Friday, December 10, 2021

The fury over the Downing Street party could be a Cummings-style game-changer triggering a big resurgence in the pro-independence vote

One thing I'm quite proud of (although obviously there was a high degree of luck involved) is that I commissioned the opinion poll in June 2020 that turned out to be the first in the historic unbroken sequence of twenty Yes-majority polls, which continued all the way into the first few weeks of this year.  The reason I decided to commission a poll at that particular time was that there had been dismay in the independence movement about how the Yes lead that was established in the immediate aftermath of the 2019 general election had quickly vanished in the early days of the pandemic, and there was a theory that Dominic Cummings' escapades in Barnard Castle may have reversed that trend - if only we had a poll to find out.  It turned out there had indeed been a Yes resurgence - although of course it was impossible to be 100% sure that Cummings had caused it.

My guess is that the recent revelations about the Downing Street party have similar game-changing potential, and may actually be of an even greater magnitude.  After Allegra Stratton's video was leaked, non-political friends started messaging me about it, which is always a strong clue that an event has really cut through.  The first batch of GB-wide polls since the news broke has shown a sharp swing from Tory to Labour - which is also exactly what happened after the Cummings episode.  There's no guarantee that a poll now would show a corresponding swing from No to Yes, but I personally think there's quite a high probability that it would.  On this occasion, there's no need to commission a poll for psychological reasons, because as it happens the most recent poll showed a huge Yes majority anyway.  (That's a relief for me, because I'm too mentally exhausted from our October poll to even contemplate doing another one until a reasonable amount of time has elapsed.) But nevertheless this turn of events could muddy the waters somewhat, because my own suspicion was that the main reason for Ipsos-Mori showing a Yes lead was the poll's telephone methodology - I thought it was likely that an online poll conducted at the same time would continue to show a modest No advantage.  If an online poll does turn up before Christmas and shows a Yes lead, people will inevitably say "this confirms the Ipsos-Mori trend" - but it'll be equally possible that the swing to Yes has occurred since the Ipsos-Mori poll was conducted, and that it's mostly caused by the fallout from the party.

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Any Wikipedia editors around?  As I've pointed out before, the Wikipedia entry for the Alba Party is in an absolutely indefensible state, and was clearly written to a large extent by editors with an anti-Alba agenda.  It's entirely normal for any Wiki piece on a political party to have a section that summarises criticisms of the party - but what is totally abnormal is the proportion of the article which is taken up by the criticisms section, the scathing tone of that section which veers into outright bias at one or two points, and its 'everything including the kitchen sink' approach.  Compare it to the almost reverential tone of the Wiki entry for the Scottish Green Party and you'll see what I mean.

I do edit Wikipedia occasionally, but as I'm on the Alba NEC, I have a feeling someone would cry foul if I touched the Alba entry, and would probably start quoting some obscure Wikipedia rule at me (there's one for every occasion).  But I do think that article needs to be sorted out by other editors - just to normalise it and make it comparable to the equivalent articles for other political parties.


  1. Isn't it a bit pathetic if what moves the great Scottish public towards independence or otherwise are the ridiculous antics of Boris and his circus of clowns?
    What sort of country and populace is this!
    As an aside I noticed that even the Daily Express is headlining how Britain's trade has slumped while that of the EU has boomed since Brexit. Delicious...

  2. Remember Dominic Cumstain's CCTV video earlier in the year where it captured him kissing a female Tory. It was hinted that this was at downing Street where it happened
    Could it be that their kiss actually happened at one of these illegal parties in December 2020 ??? Whilst they were tipsy?
    And leaked out in the summer of 2021 to get rid of him and the rest leaked out near the anniversary of last year's deceitful Tory bash in time to punish them further this December?


  3. James, had a look at your twitter feed. Truly dispiriting the stupidity of some people.

    Beginning to hate " eyes on the prize" and the " slowly slowly catchee monkey."

    The saddest exchange is a poster saying:

    "Independence is coming and I will see it."

    Reply by other poster:

    "That's what my dad said in 2016. He contributed to the ring fenced fund. He's now dead."

    Blind faith doesn't do these numpties justice.

    It's not Johnston stopping Scottish independence it's Sturgeon.

    1. "Beginning to hate " eyes on the prize" and the " slowly slowly catchee monkey.""

      Let's not forget "keep the heid!"

    2. I lost the heid with Sturgeon in Jan 2020 when she made her speech saying she would not be having an illegal referendum and the only way was the sec 30 gold standard.

      A proper independence leader leads a nation to independence. There is no leadership from Sturgeon.

    3. Oh and the favourite of a friend in the SNP:

      " Keep the faith"

  4. If only the political leaders of pro-independence parties had some fire in their bellies!

  5. I've just heard that one of Johnstons quiz questions was:

    Who has had the most mandates Nicola Sturgeon or Peter Murrell?

  6. Hello James ...this poll has been thrown about this week and I thought it was fake as couldn't find any info on it until tonight . First call was here to see what you'd be saying but nothng hence why I thought it fake . Whats your take ? Its gotten the Yessers pretty excited. Cheers

    1. It's just a GB-wide poll by the look of it. It's not 'fake' as such but the seat projection for the SNP is pretty meaningless.

    2. Ok cheers. I did wonder why you'd ignored it as such. Hopefully we'll get proper polls before long after Boris's antics.