Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Bombshell poll from Redfield & Wilton shows support for holding an independence referendum IN THE NEXT YEAR

There doesn't seem to have been a full-scale Scottish poll on independence for over a month - OK, it's summer, but I wouldn't be surprised if such polls continue to be thin on the ground for the rest of 2021, unless the SNP start injecting some urgency.  However what we do have, weirdly, is a Britain-wide poll on the subject - the rough equivalent of a Europe-wide poll on whether Brexit is a good idea and whether it should have been 'allowed' to happen.

Redfield & Wilton Strategies found 29% of the GB public in favour of independence, and 33% opposed to it - roughly a 47-53 split with neutrals stripped out.  Far more interesting is of course the Scottish subsample, which shows 40% in favour and 41% opposed - essentially a dead heat, which is better than the last couple of full-scale Scottish polls, although the small size of a subsample means the findings are much less reliable.

One unusual feature of the poll is that there are figures for people who identify as Scottish, irrespective of where in Britain they live.  These should provide a warning for Tories and unionist commentators hankering after a blood-and-soil franchise for the next indyref, because Scottish identifiers are much more strongly supportive of independence and an early independence referendum than other groups.  53% want a referendum in the next year and 35% don't.  However, even among the actual indyref franchise (people who live in Scotland regardless of their national identity), there is a plurality in favour of a referendum in the next year, working out at roughly 52% in favour when neutrals are removed.  That rather helpfully gives the lie to Councillor Hunter's provocative comments of the other day.

Incidentally, the supposedly poor personal ratings for Nicola Sturgeon commented upon recently appear to come from another GB-wide Redfield & Wilton poll, so can essentially be disregarded.

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Scot Goes Pop poll fundraising update:  We're kind of in no-man's-land at present - a substantial amount of money has been raised, but we're still quite a way short of where we'll need to be to make a full-scale poll happen.  I know some will say I shouldn't have used the Scot Goes Pop general fundraiser to seek the funds, because that makes it harder for people to keep track of how much has specifically been raised for the poll, but there would also have been substantial downsides to running two different fundraisers simultaneously.  Rest assured I'm not going to leave the job half-done, the poll will definitely happen sooner or later, it's just a question of when.  If you haven't donated yet and would like to speed things up, please click HERE.  To give you a rough idea, the £5500 required for the type of poll we've run in the past will have been raised when the running total on the general fundraiser is a little above £13,000.  For a cheaper option (which may be more realistic at this stage), the running total will have to be slightly in excess of £11,000 at an absolute minimum.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Scot Goes Pop essay-writing competition

As a number of you have spotted, there's been a little flurry of below the line comments on another pro-indy blog attacking me and Scot Goes Pop.  The trigger for it was a lengthy comment from an individual who was formerly a prolific commenter here.  It contains a number of lies (I was going to call them "half-truths", but let's call a spade a spade - they're fully intended to mislead).  However, I'm not particularly worried about that - most people have long since clocked that he's a longwinded blagger who frequently contradicts himself.  What puzzles me more are some of the comments from others - for example, this one from "Tatu3"...

"Glad to see you here. I used to enjoy reading your comments on the other site, but gave up reading him just before the election when he sadly turned against the SNP and, I believe, independence."

It's debatable whether it can be reasonably said that I "turned against the SNP", given that I voted SNP on the constituency ballot in May and strongly urged my readers to do the same - even though that meant parting company with one or two other pro-Alba bloggers who advocated a more irresponsible course. But the idea that I've turned against independence is just bonkers beyond all belief.  The whole point of backing Alba was to press for greater urgency on independence, and indeed just for any movement towards independence at all.

Presumably what this is about is a conflation of the independence cause with the SNP - if you give anything less than wholehearted support to the latter, you must be attacking the former, even though there's considerable doubt over whether the SNP are actually serious about pursuing independence in the coming parliamentary term.  However, if someone can come up with a more rational justification for the claim that "Scot Goes Pop has turned against independence", I'm all ears.  I'm happy to receive submissions of 500 word essays on the subject - the best will be published (with a response from me, needless to say!).  Overly imaginative winter sport enthusiasts who think I'm an agent of the British state need not apply.

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I'm still fundraising via the Scot Goes Pop general fundraiser for a comprehensive poll on GRA reform - if you'd like to help make the poll happen, please click HERE.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Spot the mystery location as I continue fundraising for a GRA / gender issues opinion poll

 For convenience (at least for the time being) I'm fundraising for the GRA poll via the Scot Goes Pop general fundraiser for 2021 - everything donated over the coming period will go towards the poll.  To commission a poll in a similar way to most of the previous ones I've done would require around £5500 - that takes into account processing fees.  To give you a rough idea, the running total on the general fundraiser prior to me seeking funds for the poll was below £8000, so the earmarked £5500 will have been raised when the running total reaches a little over £13,000.  More realistically, I could shop around for a cheaper option and limit the number of questions, but even to do that the running total will probably have to hit a minimum of £11,000.  If you'd like to donate to help make the poll happen, please click HERE.

Monday, July 19, 2021

GRA poll fundraising update: around £1700 raised so far

I did a bit of totting up, and - as of two hours ago, anyway - we've raised around £1700 for the comprehensive poll on gender issues and GRA reform.  Thank you to everyone who has donated so far.  To feel really confident about going ahead, probably £5500 would be the ideal figure - that's based on prices I've been quoted in the past and takes into account fundraiser fees (GoFundMe no longer make a direct deduction, but their payment processer does still take a modest percentage).  However, if we fall anywhere between around £1000-£2000 short of that, I may still be able to make the poll happen if I shop around between firms and limit the number of questions.  Either way, though, we still have some distance to travel.  For the time being I'm still using the Scot Goes Pop general fundraiser for 2021 to raise the money - that makes it harder for people to tell how much is required, so to give you a rough idea, an earmarked £5500 for the poll will have been reached when the running total on the fundraiser stands at a little over £13,000.  But, as stated above, I may be able to go ahead with less than that.

I'm bemused by the suggestions in some quarters that an exercise in testing public opinion is in itself "transphobic".  I'd suggest that reveals rather a lot about the ideology of the people who say these things, because it appears to be incompatible with free speech or tolerance of alternative views.  That, really, is my own concern in a nutshell.  I'm a bloke, I'm not steeped in gender critical feminism by any means, but nevertheless I do worry that we're hurtling into an Orwellian world where language and thought is policed by the state. (And if anyone thinks that's a hysterical exaggeration, two words for you: Marion Millar.)

As for the other objection - "what does this have to do with independence?", the obvious reply is that not everything we do has to be about independence, as the SNP government have been helpfully demonstrating in the four years since they "called an independence referendum" in 2017.  However, the reality is that GRA reform has become a considerable problem for the independence movement - it's led to a breakaway from the SNP once, it has the potential to do so again. If high-quality polling evidence can increase the pressure on the SNP leadership to dial down somewhat on the GRA issue, it would be a good step towards re-unifying the movement.

Although the fundraising drive still has a way to go, feel free to make suggestions for poll questions in the comments section below - we might as well be ready for when the funds are there.  And if you'd like to donate to make the poll happen, please click HERE.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Fundraising for a comprehensive Scottish poll on GRA reform and gender issues

A couple of days ago, a poll was published in Ireland on "attitudes to gender", covering issues such as women's right to single-sex spaces, the integrity of women's sport, the right to intimate examinations being carried out by someone of the same sex, and whether people should have the right to change the sex listed on their birth certificate.  I was asked today whether I'd be willing to crowdfund and commission a similar poll for Scotland.  I checked to see if I would have broad backing, and people like Denise Findlay said they would be happy if I went ahead, so I'll give it a whirl.

On the issue of the questions: I'd consult, but probably the simplest thing would be to use the Irish poll as a broad guide.  I don't think there's any such thing as 'completely neutral wording' for poll questions on such sensitive matters, but I'd be looking to make sure that respondents have clarity on what they're being asked, rather than using trendy buzzwords like "inclusion" and "simplification of the process" which can lead to misleading results.  However, I'd also try to avoid falling into the trap of laying the specifics on with a shovel to such an extent that the questions become obviously biased in the other direction.

A full-scale poll will cost a few thousand pounds - I can't put an exact figure on it because different firms have different prices, and it also depends on the number of questions (and sometimes also the question format).  For the last two weeks I've been using the Scot Goes Pop general fundraiser to crowdfund this blog's next poll on independence and related matters, and that raised approximately £1000.  I'll make sure that money is used in the way intended - the GRA questions are something totally different.  It may well be that a separate fundraiser will be needed to make promotion easier, but I've got a very busy day ahead, so in the meantime if you'd like to donate, once again use the Scot Goes Pop general fundraiser and anything raised over the next few days will be put towards the GRA poll.  So to donate click HERE, or for an alternative payment method click HERE.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

We need to get out of the United Kingdom because the Scottish Parliament is not safe within it

I'd heard a while back that the UK government were thinking of scrapping English Votes for English Laws (EVEL), but my reaction to the sudden news yesterday that they've actually gone ahead and done it (and without a vote, apparently) was "that's a bit casual, isn't it?"  It's the right decision in principle, but the fact that such a complete reversal was done so quickly and easily is a timely illustration of how a Tory government can simply reshape the constitution at a whim.  We need to get out of the United Kingdom because the Scottish Parliament is not safe within it.  Promises and conventions are utterly worthless, as has been demonstrated time and again over the last few years.

The main argument against EVEL was that legislation was being wrongly certified as "English-only" when in fact it had implications for the whole UK.  It may sometimes have been primarily English, but that's not the same thing.  It's quite difficult for a UK Parliament to pass laws that don't affect the whole UK to some extent, especially when there are things like Barnett consequentials to consider.

But we can safely assume democratic fairness is not the reason the UK Government have changed course - it'll be more to do with the dreadful optics of what happened on the morning after the independence referendum.  David Cameron and Gordon Brown had spent the entire campaign promising that a whole new thrilling world of enhanced devolution would open up for Scotland the moment we voted No, but instead the message was "right that's quite enough about Scotland, time to talk about England", just as soon as Scottish voters had been duped into rendering themselves powerless. People have long memories, and even if they don't remember that episode it's easy enough to remind them as soon as the next campaign gets underway.  Yesterday's tactical retreat will only repair a small amount of that damage.

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I was asked the other day if I was going to write about the recent controversy over the franchise for any future indyref.  My view is that we should stick to the principle that applied last time - ie. we should use the same franchise that applies to local government and Holyrood elections (albeit that franchise is now wider than in 2014, because it's recently been extended to cover non-EU and non-Commonwealth citizens, and also some prisoners).  That's the right thing to do as a matter of principle, because the people who have most at stake are the people who live here.  If there was such a thing as Scottish citizenship, there might be a case for also including Scottish citizens who live elsewhere, especially if they haven't been gone long.  But there is no Scottish citizenship, and it's laughable to suggest that we should create an ad hoc pseudo-citizenship for the purposes of a single vote just because the Tories think it would be helpful to bring in English-domiciled Scots who might be more likely to vote No.

On the other extreme, though, there are also pro-independence bloggers trying to come up with justifications for stripping Scottish residents of their right to vote because they originally come from England and would be probable No voters.  Apart from the anti-democratic nature of this proposal, I'd suggest it's extremely naive from a strategic point of view.  In the unlikely event that a referendum occurs via an agreed Section 30 process, we won't be able to rig the franchise.  If we go ahead with a unilateral vote (as we should), we can choose any franchise we like, but drawing a circle around likely Yes voters and excluding everyone else will simply lead to the result being safely disregarded, both by the London government and the international community.  Any vote that isn't scrupulously democratic will be a monumental waste of time.

It's also worth making the point that it would be very difficult to devise a rule for excluding English people in Scotland that wouldn't also exclude a lot of EU citizens - and the latter would probably vote overwhelmingly Yes in the hope of Scotland rejoining the EU.

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Donations made to the Scot Goes Pop general fundraiser until the end of this week will be put towards our next opinion poll.  If you'd like to donate, please click HERE.

Monday, July 12, 2021

The BBC clearly wanted an all-English panel for an "English event" last night - but note how different logic conveniently applied to its coverage of Glasgow 2014

I had a quick look at the betting markets at half-time last night, and at that point England were the equivalent of an 80% chance to win the trophy.  So just for an hour or so we were in totally uncharted territory.  Both Scotland and the UK have changed radically since 1966, and the dynamic of an English win in a major championship would have been totally different from that sole previous occurrence.  I've never subscribed to the view that the insufferable triumphalism that followed would necessarily have driven people towards independence, but the theory would certainly have been well and truly put to the test.  We could already see the signs of both the London media and political class over-reaching themselves massively by insisting that the England team's run was somehow a success for the whole United Kingdom and that the whole United Kingdom must be at one in celebrating it.  (A notable example was breakfast TV presenter Susanna Reid, who was clearly determined to believe - in defiance of all evidence - that the idea that a large number of Scots were supporting Italy was a wicked myth.  Britain is required to be one big happy family, apparently, and that's an end to the matter.)  Essentially it was an attempted erasure of Scotland's existence, and I'm not sure the population at large is quite as willing to tolerate that now as they were 55 years ago.

None of this would be an issue, of course, if Scotland had its own broadcast media.  Stuart Cosgrove suggested yesterday that Scotland was the only one of the 24 countries in Euro 2020 that didn't have its own homegrown TV coverage of the competition.  Initially I thought he must be wrong about that, because Wales was also one of those 24 countries, but perhaps he was thinking of S4C's limited Welsh language coverage.  Either way, apart from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, there was no country in Europe last night that was forced to watch the game through an English prism, with presenters and commentators alike talking at viewers as if they actually are English themselves.  I was particularly struck by Jurgen Klinsmann's demotion from the main BBC panel of pundits, even though there would have been obvious value in having insight from someone who had actually lifted the trophy in 1996.  It seemed that the BBC's logic was that this was an English event - it was taking place in London with the England team involved, and therefore there had to be an all-English team in front of the cameras.

But here's the thing: by the same logic, the 2014 Commonwealth Games was a Scottish event. Glasgow was not hosting it as a British city - Scotland is an entirely separate nation in Commonwealth Games terms, with its own participating team. Not only did the BBC not allow a Scottish presentation team to front their coverage for all UK viewers, they didn't even allow that to happen for Scottish viewers. Gary Lineker was one of the presenters, and I remember him reacting derisively when people asked where the Scottish presenters were, as if that was a ludicrously narrow-minded question to ask.  It cuts both ways, Gary: where were the non-English voices last night?

Actually it was worse than that - the BBC's coverage of Glasgow 2014 was a politicised disgrace.  It was just a few weeks before the indyref and everything was very deliberately 'Britished' for viewers.  The distinction between the various Home Nation teams was presented as a bit silly and artificial, with all the events functioning as a kind of training exercise for the glorious Team GB assault on the 2016 Olympics.  There was even a preview of the Olympics, and not once was it even mentioned that the participation of Team GB was contingent upon the referendum result. A No vote and business as usual for Team GB was just assumed.

The London broadcasters are institutionally incapable of serving Scottish audiences adequately, let alone properly.  Tinkering around the edges will never make any difference - the only thing that will cut it is the full transfer of legislative powers over broadcasting to the Scottish Parliament.  If you agree, and if you haven't signed our petition yet, you can do so HERE.  Please also share it with your family, friends, and anyone else who you think might be interested in signing.

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Donations made to the Scot Goes Pop general fundraiser until the end of this week will be put towards our next opinion poll.  If you'd like to donate, please click HERE.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

As we are all Italians today... are five classic Italian Eurovision entries to get the old patriotic juices flowing.  First up is the first ever Italian winner of the contest in 1964, Non Ho L'Età by Gigliola Cinquetti.


Non Ho L'Età translates as "I'm not old enough", which is rather appropriate, because when Italy won for a second time twenty-six long years later, Cinquetti was still slightly younger than the victorious singer Toto Cotugno. The 1990 winning song was an anthem for European unity, with the main lyric "Unite, unite Europe" sung in English. Enjoy it while you can, because it will doubtless soon be banned by the Brexit censors.


Cotugno and Cinquetti went on to host the 1991 contest together in Rome. 

Next is what in my opinion is the greatest ever Italian entry, even though it only finished 4th in 1997: Fiumi di Parole by Jalisse. This was the last time Italy participated in the contest for fourteen years.


After Italy returned to the contest in 2011, they were widely praised for the high standard of their entries. A particular favourite of mine is the 2012 song, L'Amore È Femmina by Nina Zilli, which finished 9th.


 And last but not least, the third Italian winning song from this year: Zitti e Buoni by Måneskin.


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Donations made to the Scot Goes Pop general fundraiser until the end of next week will be put towards our next opinion poll.  If you'd like to donate, please click HERE.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Sinister Euro 2020 selfies from Hampden Park

I've been meaning to post these for quite some time, and I'd probably better do it now, just in case events on Sunday evening mean we never want to think about Euro 2020 ever again (not that we'll be given a choice in the matter, of course).

One of the stories my dad used to dine out on was that he went to the World Cup final at Wembley in 1966 (I believe he wanted England to win, so "like father, like son" doesn't always hold true), and he couldn't sit down for the entire match because he'd just been inoculated against smallpox.  He showed me his programme once or twice when I was growing up - we've probably still got it somewhere, but God knows where.  

So when I heard that Scotland would be co-hosting a major tournament for the first time, I decided Euro 2020 was going to be my nearest equivalent.  It wasn't looking very promising for a long time, though - I had almost given up hope on the tickets I bought about twenty-seven years ago, but somehow I came through the automatic lottery that decided which of the original ticket-holders would still be able to go.  Naturally, then, I wanted to prove for posterity that I was actually there, so I took a truly excessive number of selfies.  I must say I didn't fully appreciate until I looked back on them how downright sinister I would look in poor lighting, wearing a mask, but who knows, this could be a whole new art-form.  (The first one is a screenshot from a video I just happened to be taking as the second Czech goal flew in.)

There's a serious point here, though.  At the very start of the pandemic, I had a ticket for the Scotland v France rugby match at Murrayfield.  I assumed the game would be cancelled, because the Irish authorities had already done the sensible thing and cancelled the Ireland v Italy match, but oh no.  That was when Jason Leitch and Catherine Calderwood were hellbent on herd immunity and actively wanted the population to be infected in an orderly manner.  Mass events like rugby matches and Stereophonics concerts were rather useful for them in that respect.  The SRU sent out emails with fatuous quotes from Calderwood about how there was going to be a "public health drive" at the game - simply meaning that people would be asked to wash their hands.  Eventually I decided I didn't want to be part of such a reckless experiment, so I stayed at home and accepted there would be no refund - and watched on the TV, to my astonishment, a game in front of a virtually full house.  Can you imagine how many people must have been infected that day, with no masks, no social distancing, and the virus raging uncontrolled?  That's perhaps why we should be a bit cynical about any pious comments made by political leaders about the likes of Margaret Ferrier.  The impact of what she did was trivial compared to the untold deaths caused by the unforgiveable irresponsibility of decisions made in February and March 2020 by our leaders, and by advisers like Leitch.

Apologies that these photos aren't all in the correct order, by the way.  See if you can work out which game is which: as David Frost used to say, "the clues are there..."

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Donations made to the Scot Goes Pop general fundraiser until the end of next week will be put towards our next opinion poll.  If you'd like to donate, please click HERE.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Scotland at a crossroads: will the SNP give up the fight against the virus, or the fight for independence, or both?

So I'd like to recommend a couple of articles to you this morning.  The first is written by someone beyond these shores, about how Britain has just become the first country in the world to surrender to Covid.  It's an absolutely excoriating piece, and reading it may permanently change how you see the situation.  All that's really missing is the ceremony on an aircraft carrier where Boris Johnson hands over the instrument of surrender to the virus.  This isn't even about a horrendous summer, autumn and winter to come - in other words, taking the hit and getting it over with.  The point made is that we're surrendering to an occupying army that will be with us for years or decades to come - Covid will now become endemic in Britain with new seasonal variants every year.  We will all catch the disease again and again and again, and in spite of the relentless propaganda from the BBC's in-house pro-virus correspondent Nick Triggle, that's a choice we're making.  There's nothing inevitable about it - other countries are choosing a radically different path.

And there's also a choice to be made here in Scotland.  SNP spokespeople at Westminster have criticised Boris Johnson's strategy, but as per usual we're not departing from it properly.  There'll be a slight delay in the lifting of restrictions, and mandatory mask-wearing will remain in place for the time being, but the bottom line is we're still ludicrously 'going back to normal' at the exact moment that cases are soaring.  We're engaging in a partial surrender rather than a total one, and that is a matter of national shame.  There is still, however, time to reverse course.

But what if we don't? That brings me on to the second recommended article - Lesley Riddoch's piece in The National stating with admirable clarity that an independence referendum must be held in 2022, otherwise we'll miss the boat for this whole parliament.  The irony is, of course, that if the SNP leadership urgently change direction and act responsibly on Covid, it would become somewhat easier for them to make the case for delaying an indyref beyond 2022.  But as I've said before, they can't have it both ways - if they stick with their current intention to join Johnson in giving up the fight against the virus and telling us "we must learn to live with it", there are no remaining excuses for giving up the fight for this country's independence.  So which is it to be, guys?

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Donations made to the Scot Goes Pop general fundraiser until the end of next week will be put towards our next opinion poll.  If you'd like to donate, please click HERE.