Thursday, May 8, 2014

This one will make your head hurt

There's one advantage of Scotland being an independent country that isn't even up for debate - we'd have more seats in the European Parliament than we have as part of the UK. We currently have six, whereas independent countries of a similar size (Denmark, Finland and Slovakia) have thirteen. So surely having thirteen seats is better than having six? WRONG, say Scottish Labour in a leaflet I received the other day. See if you can make sense of this gibberish -

"Q. How does Labour make sure Scotland's voice is heard?

A. Smaller countries have much less clout but because we are part of the UK we have a voting block of 73 MEPs, and, along with 4 other countries out of 28, we make up half of all MEPs."

So Labour's explanation seems to be that MEPs representing English electoral areas (including UKIP and BNP members) are somehow representing Scotland as well, and not only that, but they're doing it as "a block". And it gets even better - the reference to "4 other countries" suggests that MEPs from France, Italy, Germany and Spain are also very kindly representing Scotland as "a block". This presumably includes French National Front MEPs. So by the end of one short sentence, we find that with just six MEPs Scotland in fact controls half of the entire European Parliament.

Crikey. No wonder Labour are so obsessed with the Union - we certainly won't see miracles like that after independence.


  1. Due to the almost total lack of published full-sample surveys of Westminster voting intention, people interested in Scottish politics have had to satisfy themselves with:

    a) the two big Lord Ashcroft Scottish polls last year, which are becoming ridiculously out of date
    b) the monthly YouGov aggregates, with their fatally-flawed weightings
    c) sub-samples of GB-wide polls, with their tiny sample sizes and lack of weightings

    An unsatisfactory situation all round. The political parties are of course measuring Scottish Westminster VI constantly, but we ordinary folks very rarely get a glimpse.

    Then, last month, a cheer went up! Populus joined YouGov in publishing monthly aggregates (for the Financial Times). Now we could see just how silly those YouGov weightings really were.

    Here is today's bang up-to-date Populus aggregate. The Scottish sub-sample size is 1,589

    (+/- change on last month's Populus aggregate)

    SNP 34% (n/c)
    Lab 32% (-2)
    Con 19% (+1)
    LD 7% (n/c)
    UKIP 4% (+1)
    Grn 3% (+1)

    (The headline, published VI figures are at Table 4, Page 36)

  2. Even more distressingly, they don't know how to spell "bloc".

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