Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Pro-independence parties on course to win combined 56% share of the vote on the Holyrood list ballot - and Alba are still registering
This rips up everything we thought we knew: Ipsos-Mori TELEPHONE poll shows massive majority support for Scottish independence
Tuesday, November 30, 2021
This must be the line in the sand - Nicola Sturgeon's promise of a referendum by the end of 2023 must be honoured to the letter
Nicola Sturgeon: "In the course of next year, I will initiate the process necessary to enable a referendum before the end of 2023."
In fairness to Ms Sturgeon and the rest of the SNP leadership, that's a reasonably clear and specific promise compared to some we've heard in the recent past - which means it will be possible to objectively determine on certain cut-off dates whether the promise has been kept or broken. If, by 31st December 2022, action has not been "initiated" that would "enable" a referendum to take place, then the promise will have been reneged upon - and that initiated action will clearly have to go significantly further than simply sending another letter requesting a Section 30 order, because it's abundantly clear by now that would only result in a firm "no" from London and a dead end. Realistically, the minimum required for the promise to have been kept will be the tabling of referendum legislation in the absence of a Section 30.
If you read carefully, the promise does not, strictly speaking, require a referendum to have been actually held by 31st December 2023, but from Ms Sturgeon's other comments it's clear that the only reason envisaged for delay beyond 2023 would be the continuation of the pandemic. So if normal life has more or less resumed by 2023 but no referendum occurs by the end of that year, it'll also be reasonable to conclude the promise has been broken.
If words and promises were enough to get the job done, we'd all be able to relax on the basis of what Ms Sturgeon has now said. But unfortunately, there have been very similar promises made in the past about the dates by which action would be taken, and those were not honoured. Even after we were marched back down from the top of the hill in the wake of - ironically - the SNP's landslide victory in the 2017 general election, we were still being told that there would be a referendum once the terms of Brexit became clear, but before Brexit actually occurred. That simply did not materialise, and no, Covid is not an alibi for that. Brexit Day was at the end of January 2020, and the threat of Covid was not being taken seriously in this country until late February 2020.
I totally understand the desire to give Ms Sturgeon the benefit of the doubt and assume she means what she says, because I fully shared that desire myself in 2017. There are still hardcore Wings devotees who excoriate me for my supposed "naivety" back then, but I would strongly argue that it was rational to cut the SNP leadership a little slack at that point. Less than three years had passed since the first indyref and there was not yet any track record of broken promises. It would have been wildly premature to assume bad faith - but it's certainly not premature now.
Some people retrospectively justify the lack of a referendum before Brexit by saying "it would have been suicidal to hold one" - well, I'm sorry, but that's just nonsense. The results of referendums are decided during referendum campaigns, not before, and the idea that Yes in the mid-to-high 40s was not a good enough starting position to make victory a possibility is just so ludicrous as to be, frankly, not even worthy of serious consideration. In any case, there were no conditions attached to the promise of a pre-Brexit referendum.
So I really urge people who have remained loyal to the SNP leadership to make this latest promise your line in the sand. Believe it to be genuine, by all means, but if it turns out not to be, admit to yourself what has happened. Don't pretend to yourself that the promise was never really made or that it somehow didn't really count, or that the next promise to hold a referendum in 2030 or 2035 or whenever is somehow the 'real' promise.
This is it. A referendum by the end of 2023, and certainly the start of a referendum process by the end of next year - or it'll be time for the current SNP leadership to make way for people who are actually serious about independence.
Saturday, November 27, 2021
IPSO is a sham regulator which knowingly issues rulings that endorse lies as the truth - and THIS is the press regulation system that Lady Dorrian thinks justifies bloggers not enjoying equality before the law with journalists? Seriously?!
Friday, November 26, 2021
News on Craig Murray's release, plus a weary reply to Ipsos-Mori's in-house identity politics extremist
I've been meaning to post this since an email I received about it four days ago, so I hope the information isn't out of date by now! Craig Murray is expected to be released from prison on St Andrew's Day (next Tuesday) at around 10am. There's an open invitation for all independence supporters to attend a rally at that time outside Saughton. Craig will hopefully get an opportunity to make a statement for the media.
It'll be a tremendous relief if Craig gets back home more or less in one piece. The big concern was always that he has several health conditions and that he might not make it through a few months in prison, particularly in the context of a pandemic - and some would argue that was the whole purpose of inappropriately incarcerating him in the first place.
ᴡᴏᴍᴘ ᴡᴏᴍᴘ pic.twitter.com/g4fZZxJdhP— Mark McGeoghegan (@markmcgeoghegan) November 23, 2021
There are many mysteries about modern life, but perhaps the greatest of all is: why has Ipsos-Mori employed someone who a) is a toddler, b) speaks like a toddler, and c) cannot differentiate between 'neutrality'and sparing the feelings of fellow toddlers?https://t.co/XKjgyrN6HL— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) November 26, 2021
Leaving aside the supreme irony of being called "the lad" by Ipsos-Mori's paid toddler, the very simple answer to his question is something that - ironically - doesn't seem to have even occurred to him yet. (Did he actually read the question?) https://t.co/DGXJTQzYVE— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) November 26, 2021
The wording "which point of view do you find most persuasive?" actually renders the issue of mutual exclusivity moot - the respondent is simply asked to give a view on whether one view is more persuasive than the other.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) November 26, 2021
That said, I would strongly dispute any suggestion that they aren't mutually exclusive options in the real world, and the fact that he thinks they aren't tells its own story about how he totally identifies with one side of the debate and is utterly incapable...— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) November 26, 2021
...of commenting on it in even a moderately clear-sighted way, let alone objectively.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) November 26, 2021
Thursday, November 25, 2021
My all-time favourite thing on the internet has finally arrived: a Medium article about the dateability of Scot Goes Pop blogger James Kelly
Yeah. I know. This is the sort of thing that normally happens to Selena Gomez. The author of the world's unlikeliest internet article is someone called Katy Montgomerie, who - entirely uncoincidentally - also appeared to be the instigator of the Twitter pile-on that led to me suffering 24 hours of sustained abuse and harassment on Tuesday and yesterday (at least two people were suspended from Twitter as a result). I know very little about her other than that she has just over 50,000 followers on Twitter and is a keen participant in the ongoing trans debate. Her Medium profile identifies her as a trans woman herself, and she appears to be based somewhere Daan Saaf, judging both from her accent on her YouTube videos and the hesitant way she refers to the Scottish political scene as if the words she's using are unfamiliar and foreign.
Poll: Vast Majority Of Public Believe It Is Wrong For James Kelly To Pressure People To Date Himhttps://t.co/GbQCajIpus— Katy Montgomerie 🦗 (@KatyMontgomerie) November 24, 2021
Basically Katy was livid about the wording of one of the questions in the Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll on GRA reform and related gender matters, claiming that it portrayed trans women as sexual predators. She's wrong about that, but judge for yourself...
Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll (a representative sample of 1001 over-16s in Scotland was interviewed by Panelbase between 20th and 26th October 2021)
It's difficult to get into an in-depth discussion about the reasons for choosing a certain wording when you're faced with a 280-character limit on Twitter, and especially when the people you're speaking to are not engaging in good faith. However, the point they're missing (almost certainly intentionally) is that the reference in the poll question to people being pressurised is not some gratuitous add-on extra, it's actually the logical, utterly inescapable flip-side of the suggestion that it is bigoted or transphobic to refuse to consider dating trans women (for the avoidance of doubt, that was a suggestion that several of Katy's fan club explicitly made during the pile-on). Telling someone they're transphobic, which in the current climate carries similar gravity to allegations of anti-Semitism, is a very dramatic thing to say, and self-evidently constitutes very considerable pressure for that individual to change their position and to consider dating trans women in the future. If you want to say that nobody is under any pressure to date trans women, that's fine, but in order to make that claim with any credibility, you first have to remove the pressure that is in itself being caused by the unambiguous statements that some people's sexual orientations are "transphobic". You really can't have it both ways.
A common refrain during the pile-on was that I had been "transphobic" myself by singling out trans women in the poll wording - "why not ask whether it's wrong for fat people or Asian women or whoever to pressurise people into dating them?" And the answer to that is straightforward - it's because there is simply no equivalent to the allegation of transphobia that would apply to other types of sexual preferences. Women don't usually accuse gay men of misogyny for refusing to date them, and men don't usually accuse lesbians of misandry for refusing to date them. (I say "usually" because some do, but the point is that nobody takes them remotely seriously when they do it.) If Asian women occasionally feel that men refuse to date them because of racism, that's a very different sort of issue, because - and I can speak with some authority here - Asian women are just as attractive to heterosexual men as any other women. If racism does sometimes get in the way, there will always be any number of other men out there who will be interested. There's no natural barrier that requires people's entire sexual orientation to be reinvented or restructured.
Heterosexual men and lesbian women are, at least in certain circumstances, attracted to women of all ethnicities and of all body shapes and sizes. In most cases, however, they are not attracted to people who are physically or biologically male. That's a feature, not a bug - it's at the very core of heterosexual male / gay female sexual orientation. The discriminating factor in that orientation is not personal identity or 'spirit' - as a heterosexual male I might very well be attracted to a woman with a 'masculine spirit' but I wouldn't be attracted to a man with a 'feminine spirit'. Label that as transphobia if you want to, but it's just who I am and how I was born. In the same way, lesbian women are who they are. Telling lesbians that they must consider dating trans women is in many cases tantamount to telling them they must renounce their sexual orientation - and if you also say they'll be branded as bigots if they don't do that, then yes, that undoubtedly constitutes pressure.
A possible alternative version of the poll question, which might have attracted less ire from the Katy Montgomerie Fan Club, would have been "is it bigoted or transphobic to refuse to consider dating trans women?" with simple "yes" or "no" answers. But that would have been a cop-out, because it quite simply wouldn't have been a balanced question. There are two very robust stances taken by each side of this debate - one side says "you won't consider dating trans women and that makes you transphobic bigots" while the other side says "you're calling us transphobic bigots and that's putting intense and unreasonable pressure on us to widen our dating pool to include people we'll never actually be attracted to". The softer question would have offered respondents the opportunity to give direct backing to the robust stance taken by one side of the debate, but not to the equally robust stance taken by the other side. Essentially what we're being told is that only one half of the debate can be referred to in poll questions - well, that type of censorship and self-censorship might be the way we're headed, but don't try to tell me it's the way to poll public opinion fairly and accurately.
Katy's Medium article is about a joke Twitter poll she ran on Tuesday, asking "is it wrong for James Kelly to pressure people into dating him?" She imagined this would goad me into "admitting" that her question portrayed me as a predator, and therefore by extension that my own poll question had done the same to trans women. To her dismay, though, I was far more concerned about her cavalier approach to polling methodology. She announced that if her self-selecting poll exceeded 1000 votes, it would be just as "representative" as mine - whereas of course it would still have been infinitely less representative than a properly-conducted poll even if it had hit 100,000 votes. Some of the usual suspect "trendies" from Scottish political Twitter then thought they could rescue her by dipping into the lengthy dossier they keep on me, and produced a screenshot to support their claim that I "had changed my tune about the validity of self-selecting Twitter polls" . I warned Katy that she wouldn't exactly be dispelling the impression that she's clueless about polling if she placed too much reliance on that - but, alas, that warning has gone unheeded.
Unfortunately for her, I was making a very different point in the screenshotted tweet - which was about the absolute numbers who said they were planning to vote Alba in the Holyrood election. Although Twitter polls are self-selecting, they nevertheless restrict people to one vote per account. As we knew that roughly 100,000 votes would probably be enough to win Alba list seats, the fact that Alba could attract, say, 1000 votes in a Twitter poll did tell us something interesting - it suggested they had at least 1% of the necessary total and that there were probably more votes out there. (In the event, Alba took around 45,000 votes and thus fell short.) That perfectly valid point bears no resemblance whatever to suggestions that the percentage results in self-selecting polls are in any way meaningful or reliable. They are not. Never have been, never will be.
As for the question wording, the equivalence that Katy was inferring simply wasn't there. It would only have been there if I had ever claimed that "people who refuse to consider dating James Kelly are Kelly-phobic, and are therefore required to change their attitude immediately".
To deal with a couple of other miscellaneous points from Katy's piece -"Kelly said that he spent “thousands of pounds” on this poll."
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
And that's a wrap: here is the full list of results from the comprehensive Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll on reform of the Gender Recognition Act and related gender issues
We've now reached the conclusion of the latest Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll. As regular readers will recall, the idea for the poll back in July was to try to produce the Scottish equivalent of a comprehensive poll on gender self-ID and related matters that had just been conducted in the Republic of Ireland by RedC on behalf of The Countess website. I think we've pretty much achieved that - due to budget constraints, our poll maybe didn't have quite the same granular detail as the RedC survey, but it covered most of the same bases. I also took great care to follow the example of the Irish poll by ensuring the questions were as neutral and balanced as humanly possible, so that the results would have maximum credibility and reliability. Indeed, I strongly suspect the reason that the poll has triggered such an abusive reaction on social media (especially yesterday) is that those with an agenda know that this was a serious exercise, meaning that the results are not as easily dismissed as might sometimes be the case with other polls on the same subject. The numbers have at least the real potential to do harm to one side of the debate - and of course to help the other side.
The poll took far longer to commission than I had originally hoped, initially because of funding issues, and later because I went down a very long blind alley in my efforts to find a firm willing to conduct our desired poll in a reasonably recognisable form. However, the important thing is that we managed to get it done before any final decisions are made about GRA reform at Holyrood. MSPs will have no excuses now for being unaware of the true state of public opinion on gender self-ID. That said, we live in a parliamentary democracy, and it's entirely up to them to decide what use - if any - to make of that knowledge. They can even, if they really want to, mischaracterise and misrepresent public opinion - but that would be the most foolish and dangerous thing of all to do, for a number of reasons.
The full data tables for the poll can now be found at the Panelbase website HERE. And here is the full list of GRA question wordings and results, in the order the questions were actually asked of respondents. Bear in mind there were also a number of general political questions in the poll, but those were all asked before the GRA questions.
Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll (a representative sample of 1001 over-16s in Scotland was interviewed by Panelbase between 20th and 26th October 2021)
SCOT GOES POP / PANELBASE POLL: Scottish public want official crime statistics to record whether sex offenders were male or female at birth
We've discussed on this site before whether the number of female perpetrators of certain crimes, such as domestic violence, may be significantly underestimated by the official statistics due to the unwillingness of male victims to come forward, or the unwillingness of the authorities to believe them. However, there's a big difference between addressing that type of under-reporting, and artificially producing a big upsurge in the number of female criminals by reassigning some offenders from the male column to the female column. Many advocates of gender self-ID would argue that "trans women are women", and that therefore crimes committed by self-ID-ing trans women should be accurately recorded as committed by women. But if taking that step is in itself sufficient to substantially increase the female crime rate, especially for sexual offences, doesn't that suggest there is in fact a fundamental difference between trans women and other women, and that biology may be playing a part in that? And if so, doesn't that in itself say something rather interesting about the credibility of the self-ID / "trans women are women" ideology?
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