Wednesday, September 22, 2021

No matter how much time passes, we always seem to be "just one more election victory away" from holding an independence referendum

Do you remember back in 2018 or early 2019, when the bulk of us in the independence movement were still giving the SNP leadership the benefit of the doubt in relation to their assurances that an independence referendum had merely been delayed slightly and would still take place before Brexit? Journalists and certain academics used to treat us as hopelessly naive, and would say that "everyone knows privately" ("everyone" being code for the political elite and their journalistic chums) that talk of a referendum in the foreseeable future was just for show, and that the real battle to decide whether a referendum took place would come in the form of the 2021 Holyrood election.

Now, it's easy to say in retrospect that those people were right about our naivety in taking the SNP leadership at their word, but here's the thing: if they had also been right about the 2021 election being the true moment of reckoning, they would now be saying "the SNP won decisively, it's over, a referendum is happening".  But they're not doing that, are they?  Take a look at this quote from a new newspaper article (it appears to be from The Times) which is suddenly talking about the 2024 Westminster general election in exactly the same way that the 2021 Holyrood election was previously talked about - as the decisive electoral event.

"The next general election is seen as key to the prospects of a second referendum.  If the SNP increases its number of MPs, which at present stands at 45...further pressure would be placed on the prime minister to agree to re-run the 2014 vote."

Are you beginning to see how this works?  Every time an election billed as "the big one" takes place, it magically turns out afterwards not to have been particularly important after all, but oh my God, the next election, just you wait, that'll be the one to make civilisations tremble.  

If by some miracle we actually improve on the 81% of Scottish seats we won in the 2019 general election - a ridiculously tough target that we shouldn't be setting for ourselves, and that nobody should be setting for us if they have a democratic bone in their body - we'll then be told that the SNP need to win an overall majority in the 2026 Holyrood election, and Boris Johnson will be sure to buckle under the pressure at that point.  And then if the SNP win that majority, hey presto, it'll turn out that they also need to make yet more gains in the 2029 Westminster election - which by that point may mean winning more constituencies than actually exist.

I've no idea if this is an intentional con-trick on the part of the SNP leadership to keep us distracted while they get on with staying in power and delivering the stuff they really care about (like GRA reform), or whether it's a sign that they lack confidence in themselves and are too nervous to bring matters to a head.  But either way, we need to break out of this endless cycle of passivity.  We have an immaculate mandate to hold a referendum, and we must use that mandate before the next general election even takes place.  It's as simple as that.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Update for anyone lodging a complaint about the Daily Record's lies

A reader has just emailed me.  He had complained to the press regulator IPSO this morning about the Daily Record's blatant lie that the new Redfield & Wilton poll shows a "drop in support for independence" (in fact the result is literally identical to the previous poll).  IPSO wrote back to him requesting supporting evidence within seven days about the results of the poll and how they show no change.  Just in case anyone else finds themselves in the same position, I'll copy and paste my reply - 

Hi ******,

Thanks for your message.  I presume that in order to have made the complaint, you must have provided the link to the Daily Record article, which itself includes the figures IPSO are requesting.  However, just in case, here is the Record link -


The poll was commissioned by Politico, whose write-up also includes the figures - 


And here is the link to the previous Redfield & Wilton poll from last month, showing identical numbers of Yes 44%, No 47% - 

https://redfieldandwiltonstrategies.com/scottish-independence-referendum-voting-intention-4-5-august/

As further supporting evidence, you could also provide IPSO with the list of polls on the What Scotland Thinks website - which is run either by John Curtice or by his close colleagues. Since Professor Curtice is President of the British Polling Council, that should be considered a reliable source. It clearly shows that both the new and previous Redfield & Wilton polls had identical results -


Cheers,

James 

When I checked the Record link, I was half-expecting it to have already been taken down or corrected - they've had several hours to get it sorted, and umpteen people have pointed out the inaccuracy to them.  But nope, they're just sticking their fingers in their ears as usual.

Daily Record's credibility lies in TATTERS this morning as it falsely claims that a no change poll shows a "drop in support for independence"

Answers on a postcard, folks.  The new Redfield & Wilton poll on independence shows a literally identical result to the last one, with 44% saying they would vote Yes and 47% saying they would vote No.  (Those figures do not exclude Don't Knows.)  And yet for some inexplicable reason that is probably a mystery even to themselves, the Daily Record have decided to report the poll as a "drop in support for independence". Paul Hutcheon himself has cluelessly tweeted the inaccurate headline.

Back in the real world, the poll adds to the weight of evidence suggesting that public opinion has remained fairly static of late.  Politico, who commissioned the poll, place greatest emphasis on the finding that a narrow plurality of respondents think that a referendum shouldn't take place unless Westminster agree to it.  We seem to be caught in a vicious circle - the more the Scottish Government talk up the need for an agreed referendum, the more the public buy into that concept themselves.  That does not actually increase the likelihood of an agreed referendum, but instead produces opinion poll results that simply strengthen Westminster's hand in saying no.

This strategic naivety must be swept away.  The message must be that a referendum is taking place - it would be great to have Westminster on board, but it's taking place anyway. And the word "legal" should be expunged from the Scottish Government's lexicon.

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If you'd like to make a complaint to the press regulator IPSO over the Daily Record's blatant breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code, the online form you'll need is HERE.

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Scot Goes Popcast: You can watch the full videos of my recent interviews with Yvonne Ridley and William Duguid HERE and HERE

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Savanta ComRes poll suggests the rumours of the Alba Party's demise have been greatly exaggerated

A few years ago, I had a brief discussion on Twitter with the pollster Keiran Pedley (then with GfK NOP, now with Ipsos-Mori) about what I believed to be the unfair practice of polling firms failing to include one particular political party in the main menu of options that respondents are provided with, even though other parties of similar size are included.  He made the point that it wasn't about 'fairness' as such, but instead about what experience had shown to be the most accurate approach - if including that party in the main menu consistently led to an overestimate of their support, it was absolutely justified to exclude them. I'm not convinced it's quite as simple as that, because polls (absurdly) have a quasi-constitutional role these days - they're factored in to decisions about the airtime each party is entitled to, and they supposedly will determine whether or not Northern Ireland is allowed a referendum on its constitutional future.  When poll results are an integral part of the democratic process, it's arguable that poll methodology needs to be fair and even-handed as much as it needs to be accurate.

However, at least in the example I discussed with Mr Pedley, the pollsters were actually attempting to estimate support for the party in question.  If respondents indicated that they were planning to vote for "some other party", they were taken to a second menu of options in which the party was included.  A much greater problem occurs if respondents have no means at all of indicating their preference for a party - when all they can do is say "some other party" and it goes no further than that.  If decisions about airtime are made on the basis of such a poll, there's a gross unfairness, because no effort was made to measure the party's support.  And that, unfortunately, is the point we've reached with Panelbase polls of Holyrood voting intentions - the two that have been conducted since the election in May have not allowed respondents to express support for Alba in any form.  

I can't understand the rationale for that.  Although Alba didn't meet its own targets in May, it did secure 2% of the list vote, and for as long as any party is "troubling the scorer", so to speak, you'd think it's important to continue to know how well or badly it's doing.  Alba also of course has two Members of Parliament and a significant number of local councillors, which makes it of greater interest than most parties that receive 2% of the vote on their first outing.

All of this presents me with a bit of a dilemma, because I'm hoping to commission another Scot Goes Pop poll reasonably soon (funding permitting) and Panelbase would usually be my first choice - but I have a feeling they would want to maintain consistency by using the same question/answer format for Holyrood voting intentions in every poll they conduct, regardless of client.  However, I'll cross that bridge if and when I come to it.

On a more positive note, the Savanta ComRes poll published last Friday did include Alba as an option on the Holyrood list ballot, and 2% of respondents said they would vote for the party.  That will be a great disappointment to the Alba-haters who gloated at considerable length about the Opinium poll published the previous day which showed Alba on zero for the very first time - a result that was taken to mean that "the monster had been slayed" and that Alba could expect to receive negligible support from that point on.  The difference between the two polls is actually quite striking and hard to explain - in absolute terms, Opinium found only two Alba voters among their sample, while Savanta ComRes found seventeen.  Here are the full ComRes results...

Scottish Parliament constituency ballot:

SNP 48%
Conservatives 22%
Labour 20%
Liberal Democrats 7%

Scottish Parliament regional list ballot:

SNP 36%
Conservatives 23%
Labour 18%
Greens 13%
Liberal Democrats 7%
Alba 2%

Although that's very much in line with the results Alba were receiving during the election campaign, it's arguably a more credible finding now.  There was always a suspicion in the spring that Alba were being overestimated due to being a completely 'new entry', but now it's possible to weight respondents by their past history of actually voting for Alba.

There was also a Stack Data poll on independence last week, which seems to be the propaganda poll Gordon Brown has been wittering about.  Looking through the datasets, I'm struck by how the framers of the questions struggled to get the results they were hoping for.  In total, 53% of respondents want an independence referendum to be held by the end of 2024, and just 25% of respondents think that the passing of a decade since 2014 should be a "condition that has to be met" before holding a new referendum.  In fact, none of the proposed "conditions" managed to attract majority support.  The one that came closest was that the Scottish Government should be required to make clear which currency an independent Scotland would use - but even that was only backed by 45%. 

The most laughable "condition" suggested (which a mere 30% of respondents found reasonable) was that there should be no referendum until the UK has "had a chance to reform its own constitution to change how Westminster works and give Scotland more powers".  Forgive me for being harsh here, Gordon, but just how much more of "a chance" do you guys need?  Westminster has been in control of Scotland for the last three hundred and fourteen years, and could have reformed the constitution at any time.  You yourself, Gordon, were Prime Minister for three years between 2007 and 2010, and did practically nothing to boost devolution.

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Scot Goes Popcast: You can watch the full videos of my recent interviews with Yvonne Ridley and William Duguid HERE and HERE

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Alba NEC election outcome

I'm really honoured to say that I've been elected as one of the eight ordinary members of the Alba Party's National Executive Committee.  The successful candidates are:

Female ballot: Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, Michelle Ferns, Denise Findlay, Suzanne Blackley

Male ballot: Roddy MacLeod, Josh Robertson, James Kelly, Hamish Vernal

Congratulations to all of the above, and commiserations to the many excellent candidates who weren't elected on this occasion.  I'd like to also thank the Alba members who nominated me, and the conference delegates who voted for me at the weekend.  I really appreciate it.  

I'll do my best to be one of the voices of the rank and file membership on the NEC.  On that subject, I noticed earlier today that two people had emailed me on Saturday with specific questions, but both messages ended up in my spam folder.  I'll try to reply later tonight (although in one case the answer may not be very helpful, because I'm a bit hazy on the subject matter).

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Scot Goes Popcast: You can watch the full videos of my recent interviews with Yvonne Ridley and William Duguid HERE and HERE

Fancy putting the Express in the dock for lying about Scottish independence polling? Here's your chance...

In order to justify throwing the book at Craig Murray, the presiding judge notoriously dreamed up the novel principle that us mere bloggers must be held to a different legal standard than 'proper' journalists, on the dubious grounds that the latter are bound by codes such as the IPSO Editors' Code of Practice - a voluntary set of rules that to the best of my knowledge has no legal underpinning whatsoever.  If that's the brave new world we're now living in, it's perhaps not too much to ask that the 'proper' journalists - even ones as controversial as David Leask - should be rigorously held to the code, Clause 1 of which states "the Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images...a significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and — where appropriate — an apology published".

On Friday 10th September 2021, the Express website published an article by Dan Falvey entitled 'SNP President drops huge hint Sturgeon could backtrack on plan for referendum in two years'.  I have no idea whether it also appeared in the Express print edition, which you won't be surprised to hear I don't subscribe to - but that makes no difference because online articles also fall under the jurisdiction of both IPSO and the Editors' Code.  The article contained a blatantly inaccurate claim about Scottish independence polling, and yet four days later it still has not been corrected and no apology has been issued.  

Falvey ludicrously ignored the genuine polling evidence that had been published on Thursday and Friday by Opinium and ComRes showing a very even split in public opinion - Opinium had Yes ahead by 51-49, while ComRes had No ahead by 52-48.  Instead, he treated the propaganda poll commissioned by Scotland in Union, complete with its dodgy question about "leaving the United Kingdom", as if it was the only one that mattered.

Now, to be clear, there's no question that IPSO would let the Express get away with that part of the article - they would just mark it down as a form of "editorialising" that may have been selective with its facts, but was not strictly inaccurate.  However, there's one particular sentence in which the Express strayed into outright falsehood, and it's this: "Polls have shown a drop in support for independence over the past six months, with a "No" vote consistently now in the lead".  The words 'consistently' and 'now' preclude the possibility of a Yes lead in any current poll - and yet the Opinium poll published just one day before the article had Yes ahead.

If you have the time and patience to take on the Express through the IPSO complaints process, here's the online form you need.

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Scot Goes Popcast: You can watch the full videos of my recent interviews with Yvonne Ridley and William Duguid HERE and HERE

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Independence polling update

A couple of people asked what happened to my blogpost from last night. I realised when I woke up that it (unwittingly) contained misleading information, and I didn't have enough time to edit it, so I just took it down. Alas, the Stack Data poll turned out to show the complete opposite of what I thought - I was led astray by the unconventional way it was presented in a tweet. It in fact showed a 52-48 lead for No, which is a 2% swing to No since the last poll from the same firm. Today's new Panelbase poll also seems to show a 52-48 No advantage, which is unchanged from the previous Panelbase poll. 

Bear in mind that both the ComRes poll and the Opinium poll showed a 1% swing to Yes, so put all of the information from the last few days together and it looks essentially like a no change picture. 

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The most significant part of Alex Salmond's widely-acclaimed speech at the Alba conference was the announcement that Robin McAlpine will be penning the 'Wee Alba Book'. That's a huge coup that will surely win the party some new-found credibility with at least parts of the radical left. The oft-heard charge from the SNP and Green trendies that Alba is "conservative" or "right-wing" looks ever more absurd. In fact it looks barking mad.

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Scot Goes Popcast: You can watch the full videos of my recent interviews with Yvonne Ridley and William Duguid HERE and HERE

Friday, September 10, 2021

Vote James Kelly #1 for the Alba Party's NEC this weekend: here's my mini-manifesto

If you're an Alba member and have registered for the inaugural annual conference, which takes place tomorrow and Sunday, you'll be able to vote online in the ballots for the female and male ordinary members of the National Executive Committee.  I'll be a candidate on the male ballot, along with fifteen other excellent candidates, so welcome along to my little pitch for you to give me, James Kelly, your first preference vote.  (The ballot is being conducted by Single Transferable Vote, which means you'll be ranking the candidates in order of preference.  If for some inexplicable reason you decide not to give me your first preference, I'd be equally grateful for your second preference, or your third preference, or any preference at all, really.)


A lot of the things I believe in would be quite radical and daring if I was standing for the SNP's NEC, but are very much mainstream views within Alba.  Nevertheless, they're still worth emphasising because we've all seen how quickly parties can lose touch with their founding values if members are not vigilant.  I support maximum internal democracy within the Alba Party, and transparency of all decision-making processes.  Alba is already superior to the SNP in that the main office bearer positions are directly elected by the whole membership.  When the NEC nominations began, a couple of people wrote to me to express their disquiet that this election was only open to conference delegates and not to all members, and I do have sympathy with that view - I see no reason why all positions shouldn't be elected by the members.  However, at this stage we probably should look at where we are in a glass half full sort of way.

Freedom of speech and freedom to dissent are also vitally important.  Every political party, large or small, is a coalition of views - we'll all agree on most things, but I doubt if there's anyone who will agree with absolutely every dot and comma of the policy programme decided by the majority.  I never, ever want to see a Joanna Cherry-style scenario arise within Alba whereby someone is sidelined, ostracised or treated as a "bigot" simply because they have a principled disagreement with one particular policy.

Which brings me onto the subject of disciplinary proceedings.  Every party needs to have rules and to enforce them, but that enforcement must be fair.  I would always err on the side of giving people the benefit of the doubt if the alleged wrongdoing is open to differing interpretations (as it was, for example, in the case of Neale Hanvey when he was suspended by the SNP). Nobody should be bounced into enforced "resignations".  And certainly if there's to be any question of expulsions, there should be genuine, objective proof of wrongdoing. My concern is that it's far too easy for the disciplinary process to be used as a weapon by one faction of a party against another faction - something that has undoubtedly been happening in both the SNP and Labour.

I believe that Alba is a different sort of political party in that it exists to bring about the sovereign independence of Scotland at the earliest possible opportunity and date.  You have my assurance that if I'm elected to the NEC, and if there's ever any conflict between what might be perceived as the interests of the party and the interests of the wider cause of independence, I would always choose the latter.  To give an example, it's vitally important that Alba candidates at next year's local elections urge voters to give their lower preferences to other pro-independence parties.  That will perhaps be a painful thing to do given how disparaging and often downright abusive many within the SNP and Greens have been towards Alba, but we're here to win our country's independence, not to settle old scores.

In my view there is no future for Alba as an "ethnic" Scottish party, a kind of tartan UKIP.  We must hold true to the progressive ideal of what it means to be Scottish - namely that if you choose to make this country your home, no matter where you come from or when you arrived, you belong here and you have the same rights as any other citizen, including the right to vote in a second independence referendum.  That's strategically wise as well as morally right, because many EU citizens have swung behind Yes as a result of Brexit.

I know some Alba members believe that independence will only come about if and when Alba does to the SNP what Sinn Féin did to the Irish Parliamentary Party in the 1918 general election, by taking over as the majority party. It may yet come to that, but the irony is that if it does, it'll be a sign of our own failure - because Plan A has to be to win independence before there is even any opportunity for the SNP to be displaced, in other words before the 2026 Holyrood election.  That means independence will have to be delivered by an SNP-led government, and Alba's role will be to challenge and harry the SNP into keeping their promises.  I think a good benchmark of whether we're doing that job well enough will be if Alba looks like a credible home for any SNP MSP who might be tempted to defect next year or the year after - because above all else, it's the threat of defections that may help to keep the SNP leadership honest.  To do that, we don't need to be at 40% in the polls, but we may need to be at 5% in the polls and to have some council candidates elected next year.  That may sound like a modest target, but it's actually an ambitious target that will require a great deal of work to achieve.

The fact that we're initially aiming for a relatively small share of the vote, though, has certain side-benefits  - it means we can be more daring in policy terms, because we're trying to win over a niche group of radical independence supporters, rather than trying to reassure vast swathes of Middle Scotland in the way that the SNP or the next Yes campaign will have to do.  When the SNP finally turned its back on its long-standing opposition to NATO membership, it did so partly because Alyn Smith claimed that the policy was making us look a bit "odd" (ahem).  Alba need have no such concerns, because principled opposition to NATO will differentiate us from the SNP and help to win new converts.  We may also be able to take a more radical stance on the monarchy.  I've actually always been - theoretically - in favour of an elected Head of State, but until now I've regarded that as a matter that can wait until after independence.

One thing I feel very strongly about is that nuclear weapons will have to be removed from an independent Scotland as soon as practicably possible.  They're not a bargaining chip, they simply have to go.

I share the concerns about the threat to women-only spaces and services, and indeed to women's sport, caused by the ideologically-driven rush to reform the GRA.  As many of you know, I fundraised during the summer to commission a Scot Goes Pop poll to discover how the Scottish public really feel about GRA reform and related matters.  Although not as much has been raised so far as would be needed to commission the ideal type of poll, I'll make sure it happens one way or another.

I strongly agree that Alba should be at the forefront of pressing the Scottish Government to make a decisive break from the Westminster-led 'Four Nations' approach to tackling Covid, which has led this country into calamity again and again and again.

And now a little bit about me, for those of you who don't know...

I've been writing Scot Goes Pop since 2008, and by 2013 it had become one of Scotland's most popular pro-independence blogs.  In 2012 I became a columnist for the International Business Times, and in the run-up to the independence referendum many of my columns were syndicated on Yahoo, reaching a huge audience - meaning that I may well have been, almost by accident, the most-read pro-indy blogger during the indyref period.  Later on, I was for a time a columnist on the TalkRadio website, and since 2017 I've been a regular columnist for iScot magazine.  I've also provided occasional election and poll analysis for The National since early 2015.

I've made numerous appearances on TV and radio, including BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio Five Live, the Bauer radio network, Al Jazeera, Radio Sputnik and most recently the Alex Salmond Show on RT.  I've also taken part in a huge number of New Media podcasts, films and live-streams.  Perhaps most significantly, though, I've commissioned no fewer than five full-scale Scottish opinion polls - something that is usually the preserve of the mainstream media.  Some of the polls have been genuine landmarks - for example, the poll in June 2020 that marked the start of the long unbroken series of Yes-majority polls was a Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll.

I'm not, however, a political insider.  I've never been particularly active within a political party, and that, I think, may mean I'd bring a different sort of perspective to the NEC than someone who is steeped in SNP internal politics. (Don't get me wrong, though - there's also plenty of room for that kind of experience on the NEC.)

I'd suggest a possible advantage of electing me is that there aren't going to be any surprises about my political views.  Over the years, I must have blogged about practically every political topic under the sun, so my opinions are all out there.  Most of you know me well and you know exactly what you'd be getting.  I'm also easy to reach - I'm very active on social media.  (That mostly means Twitter rather than Facebook, for the avoidance of doubt - it's not unusual for me not to check my Facebook account for weeks, which has led now and again to sheepish apologies to people who have messaged me in the interim.)

If any or all of this strikes a chord, and if you're eligible to vote, please do consider giving your first preference vote to James Kelly (that's me!) on the male ballot for ordinary members of the Alba Party NEC.  The voting hours will, as far as I know, be between 12pm on Saturday and 5pm on Sunday.  Thank you.

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Scot Goes Popcast: You can watch the full videos of my recent interviews with Yvonne Ridley and William Duguid HERE and HERE

Alba NEC nominations update, and analysis piece in The National

So a couple of things.  First of all, my sincere thanks to all Alba members who nominated me for one of the male places on the party's National Executive Committee.  I reached the required threshold, so I'll be on the ballot over the weekend.  Anyone who is registered for the conference will be entitled to vote between 12pm tomorrow and 5pm on Sunday, and it looks like it'll be an online vote conducted by STV (so voters rank the candidates in order of preference). 

One of the reasons I gave for putting myself forward was to give delegates the widest possible choice, and that's certainly how it's worked out - there are thirty candidates altogether, fourteen on the female ballot, and sixteen on the male ballot.  So actually getting elected will be a very tall order, but rest assured I'll be giving it my best shot anyway with some shameless self-promotion (and a mini-'manifesto') later today or tomorrow morning!

Secondly, I have an analysis piece in The National about yesterday's remarkable Opinium poll showing an outright pro-independence majority.  You can read it HERE.

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Scot Goes Popcast: You can watch the full videos of my recent interviews with Yvonne Ridley and William Duguid HERE and HERE

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Breakthrough: Sky News poll is first since the spring to show an outright pro-independence majority

Opinium / Sky News poll:

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 51% (+1)
No 49% (-1)

I can't help but raise a wry smile at Sky News reporting their own poll as "Scotland remains evenly split" - that's technically accurate because a 1% increase could very well just be margin of error noise, but I don't seem to recall that being the interpretation when No moved into a slight lead early this year.

It's important to stress that until today there had only been four polls on independence since the Holyrood election.  One of those was a dead heat and the other two showed reasonably narrow No leads.  It may be that if there had been a larger number of polls over the last few months, we'd have seen the occasional Yes lead as a natural result of clustering around the 50/50 mark.  So today's poll isn't necessarily evidence of a swing back to Yes - but the good news is that it may be evidence that things have been better than they've looked all along.  I suspect we may have been led astray by ComRes polls in particular, which seem to have displayed a No-friendly house effect in recent months (which is ironic, because at the turn of the year ComRes looked like a Yes-friendly firm).  If you strip out ComRes from the list of this year's polls, there's very little sign of No opening up a substantial lead at any point - it's remained pretty tight for the most part.

You'd need to have a heart of stone not to laugh at Scotland in Union's unfortunate timing.  It was only this morning that they published a propaganda poll purporting to show that Scots don't want to "leave the United Kingdom" and are opposed to a second indyref.  Within just hours, a bona fide poll commissioned by a mainstream media outlet has shown a pro-indy majority, and a plurality (albeit a narrow one) in favour of holding an independence referendum within the next five years.

I suspect the unionist parties will be reeling with disbelief at the party political voting intention numbers, which suggest that the SNP's "honeymoon" is still ongoing after fourteen-and-a-half years, and arguably point to a whole new honeymoon that started after the May election.

Scottish voting intentions for the next UK general election:

SNP 51% (+4)
Conservatives 21% (-4)
Labour 17% (-3)
Liberal Democrats 5% (-1)

Seats projection (with changes since 2019 election in brackets): SNP 57 (+9), Conservatives 1 (-5), Labour 1 (-), Liberal Democrats 0 (-4)

Scottish Parliament constituency ballot voting intentions:

SNP 51%
Conservatives 21%
Labour 18%
Liberal Democrats 6%

Scottish Parliament regional list ballot voting intentions:

SNP 40%
Conservatives 21%
Labour 16%
Greens 8%
Liberal Democrats 5%
Alba 0%

Seats projection (with changes from 2021 election in brackets): SNP 65 (+1), Conservatives 28 (-3), Labour 21 (-1), Greens 10 (+2), Liberal Democrats 5 (+1)

Although Alba have been rounded down to zero on this occasion (as far as I can recall the first time that's happened in any poll), I know party members will be relieved they were at least offered to respondents as an option - which strangely wasn't the case in the most recent Panelbase poll.  Two respondents did say they'd vote Alba, but the result perhaps isn't so surprising when you bear in mind how starved the party has been of media attention recently.

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Scot Goes Popcast: You can watch the full videos of my recent interviews with Yvonne Ridley and William Duguid HERE and HERE