Saturday, June 25, 2016

On the forthcoming independence polls

The former Labour MP Eric Joyce has a piece at Wings Over Scotland arguing that there should be a very quick independence referendum provided that the polls next week show 60% support for independence, which he is quite sure they will do.  My own view is that there has been a material change of circumstances and that people should therefore be given a second chance to express their view regardless of what the polls show (unless perhaps they show a significant drop in support for independence, in which case there wouldn't be sufficient demand to justify it - but obviously that's not going to happen).  It should now be clear for all to see that the myth stating that there is always a swing back towards the status quo over the course of a referendum campaign is just that - a myth.  As uncomfortable a thought as this may be, it's only really during the heat of the campaign that we'll find out whether a majority are prepared to vote Yes - and that's true regardless of whether the polls months or years in advance show a majority for Yes or No.

On the question of what the forthcoming polls will actually show, I agree it's perfectly possible that they'll be as high as 60% for Yes given the unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in, but I don't see how we can be certain of that given the underlying complexities of public opinion.  Yes, we know anecdotally that a great many liberal unionists are switching to Yes, but what we don't know is how the minority of independence supporters who voted for Brexit (because of immigration, I mean, rather than for tactical reasons) are quietly feeling right now.  My guess is that most of them will stick with Yes, but we'll have to wait for the polls to find out for sure.  Basically what I'm saying is that I hope we're not talking ourselves into a situation where a clear lead for independence is going to look like a disappointment if it happens to fall short of an arbitrary figure.

The other thing I would say is that whatever the Yes figure is next week (assuming there's been a significant boost), it's likely there'll be some gradual slippage as the weeks and months wear on, and we should be mentally prepared for that and not worry too much about it.  Clearly there'll be no "getting back to normal" on Planet Brexit, but by the end of the year we might well end up with a Yes figure midway between what it was before Thursday and whatever it is now.  With a bit of luck, that'll still be plenty.

41 comments:

  1. This informal alleged 60% target is outdated now. The Brexit result shows that support can grow throughout a campaign, and as you mention - that the status quo doesn't always hold up, and the UK government doesn't always win. Although it helped the leave campaign to have tabloids on their side.

    Support for a Brexit was in the 30s when the Tories won the 2015 UK election.
    Even although the EU vote went against what most people wanted in Scotland, perhaps it will give some sort of encouragement that big decisions can be made at referendums, and that the conspiracy theories are nonsense.

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  2. The most important thing to remember: undecided people by their nature, only really make up their mind when forced to by the decision time of the actual vote deadline.

    This is why the real power of argument comes during actual campaigning. The closer to the vote, the more powerful a strong argument becomes because folk, even undecided non political folk, become ready and willing to hear what is being said.

    The big victory is securing this chance at real, decision making campaigning. That's why we have only had ONE indy referendum in 300 years, and this is why the first one we did manage to secure had such an incredible effect on political opinion and society.

    Get Indyref2 sanctioned by the public and we will win the campaign. If that is next week or if it is two years away, securing the vote is the most important thing. We will win the campaign.

    I am not concerned about polling fluctuations in that respect. Polling has become a political tool for public coercion and manipulation. Not for predicting the results of referendums where actual decisions will, in the end be made, and made by the general public on arguments that they find convincing.

    UK's best bet is, as it always was... don't allow (under any circumstances) the people of Scotland to campaign and vote on the subject of Scottish Independence.

    OOPS! Too late, it's out the bottle! :-)

    braco

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    1. UK's best bet is, as it always was... don't allow (under any circumstances) the people of Scotland to campaign and vote on the subject of Scottish Independence.

      Well, you can't lose a referendum if you don't have one. Ask David Cameron. Although given what's happened to him, I'm not sure any future PM is going to be madly keen on the idea.

      In fact that might be one of the bigger problems. Whatever else people may say about David Cameron, he had the nuts to put his principles up to the public vote, twice. The first time was nearly fatal, the second one was.

      If a future PM is resistant to a referendum, how does that get tackled? UN right to self-determination? Have one anyway and declare UDI on the result? Take him to the European Cour.... oh. Maybe not that last one.

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    2. I don't think the problem is going to arise, to be honest, but there are three basic options if Westminster tries to block it. The first is to frame the legislation for a consultative referendum very carefully and try to get it over the legal hurdle (Professor Robert Black thinks a consultative referendum is within the Scottish Parliament's powers depending on the wording). The second is to use a Holyrood election as a de facto referendum. If memory serves me right, if the Scottish Government resign and it proves impossible to form an alternative government, an early election can be held.

      The third option is the nuclear option - the 56 SNP/pro-independence MPs could go abstentionist and deprive Westminster of legitimacy in Scotland.

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  3. Also, one of the most powerful political opinion-changing mechanisms is personal relationships and conversations. This is exactly what happened in 2014. If there's a campaign, people will talk about it.

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  4. what we don't know is how the minority of independence supporters who voted for Brexit (because of immigration, I mean, rather than for tactical reasons) are quietly feeling right now

    In fairness, they may have had reasons other than immigration or tactics to vote Leave.

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  5. We have to be careful and not base everything on the EU vote. Anything can happen in politics. What if the EU says they will accept our staying in, and Westminster doesn't object. Sounds too crazy?

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    1. There comes a point where you need to move beyond careful and grasp the nettle. Now is that time.

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    2. Do you mean stay in the EU without leaving the UK? I don't see how that can possibly happen. People give the example of Denmark, but I don't think that's a really a valid comparison - the state of Denmark is a member state of the EU, but parts of the sovereign territory of Denmark are excluded (as are parts of the sovereign territories of other member states, incidentally). For any part of the United Kingdom to remain part of the EU, the United Kingdom would have to remain a member state of the EU. The United Kingdom has just voted to leave the EU.

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    3. The concepts behind Free Zones are pretty well established. I use one myself in Jebel-Ali frequently, and occasionally Shanghai.
      And that's without going to the extent of a Hong Kong or Guam type setup.

      I doubt it's easy, and I would expect it's more applicable to London than to Scotland. But it's certainly doable.

      Having said that, giving Scotland some kind of federal administrative freedom to enact EU law inside its borders is probably as close to defacto independence as makes no difference. If they won't go for one, I doubt they'd go for the other.

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    4. At the risk of grossly oversimplifying, you can boil the EU down to 3 main areas:

      1 - Free Trade, and associated treaties
      2 - EU Law and regulations
      3 - Free Movement and cross-border rights
      4 - Funding

      1 - Well established concept used in many free trade zones around the world. Easy enough to do. And assuming the UK remains in the EEA, possibly a moot point anyway.
      2 - Scotland already has some separation of the legal system. Assuming they can thrash out who gets priority in which areas, it's definitely resolvable.
      3 - Once again, something that Free Zones have been dealing with for decades, and easily resolvable. The open border with England may be a concern, but we already have one with Eire which the govt seem to have no desire to close.
      4 - Money is always a resolvable problem.

      As always there will be a hell of a lot of devil in the detail. But the core concepts are workable, if there was a will to make it so.
      But I don't see why the UK would want to do it. Might as well just let Scotland go at that point, they'll have essentially abdicated any level of meaningful control.

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    5. "And assuming the UK remains in the EEA"

      That looks highly doubtful, given the "out means out" noises from EU leaders.

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    6. The negotiations could tie up the Scottish government for, mmm lets say 2 years?

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    7. Hard to say, but the UK is a major trade partner, and assuming they're willing to stump up the cash to have EEA access a'la Norway et al, I don't see why the EU would turn their nose up at it.

      Unless it's a case of 'pour encourages les autres' to warn off anyone else thinking of making a dash for the exit.

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    8. The latter, I think. Which is also the main reason why Scotland now has a stronger hand than in 2014. It's in the EU's interest to make an example of the UK.

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    9. Indeed. And a possible reason for the EU to be relatively kind to a Scotland who comes a'begging at the negotiating table.

      Slap the wayward child, soothe the repentant sibling. Give it a few years and a change of government, and the rest of the UK comes crawling back, but now it has lost its rebate and negotiating power.

      And the tories should watch their arses with London, too. Fun fact : London has an estimated GDP roughly equal to the whole of the Netherlands, and if it went solo would be inside the top 30 economies worldwide.

      It may be in England, but it's a World City, and Khan looks like he rather fancies flexing his muscles.

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  6. 60% seems reasonable and I can't think there aren't at least a couple of polls in the wild right now. I could easily see a higher Yes vote than that.

    The SNP has been dominated by the Gradualists for the last 20 years and they have done very, very well. They've overseen the pivot from Tartan Tories to Social Democrats, they've gotten Independence so close you can almost touch it.

    But if the SNP stick with Gradualism they could lose it all (like the Quebecois did in 1999 when they should have held their third Ref and won).

    Strike while the iron is hot, initial EU discussions, nothing formal, just get the nodding approval that is enough for the vote, then call it for September 2016 on the 22nd - Independence Day.

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    1. "60% seems reasonable"

      It's reasonable in the sense that it's not impossible, but it's also a very high figure. I don't see why we should talk ourselves into being disappointed with 55% or whatever.

      I entirely agree with you about Quebec, though - it wasn't the second loss in 1995 that led them into the wilderness, it was a lack of boldness in the years immediately afterwards.

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    2. The lack of Call to Action because Independence was not on the agenda almost certainly hurt the SNP in 2016 (the differential turnout vs the Tories demonstrates this). The Tories campaigned on No Second Ref and got a huge boost, the SNP put Independence in the closet and their vote didn't turn out.

      Boldness is indeed what they need now.

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    3. The lack of Call to Action because Independence was not on the agenda almost certainly hurt the SNP in 2016 (the differential turnout vs the Tories demonstrates this). The Tories campaigned on No Second Ref and got a huge boost, the SNP put Independence in the closet and their vote didn't turn out.

      Boldness is indeed what they need now.

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  7. Glasgow Working Class 2June 25, 2016 at 8:04 PM

    I note wee knickerless was in Glesga today taking the Salute from the Armed Forces and Veterans. Must have been an ordeal for a Nat si who wants to sell oot Scotland tae the EU unelected beaurocracy.

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    1. Aye, better to sell your country to an unelected head of state, an unelected second chamber and a first chamber governed by a party which took 1.7% of the seats in that country.

      You are such a tiresome prick. Away and drink the bleach in yer bog ya fruit.

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    2. He doesn't drink bleach, he blends bananas and loam and gives himself an enema.

      Aldo

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  8. 60% won't happen. There are a solid 25-30% who don't regard themselves as Scottish. That means getting 6 out of 7 votes from everyone else when the details of an independence settlement aren't even known. It's just stupid to set impossible targets. If independence is won, chances are it will be a close run thing.

    The way I see it, a Brexit vote was won with 3 words, repeated over and over and over. "Take Back Control".

    It doesn't matter that it was a lie with regards to sovereignty, or getting rid of EU standards, or reducing immigration, or many other areas. It tapped into a mood with people disaffected with their lives and with politics in general.

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    1. Totally agree with your first point Onwards. Completely.

      Second point is true, but only because the brexit was fought in rUK under the same MSM set up and rules of all normal political battles.

      Leave and remain were two halves of the same political establishment and had equal access to the normal media channels of political campaigning. As such the rUK, whichever side, needed no new grass-root system of educating their voters to get their message heard. So, none appeared.

      That's why slogans were all that were needed, on either side.

      Leave were not existential insurgents to the BBC and every other British establishment organ. We are. That's why we are grass-root. We are self taught, self motivated and self replicating and that's why we will win (whenever they call it). :-)

      End London Rule. Build a Scottish Democracy

      braco

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  9. Glasgow Working Class 2June 25, 2016 at 8:41 PM

    Aye Anon better selling your country to another country because you are not content. And the child camp follower Steven Cook who is clearly with no mind of his own is in awe and drinking your bleach. However Steven there is hope for you. Just stop drinking bleach.

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    1. You really are an odious cretin.

      You clearly don't have a mind of your own as your obviously paid to come here and report back to your masters.

      You and your kinds time is almost up. Enjoy the dying embers of your empire. While drinking your bleach.

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    2. I am in love with you GWC and want to be your boyfriend.

      If you fart on your hand and make me smell it, I will fill my mouth with mints and slabber all over your cock with delight.

      Aldo

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    3. Glasgow Working Class 2June 25, 2016 at 9:59 PM

      I do not want a boyfriend just a wummin that will do what she is told and has good oral hygiene.

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    4. But, you do. You sent me those pictures of yourself masturbating over David Coburn in your Ghostbusters pyjamas.

      You so want my arsehole. Do not deny it.

      Aldo

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  10. I'm hearing on Twitter that a poll for the Sunday Post is at 59% Yes 32% No. Unconfirmed, of course.

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  11. Anecdotal evidence, I realize, but 55% and more doesn't seem unreasonable given the mood I've felt everywhere I went since the result came out. My husband woke me up on Friday morning saying "How can we get another independence referendum, I want to vote yes". That's the same man who wasn't just gobsmacked and more than a little angry when I told him I'd voted yes, he has never wavered in his loathing of the SNP and the idea of Scottish independence since then. Brexit changes everything for him.

    When he returned from work on Friday he told me that ALL of his colleagues felt the same. They voted no last time in large part because of the EU argument - which makes sense given that they're working for an international electronics company with a big focus on the EU for whom the UK is a convenient place to access trade and labour in all the member states. They see Brexit as a self-destructive, narrow-minded and backwards-looking step, cutting them off from the skilled engineers and labourers they work with all over the EU and above all from the clients who seek and chose proposals from EU companies in the knowledge that they are subject to and meet all EU standards and regulations that they themselves have to adhere by.

    They have already started to worry about their jobs as the company is quick to cut its losses and will be welcomed with open arms elsewhere within the EU, so Scottish independence is no longer an ideological construct they don't subscribe to, suddenly it's a lower risk scenario.

    And this is pretty much what I heard everywhere I went...

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  12. Excluding Don't Knows, the Sunday Post poll is 65% Yes, 35% No.

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2June 25, 2016 at 10:07 PM

      I am drinking a bottle of wine that is 14% but will be unobtainable when we leave the EU. What can I do Anon please help.







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    2. Glasgow Working Class 2June 25, 2016 at 10:13 PM

      The Sunday Post is great. Oor Wullie and post bucket predictions.

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    3. Boris called. You never finished polishing his shoes, and he doesn't care how tired your tongue is.

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  13. Good poll there, but I think we have to be cautious and remember the UK is still our biggest trading partner. Currency is still the #1 problem.

    Realistically, if we don't keep sterling or a Scottish pound pegged to sterling, then a second Project Fear will be far worse.
    Currency volatility between the Euro/pound wouldn't work for business here.

    We also might have to wait and see what kind of trade deal the UK makes with the EU, so the threat of tariffs goes away.

    There is big potential through.
    If we are using sterling, and in the EU, we could say we have the 'Best Of Both Worlds' this time. Easy trade with the rest of the UK and with access to Europe

    Plenty of companies will come to Scotland for access to the EU.
    An English speaking country is beneficial for international staff.

    Dublin will probably be doing well also, and Ireland has high growth rates again, so we could point to their success.

    We could have some great selling points next time if everything comes together.

    1. Taking back control of our own country.
    2. Retaining the freedoms of Europe. To travel, live and work freely.
    3. The best of both worlds for trade.

    If we also enter a period of disillusionment with a Brexit in England, then that could work to our advantage. Scotland would look like an open minded, progressive and internationalist country, rather than the small minded nats we were painted as last time by the UK media.

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