Thursday, October 15, 2020

'Settled will'

I've been asked by two or three people whether the 58% Yes vote in yesterday's Ipsos-Mori poll has changed my view on whether 60% is unattainable.  It actually hasn't, although let me be clear about what I mean by that.  It's certainly not unthinkable that there could be the odd individual poll with a figure of 60% or higher, but I still think it's very unlikely that we'll consistently see that level of support over a sustained period.  As things stand, there still hasn't been a single online poll showing a Yes vote higher than 55% - and that's significant, because the vast majority of polls are conducted online.

In a sense the whole 60% thing may now be academic, though.  It was only ever a point of discussion because of the suspicion that the SNP were using an unattainable 'target figure' as an excuse for putting off an independence referendum indefinitely.  That no longer seems to be a danger, because Keith Brown stated yesterday that independence is now the "settled will" of the Scottish people.  Those were clearly very carefully chosen words, and strongly imply that the 52-58% we've seen in recent polls is 'enough' as far as the SNP leadership is concerned.  (Although I'm not sure if Andrew Wilson was trying to push back against that when he described the people's will as "settling" rather than "settled".)

When John Smith famously described devolution as Scotland's settled will, he meant that support for a Scottish Parliament was astronomically high, that it hadn't changed for many years, and that there was therefore no need to hold another referendum to test public opinion.  Ironically, none of those points apply to the current situation - it's a mere seven months since a poll last had No in the lead, so it can scarcely be said that public opinion is no longer subject to fluctuation or change.  And I think we can safely assume that Nicola Sturgeon won't be using the Yes lead in the polls as a justification for declaring independence without a referendum.  But however dubious the usage of the words "settled will" may be, it's still incredibly heartening to hear them being used.

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NEW CROWDFUNDER: On Saturday I launched a fundraiser for the next Scot Goes Pop poll on independence, which I intend to commission at some point between now and Christmas.  If you'd like to donate, please click HERE.


  1. Nows the day and nows the hour

    Time to make Burns proud.

  2. I bet it isn't the settled will of Postal Voters.

  3. I sound like a broken record but once the people of a nation decide to end a regime there is no going back.

    This can take time and people who have made the journey already can be frustrated waiting on others to catch up but you need to take the nation with you.

    Two examples: The move away from "communism " in Poland really took off in the early 1970s, big mile stones reached in the late 70s and early 80s but it wasn't until the late 80s the movement was strong enough that it was clear there was no going back.
    In the UK in 1992 people were fed up for the Conservative government and the country was changing but it wasn't there yet.... fast forward 5 years and there was a tsunami.

    I think we are now past the tipping point, its litterally a matter of when not IF or even how.. but when.


    1. Two really bad examples, the economic collapse of the Soviet Union led to the end of communism in Poland. Was Poland ever in favour of being a puppet state of the Soviets.

      You say there's no going back when a nation decides to end a regime but fast forward a few more years from 1992 and we have a Tory government again. We've had one for the last 10 years and they have just won another overall majority.

    2. At the insistence of Joseph Stalin, the Yalta Conference sanctioned the formation of a new provisional pro-Communist coalition government in Moscow, which ignored the Polish government-in-exile based in London. This action angered many Poles who considered it a betrayal by the Allies.

    3. Yes, the UK clearly did "go back" after ousting the Conservatives. A better example would be their overwhelming failure in Scotland, which began in the 1960s and seems to have been pretty permanent.

  4. In Rabbie's day many Scots resented the Union. Their country had been stolen from them, and they had no vote.
    We are the privileged generation. We can vote Scotland free starting next May. Most previous NOs I speak to expect a YES result in the next Indyref.
    Maybe not the settled will of the Scottish people just yet but I well remember disagreeing with John Smith's declaration at the time.
    The people were undersold on Home Rule.
    The devo con trick bought 20 years for Unionists.
    Their time is running out. As Canyon Wright famously said "We are the people and we say YES".

    1. Slight re-naming here: Canon Kenyon Wright. Bless his memory.

  5. I know that the settled will of the BBC is to keep Scotland under the colonial rule of Westminster for as long as possible. That is a given.

  6. Looks like No Deal, as I've predicted since day one.