Monday, August 8, 2022

Our goal has to be to achieve independence by the earliest possible date - not to embark on a new 40 year project to do it the slow way

I'd always hoped this didn't need to be said, but I now realise it probably does.  Notwithstanding my involvement in the Alba Party, this blog continues to represent my own independent thoughts and analysis.  What I say here might be right or it might be wrong, or in some cases there may not even be any clear-cut right or wrong, but you can at least rely on me to be authentic.  If I was to constantly parrot the exact party line at all times, irrespective of whether I agree with it or think it's well-founded, it wouldn't actually do anyone any good, because people would quickly see through it and and no-one would have any reason to pay the slightest heed to what I say from that moment on.  If they want to read the exact party line, they know they can find it on the official website or Twitter page.  An echo adds nothing.

And I can only guess, but I would assume that when people were kind enough to vote me on to the Alba NEC last year, they did so because they wanted me to represent my distinct perspective on the NEC, rather than passively take home the central Alba perspective from the NEC and represent it on my blog.  There would be very little point in the party having a multi-member governing body unless multiple points of view were being contributed to it.  In any case, blogging is something wholly separate and I have always jealously guarded my independence as a blogger.  This is a pro-indy blog written by someone who happens to be an Alba member - it's not an "Alba blog".  So if sometimes my honest analysis isn't in total conformity with Alba messaging, that's a feature not a bug.

Over the past few weeks, I've been very straightforward and direct in saying that the Supreme Court is highly likely to strike down the plan for an October 2023 independence referendum and that the operative part of Nicola Sturgeon's recent statement is therefore the back-up plan of a plebiscite election, which is what we should be preparing ourselves for.  I wouldn't be treating readers as adults if I said anything else.  Nevertheless, the current preoccupation of Alba's messaging (as I understand it) is to continue to relentlessly hold the SNP to their promise of an October 2023 referendum.  That particular bird has flown in my view, because no such promise really exists anymore. The moment to blast the SNP for breaking their word was when the announcement of a reference to the Supreme Court was made and when the plebiscite election back-up was unveiled - if, that is, we really felt that the promise was being broken in a fundamental enough way to warrant cries of betrayal.  For my own part, I was just relieved that there was finally a hard commitment to hold an independence vote one way or the other, and I wasn't going to quibble about a few months' potential deviation from the originally promised date.  (The most likely date for the next general election is May 2024, and in the real world it's almost inconceivable that it'll be any later than October 2024.)

For a very long time, those of us who had moved on from the SNP criticised the Sturgeon leadership for a silly pretence that there was definitely going to be a referendum in 2023.  There's a very severe danger now that the only people keeping up that pretence will be ourselves!  The SNP certainly aren't singing the old tune anymore - they're explicit that a referendum is contingent on Supreme Court approval, and that a plebiscite election will follow if the ruling goes the wrong way.  Instead of flogging a dead horse by trying to keep the SNP to a referendum promise that is no longer a promise, I think we'd be far better advised to turn our attention to the plebiscite election (which really is the only game in town, whether people want to admit that to themselves or not) and start setting some red lines.  I'm not naive enough to think that the SNP leadership are incapable of backtracking on what they've pledged - after what happened in 2017, we know they can backtrack on almost anything.  So let's set out what would and would not qualify as a plebiscite election, so that we can recognise one when we see it, or indeed recognise the absence of one when it's not there. The key to it really is whether the SNP's manifesto is specific enough that a majority vote would constitute an outright mandate for independence and that negotiations on independence with the UK Government would be expected to follow, without any need for a further referendum.  It's also obviously vital that the SNP reflect any manifesto declaration in their actual campaigning - if they instead spend the run-up to polling day saying "independence would be lovely, wouldn't it, but let's talk about the minor mitigations we want the UK Government to make to the cost of living crisis", we'll know we're being fleeced.

It's not immediately clear to me why we would want to defer that discussion so that we can hype up a referendum that we all think isn't going to happen.  I don't know a single person in Alba who thinks the Supreme Court will allow a referendum - and crucially, that belief has been openly shared in public.  Alex Salmond, for example, memorably said that the reference to the Supreme Court was a "Hail Mary pass" with very little prospect of success.  Spending the next two months hypothesising on the success of a Hail Mary pass seems a curious focus for our energies, especially as that contradiction is unlikely to pass unnoticed by the people who the messaging is aimed at.  It's not something I plan to do on this blog.  The window of opportunity for talking up the fiction of an October 2023 referendum will be exceedingly brief in any case - the Supreme Court verdict isn't far off and will create new facts on the ground that all of us will have to swiftly adjust to.  

Could it be that there's a desire to delay confronting the prospect of a plebiscite election, because that will raise uncomfortable questions for Alba itself?  It may well do, but if the prize of independence is everything, the inevitability of experiencing discomfort along the way isn't something we should shy away from.  I joined Alba for one reason and one reason alone - to achieve independence by the earliest possible date.  I certainly didn't do it to slow things down even further by embarking on a new 40 year project to replace the SNP as the largest party and only then strive for independence.  People need to realise that when a plebiscite election is denounced as a sham and when we're urged to instead look towards the 2026 Holyrood vote as a chance to dislodge the SNP, a very long-term project is exactly what we're being urged to resign ourselves to.  Yes, if a plebiscite election fails or if it never even materialises, we'll just have to pick up the pieces as best we can, but that will be a sub-optimal outcome to put it mildly.  It's not something we should be impatiently waiting to get on with, not least because we're not passive observers and doom-mongering about a plebiscite election actually increases its chances of failing.  A much better idea is to seize the opportunity that is actually before us.  Let the drudgery of a post-defeat 2026 election take care of itself if it happens - for now, we have our national independence to win.  And even if you think a plebiscite election is somehow designed by the SNP to bury independence, the rational response is to thwart their dastardly plan by helping them win in spite of themselves.  That'll show 'em.

And let's be absolutely clear - the claims that a plebiscite election is a sham, and the eagerness for it to fail so we can get on with fighting the SNP in 2026, have been made firmly in the public domain by one or two people who hold senior positions.  There can be no double standard about this - if I'm going to be criticised for choosing the topics of analysis on this blog, it's entirely legitimate for me to express my own deep concerns about people who are going way, way 'off message' by publicly talking up a project of effectively sabotaging a plebiscite election.  We all know what's been going on - expectations have been raised sky high that Alba will be standing candidates against the SNP across the board at the general election, and there have been repeated spurious claims that this would somehow help us win an independence mandate, even though no serious person believes that to be actually true.  The real agenda is to settle old scores against the SNP's members of parliament at the least appropriate moment imaginable.

This is coming from individuals (albeit prominent individuals), let me stress, not from Alba itself as a party.  There's much in Alba's official analysis of the current situation that I wholeheartedly agree with - for example, I share the view that Nicola Sturgeon's negligence in selecting a Lord Advocate who was unwilling to certify a Referendum Bill as within Holyrood's powers has needlessly weakened the independence movement's position.  Every time I make that point, someone pops up in the comments section to claim that the Lord Advocate's stance is merely a tactic to facilitate the reference to the Supreme Court.  That's astoundingly naive.  There's ample evidence that it's the other way around, and that the reference to the court is being made out of necessity because the Lord Advocate would have refused to make the certification.

But while we can criticise the SNP's missteps and identify how their strategy could be better, Craig Murray was undoubtedly right a few weeks ago when he stated that we have to live in a world where the SNP gets to set the strategy as the pro-independence party which is actually in government.  It's for the rest of us to do our utmost to ensure the strategy succeeds.  And, actually, not all of the criticisms of the SNP are fully justified.  It's been suggested to me that Nicola Sturgeon is letting Westminster off the hook by not campaigning hard enough for a Section 30 order - and while I have no doubt that a Salmond-led government would be far better at keeping the heat on the London Tories, I think we have to be honest enough to say that the identity of the First Minister isn't the only variable that has changed over the last ten years.  It's now an article of faith in the Tory party that a Section 30 must be rejected under all circumstances - that simply wasn't the case prior to 2014.  I really struggle to imagine what a successful campaign to persuade the UK government to change its mind would look like, or how it would even begin to gain any traction.

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We've already seen since Nicola Sturgeon's announcement that the overwhelmingly unionist mainstream media are attempting a 'shock and awe' campaign to try to kill off independence - and the misuse of polling is playing a key part in that.  If you'd like to balance things out with polling commissioned by a pro-independence outlet and which asks the questions we want to see asked, one way of doing that would be to help Scot Goes Pop's fundraising drive - see details below.

Direct payments via Paypal (the simplest and quickest method) - my Paypal email address is:   jkellysta@yahoo.co.uk

Scot Goes Pop General Fundraiser 

Scot Goes Pop Polling Fundraiser 

If you prefer a bank transfer, please message me for details using the contact email address which can be found in the sidebar of the blog (desktop version only), or on my Twitter profile.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Scot Goes Pop Fundraising for Independence Polling: an update

As you'll probably have gathered, I was away from home last week in a place with very sporadic internet access, so I have a backlog of about four blogposts I want to write at the back of my mind.  But before I get down to those, I thought I'd pull over for one of my very occasional pitstops to try to give a proper shot in the arm to Scot Goes Pop's ongoing fundraising efforts, and in particular the fundraising for further opinion polls.  First of all, a huge thanks to the people who have sent donations recently - a good few hundred pounds has been raised in recent weeks.  For reasons we all understand, the days of raising several thousand pounds overnight are probably over for the time being, but nevertheless hopefully we can kick on a bit now and get the seventh Scot Goes Pop poll done in a reasonable timescale.  (And, with your indulgence, after this post I'll continue to promote the fundraising at the bottom of each blogpost until enough is raised.)

There are a number of reasons why it's a good idea not to allow all opinion polls conducted at the present time to be ones commissioned by unionist media clients.  We're in a crucial phase where there's a battle to "claim" public opinion on the issue of whether a referendum should take place, or whether the outcome of a plebiscite election should be respected.  The unionists have a huge advantage if they and their fellow travellers effectively get to choose the question wordings in all opinion polls, because the wording and format genuinely make a substantial difference to the reported results.

We're also in uncharted territory at the moment because pollsters are still finding their way in measuring how people might vote in a general election that pro-independence parties have declared to be a de facto referendum.  Any precedents set now in terms of question wordings could prove important later on.

And of course there's the perennial problem of how unionist-flavoured polls can set the agenda for a referendum or election campaign, framing the debate as being all about "fears" over independence.  There are plenty enough reasons to be terrified of remaining in Liz Truss's Brexit Britain indefinitely, and we really should be polling about them.

If you'd like to donate, here are the various options...

Paypal: If you have an account, by far the simplest and quickest way of donating is by sending a direct payment via Paypal.  My Paypal email address is:  jkellysta@yahoo.co.uk

(If you wish, you can add a short note saying something along the lines of "for the fundraiser", but don't worry if you don't do that - it'll be very obvious what the payment is for.)

If you don't have a Paypal account, the GoFundMe fundraiser I set up last year is still open for donations HERE.

And if you prefer a bank transfer, please message me on my contact email address, which is different from my Paypal address and can be found in the sidebar of the blog (desktop version only) or on my Twitter profile.  


Monday, August 1, 2022

What are the Greens thinking of?

I'm trying to make sense of what the Greens are doing, but it's not easy because there's no obvious logic to it. Let's start with the good part - it's extremely welcome that the Greens have adopted a shared position with the SNP that the next UK general election, expected in 2024, will be a de facto independence referendum if the Supreme Court prevents a Referendum Bill from going forward.  It would have been very harmful if only the SNP had explicitly declared the election to be a plebiscite, and if the Greens had carried on with business as usual.

However, the Greens have never even come close to standing in every constituency in a general election before, and even in the constituencies where they have stood, they've sometimes quite rightly come under fire for splitting the pro-indy vote and helping unionist parties to win.  Why on earth they would think a plebiscite election is the moment at which the Yes camp suddenly has the luxury of a nationwide split vote is not immediately apparent.  I can think of three possible explanations of what is going on:

1) This is a bargaining chip to try to force the SNP's hand and get them to agree to a joint slate of Yes candidates which will feature Greens in a handful of constituencies that the SNP don't currently hold.

2) This has actually been agreed with the SNP and is a genuine - albeit highly dubious - joint strategy for attempting to win a mandate in a plebiscite election.

3) This is a go-it-alone partisan decision that the SNP will be horrified about because it could lead to them losing key seats to Labour and the Tories, thus making it much harder to press home any independence mandate that is achieved on the popular vote.

I've no idea which of those three is most likely, but let's focus on possibility 2, because that's the one everyone will probably assume is correct.  The Greens are of course a different sort of party from Alba or ISP, because a significant amount of their support comes from opponents of independence.  That's probably part of the explanation for pro-indy parties winning a majority of the popular vote on the Holyrood list ballot last year, but not on the constituency ballot.  The Greens bring far more votes to the table on the list, including people who might otherwise vote for unionist parties.  So I suppose it's not totally inconceivable that some bright spark has come up with the idea that a Westminster plebiscite election should be made as similar as possible to a Holyrood list ballot by having the Greens stand everywhere.  But if so, that would appear to be a very stupid strategy for two reasons: a) the Greens will probably lose most of their anti-independence voters overnight if they're true to their word and run a single-issue campaign (albeit one that focuses on the Green case for independence), and b) the pro-independence votes they do take will largely come from the SNP and make it easier for unionist MPs to get elected under the first-past-the-post voting system.  OK, if pro-indy parties win a majority of the popular vote but lose ten or fifteen seats, they'll claim the following day that only votes matter - but will that claim really count for much if there are 20, 25 or 30 elected Scottish unionist MPs ready to take their seats at Westminster?  The leverage needed to press home a mandate would require us to have the vast majority of seats - because then, as a last resort, we could withdraw Scottish MPs from the House of Commons or threaten to do so.  We can't do that if we don't have enough seats.

A broader issue with having pro-indy parties in competition with each other is that it undermines the whole concept of a single issue election.  Pro-indy Labour voters could look at what the SNP and Greens are doing and think "well, if this election isn't special enough for the SNP and Greens to set aside their differences, I'll just continue with my usual party of choice too".

And from a personal point of view, I'm a bit exasperated, because I've been making the point for weeks that having Alba candidates in direct competition with the SNP at a plebiscite election would be strategically foolish, to put it mildly.  I'll continue making that point because it's undoubtedly correct, and because I think Alba should be in the business of maximising the chances of independence rather than copying the Greens on a parochial "it's only fair" basis.  But it's obviously going to be much harder to get anyone to listen to that message if the SNP and Greens really are planning to do something as crazy enough as put up candidates against each other across the board.  I'll just have to cling to the hope that this is a bargaining chip on the part of the Greens.

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We've already seen since Nicola Sturgeon's announcement that the overwhelmingly unionist mainstream media are attempting a 'shock and awe' campaign to try to kill off independence - and the misuse of polling is playing a key part in that.  If you'd like to balance things out with polling commissioned by a pro-independence outlet and which asks the questions we want to see asked, one way of doing that would be to help Scot Goes Pop's fundraising drive - see details below.

Direct payments via Paypal - my Paypal email address is:   jkellysta@yahoo.co.uk

Scot Goes Pop General Fundraiser 

Scot Goes Pop Polling Fundraiser 

If you prefer a bank transfer, please message me for details using the contact email address which can be found in the sidebar of the blog (desktop version only), or on my Twitter profile.

Friday, July 29, 2022

VIDEO: Our Precious Union is Precious


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We've already seen since Nicola Sturgeon's announcement that the overwhelmingly unionist mainstream media are attempting a 'shock and awe' campaign to try to kill off independence - and the misuse of polling is playing a key part in that.  If you'd like to balance things out with polling commissioned by a pro-independence outlet and which asks the questions we want to see asked, one way of doing that would be to help Scot Goes Pop's fundraising drive - see details below.

Direct payments via Paypal - my Paypal email address is:   jkellysta@yahoo.co.uk

Scot Goes Pop General Fundraiser 

Scot Goes Pop Polling Fundraiser 

If you prefer a bank transfer, please message me for details using the contact email address which can be found in the sidebar of the blog (desktop version only), or on my Twitter profile.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Let's get real about a plebiscite election - we won't win independence as a bunch of Victor Meldrews wrapped up in petty grievances

I'm away from home at the moment and in a place with very intermittent signal, so blogging will be light for a while.  However, I'm going to struggle my way through a short blogpost because I'm becoming increasingly exasperated - and frankly alarmed - at the willful naivety on display on social media about the idiotic idea that we can somehow afford to be more relaxed about splitting the pro-independence vote at a plebiscite election than we would be at a normal election.  As opposed to, y'know, the self-evident truth that a plebiscite election is a hundred times more important than a normal election and that we will therefore have a hundred times less scope for destructive self-indulgence.

There are no "rules" for a plebiscite election.  There is no neutral arbiter who sets rules that both sides must follow, and the idea that Nicola Sturgeon of all people gets to set rules that unionists will adhere to is just barking mad.  The onus is entirely on the pro-independence side to produce a mandate with enough of a "wow" factor that is very difficult to ignore afterwards.  And yes, that means we have to think about seats as well as votes  It doesn't matter whether that's fair or unfair - it's just the reality of the situation.  However, this shouldn't really pose too much of an additional problem, because getting 50% + 1 of the popular vote is the hard part - as long as we don't do anything stupid, that would generally be enough for a massive haul of seats.  The snag is that some people, for reasons that only they can explain, are advocating doing something very stupid indeed - ie. they want multiple pro-indy parties and candidates to directly compete with each other and split the vote.

Imagine the pro-indy side gets 50.4% of the vote at a plebiscite election.  Although that would be a narrow victory, it would be hard to quibble with, because the conduct of a general election will be beyond reproach and it will produce a high turnout - perhaps not as high as the 2014 indyref, but if it's good enough to elect a UK government, it's good enough for any other mandate.  But then imagine that the 50.4% is split between multiple pro-indy parties, thus allowing unionists to gain several seats.  What side of the equation do you think unionist parties would focus on after the election - votes or seats?  And what could we do to stop them taking that attitude, seeing as unionist MPs would then take their seats at Westminster as the democratically elected voice of Scotland with a mandate to oppose independence?

By contrast, if the pro-indy camp have almost all the seats, we have all the cards to play - including, for example, withdrawing Scottish MPs from Westminster and denying all legitimacy to London rule until the UK government come to the negotiating table.

Let's be honest here.  People may pretend to believe that splitting the vote is somehow a brilliant tactic, but the original tweet gave the game away - what this is really about is a desire to get back to the comfort zone of treating a plebiscite election as a ruse, so we can use it to fight the SNP rather than seek to win our national independence.  Well, count me out of that.  When we look back in a few years' time, do we want to say we did everything we could to seize the opportunity in front of us, or do we want to have been a bunch of Victor Meldrews who were so wrapped up in petty grievances that we invited defeat so we could enjoy blaming others for it?

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We've already seen since Nicola Sturgeon's announcement that the overwhelmingly unionist mainstream media are attempting a 'shock and awe' campaign to try to kill off independence - and the misuse of polling is playing a key part in that.  If you'd like to balance things out with polling commissioned by a pro-independence outlet and which asks the questions we want to see asked, one way of doing that would be to help Scot Goes Pop's fundraising drive - see details below.

Direct payments via Paypal - my Paypal email address is:   jkellysta@yahoo.co.uk

Scot Goes Pop General Fundraiser 

Scot Goes Pop Polling Fundraiser 

If you prefer a bank transfer, please message me for details using the contact email address which can be found in the sidebar of the blog (desktop version only), or on my Twitter profile.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Scottish Sovereignty Research Group conference in Dunfermline, 29th-31st July

So first of all, an apology to the Scottish Sovereignty Research Group - we had discussed the possibility of me running a guest post about their forthcoming conference in Dunfermline, but when they sent me their proposed post, it went to my spam folder and I was totally oblivious to it until last night.  The post I was sent has since appeared on Iain Lawson's blog, so you can read it HERE.

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The decision to more or less abolish the Scotland rugby sevens team and instead only allow Scottish players to compete for Great Britain at the World Sevens Series is a real moment of truth for sport in this country.  It gives the lie to the notion that Scottish and British representation in sport can happily co-exist, and that one will never encroach upon the other.  The reality is that independence is needed not just to gain representation for Scotland in events like the Olympics for the first time, but also to safeguard existing Scottish representation in other events.  It's certainly the only way we'll get our rugby sevens team back now.  It's a rather bitter irony that rugby sevens is a sport (or 'sub-sport') that was actually invented in Scotland, and Scotland's two back-to-back victories at the London Sevens event a few years ago were among this country's finest achievements in team sports events.  We'll no longer even have a chance to replicate those triumphs - until we secure our place as an independent country.  

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We've already seen since Nicola Sturgeon's announcement that the overwhelmingly unionist mainstream media are attempting a 'shock and awe' campaign to try to kill off independence - and the misuse of polling is playing a key part in that.  If you'd like to balance things out with polling commissioned by a pro-independence outlet and which asks the questions we want to see asked, one way of doing that would be to help Scot Goes Pop's fundraising drive - see details below.

Direct payments via Paypal - my Paypal email address is:   jkellysta@yahoo.co.uk

Scot Goes Pop General Fundraiser 

Scot Goes Pop Polling Fundraiser 

If you prefer a bank transfer, please message me for details using the contact email address which can be found in the sidebar of the blog (desktop version only), or on my Twitter profile.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

We stand on the brink of a glorious new Elizabethan age as Scots come together in unison to say...IN LIZ WE TRUSS

Result of today's ballot:

Rishi Sunak 118
Penny Mordaunt 92
Liz Truss 86
Kemi Badenoch 59

There have been a number of unexpected twists in this race - including today, with it being very hard to understand how the redispersal of Tom Tugendhat's votes led to the gap between Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss somehow narrowing further.  So perhaps I shouldn't say anything with too much certainty, but it's now very hard to see how Mordaunt isn't going to be overtaken by Truss tomorrow, thus eliminating her from the contest.  It's probably true that Badenoch's support was a more complex coalition than it's generally been portrayed as, so her votes won't go uniformly to Truss, but they don't have to - Truss just needs the lion's share, and she'll probably get that. 

In theory, Sunak could save Mordaunt's bacon by 'lending' her some votes if he calculates that she's now a more beatable candidate in the run-off than Truss.  We've seen shenanigans of that sort in past Tory leadership contests (most notably in 2001 to squeeze out Michael Portillo), but it's a dangerous game to play.

If, as is now generally expected, the run-off is Sunak v Truss, the polling currently suggests Truss will win with a bit to spare.  It's tempting to assume Tory members would come to their senses over the course of the campaign and realise that Sunak is the more voter-friendly candidate, but they didn't come to their senses about Iain Duncan Smith in similar circumstances two decades ago.  A Truss premiership would be the ideal outcome for the Scottish independence movement - I don't think we could ever have dreamed that the Tories would follow up Boris Johnson with someone equally as perfect.

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We've already seen since Nicola Sturgeon's announcement that the overwhelmingly unionist mainstream media are attempting a 'shock and awe' campaign to try to kill off independence - and the misuse of polling is playing a key part in that.  If you'd like to balance things out with polling commissioned by a pro-independence outlet and which asks the questions we want to see asked, one way of doing that would be to help Scot Goes Pop's fundraising drive - see details below.

Direct payments via Paypal - my Paypal email address is:   jkellysta@yahoo.co.uk

Scot Goes Pop General Fundraiser 

Scot Goes Pop Polling Fundraiser 

If you prefer a bank transfer, please message me for details using the contact email address which can be found in the sidebar of the blog (desktop version only), or on my Twitter profile.

Tory right-wingers have reached their decision day

We're not going to find out the identity of the next Prime Minister today, but we have finally reached a genuine crunch-point in the race, because the Tory right will have to decide once and for all who their standard bearer is going into tomorrow's final ballot of MPs.  There's no realistic way that both Kemi Badenoch and Liz Truss can make it through - it has to be one or the other, and judging from yesterday's result, right-wing MPs just can't make up their minds.

Result of yesterday's ballot:

Rishi Sunak 115
Penny Mordaunt 82
Liz Truss 71
Kemi Badenoch 58
Tom Tugendhat 31

Given that Badenoch is not that far behind Truss and is clearly the more telegenic of the two, you'd think this might be the moment at which MPs take a step back and and realise they still have a golden opportunity to switch to a better path.  But Badenoch has two problems.  The candidate who has just been eliminated is Tom Tugendhat, and it's assumed that almost all his votes will go to either Penny Mordaunt or Rishi Sunak.  So Badenoch will almost certainly need a good number of direct switchers from Truss to overtake her rival - but Truss herself has some momentum behind her from yesterday, which will make it psychologically harder for her supporters to desert her.  

So I would still expect tomorrow's ballot to be contested between Sunak, Mordaunt and Truss.  The narrowed gap between Mordaunt and Truss could dramatically widen again today due to the redistribution of Tugendhat's votes, although it's hilarious that Boris Johnson has managed to reduce Mordaunt's support by one vote by removing the whip from one of her backers!  Nevertheless, the combined Mordaunt/Tugendhat vote yesterday was smaller (113) than the combined Truss/Badenoch vote (131), so it's still perfectly possible that Mordaunt will be squeezed out tomorrow.

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We've already seen since Nicola Sturgeon's announcement that the overwhelmingly unionist mainstream media are attempting a 'shock and awe' campaign to try to kill off independence - and the misuse of polling is playing a key part in that.  If you'd like to balance things out with polling commissioned by a pro-independence outlet and which asks the questions we want to see asked, one way of doing that would be to help Scot Goes Pop's fundraising drive - see details below.

Direct payments via Paypal - my Paypal email address is:   jkellysta@yahoo.co.uk

Scot Goes Pop General Fundraiser 

Scot Goes Pop Polling Fundraiser 

If you prefer a bank transfer, please message me for details using the contact email address which can be found in the sidebar of the blog (desktop version only), or on my Twitter profile.

A Supreme Skirmish

I'm slightly concerned to see it being claimed that the Scottish Government have won a "major victory" in their legal tussle with London over an independence referendum.  First of all, it's not a major victory, it's just the outcome of a preliminary skirmish. But more to the point is that legal rulings should never be how we define victory or defeat.  If we celebrate and bestow importance upon the Supreme Court rejecting London's call for the Lord Advocate's referral to not even be considered, we would logically have to bestow even greater importance on London eventually winning the substantive case, which remains likely.  That's not what should matter to us.  We're looking to win a mandate for independence from the Scottish people, not from a handful of conservative judges hundreds of miles away.

That said, the Supreme Court's decision is a relief.  If it had gone the other way, the impression would have been that Nicola Sturgeon's strategy had already failed, because she clearly wanted the theatrics of a televised court defeat to justify moving on to a plebiscite election.  With the Supreme Court refusing to even adjudicate on whether a referendum is legal, she would have been left with an embarrassing choice between just two options - either a) hurriedly replace the Lord Advocate with someone willing to certify the Referendum Bill as legal, or b) declare that the Supreme Court refusing to make a decision is identical to them striking down a referendum, and proceed with a plebiscite election anyway.  I presume she would have plumped for the latter, but her reasoning would have rung a bit hollow.

I'm more than happy to criticise Ms Sturgeon when it's justified, but I do think it's a tad unfair to criticise her for throwing away the chance of a consultative referendum by allowing the Supreme Court to set a precedent by ruling that such a referendum can only be held with Westminster's permission.  The reality is that there's no way of attempting to hold a referendum without risking the Supreme Court striking it down and setting a nasty precedent.  This moment was always going to have to arrive - it couldn't be averted, unless we had jumped straight to a plebiscite election.  Admittedly, it would have been preferable for the Scottish Government to pass referendum legislation and then wait for it be challenged, rather than effectively challenge their own law.  But the outcome would almost certainly have been identical - remember that the Supreme Court had no qualms about striking down legislation that had already been passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament.

In any case, I'm not sure we should be scared of a legal precedent that essentially renders any future independence referendum impossible, because that would put an end once and for all to "once in a generation".  We would then revert to the pre-1999 position of seeking an outright mandate for independence via a scheduled election - and there's never longer than five years to wait for the next scheduled election.

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We've already seen since Nicola Sturgeon's announcement that the overwhelmingly unionist mainstream media are attempting a 'shock and awe' campaign to try to kill off independence - and the misuse of polling is playing a key part in that.  If you'd like to balance things out with polling commissioned by a pro-independence outlet and which asks the questions we want to see asked, one way of doing that would be to help Scot Goes Pop's fundraising drive - see details below.

Direct payments via Paypal - my Paypal email address is:   jkellysta@yahoo.co.uk

Scot Goes Pop General Fundraiser 

Scot Goes Pop Polling Fundraiser 

If you prefer a bank transfer, please message me for details using the contact email address which can be found in the sidebar of the blog (desktop version only), or on my Twitter profile.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

In Liz we Truss-t: new leadership poll confirms Tory members are from another planet

Penny Mordaunt performed poorly in the Tory leadership debate on Channel Four two nights ago, so it's no surprise to see her support dip in the new ConservativeHome survey.  But what makes no sense whatsoever is that one of the two main beneficiaries of Mordaunt's flop is Liz Truss, who by general consensus performed even worse than Mordaunt in the debate and indeed was probably the most dire of the five candidates.  When the membership of a party are seeing and hearing things so differently from everyone else, it suggests they may not be ideally placed to select a general election winner, and I'm sure most of us will agree that a Truss premiership would be like Christmas for the Scottish independence movement.

In fairness, Truss is not quite the biggest gainer in the survey - Kemi Badenoch has stormed to the top of the rankings.  That's a bit peculiar too, though.  She didn't embarrass herself in the debate, but she didn't come across as someone who was ready to be Prime Minister either.  And her surge may not actually matter all that much, because Tory members will only get a chance to choose her if she's one of the two candidates put forward by MPs, and for that to happen she'd have to overtake both Mordaunt and Truss over the next couple of days.  The big gains for Truss in the survey mean there will be no great incentive for the backers Truss already has to switch to Badenoch.

ConservativeHome leadership survey of Conservative members:

Kemi Badenoch 31% (+12)
Liz Truss 20% (+9)
Penny Mordaunt 18% (-2)
Rishi Sunak 17% (+5)
Tom Tugendhat 10% (+3)

I said the other day "I think Penny Mordaunt is the next Prime Minister".  Obviously I now have to row back from that level of certainty, but nevertheless I think it can be credibly argued that Mordaunt should still be considered just about the favourite, because there's a high probability of a Sunak v Mordaunt run-off, and the members clearly aren't at all keen on Sunak.  But, yes, it has to be said that there's now a non-trivial chance that Liz Truss will be Prime Minister within a few weeks, and that's tremendously exciting for all of us.

*  *  *

We've already seen since Nicola Sturgeon's announcement that the overwhelmingly unionist mainstream media are attempting a 'shock and awe' campaign to try to kill off independence - and the misuse of polling is playing a key part in that.  If you'd like to balance things out with polling commissioned by a pro-independence outlet and which asks the questions we want to see asked, one way of doing that would be to help Scot Goes Pop's fundraising drive - see details below.

Direct payments via Paypal - my Paypal email address is:   jkellysta@yahoo.co.uk

Scot Goes Pop General Fundraiser 

Scot Goes Pop Polling Fundraiser 

If you prefer a bank transfer, please message me for details using the contact email address which can be found in the sidebar of the blog (desktop version only), or on my Twitter profile.