Wednesday, December 17, 2014

More damning evidence that the independence referendum was not fairly conducted : The Guardian reports that the "politically neutral" Queen was asked by the No campaign to interfere, and freely agreed to do so

One of the favourite tactics of the No campaign as the referendum approached was to portray their opponents as utterly paranoid - there was much mirth, for example, about the plans of some Yes voters to take their own pens with them to the polling station in case their votes were erased.  But as the saying goes, "just because you're paranoid it doesn't mean they're not out to get you", and the evidence just continues to mount that the London establishment (political, media, business, you name it) flagrantly bent and breached the rules of the democratic process at their leisure to get the result they required in September.

With the benefit of hindsight, I may even have been a bit naive about just how far they were prepared to go.  When the media made a huge song and dance about a supposed "intervention" from the Queen that seemed to consist of nothing more than her being casually overheard to say to a member of the public that she hoped voters would think carefully about the big decision ahead of them, my reaction was this : Oh, come off it.  The Queen is probably anti-independence in private, and that has perhaps unwittingly shone through in the tone of her remark.  But she wasn't consciously saying anything at all, and she didn't expect to be overheard anyway.

If the Guardian is to be believed, and it probably should be because its sources seem plentiful and credible, the polar opposite is true.  It seems our unelected Head of State breached her clear and solemn duty to remain politically neutral, and consciously colluded with the UK government to set up a little scene that was intended to be helpful for the No campaign.  In retrospect, it should have been obvious that was what had happened, because the media's breathless reaction was an integral part of the whole pre-scripted drama (in a similar way to an earlier incident when Nick Robinson dutifully asked Barack Obama the question he had been told by Cameron's minions to ask).  If News at Ten is telling you that the Queen has "intervened" and that the London government is "delighted" about it, it's because journalists have been tipped the wink that these things don't happen by accident.  Of course, what those journalists should then do is react with moral outrage, offer full disclosure to their viewers and listeners, and use their investigative skills to work out what the hell is going on and whose heads will roll as a result.  But they don't do that, because the London-based broadcast media, just like the London-based civil service, see themselves as being "on holiday" from their duty of impartiality, and are enjoying being part of a collective establishment effort to "save the union".  (Don't be surprised if, just like their civil service counterparts, they eventually receive a trophy for their sterling efforts at a glittering awards ceremony.)  So they instead credulously report on how the Queen has intervened on behalf of the No campaign, and somehow done so in a completely impartial way that is entirely befitting of her office.

Even the Guardian's report today maintains that ludicrous doublethink, insisting there was a "determination to ensure [the Queen] did not cross a line".  Look, guys, if you've established that there was a clear and conscious intent to intervene and to have a direct impact on the referendum result, then it doesn't matter a damn what the nature of that intervention was and what exact words were used.  The line has been crossed, the constitutional duty has been breached.  And, needless to say, this is a two-way street - it was just as outrageous for the London government to ask the Queen to breach her duty of impartiality as it was for the Queen to agree.

It looks very much like the Queen's 'off-the-cuff' comment was scripted for her by the No campaign, and that she was fully aware that she was being overheard and would be interpreted in the 'correct' way.  What we don't seem to know yet is whether the well-wisher who asked her the question in the first place was a Better Together plant, but logically we must conclude that was probably the case.  That would have seemed paranoid beyond belief if anyone had suggested it at the time, even as a vague possibility.  But every day is an education in post-referendum North Britain.

The SNP leadership will of course defend the Queen to the hilt over this.  They'll either try to shut down the story completely, or will place the blame for any wrongdoing squarely with the London government.  That's an astute thing to do, because any Scottish government has to be on the same page as the majority of the Scottish population (albeit perhaps not an overwhelming majority) in assuming the Royal Family's good intentions.  But that shouldn't stop the rest of us speaking truth about an appalling abuse of privilege.

Alistair Davidson penned a thoughtful piece on Bella Caledonia yesterday in which he suggested that the No campaign under Blair McDougall had been tactically brilliant in identifying courses of action that would help them to narrowly win in the short-term, but had been strategically hopeless in failing to spot that what they were doing would destroy their cause in the longer-term.  That same verdict could easily apply to the whole London establishment, who couldn't seem to see past September 18th, and still can't.  How else do we explain the bizarre spectacle of the civil service patting themselves on the back in public about conduct during the referendum that they freely admit was "very close" to being inappropriate?  Haven't they seen the opinion polls recently?

The monarchy's short-sightedness is even more inexplicable, because unlike other London institutions it would have survived in Scotland, and quite possibly thrived, after independence.  But it seems that wasn't enough for them, and that the Queen simply had to be this country's Head of State in the way that she is accustomed to.  That irrational conservatism has led her to take a step that may have poisoned the goodwill that some Yes voters felt towards her, and may as a result make it somewhat less likely that Scotland will retain the monarchy for very long if it becomes independent in future.  Hey-ho.


  1. I'm not tempted to believe the Guardian any more than the Telegraph or any of the other unionist MSM after Severin Carrell's pretty abject performance during the campaign. You have to love the final two paragraphs of the news report on this story which gave fine detail of how the Queen was briefed and primed by named aides, civil servants and politicians:

    "Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the discussions between Geidt and Heywood. A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on discussions between the Queen’s private secretary and civil servants.” A Downing Street spokesman said: “No comment.”

    A palace spokesman said of the prime minister’s discussions with the Queen at Balmoral: “As is the convention, we do not comment on conversations between the prime minister and the Queen.” A Downing Street spokesman said: “We do not discuss the prime minister’s conversations with Her Majesty the Queen.” "

    Or as they might have said: "Off the record we gush like drains when we are feeding a story to the press. Officially however we never comment etc blah blaaaaah."

    Those two long articles by Carrell, Wintour and Watt are really rather nauseating. The tone is ridiculously self-congratulatory, depicting the unionist side as cunning and skilled strategists bravely thwarting the growing threat from the Yes side. Fails completely to explain the reality that all the key wounds to the No campaign were self inflicted and all this cunning strategy was played out against inexorably narrowing polls which somewhat undermines the idea that they knew what they were doing. And by starting the pair of articles with the ending - that is the account of how the unionist coalition fell on each other almost as soon as the votes were counted - the lasting impression is of some great triumph for the union, rather than the shambolic desperate failure that it is now heading for.

    1. From the same Guardian piece:

      "Because of the unprecedented threat posed by independence to the future of the UK and the state, the Cabinet Office commissioned more than £537,000 worth of extremely detailed but unpublished polling from Ipsos Mori between May 2013 and the end of the campaign – at one stage paying up to £100,000 a month for these surveys, in what is believed to be a record sum spent by Whitehall tracking one political event."

      My mate at Mori told me throughout this period that these questionnaires were largely taken up with loaded questions about pensions, currency, "security concerns" and so on. So Scottish taxpayers were literally paying Mori to be used as a propaganda wing of BT.

      We can complain about the unfairness of all this bullshit, but the chances are it will be way, way worse for iref2.The SNP won't kick off another iref until Yes is well ahead in the polls, which could mean the next Shock and Awe propaganda barrage won't last for weeks but months.

      Which is why right after the EU referendum might be the best time for iref2, when all wings of the Establishment are still too distracted by the repercussions of the Europe vote to inflict Shock and Awe II (And Then Some). We may not get a chance like that again.

  2. They don't understand that winning a battle is not the same thing as winning a war.


  3. Shock, horror! British establishment uses dirty tactics to win referendum!

  4. This piece is illuminating because it is another example of the yes campaign (or at least its prominent supporters) refusing to analyse the true reasons for their campaign's failure and instead resorting to ever more desperate allegations of unfairness, coupled with the self-serving assertion that the defeat was in essence a victory.

    The yes campaign lost primarily because it arrogantly failed to do the work necessary to assuage legitimate concerns about essential economic and constitutional matters, and thought a simple appeal to nationalism and optimism could prevail. They should now be devoting a large part of their time and energy thinking about how they can address those same questions when they are next raised. Amongst others, the key things independence supporters need to be doing include:

    + understanding what it will take to prevent major businesses relocating to rUK in the event of independence, and developing a proposal that limits the number of redomiciliations, recognising the impact this will have on jobs and the tax base. Businesses must be courted, not bullied or dismissed as being somehow irrelevant to Scotland's prosperity

    + addressing the currency issue properly - including tabling a detailed proposal for a currency union that recognises and mitigates the concerns of rUK and is honest about the extent of the restrictions on Scottish sovereignty that would be necessary to make it work; and having a single preferred fallback option, with a clearly articulated view of the benefits and risks and analysis of how the alternative arrangement would affect the benefits of independence

    + taking a more realistic approach to the benefits and risks of Scotland's exposure to oil and gas. It should alarm "yes" supporters that their case was built on $110+ dollar oil and within three months of the referendum oil has collapsed to $60. Scotland's exposure to oil and gas is what it is - both a potentially significant asset and a source of great instability, if current spending is predicated on high prices. The yes campaign need to address the latter risk.

    + sorting out the terms and timing of Scotland's future membership of the EU, including addressing with the EU whether it will be possible to opt out of the single currency.

    Over the course of the campaign it became increasingly clear that the SNP had simply not done enough work and wanted people to make a major leap of faith. Some assertions fell apart during the campaign (e.g. that rUK would accept a currency union, and that EU membership would be straight forward). Others are falling apart now (e.g. that Scotland's economic projections could be based on $110+ oil). None of these are easy to address and they are all significant challenges to independence, but supporters of independence need to try.

    Of course, you can take the view that the behaviour of the Westminster parties will drive a future referendum into the hands of the yessers without the need to address these matters. It may be the case Scotland becomes independent in a spasm of nationalistic fervour, but I wouldn't count on that. And besides, this is not just about winning independence, it's about ensuring an iScotland comes through the independence process intact, and prospers.

    Whilst I don't support Scottish independence, I have never believed Scotland could not prosper as an independent country. I have however always thought that the short- to medium- term impact of independence could be brutal for Scotland if it is not properly managed. The campaign demonstrated that the Scottish leadership had not planned the separation with anything like the rigour required. That is the main reason"yes" lost, and also the main reason we should be glad that it did.

    1. Good grief, you're huffing and puffing at even greater length than usual this morning, Flockers. Hit a nerve, have we?

      By the way, when you have a spare moment, do you think you could let us know whether or not you agree with what the Queen did? Seems only fair, given that's the topic of the blogpost you're responding to.

      In your own time, old chap.

    2. I'm slightly puzzled by this. Yes gained steadily as voting day approached. Jeez, in late 2013 we were looking at up to 65% No / 35% Yes, but this closed to 45% yes on the day as No lost directly to Yes. We don't know the effect of the panicked vow etc at the last minute, but it's possible Yes might have won if it wasn't for this.

      So, Yes do have a few lessons to learn, but it seems No have a lot more of these to learn themselves surely?

      When we get a new iref (this seems highly likely, if only due to the passage of time given the majority Yes in younger age groups), No it seems will be starting from closer to 50/50. What then? The same tactics and another 10% swing to Yes?

    3. Applying the standardised mortality rates to the Yes and No voting cohort aged over 65 we can see that approx 14,000 No voters and 4,000 Yes voters naturally pass away each month. Net change of 9,000. About 3 years for Yes to be in a majority due to this factor alone. Nothing abides but Change

    4. I notice that James Kelly has not actually answered any of the substantive questions raised by Flockers. Very telling.

      And his comment about 'huffing and puffing at great length' shows a hilarious lack of self-awareness.

    5. I answered largely. No lost hordes of voters in the campaign, Yes gained these. Ergo, Yes had the far better arguments. Yes was just unable to get them across in part due to having little to no support in the media.

      Here we go. No campaign overall a failure arguments-wise:
      The latest polls suggest Yes had continued to make ground and it is 50/50 or Yes ahead, supporting the weakness of No arguments / strength of Yes ones. SNP ahead and Labour collapse is further evidence for the lack of substance of the pro-union case.

      This is why unionists keep coming here and posting the same stuff over and over. They feel they are losing.

      If the referendum had seen the polls do the opposite; i.e. steadily move from a comfortable Yes lead to a final No win by a decent margin with support for the union continuing to climb post vote, unionists would be happily doing other stuff while indy supporters would be left talking amongst themselves.

      The more unionists post on here, the higher the level of worry they have. This is basic psychology 101.

    6. Flockers' assertions aren't questions. They are statements.

      They are not substantive either. E.g. it was not possible to make any further progress on the EU point or currency union without co-operation by the British government, which it refused to provide.

      However, the overwhelming weight of impartial (actually generally unionist) and qualified opinion (Sir David Edward, Graham Avery, Yves Gounin etc.) saw Scotland's EU membership as a non-issue. Far from the Scottish Government's position falling apart, the British nationalists' 40 year old scare story on the EU was generally dismissed as "not credible".

      The loss of sovereignty argument about a currency union is weak. Is France less sovereign than Scotland because it's in a currency union? In any case, Scotland and England are already in a currency union and independence would offer material increases in sovereignty over both economic policy and foreign policy.

      Referring to scaremongering as "legitimate concerns" does not make Flockers' lukewarm re-heating of British nationalist concern trolling any more credible.

      It is interesting to see that nobody on the anti-independence side is a unionist. They are British nationalists, or more accurately, English supremacists, who insist on portraying Scottish independence as secession from "an enlarged and renamed England", where Scotland is not a nation and has no assets or rights. It would be ironic if the people continously undermining the foundations of Scottish unionism thought that their actions were likely to preserve the Union.

    7. Anon at 11.34 - why not be even more 'hilarious' and specify the questions that I haven't answered (either above or below). If you can.

    8. essentially all your arguments are short termism.....Flockers is a stir!

  5. Throughout history, how many generals threw everything into wining big, glorious battles, only to end up hopelessly compromised strategically and end up losing the war?

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Better Together!

  6. Huffing and puffing? I think your reaction demonstrates whose nerves have been hit. You'll recognise my post as being consistent with the views I expressed over the Summer, which were borne out by the result (not claiming prescience on $60 oil, to be clear, but I did set out the risk of dependence on oil and note the yes campaign's failure to address it).

    To answer your question, I thought the Queen's interjection added little to the debate but was not inappropriate and did not make the referendum unfair. There is no evidence it had any influence on the outcome (not that it necessarily matters if it did). I don't think any of us are surprised that the Queen favoured the union continuing. I remember at the time some unionists being surprised that the Queen had not made a stronger statement.

    Now, will you answer one question from me? Do you accept that the yes campaign has lessons to learn in respect of the points I mention in my post?

    1. Do you accept that you are a Scotophobic racist?

      Do you accept that you want to live in a world where Scotland doesn't exist and Scots have been exterminated? Because that is the conclusion of every one of your unionist arguments.

    2. Nice try, Flockers. The Queen is entitled to a private view, but you know as well as I do that constitutionally she is entitled to no public opinion on matters of political controversy AT ALL. If you disagree with that, please explain why. You're also doing yourself very little credit with this "there is no evidence to suggest it made a difference to the result" stuff. There's sure as hell no evidence that it DIDN'T make any difference. By the way, suppose there was an election in which ballot-rigging occured, but it didn't swing the balance of the result - would that be perfectly OK on Planet Flockers?

      To be frank, I don't have any recollection of what you were saying during the summer. My main recollection is of your antics in late September, when you stuck your head in the sand about the overwhelming evidence that the referendum had not been fair due to outrageous bias in the London-based media. "It was a great election!" you said at one point, with no apparent intention of irony. So, yes, your little Distraction Epic this morning was entirely consistent with all that.

      To answer your direct question - no, your fairy tales about how the Yes campaign "lost" the economic arguments aren't going to cut any ice around here, I'm afraid. The main lessons the Yes campaign need to learn are about instant and aggressive rebuttal of lies and distortions, and also about the need to blend their relentlessly positive message with a much more direct indictment of the failings of Westminster rule in Scotland. I'd have liked to see billboard ads asking why pensions and life expectancy are so low here by international standards.

    3. 'Now, will you answer one question from me? Do you accept that the yes campaign has lessons to learn in respect of the points I mention in my post?'

      I have the overwhelming impression that you want your 'lessons' to be acknowledged because you're dictating them rather than what might be learned from them.
      You might get a better response to your warmed up stew of what every Unionist has been parrotting for the last 2 years if you turned down the passive aggressive condescension.

    4. The queen can defend her state, this isn't a normal political issue, however she is putting at direct risk her crown in Scotland.
      I'm perfectly happy to see the veil lifted. We might have an even better environment for the next referendum with either Charles (or whatever he calls himself) or with her bald grandson.

  7. I've torn down my framed portrait of Lizzie and smashed it in anger at this.

  8. If we are to look at this strategically then we should look further than the fact that the Queen has acted so foolishly that the Monarchy may be fatally wounded. The Queen has allowed herself to become a pawn in the Establishment's game.

    Labour lacks members and the Establishment's man in Scotland, Jim Murphy, will not be allowed to attract new members through Scotland only policy changes. So the only path open to the Establishment is to develop the Labour Party in Scotland as the political wing of the Orange Order. Hence the placed story. More fools the Orange Order if they prefer him to a written Scottish Constitution!

  9. I read the first Guardian article about the referendum and was nearly sick. It's pretty bad and nothing we didn't know. The Queen revelation probably won't surprise yes voters, might surprise others though,

    Flockers, yet again you've completely glazed over things that were actually set out by the Yes campaign, it just wasn't reported.

    If there is one thing amongst others I'd do differently, it's ask Wealthy Nation (remember them?) to set out their vision for an independent country as it's clear that some small c tory-minded voters were badly left in the cold and probably felt a little bit miffed that whilst they agreed with an indy scotland, they didn't want to live in basically THE ONLY vision of it.

    Another vision should have emerged and then really, what can the no campaign say?

    The next time around, things need to be different, people may say that whats the point in having another vision which is perhaps centre right, when it's what we have now, but then the points can be made about the powers we do not have and we might well win a couple of hundred thousand votes from it as there are quite a few people who want scotland to be independent but didn't agree with the trotsky vision for it.

    1. I understood that the centre right was not welcome in the YES movement as it would be too easy to paint them as tartan Tories. However, I also feel that there needs to be a business/economic development centred party in the independence fold, in order to provide a haven for those in the centre right. I had hoped that the SDA would provide this but it seams more likely that it will spin off from Business for Independence, which has a membership to rival the tories, rather than Wealth Nation, which I nevertheless hope will provide its intellectual buttress.

    2. It's not enough for them to exist - they must have parliamentary representation in Holyrood. We need some from the SNP to split off and have an agreement with the SNP for Westminster but gloves off for Holyrood.
      We need some tartan Tories who aren't unionists.

  10. James, there is a constitutional convention that the monarch's views remain private. Despite this we have learned a considerable amount about the Queen's views on a range of matters and people, through a variety of channels. Ideally it would not be so, but it is. On Independence we learnt that the Queen thought people should think very carefully about the decisison they should take. Hold the front page. You're alleging that the referendum was not fairly conducted, so it's for you to present some evidence of it. Pointing to the fact the Queen said people should think carefully, without any evidence that it influenced the outcome or expalanation as to why that is unfair (beyond pointing to an oft-ignored constitutional convention), does not discharge that burden of proof.

    It's sad that you are persisting with the idea that the referendum was not fair. As I said in September, bias is often a question of perspective and we each see bias against our own parties and positions in the media. The yes campaign was given every opportunity to present its case through a variety of media, was able to campaign and assemble freely and by common acclaim the level of voter engagement was excellent. I well recall the festival atmosphere on here as the polls tightened - there were no complaints then. Instead we were assured that the yes campaign was winning it on the ground, that Scots placed no trust in the media and that trust would be decisive etc ad infinitim.

    I believed it was a fair referendum when my side looked like losing, I believe it was a fair referendum today. Fortunately the vast majority of people, including the leadership of your party, agree.

    1. No Flockers, the YES campaign was not given the same opportunities by the MSM to present their case. It was hopelessly one-sided. The bias in favour of Better Together was blatant throughout, but reached fever pitch in the last two weeks before the vote. And if the majority of people thought it was fair, and are happy with the result, why do a majority now want another referendum within 5-10 years?

      At the end of the day, "fair" doesn't come into it - all is fair in love and war. The irony is that BT probably could have scrapped it "fairly", but unfortunately they panicked and a number of very silly things were done in the last two weeks. As has already been written, tactical brilliance, but strategic stupidity. Tactics win battles, but strategies win wars. Things really don't look good now for the union, even in the short term.


      This model doesn't distinguish between ballot stuffing and voter intimidation, but it does give you an aggregate of both.

      Some of us know that it wasn't fair but that its far more likely the people we attract with reason stay with us, where the people BT had to browbeat with Project Fear will need another beating by May. Also, manipulating voters is a bit fascist. That's why the True Finns trip the model without any suspicion of fraud.

    3. "I well recall the festival atmosphere on here as the polls tightened - there were no complaints then."

      That's a blatant lie, Flockers, and you damn well know it. I had two pieces published during referendum week (one in the IBTimes, the other in Fair Observer), pointing out the breathtaking bias in the London-based broadcast media. I linked to both articles from here.

  11. Even if you accept the premise that James is right in saying that the referendum was unfair due to the input of the UK civil service, BBC and the monarchy, I don't see how it helps to bang on about it. If and when there is another referendum, those institutions of the British state are almost certainly still going to be there and will take broadly the same line as before.

    1. What's the alternative, James? To cower in fear and never speak out because the forces ranged against us are too mighty? No, I don't like that plan.

    2. No, I just think we should focus on the things that we control and can improve on, instead of howling at the moon.

    3. I don't see aiming to win next year's general election and thereby secure a degree of broadcasting devolution as "howling at the moon", so we'll just have to agree to differ.

      And if you want a practical benefit to "banging on" about collusion between the No campaign and the monarchy, it's this - it makes it that much harder for the same trick to be attempted in future, because people will be wiser to it.

    4. Shock and Awe II and the dirty tricks in general will be far worse for iref2, because No will most likely start any campaign well behind in the polls. So the campaign has to be as short as possible, and ideally overshadowed mediawise by something like an EUref.

      This is a massively unfair contest, there's no getting away from that (unless you're in Denial Super Max like Flockers). But such has always been the case with truly significant social movements. We're not just trying to save Scotland's arse here. We're trying to inspire and educate other MSM-hated liberation movements, no?

  12. This really is classic burying your head in the sand behavior. Rather than discuss, for example, the mess over the currency question, with Salmond having gone from calling sterling a 'milstone around Scotland's neck' and advocating joining the disastrous Euro, to then claiming that a sterling currency union was the only option that would ensure the prosperity of the whole UK, the focus is on some comments the Queen made.

    Simple question: which had a bigger impact on the vote: the currency issue or the Queen's comments?

    1. Anon : I've probably devoted at least fifteen posts on this blog to the No campaign shooting itself in the foot on the currency. I think the Queen's interference deserves at least one. Don't you?

    2. The currency the evidence would suggest. In my above post showing the poll of polls from Prof C, you can see No is 60%+ until currencygate, then it starts to lose support steadily, never to return to this level as the unionist arguments unwind.

  13. Regarding the Queen, you are quite right. Prior to the referendum I was fairly ambivalent about them. No great fan, but happy enough to have them, on the basis that they hopefully bring in as much tourist revenue as it costs to keep them. Post referendum however, specifically the 'think carefully' and 'purring' episodes, I have now firmly changed my mind and want rid of the lot of them. If she doesn't want to be 'Queen of Scots' then hell mend her, we will manage without her somehow. I suspect there's a whole lot of Scots who feel much the same way as I do now, and she has done a good deal of damage to her future prospects in this country, and for what? I suspect her interventions have had zero impact on the actual outcome of the referendum.

    As for Flockers, I actually think he raises some valid points, most specifically on the issue of currency. I have always thought that the SNP made an error of judgement and that their argument should have been as follows:-

    UK: "So, what currency are you going to use then?"

    Scot: "An independent Pound Scots. It will shadow the Pound at parity for a while, then float free at a suitable juncture."

    UK: "You're crazy! That'll hurt businesses and your economy due to the expenses incurred due to converting between currencies cross-border."

    Scot: "OK then, are you going to join us in a currency union? We're willing to trade an amount of our sovereignty for the financial benefits that it will accrue."

    UK: (option A) "Yes, sure thing."

    Scot: "Happy days!"

    UK: (option B) "No, absolutely not."

    Scot: "Figured as much. That's why we've gone with the pound Scots."

    The question is, did the currency argument lose enough of the potential Yes vote to make a difference?

    1. Complete agreement with that. Previously prepared to put up with continuing monarchy. Not now.

      Yes, I suspect the currency issue did lose enough voters. 57% of No voters putting it as one of the two or three most important issues in their decision to vote No.

    2. The Scots pound option is a bad one, not in principle but in presentation. We're dealing with the cringe here folks!
      It should have been Plan A, currency union.
      Plan B the Australian Option (which is the scot's pound) as people know and respect Australia's economy. Labels matter.

    3. Grim, I'm not disagreeing with you, I'm simply stating that the approach and psychology was wrong. If you frame the argument in the way I outlined, you have the same (real) aims, but a better outcome. It's all about who's court the ball ends up in.

  14. Hey, Flockers, nice attempt at distraction. BTW: if the establishment won fair & square, how come you're all so terrified of another one?

    This is so damaging for the monarchy, imagine she had suggested we all vote tory in May? Half the country would be going off its head. But it's OK she campaigns for a no vote? Big mistake, Queen, looks like a Republic is even more likely now once we get indy.

    Also, that pregnancy being announced at only 5 and a half weeks instead of the customary 12 was another deeply cynical act by the royal.

    I genuinely think they will live to regret getting involved.

    1. Wonder how many % King Charles the Tampon might be worth to Yes.

  15. Also, that pregnancy being announced at only 5 and a half weeks instead of the customary 12 was another deeply cynical act by the royal.

    Quite right! Antoher blatant attempt by the British establishment to influence the (gullible) Scots ahead of the referendum campaign (nothing to do with her once again suffering from severe morning sickness!)

    1. I'm afraid you could only get away with sneering like that UNTIL the point that the Royal Family were caught out playing political games. Now, you're just the boy (or girl) who cried wolf, and no-one's listening anymore.

    2. There are thousands of women who suffer morning sickness but don't announce their pregnancies so early. What's wrong with an "upset stomach" if you need a reason to miss work or appointments? It's not a lie after all.

      No, the only reason to announce this pregnancy was to give a wee boost to TeamGB.

      I hope the royal family realise that their cynical interference in Scotland's so called democratic process has left a large chunk of the Scottish population disgusted with them.

  16. Lizzie has form for this kind of a stunt. She did the same in the late 1970s when the SNP's vote was rising, and was hence a threat to the British establishment. It does not take a dolt to see the connections and similarities. I thought at the time that this was not an innocent incident. We should not be surprised given that the monarchy and indeed the BBC are at the heart of the British state.

  17. Isn't her Scottish property (Balmoral) owned by an offshore trust which will fall foul of the new legislation going through Holyrood?
    Not surprised she is hostile to Scottish self determination.

  18. I've found an interesting analysis of SNP-Labour battle seats, it's worth a read I think.

    1. Not bad. Still find it odd that people look 2 elections ago (2010) when wondering what will happen at the next. Better focus on 2011 results for comparable constituencies as a starting point. This one jumps out:

      Glasgow East (18.4%)

      This is marked as 'unlikely', yet the SNP took it in the 2008 by-election with a 26% swing well before 2011, the referendum, the post iref poll shift. It should really be 'tricky' at best.

      The main failing with the analysis is it assumes people supported Labour in e.g. 2010 and ignores a massive tactical anti-tory vote. Party support in 2010 was much better reflected by eventual 2011 result, barring a top-up of 5% from actual lib supporters who went to SNP rather than tactical 2010 libs.

    2. I think the whole piece is very Westminster-centric. It's based on the premise that large swings in one jump are extremely unlikely, while ignoring the elephant in the room of a Holyrood landslide for the SNP that occurred since the last Westminster election.

  19. Anonymous at 1.03pm. Thank you for your response and for engaging with the arguments. I am at a loss as to how you can describe the points made about currency, EU membership, business flight and oil revenues as "not substantive". They are clearly substantive issues.

    The EU membership point is far from settled. I am of the view that Scotland would likely be able to rejoin, and that the objection of other nations concerned about seccessionist movements could be overcome, but it is far from certain that is the case, or that it could be achieved in the short-term, or that it could be achieved without Scotland joining the euro. It certainly is not the case that the balance of informed opinion was that this was a non issue; indeed a number of senior European politicians past and present raised significant concerns. That is a substantive point.

    The loss of soveriegnty in a currency union is also a substantive point. The point is not that France is not a sovereign nation, or that Scotland would somehow be less independent than it is today (neither true), but that Scotland could not hope to have anything like the fiscal and monetary freedom the yes campaign claimed would follow independence, if they are in a currency union with rUK. The painful lesson the EU has learned is that monetary union does not work without political and fiscal union. The yes campaign arrogantly assumed that a currency union would be agreed and glossed over the limitations Scotland would have to accept to make it possible. Again, these are substantive issues.

    The instability of oil revenues has just been demonstrated in capital letters and is beyond doubt. How you can say that Scotland's exposure to oil revenues is not a substantive issue is beyond me.

    This is not scaremongering. These are real issues. They were the issues that troubled a great many Scots I spoke to during the campaign, that alarmed businesses and resulted in many making contingency plans to relocate. I have no doubt that had yes won the immediate aftermath would have seen an exodus of jobs and investment that would have taken many years to replace. The yes campaign has two choices - it can either seek to address them or to continue to pretend that they aren't issues. The latter will only make independence less likely, and more painful for Scotland if it does happen. I don't want that.

    Your pet theory that unionists are English supremicists is just laughable. By and large we are a bunch of people who want what is best for Scotland and happen to take a different view from you as to how it can be achieved.

    1. Flockers, at some point you're going to have to accept the overwhelming polling evidence that Osborne's currency shambles harmed the No campaign, not the Yes campaign. The electorate in general took an entirely different view to you as to which side was displaying arrogance in its currency stance. You're entitled to your own view, of course, just so long as you don't delude yourself that it's widely shared in Scotland, or that your preferred interpretation somehow helped No creep over the line.

      "By and large we are a bunch of people who want what is best for Scotland"

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but I've never had the impression that you live in Scotland. Do you have any significant ties to the country? Because otherwise your choice of words is very odd - you sound like a proprietorial parent figure (rather like Mrs Thatcher used to). Do you want what's best for Denmark as well?

    2. Flockers is a Scotland hating racist. Proven by their own words. It takes the view that Scotland can't exist. If Scotland doesn't exist then neither do Scots. Q, E and indeed, D! That would be genocide. Just because you're not using gas chambers doesn't change the intent.

    3. The traditional Scottish unionist position is explained here:

      People claiming that the UK is a unitary state, or "an enlarged and renamed England" or claiming that England is the "rUK" (sic) are not expressing a Scottish unionist position. They are expressing a view that was traditionally only expressed by Englishmen arguing that England had a superior position in the union or Scottish nationalists arguing that Scotland was oppressed.

      Either way, this is an English supremacist view of the union.

      Believing that a constitutional position inferior to that of a colony is "what is best for Scotland" is an odd view for anyone claiming to be both a Scot and a unionist.

  20. I wish now I could remember where I read it, but one journalist who was at Crathie that morning writes to support the interpretation that the whole thing was scripted.

    He said that the usual drill for the press is for them to be there but to maintain a respectful distance from Her Majesty, and not to get so close as to be in a position where they can overhear her conversation. However on that occasion this policy was reversed. Journalists were explicitly urged to get right up close the the queen and to listen out for what she was going to say.

    Says it all, really.

  21. For those unaware the Royals are going to have some very big problems of their own soon enough as it's all but an open secret that a great many tabloids have been sitting on piles of stuff waiting for Liz to pop her clogs or the heat to recede from the trials.

    If you don't know why look back at the precise cause of the first phone hacking jailings and the testimony from the new ones including Cameron's jailbird best friend and spindoctor Coulson. Kate and Wills were targeted some 170 times which, even for those doing it, was anything but routine and seems to confirm the rumours that the extraordinary intense interest was because of testimony like this, "the witness explained that Fawcett was a former valet to the Prince of Wales but asked that he not be pressed for details as the story he was researching was "a matter of extreme delicacy for all concerned"."

    They weren't just on fishing expeditions, (far too risky for that) they were after something in particular, several things in fact.

    So it's going to be another tabloid feeding frenzy at the expense of the Royals. (they really have missed Diana and are still very glum that the new ones just aren't up to much and are light-years away from the banker that she was) A frenzy which Charlie boy in particular is somewhat unlikely to enjoy as the tablolids will not sit back and let foreign newspapers and websites scoop them this time while they say next to nothing.

    On the subject of hilariously out of touch tory twits bumptiously trying to lecture those who worked for years on the streets of scotland campaigning on it... there were plenty of clueless tory twits congratulating themselves after the first Devolution referendum certain the same thing would happen again. There were indeed many famous ones in the tory party who arrogantly and stupidly insisted in 97 that yet more scaremongering would scupper the second Devolution referendum. Nope! LOL

    Take the witless rantings of westminster bubble tories for the comedy gold it so clearly is as anyone who thinks more of the same will work simply doesn't have the brainpower to understand what approaching 100,000 SNP members and all the current polling means.

    So when the tory party splits over the EU (and it is most assuredly WHEN not if) remember that the incompetent fop and his idiot cheerleaders were the ones who had their heads in the sand as their own MPs were jumping ship to the kipper poundshop racists. :-)

  22. You may have regard it as paranoid to point out the possible collusion at the time, but not everyone did. I seem to recall the journalists who witnesses the incident reported that they were surprised to have been invited by the local constabulary to move closer to the Queen. Normally, they would not have been within earshot, and so would not have directly witnessed the Queen's comments. Their usual approach would have been to seek out the woman who spoke to the Queen and ask her to recount what was said.