Saturday, November 1, 2014

Cameron's arrogant and anti-democratic claim that "it's over for a lifetime" crumbles to dust as 58% of voters demand another independence referendum within the next five years - and 52% say they'd vote Yes

I don't think it's possible to overstate the importance of the extraordinary sequence of polling results we've seen over the last 48 hours.  To understand why, you have to cast your mind back a year or so to when Alistair Darling openly admitted that it wasn't sufficient for the No campaign to win - they had to win big and kill the issue off, otherwise there was a danger it would just keep coming back until independence finally happened.  Well, they didn't win big, and they didn't kill the issue off, so David Cameron and his lackies in the Daily Mail and Daily Record fell back on Plan B - they started telling anyone who would listen that the No win represented "the settled will of the people of Scotland" (a desperately implausible interpretation given the wild fluctuations in public opinion witnessed over the closing weeks of the campaign) and that in spite of the narrowness of the result it couldn't be revisited for "a generation, perhaps a lifetime".

That of course was an absolutely grotesque parody of the democratic principle - imagine voting Tory and then being told that you can't change your mind about wanting a Tory government for the rest of your natural life.  But people accept all sorts of nonsense as being self-evidently true due to groupthink, and there was at least a small danger that the Cammo/Record narrative might take root.  No longer.  The Ipsos-Mori finding that 58% of voters want a second independence referendum within just five years "regardless of circumstances" is the clearest possible signal (in fact it's beyond our wildest dreams) that Cameron's pronouncements on the limitations of Scotland's right to self-determination have been ignored as meaningless noise.  There's no way back from this - if his argument failed to carry sufficient weight on the 19th of September, it'll carry even less weight in future.  Enthusiasm for an early second referendum will doubtless wax and wane, and in reality it's unlikely that there'll be one as soon as the next five years (unless of course Britain leaves the EU), but the important thing is that the principle has now been firmly established that a repeat referendum within the foreseeable future is not illegitimate from the public's point of view.  Perhaps things would be different if the No vote hadn't been tied to a panicky last minute "vow" that shows no sign of being honoured - but that's the position.

And the Ipsos-Mori poll was only part one of a double-whammy.  Just a few hours later came a YouGov poll showing that if a second referendum was held now, Yes would win the day by 52% to 48%.  The publication of the first post-referendum poll on independence was always going to be a critical moment - after a big election you would normally expect a honeymoon effect whereby voters on the winning side are emboldened to think they made the right choice, while some voters on the losing side temporarily drift away due to demoralisation.  If this poll had indeed shown a bigger No lead than on polling day itself, we would have heard a great deal about how Yes voters had accepted the result and moved on.  That would have relieved much of the pressure on London to keep the promise of extensive new powers for the Scottish Parliament within a very tight timescale.  But as it is, it's rather hard to talk about Scotland's "settled will" with a straight face when the public have already changed their minds about independence within six weeks of the referendum taking place.

Lastly, I must just note with a degree of astonishment the Orwellian use of language from Labour's Jackie Baillie when confronted with the Ipsos-Mori poll -

"Having gone through one [referendum] just recently I do think it's a once in a generation thing. The people of Scotland spoke quite convincingly, 55% to 45%, saying they wanted to remain in the UK. That's a result I respect and I don't think we will be having a referendum any time soon."

So let me get this straight - in September, when the public say something that Jackie Baillie likes, their voice must be respected. But in October, when they say something that Jackie Baillie doesn't approve of (ie. we want another referendum within five years "regardless of circumstances"), their voice must be ignored, and Jackie Baillie's own views must hold sway instead. That's pretty much the size of it, yes?


  1. 45% of Scotland will want another referendum tomorrow. I know I do.

    A significant portion of the cowards and protectionists will want another referendum tomorrow. They know they were wrong and want to change that.

    Every day that passes pushes more former Labour supporters to want another referendum tomorrow.

    It is no surprise that Scotland wants another referendum already. It is up to the SNP to deliver that, and the best way to do that is by getting Balance of Power at Westminster by winning 40+ seats in May. I smiled on the 19th. Not because we lost but because I knew we were going to win and SOON.

    1. My experience on polling day:
      No voters = thugs who verbally and physically abuse you.
      Yes voters = hopeful and courteous to all voters in the street.

      Experience drawn from several men and women that attacked me without provocation other than wearing a yes badge. I even refused to talk to them, and one lad in a very expensive merc that mounted the pavement trying to run me over yelling out the window various insults including something about if I were employed by them I would be out on the street by now where I fucking belong.

      So to call no voters cowards is an insult to cowards. These people were thugs. And the mass of arrests after Glasgow proves it.

  2. We don't need another referendum yet. There is no point until we are at least 60% Yes. We need to win convincingly. A narrow No vote was the worst thing possible for the unionists. There are, however still a number of important things for us to do first before another referendum. We don't want a repeat of 2014. Number one objective is to finish off the red tories in Scotland.

    1. Wait 2 years, half those that voted to protect their pension and winter fuel allowance will have died off from bad winters.

      Not wishing it on those people, but its the reality that faces them.

      The others, some I met on the day, were in cushy state jobs talking about their gold laced pensions. Obviously the news of pensions being cut left right and centre for other public servants didn't reach them and their time will come and they too will start to complain.

      Obviously the big IF question is whether they actually learn from being stung.

    2. Red Tories ARE finished in Scotland! Nothing can save them from catastrophic defeat at 2015 elections. Not a thing! Today's predictions are they'll have 4 seats. They'll be lucky to win ANY SMP seats, which is just about how many they deserve!

      As for 60% Yes in two years; today would be close to 60%! In two years, landslide! By now even "silent majority" knows that independence is just question of when. Regardless what they saying in public Dave & CO must know it's all over, hence "smash and grab" politics they run today.

      However, at the moment focus should be on situation in hand i.e. try to make best out of bad deal.

  3. Couldnt agree more. Our focus should be on more powers for Scotland, not another referendum. I see a yes vote as the destination of a long hard journey where we take power back little by little until that final step isnt so incomprehensible to so many former No voters.
    If we're polling >60, great, go for it. But a second referendum where the polls are closer is nothing but a trap to be avoided. If we do a Quebec we will destroy everything we've gained so far. (As will, IMHO, winning independence only to hand it straight to Brussels.)


    1. More powers for Scotland? its a Westminster government thing, that needs collective vote of all those MP's

      Brown standing talking to himself in an empty chamber was testament to the "more powers" line.

      As to this commission that's been set up, its only an "advisory" service and its proposals again, mean nothing.

      All smoke and mirrors.

  4. I noticed the counter-intuitive logic used by some commentators (Labour politicians, in the main) to explain away these polls, with efforts made to represent it as obvious that the unionist parties should be taking a battering since we had just had a referendum.

    My reaction was the same as yours seems to have been, James, in that I thought it defied logic completely to suggest that a majority was displaying a backlash against a result the majority voted for because "that's what happens in these scenarios". Piffle. As you say, you would expect people to be going through a period where they were happy with the choice they made, expecting it to be the right one.

    You would also expect, even as they began to get unhappy, that many would keep defending the choice anyway. Only after that would you get people moving in droves, as they see other people doing so. That's what you'd expect 'naturally' whatever Labour politicians in particular what one to think.

    After all, even UK governments usually go through a sort of honeymoon period and it's normally a while into their term before people turn on them. So, no, it is not normal for the victors to be on the back foot so soon.

    In fact, I would say that it would have been more reasonable to expect people, if happy with what had gone on, to be displaying a backlash against Yes parties, since they are keeping an issue the public is supposedly 'settled' in its view of (and surely therefore 100% are bored of hearing it if that's the case?) in the public eye.

  5. I agree with Anonymous, I'm happy to wait 5-10 years for another referendum until Scots are pretty much demanding independence and there is 60-70% support for it.

  6. I think we need to be a little bit wary of independence polls. We did see a little bit of a shy Tory / default to status quo in the referendum result, with yes under-performing the polls in the final week by about 3 points. I think it's quite plausible that a chunk of the no vote has gone back to being shy about their preference because they don't feel any need to advertise it again, as there isn't going to be a referendum this side of the general election(s).

    It isn't so much a question of time as observing the conditions (not just polls) and establishing a high level of confidence that a second referendum would be won. But a poll like this is helpful in the sense that it keeps the UK parties relatively honest in their attitudes toward Scotland. They know that if they give another justification for independence that it could happen after all.

    1. Agree with that entirely. In fact launching another referendum within 5 years would be madness in my view from the Yes side's perspective. If we believe (as many people have argued) that support for independence will grow over time, an early second referendum would be an extremely risky/poor strategy. It's possible to come back from losing one referendum and have another (as in Quebec). It's far less likely to lose two referendums and come back, particularly if the second referendum saw a worse result percentage wise.

      So you therefore have to be extremely careful about polling. If I was in charge of SNP policy on this I wouldn't be advocating another referendum unless it's abundantly clear Yes will win in almost any circumstance. A lot of people were guilty of getting carried away with talk of a Yes "surge" in the campaign. I remember arguing with someone on here who was convinced there was a "shy Yes" effect and that Yes was actually miles ahead (to the point of berating me for even questioning it). That kind of thing is completely self-defeating. Rushing into another referendum because of overly-optimistic polling analyses is probably the single worst thing independence supporters could advocate at this point, but I fear making that case might prove difficult if there are more polls like this one.

      It makes no difference in the long-term if we're independent in five years, ten years or fifteen years, so you have to pick your moment as to when the referendum is most likely to win. Losing one referendum on independence wasn't fatal, but losing another really could be.

  7. Will be interesting to watch indy PoPs on here and whatscotlandthinks develop as we approach 2016.

    In the meantime, lets turn the thumbscrews in May 2015. SNP for devo max (or back to the ballot box on indy post '16 if that's not forthcoming).

    1. Still only represents 3% of the law makers in Westminster that make the decision on Devo Max.

      But with enough SNP lads and lasses down there (as opposed to the laugh that is Labour and Co) it will keep the cork screw winding in.

  8. Very interesting, agree with the 60% theory. This just shows though in my opinion, how close we were. I believe the yes side, we were in the lead going in. Its why these floating no voters shouldnt be tarred with the same hardcore unionist brush.

    They werent daft, they just lack a bit of belief and political knowledge, which is OUR failure. We can put it right though. Starting in 2015, polls like this dont half get you going though.

    1. They were daft.

      I was there talking to them, from gold plated pensions that public servants were interested in protecting (dont know where they were looking about the guarantee's, considering all others including fire and police have seen them halved).

      To those that were raving nationalists going on and on about flags (the kind of rhetoric you would hear in no other country in Europe).

      To the others who were just so vindictive they would attack you.

      I never met a decent No voter that day. And how I managed to stay polite to them when they came charging at me for no other reason than wearing a yes badge I do not know.

      Perhaps there were some like you say, but I never met them.

  9. Nobody cares what the amusing buffoon Baillie thinks. She's basically squawking "there is no iceberg!" as the London Labour branch steams towards it at full speed. This while the Eggman scrambles around comically trying to steal the captains hat from Labour MSPs after knocking it off Lamont's head with the help of Curran and little Ed.

    As for the incompetent fop Cameron, he's been back to his most amusing EU flouncing and posturing for the most gullible tory Eurosceptics. Most of whom must be very slow learners. He was adamant he won't pay the EU bill. Or at least he claimed he wouldn't on a very specific date for some strange reason. LOL He's obviously going to pay it. He's going back into John Major mode. The looming Rochester by-election also looks certain to see the tories go straight back into headless chicken mode after the twit Cameron massively overhyped the tories chances at winning it and he threw everything at it. (that's the thing with ground campaigns, unless you are any fucking good at them don't expect to be handed them on a plate) So we can expect yet more tory leadership speculation to join the already laugh out loud London Labour woes.

    When it comes to calamity Clegg and the yellow tories.. who gives a shit? I mean, really, what does it matter? Nothing can save them. Clegg's ostrich faction are completely oblivious and an obvious irrelevance as time runs out for them. The Greens look set to capitalise on it as more and more voters in rUK realise they really would be wasting their time with a tiny unprincipled fringe party like the lib dems when nobody (least of all Clegg) has the slightest idea what they stand for anymore except for keeping the tories in power. People know what the Greens stand for and they don't have a toxic imbecile like Clegg in charge of them.

    So we can certainly wait a few years as the shambles, infighting and incompetence grows ever more jaw-dropping and hilarious from the out of touch westminster parties.

  10. I agree there is no hurry. Nicola's strategy of running Scotland for all, respecting views and fighting for more powers while keeping arguing for full indy seems a good one.

    After the last referendum and seeing what was thrown at us, we need polls to be showing 60-70% solidly. At 52% to many will go back to no at the first scare story.

  11. Regarding the YouGov poll, an interesting comment can be found in the Guardian's coverage:

    theoldManxman: "If you look at the details of the YouGov poll, it shows that, excluding the 6% who say they wouldn't vote or are unsure how, 52% say they would now vote Yes.

    But this is based on a sample who say that 48% of then voted Yes in September, when it was actually 44.7%.

    YouGov don't appear to have reweighted their result to reflect this, but if you do Yes reduces from 52% to 48.4%, though because YouGov's figures are rounded it's a little misleading to be this precise when calculating from them. But it certainly suggests that Scots would still vote No, though by an even narrower margin."

    1. That of course assumes that everyone is telling the truth about how they voted, and aren't being dishonest because of buyer's remorse or whatever. It's also intriguing to see that 1% of people claim not to be able to remember how they voted. Given that we're only six weeks on from such a high-profile vote, that sounds much more like an "I'd prefer not to say" answer!

    2. If they're lying about how they're voting, which way do you think it would skew the poll?

    3. Lying about how they voted - past tense.

    4. Ah, my brain must still be in referendum mode!

    5. It was my comment that is being quoted (Roger Mexico was already taken when I signed up to the Guardian) and I think you've got to assume that people are telling the truth, otherwise there's no point in believing the polls at all. You can't just pick the bits you like and disbelieve the rest.

      Some people may actually forget how they vote, but usually those that say that they can't remember are actually people that didn't vote at all but don't want to admit it. In the latest YouGov poll (I've put in a link to the tables because they weren't available when James wrote his post), only 3% said they didn't rather than the actual 15%. This is mainly because those who are on online panels are much more likely to be voters, but also they may feel with such a high turnout they should have voted when they didn't or couldn't.

      YouGov's last poll before the actual referendum showed Yes on 48% rather than the 45% it actually was, and it may be that there is a slight bias in online panels towards Yes voters, even after you've allowed for all the other things such as age. Given the stronger online presence of the Yes campaign, this doesn't seem unreasonable. There clearly has been a move to Yes since September, but on these figures it's probably still slightly more No by a very tiny margin. Obviously it wouldn't take much to tip it over and the other questions in that poll show the problems the No side has, especially Labour.

    6. "I think you've got to assume that people are telling the truth, otherwise there's no point in believing the polls at all. You can't just pick the bits you like and disbelieve the rest."

      Yes, well on that basis you could also have chastised pollsters like Martin Boon and Anthony Wells, who went on and on about 'Shy No Syndrome' (on the basis of zero evidence) in the run-up to polling day.

      "This is mainly because those who are on online panels are much more likely to be voters, but also they may feel with such a high turnout they should have voted when they didn't or couldn't."

      Which of course imposes another big limitation on the extrapolation that you've attempted, because there's some evidence that Yes voters (or potential Yes voters) were less likely to turn out to vote, probably because they disproportionately come from lower income backgrounds.

      "YouGov's last poll before the actual referendum showed Yes on 48% rather than the 45% it actually was"

      YouGov's real last poll was the on the day poll, and it was strikingly accurate - it had Yes on 46% and No on 54%. Of course that poll had a turnout filter which isn't being applied now, which returns to the point I made above.

      Yes lead by 52.5% to 47.5% in today's poll on the unrounded numbers, and on the basis of the limited evidence you's relying on, I think it's pushing it a bit to state as fact "that's a No really".

  12. My view is that Indy supporting people, parties and public, need to build up more grassroots support for the idea of Independence among NO voters. To that end we need to get more of the media on the Indy side. Frankly, after its landslide victory at HE2011 the SNP was forced into calling a Referendum much sooner than it might otherwise have wished. At the time there was NO support in the media for the SNP nor for Independence and little support for the latter countrywide. The SNP was still considered by many people in Scotland as a fringe party which had just got lucky. That view will now have to be reconsidered.

    The fact that the YES campaign achieved a 45/55 final result after probably leading at around 52/48 a week before the Referendum in face of the massive opposition against it was a remarkable achievement. And in the light of the recent polls and Labour's continued procrastination over devolving more powers it is fairly obvious that the final 45/55 result was only obtained as a result of the infamous "VOW", ie, the NO vote was CONDITIONAL on a form of DEVOMAX being devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

  13. To that end we need to get more of the media on the Indy side.

    Hahahaha! Dream on James!!

    Why would the newspaper owners shit on their chances of a knighthood just to satisfy the aspirations of a small northern community of which they know nothing?


  14. For the avoidance of doubt, I'm not arguing in the blogpost that there should be another referendum in the next five years (unless Britain withdraws from the EU, in which case it's highly likely that the SNP will seek to bring matters to a head if they're in a position to do so). But the significance of the finding that people want a referendum within five years is that it makes it much more likely that the public will be willing to tolerate the SNP moving towards another referendum whenever they actually choose to do so, whether that be in eight years, ten, fifteen or whatever.

    And I really think this talk of waiting until the polls show 60-70% Yes could be an argument for waiting until kingdom come. What matters much more is the depth of support for Yes - if we ever got to the position where there was a steady 55% Yes vote, there could be private polling done to see how soft that vote is and how susceptible those people are to the usual range of scare stories, bogus "Vows", etc.

  15. James K I agree with your last comment. We did not know what the fallout from the referendum would be if there was a No vote. I have to say I am pleasantly surprised.

  16. James K,

    I dont share your "until kingdom come" pessimism - i think >60% yes, in the near future, is far from a remote possibility. In any case is a country becoming independent with a tiny majority a good thing? Im not convinced.

    However you make a good point that its the "hardness" of the Yes or No that is crucial. I would love to see some stats on that because that more than anything will indicate how things may unfold from here. My gut feeling is that there are just not enough soft, convertible Nos, you know the ones, the "dont know, voted no" types, the sheep, to swing things our way.


    Something will have to happen in our favour to change this. A media outlet deciding to be favourable to SNP. SNP having some control in WM. A labour collapse in 2016. EU referendum. Its all possible.

    Ok, maybe not the media thing.


  17. "In any case is a country becoming independent with a tiny majority a good thing? Im not convinced."

    A good rule of thumb with a question like that is to turn it on its head. Is it a good thing for Scotland to remain part of the UK when the majority of people don't want it to? Answer : No.

    1. While I normally agree with you James I have to say that your answer is bunkum and against most western practice for generations.
      It's change that must have a good majority and so the birth of a new, old country should have a good majority -plus 60% is a minimum to me but that's just my preference.
      This is why it's convention for a chair to cast their vote with no change in the event of a draw.
      Either way, we either have to sorry back and wait for three old to die or wait till a large majority realise that the UK has already died.

      Personally I'd be disappointed not to get a 66% majority as this would more closely reflect those who identify as Scottish.

  18. Oh for heaven's sake. Why not wait until the year 3000 and get an 80% majority? There is no western practice that I know of that says a substantial minority should have always precedence over the majority. Yes, some countries operate super-majority systems, but even with those there would generally be an acceptance that something is going very seriously wrong if a 59-41 Yes margin is not sufficient, which is what you're suggesting.

  19. Just wondering James if you've noticed anything unusual about the YouGov poll? Does it seem plausible that Yes has gotten to 52%? Of course I'd love it to be true, but just wondering what your thoughts are on this.

    1. Of course it's plausible - as far as I can see YouGov used exactly the same methodology for this poll that they used for their pre-referendum polls, including the ones prior to the Great Convergence that had Yes 20 points or so behind.

      Of course there has to be caution when we've only got a single poll to go on, but until we see contrary evidence from other polls there's no obvious reason not to take it at face value.

  20. Did unionists think that there wouldn't ever by another Yes/No poll? You'd have thought it judging from newspaper comments today. Shrieking and wailing.

    Jeez, we can expect them as a regular feature in post-iref Scotland. After all, independence is now mainstream. It will feature more than it ever has. What else was to be expected?

    45% is hardly a minority pursuit. Over 7 in ten folk you meet on the street back devo max too.

  21. Just to explain, I think 60 would be preferable going into it, as we will undoubtedly lose support,so its a safety net so to speak

  22. A small win by YES camp can be equally disasterous

    What I've learnt since NO,the Unionist camp despise giving away more powers,make the next referendum a Federal Union 2016

    once a federal Union,choice is rid of trident,foreign affairs

    slowly but surely