Monday, July 4, 2016

The huge importance of Ruth Davidson's declaration that London should not attempt to block a second independence referendum

There's a devil in me that almost (not quite, but almost) wants Andrea Leadsom to become Prime Minister, because what she's proposing is so mind-bogglingly ridiculous that it would surely push even more people towards the conclusion that independence is the only answer to this mess.  Not only is she (like Gove) arguing for a Full Fat Brexit that would involve complete withdrawal from the single market, but she also wants to bring matters to a head at breakneck speed.  Perhaps the Express were misrepresenting her slightly, but they seemed to be suggesting that she ideally wants to bypass Article 50 with an Act of Parliament (presumably to repeal the European Communities Act 1972) and leave the EU by next spring.

This is where Ruth Davidson's explicit declaration that the UK government should not attempt to block a second indyref gets interesting.  My reading of it is that Davidson may be concerned that some of the leadership contenders are rather less respectful of Scotland's right to self-determination than others, and that in a worst-case scenario we could end up with an intransigent Thatcher-type figure who unwittingly turns independence into the settled will of the Scottish people, just as the real Thatcher accidentally built the consensus for devolution three decades ago.  Leadsom's zealotry leaves me wondering if she's the candidate that Davidson is most worried about.  Presumably the intention is to lay down a marker well before the new leader is anointed, and to make it next to impossible for that person - regardless of who it is - to contradict the Scottish Tories' clearly-stated stance on a possible indyref.

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As a fond tribute to Dan "Hokey Cokey" Hodges, allow me to perform a 180 degree U-turn on a sort-of-prediction I made only four days ago.  I said that Michael Gove was likely to be the new Prime Minister.  Although I still maintain that Gove would have a very good chance of defeating Theresa May in the members' ballot (especially after an opportunity to push all the right buttons in head-to-head TV debates), it now looks entirely possible that he won't even get as far as that ballot.  He's caught in a pincer between Boris Johnson supporters who are backing Andrea Leadsom out of revenge, and some Theresa May supporters who are apparently voting tactically for Leadsom to ensure Gove is not May's opponent in the members' vote.

The Leadsom phenomenon is odd, though, because if the Leave brigade want a Brexiteer Prime Minister, Gove is surely their most realistic hope.  If Leadsom goes up against May in the final ballot, members will compare the two candidates' respective ministerial experience and won't be able to see past May as the obvious choice.  On the other hand, there could also be a small danger for May-supporting tactical voters, because reducing their candidate's support in the MPs' ballot might undermine the sense of inevitability about the final outcome.

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One thing I meant to mention on the previous thread (and apologies if this is common knowledge and I completely missed the reporting of it) is that the datasets for last week's Panelbase poll reveal huge support for a second indyref within three years.  A grand total of 60% want it to be held either during the negotiations for Brexit, or at the end of those negotiations.  Only 40% don't want an indyref in the near future.  Arguably the way the question was posed and the way the options were presented made a favourable response more likely, but on the face of it that's the clearest support for a second referendum that we've seen in any of the polls over the last ten days.

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I noticed a short exchange from a few days ago between Morag (Rolfe) and RevStu about whether the ScotPulse independence poll putting Yes on 59% and No on 32% should be considered legitimate or not.  I'm not sure we should look at it in quite such a binary way, but I do disagree with RevStu when he says that the ScotPulse figures are within the margin of error of the other polls we've seen.  With Don't Knows excluded, ScotPulse actually had Yes on 65% - light-years away from the 52% with Don't Knows excluded in the Panelbase poll, and from the 53% and 54% with Don't Knows excluded in the two Survation polls.  We've seen no datasets of any kind from ScotPulse, but I'd suggest the most likely explanation for the discrepancy is that their sample was not fully representative of the Scottish population, and/or was not correctly weighted.

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If/when the next indyref gets underway, do you suppose the Yes campaign might be cheeky enough to call themselves "Better Together in Europe" and adopt Why Build Another Wall as their theme song?  Altogether now...

So why build another wa-a-a-all?
So why build another wa-a-a-a-a-a-all?

40 comments:

  1. I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

    The reason that Sturgeon is "exploring all options" with regards to keeping Scotland in the EU is so that the next ballot on Scottish Independence can be asked thus:

    "Which union do you consider it more important that Scotland is a member of: EU or UK"

    With that as the referendum question, things get mighty interesting :)

    And yes, if it wasn't for the toxic brand of "Better Together" I'd say we should be cheeky and do that ;)

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  2. We definitely need a couple of short, snappy memes. More stuff around national identity. Let's not be ashamed to push the Scottishness of the campaign, as I felt that was lacking last time.
    Maybe 'Taking back control' would work.

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    1. Tempting as it is to take a page from the Leave campaign's book, I'd rather not. It was a morally bankrupt way to go about things.

      And it didn't work on Scotland, after all!

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    2. Its about time folk realised that is what the referendum is about, it's about linking scottishness with being open, progressive and tolerant, whereas being 'british' is a no vote and being a racist, xenophobic, little Englander who still thinks the british empire is a thing.

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    3. I have no problem at all with appealing to people's patriotic instincts. Provided we're not doing any rabble-rousing against "white settlers" from down south, what's wrong with saying to people "do you really want England to decide everything about how Scotland is run? Is this really how you want the world to see Scotland?"

      I've said it before and I'll keep saying it. Push the point that English football gets £100m/year from the Beeb while ALL Scottish sport struggles by on £4m. Points like that actually do rankle with most Scots because it's so patently unfair. It highlights the principles of independence and the unfairness of the Union in a way everyone can understand. It shows how the pooling and sharing actually works. It's not necessarily racist to appeal to people's Scottishness and if something is actually unfair then it's not somehow atavistic to point out that it's not fair.

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    4. "Tempting as it is to take a page from the Leave campaign's book, I'd rather not."

      Actually, to be fair, the Leave campaign stole "take back control" (or at least "take control") from Nicola Sturgeon. She used that phrase a number of times during the indyref.

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    5. You just gave me a second example of when that approach didn't win here.

      But yeah, I was referring more to the stuff Kenny alluded to with "white settlers". Stay away from the xenophobic posters too. No problem with 'soft' patriotism - it's a lot more attractive than extreme nationalism.

      Oh and I'm all for a distinct Better Together in Europe campaign. Lets the No campaigners who have changed their mind make a distinct impact of their own. Someone has to make a convincing argument that justifies a first No and then a second Yes vote - perhaps on the basis of internationalism and that a No vote was sold to them as the only way to secure a place in Europe at the time.

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    6. I don't care how we do it, but we have to do it!
      Failure to win this referendum, with the extreme right wing Westminster Party in waiting is terrifying.

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  3. After the brexit voting Eligibility, I would look at who gets to vote. I would also put up a timetable. More importantly, but I have "better together" in my records as studgeobs slogan for a health care plan in 2009 or therabouts. Am I wrong?

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    1. If we had the faintest clue what you were on about, we could tell you.

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  4. Eligibility criteria needs to be tight. Residents with two years status for example.
    Postal vote fraud is a biggie and therefore needs to be transparent. The computers used for postal vote disemination should be physically disconnected from the internet as GCHQ is all pervasive.
    Slogan for postal voting "You can steal my vote, but you can never steal my freedom"
    Team Name "GTFUK"

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  5. I wish the SNP would commission a 'think-tank' to do a report on the UK post brexit, I have yet to see or read about one, yet we get many many ones from biased think tanks that start off by utilising bad data, ie how can they use figures of what an indy Scotland would make, when the treasury doesn't even release such info? GERs is a total guess and these think-tanks are also second guessing whatever government is in power and what policies they would deliver to impact economic performance

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    1. Is that the remit of the SNP? They can surely really only report on what engexit means for Scotland. Regards GERS, all fabrication, they never wanted Scotland to know her true wealth, and still don't.

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    2. They can spend their money on whatever they so desire.

      Who commissions and spends the money on the CPS reports, the OBR? The IFS?

      That Labour run think tank I forget the name of?

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    3. They can quite easily ask what scoexit means for ruk...how will it impact balance of trade in a eu less economy....comparing it to a Scotland in the eu and assuming trade with ruk is maintained for example.

      There are ways and means that these think tanks get their headlines. Bad data = bad results.

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  6. This time next week Ruthie will have made another U-turn about indyref 2.

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  7. I think Gordon Brewer might have got in the way of his own scoop by talking too much once again. It sounded to me like Davidson was travelling some distance toward saying the EU exit changes the constitutions calculation in Scotland. But Brewer wouldn't shut up and let her speak.

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    1. Brewer's desperate for a job in London.

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  8. I seem to remember Davidson making similar comments to Cameron before indyref1.
    She clearly understands that telling Scots they can't do something will probably result in an opposite reaction and unfavourable outcome.
    The smart thing to do is allow it to go ahead but rely on the insidious English press to do it's job.
    That will,however,be a much more difficult task for them next time.

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    1. Regards ruthie, absolutely, reverse psychology, my thoughts exactly when I saw this yesterday. She has been instructed to appear compliant with what the Scottish electorate now want. Resistance from her to even allowing an indy ref would very likely create hostility from the voters.

      Negotiations, hmm, Leadson seems to want to bypass negotiations, so what then. We would need to call a snap referendum, which I think may just have to happen. I could be talking rubbish, but on hearing that so many previous no voters want Indy now, we might have to be a bit spontaneous. The negative media/political crap has already started, so not sure there is much to lose by having a referendum asap.

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  9. I think we want to try to win the referendum something like 60/40 or better.

    Might happen if Labour crumble and start to support independence.

    We need to convince people it's inevitable and they should come on board.

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    1. The self destruction going on with the Labour party could split the party in two so the question is which one of the two does Dugdale and co support.

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  10. Henry McLeish, much as I disdained his prevarication over independence thus far, he made a good point the other day. The indepebdent he would support is different from SNP independence. If we can encourage a debate among parties about what kind of independence we should have, then before you know it the idea that independence is inevitable will be taken for granted and will be replaced by arguments about the details.

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    1. The kind of independence we want is for debate after we're independent. Henry needs to get off the fence.

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    2. Some people like to sit on the fence because they enjoy the sensation.

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    3. Sorry I disagree I think Mcleish just sat there and waffled a load of nonsense. He still won't or can't get off that fence the Splinters must be too far up his?A***

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    4. The kind of independence we want is for debate after we're independent.

      Call me strange, but I like to know what I'm voting for before I vote for it, not after.

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    5. Matters of policy are for General Elections not Referendum. How would you know who'd be in office after independence?

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    6. Matters of policy are for General Elections not Referendum. How would you know who'd be in office after independence?

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  11. Here is another slogan that can be used in any future Referendum, 'Taking back control'.

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2July 4, 2016 at 9:40 PM

      If there ever was control! When I ask?

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    2. Wouldn't give you control of a paper round, 23.

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  12. Davidson seems to have gone back to her original position after all the say NO to another Ref nonsense. I think it depends on what her boss in London tells her to say. Lets wait and see if she changes her tune when she gets a new leader.

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    1. Aye. She'll twist like a leaf in the wind for a shot at a safe seat in the shires.

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    2. You're confusing her opposition to having a referendum with her view that one shouldn't be blocked by Westminster if there is a mandate for it to be held.

      Separate questions.

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    3. Fair point and techincally correct but I think that many of those who switched to voting Conservative in May (mainly from Labour), took her election literature at face value and voted for her for a block on a second referendum.

      Will these voters feel cheated now?

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    4. Won't matter to the Tank Commander. Manifestos are like lines in the sand to her.

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    5. Errr, her reason for westminster not blocking it is exactly the same as her reason for blocking it during the election campaign....

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  13. But she doesn't have the numbers to block a second referendum and she can hardly say that there hasn't been a major change of circumstances since the election

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