Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wisdom on Wednesday : It's this simple

"For too many years of my life I have lived under Westminster governments who neither I, nor the majority of Scottish people voted for, and I fail to understand how this is acceptable."

The legendary Shetland fiddler Aly Bain.


  1. "nor the majority of Scottish people voted for"

    There's not been many governments where 50% of the electorate voted them in, either in scotland or the whole of the uk. In fact, the current SNP government in holyrood didn't get 50% of the vote.

    50%+ share of the vote for a government tends to be a product of two-party politics. Is he advocating a reduction in the number of democratically-electable parties?

    When analysed as such the wisdom of this quote seems to more a reflection of a misunderstanding of percentages and the electoral system on the part of the quotee.

  2. No, Anon, it is you are who willfully failing to understand the meaning of the word "majority" in this context, and it's amazing how many otherwise decent No supporters are allowing themselves to be intellectually dishonest over this issue. If the people of England would think it was acceptable to be governed by an administration that received the kind of small minority vote that the Tories receive in Scotland, then the word "democracy" has no meaning.

    There is no realistic PR system that can guarantee that the government will have 50%+ of the vote. But there sure as hell is no PR system that would allow a govt to be elected on a Scottish Tory-style sub-20% of the vote.

  3. In that yougov, people see a No vote as measurably more divisive than a Yes.

    People on both sides will generally accept the result and work together for the best outcome

    There will be a lot of remaining bitterness towards the opposing side and the country will be left divided

    Net Scores ('accept and work together' minus 'remaining bitterness')

    Yes vote
    -11% Accept and work together

    No Vote
    -19% Accept and work together

    That's impressive for a poll which gives such poor results for Yes / the SNP / Salmond etc.

  4. Worth reposting this again on here since westminster governance and what these governments we didn't vote for have done (and indeed failed to do to help ordinary scots) is quite obviously one of the most crucial matters for scottish voters.

    Congratulations scottish_skier.

    Scottish West Coast untapped oil and gas reserves worth trillions

    Published in Oil Industry News on Wednesday, 3 September 2014

    It's going viral right now.

    We don't even need the McCrone report to tell us just how much we should trust out of touch westminster politicians and their laughable lackeys on this and every other subject.

    For those who still can't grasp the obvious, TRUST is at the very heart of this Independence Referendum and always was.

    Who do scots trust to look after the best interests of scotland and the scottish people?

    An independent scottish parliament or westminster?

    Those trapped in the westminster bubble still have no idea at all what they are dealing with. A massive Yes grass roots movement across all ages and all backgrounds utterly determined to get the truth out to their fellow scots. Ordinary scots who are actually taking their own future in their own hands and doing something about it.

    This while the No campaign dementedly shriek about Murphy's Eggpocalypse and currency. Hilariously they are producing yet more idiotic, patronising and vapid public relations posters after the PatronisingBTLady disaster.

    Wee Ginger Dug hits the nail on the head yet again with a wonderful article.

  5. No James, the word "majority" when applied to a population (the scottish people) means more than 50%, it has no context that would render that otherwise.

    You (or Ali) define by what you think he meant by "majority", and i think i can quickly show that the wrong word was used.

    If he meant being ruled by a minority choice, then he used the wrong phrase altogether, and the same still applies - most, if not all, uk governments get less than 50% of the vote.

  6. @Anon

    Britain has never had democracy as it is an Elective dictatorship. The 149 seats based in the SE of England picks the government of the day either red Tory or blue Tory as both party's are the same in protecting the City of London at all costs.

    Ever heard of this chap the Remembrancer who sits in the commons next to the speaker whose sole roll is to protect the City and its financial interests.

  7. Anonymous is right. There are plenty of electorates who rarely if ever get the government they choose centrally but content themselves with a strong legislature and strong local government. Many US states are like this and some, like Texas, have FOUR TIMES the population of Scotland.

    But their populations see quite well how much poorer they would be if they 'broke away'. It really is NOT as simple as the quote suggests all the more when Scotland DOES elect its own government doing masses of things that are different from the rest of the country.

    Rather ironically what Salmond is proposing is like Texas breaking away from the US but insisting on keeping the Federal Reserve to protect it from going bust. You can just see Washington going for that!

  8. No expat, he is proposing a currency union, both countries giving up sovereignty and the bank of england making decisions on both countries interests through a monetary policy committee that incorporates some scottish interests rather than just the city of londons.

  9. Any truth that YES are sitting on a panelbase poll with YES in the lead?

  10. James is correct in his reply (comment 2). Just look at the whining in England (particularly from Tories) about the Lib Dems getting a share of power this time, with well approx. 25% of the vote in England.

  11. Re: Expat:

  12. I didn't realise a majority of e.g. Texans don't nationally identify with the USA.

    Is this true expat? They just sicking around simply for economic reasons?

    In Scotland, just 26.7% of people have a 'British' component to their national identity. Force this group to pick and a good third split for Scottish. Why just 18% would vote to join the union today.

    62.4% are Scottish only too.

    If people think the referendum is ultimately driven simply by economics, they obviously need to read up on the subject of nationhood/independence movements.

    If Scotland votes Yes it will be because the sense of Britishness it had for a while in the post-war consensus period been ripped out of it progressively since the 70's. That leaves it as Scotland.

  13. No Unknown, he is wrong. However much he havers about sub-20% tories, it doesn't change the meaning of the word majority from "more than 50%"

  14. @anonymous,

    saw this rumour posted on Wings,

    It seems Severin Carrell from the Guardian is tweeting that he has info that the SNP are sitting on a Panelbase poll that has Yes in the lead and are waiting to release the poll when it will have maximum impact.

  15. Hi Anonymous, Sorry but you're plain wrong.

    Even a quick glance at the voting shows that a large majority of us have been voting for the left or centre left at each Holyrood election (at least 75% in 2011, 64% in 2007, 62% in 2003, 68% in 1999) yet the major decisions about Scotland are taken in Westminster, as often as not by a right wing Government.

    Notice how I'm not including the LibDems in the above figures (even if many voted for them prior to 2011 because they saw them as left of centre) and notice how once they joined the Tories in Government the per centage above for the non-Tory vote increases dramatically in 2011.

    This is what we mean by the majority not getting the Governments we vote for. 75 per cent plus is a pretty large majority to be disenfranchised by this process.

  16. Justin Kenrick, ah so now you see that you can't actually change the meaning of "majority" in the dictionary, you try and fudge the meaning of "right-wing"? You'll notice between 1999 and 2010 we had a labour government in power in westminster, so "more often than not right-wing"? No. No doubt you'll reply with some roundabout logic that explains why these eu-supporting, immigration-supporting, nhs-budget- boosting governments were all right-wing fascists. Probably something to do with Tony Blair being a warmonger eh?

    1. Between 1999 and 2010 we still had a right wing party in power.

  17. John Curtice has reported Panelbase SNP poll showing lead for yes!

  18. Shit is gettin' real.

  19. Where is John Curtice reporting this. It is not listed on What Scotland Thinks.

  20. Or maybe not. Severin says Yes are denying it.

  21. Of course everyone thinks Tony Blair is a saintly man of peace. Who doesn't accept that he didn't, in fact, LIE to the people of scotland and everyone else about Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq? Blair had in fact found them long ago but had merely decided to keep them safe up his own arse so as not to cause a fuss.


    Out of touch tory twits, always comedy gold.

    Speaking of which, the incompetent fop Cameron is trying to do his second rate Blair impersonation yet again.

    Stamping his little feet and trying to bang the war drums for yet more carnage in Iraq. (again, attacks not backed up by the UN, just like the last time) He not only appears to have forgotten the history of the entire Iraq catastrophe he supported, (along with most of the idiot media) but he's somehow managed to forget that the only reason ISIS are now one of the major factions in Iraq's civil war is because Cameron and the U.S. Administration helped support them when they were trying to rally support for toppling Assad in Syria.

    Iraq is being convulsed by atrocities on ALL sides.

    Sectarian killings in Iraq leave at least 70 dead at Sunni mosque

    Both sides in the Iraqi conflict committing acts of violence against civilians, says UN

    Pattern of sectarian attacks and reprisals emerging in Iraq, threatening entrenched and bloody civil war

    The appalling hostage taking and the revolting violence is obviously being condemned by all and rightly. Is is absolutely abhorrent and just another sign of how far down the road to total civil war we are in Iraq.

    Let's not, however, pretend this is not a civil war when it most assuredly IS. Launching attacks on Iraq while this utter carnage is going on would be no more effective in ending it than it would be in Syria or than it ever has been in Iraq.

    Whatever side it 'helps' it is going to inevitably cause civilian deaths and further exacerbate the carnage and bloodshed.

    We all KNOW that for a fact because we've all watched it play out before.

  22. Look at the comedy unionists on here pretending that Scotland's democratic deficit is something just and fair. It's amazing the guff that some folk can get themselves to believe as long as it suits their own agenda. LOL.

  23. As for "never giving in to terrorism" leaving aside the fact that ISIS were apparently fine when they were trying to topple Assad, and the fact that the PKK (also being supported to fight against ISIS) are pretty much accepted to be terrorists too..

    Let's just examine again what attacking Iraq has done before to help reduce terrorism, shall we?

    So for anyone with a memory of a goldfish who somehow can't remember why we are where we are in Iraq it's time to repost the reasons. It's also why launching more missiles and attacks on Iraq might be just be as 'smart' as helping ISIS was when the west were trying to topple Assad in Syria.

    Iraq war 'increased terror threat'

    Britons are more - not less - likely to be the target of terrorist attacks as a result of the war in Iraq, an influential group of MPs claims.

    The Foreign Affairs Committee says British interests are under threat in the short term because of the conflict.

    It also claims a failure to find weapons of mass destruction has "damaged the credibility" of the US and UK's war against terrorism.

    There was a "crisis of confidence" in the security services, one MP said.

    Not enough proof?

    Iraq inquiry: Eliza Manningham-Buller's devastating testimony

    The former head of MI5's evidence to the Chilcot panel is a savage indictment of the Blair administration and its advisers

    In straightforward, devastating testimony, Eliza Manningham-Buller told the Chilcot inquiry how she had warned about what sensible – but mostly frightened to speak out – senior Whitehall officials believed in 2003: that the invasion of Iraq would increase the terrorist threat to the UK.

    More than once, the former head of MI5 emphasised to the Chilcot inquiry that the invasion exacerbated the terrorist threat to the UK and was a "highly significant" factor in how "home-grown" extremists justified their actions.

    "Our involvement in Iraq radicalised a few among a generation of young people who saw [it] as an attack upon Islam," she said.

    Manningham-Buller said she was therefore not surprised that UK citizens were involved in the 7/7 suicide attacks in London or by the increase in the number of Britons "attracted to the ideology of Osama bin Laden" who saw the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan as threatening their co-religionists and the Muslim world".

    The invasion of Iraq "undoubtedly" increased the terrorist threat in Britain, she said.

  24. So the claim that John Curtice had reported this poll was just bollox?

    Any chance people on here could resist just making stuff up? What, are you looking for attention?

  25. I smell a typical Unionist tactic. Spread rumours of a Yes lead, so they can downplay a poll showing 'only' 49% for Yes?
    They have used the same tactics many time. The first debate between AS and AD is a perfect example. Bigging up the debating skills of AS so they could report anything less than a beating for AD as a victory.

  26. Just reporting what is on Curtice's blog - see

  27. We'll get a poll when we get a poll.

    The rush of them and then complete lack of them is bizarre, if not downright comical, but that's just how it is.

    Obviously James would like a new one to sink his teeth into (though he's keeping plenty busy as it is) but at the same time the campaign is not and has never been only about the opinion polls. Those who made that mistake in 2011 very soon came to regret it. Big time.

    To that end I'm back out again in a wee while and I shall see how things fare on the ground.


  28. I can assure you I am not a unionist troll. Have been called many things in my life but that is a first! I got to the page by typing into google "panel base shows yes lead". Odd though that this page doesn't come up if you type the

  29. Andy - There's no mention of a new Panelbase poll at that site. The last article is about the YouGov from the other day. Why are you bothering to talk such transparent crap? I don't see that it benefits either side, so I can only assume you're just bored.

  30. In fairness to Andy there is some errant chatter amongst commenters to Curtice's last blog about the existence of such a Panelbase poll, but all it amounts to is excited chatter and no substance.

    More polls will come soon enough, tomorrow, or the weekend is bound to see some. Just a case of patience and not getting carried away by pointless speculation.

  31. Apologies. Made the beginner's mistake of looking at an old poll. Excited rather than bored.

  32. What is the consensus here about how the late rush of registration will affect the vote?

    There seems to have been an assumption that this is YES-positive, but voices have been raised suggesting that the number of working class voters is less than in 2012, and moreover that analysis of polls shows that those who didn't vote in 2011 are more likely to be NO voters. Given we also know from the same polls that those in the lowest socio-economic bracket seem to be moving towards yes and that undecided voters are on balance siding with YES, what are people's thoughts on turnout?

    Is everyone confident a high turnout is positive for yes? RIC and many YES canvassers seem convinced of this. Secondly, does the predicted turnout essentially invalidate all of the current polls given the samples using, or is weighting capable of coping with a turnout of over 80%?

    On an aside I was looking back recently to the 2010 general election result and the exit poll that was released by the BBC at 10pm was almost exactly right, just a couple of seats out from the actual result. Does anyone have any news of exit polls planned for the referendum? It will be the first sense of what Scotland has decided and I would imagine we will all be crossing our fingers for a YES predicted win! Recent experience suggests such polls have been highly accurate, which isn't a surprise given we are dealing with confirmed voting.

  33. Andy - Fair enough. I made the mistake of deviating from a rule which has applied 100% of the time in this campaign: if there's below-the-line talk of an unreleased poll, and no journalist/pollster/senior campaign person has mentioned it, it doesn't exist.

  34. @Anon:
    Is everyone confident a high turnout is positive for yes? RIC and many YES canvassers seem convinced of this.?

    Yeah, I've heard this, but have never really understood the reasoning. Yes supporters are more enthusiastic and likelier to vote. So if it's a low turnout, chances are it's the No voters who haven't bothered. Therefore, I'd expect a high turnout to benefit No.

    Lots of new registered voters helps Yes, though, for the same reason - people who support No are less likely to feel strongly enough about it to go to the trouble of registering.

  35. There's a lot of talk right now about a Panelbase poll being withheld. I've just had a thought. Isn't it possible that some private Panelbase polls may be commissioned by Better Together? I know if I was running a political campaign I would want a diversity of polling sources.

  36. Blinking HystericalSeptember 3, 2014 at 7:49 PM

    Awww, was speaking to a colleague this morning who thought the deadline for registering to vote was today.

    He was really angry when I told him that it was yesterday and he won't be able to cast his no vote now, what a pity, ahahahahaha.

  37. Update on the eggman he will be in court the tomorrow so we will see what comes of the shell.

  38. Pertinent point here folks regarding this phantom poll. Severin Carroll is Labour to the core. If the man told me tomorrow was Thursday I'd check a calendar to confirm. If he shook my hand, first thing I'd do is count my fingers.

    The only time this man will comment is to either a) Stir up speculation and use this to attempt to create an advantageous situation for Labour, or
    b) Provoke counter comments and use these in an attempt to bolster/justify a position taken by Labour.

    Another of this mould is Tom Gordon of the Herald.

    Credit to some, at least Gardham, Chryton, Clegg and McNabb in the Herald/Record/Scotsman all make their intentions to assist Labour, spin for Labour and represent Labour's interests to the detriment of all else come hell or high water obvious.

    How on earth Labour were virtually wiped out in Scotland in 2011 despite wall to wall journalist and media support justifies the suggestions made in earlier comments that people obtain information from elsewhere. It has great significance to this campaign.

    Just warning you all, dealt with Carroll personally before.

  39. On new registrations. I was part of a group who registered hundreds of new voters yesterday (400+ just in our group). We didn't ask voting intention (or reveal ours), but most people gave it away (National ID question on form was the biggest pointer, followed by direct questions to us, followed by level of enthusiasm). The new registrants who gave away their intentions were the great majority I saw, and were about 3 to 1 Yes.

    The demographics were in this order: first time Scottish born voters in their twenties, first time Scottish born voters in their teens, other Scottish born, Commonwealth nationals (20s, 30s), EU nationals (20s, 30s),Others.

    Many had low awareness of how to vote, so registration is only half the story.

  40. @Anon:
    Labour didn't receive wall-to-wall support in the media in 2011. With varying degrees of enthusiasm, the SNP was endorsed by most of the broadsheets, the Sun, and I think some of the UK papers (Sunday Times, possibly?). Yes, even the Scotsman backed the SNP - in a very sullen and reluctant manner, and only in the last day or two when it was clear Labour were finished.

    I'm always wary of comparisons between that election and the referendum. We're not going to get anything like the press support that the SNP had in 2011. We might get the Sun, but only if they think we're going to win anyway.

  41. There is a lot of chatter on twitter currently about a Panelbase poll apparently coming out this evening. Has anyone been able to verify this, or is it just more wild speculation?

  42. Well, there's been a lot of talk from people who've been polled by Panelbase so there's probably at least one out there. According to Severin Carrell, Yes Scotland have denied holding onto a Panelbase poll showing a Yes lead. Of course, it could be the SNP rather than Yes Scotland that has the poll, or it could show 50-50 or 49-51 which would show definite progress for the Yes side even without a lead.

    That said, I doubt we're getting anything tonight. We'd have probably heard something from Kevin Pringle on Twitter by now if a Panelbase poll was going to come out showing a Yes lead. As we get closer to the vote, speculation will most likely reach fever pitch.

  43. Hi James, just did another yougov poll. More or less the same as the Sun one the other day with a couple of different questions. A new fun one that I hadn't seen before was along the lines of: Probably True or Probably False: the UK Govt is concealing oil finds; M15 is working for the UK govt in the indyref; the vote will be rigged.

    I gave them all the tin foil hat answers.

  44. Anyone know if those you gov figures were weighted for likelihood to vote?

  45. YouGov figures are usually straight up. It wouldn't make much difference (if any) in this case because the intention to vote was >90%.

  46. @ betty

    That's the one I did by the sounds of it.

  47. Kellner said on BBC 24 last night that Yougov will issue 3 more polls before Sept 18th.

  48. Anon : It did make a difference - in this case (quite unusually) the Yes vote was actually 1% lower among definite voters, although that may have been exaggerated by the rounding.

  49. This page is beginning to bore me, until we get another poll lets all cool down blog somewhere else then come back to the page. James get a grip please! from a Yes voter!

  50. Stuart, with all due respect, if you have a complaint, articulate it and explain it. I'm not a mindreader.

  51. I disagree Stuart. I like the reports from the frontline and the anecdotal evidence of the Yes groundswell. It keeps us occupied in between polls. I suspect there will be a flurry of polls in the next few days and I would say that it is highly likely that one of those polls will show Yes in the lead.

    Back to the anecdotes. I spoke with my one and only hardline No aquaintance today. He seemed a little disheartened to say the least, didn't want to discuss the referendum in any depth and muttered something about the country being divided. I could tell from his general attitude that he's given up hope of No vote. I almost felt sorry for him as I know how important it is to him to remain part of the UK. A No vote for him is an emotional one and I respect that. A poll putting Yes ahead could have a devastating effect on No morale if the timing is right.

  52. This is bad, bad, bad - sleepless nights waiting for the next poll and prospect of cold turkey after 19 Sept. At least if No win we get to do it all over again one day. Sorry, that's getting like the Panda joke.

    But since we're reduced to sharing anecdotes - intriguingly I met 2 No voters today (yesterday now). Went into a Govan charity where the Thatcher-admiring office manager had been wavering a while back. There she was, a brilliant gallus woman, with a mischievous grin on her face and a No Thanks badge. We both burst out laughing (me with Yes badge). She'd decided she'd had too much of being urged Yes so was declaring for No. I shouldn't be revealing this story, but somehow it felt right because you just know she'd be No at the core. It felt good that our organisation could hold folks with strong views on both sides.

    Other instance was later on train to Edinburgh. Young woman sat beside me. Me, busy on computer and evidently getting too old to pay too much attention to young woman (wife, take note) eventually asked to be let out to get off at H'market. As she got up I sensed an edge and only then noticed she had a No Thanks folder. As well as my Yes badge had the Wee Blue Book amongst my papers. I just looked straight at her, tapped my badge with a huge sort of astonished smile at which she too burst out smiling and it was almost like loyalty amongst thieves: at least we both had courage of convictions. I said something about "let's keep it smiling", she nodded, and I headed off, regretting only that I'd failed to hand her the Wee Blue Book.

    Meanwhile, Wife has agreed to Yes sticker on car (for a while, I was sneaking it on when she wasn't with me). Still not allowed window (been some arson issues in the area - not indy related), but I've got this wicked plan, as the day gets closer, to stick my Yes umbrella out the window on pretext of sheltering her window boxes.

    Time to try going back to sleep, folks. Indy madness cathartically discharged. (Any sign of that poll yet?)

  53. Just for fun and out of interest while we wait.

    Imagine you are talking to someone who doesn't have a clear idea of their national identity and feels vaguely scottish and british. You attempt to impose the forced choice and ask them to pick one. They haver and don't know.

    What arguments would you use, if any, to convince that person they should regard themselves as Scottish (rather than British, European or somne other identity).