Wednesday, October 27, 2021
VIDEO PREVIEW of new Scot Goes Pop polling on GRA reform: do the people of Scotland support gender self-ID?
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
EXCLUSIVE SCOT GOES POP / PANELBASE POLL: The three pro-independence parties are on course to take 51% of the local election vote between them, with the SNP set for a record-breaking landslide
Monday, October 25, 2021
YouGov average suggests SNP would make big gains - and win 93% of Scottish seats - in a new Westminster election
Sunday, October 24, 2021
The Scottish Government has a well-earned reputation for interacting like real people with the general public - it shouldn't throw that away now by being aloof and dogmatic on gender issues
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
With grateful thanks for your patience, I'm pleased to be able to tell you that I've finally commissioned the comprehensive poll on reform of the Gender Recognition Act and related gender issues that I crowdfunded for in the summer. However, this has been a much more challenging and stressful process than previous Scot Goes Pop polls, so I'll need to briefly explain how we've ended up where we are.
First of all, the fundraising process during the summer proved to be extraordinarily messy. I already had a general fundraiser underway to support the blog itself, and I was reluctant to have two fundraisers running at the same time. So when the GRA poll idea came up, I tried to use the general fundraiser to crowdfund for the poll - but that was clearly a mistake, because it made it too hard for people to visualise what the target figure was. What complicated it further was that The National got in touch and kindly reported on my fundraising for further independence polling - but that meant I effectively had to stop crowdfunding for the GRA poll, because obviously independence polling and GRA polling are different things, and not everyone who helps to fund one will be interested in helping to fund the other.
Neither set of fundraising produced enough on its own for the type of full-scale poll I ideally wanted to run - although the two in combination did raise just about enough. Nevertheless, I've felt honour-bound to keep the two sets of funds separate. The GRA funding was the more successful of the two, and enough money was raised for me to be reasonably confident I could still commission a GRA poll if I shopped around for the most competitive rates and limited the number of questions. However, having looked into that possibility and given it my very best shot (I put in an enormous amount of work over the last few weeks and was almost in despair at times), I'm afraid it just wasn't a runner. There's very little point in spending thousands of pounds on a poll where the questions aren't the ones we actually want to ask, and don't even resemble the ones we want to ask.
So in order to break the logjam, I've gone ahead and commissioned a full-scale GRA poll from my first-choice firm. That's a much better option anyway, because it's the comprehensive poll we had originally intended, rather than a half-hearted or slimmed-down effort. However, it's also more expensive, and I'm going to cover the shortfall with my own money - I can't see any other way of getting the poll done in a timely manner, and it's important it's done soon because Holyrood may not be far away from making some fateful decisions.
Obviously I'd rather only be losing that money temporarily, though, so to solve the problem I've set up a new dedicated polling fundraiser, which you can find HERE and which I will be promoting heavily as the results of the new poll are published. The funds raised will compensate me for what I'm spending on the current poll, but mostly it will complete the funding for the next Scot Goes Pop independence poll (I'll keep my options open on the timing of that one but I hope it'll be within the next few months).
Just so you're aware, I've also added voting intention questions and a couple of topical political questions to the GRA poll - it would have seemed a wasted opportunity not to do that.
If you prefer Paypal to GoFundMe, my Paypal email address is:
And a reminder that the fundraiser page can be found HERE.
Sunday, October 17, 2021
Friday, October 15, 2021
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Saturday, October 9, 2021
Independence will not be won by drifting through time and waiting for Alister Jack's dismal vision of restoring "a YouGov democracy by 2039"
With the normal caveat that I'm not a legal expert, it seems to me to be utter nonsense to claim that the Supreme Court ruling a few days ago scuppers hopes that a legal referendum can be held without a Section 30 order. The issues involved are very different. The crux of the ruling was that the Scottish Parliament cannot constrain the UK Parliament's unlimited powers to legislate for Scotland, even on devolved matters. But as far as a referendum is concerned, the argument of the legal experts who believe Holyrood already has the powers to hold a vote is that the UK Parliament's right to legislate would not be constrained in any way, because they would not be bound by the outcome of a purely consultative referendum. (Of course they'd be bound in a moral rather than a legal sense, which is why they're so terrified of a consultative referendum).
A slightly more convincing argument is that, although the ruling is not directly relevant to the legality of a referendum, it nevertheless reveals the Supreme Court to be a deeply conservative and instinctively British Nationalist body which is highly likely to dream up a legal argument for striking down a referendum, even if we have no idea yet what that argument will be. Well, that may or may not be the case, but it strikes me that the amateur psychoanalysing of judges is not the most sensible or reliable way of forecasting the outcome of complex legal cases. We need to concentrate on the things we can control, and stop worrying about the things we can't. What we can control (and by "we" I mean the pro-independence side under the leadership of the Scottish Government) is legislating for a referendum - something that frankly we should already be doing or already have done. What we cannot control is whether that legislation is then challenged by the UK Government or by a private citizen used by the UK Government as a proxy, or whether any such challenge is successful. In a sense that doesn't really matter, because this is a process that has to be gone through. If a legal challenge fails, the problem is solved - we won't need a Section 30 order and a referendum will go ahead. But if the challenge is upheld, we'll still be further forward because we'll have demonstrated to the Scottish people that the referendum route is totally closed off and that the UK Government's pigheaded intransigence has left us with only one reasonable option for pursuing a democratic mandate for independence - namely via a parliamentary election. That will be a moment of liberation, because it will break us out of the "No to Indyref2", "now is not the time", "once in a generation" paradigm. Parliamentary elections take place at least once every five years, and there's not much the UK Government can do about that, short of a Nazi-style Enabling Act.
As ever, though, the real problem is that the ruling may encourage the Scottish Government's ongoing passivity. Let's be honest, pretty much everything encourages the Scottish Government's ongoing passivity. "We might fail so it's really important we don't even try" has been the guiding principle since the catastrophic loss of nerve in 2017, and that shows no sign of changing. Anyone who seriously wants independence should be terrified by Nicola Sturgeon's admission that she doesn't know how the impasse will be broken, but that she thinks it somehow will be, one way or another, because "time is on her side". Decoded, that means the SNP leadership's solution is to do absolutely nothing with even more studied determination and wait for something to turn up. Spoiler alert: nothing will turn up, even if we wait decades, because the British constitution does not change and the British state's vested interest in keeping Scotland prisoner does not change. If we want the weather to change, we have to change it ourselves.
And there's another way in which a truly radical and daring pro-independence government might have reacted to the Supreme Court ruling. Aileen McHarg pointed out that there's now a clear incentive for the Scottish Parliament to refuse to agree to Sewel motions giving the UK Parliament consent to legislate on a specified devolved matter, because the court has created a novel distinction between laws on devolved matters passed by each parliament - Holyrood can only control/influence the interpretation and implementation of legislation it has passed itself. But that also, I would suggest, means there's an incentive for Holyrood to "re-legislate" on swathes of laws passed after previous Sewel motions, so that the new Holyrood laws replace the Westminster laws, thus rendering the ruling largely redundant. That would be roughly analogous to what the Parti Québécois administration used to do when it invoked the "notwithstanding clause" (allowing Canadian provincial legislatures to override court rulings of unconstitutionality) on every single piece of legislation it introduced, even when there was no particular reason to think that was actually necessary.
In other news over the past week, Alister Jack has revealed that Scotland will only be held as a prisoner against its will for another eighteen years. In the year 2039, dictatorship will be replaced by a "YouGov democracy", ie. we can have the things we want as long as YouGov say we want them (supermajority requirements apply, naturally). So that's exciting. Only six thousand, five hundred and seventy-four more sleeps to go.
* * *
Whatever the rights and wrongs of the Supreme Court ruling (and it's interesting that many eminent experts believe the judges erred in law), it's worth remembering that the Scottish people were firmly opposed to the UK Government taking the matter to court in the first place. Here is the result of a Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll conducted in April -
The Scottish Parliament recently passed legislation that incorporates the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots Law. The law seeks to protect children's rights by forbidding public authorities from acting in a way that is incompatible with the UN Convention. However, the UK Government are challenging the law in the Supreme Court on the basis that it would interfere with the UK Parliament's right to make laws for Scotland. Although the UK Government are allowed to challenge laws that they think may exceed the Scottish Parliament's powers, they are under no obligation to do so. Do you think the UK Government are right or wrong to challenge the new Scottish law on children's rights?
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
Did Kirsty Blackman genuinely retweet a call for Joanna Cherry to be expelled? Any chance a screenshot was doctored or something like that? It's extraordinary (and appalling) if she did.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) October 4, 2021
The fiction that Joanna Cherry was sacked because she's "not a team player" is wearing a bit thin. There's clearly been a very nasty, bitter vendetta against her from some of her colleagues.https://t.co/ubB6Q0mbxw— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) October 4, 2021
No matter who you are or what you do no one is immune from the curse of workplace bullying. It can be a dark & lonely experience so if you know someone in that position offer them support. Trust me it makes the world of difference— Joanna Cherry QC (@joannaccherry) October 4, 2021
Have deleted an earlier RT. I am clear though, @theSNP needs to do more to tackle internal transphobia, including sanctioning or expelling those in the party who are transphobic.— Kirsty Blackman (@KirstySNP) October 4, 2021
As you can see, Kirsty Blackman's eventual attempt to draw a line under this episode did not involve an apology - it was simply an announcement of a deletion without any explanation of either the original retweet or of the deletion itself. That being the case, I don't think it's unreasonable that she should be invited to answer the following questions to clear the matter up rather more satisfactorily...
* Did you not read the tweet properly before retweeting it? All of us have been guilty of that sort of carelessness at some point in time, but is that what you're claiming happened in this case?
* If you did read the tweet properly, why did you knowingly retweet a call for one of your MP colleagues to be expelled from the SNP?
* Do you, in fact, believe Joanna Cherry should be expelled?
* If you do believe Joanna Cherry should be expelled, why did you delete the retweet?
* Does your clarification imply that you want transphobes to be expelled, but that you accept that this principle does not apply to Joanna Cherry because she is plainly not transphobic? If so, have you apologised to her for the confusion?
* Do you accept that calling for a colleague to be expelled, when that colleague is in fact in good standing, should in itself be a disciplinary offence? If not, why not?
When Ms Cherry was sacked from the frontbench, I said that one of my big concerns was that it might prove to be merely a staging post, and that the next step would be to make it a little less unthinkable for spurious disciplinary action to be taken against her, with a view to eventually having her suspended or expelled. That may have seemed a tad outlandish when I said it. It looks a hell of a lot less outlandish now, and we're only a few short months further on. The many decent people who decided to stay in the SNP after Alba broke away in the spring now need to stand up and be counted. They don't need to lose their party - there's nothing inevitable about it. But time may be running short.
Monday, October 4, 2021
"Name one country that allows FOREIGNERS to vote in constitutional referendums. Go on, James, name just ONE!"
Sunday, October 3, 2021
So a few miscellaneous things while I'm thinking of them. First of all, I meant to mention last week that I was quoted in Alasdair Soussi's latest piece for the Al Jazeera website, about the UK Government's attempts to turn COP26 in Glasgow into a Union Jack fest. You can read it HERE.
Secondly, I promised our regular commenter 'Independence for Scotland' that I'd let him know if I heard anything about how to buy Alba Party merchandise in a way that ensures the funds go to the right place. The latest email update from the party reveals an online Alba shop is on its way, and that in the meantime merchandise can be bought by emailing: email@example.com
And lastly, there's an uncharacteristically helpful headline in the Herald on Sunday suggesting that a Tory-funded poll has backfired by showing a majority of the Scottish public think "the Union is bad for the environment". Skimming through the article, though, I get the impression this may just be a Scottish subsample from a GB-wide Opinium poll (albeit one with an unusually large sample size).
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
This is bordering on defamatory. I'm a Catholic of overwhelmingly Irish ancestry. I went to Catholic schools. I still go to the Easter vigil every year. When Rangers fan sing about Fenian blood, who do you think they're singing about? https://t.co/w6VBlHWjuS— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) September 28, 2021
But then, this is Jeggit we're talking about, so I'm too busy laughing to consider a defamation case.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) September 28, 2021
Many thanks to the Twitter user Alba Loun for alerting me to a lengthy and bitter hit-piece that Jeggit wrote about me on his blog Random Public Journal a couple of days ago. The fact that I was oblivious to the article's existence until today may indicate that it didn't have quite the impact hoped for, and it's certainly the case that Jeggit has been making determined efforts in recent weeks to alienate practically all of his previous allies with gratuitously nasty attacks on Marion Millar and the Women Won't Wheesht movement more broadly. Many people will therefore think I should regard his rant about me as a veritable badge of honour, and at the very least it's unlikely to do me any harm. Nevertheless, just as I said a few weeks ago when Ross Anderson was using the Wee Ginger Dug blog as a platform to publicly attack me, it's important as a matter of principle to have the right to reply to personal attacks and to be able to set the record straight.
Basically what has upset Jeggit so much are three tweets I wrote about him several weeks ago. Why he's suddenly decided to react after so long is a bit of a mystery - maybe he just didn't notice at the time. But given that he thinks "the knives are out for Jeggit", all I can say is they must be bloody slow knives if they've taken this long to reach him. This is what I tweeted -
"A theory about Jeggit (and it's only a theory). His real loyalty is to Sinn Fein and the cause of Irish unification and sovereignty. Nothing wrong with that, but he's unusual in that he's decided his main contribution to the cause will be via the Scottish independence movement. This has led to him tying himself up in knots, because he's trying very hard to stay faithful to the Sinn Fein stance on trans rights - which puts him firmly on the side of SNP centrists, and against the more radical elements of the indy movement, who he otherwise sees as allies. This is the problem with trying to graft the politics of one country onto another country."
Anyone who was aware of the context of those remarks will know that I was actually trying to defend him, at least up to a point, but is he intelligent enough to spot that? A great many people were accusing him of being a woman-hater due to his declaration of all-out war on Ms Millar and gender critical feminists, and I was simply pointing out that there was a plausible alternative explanation - one that potentially reflected less badly on him. Some of you may also remember that I stood up for Jeggit several years ago when the SNP tried to paint him as a monster due to comments that were, to put it mildly, ambiguous and open to more than one interpretation. But "no good deed goes unpunished", as the saying goes.
His article is quite astoundingly dishonest and packed full of toddler-tantrum insults ("Kelly is a moral coward", "Kelly is an intellectual lightweight" and the like), but what is most remarkable about it is that he claims to be setting out to prove my theory wrong, but ends up unwittingly proving it right in most respects. I did emphasise it was only a theory (ie. I was acknowledging it could be totally wrong), and while it may not have been bang-on accurate, it appears to have been very, very close to the mark. Consider the following -
* At the top of the article is a selfie of Jeggit with Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald. (Even though I was a long-term supporter of the SNP until very recently, I can't retaliate with a selfie of me and Nicola Sturgeon, because I must be just about the only person in Scotland who doesn't have one.)
* He goes on to say he is "fiercely" loyal to Sinn Fein, and thirty-two county Irish sovereignty.
* He then indignantly asserts that it is entirely natural for a Scot living in Dublin who supports Irish unity to also support Scottish independence. In other words his belief in Scottish independence is subsidiary to his loyalty to Sinn Fein and Irish unity, precisely as I suspected and suggested.
* He explains that the reason his support for Scottish indy is such a natural extension for him is that it flows from opposition to "British imperialism". That's a very telling use of language, which suggests he is viewing the subject entirely through an Irish republican prism. Not everyone in the Scottish independence movement regards this country as a victim of imperialism or colonialism, but those that do would generally refer to it as "English imperialism" or "London imperialism". Scotland can scarcely be the victim of British imperialism given that we are part of the island of Great Britain and always will be. There is, quite simply, no British state without us - which explains why an Irish republican like Jeggit might happily be a co-belligerent of the Yes campaign for reasons that have little to do with Scotland's own future.
* He really gives the game away when he contrasts the supposedly relaxed attitude of the Irish population to self-ID for trans people (recent polling tells a radically different story, incidentally) with the British "fixation" with debating the subject. What does he mean by "British"? We know what he means. He's talking about the Scots, about Marion Millar et al. We're just "Brits" to him. This isn't unusual in the Irish nationalist worldview, I've found over the years. The perception is that these islands consist of just two nations - Ireland and Britain, with the words "England" and "Britain" used interchangeably. No real harm is meant by that, and if you point out the existence of Scotland and Wales, people will generally smile and apologise. But nevertheless the basic worldview is that there are essentially two countries, with Britain the oppressor and Ireland the oppressed. Jeggit seems to instinctively buy into that.
Jeggit of course regards me pointing all of this out as an indication that I am an "anti-Irish bigot" with an aversion to "the stink of Fenian", and a "unionist" (!) whose mind has been "penetrated" by the "Orange sash". (The article really is every bit as hysterically funny as it sounds.) As I said in my tweets above, these claims are bordering on defamatory. Either he's intentionally lying, or he's making a wild guess about my attitudes to Ireland that can only be regarded as somewhat "brave" given that my surname is Kelly. I and hundreds of thousands like me in west-central Scotland are exactly what Rangers fans mean when they sing about "Fenians". You'll find no self-loathing here - I know what community I come from, I'm proud of that community, and my political views are entirely typical of that community. Where I part company from Jeggit is that I believe the statelet of Northern Ireland has existed for long enough that it's simply not realistic any longer to deny the people of NI the right to self-determination within the borders of that statelet, as artificial as they may be. I therefore accept that the future of Northern Ireland must be determined by the people of Northern Ireland, and if they choose to remain in the United Kingdom, they may be misguided but they are entirely within their rights. Be under no illusions, though - if I lived in NI myself, I'd be voting for a nationalist party. Sinn Fein are a bit rich for my blood given their historical baggage, and the SDLP are perhaps not rich enough, so I'd have a difficult choice between the two, but it would be one or the other. All of this poses something of a problem for Jeggit's barking mad thesis, which rests on the assumption that I am somehow the reincarnation of Lord Carson.
But Jeggit's most dishonest claim of all is that he is "almost entirely unaware" of Sinn Fein's position on trans rights, and therefore cannot possibly be influenced by it in the way I suggested. Pull the other one, Jegsy. You expect us to believe that you've written multiple detailed articles on this topic without even bothering to check what the party you give your "fierce" loyalty to thinks about it? Aye, whatever.
I also couldn't help but raise a smile at Jeggit's implication that I am an "ethno-nationalist". Given that the root cause of his antipathy towards me is his stated view that I am not "revolutionary" enough, and given my own long history of moderate civic nationalism, I'm quite content for others to judge which of the two of us is the ethno-nationalist.
Last but not least, we have the rabbit from the hat - Jeggit claims he can't possibly be slavishly loyal to Sinn Fein policy positions because he strongly disagrees with the party's support for abortion rights. He makes reference to the existence of the small breakaway Aontu party, which is essentially a socially conservative, anti-abortion version of Sinn Fein. Jeggit states that he decided against leaving Sinn Fein for strategic reasons - he thinks the national struggle is more important than the abortion issue due to the fact that the latter has already been "settled".
So essentially all that was wrong with my theory is that his heart lies midway between the ideals and values of Aontu, and Sinn Fein's. Wasn't out by much, was I?
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
No matter how much time passes, we always seem to be "just one more election victory away" from holding an independence referendum
Monday, September 20, 2021
Daily Record's credibility lies in TATTERS this morning as it falsely claims that a no change poll shows a "drop in support for independence"
Thursday, September 16, 2021
A few years ago, I had a brief discussion on Twitter with the pollster Keiran Pedley (then with GfK NOP, now with Ipsos-Mori) about what I believed to be the unfair practice of polling firms failing to include one particular political party in the main menu of options that respondents are provided with, even though other parties of similar size are included. He made the point that it wasn't about 'fairness' as such, but instead about what experience had shown to be the most accurate approach - if including that party in the main menu consistently led to an overestimate of their support, it was absolutely justified to exclude them. I'm not convinced it's quite as simple as that, because polls (absurdly) have a quasi-constitutional role these days - they're factored in to decisions about the airtime each party is entitled to, and they supposedly will determine whether or not Northern Ireland is allowed a referendum on its constitutional future. When poll results are an integral part of the democratic process, it's arguable that poll methodology needs to be fair and even-handed as much as it needs to be accurate.
However, at least in the example I discussed with Mr Pedley, the pollsters were actually attempting to estimate support for the party in question. If respondents indicated that they were planning to vote for "some other party", they were taken to a second menu of options in which the party was included. A much greater problem occurs if respondents have no means at all of indicating their preference for a party - when all they can do is say "some other party" and it goes no further than that. If decisions about airtime are made on the basis of such a poll, there's a gross unfairness, because no effort was made to measure the party's support. And that, unfortunately, is the point we've reached with Panelbase polls of Holyrood voting intentions - the two that have been conducted since the election in May have not allowed respondents to express support for Alba in any form.
I can't understand the rationale for that. Although Alba didn't meet its own targets in May, it did secure 2% of the list vote, and for as long as any party is "troubling the scorer", so to speak, you'd think it's important to continue to know how well or badly it's doing. Alba also of course has two Members of Parliament and a significant number of local councillors, which makes it of greater interest than most parties that receive 2% of the vote on their first outing.
All of this presents me with a bit of a dilemma, because I'm hoping to commission another Scot Goes Pop poll reasonably soon (funding permitting) and Panelbase would usually be my first choice - but I have a feeling they would want to maintain consistency by using the same question/answer format for Holyrood voting intentions in every poll they conduct, regardless of client. However, I'll cross that bridge if and when I come to it.
On a more positive note, the Savanta ComRes poll published last Friday did include Alba as an option on the Holyrood list ballot, and 2% of respondents said they would vote for the party. That will be a great disappointment to the Alba-haters who gloated at considerable length about the Opinium poll published the previous day which showed Alba on zero for the very first time - a result that was taken to mean that "the monster had been slayed" and that Alba could expect to receive negligible support from that point on. The difference between the two polls is actually quite striking and hard to explain - in absolute terms, Opinium found only two Alba voters among their sample, while Savanta ComRes found seventeen. Here are the full ComRes results...
Scottish Parliament constituency ballot:
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Fancy putting the Express in the dock for lying about Scottish independence polling? Here's your chance...
In order to justify throwing the book at Craig Murray, the presiding judge notoriously dreamed up the novel principle that us mere bloggers must be held to a different legal standard than 'proper' journalists, on the dubious grounds that the latter are bound by codes such as the IPSO Editors' Code of Practice - a voluntary set of rules that to the best of my knowledge has no legal underpinning whatsoever. If that's the brave new world we're now living in, it's perhaps not too much to ask that the 'proper' journalists - even ones as controversial as David Leask - should be rigorously held to the code, Clause 1 of which states "the Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images...a significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and — where appropriate — an apology published".
On Friday 10th September 2021, the Express website published an article by Dan Falvey entitled 'SNP President drops huge hint Sturgeon could backtrack on plan for referendum in two years'. I have no idea whether it also appeared in the Express print edition, which you won't be surprised to hear I don't subscribe to - but that makes no difference because online articles also fall under the jurisdiction of both IPSO and the Editors' Code. The article contained a blatantly inaccurate claim about Scottish independence polling, and yet four days later it still has not been corrected and no apology has been issued.
Falvey ludicrously ignored the genuine polling evidence that had been published on Thursday and Friday by Opinium and ComRes showing a very even split in public opinion - Opinium had Yes ahead by 51-49, while ComRes had No ahead by 52-48. Instead, he treated the propaganda poll commissioned by Scotland in Union, complete with its dodgy question about "leaving the United Kingdom", as if it was the only one that mattered.
Now, to be clear, there's no question that IPSO would let the Express get away with that part of the article - they would just mark it down as a form of "editorialising" that may have been selective with its facts, but was not strictly inaccurate. However, there's one particular sentence in which the Express strayed into outright falsehood, and it's this: "Polls have shown a drop in support for independence over the past six months, with a "No" vote consistently now in the lead". The words 'consistently' and 'now' preclude the possibility of a Yes lead in any current poll - and yet the Opinium poll published just one day before the article had Yes ahead.
If you have the time and patience to take on the Express through the IPSO complaints process, here's the online form you need.
Sunday, September 12, 2021
Friday, September 10, 2021
If you're an Alba member and have registered for the inaugural annual conference, which takes place tomorrow and Sunday, you'll be able to vote online in the ballots for the female and male ordinary members of the National Executive Committee. I'll be a candidate on the male ballot, along with fifteen other excellent candidates, so welcome along to my little pitch for you to give me, James Kelly, your first preference vote. (The ballot is being conducted by Single Transferable Vote, which means you'll be ranking the candidates in order of preference. If for some inexplicable reason you decide not to give me your first preference, I'd be equally grateful for your second preference, or your third preference, or any preference at all, really.)
I've been writing Scot Goes Pop since 2008, and by 2013 it had become one of Scotland's most popular pro-independence blogs. In 2012 I became a columnist for the International Business Times, and in the run-up to the independence referendum many of my columns were syndicated on Yahoo, reaching a huge audience - meaning that I may well have been, almost by accident, the most-read pro-indy blogger during the indyref period. Later on, I was for a time a columnist on the TalkRadio website, and since 2017 I've been a regular columnist for iScot magazine. I've also provided occasional election and poll analysis for The National since early 2015.
I've made numerous appearances on TV and radio, including BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio Five Live, the Bauer radio network, Al Jazeera, Radio Sputnik and most recently the Alex Salmond Show on RT. I've also taken part in a huge number of New Media podcasts, films and live-streams. Perhaps most significantly, though, I've commissioned no fewer than five full-scale Scottish opinion polls - something that is usually the preserve of the mainstream media. Some of the polls have been genuine landmarks - for example, the poll in June 2020 that marked the start of the long unbroken series of Yes-majority polls was a Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll.
I'm not, however, a political insider. I've never been particularly active within a political party, and that, I think, may mean I'd bring a different sort of perspective to the NEC than someone who is steeped in SNP internal politics. (Don't get me wrong, though - there's also plenty of room for that kind of experience on the NEC.)
I'd suggest a possible advantage of electing me is that there aren't going to be any surprises about my political views. Over the years, I must have blogged about practically every political topic under the sun, so my opinions are all out there. Most of you know me well and you know exactly what you'd be getting. I'm also easy to reach - I'm very active on social media. (That mostly means Twitter rather than Facebook, for the avoidance of doubt - it's not unusual for me not to check my Facebook account for weeks, which has led now and again to sheepish apologies to people who have messaged me in the interim.)
If any or all of this strikes a chord, and if you're eligible to vote, please do consider giving your first preference vote to James Kelly (that's me!) on the male ballot for ordinary members of the Alba Party NEC. The voting hours will, as far as I know, be between 12pm on Saturday and 5pm on Sunday. Thank you.
VIDEO: Vote James Kelly #1 for the Alba NEC. (Or #2. Or #3. It's up to you, really.)https://t.co/bWnThdHQ9i— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) September 11, 2021