There's a devil in me that almost (not quite, but almost) wants Andrea Leadsom to become Prime Minister, because what she's proposing is so mind-bogglingly ridiculous that it would surely push even more people towards the conclusion that independence is the only answer to this mess. Not only is she (like Gove) arguing for a Full Fat Brexit that would involve complete withdrawal from the single market, but she also wants to bring matters to a head at breakneck speed. Perhaps the Express were misrepresenting her slightly, but they seemed to be suggesting that she ideally wants to bypass Article 50 with an Act of Parliament (presumably to repeal the European Communities Act 1972) and leave the EU by next spring.
This is where Ruth Davidson's explicit declaration that the UK government should not attempt to block a second indyref gets interesting. My reading of it is that Davidson may be concerned that some of the leadership contenders are rather less respectful of Scotland's right to self-determination than others, and that in a worst-case scenario we could end up with an intransigent Thatcher-type figure who unwittingly turns independence into the settled will of the Scottish people, just as the real Thatcher accidentally built the consensus for devolution three decades ago. Leadsom's zealotry leaves me wondering if she's the candidate that Davidson is most worried about. Presumably the intention is to lay down a marker well before the new leader is anointed, and to make it next to impossible for that person - regardless of who it is - to contradict the Scottish Tories' clearly-stated stance on a possible indyref.
* * *
As a fond tribute to Dan "Hokey Cokey" Hodges, allow me to perform a 180 degree U-turn on a sort-of-prediction I made only four days ago. I said that Michael Gove was likely to be the new Prime Minister. Although I still maintain that Gove would have a very good chance of defeating Theresa May in the members' ballot (especially after an opportunity to push all the right buttons in head-to-head TV debates), it now looks entirely possible that he won't even get as far as that ballot. He's caught in a pincer between Boris Johnson supporters who are backing Andrea Leadsom out of revenge, and some Theresa May supporters who are apparently voting tactically for Leadsom to ensure Gove is not May's opponent in the members' vote.
The Leadsom phenomenon is odd, though, because if the Leave brigade want a Brexiteer Prime Minister, Gove is surely their most realistic hope. If Leadsom goes up against May in the final ballot, members will compare the two candidates' respective ministerial experience and won't be able to see past May as the obvious choice. On the other hand, there could also be a small danger for May-supporting tactical voters, because reducing their candidate's support in the MPs' ballot might undermine the sense of inevitability about the final outcome.
* * *
One thing I meant to mention on the previous thread (and apologies if this is common knowledge and I completely missed the reporting of it) is that the datasets for last week's Panelbase poll reveal huge support for a second indyref within three years. A grand total of 60% want it to be held either during the negotiations for Brexit, or at the end of those negotiations. Only 40% don't want an indyref in the near future. Arguably the way the question was posed and the way the options were presented made a favourable response more likely, but on the face of it that's the clearest support for a second referendum that we've seen in any of the polls over the last ten days.
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I noticed a short exchange from a few days ago between Morag (Rolfe) and RevStu about whether the ScotPulse independence poll putting Yes on 59% and No on 32% should be considered legitimate or not. I'm not sure we should look at it in quite such a binary way, but I do disagree with RevStu when he says that the ScotPulse figures are within the margin of error of the other polls we've seen. With Don't Knows excluded, ScotPulse actually had Yes on 65% - light-years away from the 52% with Don't Knows excluded in the Panelbase poll, and from the 53% and 54% with Don't Knows excluded in the two Survation polls. We've seen no datasets of any kind from ScotPulse, but I'd suggest the most likely explanation for the discrepancy is that their sample was not fully representative of the Scottish population, and/or was not correctly weighted.
* * *
If/when the next indyref gets underway, do you suppose the Yes campaign might be cheeky enough to call themselves "Better Together in Europe" and adopt Why Build Another Wall as their theme song? Altogether now...
So why build another wa-a-a-all?
So why build another wa-a-a-a-a-a-all?