Saturday, January 25, 2020

Poll/crowdfunder update

So just a very quick update for the 349 people who have between them contributed an amazing £6186 to help Scot Goes Pop commission an opinion poll on independence.  I haven't been idle on your behalf, and I think I've now got things more or less sorted.  If everything goes to plan, I should have some results for you within around 7-10 days. 

I now think it's highly unlikely that our poll will be the first post-election poll on independence - a number of people who are members of online polling panels have mentioned being surveyed over the last couple of weeks.  With the Sunday papers appearing tonight, we might even see the first poll (perhaps even the first couple) within a few hours.  However, I think a Scot Goes Pop poll is still a very worthwhile exercise.  Different polls produce different results, and the more independence polls there are, the better idea we'll have of how the Yes campaign is faring in the post-election environment.  And there's particular value in asking our own supplementary questions, because the mainstream media outlets who usually commission polls have their own preoccupations, and those are reflected in the questions that are asked.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Could excessive timidity lead to us squandering a golden opportunity to win independence?

It seems to me that the rhetoric of the "caution" faction within the SNP is aimed more at changing the behaviour of Yes supporters than of the UK government.  Essentially the intention is to put Yes supporters into a kind of trance by insistently and repeatedly saying: "Stop asking how the SNP are going to bring the promised referendum about, those are bad thoughts.  Instead, try to grow support for independence, that would be a good thought".  It's not really working, partly because people have minds of their own and their preoccupations can't be so easily directed from on high, but mostly because there's such an obvious flaw in the "grow support for independence and don't worry your pretty little heads about process" schtick.  It would all be so much more persuasive if there was a concrete plan for bringing about an indyref (with or without a Section 30) once that greater Yes support has been achieved, but in place of that plan is magical thinking, ie. "the UK government's position will prove to be unsustainable once we have overwhelming support, you'll see".

There's actually quite a strong case to be made that higher percentage support for Yes in the opinion polls would make the UK government even more intransigent, not less so.  That could be especially true if the Tories remain in power indefinitely.  If they had stayed in power after 1997, they would never have granted devolution, or a devolution referendum, in spite of the fact that support for a Scottish Parliament was running at 70-80% in the polls.  (And yet I'm sure there would have been people chanting the mantra of "this is totally unsustainable!")

It remains to be seen how much influence the caution faction has with the SNP leadership, but until that becomes clear, all that the rest of us can do is continue making the counter-argument as forcefully and respectfully as we can.