated to MPs in all parties).
So, like many, I joined in what became for a 3 week period, a fun and vibrant community of people who bought into the "Yes" change can happen message (But would eventually became a rather disappointing "Yes! We've got 56 of our mates some cushy jobs!" Instead)
I don't know what the mechanics of this campaign were, or how much the campaign managers knew what they were doing... but I can guarantee that they didn't know how valuable what they had was, or how fragile it was if it wasn't looked after well!!!!
Since the 1970s there have been ardent advocates of Scottish Independence, stanch and in various sectors and who have been trying to further the cause.
Now obviously it took decades for this group to campaign to get the Scottish Parliament/Government and then secure the referendum.
However, even when these supporters secured the referendum the polls for Independence didn't go much beyond 34% until the last 2 months.
In the run up to the vote, for whatever reason, the "Yes" movement caught fire. Maybe that lecturer who was always a bit of a "Lone Nut" when it came to Independence had found enough early adopters. The same with the Biker who established "Bikers for Yes" and Women, Asians and the other "Yes" groups.
|For 20 years SNP activists were marching to their own beat|
...Until 3 weeks before #IndyRef, then you coudn't see them for the crowd
#VoteYes Sept 2014... First Signs of Trouble
Like many, I joined the fantastic humour at the national water cooler that was #IndyRef and #VoteYes. I went to a few rallies and wondered if Jane Jacobs ideas could be quickly and easily implemented in this culture of hope and enthusiasm for change.
The first sign of trouble was when people I was speaking to on Social Media advised that I go to some pro-SNP meetings... I lasted 10 minutes.
The atmosphere was VERY different to the public ones. Let's just say that I got an idea of what it must have been like to be at the Nuremberg rallies. (NB This was not an event organised by The SNP but was full of pro-IndyRef advocates)
This wasn't the kind of Jane Jacobs diversity of the public event, this was more like I'd imagine what a 1970s SNP AGM might have looked like ...all about politics, political point scoring and either #VotYes... or go away!
When I was leaving I got a smug "Bye then!" by someone in the crowd, and another "He must have been a #NoThanks spy." Erm, yeah! very good?! Goodbye indeed!
The night of the result the Vote No camp were rioting in Glasgow and what happened?
The Network Effects from #VoteYes didn't disappear after the vote... Nor did the humour (initially) the #VoteYes crew took to Twitter.
The Weekend in 2014 that Cost The SNP Votes in 2017
During this evening and for the weekend there was all kind of chatter and engagement with and between the Vote Yes and No Thanks camps. There were Tweets like
"I voted #NoThanks but I wish I was in the #VoteYes camp"
It depended! It depended on who replied. It might have been
"Oh, that's OK we forgive you come and join the fun"
"Fuck off you voted #NoThanks you Unionist bastard"
(Not my words the kind of comments by SNP/IndyRef supporters on Social Media)
(Not my words the kind of comments by SNP/IndyRef supporters on Social Media)
I was there man! I saw what happened that weekend. Lol! Couldn't resist
I would have said that the majority of the people were the former as opposed to the latter. Many in the #VoteYes camp were asking on that first weekend:
"What can we do with this, the vote has ended but how can we keep this movement going?"
Again, just like the IRL public "Yes" rallies, text book Jane Jacobs stuff... fantastic and inspiring! The potential was so exciting!
In my opinion, only one group could have shaped the new culture... the 70 or so "Vote Yes" campaigns with a co-ordinated message of
"This is who the post #VoteYes crew is, this is what we're going to do... and this is how we're going to do it"
EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE of the political classes, just sat and watched and wondered what do we do now? Except one.
One opportunist turned what could have been 45% of people being active community members into the angry 5%, both taking over and wrecking all the good work that the SNP/Yes Alliance did AND gifted the SNP/Yes Alliance with a headache that would have taken moments to address in Sept 2014... but one that is almost impossible to fix today. This damage was done in the space of 40 hours or so.
The cost of this 40 hour absentee period of the creators of it all? In my opinion, it's quite possibly cost them IndyRef2. Don't believe me? Just ask the 2017 MPs and MSPs in any party other than the SNP what they think of Indyref2?
Alternatively go ask Kezia Dugdale and Nicola Sturegeon what was said about the potential of IndyRef2 in Sept 2014. I believe this conversation is a point of contention today, but regardless of what was or wasn't said, I think Dugdale might have been more open to the idea of #Indyref2 in Sept/Oct 2014 Vs today.
The Weekend After Two Elections Before
The #45Plus was mentioned in the Scottish Parliament as a threat from people like Labour and, understandably so! The Network effects and Feedback Loops were very powerful indeed and had a devastating impact on other parties.
I argued on posts in 2014 and 2015 prior to the result that the GE2015 polls were probably not wrong and that there was little any other party could have done to prevent the GE2015 result.
However, while the pundits said that that
"It will take the Labour Party 10 years to recover"
Disagree with my assessment so far? Well political types will argue with their own shadow. Political candidates will dismiss their own leader (In the most brutal of terms too... that is of course until they start winning, like Corbyn did).
So disagree and argue all you like. It's not me that lost their job on Thursday. It's not me that ignored the Tweets, posts and emails that I sent.
I've predicted the results as they unfolded when MPs, media and political analysts and experts were saying "This can't be right, can it?"
...Here you go:
19th Sept 2014
As Scotland wakes up to the fact that the hopes of Independence have been dashed and the army of #VoteYes feel "a little down" and are licking their wounds... this Glasgow nutter wonders if victory might be snatched out of the jaws of defeat. Is the best yet to come? Yes Scotland
28th Sept 2014
"This post includes information as to why I would advise that, based on Technology sales and roll out principles, Labour and the Conservatives should just pack up and go now, and why a second referendum appears to be inevitable
[Other parties] task now is like Yahoo Vs Google, My Space Vs Facebook... ie you had your chance and you blew it. If you want to get Alex Salmond style popularity, stop off at Newcastle and declare the North East free from Westminster and you'll be the peoples' champion too" Achieving the Impossible
7th Oct 2014
There were a number of posts written to try to encourage and/or influence the culture of this impressive network. I would argue that the culture was set the first weekend after the #IndyRef result.
"On Sunday/Monday (21/22nd Sept) leadership of #The45Plus group was missing... A leadership that could only have been established by the 60+ "Yes Scotland" accounts, as this was the unifying thing that brought a diverse group together. Here's 2 things that I believe should have happened: integrating #VoteNo people and setting the culture with a new shared goal and identity"
The culture is now set, and hell mend anyone who disagrees with someone who voted Yes! We are the angry boycotters. We are the anarchists. We are the cybernats and it would appear that our mission to piss everyone off and to argue with anyone who disagrees with the hard line we decide to take.
Oh, and by the way, we're not very good with our maths... because 100% of 45% agreeing with each other is still only 45%, no matter how much more strongly we may or may not believe in independence, this is still a minority. #The45Plus... Where Did it all Go Wrong?
As someone involved with some digital citizenship initiatives, I think the political classes need to take a long hard look at themselves when they complain about Trolls and encouraging Tech companies to do more!
6th May 2015
So the SNP look to disrupt the political landscape in tomorrow's General Election. This post details how, if you look at events in the context of the adoption of technology, the result was not only inevitable, but that I predicted it eight months ago during the Scottish Independence Referendum (See the extract from 28 Sept 2014 above).Why SNP Domination was Inevitable
7th May 2015
As I highlight above, I was more interested in the cultural conditions of the "Yes" campaign compared with SNP/Independence.
Furthermore my core values include the fact that we'll collaborate with anyone and everyone... so I sat down to write this document: Ideas for 2016 & 2019 Candidates
The intention was to reach out to people in Labour to say that no one needs to resign as it wasn't a policy or leadership issue.
I thought I'd have a few days to do this as the time for reflection and soul searching might last the weekend... but, BOY! Those guys don't hang about when there's blame to apportion!
The soul searching lasted all of about 12 hours before those long knives were out!
I'd encourage the political classes to stop and think for a moment about what might have been re: Labour's result if candidates did indeed campaign for 2017 in 2015 in the way that I suggested?
Would it be PM Corbyn today? I think it might have been! So the SNP might want to think themselves lucky or Labour kicking themselves... depending on the shiny badge that you have on lapels of your expensive suit that you get on expenses.
9th May 2015 (But post written on 9th Sept 2015)
When SNP MPs social media pictures were changed from images of candidates in their constituencies with their activists to the photo opp with Nicola Sturgeon and the #The45Plus (or whatever pro-Indyref hashtag was being used by then) was changed again to #Team56 (ie it's now all about us, not them).
It is hear that I wondered if I had spotted an all too easy to miss tell-tale sign of Jim Collins first of Five Stages of Decline.
Two days after the election we saw #The45Plus, a hashtag that represented the 1.6 million people who voted Yes in the referendum was replaced with #Team56... the 56 MPs who were headed down to Westminster to fight over where they sat and picking up their £75,000 + expenses.
There was also some changes with photos on MPs Twitter profiles, from candidates in their constituency with supporters... to member of #Team56 replacing them with pictures with their leader under the Forth Rail Bridge. How significant is this? Read Adam Grant's book "Give and Take" and you'll find it's quite telling.
When listening to all the commentators regarding the general Election result 4 months ago, who were saying "It will take 10 years for the Labour party to recover in Scotland" I was thinking "No it wouldn't!" It could be turned around by 2016... if they did things differently to the political classes usual methods, employing community management methods and "creating new patterns of engagement" Labouring on with #Team56? How to Rebuild Trust When It Is Broken
“When you are at the top of the world, the most powerful nation on Earth, the most successful company in your industry, the best player in your game, your very power and success might cover up the fact that you’re already on the path to decline. So, how would you know?” Jim Collins, How the Mighty fall
All the fighting over seats and clapping (And other behaviour that comes with hubris) suggested that stage 1 of decline had been reached.
While there is a good deal of snark in this post about the political classes, there is no criticism about this stage and NOTHING but empathy... maintaining the culture as you experience success is SO difficult to do... But is also vital!
Just imagine what could have been for Labour if there had been unity either since 2015 or the 2017 campaign? Blairites continuing to mess things up long after the "Things can only get better" bull shit?!
I shared these insights with MPs of all colours of shiny badges at the time. Some engaged. Others didn't
Local Elections 2016
Those who did we had a conversation.
I had discussed with Declara what they could to in the brave new world of 140 Character politics (Which, believe it or not, *Just Might* Have had an impact with the yet-to-be-coined "Fake News") AND keep those Network Effects and Feedback Loops in place.
I kept in touch with some of those who engaged as well as all candidates in my constituency with these random thoughts, observations and ideas.
In 2016 it was all the same colour of shit for me so here's what I did and here's what I told people what I did.
5th May 2017
The local elections and "The miraculous Tory revival" (But no real surprise to me), surprised many, as did my observation when others were saying "Get rid of Corbyn" (Again).
11th May 2017
My views up until this point were along the lines of "I feel pretty bad for Corbyn, he seems like a good guy... but don't think that good guys do too well in the world of politics" Then I saw two things:
1) The inspired use of social media by Labour, and
2) Who one of the most vocal people were on those hashtags was
Will Black author of the fantastic "Psychopathic Cultures and Toxic Empires" which is a brilliant complement to one of my favourite books "Tribal Leadership" helped to explain what was happening with #IndyRef, #Brexit and how all people really wanted was change, but were consistently being let down so look for change in a different way and/or with a different party.
An expert in spotting psychopaths and toxic/psychopathic cultures supporting Corbyn left me wondering "What if... What if this time really was different?"
15th May 2017
As a result of the fun #FortheMany social media campaigns and because an author like Will was supporting Corbyn I wrote about how and why I felt Corbyn could win at the expense of the SNP:
My views about global domination by the SNP and their cult popularity status changed drastically 2 days after the General Election. Yep, while everyone had the champagne out at the height of their success I was disagreeing with the pundits that "It would take 10 years for other parties to rebuild in Scotland"
Labouring on with Team56 how to Rebuild Trust.
Labouring on with Team56 how to Rebuild Trust.
Where did these insights come from? I spent a year watching an organisation that I had invested 10 years of my time with slowly but surely slide down Jim Collins "5 Stages of Decline" and recognised them with an organisation that I'd supported for a couple of years.
I have seen nothing to suggest that the SNP have not moved from
Stage 1: Hubris, to
Stage 2: The Undisciplined Pursuit for More (The announcement of #IndyRef2/#ScotRef in March), and Stage 3: Denial of Risk (The local election results on the 4th May 2017 and dismissing the result by other parties).
A party with such large numbers of supporters two years ago and only 65 people supporting Salmond's Crowdfunder... WOW austerity must REALLY be kicking in!
Today I am spending as as much time on pro-Labour hashtags as I did with #IndyRef/#VoteYes/SNP ones... for the same reason. In 2014 the VoteYes movement was fun and buzzing, today the Corbyn movement appears to have the better culture.
is supporting Corbyn a waste of time and a wasted vote? Well... It wasn't until 2-3 weeks before the Independence Referendum that things took off for the "Yes" camp (Go check the polls in July 2014 the Yes polls were at 34%... The same as Labour are today).
The "network effects" from the 2014 referendum that made the unprecedented GE2015 SNP result possible are starting to fade... what does this mean for Labour?
Well old Labour supporters have not gone away... as the network effects for the SNP fade they *Just Might* develop rather quickly for Labour. The May Local Elections show that I'm not the only disaffected SNP supporter and inaction will lead to more Tory rule.
If the feedback loops that once worked in the SNP's favour three weeks before an election through buzzing and fun conversations on their hashtags remain in Labour's favour could enough people return to their old voting preferences before Independence and Brexit as a result of these inspired social media campaigns by Corbyn within 3-4 weeks? Well there isn't just the IndyRef precedent there's also the US election.
Indeed, has Corbyn studied what worked for #IndyRef and Trump with their respective grassroots movements and rallies with large crowds?
If so will Corbyn be able to do enough between now and June? Will there be enough of the 2014 Network Effects for the SNP? Will Labours Feedback Loops be fun enough to bring old Labour voters back?
Time will tell but I can sure see why there's been a close in the polls and an increase in bets for Corbyn.
#GE2017 From #VoteYes to No Thanks - A Lesson in Culture & Loyalty
NB It might be agrued that Stage 4 has been reached with the #IndyRef rallies on this weekend the day after Scotland Vs England.
I took an interest in everything that was happening here and, while there was the odd RT or #GE2017 reply, there was no huge engagement.
Sure I was sitting on the fence, but there were two other things: The Leaders Debate and my personal and professional experiences with the Political Classes
As I highlight in the Ideas for 2016 & 2019 Candidates from 2015, I explored MPs Tweets and have a GE2015 Twitter list.
In my #GE2017 From #VoteYes to No Thanks - A Lesson in Culture & Loyalty post I detail all the things that I've done to support MPs... but had hardly any engagement with them.
I played a fun game during the leaders debates, I had the TV on, watched the "Pleb channel" on Twitter where people argued for this party or that and the "GE2015 MPs" channel where they spoke amongst themselves and/or spoke about themselves.
So hang on a minute? You want me to put you in a £75k a year job + expenses, don't come back to me on constituent issues and don't engage on SM
WHEN I'M ACTUALLY ARGUING AND FIGHTING FOR YOU?!
A Personal Note...
I have had on-going issues since 2010 and not a single MP has done much more than send me a "Thank you for your enquiry, there's nothing we can do" so I am under no illusion as to how much me, my family and our issues feature on MPs agenda, or other constituents for that matter
In my last post the SNP almost got my vote for GE2017 because of someone who had built a relationship through replying to the odd email I sent through from time to time.
The day before the election, knowing that my MP or the party in power will have very little impact on me one way or the other... here's how it was decided:
From 2010-2015 I had Labour MPs who provided the same non-existent response to constituent enquiries as well as my SNP MP.
So I thought, whoever comes back with the best Tweet will get the vote. With a difference of 265 I wonder if the SNP candidate wished they had either accepted my offer of helping our with her campaign in 2015 or replying to my Tweet on the 6th June.
Equally, I wonder if the 2017 result was because after all the hope of the "Vote Yes" campaign and the "Network Effects" and "Feedback Loops" that it created to deliver the 2015 results have faded as I predicted they could/would and saw people return to old voting habits?
If the good and the great of the political classes have a better argument. Great. But that's what I've seen.
I have been involved with Digital Citizenship initiatives and wonder at all the
"We need to do more about MPs and online abuse"
But what have MPs (From any party) done to influence and/or curb what their own supporters have said?
How many members of the opposition have called #IndyRef2 a divisive campaign recently?
The two potential post-IndyRef #VoteYes movements: The one that filled George Square with food for food banks and good humour... and the one that threatened to boycott those who held views the #VoteYes crew didn't agree with?
How many MPs would be calling #IndyRef2 a divisive campaign if the more positive aspects of the early post #IndyRef #VoteYes momentum was give over to the people with good humour and who filled George Square with food for food banks... instead of the angry 5% political activists who put others off?
But please, please do NOT say that "no one saw it coming" when I saw it a mile off! And tried to let people know!
But then again, I know from experience that it's difficult to tell anyone anything when hubris exists as a result of success... just as I empathise about the situation (Why else would I take time out from what I'm doing to write this?)
I also appreciate how challenging it is to keep the culture that delivered the success as an idea scales.
Thank You SNP
There is a note of thanks to be had here. I knew about the 5 Stages of Decline by spending a year in an organisation who went through these stages.
I've known the importance of developing and protecting the culture that you create for some time, it's good to see the impact of not doing so and how quickly things can unravel on someone else's dime/project.
I am one random blogger. Out of work because there are no #Cmgr roles and few EdTech comapnies in Scotland. How many other one time supporters with an idea or insight or two have you overlooked?
Is this a good time to highlight these ideas? Two days after a serious defeat? I tried to highlight this before during and after the fact... you tell me, when was the right time? What did I need to do to be heard?
Sorry if the timing sucks, but as you found on Thursday, you suck too... but don't blame me, I voted "Yes" I tried to tell you too.
I'm not sure if I'll be remaining in education, but the offer from my post in May 2015 remains:
"This process could be used in many areas of Scottish society. The SNP benefited from the kind of process that major technology companies utilise, so they know it works. When I'll be impressed with the SNP, or any other party, is when they decide to use these principles in other areas, not just politics.
If any politician (from any party) wants to know how to continue to take advantage of this process in politics or, ideally, apply to other areas, especially in education, you know where to find me if you have any questions." Why SNP Domination was Inevitable