Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Setting an artificial threshold of 60% for a Yes victory isn't "bold" - it's ultra-conservative and anti-democratic

You've probably seen Neil Mackay's rather provocative list of "issues" that the Yes movement must supposedly address in order to win.  Unsurprisingly it has sharply divided opinion, with some of the criticism spilling into unpleasant personal comments.  But as was the case with Peter A Smith, the fact that the abuse must be deplored does not mean that parts of the criticism can't be justified.  Mr Mackay's advice is a very mixed bag - some of it is eminently sensible, such as the reminder that using insulting words like 'Yoon' does no-one any good.  (I would make exceptions for ironic or satirical use, but the basic point is sound.)  Some of it is misguided, such as the idea that we should all stop marching for independence, on the basis that shoving saltires in the faces of No voters does nothing to win them over.  This entirely misses the point of the marches, which is not to convert No voters directly, but rather to raise the morale of Yes supporters, to boost the visibility of the campaign, and to generate a sense of momentum.  And some of the advice is needlessly divisive, such as the suggestion that those in leadership positions should shun certain Yes supporters by unfollowing them on social media - which would simply alienate one part of the movement from another without actually winning a single extra vote.  Paul Hutcheon may have based his entire "investigative journalism" career on the shock value of who doesn't ignore who on Twitter, but real people don't give a monkey's.

Mr Mackay's most controversial point of all is smuggled in at the end.  He argues that the movement should decide that nothing less than 60% Yes support is required for change - he thinks this would be a "bold" and generous step that would impress the unpersuaded.  Now, I've read this part of the article multiple times, and I still can't quite work out what Mr Mackay is getting at - is he suggesting that we should not call a referendum until Yes is at 60% in the polls, or is he actually suggesting that the rules of the next referendum should be rigged in favour of the No side to ensure that they only need 40.01% of the vote to "win"?  I suspect the ambiguity may be intentional, because there is a near-consensus in the Yes movement that the 40% rule in 1979 was an outrage against democracy that must never be repeated in any form.  It's unlikely there would have been as many people recommending Mr Mackay's article as a "must-read" if they had realised he was channelling George Cunningham. 

And it would actually make a complete nonsense of all of the high-minded suggestions for building Yes support, because what happens if those ideas work?  Suppose the banning of marches, the sending of people to Coventry on Twitter, and the introduction of a 60% rule somehow win over No voters by the bucket-load, and we score a highly impressive 59% of the vote in the next referendum?  The returning officer will just turn around and say: "Sorry, under the Vote Adjustment Rules, 41 is a bigger number than 59, and you've actually lost.  Try again in a generation."  Supermajority requirements aren't "bold", they aren't daring, they aren't radical - they're ultra-conservative, anti-democratic, and make the status quo insanely difficult to reform.

Even if we're generous to Mr Mackay and assume he wasn't proposing a supermajority, but merely that we shouldn't hold a referendum until 60% has been reached in the polls, that would still to all intents and purposes be an argument against a referendum and against independence, because in the real world 60% is utterly unachievable before the referendum campaign actually starts.  If even the initial shock of the Leave vote in June 2016 was only enough to get Yes into the low 50s, I'm struggling to see how we'd get much higher than that without calling a referendum and inviting people to focus on the choice.

39 comments:

  1. I have no issue with a 60% hurdle - and here is "why". If the unionists think that it is fair to have this barrier then just turn it round - 60% must vote to maintain the union.

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    1. Only 55% voted to maintain the union in 2014.

      That's just not enough support to justify keeping it going right?

      2014 should have been 60% for the union or Scotland reverts to normal status, i.e. independence. For the vast majority of its history it was independent, so the UK is not the norm. The fact that pro-indy parties keep winning elections shows that the 50%+1 bar set for maintaining the union was far too low.

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    2. Thank the Holy Hookie you've got no issue with 60%. I was worried sick you might have.

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  2. Absolutely.

    I think the 60% crowd are responding to the Brexit mess, somewhat concerned that there'll be a forced confirmatory referendum on Scottish independence after it has been negotiated. They believe we need to achieve a high-water mark of 60% in the first successful referendum, either to survive a possible second, confirmatory referendum or to smash the prospects of one.

    But I think that's a failure of imagination. The Scottish government/parliament is very unlikely to duplicate the British government/parliament's performance in the A50 process during our independence negotiation process.

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    1. Very pertinent first point, 60% a tad high maybe but a significant majority would be needed to avoid chaos and the inevitable calls for a 'peoples vote' on the final deal and the SNP have done themselves no favours in their stance on Brexit.
      A second vote maybe very difficult to survive given that 30-40% of the electorate are likely to be floating voters and the potential for economic flux and buyers remorse.
      A referendum before 2021 could also lead to a unionist majority at Hoylrood given the respective post referendum performances of UKIP and the SNP. Imagine trying to push through Brexit with the Lib Dems in power.
      Not sure you've thought through your last point, who do you think the Scottish Government is going to be negotiating with and it could be a unionist Scottish executive at that.
      Brexit has shown that any marginal yes vote in a bitterly divided nation is going to create mayhem. The problem is, all the polling and experience of the last referendum suggests any referendum in the near future is going to be tight, you couldn't call a winner and a marginal yes victory could just be the start of an unholy mess.

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    2. There's only chaos for brexit because the brits are incapable governance.

      You are right that the narrow No victory in 2014 created an 'unholy mess'; pro-indy parties have won every election since as it just didn't settle the matter at all.

      Brexit has made the mess even unholier as Scots massively support Remain. A narrow Yes in 2014 might have been mess too; but would be a hell of a lot less so in terms of brexit given Scotland would not be exiting the EEA.

      Unfortunately for Brits, the direction of travel for the past 70 years in Scotland has been towards independence, in a large part due to British empire decline. We are now approaching the very end of the empire; the retreat has reached all the way to England, having hit home shores in 1997 when the Scottish parliament reopened and the sun set on Hong Kong.

      Young people don't support indy because they are young, it's because they're not British; they're Scottish. It's only in the post war babies that this identity - and so support for the union - holds on. It's not age, its generational, and how these were shaped by the past vs the present.

      There's very little time left for the union. It might be a year...2 years...5 or 10. Who knows. It's not long though. And reversing a 70 year decline would be an utterly mammoth task, even if there was appetite for it (ending devolution and rebuilding the empire).

      So it might be better just to get it over with and go for indy sooner. Voting No just extends the transitional mess, as evidenced by 2014 solving nothing.

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    3. You should have a look at the census. 'British' peaks in those born in ~1945 into the post-war socialist consensus (it's a relatively new identity which only took hold then). It then declines as the pan-UK socialist solidarity us undermined, accelerating with thatcher's 'There's no such thing as British society', leading to 74% Yes in 1997. The devo generation are well over 70% 'Scottish (not British)'.

      2014 was inevitable, just as 1979 and 1997 were, but came too early.

      Britain is an imperial relic entering it's final days. The same story has played out across the global so many times in history. The briefest glance at the bigger picture and you can see time's up for GB (watch an animation of the shrinking empire for example).

      It's always an unholy mess at the end.

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  3. Has anybody else noticed the crybabies wetting their nappies about a BBC Yoon bigot being called rude names and waving their Journalistic freedom banners?

    The self-same people who were cheering on kezzydugface in her attack on an actual journalist.

    Stuart McDonald is a slavering hypocrite.

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    1. The rev is not a journalist, just a shite-stirrer. That's why the judge agreed his good name wasn't libelled, because he didn't have a good name to start with !!!

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  4. Sorry for being a bit dim, but where did Mackay’s comments appear? (Google not much use.)

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  5. Why not actually turn it around and hold a vote to ratify by vote of citizens the ORIGINAL agreement from long ago? Surely after hundreds of years a good union should merit 60%!! Would you get 60% if only actual Scots born in Scotland and living now in Scotland voted? This move might get you the scot/ukip types.

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  6. One vote more is enough to win. Pity the Scottish Nat si do not accept this unless they have the one vote.

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    1. Luckily they got that 'one vote' and more; them and the greens.

      If they'd not, and instead the unionists has won the elections, we'd not be discussing an iref this parliamentary term.

      If only the brits/English would accept the election result instead of trying to simply cancel it by refusing a Section 30.

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    2. The jock natsi party will never win but I wouldn't expect any understanding of that from a thick plank of Amber Rudd natsiboy like you Groundskeeper Willie Clown.

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  7. Take 1 from the top but not the middle or else it'll be considered invalid. Or at least it should be. But we know what that means.

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  8. Neil McKay's 60% idea is a strange one considering how detested the George Cunningham 40% rule was, and how reviled Cunningham's name remains. One strange anomaly was that dead people on the register counted as No, while anyone registered in 2 places but voting Yes in one, had their vote cancelled out by not voting in the other place. Which was illegal.

    An odd suggestion.

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    1. Who knows? But N MacKay is one of those words J Cherry QC MP used today.

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    2. Nimbletta McKay. An Australian TV cook from the late 1960s. Her Cabbage Meringue Imperial Pie was the pinnacle of Australia cuisine and remains so. They love it.

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  10. Speaking of whom. It is interesting that the FM can pop up to add fuel to the fire caused by a fake BBC journalist and her non-existant abuse. Yet she seems to have been unable to offer any support when J Cherry is receiving actual abuse by the tranny-fannies, handmaidens and assorted wokebeards. Slow clap for the ultra virtue signaler in chief.

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  11. The fact that they canny defuse Yoon in the same way we defused CyberNat by wearing it as a bad of honour is the problem. Yesers deal with verbal abuse regularly with joking good humour right up until we have to block the perps.

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  12. 51% for YES is good, but I would like a bigger margin, so that when we get cheated ... as we will ... there will still be a big enough vote in favour. The closer the result versus Westminster, the more chance of getting conned. We aren't some way out of the road colony, every part of England's structure/economy has been built and brought to where it is at today with Scottish revenues, they cannot afford to let us go ... The bigger the margin, the better.

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  13. FFS, you're not going to get another vote. It was in 2014. That is in the past. Sturgeon has chucked you a bone and has already blamed westminster for it falling down the manhole. She and Peter are now free get on with the important business of being paid lots and looking important.

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  14. The big Union con. In 1707 Scotland had a population 25% of Englands population, after 312years of this precious union, England has managed to reduce the Scottish population to 8.9%.

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    1. Have to say William Purves that I have asked my many relations who moved to Canada if they would return to Scotland and settle down. The answer is no and they just like to visit. The population in Scotland have been like China.

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    2. Can you blame them?

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-39657447

      Laggan's Zielsdorf family to be deported next month

      A family that moved to Scotland from Canada in 2008 is being deported.

      Could well be rounded by the English gestapo and deported along with all the Windrush people.

      If half of Scotland want 'out' (independence) of the UK, you could hardly blame people from elsewhere not wanting 'in'.

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    3. Can you explain how not being in the Union would of changed that? Population trends movement and growth during that latter 18th and 19th centenary was driven by the industrial revolution and very little to do with Scotland in the UK.

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    4. "would of"

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    5. "The big Union con. In 1707 Scotland had a population 25% of Englands population, after 312years of this precious union, England has managed to reduce the Scottish population to 8.9%."

      So Billy, where would you fit another 9 million people in scotland? Perhaps a metropolis the size of Birmingham on top of the Cairngorms? Or a Greater Manchester draped across the southern uplands?

      Silly Billy.

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  15. In an Indy Scotland no one will ever be deported...its only the nasty English that do that. What is with Nationalists and blaming another country whilst promising fairies and unicorns if they could just 'take back control'

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    1. Ernest Clitheroe was deported from Sardinia thanks to Mrs Stavely shoving her oar in again. And Ernest hates fish.

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    2. No, what's wrong is Scots having people deported from their country by racists in the neigbouring one.

      How racist do you have to be to deport people who don't even live in your country? That's what's happening right now with the EVEL English government and the deportation of people living in Scotland.

      From the rabidly pro-UK ProudNorthBritishman:

      https://www.scotsman.com/news-2-15012/64-per-cent-of-scots-want-immigration-powers-devolved-to-holyrood-1-4800923

      64 per cent of Scots want immigration powers devolved to Holyrood

      N. Ireland will be keeping full EU free movement post brexit (or the GFA is broken), so why not Scotland? The only answer is anti-Scottish racism / bigotry (that or you advocate violence as a means to obtain more devolved powers).

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  16. SNP win the North East seat of Dundee City Council. SNP gain majority control due to Stephen Romes's win.

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    1. Meanwhile in England, Labour and the Tories agree that there's no way either of them wants a GE, and that they'd better get on with their grand brexit coalition to keep themselves in power.

      Scots voters also note that English Labour continue refuse them the right to vote by supporting no Section 30 being granted to Holyrood.

      The final end of the British empire takes a notable step closer. Not long now.

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    2. 47% of first preferences apparently; a 9 point lead over Labour.

      English nationalist parties taking hits in Dundee in line with Scotland-Wide polling.

      Coalition talks with the Tories and standing with them to refuse a Section 30 coming home to roost for Labour.

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    3. "You could push me through the storm like an overweight calypso singer. You could push me through the storm.
      You could try to hold my hand like a man with a guitar. You could try to hold my hand."

      I'll be singing those words today in memory of a certain someone we all miss terribly.

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  17. I don't know what's going on. Can somebody explain it?

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