Saturday, May 1, 2021
May Day, May Day: Why it's become increasingly vital to vote SNP on the constituency ballot and Alba on the list
I must say as this campaign has worn on, I've become ever more convinced that I did the right thing by voting SNP on the constituency ballot and Alba on the list. In a couple of recent polls, including the one commissioned by this blog, the SNP's constituency vote has dipped very slightly below the 46.5% they took in 2016 - when of course the pro-independence majority in parliament was fairly slim. We simply cannot afford any more slippage. People playing silly buggers on the constituency ballot by abstaining, or voting for a unionist party, or even by voting Green or Bonnie Prince Bob, are at risk of waking up the next day with a unionist majority. I'm absolutely serious about that. It has to be SNP on the constituency ballot.
But by the same token, I am becoming less convinced by the day that a re-elected SNP government will deliver an independence referendum unless an Alba group is there to pressurise them. All the mood music points to more delays and excuses. Now, to be clear, I have no idea whether there will be an Alba group - the opinion polls are contradictory. Some say yes and some say no. So you could argue it's a 'risk' to vote Alba, because it might return no seats. But exactly the same risk applies to voting SNP on the list, and I would say the greater risk is not to at least attempt to change the political weather by electing politicians who actually have a sense of urgency about independence.
As I said a couple of weeks ago, I loved the SNP Party Election Broadcast and thought it was truly inspiring. ("And for that, we need to exercise our right to hold a referendum. A vote for the SNP will show Westminster and the world that we cannot, we will not, be denied our right to decide. As our country renews, we need to choose our own future, before somebody else chooses it for us. Then we can take the first steps towards a new nation that's fair, a nation that cares. Scotland's future is Scotland's choice, and nobody else's.") But I want Alba there to remind them of that broadcast and hold them to it. I have a horrible feeling that otherwise we could look back in 2026 and realise it was the equivalent of Nick Clegg practically signing in blood a promise to vote against any increase in tuition fees.
Friday, April 30, 2021
Le Royaume-Uni, nul points: Big majority of public demand a SCOTTISH ENTRY in the Eurovision Song Contest, in bombshell for the BBC from Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll
BBC Scotland's exclusion of Alba from the leaders' debates is now utterly indefensible after BBC Wales set a precedent with an ultra-inclusive debate night featuring leaders of several tiny anti-devolution parties
The Alba party have been excluded from every single leaders' debate so far. I'm currently watching the BBC Wales leaders' debate for the Senedd election, and the fringe party "Abolish the Welsh Assembly" is fully represented.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) April 29, 2021
The BBC, ladies and gentlemen. Unspoofable.
Oh God, it gets even better: immediately after the main BBC Wales debate, there's an additional 30 minute debate for the Greens, UKIP and Reform UK. BBC Scotland haven't got a leg to stand on here. They've failed the public by not even attempting to find a format including Alba.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) April 29, 2021
Of course the simplest shortcut for small parties that want to get on the BBC is to be right-wing, anti-devolution, or anti-Europe.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) April 30, 2021
Thursday, April 29, 2021
Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll: Voters say UK Government are WRONG to launch legal challenge to the new Scottish law protecting children's rights - and tell Douglas Ross it was *Brexit* that was irresponsible in the middle of a pandemic
EXCLUSIVE: Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll shows a virtual tie on the headline independence numbers, leaving today's Savanta ComRes poll looking like a possible outlier
I didn't in any way blame Savanta ComRes for the #Matchettgate episode, because I'm quite sure the fault lay at Scotland on Sunday's end. However, I think eyebrows are going to be quite rightly raised at the ComRes spokesman's comments about today's new poll, because they do appear to dispense with political impartiality in two key respects. It's a poll that shows pro-independence parties with a very clear majority of seats in the next Scottish Parliament, and yet the ComRes spokesman feeds into a Tory narrative by casting doubt over whether that would represent an "unequivocal mandate" for a referendum. I'm not sure it's for a pollster to suggest that a majority of seats isn't a proper mandate in a parliamentary system.
He also describes the Alba Party as "ever-unpopular", which is a truly extraordinary remark. Alba are a minority party in the hunt for seats in a proportional representation system - just like the Greens, just like the Liberal Democrats, just like the SSP in the old days. Nobody would call the Greens "unpopular" just because 90% of people aren't going to vote for them. The ComRes poll actually shows the Alba vote increasing slightly, which reinforces the message from other recent polls that their support is holding up.
Scottish Parliament constituency ballot (Savanta ComRes/The Scotsman):
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll: Yes voters tell Anas Sarwar in no uncertain terms that he CAN'T speak for them without compromising on an independence referendum
One thing that stood out as particularly brazen in the first couple of leaders' debates was Anas Sarwar's claims that he, unlike Douglas Ross, can speak for both anti-independence and pro-independence voters. If anything, it was actually Sarwar's predecessor Richard Leonard, and Keir Starmer's predecessor Jeremy Corbyn, who brought Labour a bit closer to being able to straddle the Yes/No divide by suggesting that they wouldn't necessarily stand in the way of an independence referendum if people voted for one (yet again). But Sarwar has now reversed that process, returning Labour to being just as much of an ultra-unionist party as the Tories. And yet he apparently thinks he can speak for both Yes voters and No voters simply by telling Yes voters that they don't really care about the thing they're in favour of.
I decided to use the new Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll to discover whether that bit of cheek was actually convincing anyone.
The Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar says that, unlike the Conservatives, his party speaks for both anti-independence and pro-independence voters. However, Labour remains firmly opposed to independence and to an independence referendum. Which of the following statements is closest to your own view?
Labour would have to offer a compromise on an independence referendum before it can claim to speak for pro-independence voters: 44%
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll: Douglas Ross is "not an appropriate person" to be a party leader or candidate for First Minister due to his 'gypsy traveller' comments, say voters by huge margin
Regular readers may remember that on both of the last two occasions I commissioned Scot Goes Pop polls, I was very tempted to chuck in a question about whether Douglas Ross should give up being a football referee and get on with the day job. I decided against that because it seemed like a relatively frivolous question. (And Craig Murray felt strongly that it would trivialise the whole exercise.) But all of a sudden, it doesn't seem frivolous at all. Douglas Ross is currently planning to hold four jobs simultaneously, and his dual Westminster / Holyrood mandate will be particularly complex, because he'll have to represent Moray at Westminster and the entirety of the Highlands & Islands at Holyrood. It's getting a bit beyond a joke now, so I decided the time was right to use the new Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll to find out what the public think.
The Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has said that if he is elected to the Scottish Parliament in May, he will not give up his seat in the UK Parliament until 2024, and that he will also carry on working part-time as an assistant football referee unless he becomes First Minister. Do you think he should give up one or more of these additional jobs to concentrate on his role as party leader? (Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll, 21st -26th April)
Monday, April 26, 2021
Exclusive Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll suggests the supermajority is on: the SNP, Alba and the Greens are on course to win 62% of the seats in the new Scottish Parliament
There have been SEVEN occasions when a party has taken at least one Holyrood list seat with less than 6% of the national vote
One of the most active anti-Alba propagandists on social media was telling people yesterday that they shouldn't even dream of voting for any party if it was below 6% in the opinion polls - the implication being that Alba would have no chance of winning any seats in that scenario. But is that really true? In a word, no. Since the Scottish Parliament was established, there have been no fewer than seven occasions when a party has won at least one list seat with less than 6% of the national list vote -
In 1999, the Greens won 3.6% of the vote and one list seat.
In 1999, the SSP won 2.0% of the vote and one list seat.
In 2003, the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party won 1.5% of the vote and one list seat.
In 2007, the Greens won 4.0% of the vote and two list seats.
In 2011, the Liberal Democrats won 5.2% of the vote and three list seats (and it would have been more if they hadn't won constituency seats).
In 2011, the Greens won 4.4% of the vote and two list seats.
In 2016, the Liberal Democrats won 5.2% of the vote and one list seat (and it would have been more if they hadn't won constituency seats).
But, you might wonder, were all of the above parties just very lucky? In one or two cases maybe, but for the most part no. Let's now look at all of the examples of parties that won more than 1% of the national list vote without winning any seats. As you can see, not a single one had 3% of the vote or more.
In 1999, the Socialist Labour Party won 2.4% of the vote and no seats.
In 2003, the Pensioners Party won 1.5% of the vote and no seats.
In 2003, the Socialist Labour Party won 1.1% of the vote and no seats.
In 2007, the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party won 1.9% of the vote and no seats.
In 2007, Solidarity won 1.5% of the vote and no seats.
In 2007, the Scottish Christian Party won 1.3% of the vote and no seats.
In 2007, the BNP won 1.2% of the vote and no seats.
In 2011, the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party won 1.7% of the vote and no list seats.
In 2016, UKIP won 2.0% of the vote and no seats.
So with Alba at 3% in yesterday's Survation poll, and with the majority of polls so far showing them on 3% or higher, it would be a very brave (ie. misleading) call to say that they have no chance whatever of seats.
* * *
I mentioned my interview on IndyLive Radio the other day - you can now listen to it at your leisure HERE, or via the embedded player below. Our unionist friends love to sneer at things like IndyLive Radio, but I listened to their interview with John Curtice from the same show, and it was incredibly in-depth. You'd have learnt more from that than from three months of listening to Good Morning Scotland.