Monday, June 17, 2019

Memo to Jeremy Hunt: the most recent poll shows a majority IN FAVOUR of an early independence referendum

As you probably saw yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon "slapped down" Jeremy Hunt (to use official Express terminology) and told him that the people of Scotland, rather than random Tory leadership candidates, will decide their own country's future.  Hunt's riposte was -

"Yes the Scottish people will decide. In poll after poll they’re telling you no to indyref2. So I won’t give in to your grandstanding."

Which is as much as to say: "Yes, Nicola, the Scottish people will decide, and I will be the sole arbiter of what they have decided, and regardless of what they say my adjudication will be that they have said No. Hope this helps."  But there's also another little problem (OK, massive problem) with Hunt's claim that "poll after poll" has shown that the Scottish people are opposed to an independence referendum.  The problem is simply that the claim is untrue.

The most recent published poll on independence was conducted roughly one month ago by Panelbase.  A total of 513 respondents agreed that there should be an early independence referendum, either "while the UK is negotiating to leave the EU" or "when the UK has finished negotiating to leave the EU".  508 respondents said there should not be a referendum in the next few years.  In percentage terms, that means 50.2% of the population support an early indyref, and 49.8% are opposed.  Have a look at the datasets for yourself if you don't believe me, Jeremy.  You'll find them HERE.

But even if Hunt's basic claim wasn't such an obvious falsehood, there would still be something deeply troubling about the way he and other senior Tories seem to want to make opinion polls an integral part of the British constitution.  Whatever happened to the pre-election mantra of Tory leaders down the ages: "The only poll that matters is on election day"?  If Jeremy Hunt had his way, the new rule would be "we don't need to hold an election because I've just seen a YouGov poll".  It wouldn't be so bad if there was the slightest reason to believe that opinion polls can be relied upon to estimate public opinion with an exceptionally high level of accuracy, but we know that's not the case from multiple recent examples.  Polling actually seems to be somewhat less reliable than it was a few decades ago (probably due to the demise of the landline phone).

Meanwhile, Hunt's three "tests" for being willing to consider a Section 30 order are as barking mad as might have been predicted.  Firstly, he agrees with this week's incarnation of Ruth Davidson that the SNP would have to win a single-party overall majority at Holyrood before a referendum would be a possibility.  I can't think of another parliamentary democracy anywhere in the world in which two parties who win a majority between them are not allowed to implement a policy they agree upon.  During the Tory-Lib Dem coalition years, you didn't hear John Bercow saying -

"The Ayes to the right, 327.  The Noes to the left, 308.  But as the Ayes include both Conservative and Liberal Democrat members, the vote is not valid.  So the Noes have it.  Aw-daaah, unlock."

Secondly, Hunt wants the SNP to run their currency position past him.  That's a bit like saying the opposition party will only be allowed to contest an election if the government has given the green light to its manifesto.  Hunt's Britain sounds like it would be a bit of a tinpot affair.

And thirdly, he wants Nicola Sturgeon to rule out a "wildcat vote" (sic), which is a bit of a circular argument, because if the Section 30 order was forthcoming, there'd be no conceivable need for a "wildcat vote" (sic), would there?

You know, it's amazing: before Ruth Davidson won her stunning victories in the 2016 and 2017 elections by coming a very distant second to the SNP, the complaint from both the Tories and the mainstream media used to be that Scotland had become a "one-party state".  And yet the one sure-fire effect of the Hunt/Davidson insistence that the SNP need a single-party majority will be to deter independence supporters from flirting with smaller pro-indy parties on the Holyrood list vote.  If the Tories want to restore the "one-party state", they're going absolutely the right way about it.

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20 comments:

  1. Losing the will to live over this.
    Wake me up when it's all over or when the shit hits the fan.
    Cannae come soon enough for me.
    Minds me of the comment some years ago by Matthew Paris that England could lose control of Scotland.
    Oot o the mooths o bams and bairns eh? He just forgot to spin it.
    The mask slipped that's all.
    You could say he made a Jeremy Hunt of it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Refreshing honesty from a jaded title:

    Herald editorial ($): ‘PM Boris John­son spells disas­ter for Davidson‘

    “Ms Davidson has cut a con­fused and un­cer­tain fig­ure this year, chang­ing her po­si­tion back­wards and for­wards on Brexit...

    She also seems pow­er­less to rein in the ex­cesses of the Scot­tish Tory con­tin­gent at West­min­ster who have come to be univer­sally re­garded as a col­lec­tion of in­fants let loose on a mu­seum with no parental guid­ance... their min­i­mal con­tri­bu­tion to the life of the cur­rent par­lia­ment means that most of them are des­tined to lose their seats at the next elec­tion. We know it and so do they.

    With Boris John­son as her boss Ms Davidson’s re­cent tra­vails will in­crease. For the last two years she has en­joyed a good press from fawn­ing po­lit­i­cal re­porters who for­got their de­fault po­si­tion ought to be one where they keep a safe dis­tance from politi­cians and re­tain a sense of healthy cyn­i­cism. At times it seems that the Scot­tish Tory leader is be­ing in­ter­viewed by pup­pies.

    ... The prob­lem for Ms Davidson is that he gives the im­pres­sion not that he is dis­dain­ful of Scot­land but that he doesn’t give a fig for any­thing that hap­pens up here at all... He... longs for an un­com­pli­cated, 18th cen­tury ver­sion of old Eng­land un­en­cum­bered by whinge­ing and griev­ance-ob­sessed Scots. When the next in­de­pen­dence cam­paign starts Ms Davidson may find that her big­gest prob­lem will be de­vis­ing a strat­egy to keep Boris John­son’s pres­ence in Scot­land to a bare min­i­mum.”

    ReplyDelete
  3. Of course, Hunt was actually SLAPPED DOWN!

    The capitalisation of course being vital as I am sure you know, young James!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robin of LocksleyJune 17, 2019 at 1:32 PM

      Purse.
      Cordelia and purses.

      Delete
  4. Q1. In your view, should the Scottish government or the UK government have the final say on the following issues?
    Deciding if there should be a second independence referendum

    58% The Scottish Government
    42% The UK government

    https://www.survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Progress-Scotland-Poll-Tables.xlsx

    Nuff said.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Theresa May had no electoral mandate to trigger independence by invoking article 50.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder if Charlene Tilton has been told.

      Delete
  6. One of your best's James, I particularly liked the last Paragraph. Now when we were getting all the so called experts and studiers of the voting system used for Holyrood about how good it would be to give the party vote (not really a second vote) to the Greens or SSP, when some of us were saying we had to still vote SNP on that "second vote" or we would get "Fubar(ed)" and lo and behold got turned over by al of those know-alls.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Think it could be time for the SNP to consider splitting in two in the run up to the next Holyrood election.

    One party which only stands candidates as potential constituency MSPs and another which only contests the regional list seats.

    We could blame it on one of the so-called civil wars we keep being told we're having.

    Lets face it, if the 'other side' aren't playing fair then why should we?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol. Not this fantasy again

      Delete
  8. Massive false 2014 referendum recall in Survation's latest Scottish poll.

    For the initially targeted demographic sample, Holyrood recall is quite close, with EUref not far away, but 54% saying they voted Yes, causing big down-weighting of Yes voters once fully weighted.

    I've noted this before; it's the biggest I've seen yet. It will mean Yes is higher than polls are suggesting. It's likely No voter regret; the obvious candidates being by that almost voted Yes, but panicked and voted No on the day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm Hilary Twiskett, built like a biscuit.
      And I'm voting for Matt Hancock for leader.
      Way hay yay. Back the Matt!

      Delete
  9. Boris is rabidly racist towards Scots too; we're not white English mind. 'A pound spent in Croydon...'

    https://www.businessinsider.com/boris-johnson-ban-scottish-people-from-being-prime-minister-2019-6?r=US&IR=T

    Boris Johnson said Scottish people should not be allowed to be prime minister

    It's funny. I mention this in relation to EVEL and I'm shot down by unionists even though it is very much how many English Tories feel. For them, Brit-Scots only rank slightly higher than 'mick/paddy scum' because they're more stupidly compliant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Such a wealth of choice quotes to put in the papers on election/referendum materials. Boris as PM is handing the end of the union to Scots nats on a velvet cushion accompanied by full fanfare.

      He really would be the gift that keeps giving.

      Delete
    2. This one's great.

      https://www.businessinsider.com/boris-johnson-published-poem-friendly-fire-james-michie-extermination-of-scottish-people-2019-6?r=US&IR=T

      Boris Johnson published a poem joking about the 'extermination' of the 'verminous' Scottish people

      The union is so, so fucked if he makes PM.

      Delete
    3. And if he doesn't, the Union may survive? It's unusual to hear you sounding so pessimistic.

      Delete
    4. It's got a slightly better chance if he doesn't, that's for sure.

      Delete
    5. Skier you are sinkin intae a mire of desperation with your comments. You clearly know we are leaving the EU and Scotland will remain in the Great British Union. Now go an seek counselling before you go an top yerself. Your drivel would be missed.

      Delete
    6. They're not my comments. They're from Boris Johnson.

      Delete
    7. Robin of LocksleyJune 18, 2019 at 7:54 AM

      Purse.
      Cordelia and purses.

      Delete