Friday, July 5, 2019

Jeremy Hunt downgrades Scotland from an opinion poll democracy to an anecdote democracy

At the risk of tempting fate by complimenting a journalist too much, STV's Colin Mackay has often been noted for making an effort to be more even-handed than some of his peers in the Scottish broadcast media, and he proved that again today by ignoring a hostile Tory audience to put Jeremy Hunt on the spot over the utter nonsensicality of the leadership candidate's 'reasons' for saying he will attempt to block an independence referendum.  Hunt tried to make out that he was "listening to the people of Scotland" and that "in the last poll he read" three-quarters of Scots were opposed to a referendum.  That is almost certainly an intentional lie, because it seems phenomenally improbable that the very recent Panelbase poll showing a clear majority in favour of an early independence referendum wasn't at least brought to Hunt's attention, even if he didn't want to hear about it.  And even in the highly unlikely event that the Panelbase poll has somehow completely escaped his notice, his characterisation of the "last poll he read" would still be profoundly and intentionally dishonest, because no poll has ever shown anything even close to 75% opposition to an indyref.  (One possibility is that it's a reference to an Ipsos-Mori poll which showed that 22% favoured an indyref as soon as Brexit takes place...but that in total 41% wanted an indyref at some point before 2021.  To claim that a poll showing that 41% of Scots want a referendum within the next two years somehow shows that three-quarters of Scots don't want a referendum at all is pretty brazen, to put it mildly.)

I've expressed my concern before that the Conservative party, which down the ages has long rubbished opinion polls and said that "the only poll that matters is on polling day", is now trying to turn Scotland into an opinion poll democracy - in other words, a country in which you can ignore the way in which people actually vote because a YouGov poll of 2000 people is supposedly a more accurate representation of what they want.  Hunt tried exactly that line today - he said that it didn't matter that a majority of the Scottish Parliament wanted a referendum, and that it didn't matter that people had knowingly voted for the parliament to have a pro-referendum majority.  All that mattered is that a poll from God knows how many months or years ago supposedly shows that MSPs are going against the wishes of their constituents.  Mackay pointed out that the most recent poll in fact shows that a majority are in favour of a referendum - to which Hunt feebly replied "there are lots of polls, Colin".  So now it seems that Scotland isn't so much an opinion poll democracy as a "the last opinion poll that a British Prime Minister conveniently bothered to notice" democracy.

Except it gets even worse than that.  When Mackay sardonically summed up Hunt's hypocrisy with the words "so your poll counts but mine doesn't?", Hunt effectively abandoned his belief in the overriding importance of polls and started waffling about how "people I talk to in Scotland" (ie. Tories) don't want a referendum.  So in the space of two minutes, Scotland had been downgraded twice from an opinion poll democracy to a vague anecdote democracy.

As an aside, it's worth noting that Hunt's statement today that he will attempt to block an indyref even if the SNP win an absolute majority at the 2021 election flatly contradicts what he said on the subject only a couple of weeks ago.  If I was a Tory member, and even if I agreed with Hunt's revised stance, I'd be a bit worried that the 'flexibility' of his views means that he can't be trusted to keep his word on other subjects.  How can he be trusted to stick to his promises on Brexit, for example?

78 comments:

  1. The Tory government and BBC not mentioning the EU freedom of movement that allows criminality and modern slavery. LABOUR AND JOCK NAT SIS silent. Border controls imminent when we leave the EU.

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  2. When the time comes, Vote Yes.

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    1. Well said, GWC. I knew you'd see the light eventually.

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    2. Nice one James although you know I did not make the comment at 12.26 am. Carry on regardless.

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    3. Robin of LocksleyJuly 6, 2019 at 9:00 AM

      Purse.
      Cordelia and purses.

      Delete
  3. a border in Ireland violates the Good Friday peace treaty. All violence after this would be the responsibility of the British and those who do not stop it. It's that simple. Any border in Ireland is as evil as the Berlin Wall. It is an insult to all humanity. It's very existence renders those who establish it and allow it to stay as unworthy.

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    1. I keep saying this to people. The entire world views the border in N. Ireland as the British enforced Berlin wall.

      Nobody thinks it's right. The entire premise that the province should stay in the UK because some people there want it is globally understood as the excuse aggressive occupiers use to keep bits of other countries.

      Why isn't the UK allowing all the bits of Scotland that voted Yes to becoming independent? Why isn't the UK allowing all the bits of itself that voted remain to remain? If Ireland is divisible, so is the UK/England/Scotland...

      Which is why N. Ireland will not be leaving the single market / full free movement area. The US and EU will see to that.

      And England knows it. Hence the backstop. And hence the N. Irish unionists will be sold down the river for England to get it's brexit, destroying the union.

      English nationalism will break the UK.

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    2. The entire world! And nobody thinks it right! You must have conducted a world wide poll during your tea break.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. The peace deal between Ireland and the UK is a United Nations one. UN = whole world.

      https://peacemaker.un.org/uk-ireland-good-friday98

      You are welcome to name a country that openly supports the British imperial partitioning of Ireland and the legacy of division and violence that has caused.

      Maybe Russia? It's grabbed a bit of Ukraine using an identical approach.

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    5. Nope they all support the GFA in that the people of northern Ireland choose (as mentioned currently circa 60% support being part of the UK).

      As you said the whole world agrees with NI being part of the UK as thats what the people of NI want, unless you can name a country that officially says that the GFA should be broken and NI rejoins Ireland against the will of the majority.

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    6. If the world accepted that N. Ireland is in fact, rightly, 'Western England across the sea', there would be no need for the UN peace agreement between Ireland and the UK.

      You will notice that the signatories of the agreement lodged with the UN are not Irish and British communities in the province, they are the two governments of the countries which claim the province. One rightly, one wrongly.

      It's called N. Ireland for a reason. It's part of Ireland. There is no question about this.

      Ireland has very graciously agreed to the GFA to try and make peace. That does not detract from the abomination that is the partitioning of a modern European country by a relic imperial power.

      If Britain walked away, dropping the province, there would be no violence. Unionists would not rise up in anger as it could achieve nothing. Unionist violence is in the name of unionism. If the union dumps N. Ireland, it becomes pointless, unless unionists want to start their own wee country all alone; which is not going to happen. At the same, time, nationalists are super happy and any reason for them being violent vanished instantly. Pure peace is restored.

      You only need to look at world history to know partitioning = trouble, end of partitioning = peace.

      Therefore, there is no excuse for the partition other that the ridiculous reason that people there 'vote a particular way'. That, as noted, means London should get to stay in the EU, Glasgow and Dundee should be allowed to move to independence. Ridiculous.

      The partitioning is an abomination. Its nothing to do with 'what people want. It's about control and keeping bits of other people's land. A berlin wall built by the British to divide and rule a country they once controlled, but which had the tenacity to vote democratically for independence.

      I say this as someone who is a Protolic/Cathestant in heritage and is Irish/British (Scottish) in lineage. So, completely balanced on the matter.

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    7. And note I do respect the GFA and what people there vote for. It's the compromise that's been reached.

      They have voted to Remain in the EU with a completely open border, customs and trade alignment with full free movement of goods, services, cash and, most importantly, all EU citizens.

      To respect the GFA the remain vote must be respected.

      If we respect a wish to be in UK union, the wish to be in the EU union must likewise be respected. It's that or a border poll overseen by the international community / UN.

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    8. Good, glad you agree that there is nothing wrong with NI being part of the UK as that is what the majority want and therefore abiding by the GFA.

      As for Brexit I agree that that would tip the scales to reunification. Hopefully the whole Brexit saga will be over soon so the people of NI can be both in the UK and the EU as the majority want.

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    9. The GFA does not change the abomination of partitioning and the fact it is fundamentally wrong. The fact that we have the GFA is of course because the British wrongly partitioned Ireland. If they had accepted democracy and left Ireland to become independent wholly, we'd have not had partitioning and decades of violence / division it has caused. The GFA implicitly recognizes that the partitioning was wrong and paves the wave for correcting that by reunification.

      But we are where we are.

      We could of course start the process of reunification with the border regions right now though. They all vote nationalist so it's not obvious why they are included in the north. Why not allow all the areas that vote SF to join the republic? Surely the 'It's what voters there want' thing works both ways? The current border is utterly arbitrary.

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    10. Thats a fair point. But what happened happened. Of course Nationalists could not accept the fact that the majority of people in NI wanted to remain part of the UK, do decided to try kill people in other countries (like my father) to get their minority view through.

      For someone who claims to be balanced your posts seem rather one sided.

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    11. With respect, that's an absurd over-simplification. Without systematic discrimination against Catholics, without Bloody Sunday, it's entirely possible that the Troubles would never have happened on any great scale. That doesn't mean that the nationalist community would simply have 'accepted' the Union (there's no particular reason in a democracy why they should have done), but the political route would perhaps have been much more firmly favoured.

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    12. Again fair points, lots of shitty things happened on both sides during the troubles, with hind site Ireland should not of been partitioned. That does not make the fact that it is an 'abomination' it remains part of the UK because that's what the majority of the people who live there want.

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    13. I am sorry about your father; the loss of life is tragic on both sides and intentionally attacking civilians is never justified. My family was affected by the violence too and watched a Berlin wall built right across where they lived. My Scots side were also very close to the British terrorist bombing of Glasgow; thankfully the only bomb of the campaign in Scotland.

      The much higher death toll (particularly in terms of % of population) on the Irish from the war of independence onward makes the pain felt there particularly hard. While the violence/division touched you, most brits have never been affected. Every Irish person has been affected; it was their country partitioned. Also, Ireland is a little country while Britain was the huge, powerful bully imperial power. Ireland the David to Britain the Goliath. As GWC noted, the brits massacred countless Irishmen; burnt their towns, cites, homes..raped their wives and daughters. Damn near wiped out those that fought for democracy and freedom in 1921. All as thanks for the tens of thousands of young Irishmen, many only boys, who died in the trenches for rich and powerful British empire in WW1.

      But of course the British news shows the Irish as the ones in the wrong. Rarely, if ever, do Brits get to see and understand what actually happened there. Irish terrorists = terrorists. British terrorists = loyalists. Utterly one-sided.

      In the end, the troubles were the direct result of partitioning; there is no question about that. If the UK had walked away post 1921, there may have been short term problems as the northern unionists accepted the new norm (just as they did in the South), but then life would have gone on. The border is utterly arbitrary with no justification in democracy whatsoever. Nor did it even generate peace; only violence and division. Only the GFA which allows for reunification has calmed things because it clearly does that.

      In the South there was a very large unionist protestant community. Yet no troubles. Of course not. They are even in the flag of Ireland; the green and the orange joined by the white of peace. That's right, at rangers-Celtic matches, one side waves a flag of white peace between orange and green, the other waves the imperial butcher's apron.

      It boils down to this…

      If the Germans had refused to surrender Northern Poland post WW2, and it remained under German rule, there would be division and violence.

      If Northern France had remained under direct English/Allied rule post WW2 invasion, there would be division and violence, even if the original intent was good, i.e. liberation.

      If the Russians took control of eastern Ukraine (Crimea etc) based on the claim that people there were mainly Russian, there would be international condemnation, division and violence, including from Britain.

      The last case is almost a mirror image of the UK and N. Ireland.

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    14. I do waffle a lot about this topic at times, and I'll stop for now while noting the reason why. It's a big reason I support Independence.

      I grew up in Britain / Scotland with the British news just lying all the time to me about Ireland and the reasons for the IRA. And I kinda fell for it when a wee boy; just sort of nodding along. But then I got old enough to start asking questions, and I asked because I'm a good part Irish in origin (a dual national officially now). It was then I first understood what the British state was capable of and how it lied to me all the time. Not only that, but it had violently brutalized my country (or at least one of them). Suffice to say Britain lost me early on.

      I did have high hopes though in 1997 with the peace process and devolution. I thought maybe the old Britain was gone and the new one was better. A modern, democratic European country? What a fool I was eh? Only an idiot would be so gullible. I see that all to clearly now with devo being rolled back and Scotland needing English permission for independence. Nothing has changed at all.

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    15. I'm not arguing that post colonial partioning of countries is right, you only have to look at the partioning on India (which makes the partioning of Ireland look like a tea party) to see that calving chunks of countries up doesn't work. If it happened now the international comminity would be up in arms as you say.

      But, just as no one expects Pakistan to go back to being Northern India just because partitioning was mistake, you cannot just expect Ireland to be reunified just because partitioning was wrong.

      Long and short is that 71% percent of Northern Irish voters and 94% of Irish voters agreed that NI should remain part of the UK until a time that the majority of people in NI and Ireland wish reunification to happen. As, currently, the majority of people in both NI and Ireland do not wish this to happen, NI remains part of the UK.

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    16. It was the arrogant English, nine hundred years ago, that did it.

      What about the Hebrew wall, round Palestine?

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  4. Does not matter what the whole world thinks. The good thing about the GFA is all that matters what the people of NI think and currently over 60% want to remain part of the UK, therefore it will start of the UK until the majority change their mind.

    N. Irish unionists will not be sold down the river because they will bring down the Government if they try.

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    1. Northern Ireland unionists don't even represent the majority view.
      A wee bit Inconvenient for your Brexit position.

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  5. The so-called united kingdom continues to disintegrate; thanks largely to rabid British nationalism. You've got to laugh! Empire2.0?! Tee hee.

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  6. I see some Scottish Tory party members are reporting London HQ internal polling gave 57% Yes (IPSOS MORI).

    Unverified, but perfectly realistic. Yougov and Panelbase (in particular) underestimate Yes/SNP/Green. This was evident once again in the EU elections where they predicted SNP/Green shares lower by a few %.

    So, it could actually be 51%...52% Yes 'tomorrow' from online and 57% telephone on average, with the mean of both of course lying in between and well within standard variance. Something like 53,54,55%... More than 'overwhelming' certainly.

    Certainly, this would explain the brick shitting / all the 'only weeks to save the union' propaganda from the BBC etc the past few weeks.

    There's no reason a simple Tory leader change would cause this, nor even the brexit mess. Nope, they're very, very worried.

    What's probably happened is that the Yes votes that appeared in temporary panic post EUref and then slipped away again as people paused to consider things carefully, have now steadily shifted to Yes after said careful consideration.

    Certainly looks that way from crossbreaks.

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    1. What "Scottish Tory party members" are reporting this? Any chance of a link?

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    2. This is all going to look a bit silly when the next several non-"internal" polls all just show the usual Yes mid-to-low 40s, No low-to-mid 50s.

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    3. What was the last mid to low 40s poll you're referring to?
      There hasn't been one showing Yes that low for quite some time

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    4. 'Yes Tories' were tweeting about it.

      https://twitter.com/yestories?lang=en

      They are not saying it's 100% verified, but that's where the figure is coming from.

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    5. lol looks legit

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    6. For sure it can't be verified, but 57% is hardly a silly number, so quite possible. It's within standard MoE of some polls since the EUref, e.g. the 53% Yes 'tomorrow's just after the referendum and the Panelbase the other day for a Boris PM. So not outlandish at all.

      Now that this issue is hot again, I'm sure we'll see more polls soon enough.

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  7. I mind some years ago an English workmate responding to news that the British Army were going into Northern Ireland.
    England owns Ireland he said. His views on us and Wales were the same.
    Not many ordinary English folk even recognise that there's a Union.
    It's about entitlement.

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  8. Skier, The Berlin Wall was intended to keep people from leaving East Germany. There is no wall between NI and SI. The people are free to move. However the SI and EU fascists will create a fictional trade border. Varadkar is a puppet.

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    1. You've clearly never been to Belfast and seen the walls there. Was not so long ago the border looked the same.

      Good that you agree complete 100% EU free movement of people will stay in place in N. Ireland post brexit, applying to all Citizens of Ireland the whole EU.

      Anything else would be a 'hard border' (for migration) and so a breach of the GFA.

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    2. My first visit to Belfast was 1959. Cattle boat from the Broomielaw. Do not remember much about it. Although there was an IRA campaign during the fifties

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    3. Robin of LocksleyJuly 6, 2019 at 7:50 PM

      Purse.
      Cordelia and purses.

      Delete
  9. What is the source of this 60% figure for people in Northern Ireland wanting to stay in the UK? I seem to remember that a poll showed that in the event of (a hard?) Brexit, a majority would favour reunification.

    The South has changed almost beyond recognition since the days of the Troubles - not it is the North that is the bastion of social illiberalism, and the South that has the higher income per capita.

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    1. Britain is very backwards compared to Ireland. Cross the border from the republic into the UK and you find a ban on abortion, no same sex marriage...

      UK is bigoted and backwards.

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    2. That's unfair, Skier. The reason the law is so backwards in NI is due to religious zealots on both sides of the divide. The only British thing about it is the UK gov refusal to push the DUP on the matter

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    3. Which religious zealots on the nationalist side? Sinn Fein supports abortion and same sex marriage for example.

      Anyway, Westminster can just change these laws itself. It's doing that for Scotland, e.g. taking back control of devolved powers and overruling Holyrood when it feels like it (e.g. on iref2). So it must support the DUP stance like you imply.

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    4. polls are:
      https://www.ark.ac.uk/nilt/2018/Political_Attitudes/NIRELND2.html
      https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/irish-times-poll-northern-ireland-voters-do-not-want-dup-tory-brexit-1.3818264

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    5. I don't think Sinn Fein represent religious zealots but I believe there is a large number of Catholic NI denizens who are anti-choice. The UK gov will never force UK law on NI as long as they need the DUP. Whether or not they actually support freedom of choice themselves I couldn't say. Their stance may be dependent on how much they want to align with the US

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    6. Sinn Fein IRA murdered 650 civilians during their last campaign. The British have no right to impose on a devolved Assembly. If the Sinn Fein zealots get back to the job that the taxpayer pays them for then the issue of abortion and buggery could be resolved.

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    7. Skier, it took Ireland centuries to confront the buggery and abuse by their national Church and you say Britain is backwards.

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    8. Robin of LocksleyJuly 6, 2019 at 7:51 PM

      Purse.
      Cordelia and purses.

      Delete
    9. Irish gay anthem, walking backwards to happiness.

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    10. Well, Britain wants N. Ireland with its backwards bigots, and having them with their laws makes the UK one of the most backward and bigoted countries in Europe. No way out of it except overruling the DUP (as they are doing to the SNP) or dumping N. Ireland (as the English brexiters seem to be seriously considering).

      Cannae hae yer cake an eat it.

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    11. Poor Skier you must have been educated by the Jesuits. Arsium intactium.

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    12. Robin of LocksleyJuly 6, 2019 at 11:21 PM

      Purse.
      Cordelia and purses.

      Delete
    13. Guess the religion of the first president (1938-1945) of the Irish free state, Douglas Ross Hyde?

      I'll give you a clue; he wasn't a catholic.

      Yet the brits wouldn't allow a catholic head of state.

      Who is backwards and bigoted?

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    14. Shame he ignored total power to the Papist priests and the right to bugger children. And the Peelers covering up the crimes.

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  10. The Shame is that it is one of the most successful agreements in history, effectively ending hundreds of years of violence.the problems since ( while obviously bad) pale in comparison.

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  11. IT's time some of you correspondents stood on one of the main road border crossing, there's hundred of thousands of crossings every day.

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    1. IT's time you stood on one of the main border crossings and licked Pope Paddy's arse. Again.

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    2. Pope Varadkar top Vatican and EU bum boy erse licker.July 7, 2019 at 12:23 AM

      Insersium my ersium.

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    3. Robin of LocksleyJuly 7, 2019 at 3:06 AM

      Purse.
      Cordelia and purses.

      Delete
  12. Oor Wullie and Hen BroonJuly 7, 2019 at 12:37 AM

    Great to see how the Irish immigrants in Scotland discarded the French Tricolour and have embraced the Scottish Saltire. Nelson Mandela could never have achieved this in twelve years.

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  13. Hunt's high handed attitude is academic. It doesn't look like he is making any impression on Boris' lead.

    Who knows what Boris will do, including Boris. He makes pro union noises but I can't see him caring overly if Scotland becomes independent. Boris is very London centric. He isn't even that keen on places like Liverpool.

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  14. A socialist leader is needed in the UK and Ireland. Not Corbyn and his camp followers. That Varadkar is an EU compliant EU bum boy. We need the likes of Tommy Sheridan and George Galloway to inspire the remnants of the British working class movement.

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  15. Tomorrow I am dropping off a dumpling that I baked for troubled MP Ross Thompson of Aberdeen South. Next week I shall bake a dumpling for MP Ian Murray of Edinburgh South and deliver it to his office.
    By this gesture I hope to show that I still consider these people to be human and part of my wider human family.
    I shall be delivering dumplings to other political figures each week. I would be grateful for suggestions of names of my forthcoming recipients.

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    1. What about a large batch for Bruxelles.

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    2. Robin of LocksleyJuly 7, 2019 at 11:12 AM

      Purse.
      Cordelia and purses.

      Delete
  16. New poll out : fyi
    Has labor up 25 to 23
    No PC or SNP I could find but I know SNP plus PC plus SF plus labor plus LD is over 50 .

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    1. New Poll Out
      Some political parties have numbers beside their names. Others don't.
      FYI

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    2. And if you add some of the numbers together you get another number. And it could be big

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    3. "Has labor up 25 to 23"

      Labour were previously at -2?

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    4. Opinium Scottish subsample:
      48% SNP
      5% Green
      15% Con
      12% Brexit
      13% Lab
      8% Lib

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  17. 40% stockpiling for brexit.

    Of course the poor can't afford to stockpile, while for the rich it's no problem, both in terms of cash and storage space.

    Aye, in every way possible brexit will hit the poorest the hardest. This is why the likes of Bozo and hunt are championing it.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/no-deal-brexit-british-are-stockpiling-food-medicine-and-clothes-2019-7?r=US&IR=T

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  18. Offly topic but since JK is at least partly Irish maybe he can explain.

    Why is it that English or British out of Ireland can be said in polite society without anybody apart from sevconians and OO members complaining, but a baner saying England out of Scotland causes extreme pantwetting and gusset wringing?

    They are exactly the same.

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    1. How can you be part Irish or part anything, thicko.

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    2. Robin of LocksleyJuly 7, 2019 at 7:43 PM

      Purse.
      Cordelia and purses.

      Delete
    3. JK Rowling? Pubic stench. Rank.

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    4. The English EVEL government just grabbed a shit load of Holyrood devolved powers for itself without any referendum on the matter in Scotland. Not only that, it's claiming Scotland needs its permission for independence.

      I figured that's what the banner was about, in which case it would be a justifiable demand; the English government should stay out of Scottish devolved politics and self determination. The latter is basic international law.

      If it had said 'English out of Scotland' that would have been highly questionable by contrast, and you could ask what exactly was meant by that as there is no place for the type of ethno-nationalism of brexit (e.g. only blood and soil British got a vote).

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  19. And another thing. I see the herald glasgow is back campaigning that Putin supports independence, Putin is bad, Independence is bad, SNP bad.

    It's been such an obvious tactic and has no support from any actual facts that one wonders why the integrity initiative members keep repeating the same bilge?

    I've seen the same tactic over on the guardian where Murdoch is the supposed SNP funding, independence supporting bogeyman.

    Although they have support from mikey small so it's not all hopeless.

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    1. The Dandy and Beano are supporting the Scottish Nat sis. Oor WULLIE and Hen Broon are major donators to the bucket along with the christian bus man.

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    2. Robin of LocksleyJuly 7, 2019 at 7:42 PM

      Purse.
      Cordelia and purses.

      Delete
    3. I think everyone supports Scottish independence since brexit. All the Europeans certainly do. So it's hardly a surprise if Putin's jumped on the bandwagon.

      Does the UK have any friends left internationally? I tried to make a list the other day of countries Boris hadn't insulted and I could only come up with Antigua and Barbuda. Don't quote me on that though; he might well have insulted them and I've missed it.

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