Saturday, October 4, 2014

Lies, lies, lies : the evidence that the No campaign won by deceiving voters continues to mount

Before the referendum, Gordon Brown solemnly promised that a No vote would lead automatically to extensive new powers being transferred to the Scottish Parliament, and that he could vouch for David Cameron's intention to deliver.

Two weeks after the referendum, Brown is asking Scottish voters to sign a petition demanding that the promise be honoured, and to cross their fingers very tightly.

Before the referendum, the official No campaign promised that a No vote would lead automatically to "near federalism", and "not just Devo Max, but Devo SUPER Max".

Two weeks after the referendum, the Scottish Tory leader is telling us that Devo Max (never mind Devo SUPER Max) is a "non-starter".

Before the referendum, the leader of the official No campaign promised that a No vote would lead to "better, faster" change than a Yes vote.

Two weeks after the referendum, a "senior Tory source close to David Cameron" has informed the Herald newspaper that the new powers will not be transferred to the Scottish Parliament until at least 2017.  Given that a Yes vote would have led to Scotland becoming an independent country in the spring of 2016, this by definition means that a No vote is leading to slower change than a Yes vote would have, not "faster" change.

*  *  *

Before the referendum, the message to our London overlords was simple : "True Love Isn't Possessive".

Two weeks after the referendum, it's even simpler : "Words Have Meanings".


  1. James, any thoughts on this blog:

    Pretty dispiriting, because it rings with more than a hint of truth to it.

    In short Scottish conservatives still exist, they just don't have anyone to vote for. But they all turned out to oppose independence as it was sufficiently scary.

  2. Just enough voters were scared/duped to scrape a NO victory. Of those who could have registered and then voted, 46% bothered to vote in favour of the union. Now they are able to repent at their leisure.

  3. Poster, that article is illuminating. Confirms my own experience that a lot of scots are small c conservatives. Many will vote labour or SNP but deep down they have that small c, Sunday post style, Tory.

    Many of them would balk at that suggestion but it's very very true.

  4. Scottish Conservatives still exist at the low levels. They often are "leading lights" on Community Councils. They spend a lot of time griping about what they local council does and does not do.

    They run for Local Authority Councils as "Independents". If you are not i their favoured circle, you will need a brown envelope to get anything done.

    Another way to figure out who among the independents are hidden Tories is to look at who the local Tory Press go to when they need a juicy critical comment on council affairs.

    You can also tell the local Tories, as they mostly buy those self same local Tory papers.

    Given the falling circulation of all papers, both local and national, I would hope they are a dying breed.

  5. Two weeks after the referendum, it's even simpler : "Words Have Meanings".

    From Alice

    "When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."

    Alice through the Looking Glass

    Lewis Carroll

  6. Here's a quick re-write of the article linked to:

    In 1979, people were not supportive of the union enough to go out and vote No to devolution.

    In 1997, people were even less supportive of the union, so weren't motivated enough to go out and vote No to devolution in large numbers.

    In 2014, even when faced with the possibility of a complete end to the union / sudden full Scottish independence, a majority of the electorate weren't supportive of the union enough to go out and vote No, meaning the UK came very close to break-up. The vow may have swung some of the 74% who say they support devo max under no pressure in polls to say No to indy at the last minute. These people eluded to that when asked by pollsters.

    There, that didn't take long.

    If someone says 'DK' or does not vote, they are not sufficiently motivated for either side. This means they don't care at all or can't actually decide between two options. If it is the latter, they have in principle rejected the status quo union, but remain unsure about the merits of full indy.

  7. Meanwhile:

    Police start probe into postal vote allegations

    Prosecutors have instructed the police to launch a formal investigation into allegations that pro-Union campaigners breached electoral secrecy laws during the referendum.

    The development comes a week after police launched an initial assessment of complaints surrounding comments made by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson that postal vote "tallies" were being taken in the weeks before the referendum ballot closed at 10pm on September 18.

  8. Interesting article. The conclusion reached though feeds through from the crucial assumption:

    I am asserting that a Yes vote in one referendum over additional Scottish powers is worthy of comparison with another

    I wouldn't agree. A Yes vote in 2014 was for severance, with all the implications that brings with it (currency etc).

  9. There is nothing in the faintdamnation post to suggest that the 25% of the electorate who voted in the independence referendum, but not in the previous ones are conservatives, small c or otherwise. They could just as easily include all kinds of lefties and progressives. What they had in common is that they rejected independence and felt strongly enough about it to come out and vote No. Let us not make unfounded assumptions about why they did this.

  10. Alister, the '25%' could have voted Yes, No or a mix.

    Unfounded assumptions can't be made about them.

    Some who voted Yes in 1997 may have voted No in 2014 and vice versa. Same for 1979 and subsequent votes.

  11. The point of my earlier post is that you could have rewritten the whole article with a focus on the total number of No votes (rather than % of turnout) and how worryingly low they were / weak the support is for the union.

  12. Here is a somewhat lengthy post which I sent to the Herald today!
    Yesterday I emailed Mr Settle who is the political editor of the this paper to question the accuracy of his report which referred to this petition in such a way as to suggest that the MP for Kirkcaldy had started this petition.

    I emailed 38 degrees to clarify the situation and here is their response:

    "The petition for Westminster to keep promises to Scotland started because 38 Degrees members voted to start it on the day of the referendum results. They decide what we do, not Gordon Brown or any other politician! The petition has been going for nearly 2 weeks, and already had nearly 80,000 signatures when Gordon Brown decided to sign it.

    It's a petition which targets all the Westminster party leaders, not just one - 38 Degrees is independent of all political parties. Incredibly, bitter rivals Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP deputy leader (and definitely not a fan of Gordon Brown!) and Johann Lamont, the Scottish Labour leader, have both backed the petition. The Daily Record newspaper has also supported it."

    Overall, the more people that sign the petition the more influential it is likely to be. And publicity is bound to help gather signatures. So it's welcome that all these Scottish politicians and a newspaper are talking about it. But the petition itself belongs to 38 Degrees members and we will remain independent. Everyone who signs it will get a say in what happens next."

    It is now incumbent on the Herald to correct their shoddy journalism - or is their error deliberate in order to help their political masters in the Labour party?

  13. The article Poster 1 refers to is interesting but simplistic. A major reason for the majority votes for a Scottish parliament in both 1979 and 1997 was the support of the Labour party. On both occasions the relevant bill was put forward by a Labour government and while some Labour politicians did campaign for No, there was no blanket anathema on Labour supporters voting Yes.

    This time, Labour had some success in portraying a Yes vote as a vote for the SNP - the enemy. Does anyone doubt that Yes would have won handsomely if SLab had decided to back independence?

    There's your answer.

  14. Lies?? But surely that living embodiment of trust, calamity Clegg, has came to the rescue of the Britnats and their VOWS?

    Paul Monaghan ‏@_PaulMonaghan 17m

    Nick Clegg says he will be the "guarantor of new powers for Scotland". Presumably just as he acted as guarantor of student fees. #the45 #Yes


    Clegg's ostrich faction continue to be an amusing as ever as they head inexorably towards their utter hammering from the voters in 2015.

    In case anyone is in any doubt whatsoever about the kind of real trouble the out of touch westminster bubble twits are now in..


    * Do you trust ALEX SALMOND, First Minister, to stand up for Scotland's interests?
    Yes: 55%
    No: 37%
    Don't know: 9%
    Net trust rating: +18

    * Do you trust NICOLA STURGEON, Deputy First Minister, to stand up for Scotland's interests?
    Yes: 54%
    No: 33%
    Don't know: 13%
    Net trust rating: +21

    * Do you trust JOHANN LAMONT, leader of Scottish Labour, to stand up for Scotland's interests?
    Yes: 37%
    No: 42%
    Don't know: 22%
    Net trust rating: -5

    * Do you trust RUTH DAVIDSON, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, to stand up for Scotland's interests?
    Yes: 31%
    No: 51%
    Don't know: 18%
    Net trust rating: -20

    * Do you trust WILLIE RENNIE, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, to stand up for Scotland's interests?
    Yes: 23%
    No: 51%
    Don't know: 26%
    Net trust rating: -28

    * Do you trust PATRICK HARVIE, leader of the Scottish Green Party, to stand up for Scotland's interests?
    Yes: 36%
    No: 37%
    Don't know: 27%
    Net trust rating: -1

    * Do you trust DAVID CAMERON, Prime Minister, to stand up for Scotland's interests?
    Yes: 24%
    No: 65%
    Don't know: 11%
    Net trust rating: -41

    * Do you trust NICK CLEGG, Deputy Prime Minister, to stand up for Scotland's interests?
    Yes: 13%
    No: 71%
    Don't know: 16%
    Net trust rating: -58 !

    * Do you trust ED MILIBAND, leader of the Labour Party, to stand up for Scotland's interests?
    Yes: 23%
    No: 61%
    Don't know: 16%
    Net trust rating: -38

  15. Why do 38 Degrees not demand Gordon Brown stop trying to portray the petition as his.
    Why are they not saying, 'You can't take it to Parliament"?

  16. I think that the article has a lot of sense in it, and I posted a response to it which I'll repeat it here.

    4 points:

    1) A week before the referendum a colleague (32yo) who had already said he was a no mentioned that he hadn't voted in any election since 2007, and that he had been an intermittent voter before that. the reason he articulated for no was that he thought things were fine for him at the moment (living with his girlfriend, no kids, parents in their 50s).

    2) On the morning of the 18th another colleague (45yo) who hadn't voted yet said that he'd only voted once in his lifetime and that was in the '97 referendum. I was quite surprised at his revelation as he was quite a politically astute person. he espoused the view that voting in elections wouldn't change anything for him. he went on to say that his 93yo granny was also voting for the first time since Teddy Taylor had ceased to be her MP, and that she was specifically voting no because alex Salmond had made voting Tory a dirty thing to do. So I put him down as a no after that, and realised that there were 3 voters whom had t normally voted who were now near-certain no. At that point I was worried that Yes was going to lose.

    3) there was a lot of "if you don't no vote no" about in the last week, and this I believe would have motivated people who previously were t that committed either way to come out for no.

    4) I was astonished that the turnout of the heavily no areas was 90%, and this gave me some of the same thoughts as you have demonstrated by your analysis.

  17. I think the article has a point, but it's belabouring it much too heavily. The author has identified a real constituency, but his analysis is simplistic, leading him to overestimate the size of the group in question.

  18. I know quite a few folk who don't vote but registered and voted Yes.


    Polls were predicting up to 90% turnout yet the No vote consistently fell from 2013 to the day. In the end, they polls were not far away, with some almost bang on. So, our 'conservative and not voting very often' Scots were increasingly moving to indy.

    I see what the faintdamnation article is trying to do, but you could re-write it using No voter numbers instead and paint the opposite picture. The truth lies somewhere in between as lumping the DKs with either camp is sociological folly.

    "Only 45% of the total eligible electorate were willing to back the union last month even though polls showed it could very likely end imminently. That was with a massive media onslaught and a promise of devo max. Very worrying for unionists."

    See, easy to do and factually bang on.

  19. That Poster 1 article is a load of fiction, invented to try and claim that Scotland voted no because it loves the union and not for more powers. It's an attempt to set the scene for declaring that Scotland would rather have the Status Quo after all and no one is interested in devo max.

    The whole subject of more powers can now be dropped, we voted for eff all so we are getting eff all.

    Anyway, I find it hard to see how there can be any sort of meaningful comparison between the 1979 referendum and our one this year, especially as a large percentage of the voters from 1979 have now passed away (mind you, lots had already passed away when they voted no in 79 anyway...)

    Plus we were voting for completely different things anyway.

  20. I'm surprised that anyone is taking that Faint Damnation post seriously. Leaving aside the fact that getting people to vote for independence is on an entirely different level of magnitude to getting them to vote for a weak form of devolution, I always become very sceptical when people start praying in aid "percentages of the total electorate". A very high turnout means that there were a great many No voters who would not normally vote, but it also means there were a great many Yes voters who would not normally vote. Both groups were brought out by what was at stake (in a way that they weren't in 1979 or 1997). OK, differential turnout worked marginally in favour of No, but that could easily have been the case even on a lower turnout, because working-class people are proportionately less likely to vote.

  21. Sunday Herald tweeting that their research shows a significant majority of Scots do indeed want full devo max.

    What would happen if the next SNP administration run a referendum just asking for devo max. Would this be possible? Would Westminster then have to deliver?

    I'd be happy to go down that route. It might even deliver indy quicker than waiting for a majority yes in an indyref.

  22. It would never have worked before, but after "the Vow" it might have some chance.

    Big consultation with Scottish voters to find out which powers they want devolved. I think we all know where that one would go. Then a consultative referendum demanding these powers, with detailed specifications.

    They either do it within a set, reasonable time frame, or we go again on the indyref.

    They must have been seriously desperate to make the Vow. They spent three and a half bloody years telling us there was no way devo-max was on the table. They knew it was the skids on the slippery slope.

    They must have believed that despite Project Fear, Yes was heading for over 50% on the day. Including postals. So it was either all over, bye-bye now, unless they took the slightly more scenic route of a promise they had no intention of delivering.

    I suppose if you think you can spin it out another five years that's your political career assured and your bank account stuffed full.

  23. I don't see why we should assume that Yes voters in 1997 were also Yes voters in 2014. It's likely a significant chunk of No voters in 2014 voted Yes in 1997 - loyal Labour voters, plus 1997 voters will necessarily be disproportionally older than the total electorate.

    Yet that assumption is what the whole article rests on.

  24. I was a Yes in '97 and a No in '14.

    If they don't deliver on the expanded Federal/Devo powers as promised, I'll be quite happy to see the SNP campaign at the General Election with a policy of a 2nd referendum, and would vote Yes next time round.

    I'll take Federalism over anything else and Devo Max after that, I'm quite happy being in the UK. But I'll take Independence over no change.

  25. Today's Yougov...

    SNP clear lead over Labour in Scotland (11 point gap).

    Tories in the lead again for the UK.

    Scotland - Do you think Ed Miliband is doing well or badly as leader of the Labour party?
    17% Well
    75% Badly




    "The Panelbase survey found 66% of respondents wanted the commission on more powers headed by Lord Smith of Kelvin to produce devo max, with 19% opposed and 15% undecided.

    Devo max had majority backing from supporters of all parties, with 59% of those who voted LibDem in the 2011 Scottish election in favour, 60% of Tory voters, 62% of Labour voters, 71% of Green voters and 79% of SNP voters."

    All those small c conservative voters in Scotland seem to love Ed and hate the idea of more devo. Just don't want change...

  26. Sorry, 9 point d-oh.
    SNP 37%
    Lab 28%

    SNP+PC 4% of UK total.

    In Yougov. Still not had my coffee.

  27. More Yougov:

    Which of main party leaders do you trust the most?
    54% None of them
    18% Dave
    12% Ed
    6% Nick
    6% Nigel

    Dave's like a God compared to Ed.

  28. Rolfe is right - 2014's difference with the other referendums was the support of the Labour Party (albeit only very partial in 1979). And where the Labour Party go, the media in Scotland follow.

  29. Agreed on the Labour party. If it supports something, its supporters tend to follow.

    Hence the need to remove it from power at Westminster level on a permanent basis.

    If that happens, maybe Lsbour will turn its attention to Scotland and what's best for Scotland.

  30. Scottish_Skier - that would be nice. The ideal if unlikely situation would be two bruising elections for Labour, followed by a period of infighting that results in it coming out as a pro-Independence Party.

    Have just read poster1's link. Is an interesting analysis, and always good to see things looked at from a slightly different point of view. The conclusion that a huge proportion of habitual DNV's - 25% of the total electorate - voted no, is extraordinary, and I think worthy of further investigation to find out what went on.

  31. The conclusion that a huge proportion of habitual DNV's - 25% of the total electorate - voted no, is extraordinary

    And pretty much bollocks given in 2013 we had polls of the total electorate saying 55% planned no yet only 45% did so in the end.

    More Panelbase:

    Control of all taxation raised in Scotland?:
    Yes – 71%
    No – 19%
    DK- 10%

    Control of all areas of government policy except for defence and foreign affairs, which is sometimes referred to as 'Devo Max'?:
    Yes – 66%
    No – 19%
    DK- 15%

    Control of the welfare and benefits system?
    Yes – 75%
    No - 17%
    DK – 8%

    Control of policy regarding the state pension?
    Yes – 65%
    No – 25%
    DK – 10%

    Control of oil and gas tax revenues generated in Scottish waters?
    Yes – 68%
    No – 21%
    DK – 11%

    Control of broadcasting policy?
    Yes – 54%
    No – 30%
    DK – 16%

    Guaranteed consultation by the UK Government with the Scottish Government when deciding the UK's stance in European Union negotiations?
    Yes – 72%
    No – 16%
    DK – 12%

    Damn those small c conservatives who don't want change!

  32. Bystander: What a sucker, you fell for it. What you actually voted for is for Scotland's resources to be bled dry for another generation and a neo-liberal govt that we don't want to be imposed on us. Congratulations, you win.

  33. Yes, agree with Rolfe about the Labour theory, makes much more sense than the faintdamnation thing.

    If there was another referendum, this time on devo-max (because, lets face it, they won't give us it voluntarily), what do we think Labour would support? Yes or No?

    After making such a massive hoo-ha about extensive more powers, federalism etc it would be political suicide for them to oppose devo-max in a referendum, but I can't see the London Labour party supporting it any time soon, not if it erodes their power at Westminster (eg. Gordon Brown having a panic attack at the thought of just full i-tax coming our way).

    Yes, a devo-max referendum sounds like lots of fun, definitely popcorn time, lets do that.

  34. Bystander: Serious questions: did you genuinely vote no on the promise of devo-max? What was it that they said that convinced you this might actually happen?

    Was it Gordon Brown that convinced you? The Daily Record Vow? The BBC/Reporting Scotland/Jackie Bird?

    At what point did you make the decision to vote no for devo-max? Was it your intention all along or did you make this decision in the last few days?

    Were you ever cynical that they wouldn't deliver on the vow?

    How do you feel now? Do you think they will deliver it?

  35. If Scots wishing indy or devo max do the sensible thing and all vote SNP in May we may end up with an interesting twist on the demographic deficit.

    'Vote for independence so Scotland doesn't get Labour (or Tory or Lib) governments it didn't vote for'.

  36. Nothing stopping the Scottish Parly having a referendum on devo-max.

    It wouldn't be ratified by Westminster of course, but it would heap pressure on them.

    Think it would be the best way to achieve something, namely, shifting the mindset of people who are keen for devo-max and KNOW the benefits of it, to independence, if they see it won't happen.

    Not sure if it does much good to have a go at the guy who voted No, he has set out his reasons for doing so, he is obviously clued up enough on politics based on the fact that he reads blogs, some people do genuinely believe they will deliver on it.

    Whether it's the last straw of people who want change but weren't convinced enough to go for indy or the first foray into wanting change, its these people that the snp's new approach is aimed at.

    If the Unionist parties do not follow suit, they will be left behind.