Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Is this the best put-down of the campaign so far?

Jonathan Jones (in his "On Art" Guardian blog) : Scotland's art is doing brilliantly as an inflection of British art.

Bredei685 (in a below-the-line comment) : When I was wee, I always wanted to grow up so I could be an "inflection" of somebody else.

Personally, I've always thought of Scotland as a cheeky apostrophe in the middle of a page of stirring British prose, or as a quizzical expression on a noble British brow.

Elsewhere in the blog, Jones tells us - bizarrely - that he sees his decision to write in the English language for a living as a rejection of Welsh linguistic nationalism. Leaving aside the fact that he almost certainly wouldn't have the option of being so handsomely remunerated for writing in Welsh (and how did that state of affairs come about?), it has to be said that he sounds very much like the sort of chap who cackles with laughter every time he eats meat, telling himself that he's only doing it to get back at those ghastly vegetarians. And if by any chance he has a female life partner, he probably sees it as nothing more than a cunning plan to irritate the hell out of gay rights activists.

* * *

Adam "IT'S THE LAW!!!!" Tomkins, quoted in the Sunday Herald -

"For me, that is what the independence referendum is all about - it is forcing me to choose, would I want to stay in an independent Scotland as a No supporter?"

Is it just me, or does the fact that we're even being invited to care about that "dilemma" smack of the most breathtaking arrogance and self-importance? Being a sore loser would be just one out of many possible reasons why Tomkins might conceivably want to leave Scotland at some point in the future, but it would be a free and entirely personal choice, just as it is for him right now.

It's worth pointing out, of course, that many people are already forced to choose as supporters of independence whether they want to remain in a country that doesn't govern itself, and is governed badly from outside. That unpalatable choice would remain in place after a No vote, but at least those people will have had their "day in court" by then - just as Tomkins will have done after a Yes vote.

"...everyone else will act in their own interests. Just because something is in the Scottish national interest, doesn't mean it is in the interest of all of the people an independent Scotland will have to negotiate with."

Which is fine as far as it goes, but it's still a hell of a jump from there to claim, as Tomkins and his ilk routinely do, that the national interest of an independent Scotland will never, ever coincide with the national interest of the rest of the UK. One thing I forgot to mention about John McTernan's talk at Yestival was that he claimed that rUK "obviously" wouldn't vote with Scotland on the Common Fisheries Policy, so we'd need to seek other powerful allies like France or Germany. He just seemed to take it as read that London would act vindictively towards Scotland, whereas others might at least be open to negotiation. Tell me - why in God's name would we want to stay in political union with a country that McTernan clearly thinks is capable of harbouring such irrational ill will towards us?

"...although [Tomkins] insists there has been no credible poll which has put the Yes vote [above] about 45% and the No vote below 55%..."

The word "credible" is presumably supposed to be a dig at Panelbase, and possibly Survation as well, but the reality is that ICM - the UK's "gold standard" polling organisation - have also put the Yes vote above 45% on two occasions so far this year. If Tomkins is disregarding all three of those firms, he's effectively saying that only half of the active pollsters in this campaign are "credible".

Some might question whether that's a credible claim.


  1. Tomkins gives education a bad name.

    Speaking of Panelbase James, there's a guy on twitter saying that Panelbase are late publishing an Indy poll.

    He is suggesting that it was commissioned by an anti-indy customer so they don't want to publish bad news.

    Do you know anything about this?

  2. We are due a panelbase poll, usually in Sunday herald.

    It's up to the customer to publish results though, they can keep quiet if they choose so nothing panelbase can do about it.

  3. I think it's the Sunday Times that has hitherto done a monthly Panelbase? I guess they could be characterised as anti-indy!

  4. Sunday Times has not been monthly - more 2-3 monthly (every 10 weeks or so). Should be one some point soon based on their previous timetable.

    Late polls at this stage may of course be well out of date if things are starting to move (which we have some tentative evidence for). Of course they'd look better for No though if you tried to cover up the sampling dates.

  5. Patrick : There's no Panelbase poll overdue. Chris asked me on Friday night when I'd expect the next Panelbase poll to appear, and I said "tomorrow night", based on the fact that someone had mentioned the previous day that their wife had just taken part in a Panelbase survey. But it was just an assumption on my part that it was most likely to be a Sunday release. If they had only started interviewing towards the end of last week, it's perfectly possible that it's due for publication some time this week.

    If it's an internal poll that never sees the light of day, it'll be for the Yes campaign or the SNP. There's no way the No campaign would ever use a Yes-friendly pollster like Panelbase.

    As for the Sunday Herald, they've only ever published one Panelbase poll, and they didn't even commission it. It was passed to them by the Yes campaign for maximum impact.

  6. For clarity, when I said Chris I meant Chris Darroch on Twitter.

  7. Ah, Yes it was Chris who mentioned the late poll James, thanks for clarifying.