Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The media doesn't want to talk about this - but unionism has got a Douglas Ross problem

I was having a look at the YouGov website to see if I could find the datasets from the Times poll about Devo Max, which naturally Kenny "Devo or Death" Farquharson is beside himself with excitement about.  They're not there yet, but the tables from earlier questions from what was presumably the same poll are up - and what leapt out at me are the personal ratings for party leaders.

It was stated again and again throughout the election campaign that Alba were doomed because of Alex Salmond's poor poll ratings.  That was never true - in a proportional system you can win seats even if only 10% of the public like you, just so long as enough people within that 10% feel strongly enough about it.  The fact that Alba didn't win seats doesn't in any way disprove that point, although of course people will pretend that it does.

Douglas Ross, however, is in a different category from Alex Salmond, because he's not the leader of a small party trying to win seats - he aspires to be a national leader, and he's already the de facto leader of unionism.  Nobody seems to have spotted this yet, but his ratings in the YouGov poll are strikingly similar to Alex Salmond's.  Only 18% of the public think Mr Ross is doing a good job as Tory leader and 52% of the public think he's doing a bad job, compared to 53% who think Mr Salmond is doing a bad job as Alba leader.  If it's supposed to be so unthinkable for Alba to ever have any electoral success with a leader with that type of rating, I'm struggling to understand why the unionist media are not questioning how unionists will ever win a second referendum with Ross as their champion.  

Crucially, even 24% of Tory list voters think Ross is doing a bad job - that compares with just 2% of SNP voters who think the same of Nicola Sturgeon, and 6% of Labour voters who think the same of Anas Sarwar.  The Tories got away with putting up a weak leader in this campaign, probably because their core voters are tribal and will vote for pretty much any Tory if it stops the SNP.  But Better Together II will need a lot more than just tribal Tories to win a referendum.  Unionism has got itself a Douglas Ross problem.


  1. If it's supposed to be so unthinkable for Alba to ever have any electoral success with a leader with that type of rating, I'm struggling to understand why the unionist media are not questioning how unionists will ever win a second referendum with Ross as their champion.

    Wouldn't Better Together 2 again be fronted by Labour? It might jar a bit since fewer people vote for them now than the Tories, but the campaign would get over that minor embarrassment quickly.

  2. Douglas Ross now has years - potentially - of getting chewed-up by Nicola Sturgeon at First Minister's Questions as he tries to defend/distance himself from his Boss - Boris Johnson with a straight face.

    He'll probably end-up wishing he hadn't got elected on the List....

  3. I expect this might not be a popular post, but, being balanced...

    Let's wait for the appeal on Murray because the process is still underway. He is not going to jail for now.

    Broadly, I think we should take care in attacking the result of one trial (Murray's) while saying another is fair (Salmond walking free) simply because the person involved is 'on our side'. The same judge that oversaw Salmond's fair trial is the one that has come down hard on Murray for putting that fair trial in jeopardy.

    Murray has got off quite lightly compared to some. Jail is a very common outcome for contempt for individuals, particularly for deliberate contempt; trying googling the subject. Whole cases can collapse due to it and/or breaches of anonymity can result in people be subject to violent attack. Identification can also put victims off from coming forward, just as Dorian has ruled.

    Tommy Robinson got a notably longer sentence for a similar offence in a high profile case. Just because he's a wank doesn't mean he should be treated differently...

    If you read Lady Dorian's actual ruling, you can see why Murray got jail. The court believes he very obviously wanted people to work out who the accusers were, as that was important for the 'grand SNP + civil service + police + courts' conspiracy to jail a saintly Salmond theory. I have to admit this very much did seem to be the case from his blog; to prove a strong SNP element to the conspiracy, you needed to say 'look, the accusers all worked closely with top SNP!' (or rather, in truth, they simply worked with the government administration of the time, which was Salmond in the past, with some still doing so now presumably, so closely with Sturgeon's team).

    Certainly, all those reading Murray's blog + Wings then coming on here to push the grand conspiracy absolutely wanted people to work out who the accusers were. They spent all their time dropping clues and hints to that effect laced with menace to hopefully get people angry enough to attack the accused, possibly violently. That or at least not vote SNP.

    And in court, Murray then basically admitted his guilt when he used the 'But everyone was looting TVs - why are you just picking on me for it!' defence. Which is of course not a defence, but an open admission of crime. Sure maybe the courts should look at others who did similar (and they have, with Murray not the only one found guilty here), but it would not absolve Murray in any way.

    Those who accidentally jigsaw identified, but clearly would have no particular interest in readers knowing who the accusers were, are not going to come to the attention of the courts by contrast.

    Anyway, if Murray has strayed well away from the conspiracy theory side of things, so appearing impartial to the court, I doubt he'd be in the crap like he is, even if he has jigsaw identified in a roundabout way.