Sunday, November 15, 2015

Is Andrew Neil's Scottish fanbase much bigger than we ever suspected?

To test his suspicion that the BBC's Scotland 2015 has a very low number of viewers (perhaps as few as 5000 per night), RevStu used his latest Panelbase poll to ask respondents which political/current affairs programmes they watch or listen to.  The results are useful in giving a sense of the relative popularity of each show (and indeed Scotland 2015 turns out to be less popular than everything apart from the radio programmes), but the raw figures actually say much more about the shortcomings of polls that rely on volunteer online panels.  For example, 6% of the sample claim to watch either every episode or most episodes of The Daily Politics, which would imply a 'baseload' Scottish viewership of hundreds of thousands of people for a BBC2 politics show broadcast on weekday lunchtimes (and which its presenter Andrew Neil apparently thinks isn't broadcast in Scotland at all!).

The problem is, of course, that volunteer online panels attract a disproportionate number of people who are extremely interested in politics.  In theory, you can correct for that in voting intention polls with sophisticated weighting techniques, but that theory may have its limits - telephone polling came out of the debacle in May slightly less badly than online polling, and it also proved more reliable in the 2010 general election.  If the inquiry into what went wrong takes us 'back to the future' and declares that real world data collection methods generally produce more accurate results, what does that mean for supporters of Scottish independence?  It's mostly good news, because as of this moment, telephone and face-to-face polls are producing much more favourable results for Yes.  On the other hand, it's bad news for anyone pinning their hopes on Brexit triggering a quick second independence referendum, because telephone polls are currently far, far more favourable for the 'Remain' side in the EU referendum.

Incidentally, I feel slightly vindicated by the results of another of the questions in the Panelbase poll, because a majority of respondents (including 48% of SNP voters) think that the SNP should take up the seats they are entitled to in the House of Lords.  I'm a huge admirer of Pete Wishart, but I was very dubious the other night when he had a go at the Green Party of England and Wales for taking up a seat in the Lords.  If both the Greens and Plaid Cymru take the view that it's important to have their voters' views represented in the Lords for as long as it exists, it's just possible that they've got it right and the SNP have got it wrong.

*  *  *

Scot Goes Pop fundraiser : I'm slightly relieved to say that the fundraiser will close early tomorrow morning (Monday), so this is the last time I'll be promoting it in a blogpost!  Thanks a million to the 276 people that have donated so far - £5,595 has been raised, which is almost as much as was raised over a much longer timescale in the second fundraiser last autumn.

After the previous two fundraisers had closed, one or two people got in touch to say that they still wanted to contribute, and asked where my donate button is.  As it happens, Indiegogo has a new 'In-Demand' feature that allows fundraisers which have reached their target figure to remain open for contributions after the closing date (if that makes sense).  So I hope to leave that switched on for a little while, just in case someone comes along in a few weeks' time with a burning desire to donate.  But rest assured I won't be promoting it heavily - there'll probably just be a discreet link on the sidebar (desktop version of the blog only).

I know there are always a large number of important pro-independence causes seeking funds at any given moment, so I'm incredibly grateful and honoured that this one was deemed worthy of several thousand pounds.  I really can't thank you enough.


  1. If ANY SNP mp or " Indy celeb" took a seat in the h.of.l. I would finish forever my support. It would be the equal of slab members desperate to flaunt their ermine & claim the £300 daily tax free allowance... or the free 6 bottles of spirits & 30 bottles of wine given at taxpayers expense every month... would Keir Hardie have joined such an undemocratic banal old chaps club?.. as the SNP play enough wm rules as it stands.

  2. James, James, the SNP have NO entitlement to seats in the H of Lards. There is no established formula. Labour and Tories scratch each others backs on ennoblement, but that hasn't stopped Cameron stuffing the place with his own stooges and threatening to stick in even more.
    UKIP claim to have been promised many Peers, a promise Cameron renaged on.

    What would stop Cameron from elevating one name from the SNP, and no more. Ever.
    That would be the principle lost for NOTHING, then the argument, then the support

    1. Simple answer : the SNP could insist on a minimum number before taking any at all.

  3. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 15, 2015 at 8:09 PM

    I was not surprised that so many Nat supporters would like the Nats to enter the Lords. You see Tartan Tory is relevant. Not one person on this site and others have indicated they would be prepared to pay additional tax the help the poor. Low taxes have always been Tory policy. The SNP is riddled with Tories pretending to be something else to all men.

    1. You are a complete and utter arsehole.

    2. Whats this sound Paul
      chomp munch gobble gobble nom nom nom gulp?

      its the sound of a troll feeding

    3. Maybe there are some tories in the SNP although I would imagine they are on the verge of defecting to the actual tory party. Imagine being a tory at one of those SNP rallies? You'd be about as welcome as Princess Anastasia at a meeting of the supreme soviet.

      No, the SNP is now, largely, a socialist party in intent, at least. But their desire for independence trumps their desire to help wee Jimmy who is stuck in a wheelchair with not enough benefits and relying on foodbank aid. He'll have to wait x years / decades until the glorious goal is achieved - then he can get loads and loads of help (they'll buy him a nice headstone).

      But to raise taxes just now would frighten the horses. The middle class have to be fooled into going along with independence then, as soon as it happens - WHAM - back to 1978!

  4. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 15, 2015 at 8:12 PM

    I do recall Andrew Neill speaking at a Tory conference. Long time ago and he had hair.

    1. Nigel orders you to eat your cereal.

    2. Who is paying you to be here?

  5. Firstly, you are well worth the money James.

    Secondly, we are better than the Greens, no hypocritical Lords for us!

  6. It's important for the SNP to differentiate themselves from Unionist parties. One easy way to do this is by non-participation in HoL. I would be disgusted of they took part, but I have to accept some other SNP voters see it differently, however a huge majority either want it abolished now or just want to participate while it exists. For me, it makes a very important political statement about political intentions in an equitable indie Scotland. From the poll figures it appears 80% of SNP voters want it abolished.

    1. I'm one of them. I also want FPTP abolished for the House of Commons, but that doesn't mean we boycott the Commons until it happens.

    2. James,

      I understand the tactics, but your strategy is all wrong.

      It would normalise the HoL as an institution and would allow the continuation of a deferential society.

      By denying the the HoL credibility, by denying them the very air of privilege that they undoubtedly breath, by denying them our acquiesence to their assumption of monarch before people, then the SNP are absolutely right to refuse to nominate.

      The people of Scotland are sovereign, not some daft unelected body, far, far away.

    3. There is nothing on Earth that can normalise the House of Lords. It's one of only two legislatures in the world that has reserved places for clerics - the other is in Iran.

      In any case, every other major party has already taken up seats - including the Greens and Plaid Cymru.

    4. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 16, 2015 at 2:53 AM

      At least James the clergy in the Lords do not incite violence and ram religion down ones throat unlike Iran. You could also have mentioned the Vatican ambassadors to various counties who are unelected. And why should a small enclave in Rome have ambassadors.. I do argee with an elected second chamber and politicians being held to account. I suspect the SNP will eventually take positions in the Lords. Nice wee earner and a house in London! Very temptng for the principled.

    5. Enlighten me - which countries elect their ambassadors?

      Alternatively, just eat your cereal.

    6. "Nice wee earner and a house in London! Very temptng for the principled."

      Good to see you putting forward arguments for independence GWC.

    7. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 16, 2015 at 2:04 PM

      Sorry James I should have emphasised that the ambassadors from the Vatican are clergy who were not elected. But thanks for pointing that out. So you can score aff yer perceived brownie point.
      And Hootsmon Skier. The Lords can be abolished and replaced by an elected chamber so not an argument for independence. And James you and your pal Anon should read French Colonial history mainly Syrian and of course Lebanon which was part of Syria.

  7. I think the House of Lords has about 25 Lords Spiritual, maximum - out of a total of 800 peers approx. Hardly Iran. And who would our clerics declare a fatwa on anyway? Wee Mrs Smith down the road for not putting enough biscuits on the table?

    I'm much more concerned about Holyrood - a supposedly proportional parliament that hands a 'majority' to a minority party.

    1. Lords Spiritual are Church of England.

      Scots are second class here too; no representatives from the Church of Scotland.

      Also xenophobic as e.g. the catholic church, both English and Scottish, are excluded. Likewise other religions and humanist / atheist groups.


      The comment about Holyrood is just ridiculous given the Westminster Tories have a majority on 37% of the vote.

    2. Unless you are a devout Catholic or Church of Scotland member, are you really going to care? Most people are Agnostic or Atheist. We observe religion upon birth, marriage and death. Especially death, it seems. Wonder why that is?

      Yes, the tories do have a majority on a minority. But they don't propose breaking up the country. The standard for attaining a majority has to be higher for the SNP in my opinion as their agenda poses an existential threat to the nation.

    3. Aldo, didn't I see you post the other day berating somebody for suggesting that the UK was not a democracy?

      Now, try reading your second paragraph again.

      My conclusion from this and your other posts is that either 1) You are a (paid?) troll who does not really believe in his own arguments, or 2) are capable of engaging in 'doublethink'. It's a common malady amongst those who have been brainwashed in the UK way of thinking.

    4. "the Scottish electorate in my opinion pose an existential threat to the (greater) English nation."

      Fixed that for you Aldo. SNP will never make Scotland independent. Only voters can do that.

    5. The difference between you and me is that I've got past the anachronisms "Scottish" and "English", Skier. We are one nation - one island and one people - bound by culture, a language and a common heritage.

      So only the Scottish electorate can make Scotland independent? Better tell that to the UDI-ists then.

      Also, electorates can be brainwashed by a government that is intent on fostering grudge, grievance and division and 'othering'. We see this with Gaelic road signs, Police Scotland, the breakup of the British Transport Police, the SNP stunting at Westminster - all designed to make citizens of a nation feel not a part of that nation - distant from it, and powerless.

      This is the nation we pretty much ruled from 1997 to 2010 but let's not let historical facts get in the way of things.

      If a party with a sep agenda is going to be handed a majority of seats in parliament, it should have to win a majority of the votes. Had this rule been applied in 2011, there would have been no SNP majority, no referendum, no polarisation of Scottish politics and we would still be full participants in the United Kingdom rather than having marginalised ourselves by electing a bunch of people no one else can work with.

    6. No, I am not paid unfortunately. But I have been known to reward myself with the occasional chocolate éclair.

    7. "We are one nation..." See, there you are with a completely different view of our nation(s) from me. You kind of make my point for me.

      UDI. Depends how you define it. If you mean the right to declare independence with the consent of the Scottish people in a referendum but without Westminster consent, then yes, I believe that is legitimate. If however you mean the right to declare independence simply through a majority of MSPs, then no, I do not belive that this is legitimate.

      Once more your final paragraph shows just how undemocratic your thinking is. The Scottish Parliament was set up in such a way that a majority of SNP MPs was considered highly unlikely, yet there were no overt rules designed to keep them out of power. You are simply stating that with hindsight you should have imposed more overt rules with a higher bar.

      You might as well just outlaw the SNP and be done. We all know it's what you really want, isn't it?

      Keep waving that butcher's apron, Aldo, and sing with gusto.

      "...Rebellious Scots to crush..."

    8. P.S. That's the funny thing about anachronisms. Stand still long enough and you become one yourself.

    9. I think the SNP probably should have been outlawed in the 1930s/40s when they supported the Germans in the war and put themselves forward as a potential puppet government for a nazi occupied Scotland. Had the British government done so, back then, it would have saved major problems these last few years.

      However, it's too late for that now. But we can have greater checks and balances. No party at Holyrood should have a majority - unless they secure a majority of the popular vote. That's the way it should have been set up in 1999 - Dewar, Blair et al were simply short sighted.

      "Butcher's Apron" - are you sure your loyalties do not lie with Ireland, rather than Scotland?

    10. My you don't half talk a lot of shite Aldo.

      And even if say the SNP had been outlawed, someone would have just started SIP or something similar. You can't outlaw the electorate, although I imagine Tories would like to do that if possible given they are happy to govern with a majority even though 63% voted against them.

      I must say that your standard of trolling has fallen recently. Happened around the time Yes went ahead in the polls. You are still well ahead of GWC, but you've lost the sparkle.

      You are not even particularly irritating any more.

    11. I'm not here to irritate or troll Skier - simply to converse and occasionally remind people of the reality of the situation. That's all.

      There are arguments in favour of FPTP. It is majoritarian in nature - it provides strong government. I would argue that the national, sovereign government needs to be strong. It is responsible for a hell of a lot of really important stuff.

      Now, devolved government, by definition, isn't as important. So a more democratic, more consensus driven voting system can be used with there being few real drawbacks. I would argue for pure PR in Scotland because A) It is the most democratic form of government, and B) It holds the secessionist parties to the high standard - though not unreasonably high standard - of having to secure more than50% of the vote.

    12. Aldo, I realise this blog has moved on, but as for outlawing the SNP in the '30s for alleged Nazi sympathies, I guess you'd have had to outlaw the royal family too. Every cloud and all that.

      Anyway, this isn't the '30s. Almost nobody alive today was an adult in the '30s. I wasn't alive in the '30s. The SNP fairly well represents my values and ideals right now today. Thoughts of the '30s or WW2 don't enter my head, it's ancient history. This is about the future, my future. That horse (if it ever existed) bolted a long time ago. Like I said, it sounds to me like you're the anachronism here, stop living in the past and get with it.

      It's abundantly clear now that you want the parliaments that are supposed to represent all of us to be designed in such a way, quite overtly, so that they are loaded in your favour. That tells me a lot about you and presumably your unionist friends, and frankly it doesn't surprise me.

      Fortunately I'm not alone, I have almost 50% (and rising) of the Scottish electorate at my side.

      I'll agree with you on one point though. Independence will not happen until more than 50% of the Scottish population says it should.

      And then it will.

  8. The SNP are in Westminster to help separate Scotland from The Establishment, not join it. Scotland saw first what happened to our Clan Chiefs when they were ennobled and sucked into the English Establishment. They don't even speak with Scottish accents any more.

    Then we saw how Labour, initially reluctant, were also sucked into the maw of The Establishment by joining the Lords. We need to learn from History James, not repeat the mistakes of it.

    Plaid Cymru and the Welsh in general are much further from independence and much more tightly enmeshed in England and the Greens of course are English and probably need to join the Establishment to have any continuing influence there. Scottish independence does not require that, so we stay out. It cannot be put more clearly than that.

    Yes there are occasional downsides, like no voices for Independence when their Lordships debated Scottish Independence before the referendum. But the downsides of joining greatly exceed the few upsides of doing so.

    Maybe if the Lords were reformed as a properly elected senate then the SNP would be silly not to stand for it. Such a body is easier to leave and easier to remain partly separate from within than the Lords are.

  9. I can see the logic, sort of! However, such a move would be incredibly divisive and could split the SNP right down the middle. The anti-HOL feeling is just too strong, James. The arguments over NATO membership would seem like a walk in the park compared to this baby. Sorry, it's a definite no-no.

  10. On matters of principle it is obvious that the SNP should refuse to partake in the House of Lords.

    On matters of pragmatism, it is very clear that any (very minimal) gains that might be made by partaking would be heavily outweighed by the loss of the principled stand.

    It is therefore abundantly clear to me at least that the SNP should continue to refuse to take any part in that House.

    1. Spot on. Let the so-called working class heroes of "Scottish" Labour wrap themselves in ermine and ponce about using their phony titles.

  11. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 16, 2015 at 2:08 PM

    James, The Vatican and the Lords have one thing in common. Unelected people elect a leader. So will we abolish both?

  12. James, I think your point makes some sense, because Scots should want as much influence as we can get, however just as we have saw in the HOC and the Scottish Parliament, the Labour Party would rather side with the Tories than do anything that might benefit Scotland and therefore put the SNP in a good light.

    You could bet your house on the fact that the HOL would be no different, so as many people have mentioned before the split this would cause in the SNP support along with the complete lack of genuine influence the move would bring Scottish Lords, makes the idea a complete no goer.

    OT who is the 'Glasgow Licking Arse' character? His loyalist tendencies seem to suggest he's one of those thick knuckle-heads who support that defunct team who are a byword for cheating and dishonesty in Scotland.

    I hope it wasn't any of the regular contributor's on Scot goes Pop who taught the thicko to write?

  13. Were the SNP to take seats in the HoL, then when Independence comes, there would calls for the honours system to be continued in Scotland.
    We want, as Aus. is doing, to abolish the bloody thing, not prolong it

    Another tack. I'm all for free speech, and Jimmy, you have the patience of a saint by replying to Aldo and the person GWP, but when I see the name heading, I just move down to someone sane. They can spoil a whole train of comments.

    1. Read / watch:

      Wings over Bath, The National, Scot Goes Pop, Russia Today


      The BBC, the mainstream print press, Sky News, Unionists.

      Isn't the nat bubble in danger of collapsing in on itself due to reality disconnect?

    2. Wings:- I read it. I have minor issues with some of the Rev's views & beliefs, but nobody's perfect and I can look past them to the bigger picture which is that he does a very, very good job of holding a spotlight to the media and pointing out the flaws in their arguments and the outright lies.

      The National:- I don't read it as I have never got in the habit of reading papers. A long time ago I realised that they were all forcing somebody else's opinions on their readerships. I have always preferred to try to discern the facts for myself, sift the wheat from the chaff and the nuggets of truth from the lies and spin, and make up my own opinions.

      Scot Goes Pop:- I follow it because it is a great resource for Scotland specific polling info, and has some good political discussions attached.

      Russia Today:- I do not watch it. It has its own clear biases and agenda. I do not trust it as a source of unbiased information.

      BBC:- This also has its own clear biases and agenda. I do not trust it as a source of unbiased information. I do however watch it quite a lot as my significant other hates adverts so tends to watch news on the BBC.

      Mainstream print press:- See above.

      Sky News:- See Russia Today.

      Unionists:- I listen to you. Know thine enemy ;-)

      Who's in the bubble here? Who really has the reality disconnect?

      You decide.

    3. Your post at: November 16, 2015 at 4:23 PM

      Apologies, but I can't link directly to it.

      It wasn't that long ago that the mere reality of a majority of SNP MP's would have meant we were independent. That was the deal.

      Things, no doubt change. It was probably a fundamental mistake by the SNP to not make that claim at the last UK General Election. Sure, they wouldn't have won as many seats, but they would still, in all probability, have won most of them.

      I completely accept that they do not have a mandate to walk away from Westminster right now, because they did not state it as a manifesto commitment.

      If, however, it were in a Westminster SNP manifesto, what then?

      In my view negotiations for separation would start the day after the result was announced. And be completely legitimate.

    4. People vote in general elections on a broad manifesto. We know for a fact there are SNP voters and Green voters who support the union. There are also Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem voters who support independence.

      So, no, an SNP majority of seats in Scotland cannot be taken as a mandate to negotiate independence - and, if the SNP tried it, Westminster would block it.

  14. The SNP wouldn't split if the leadership wanted to allow members to take seats in the HoL.The SNP would remove the leadership.

    1. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 16, 2015 at 5:01 PM

      Rubbish ye wid dae whit ye are telt as ye did wie NATO and the Monarchy ya bunch a Tartan Tories. You should go onto the site and purchase a Tom Paine TShirt.
      And have you made a start in reading French Colonialism in Syria/Lebanon!
      And if you do then read Belgium Colonialism.Maybe the ha'penny in your brain will fall out.

    2. The SNP is controlled, tightly, top down, dae as yer telt, stay on message 'or else'. Their MPs, MSPs and local councillors are bound and gagged - so how much power does a card carrying beardy student who just signed up last year actually have? None, I would say.

      There are 3 people in the SNP with power - Sturgeon, Salmond and Swinney. If you're not one of them, you're bound and gagged in the boot being driven around indy neverland.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. I agree with anonymous. GWC and Aldo are on here like a rash because they know what he says is true.

    1. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 16, 2015 at 9:09 PM

      Douglas, anon lives in the twilight zone of fantasy and makes up history on the hoof. He thinks Tony Blair is to blame for the Paris attacks. He has no sense of history. He probably attended some alternative school of Marx and baby sitted for Jeremy Corbyn. The man is a fool.

  16. Out of interest, has anyone ever researched their clan history to see which side their family fought on in 1745/46? I just discovered my ancestors fought for the British army under the Duke of Cumberland. Well chuffed I am!

    1. Not particularily interested in that sort of stuff.

      That clan Aldo fought on one side or t'other oughtn't to 'chuff' you nor indeed depress you.

      In all probability they had no choice.

      They had to do what the 'big man' said. And off they went to a war they probably knew nothing about.

      If you look at First World War memorials, you will see a lot of lives extinguished.

      “So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly rise and make them miserable.”

      That is a quote from Aldous Huxley, who Googlists tell me is second rate.

      I don't think he was.

      Are you not a tad willing to impose on your ancestors an ascendancy that they didn't share in?

      There are winners and losers in wars and modern wars too.

      They are not thee or me.

    2. Again

      I am probably trying OGH's patience:

      You might like to consider this.

    3. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 16, 2015 at 8:59 PM

      Aldo, your ancestors had a choice and here we are commenting on a blog and not ploughing the fields and fighting for Clan Chiefs and the total thick moron Charlie. We are all winners Nat sis and aw.

  17. GWC & Aldo: The Boogie Bros needing a sugar shot from some Coco Pops.

    Or maybe not given their dementia levels.

    As to Scots independence members in the uber "Nat sis" - to borrow a term from GWC - HoL?

    Personally, never to be countenanced although free-lancer pro-re-sovereign citizens of Scotland peers would be a welcome matter of conscience and intellect if only to stir the idle Unionist b'stards up.

    Given the foregoing, I do NOT advocate GWC or Aldo for stoat fur around their necks.

    However, lavatorial duties in the lavatories of the HoL help would be acceptable.

  18. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 17, 2015 at 11:18 PM

    David, is that the best you can do? Not funny at all, try again. You lost the first ever real referendum because of your absolute total incompetant campaign which was held over two years. What to do David is hold another campaign lasting 50 years before the next referendum while you neglect the country and the poor. You and me will be pan breid by then but Britain and prosperity will be intact.

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