Friday, October 11, 2019

Disappointing but not remotely surprising: Stuart Campbell uses ludicrously vague "Archie Stirling"-type polling question to create the false impression of potential support for a Wings party

So Stuart Campbell's interminable drip-drip reveal of the details of his propaganda poll has finally reached the culmination that we all knew was coming.  There are no surprises here - a commenter on this blog had warned us several days ago that Mr Campbell had asked a dodgy "Archie Stirling"-type question in the poll in order to generate the false impression that there was significant potential support for the new political party that he hopes to set up in direct competition with the SNP.

What is an Archie Stirling-type question?  Just weeks before the 2007 Holyrood election, the wealthy businessman Archie Stirling (ex-husband of Diana Rigg and father of Rachael Stirling) commissioned a YouGov poll which asked respondents whether they would consider voting for his new centre-right political party, Scottish Voice, on the regional list ballot.  21% said they would.  Mr Stirling sent the results to the newspapers, which breathlessly reported that Scottish Voice could be on course to win dozens of list seats and to hold the balance of power.  But a few weeks later when the actual results came in, the party received only 0.3% of the list vote and didn't come remotely close to winning a single seat.  It had won just one-seventieth (!) of the number of votes that the YouGov poll had implied was possible.

History repeated itself earlier this year when Change UK was set up.  A number of polls asked whether voters would consider voting for the new kid on the block, and the results suggested astronomical levels of support.  But when the European elections came around, Change UK took 3.3% of the vote and no seats.  (At least that was a more respectable result than Archie managed.)

Why does the "would you consider voting for...?" question produce such wildly misleading results?  It's just basic human psychology.  If you ask me whether I'll consider eating a banana, I'll say "yes, of course I'd consider it, I have nothing against bananas".  But if you then tell me I have to choose just one piece of food for my next snack and ask me whether it'll be a banana, or crisps, or pizza, or yoghurt, or spaghetti, or a toastie...well, it's considerably less likely that the banana will get the nod.  In a similar way, voters will have just one vote in the regional list ballot in 2021, and to get a meaningful sense of how well Wings might fare you'd have to present the party as merely one of a menu of options.  The question that would have cleared the mists is as follows...

If the following parties stand on the Scottish regional list ballot in 2021, which one would you vote for?

Scottish National Party (SNP)
Liberal Democrats
Brexit Party
Wings Over Scotland
Scottish Socialist Party (SSP)

Mr Campbell has no excuses for not knowing that was the type of question that needed to be asked.  It's not just me that's been saying this for weeks - others have made the exactly the same point in comments on his own site, and we know he saw those comments because he directly responded to some of them.  The fact that he's gone right ahead and asked the Archie Stirling-type question anyway means we're entitled to conclude that those who trusted him to use his polling as a genuine attempt to accurately measure support were wrong.  This is instead a propaganda exercise to justify a decision that has to all intents and purposes already been taken.

Why does this matter?  Because if, as seems overwhelmingly likely, the Wings party fails to take at least 5% of the vote in at least one electoral region, it will not win any seats at all, and any votes it does take will make it harder for larger pro-indy parties (ie. the SNP and the Greens) to win list seats.  If a credible poll had been conducted showing that Wings was on 1% or 2% or 3% or even 4% of the list vote, the pressure on him to do the sensible thing and drop the whole idea would have been overwhelming, even from some of his own supporters.  And he couldn't risk that, could he?  So instead he's asked a dodgy question that he knew would produce meaningless results that he could spin any way he likes.  And by God is he spinning - he's even making the barking mad implication that the poll shows that six out of seven SNP voters might make the jump to his party.

Incredibly, the question he asked is actually a hundred times worse than Archie Stirling's question was.  At least Mr Stirling had the basic decency to actually mention the name of the party he was polling about.  Mr Campbell's question doesn't even do that.

While still voting SNP with your constituency vote, would you be prepared to consider voting for a new pro-independence party with your list vote, with the intent of increasing the number of pro-independence MSPs in Parliament?

Where do you even begin with the nonsense of that question?  Given Mr Campbell's supposed pride in the brand recognition of Wings, why would he be so shy about actually identifying this "new pro-independence party" as the Wings party?  It can only be because he thought he'd get a more favourable result by being as vague as possible and making it sound as if he might be talking about an entirely different sort of pro-independence party.  It's the ultimate 'catch-all' polling question.  And why on earth didn't he end the question with the words "with your list vote?", rather than adding the unnecessary leading wording about "increasing the number of pro-independence MSPs", which was bound to make it harder for respondents to give a negative reply?  Well, quite, I've answered my own question there.  The results would probably have been very different without those words, which are a) downright misleading, and b) superfluous to the issue of whether voters are actually looking for an alternative to the SNP, let alone an alternative called Wings.  If I asked you "Would you be prepared to consider changing jobs with the intent of getting more money?", it would be hard to say "no", but what would I actually be proving?  I wouldn't be surprised if some respondents gained the false impression that they were being asked what they would "consider" doing if a new pro-indy party stood on the list ballot with the SNP's blessing.  The question does read as if it's implying some sort of masterplan on behalf of the wider Yes movement.

I would go so far as to say the results of such a ridiculous question should be regarded as completely worthless, but for the sheer hell of it I'll try to make some sense of them.  19% of respondents say they would "definitely consider" (whatever that means) voting for this unspecific new party.  Remember that we're only talking about SNP constituency voters here, so that's probably only around 8% or so of the total electorate.  If I was cheeky enough to suggest that history will repeat itself from 2007 and that only one-seventieth of those people will actually end up voting for Wings, that means Mr Campbell is on course for a humiliating 0.1% of the list vote.  Oh, but then of course there's the additional 56% who say they would "perhaps" consider voting for the party "depending on its policies".  Well, no shit, Sherlock.  Voters who will decide whether or not to "consider" voting for a party when they actually find out what it is and what its policies are?  HOLD THE FRONT PAGE.

This is an insult to the intelligence of people who have been giving Mr Campbell the benefit of the doubt over recent weeks, and they have every right to be angry with him.  Doubtless there will still be many Wings readers who are wide-eyed enough to take the preposterous "six out of seven" claim at face value, and they're going to be in for a nasty shock one of these days - because sooner or later a media organisation will run a credible poll about the Wings party along the lines that I suggested above.  Then we'll see the true picture, and there'll be no hiding place left. (Although probably a few people will be so deep into the trance by that point that they'll accuse whoever ran the poll of "rigging" it.)

I know that some people will innocently protest that Mr Campbell says in his write-up that he plans to ask more "specific" polling questions on the subject himself in future, but come on.  Let's get real.  If he was remotely serious about doing that in timely fashion, he would have done it in this poll.  I defy anyone to come up with a plausible explanation for why he hasn't.

Incidentally, any time Mr Campbell has been challenged on the series of absurdly leading questions he's asked in this poll, he's come up with the rather weak stock reply of: "Take it up with Panelbase, they okayed it, and here's an email they sent me as proof."  See for example this exchange of last night and today.  To avoid having to repeat the same thing another 57 times, here's what I've been saying in reply:

"No, I won't do that. What polling companies do to make money is ask questions that clients want asked in return for thousands of pounds. They tend to be pleasant and accommodating to those clients for entirely understandable reasons, regardless of the agenda that the client is pushing. That can be seen, for example, in Survation's willingness to ask a certain 'voting intention' question on behalf of Scotland in Union that I doubt if any of us - including you - consider to be a genuine attempt to measure public opinion on independence.

He who pays the piper calls the tune. I'm far more interested in holding the person who calls the tune accountable, rather than some unnamed person from Panelbase who may have fallen into your little trap of saying something unwise when they were trying to please a paying client and when they presumably thought they were speaking in confidence.

Basically your complaint here is that your polling is being regularly analysed in a polling blog. With all due respect, it's hard to think of a more fatuous and futile complaint than that. If being mentioned in a polling blog really bothers you so much, all I can suggest is that you stop publishing polling results on an almost daily basis. Alternatively you could just chill out and accept that when you step into the political arena in a free society, people have the right to comment on your decisions and actions."


  1. Top marks for that, James. :-)

  2. By golly, James, you don't mince your words, do you?!

  3. Anybody sensible knows what Wings is up to, good luck to him if he ever gets a party going but nobody with any brains really believes thats what he really is up to

    Any political party brought about by Wings would be slaughtered and ridiculed in the media and totally disowned by the SNP so Stuart Campbell isn't punting standing for parliament seriously in the near future he's punting Wings blog for his next big crowdfunder to play court games again because of his woman hatred fetish over Kezia Dugdale, although if he keeps up his current splurges of hatred aginst Nicola Sturgeon he might find himself in court sooner

    Right now he's using the GRA to get womens attention and holding on to them by conning them with his fake party so they'll throw him some cash

    For the record ladies, Stuart Campbell is in the Stuart Campbell business he couldn't give a toss about GRA or any other cause but he does love that cash and so far he's done very well out of faking anger over things he couldn't care less about

    Imagine inventing your own poll and questions then analysing the results yourself to show the answers you want it to show and then expecting people to fall for this, only the deluded can't have noticed this

    1. hello SS Girl. Imagine defending a scumbag labour politician who campaigned in 2014 that Scotland couldn't be independent becasue we're poorer than Pakistan.
      kezzy dugdale who abused her position in politics to smear an innocent man. Who constantly shroudwaved used the death of her fag-haggery boyfriend to avoid having to defend her position but then stol £55,000 from his charity.

      You are defending that sub-human filth because you hate a MAN. Just admit how much you hate MEN and we can move on to having you sectioned before you run into the street and start stabbing people.

    2. Lol at this NPC repeating Wings' attack lines almost verbatim. "Stol £55,000 from his charity" indeed.

  4. Is it possible Stu Campbell has no intention of launching a Wings party? Maybe he just wants to move the SNP off its backside.

    1. But if his "gaming the system" theory was right, the SNP would have nothing to fear from a Wings party, and the "threat" of it wouldn't motivate them to get off their backsides, would it? It's a bit of a self-defeating argument.

    2. The point, as you well know is that and SNP majority vote couldn't be threatened by the Wings list vote but and SNP which lost vote share in the constituency couldn't make up enough on the list to gain another pro-independence majority under all current modelling. Hence the need for other parties.

    3. You can forget the "as you well know" schtick, because you're making a claim that is simply untrue. It has been demonstrated time and time and time again how fringe parties standing on the list could cost the SNP seats. The arithmetic is actually extremely simple - there's nothing complicated about it.

      And what does "under current modelling" actually mean? Are you talking about the modelling that was published on Wings itself by a keen supporter of the idea of a Wings party? Even with all the fantastical assumptions Gavin Barrie made, he still showed very clearly how a Wings party could reduce the SNP's number of seats.

    4. Under all plausible current scenarios, Wings loses 1 seat if it takes between 5% and 10% of the SNP vote (not of the total vote), but gains 2 seats if it takes 13% and 6 seats if it takes 15%. Please show that that's not the case.

    5. Your entire point hinges on the two little words "plausible" and "current" that you smuggled in there, hoping that nobody would notice. How do you distinguish between a plausible and an implausible scenario? Would you, for example, say that Wings taking enough list votes to actually win seats is a plausible scenario? I wouldn't. In all scenarios that I regard as plausible, Wings is either causing harm or having a neutral effect. But then "plausibility" is very much in the eye of the beholder, isn't it?

      And what, pray tell, is the distinction between a current and non-current scenario? For example, is it possible for an implausible current scenario to be a plausible non-current scenario?

    6. "Plausible current scenarios" means "likely state of the parties, excluding Wings, at the 2021 election", and the question was, "what if Wings takes 13%-15% of SNP seats?" We all know that Wings can't possibly do that, just as we all knew that Leave was going to be resoundingly trashed in the 2016 referendum. But what if he does? Please answer the question.

    7. I don't think the argument that Campbell is actually attempting to move the SNP off its backside by threatening to run a Wings party is actually self-defeating. It WOULD be, if Campbell's ostensible plan really WOULD increase the pro-indy forces in Holyrood, but you argue (and you've convinced me, at any rate) that it is far more likely to weaken the pro-indy majority, or even eliminate it. THAT'S the actual threat of a Wings party, and assuming Campbell is NOT just some big head convinced of his own place in Scotland's destiny (yes, I know, that IS an assumption), then is it not at least plausible that he doesn't actually intend to run a Wings party, but is merely threatening to in an effort to break the SNP out of its woke prison?

    8. I know what you mean, but if that's right it means his calculation must be that he'll successfully pull the wool over the eyes of his followers about "gaming the system" but that the SNP will see through it and realise there's a real threat. It's not impossible that's what he thinks he's doing, but if so it's quite a complicated tactic. My own guess is that the 'woke' elements of the SNP have alienated him to the point where he wants to launch his own party, regardless of the harm it might do, and the only thing that can conceivably dissuade him is a pre-2021 indyref.

      Andrew Asking: I can exclusively reveal that if Wings takes lots of votes he'll take lots of seats. By your own admission that's a "non-plausible scenario", however, and you said at the outset that you were excluding anything implausible from the discussion.

    9. Thank you for acknowledging that if he takes lots of votes he'll take lots of seats. Do you also agree that if - through an impossibility - he takes lots of seats, then given the likely state of the parties that will make an Indy majority definitively more secure?

    10. No need to thank me for "acknowledging" it - I've made that entirely redundant statement of the obvious on many previous occasions.

      But once again I must point out to you that your question doesn't make sense. What is a "secure" majority? There either is a majority or there isn't. Or are you talking about a very slim majority that is vulnerable to by-election losses or defections? Either way, I'm struggling to see how an intervention by Mr Campbell is going to help matters.

      Oh, and while you're explaining that, perhaps you could explain a couple of other points as well. How do you know the "likely state of the parties" in an election that won't take place for another year and a half, and why is it reasonable to take into account the (allegedly) likely numerical strength of every party apart from Wings?

    11. Yes, you're right, I do worry about e.g. a 2-seat majority that the Unionist press will widdle on. And to know whether Wings is likely to make a difference, you have to assess two things: the likely state of the parties without Wings, and the likely state with Wings. All parties make that assessment all the time, otherwise there wouldn't be any politics, so I'd expect you to be doing the same.

    12. And as you already know, I have done so. To use your own terminology, on any plausible scenario a Wings intervention would either: a) have no effect, or b) reduce the number of pro-indy seats.

  5. You know, as well as I do, that if Panelbase received a question that it thought was misleading, ambiguous, or worded unclearly or unfairly, they would advise on changes and simply would not run it.

    I refer you to their FAQ which mentions their professional affiliations.

    with Panelbase.

    "We are registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and abide by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA). We are also a Market Research Society Company Partner and undertake all research in accordance with the MRS Code of Conduct and ESOMAR guidelines."

    Or are you suggesting bias and a lack of professionalism on Panelbase's part as I'm sure their legal team would be VERY interested in having a conversation with you about that James.

    1. Oh for the love of God, Gavin, do grow up. Polling companies ask vague, ambiguous or one-sided questions every day of the week on behalf of paying clients. I'm more than happy to have a chat about this statement of the bleedin' obvious with Panelbase, but I suspect they've got rather better things to do with their time.

      By the way, even your hero Mr Campbell openly confirmed on the previous thread that Panelbase have always run his preferred questions even when they raised objections to them in private discussions. I don't doubt that they and other firms have red lines they wouldn't cross, but the threshold for actually saying "no" to a paying client is pretty high.

    2. I worked in a different industry, consulting engineers in my case. But the setup was similar. Companies worked hard to recruit the business of paying clients. And when the paying client said they wanted something, the answer was almost always 'yes'. There were limits, but usually only at the point where management started to become concerned about either legal risks or a conflict with a bigger paying client. But we would happily take a client's money to produce results that we knew would be worthless to them if that's what the client wanted and the checks didn't bounce.

    3. Gavin Barrie: I've deleted your second comment, which was a trademark Campbell-esque attempt to question the mental stability of anyone who dares to hold dissenting views. Frankly I think you could do with taking a step back from all this, because you haven't been doing yourself any favours recently. However, if you're remotely interested in actually discussing the issue at hand, then by all means do so.

  6. DUP can hear the fat lady singing. Backstop will be signed off any day now, and that will be the end of the UK.

    N. Ireland leaves the UK (SM&CU) to stay in the EU (SM&CU). Scotland follows almost immediately in response to anti-Scottish racism (in being the only nation not getting what it wants) while seeing how easy it is to remain in the EU.

    The union has very little time left.

    1. The voter will decide! But maybe not as the reactionary anti democratic forces have proven over brexit. Good times ahead after leaving the EU. The Scots will remain in the UK Union and Skier will go into rehabilitation after a breakdown.

    2. Good to see GWC is maintaining his deluded confidence in his beloved xenophobic, racist Westminster regime. Don't worry bud, once they've extinguished the rest of us there'll be nobody in their way so they can get to you! ��

  7. Have read with horror some of these exchanges between you and Wings.
    Can claim a sort of impartiality as both of you have blocked me on Twitter.
    Him because I called him out on his Dugdale and trans obsessions, you -I don't know why.
    Whatever. The above article is brutal but entirely fair. I think you've done well in the face of some pretty abusive language and behaviour.
    I genuinely hope Wings takes a break and gets back on form some time.
    He used to do good work.
    Too many years of our lives spent on all of this.

    1. You think defending science against a cult who would see you imprisoned for calling a man, "he" is unjustified? What an odd little person you are.

      Would you defend yourself if k dugface wrote an article read by hundreds of thousands where you are named as a disgusting racist and then repeated her defamatory smears in parliament?

      Why should the Rev Stu not have basic human rights just because he doesn't accept women having penises?

    2. If I was going to parody the kind of audience Wings must now be left with I couldn't have done much better than your post.
      Well done !

  8. Well this is awkward.

    UK must be open to Wales quitting union, says Welsh Government

    The UK must be open to Wales voting to quit the union, a Welsh Government report has said.

    Ministers say Parliament should allow Wales to hold an independence referendum if politicians calling for one win an assembly election.

    Brexit is a symptom of the break up of the UK, not the cause of it. We are in the final stages now. The sun is finally setting on the empire.

    1. Wales setting up a border with England. The English and Welsh would move back to England and de populate Wales. Poor Skier on the Gin again. The port of Holyhead closed down permanently.

  9. Eva Bolander is Glesgas version of Emelda Marcos the shoe woman.

    1. Only in the loony UK could a politician underclaiming expenses be a story used to beat somebody with. Get a grip. Maybe look into what Ferdinand Marcos actually did before making such a stupid comment.

    2. Emelda not Ferdinald, plonker. Expenses for underwear!

    3. Wick Dod says:

      GWC keeps getting shoes thrown at him for occupying parts of people's countries. The days of the other things being thwown are long past.

  10. What Mr. Campbell has done is paid money for what is basically an advertising campaign. He's had SNP voters called and had the idea planted in them that having another 'pro-independence' party on the List vote ballot will "increase the number of pro-independence MSPs"

  11. Quick reminder before everyone gets excited about the fat lady singing, the DUP won't vote for the deal, nor will all the former Conservatives and there are not enough Labour MP's who will. In short any deal has not got the votes to pass.

  12. Looks like the fat lady needs to be cancelled:

    The UK's proposals for the Irish border are still neither "workable" nor "realistic", the EU has said, following hours of last-ditch talks in Brussels on Friday aimed at striking a deal.

    Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay had hoped to break months of deadlock at a breakfast meeting with his counterpart Michel Barnier in the EU capital.

    But talks broke up after two hours with little to show, despite both sides describing them as "constructive". European Council president Donald Tusk said there had been "promising signals" and that a deal was still possible, but that the UK needed to move further.

    As mentioned above there are not the votes for the UK to move further. One week to go before Boris writes his letter begging for an extension, killing any chance of a GE majority in the process.

    1. I get your enthusiasm for remain, but I don't see how you get around the half of the English population that still backs leave (it must be 48% taking out the Scot and NI vote), or at least whatever it is that caused them to take this position in the first place. You are thinking like Scottish unionists back in 2011 and post 2014, that somehow it was a fad that would go away, or could be quickly 'defeated' with a vote.

      English politics has changed forever, just as Scottish politics has. There isn't any going back. The way it was before is gone. A country cannot recover from the kind of crisis currently faced. It is too fundamental, and is many generaitons in the making. The crisis will continue until it is resolved in such a way that strong majorities in each home nation have got what they wanted. Ergo, the UK will be radically different afterwards, and likely will not exist, not in current form anyway. An extension, and even EUref2, only buys it time, it won't fix it; not the problem as a whole anyway, just as Scottish indy won't solve the problem in England.

      The main parties and their demographics are all shifting. It's all down to the final break up of the last remnants of the British empire. Brexit was in part caused by 2014; it accelerated the English nationalism that has been developing since devolution. However, both nationalisms are a natural response to the slow death of British imperialism. EVEL can never realistically be reversed now for example. Even if the UK stays together it breaks up a bit more by EVEL/devo being increased, so bringing the final end closer. Yet if these are not increased, the UK breaks up in anger at these not happening. Even a supersoft brexit means break-up as NI will still be backstopped and Scotland will move to indy free in the knowledge that trade with the rUK will be easy....

      The UK cannot survive because it's purpose is gone, and because of that, (celtic) British identity is dying. The young back indy and the EU because they are simply not British. It's nothing to do with their age, but a generational thing. They were born into a Scottish world. They were born after the British world I watched privatised, shut down and sold off as a young lad in Scotland. The have no idea what the unifying pan British post-water socialist consensus was. Only the over 65's hold onto these memories of British unity and so still identify as British in any significant numbers.

      I don't know exactly how it will all pan out, but everything that's happening is all normal for this kind of situation. Some empires go out with a band, others just wither away quietly and nobody knows quite when they ended. UK has done a bit of both so far. Brexit could be a bang or a whimper. I do hope the latter.

    2. I can't see what any of that has to do with my post of there not being the votes for any deal that the EU will find acceptable.

      As i said that will lead to an extension request the process of which will see a tranfer of votes from Con to Brex which will be enough to stop Con getting a majority.

      Labour (propped up by the SNP/LD) will then negociate a deal that is essentially SM/CU putting that vs remain in a second vote. Either way the UK as a whole will remain in the SM/CU with free movement.

      People will then want some stability so support for a second indy ref will drop through the floor, as i said earliest a can see a second indy ref is mid 2020s. Thats based on a pro indy majority in 2021 if not could be mid 2030s or latter.

    3. Except support for indy didn't drop through the floor. Instead, it has risen steadily in a manner completely independent of brexit while the UK remains firmly in the EU. It will continue to do so. Remaining in the EU would just make indy easier.

      Aslo, a Lab/Government would be hated by Scots. These two combined have ~73% against them in Westminster polls. Individually, the Tories are more popular. A Lab government would have Scots wanting indy as much as a Tory one. Scottish politics has changed forever; Scots voting English/British Labour is over. As is them voting English/British Lib Dem.

      Brexit and indy support are just not directly related, or at least only very weakly so, as the SNP have discovered. The number of scexiters effectively cancelled out the unionist remainers who switched to yes. This is why support for indy basically didn't change at all after the brexit vote; it settled down to as it was before. However, it's been continuing to grow at a slow pace since then, just as it's been doing for decades (on average).

      Each day, some young Scots reach the age of 16/18. At the time, some Brits pass away. Unionism weakens a fraction more in response, just as it's been doing since the end of WW2. If you look at British identity in Scotland, it's been in continuous decline since a peak in those born in 1945. They are the most British Scots have ever been in the history of the union. The post-war consensus generation. There is a particularly sharp drop in britishness from those coming of age around 1997 and the dawn of semi-independence.

      British used to be an integral part of life in Scotland. From the coal (British Coal), to the trains (Rail), the phones (BT), the lorries (Leyland), Steel, Aeorpace... Union flags and 'British' signs were everywhere. It's all gone. Replaced by the saltire and Scottish. Thatcher shut down and sold off what remained of britishness in Scotland, largely bringing it to an end. People think it was all about left vs right, overlooking the blindingly obvious result of what the Tories did. They literally closed down britishness in Scotland.

      You can't stop people dying and being born / coming of voting age. That is what is slowly breaking the union. That and history simply unfolding.

      In England, it's a bit different as English = British. In Scotland, that's never been the case for most people, where they two were distinct, dual identities.

    4. The Big Yin was the archetypal Scottish and British unionist; he had no time for the 'flag waving nationalists'. Yet now he's backing indy largely because he sees Scotland has changed as a utterly nation over his lifetime, and now is wanting that too. He does really talk of brexit, but of Scots desires being ignored in British politics.

      The main damage to union of brexit has not really come from the prospect of exiting the EU, but from Scotland's opinion in the matter being completely ignored. That has reaffirmed to Scots that British means English and England gets what England wants. The UK isn't a partnership at all. And so the decline in British identity continues apace. Such damage is not so immediately obvious, but it is very permanent / all but impossible to reverse.

    5. time will tell. Anyhow seem to of deviated from your original post about the DUP hearing the fat lady sing. Looks like Boris would also not have the votes of some Conservative Brexiters as well as the DUP therefore any deal will not pass Parliament.

      LONDON. “Northern Ireland must stay in a full UK customs union, full stop”. Nigel Dodds, the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) deputy leader, is absolutely clear on the outcome that the new “tunnel negotiations” between the United Kingdom and the European Union must have.

      “We’ll wait and see”, the Northern Ireland unionist party leader tells La Repubblica during the NATO parliamentary assembly held this weekend in London. “There is a lot of stuff coming from Brussels, pushed by the Europeans in the last hours, but one thing is sure: Northern Ireland must remain fully part of the UK customs union. And Boris Johnson knows it very well...”

      Mr Dodds also rejects as unrealistic the solution now being discussed by the UK and EU negotiating teams and mentioned yesterday by EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier behind closed doors, according to EU sources.“No, it cannot work”, says Dodds with a grin on his face, “because Northern Ireland has to remain fully part of the UK customs union”.

      Last night Mr Dodds branded as “absolutely right” a tweet by Brexiter tory MP Owen Paterson saying: “Northern Ireland being held in the Customs Union without Great Britain is an obvious breach of the Principle of the Consent in the Belfast Agreement. This would stir up problems in Northern Ireland long after Brexit is resolved”.

    6. Except the people of N. Ireland would vote for the backstop, so consent would be given. Stormont would vote for it too as it's dominated by remain parties. As long as nobody is given a veto.

      The latest polls actually have the N. Irish ready for reunification. The ground is moving beneath our feet. England cannot have brexit and keep N. Ireland. It must pick. Polls suggest English people are fine to wave goodbye to both NI and Scotland, so that aspect is fine too.

      We actually have a situation were all home nations becoming broadly supportive of the UK breaking up if it ensures each nation gets what it wants. This is sea change of profound implications. British nationalism is breathing its last.

      Johnson is in a very difficult spot. However, English people think brexit must go ahead because that's what the country voted for.

      I don't think another EU ref is a vote winner at all. Maybe by 2021. It's taken half a decade in Scotland for support for iref2 to reach majority after all.

    7. Then we will not have Brexit the latest polls that have sub country polling have English voters fine with that. Anyhow, any deal looks dead on arrival so we will move swiftly move on to the end of the Brexit ordeal. As i said back when Mays deal kept getting defeated, Brexiters would regret not passing it. Now they will get SM/CU at best, by the time a second ref comes in the spring they could well find that gone as well. Happy days :)

  13. Spot on James. This guy's lost the plot, he blocked me a while back for saying so.

    1. Agreed. Whenever I find myself at odds with someone I get over it by treating myself to scallops sautéed in butter, garlic and lemon accompanied by a glass of ice cold Viognier. It works wonders.

    2. And Constantine Mudge is the perfect guest and raconteur on such occasions. I'm always astounded by the extent of his vocabulary. Very much the non-toxic male and someone who could rightly be imagined as the fop of Regency Bath. As I ponder my choice of caramelattes de luxe I sometimes muse on how times have changed.

      Grinning Kez

    3. Should there fail to be an R and the month and in keeping with my strict adherence to my own rules on local provenance, I oftimes opt for game (including venison) in which case my oenic accompaniment would be a strongly vanilla-esque Malbec. Although I have quaffed of the Syrah in my time. Naughty, I know.

    4. Jackson Ballantyne, EsqOctober 13, 2019 at 8:02 AM

      Caramelattes? Oh dear, it sounds as though someone has been socialising with moneyed vulgarians from Bearsden or Newton Mearns. When one is habituated to the coffee of Vienna, one never pollutes it with flavoured syrups. That betrays social origins rather lower than the top drawer.

  14. Wick Dod says:

    If the Wings Party breaks through then it won't be a black swan. It'll be a sort of dirty grey swan clarted with crude oil, crude language and bits of beard wax.

  15. One point that needs addressing. Wings has a much bigger footprint among SNP voters than RISE had in 2016. Because of this, Wings persuading SNP voters to switch is much more likely than RISE persuading SNP voters to switch. In 2016, the RISE "vote-pinching" campaign didn't appear to affect the outcome too much, because they were way below the threshold of gaining seats, and therefore posed no danger to the SNP's chances of picking up regional seats.

    Precisely BECAUSE of Wings footprint, Stu Campbell is MUCH more likely to blunder into that "grey area" where he COULD damage the SNP's chances of winning regional seats, and because Stu Campbell has asked such a bullshit question, we still have NO IDEA how many SNP voters are likely to be persuaded by his dual campaign of trashing the SNP, and putting lipstick on the pig that a Stu Campbell-led "Wings" party would be.

    As far as I'm concerned, Stu has outlived his usefulness. When was his last "expose" of MSM deviousness? It seems to me that since the Dugdale debacle, he has lost the plot and is now a hindrance, rather than what he USED to be ..... a REAL thorn in the side of the MSM.

    As far as I'm concerned, Stu Campbell has now become the RISE+ of the next Scottish election, and we are going to have to do to him, what he did to RISE in 2016.

    It's a real shame, when your heroes turn out to have feet of clay.....
    Alex Birnie

  16. Boris has made hundreds of millions of pounds for his friends who deal in buying and selling pounds. The have now sold them. Boris will now back down from an agreement with the EU, we are now back to a leave vote.

  17. Wick Dod says:

    Some Wingers say that James should chill out with gallons of Tennents but I think that he should keep on with the stats and milkshakes. There will be no bevvying because the world is watching us.

  18. The more Stuart Campbell behaves in this manner the more people are seeing through what he's doing and it really won't end well for him
    In some ways he's doing the SNP a favour by this vitriol against Nicola Sturgeon and actually strengthening them

    Time will tell if the angry brigade that he's attracted to Wings will stick their hands in their pockets and give him more money to fund his lifestyle, we'll see soon enough
    Let him rant though he's become just like the journalists he used to take the mickey out of for printing the same drivel thinking the electorate will swallow it then becoming angry man when they don't

  19. The mild-mannered Vicar of Bath speaks out -

    Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
    12 October, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    “FFS, can’t you and Kelly debate this issue without the personal insults and baiting?”

    Oh fuck off, Peter. He’s written SIXTEEN articles of abusive and extremely personal ranting, I did two paragraphs of mild snark in an intro that didn’t even mention anyone by name.

    1. Campbell/Barrie: "I invite James Kelly to make his case - if he can."

      *I make my case.*

      "Shut the f*** up James! Who told you to speak?"

      "You're a c**t, James."

      "No, you really are a c**t, James."

      "You're such a f**king c**t, James."

      "Stop abusing me, James! What the f**k's the matter with you, you c**t? Why can't you just be mildly snarky like I've been with you?"

      I'm beginning to wonder if his self-awareness really is that poor. I used to think it was just a monumental bluff.

    2. Oh, and as far as Mr Bell is concerned, did I just dream his "Beware the Liars!" blogpost featuring a rather fetching photo of my good self? I remember saying at the time that it reminded me of "Watch Thou For The Mutant!" from The Chrysalids. But I'm sure that was just an aberration from the famously polite Mr Bell.

    3. He has the ability to whip crowds into a frenzy with rhetorical flourishes such as "presumptuous little creep" and "grotesque hauteur". Then his followers respond by saying

      "... the couple of times I’ve had the misfortune to read his opinion pieces I thought he must actually be BritNat. I have to agree with you Peter when you suggest some people might think him an @rse, and all the other stuff you said about him for that matter. He attacked Prof John, for no real reason except he didn’t strictly interpret some stats, and rather viciously, so he won’t get the time of day for me.

      Only complete zoomers seem to comment on his blog..."

      Gulp! Now I feel my self-confidence draining away.


      Chic Chicken

  20. Sadly, no surprise in this considering the way Mr. Campbell has gone, from being a dependable journalist to being a propagandist himself. A true loss to the independence movement.

  21. I have not posted on WoS for some time but today I did and the post was removed but not before someone had read it and replied to it thus making it obvious that it had been removed. It was about the GRA act and I had posted something similar on your previous article so here it is again. Can anyone see why it should have been removed? I thought it was pretty factual.
    There seems to be a great deal of misinformation being peddled about the Gender Recognition Act (GRA)and the proposed reforms. Much of the misinformation/misdirection appears to be aimed at giving the impression that this is solely a Scottish Government initiative. It is not.

    The GRA Act 2004 was passed by the UK Government in response to a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (EHCR). Holyrood agreed to the Act via a Sewel Convention.

    So Gender Recognition has been in place since 2005.

    In 2016 the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee recommended reform of the Act

    In the 2016 Holyrood Elections every party included reform of the GRA in their manifestos.

    In 2018 the UK Government consulted on reforming the GRA in England and Wales. The Scottish Government carried out a 16-week consultation to which there were 15,500 responses. Since then further concerns have been raised therefore the SG has withdrawn the proposed Bill that was the subject of the consultation and restart the process from scratch. Ms Somerville outlined what the SG proposed in her statement to Parliament in June 2019 where she said:

    “However, I am acutely aware of how divided opinion is on this issue and I want to proceed in a way that builds maximum consensus and allows valid concerns to be properly addressed.
    For that reason, we will not introduce legislation to Parliament immediately.
    Consultation on draft bill
    Instead it is my intention to publish a draft Gender Recognition (Scotland) Bill later this year.
    The Bill will be formally introduced to Parliament only when there has been a full consultation on the precise details contained within that draft bill.
    This consultation will include draft impact assessments, including a comprehensive updated Equality Impact Assessment, to ensure that all rights are protected in a balanced way.
    This additional step in the process will, I hope, give parliament and all stakeholders the opportunity to consider and respond to specific proposals. And it will allow discussion to move from the general to the detailed.

    All aspects of the draft Bill will be open for consultation. We will take forward the legislation when that process has taken place and we are content that responses have been analysed, concerns allayed and that we can introduce a bill that has the support of this Parliament and the of public. We will inform Parliament of the timetable for legislation once this process has been completed.””
    This is a link to the full statement Ms Somerville made to the Scottish Parliament in June 2019

    And a further quote from the statement on women only spaces such as toilets.

    “”One particular area of concern that has been raised about gender recognition reform - both during and since the consultation - is the impact it will have on the provision and protection of single sex or women only spaces and services.

    Presiding Officer, it is vital to be clear on this important point.
    The Equality Act [2010] already allows trans people to be excluded, in some circumstances, from single sex services where that is proportionate and justifiable, including where a trans person has legal recognition. The Government’s proposals to reform the Act will not affect that position.""

    1. "I thought it was pretty factual."

      Maybe the facts as you believe them don't fit the blog owners alternative facts?

    2. Thanks for posting that. It has actually cleared things up for me because so much if the hysteria surrounding the whole matter has switched me off from bothering to find out much. The less people know, the easier it is to whip up a frenzy and push them in whichever direction you like for whatever reason you claim.
      Thanks again.

  22. Stuart Campbell is just at it developing his Wingsy UKIP Nigel Farage attitude to Independence, he figures it worked for Nigel so it'll work for him, now he's agreeing with Sunday Mail headlines that are clearly made up about Nicola Sturgeon, nobody with a brain takes the Sunday Mail seriously for Christs sake, his blog has filled up to the brim with mentals spouting Faragist twaddle and has driven reasonable folk away because he's allowing these mentals to just bully and behave in a vile manner or some of them wouldn't be turning up here
    I recognise some of these names from reading Wings in the past and they were regular posters now they're gone, driven out by mentals and Campbells insulting behaviour, and it's become especially more to women lately, nothing new there because he's always had a thing about attacking women politicians much more than the men, it used to be a good read on Wings but it's full of UKIP style hate now

  23. Well it's not UKIP, but it is a disaster. Though blocked I can still see his Twitter feed on the side of the website page. Trans bile every 4th tweet continuously. Yes there are issues but it's barmy. As for Dugdale ...massive financial losses possible soon again to defend the worst joke. The prospect of a political party built around that, disgracing Scottish independence. It's a nightmare. One day we'll learn what went on. Until then I'm checking out. It's tragic.
    I hope one day there's an explanation.
    With all that's going on in the world, it's utterly bizarre what Wings is doing.
    It's not credible.

    1. He's fixated on the trans issue and using it to turn people against the SNP. In turn trying to scupper Indyre2 by focusing on shared toilets, women's refuges etc.

      As Legerwood points out, ''One particular area of concern that has been raised about gender recognition reform - both during and since the consultation - is the impact it will have on the provision and protection of single sex or women only spaces and services.

      Presiding Officer, it is vital to be clear on this important point. The Equality Act [2010] already allows trans people to be excluded, in some circumstances, from single sex services where that is proportionate and justifiable, including where a trans person has legal recognition. The Government’s proposals to reform the Act will not affect that position."

      No mention of any of this from Campbell.

      And ultimately the legislation, if not to everyone's liking, can be overturned just as the OBFA was overturned. Nothing is written in stone.

  24. It looks as though many decent people who used to believe in Stuart Campbell, and have filled his coffers, have in fact just created a monster. The dramatically diminishing group of genuine independence supporters, on Wings, still can't see that this man who previously was fervently pro-independence has now changed direction. Done a U-turn. It does happen even in the most extreme of cases, just as Craig Murray points out about Mugabe, ''The accepted narrative on Mugabe in power is that for over ten years he governed well.''

    When people get access to the facts and see the light they would never dream of voting no again. When you see the light and realise that Campbell no longer supports independence at all, everything that he's doing now falls neatly into place e.g. banning people and blocking or removing posts that don't comply with his agenda. That's what's obviously happened to you Legerwood and just makes you wonder how many other posts offering valid data about the trans issue have never seen the light of day.

    Wings is now a Unionist supporting propaganda site censoring data and serving as a tool for repression, confusion and suppression of information.