Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"Engrossing" YouGov poll finds that Scotland is behind Sturgeon's drive to remain in the EU after the UK leaves - and understands this will require independence

A new full-scale Scottish YouGov poll is out today, and the most significant finding is that there is narrow majority support (albeit within the margin of error) for Scotland seeking to remain in the European Union after the UK leaves...

Would you support or oppose Scotland seeking to negotiate with the European Union to remain part of the EU after the rest of Britain leaves?

Support 42%
Oppose 41%

The subsequent question reveals that, by a massive 62%-22% margin, people understand that independence will be required to remain in the EU after Brexit.

There's particularly vexing news for Kezia Dugdale here.  As you'd expect, SNP voters are firmly in favour of retaining Scotland's EU membership, and Tory voters overwhelmingly follow the 'Brexit Means Brexit for everyone' doctrine.  But Labour voters are essentially split down the middle on this point.  It appears that Dugdale may have miscalculated in her belief that the rump Labour support (which is all she appears to care about holding onto) shares the hardline unionist DNA of the Tory support.  Incredible though it may seem, therefore, there are clear grounds for optimism that even more Labour voters could be won over to the SNP if Dugdale maintains her inflexible stance on leaving the EU.

The poll was commissioned by a rabidly anti-independence client (The Times), who are naturally keen to draw attention to the portions of the poll they find more palatable.  In particular, they seem to be beside themselves with excitement to discover that, for the first time since 2014, a YouGov poll has found that headline support for independence is fractionally lower than it was in the indyref.  (The operative word here is 'fractionally' - the Yes vote in the referendum was 44.7%, and YouGov currently has it at 44%.)  But the reality is that the general pattern of recent times has been a Yes vote that hovers only a little higher than the 2014 result, with a figure of 47% being particularly typical.  If that's roughly where we are, you'd fully expect the odd individual poll to put Yes slightly below 45%, simply due to sampling variation (ie. margin of error).  It's theoretically possible that this poll is the first to detect a genuine dip in support, but there's absolutely no reason to jump to that conclusion - unless of course you're indulging in wishful thinking.

By the same token, The Times are ascribing significance that simply cannot be statistically justified to minor changes on the supplementary questions.  For example, opposition to a second independence referendum being held before the UK leaves the EU (ie. within a very tight two-year timescale) has increased since the poll in August from 50%-37% to 54%-35%.  But that change can be easily explained by the margin of error - if, say, the true 'oppose' figure has remained steady at around 52%, the margin of error means that the reported figure in individual polls would be expected to be anywhere between 49% and 55%.  So The Times' liberal use of words like 'slump' is, I'm afraid, a tad over-excitable.

One thing to watch out for today : YouGov have, frankly, become notorious over the years for their lack of objectivity on the topic of Scottish independence.  After their last poll in August, they posted a ludicrous article which brazenly misrepresented their own results.  They stated baldly that a majority of Scots were opposed to a second referendum, but, in fact, respondents hadn't even been asked such a broad question - they'd only been asked whether they wanted a referendum before Britain leaves the EU, which could be very soon indeed.  YouGov also stated that, if and when a referendum takes place, a majority would vote No again.  There was absolutely nothing in their results that would even begin to justify such a wild claim.  The headline question on independence had merely asked, in line with normal practice, how people would vote on independence if a referendum was held tomorrow.  Both of those facts also apply to today's poll, so just keep an eye out in case YouGov attempt the same misrepresentation on this occasion.  At time of writing, they haven't so far.

One small piece of credit I can give YouGov, however, is that they've finally put their house in order and started interviewing the correct electorate - ie. over-16s, rather than just over-18s.  So we no longer have to worry about Yes and SNP support being underestimated for that specific reason.  It's very hard to understand why it's taken such a ridiculously long time for basic good practice to be followed - but better late than never.

It shouldn't be overlooked that today's poll makes fairly grim reading for Theresa May personally.  Her net personal rating has collapsed from +13 in August to -5 now.  Margin of error 'noise' certainly can't explain such a big change.  The Prime Minister still has a long way to go before she reaches Thatcher-style depths of unpopularity, but on her current trajectory (and bearing in mind that her honeymoon period has only really just ended), it's perfectly possible she could eventually arrive at that destination.  If she does, the consequences for opponents of independence could be catastrophic.

The final question of the poll is a bit of an oddity.  Unionists have gleefully leaped on it as proof that 'only' 13% of the population have been involved in the SNP's recent consultation process (which would actually be a pretty impressive figure).  But the wording of YouGov's question leaves a lot to be desired.  The survey is cited as the "National Conversation", whereas to the best of my knowledge it's actually been generally referred to as the "National Survey".  Respondents are also asked whether they have been "approached to take part" in the survey, which on the face of it would exclude anyone who took part without being "approached".  Whether the wording of the question is just clumsy, or whether it's deliberately intended to muddy the waters, is hard to say.

A general point that needs to be made about all polling at the moment : regardless of whether it's good or bad, we simply can't be sure it's reliable.  Fergus Ewing was asked about the headline independence results today, and he pointed out that polls in recent elections and referendums had mostly been wrong.  In years gone by, a politician trying to rubbish the polls would have been regarded as a bit desperate, but as things stand it's hard to deny he's got an excellent point.  It's particularly worth taking a look at the huge leads the Remain campaign had in telephone polls for such a long time.  No-one can say with any great confidence what the true support for independence is right now - let alone what it will be in a few months' time, or in a couple of years.  That's a statement of fact.  The era during which it was rational for political leaders to make strategic decisions on the basis of a couple of percentage points here or there in opinion polls is well and truly over.  At best, the polls of today are a ball-park guide - and that park seems to be getting ever bigger.

71 comments:

  1. What i find interesting is the samples that they are using. they have 20% of the sample as born elsewhere in the UK. None of the parties are close to their actual Polling figures. So the weighting has to be extreme.

    But it is symptomatic of their bad "Voter Pool" if any group is represented by double their actual representation in Scotland.

    Now i am not going to say that this poll or any other is wrong, but from now on i am going to keep a hard eye on the Input groups and judge those closest to reality as strangely likely to be closer to reality.

    It certainly begs the question... if they can get Non Scot but British over represented by 100% are they sherry picking? I say this because it must be almost statistically impossible to actually achieve this as a "random" sample!

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    1. YOUGOV is run by TORIES, its BIASED TOWARDS THEM

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Nothing wrong with cherry-picking our sherries - avoiding British ones!

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    3. I later thought it was a Freudian slip.
      lol

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  3. If it weren't for the toxic effect of meeja lies and propaganda, I'm sure that the majority for Scotland negotiating with the EU to stay in when the rUK leaves would be a resounding one.

    Of course, it's quite possible that if weren't for those same toxic newspapers and broadcasters, we'd be independent already anyway.

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    1. Edward

      I think you have a good point there. Despite the UK centric media and weeks of SNP awfully bad, Scots do have a different perspective.

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  4. So support for Scotland remaining in the EU is twice as high as that for the statement that remaining in both the EU and UK is realistic. Yet support for another referendum pre Brexit is at 37/50 against. Didn't the other pollsters find support for another referendum higher (if on a longer time frame). Meanwhile Holyrood VI shows a 4 point swing from SNP to Tories, realistic?

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  5. Scotland maintaining EU membership should be higher than a one point win. That's a bit worrying.

    Scotland hasn't featured with gravitas as an issue on the Network news for long enough or sustained periods. Rarely mentioned as one of the key tactics for negotatiation by the EU or UK in MSM. A bit part, an extra. Our part in the Brexit issue has been downplayed and doesn't feel like a real gamechanger at the moment. Hate to say it.

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  6. A one point win on Scotland maintaining EU membership even as the rUK leaves is worrying. Should be much higher. It doesn't mention independence, it could be a separate deal.

    Hopefully this is just a blip but it's not encouraging.

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    1. Anon : Forgive my scepticism, but that does sound a bit like concern trolling.

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    2. I'd happily prove i'm a committed Yes voter if you wish . not sure how though.
      Simply want to be rational about this, I want to win - not wish about it.

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    3. Do you honestly think a draw on the question of Scotland maintaining our links with EU is a good place to be? After the Brexit vote we didn't hear anything but "get on the phone to Angela" etc. It's not independence, it's a question on us even having the gall to ask for a deal (negotiate). Call me whatever you want. I thought this was a place for discussion. I find your blogs useful, I'm merely commenting.

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    4. "not sure how though"

      Quite. I'm sorry, but what you wrote sounds eerily like the concern trolling we saw in the comments section of this blog in the run-up to the indyref (which may well have been part of an organised effort by Better Together). "Oh, this is so worrying", "I'd expected so much better", "at the moment this is not encouraging", etc, etc.

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  7. Feel free to delete as my other comment doesn't seem to have come through.

    Deary me, the content of the quote was made sincerely. Feel free to discuss the substance of the point whenever. I could say nothing, if it's not good. Maybe that's the way forward.

    Ross Pollock Kelvin SNP Branch. If you must know.

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    1. There really wasn't a hell of a lot of substance to discuss. If you don't want to be mistaken for a concern troll, perhaps the best bet would be to avoid comments that don't say anything other than "we're all doomed". You could, for example, have explained what strategic error you think is being made, and then proposed an alternative. That would have opened up a point for discussion.

      Almost by definition, unalloyed fatalism is always going to look suspiciously like concern trolling.

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    2. Personally I think the use of the word "tr*ll" should be banned. You can't express an opinion that is against the "meme" without being called a tr*ll". Well f*ck that.

      Peter Piper who spends far far too much time on the Herald. But hey, we all do our bit.

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    3. I didn't say we're all doomed. Weird. I'll ignore the rudeness. It's just a discussion.

      Read the post. A reality check is sometimes required. If the Scottish electorate are not wholeheartedly (or even a material plurality) giving Nicola the go ahead to look for a separate deal that needs looked at in the strategy. I hope it's a blip as I said, it may just be this poll.

      What it would cost/save the economy if we kept our status? Hardly the talk of the street. Need quality analysis and a good sell. Most Yes campaigners had a few figures in their heads that they could come up with. Don't know any on the EU and i'm emotionally involved.

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    4. edited to add; an error there. of course 40odd percent is a plurality worth listening to. But it's not wholehearted support - clear support of the people. Big plurality (practically the same) saying the opposite.

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    5. What "rudeness", Anon? Justify that, please. And I'm not sure how many times you want me to read your very short original comment - apart from saying how worrying everything is, it is literally content-free.

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    6. You are correct. I considered being told my opinion is unalloyed fatalism and not a hell of a lot of substance a tad rude and patronising. It was merely a point. Maybe it's not rude so for that misnomer, i apologise. Certainly patronising manner though.

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    7. If your threshold is that low, I could point out that you've been extremely saracastic in all of your replies. So hey, it's all swings and roundabouts, really.

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  8. It pains me to say it, but it is well worth listening back to this morning's Call Kaye, which illustrated very well the range of views, conflicting priorities and agendas, and general prevailing confusion. This Times poll asked how people would vote "if there was an independence referendum to tomorrow"? That is crucial. Frankly I'm not totally sure how I would vote in those circumstances. I'm not surprised support for Scotland's continuing membership of the EU, in or out of the UK, isn't higher. As Ian Dunt articulated very well on the radio this morning, none of us knows what the EU will look like in a few years' time, after all the forthcoming elections, and whether or not it is an institution we would wish to be a part of. Add to that the fact that many people are convinced that powers over agriculture and fisheries will be returned to Scotland (far from a certainty as far as I can see) and it's really no surprise at all. The poll did not ask about Single Market membership which, for me at least, is the critical point. Right now I would opt for anything that keeps Scotland inside the Single Market/EEA, whatever constitutional form that took. So basically, I think nothing can be read into this poll at all.

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    1. When are Scots going to wake up to the fact that Independence is a constitutional issue and not an economic one.

      Can someone tell me of a country/state that decided it didn't want to be Independent because of economic arguments.

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    2. Well, a cynic could argue all, really. American revolution being a case in point. Civil war. England under cromwell.even the whole henry the 8th bit.but i get your point!

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  9. So, Yougov.
    First note is that if a 2nd EU Ref was held, it would be 65% Remain, up 3% though within Margin of error. Leave 35%.

    Second is it asks the question "Would you support or oppose holding another Scottish independence referendum before the UK leaves the EU?" (35% to 54% + 11% don't know). BUT doesn't ask about support after negotiations are complete. This is a deliberately misleading question. Compare that to the Herald BMG Poll which asked both.

    Third, for its support for Indy it has 44% YES, 56% NO, but doesn't ask the question "what about if it's going to be a hard Brexit". The pound rose after the district court case, and that was because the chances of a hard Brexit appeared to drop. I'd need to compare it against the Herald BMG poll (which was misreproted, including by BMG themselves).

    Two things about the data. First is the question on the national conversation survey. 13% approached, 82% not approached. Yet at that time I remember getting an email saying 1.7 million answered. Electorate 4.1 million. That doesn't add up.

    Secondly, the SNP Holyrood constituency vote is low at 36%. Cobblers to that.

    But I'd prefer to see the opinion of James Kelly on this, as he specialises in doing polls and has been for years so he knows what he's doing.

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    1. Forgot to eliminate DKs and WVs for the constituency :-(

      That would be 48% SNP for the constituency. What a twit.

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  10. If (and its a big if) the national survey has a 13% response rate then that's actually a pretty decent response for any survey - single digit response is often nearer the norm in marketing or social sciences. It will obviously be largely biased to Yes voters but if it gives the SNP any useful insights at all, thats fine.

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    1. I think it is/was more of a campaigning/PR tool.

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    2. A large sample size can be much worse than a smaller one if it's unrepresentative. There was an interesting article from during the referendum campaign to that effect. That's not to say that the SNP's survey is useless; used correctly it could be an effective way of identifying supporters. But as a way of measuring overall public opinion, I doubt that it could be an effective substitute for decent polling.

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  11. Glasgow Working Class 2November 30, 2016 at 2:13 PM

    Just got up and saw this great news, its really cured my hangover. Ha you nat sis have lost its game over.

    But I've got a real dilemma, on the 1 hand its time for you all to shut up and go home and shut this website down as there is no reason for it to exist any more you have lost its over the union is safe go home now.

    But on the other hand if you did that id have no one to talk to any more.

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    1. What's the matter with the Scotman's site?

      I'm sure that's where you - or at least one of the many GWC2s - started oot anyhoo.

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    2. Poor Nadine. So drunk. So tearful. So angry. So sad...

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    3. Another bottle of Chablis down the gullet to stimulate her rapier-like wit. Those Essex girls, eh? What are they like?

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    4. Glasgow Working Class 2November 30, 2016 at 8:58 PM

      There is only one GWC 2 Conan. Me. The impersonator(s) only impersonate because they have no credibilty and any bottle. What one would expect from Nat sis. Personnally I have no interest in polls. You can just tell when a political party are in for a hammering and this will eventualky happen to the Tartan Tory Nat sis.

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    5. Poor Nadine. So drunk. So tearful. So angry. So sad...

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  12. Much ado about nothing, really

    First: it's one poll.

    Second: it doesn't show anything significant. You always reckon on a 3% margin of error.

    Third: it's conducted by You Gov, whose online polling has been badly wrong before.

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  13. I haven't looked at the data. But if 20% of people polled are from RUK, and the RUK population in Scotland is only 12%.That's a full 8% error. Now lets be kind and say 4% of that missing 8% went to Yes. That brings the Yes vote to 48%. Also would the 12% of the RUK actually bother to vote in indi ref 2 to the same extent as people born in Scotland? Can we say only 11% might vote! We are in the statistical tie area. This is a rogue poll and deliberately constructed to sow doubt. Question is why have the SNP not commissioned a counter poll or another pro-indi org.

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    1. Rest of the UK population is about 9.5% at the time of the 2011 census.

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  14. Also, the weighted rUk sample of ~9.9% was broadly in line with rUK population.
    I think there's a certain amount of voter fatigue with referendums in Scotland, which I don't think will be helping the Yes vote. I desperately want independence, but I'm sick to death of all this too.

    At this stage. all this is academic. We won't know true support for Yes, until we see the actual terms of Brexit.

    We may even have to wait until we're formally out of the EU before Sturgeon pulls the trigger. Messy and more complicated as that might be.

    The reality of Brexit and being out of the single market may need to bite hard and give Scots a wake-up call.

    What we really need is a formal statement from the EU that if Scotland votes for independence, continued EU membership and single market access is assured. I think that would swing it. Whether it happen or not, who knows?

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  15. One thing I will add is that the "Seperate EU deal" question doesn't specify whether it would be with independence or not, and there's a potential of some misinterpretation there. I would also say that the weighted EU ref vote is 60/40, so I'd guess Yes is probably around a point higher. 82% of the sample voted in the EU ref and 90% in the Indy ref, compared to the real figures of 67% and 85%. I would say it is very clear though that there is not a majority support for independence at this current time, and if the EU will swing it, it will be the consequences after Brexit that will do it. I also note the huge age gap: 58% of those under 50 would vote for independence compared to only 17% over 60s. There has been a swing towards yes among younger voters but it has been countered by a swing amongst older ones.

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  16. As with all polls ever, this national listening exercise has passed without me being asked.

    Anyways good work on pissing the rev Stu off.

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    1. No problemo - you can do it online, still got 6 hours:

      http://www.snp.org/survey

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    2. It doesn't take a lot to piss off prima donnas.
      I include James in that, with his hatred of dogs that eat free food lying on the ground within his open bag, and getting upset when people found it funny.

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    3. My friend, if you think irresponsible and selfish dog owners are funny (and to the best of my recollection the "people who found it funny" is basically a grandiose reference to yourself), then I'm happy to argue with you on that point for the next 100 years, because it is absolutely bloody outrageous and you damn well know it. No, it is NOT my responsibility to prevent someone else's dog interfering with my private property. It IS the dog owner's responsibility to do so. It's also, incidentally, the dog owner's moral responsibility to reimburse me after the event for the damage done, and that didn't happen either.

      Would I be too close to the mark if I say it sounds like you may not be the most responsible of dog owners yourself?

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    4. My point is made.

      As I attempted to relate to you *last time* dogs do not know *limits* in how they survive. Food that is not protected is theirs.

      "Would I be too close to the mark if I say it sounds like you may not be the most responsible of dog owners yourself?"

      Heh. Pointing out what probably happened means I don't control my dogs?

      Prima donna indeed.




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    5. No, it doesn't sound like you can't control your dogs. It sounds like you choose not to do so. As I said : irresponsible and selfish.

      Let me gently point this out to you - public spaces do not exist for the sole use and pleasure of dog owners. It may be an inconvenience for you, but yes, I am afraid there is a perfectly reasonable expectation that if your dog is inclined to attack or consume other people's possessions, you should be keeping that dog under control at all times. No, you do not get to decide that under some circumstances, my possessions cease to belong to me and suddenly start belonging to you and your dog. What planet are you living on here?

      And just a little thought - instead of deciding for yourself "what probably happened", why not listen to the person who it actually happened to? Radical, but give it a go.

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    6. It wasn't my dogs who invaded your "personal space" ate your food, or indeed, attacked you.

      Oh, hang on, the dog that did, didn't *attack* you did it?

      You kind of flung that in.

      I'm living on a planet that realises that you cannot judge dogs by rules your nanny spanked into you when you were four.

      Possession, to a dog, means something that is guarded. If you wander about a shopping mall after leaving your wallet on a bench, would you expect it to be there when you came back?

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    7. I'm living on a planet that realises that you cannot judge dogs by rules your nanny spanked into you when you were four.

      I have no idea why I'm getting involved in this, but wasn't James blaming the owner rather than the dog?

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    8. When a dog is off the lead and they find free food lying on the ground, they will eat it. James upped the ante when he mentioned "attack". He assumed that a dog who ate his packed lunch was out of control. It wasn't, it was just being a dog.

      He then conflated all dog owners that let their dog run in a public place with the boor who didn't give him a *proper* apology. Probably monetary.

      I thought it funny. Still do.

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    9. Which is exactly why I concluded that you're clearly an irresponsible dog owner yourself - there's no other conceivable reason for finding the incident amusing, or for your implicit belief that it is somehow unavoidable that the dog was off the lead. As I suspected, you genuinely do believe that my possessions did not belong to me but to someone else's dog, simply because I was in a public space. I'll look forward to you explaining that in a credible way one of these days, because you sure as hell haven't managed it today.

      And, yes, of course you're correct that I believe I should have been monetarily compensated for the destruction of my possessions by someone else's out-of-control animal. That's a statement of the blindingly obvious, and if you need the blindingly obvious pointed out to you so regularly, I'm quite happy to continue doing so.

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  17. If you're unionist, you can afford to feel more confident about the future. The threat of independence is receding, for a number of reasons. I think we are now discovering that, far from brexit having boosted the cause of Scottish independence, it actually put it into deep freeze.

    However, if you are a hardline nationalist, you badly want that referendum, before 2021. If Sturgeon can't deliver, there will be a steep political price to pay.

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    1. "The threat of independence is receding, for a number of reasons."

      And the certainty of it is developing. For the same reasons.

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    2. ""The undecideds and the bottlers will put it in the back of the net for 'remain'. I'm sure Cameron also has a few tricks up his sleeve to deploy in the dying days of the campaign."

      Aldo

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    3. I'm starting to think there is a pair of raddled old lovers on here, using James' blog in the way they used to upon the Scotsman pages of old.

      Bless.

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    4. It is unwise to speak of certainties unless you are dealing with something that has already happened or something that is completely knowable. Scottish independence doesn't fit into either category. But if we examine the facts before us it would seem to be less likely:

      Brexit has to be resolved first. Could take forever. Brexit could be watered down or thwarted altogether. There are also very sound economic reasons why a hard brexit would make Scottish independence difficult as well.

      Voter fatigue and political earthquake fatigue. We had brexit and then Trump. People want stability now, not more unravelling.

      You are tanking in the polls. 11 point lead for the unionists? Ouch!

      The SNP government is getting long in the tooth and some of the teflon is coming off. Step forward Humza Yousaf!

      The clock is ticking. No referendum by 2021 means serious trouble within the SNP rank and file - making another pro indy majority an extremely tall order indeed.

      Given all of that, a unionist can afford to feel increasingly sure of himself - while remaining watchful and cautious.

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    5. "Brexit could be watered down or thwarted altogether"

      "Given all of that, a unionist can afford to feel increasingly sure of himself"

      LMFAO

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    6. #AldoPredicts. A bit like #McTernanPredicts, but without the bet welching.

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  18. Theresa Mayjor and her Bumblefuck Tory Party of BrexitearsNovember 30, 2016 at 7:14 PM

    To be fair this kind of polling isn't totally worthless but let's face facts, it's of very little consequence right now.

    Even if you were credulous enough to put all your faith in polling after it's been shown to be so worthless recently, the fundamental fact of the matter is the tories have spent all this time after the EU vote pissing about and stalling.

    They have no plan and even less of an idea what to do to keep their party together once they are forced to do something.

    The real chaos will begin in earnest next year.

    Count on it.

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  19. looks like a good snapshot to me - from IndyRef 1 to Brexit to Trump, the balance of things seems to be almost too close to call so just a shade i our direction is a good call . . . Or - more positively - a tipping point may be approaching . . .

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  20. Glasgow Working Class 2December 1, 2016 at 12:19 AM

    The real changes will be known when the USA changes its administration next year. Will the Jock Nat sis stand by the British relationship with the USA or turn their back on the USA. Will Knickerless play her Trump Card and the Nat sis turn to the corrupt EU and sell out Scotland. Lots to look forward to.

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    1. Glasgow Working ClassDecember 1, 2016 at 12:34 AM

      One has to say that Nicola deserves her place as the 3rd most influential peron in this Brexit mess as voted by the Europeans. Interesting article about it in the Guardian.

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    2. Nadine, sweetheart, talking to yourself and impersonating Glaswegians is a sign that you've had too much Chardonnay. Lunch at Chez Maurice on Monday?

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  21. Glasgow Working Class 2December 1, 2016 at 12:46 AM

    A solid trade deal between the USA and the UK will kick into touch the corrupt EU who are actually threatening the UK and the democratic choice of the UK electorate.
    The collapse of the EU is on the cards.��

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    1. Nadine, darling, you really need to stop drinking prosecco on an empty stomach.

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    2. Glasgow Working Class 2,

      Perhaps. But the last two World Wars were started by Europeans. And there is no evidence whatsoever that the USA is going to give you the "solid trade deal" you want and expect.

      Could you please desist from fantasy?

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  22. Saw an infographic on twitter about support for a second referendum being less than 1/3. Problem is that the 31% they quote is actually those who believe there will be one before the UK exits the EU. Nor does the actual 35% figure, admittedly down from 37%, indicate total opposition but rather support for holding within the next two years. Nor is there any reference to the don't knows.

    The problem with the majority of reporting of these things is that people do so without providing a link to the data.

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  23. I am in a minority. I would vote for Scottish independence whatever the circumstances, which presumably puts me in the 44% camp?

    But what of the rest, the 56% that answered otherwise?

    I would suggest that they have no fundamental commitment to independence and that some of them would vote for it, if it met some of their criteria for a better life. Some, possibly 44% also would vote against independence with as much commitment as we would vote pro.

    So, I think the swing vote is around 12%

    If we could convince something just over half of that cohort that their interests are best served by independence, then we win. If we can't we lose again and that would probably be the end of it.

    In a lot of ways, we are relying on Nicola Sturgeon to call a future referendum at a time when we can win it. I do not envy her her choice.

    The dithering of Westminster, albeit not in relation to Hollyrood who they see as a nuisance to be treated with contempt, which they do, all the time, is quite astonishing. We are not an inch further forward in the Brexit process than we were the second after the vote was declared. Neither Parliament nor the nation is to be allowed any re-consideration of that vote should the deal be ultimately bad, economically, socially or from a security point of view.

    We,up here,eating our cereal, will have no future say in the direction of travel. What a completely dysfunctional democracy we embrace!

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