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

Do you remember back in 2018 or early 2019, when the bulk of us in the independence movement were still giving the SNP leadership the benefit of the doubt in relation to their assurances that an independence referendum had merely been delayed slightly and would still take place before Brexit? Journalists and certain academics used to treat us as hopelessly naive, and would say that "everyone knows privately" ("everyone" being code for the political elite and their journalistic chums) that talk of a referendum in the foreseeable future was just for show, and that the real battle to decide whether a referendum took place would come in the form of the 2021 Holyrood election.

Now, it's easy to say in retrospect that those people were right about our naivety in taking the SNP leadership at their word, but here's the thing: if they had also been right about the 2021 election being the true moment of reckoning, they would now be saying "the SNP won decisively, it's over, a referendum is happening".  But they're not doing that, are they?  Take a look at this quote from a new newspaper article (it appears to be from The Times) which is suddenly talking about the 2024 Westminster general election in exactly the same way that the 2021 Holyrood election was previously talked about - as the decisive electoral event.

"The next general election is seen as key to the prospects of a second referendum.  If the SNP increases its number of MPs, which at present stands at 45...further pressure would be placed on the prime minister to agree to re-run the 2014 vote."

Are you beginning to see how this works?  Every time an election billed as "the big one" takes place, it magically turns out afterwards not to have been particularly important after all, but oh my God, the next election, just you wait, that'll be the one to make civilisations tremble.  

If by some miracle we actually improve on the 81% of Scottish seats we won in the 2019 general election - a ridiculously tough target that we shouldn't be setting for ourselves, and that nobody should be setting for us if they have a democratic bone in their body - we'll then be told that the SNP need to win an overall majority in the 2026 Holyrood election, and Boris Johnson will be sure to buckle under the pressure at that point.  And then if the SNP win that majority, hey presto, it'll turn out that they also need to make yet more gains in the 2029 Westminster election - which by that point may mean winning more constituencies than actually exist.

I've no idea if this is an intentional con-trick on the part of the SNP leadership to keep us distracted while they get on with staying in power and delivering the stuff they really care about (like GRA reform), or whether it's a sign that they lack confidence in themselves and are too nervous to bring matters to a head.  But either way, we need to break out of this endless cycle of passivity.  We have an immaculate mandate to hold a referendum, and we must use that mandate before the next general election even takes place.  It's as simple as that.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Update for anyone lodging a complaint about the Daily Record's lies

A reader has just emailed me.  He had complained to the press regulator IPSO this morning about the Daily Record's blatant lie that the new Redfield & Wilton poll shows a "drop in support for independence" (in fact the result is literally identical to the previous poll).  IPSO wrote back to him requesting supporting evidence within seven days about the results of the poll and how they show no change.  Just in case anyone else finds themselves in the same position, I'll copy and paste my reply - 

Hi ******,

Thanks for your message.  I presume that in order to have made the complaint, you must have provided the link to the Daily Record article, which itself includes the figures IPSO are requesting.  However, just in case, here is the Record link -

The poll was commissioned by Politico, whose write-up also includes the figures - 

And here is the link to the previous Redfield & Wilton poll from last month, showing identical numbers of Yes 44%, No 47% -

As further supporting evidence, you could also provide IPSO with the list of polls on the What Scotland Thinks website - which is run either by John Curtice or by his close colleagues. Since Professor Curtice is President of the British Polling Council, that should be considered a reliable source. It clearly shows that both the new and previous Redfield & Wilton polls had identical results -



When I checked the Record link, I was half-expecting it to have already been taken down or corrected - they've had several hours to get it sorted, and umpteen people have pointed out the inaccuracy to them.  But nope, they're just sticking their fingers in their ears as usual.

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"

Answers on a postcard, folks.  The new Redfield & Wilton poll on independence shows a literally identical result to the last one, with 44% saying they would vote Yes and 47% saying they would vote No.  (Those figures do not exclude Don't Knows.)  And yet for some inexplicable reason that is probably a mystery even to themselves, the Daily Record have decided to report the poll as a "drop in support for independence". Paul Hutcheon himself has cluelessly tweeted the inaccurate headline.

Back in the real world, the poll adds to the weight of evidence suggesting that public opinion has remained fairly static of late.  Politico, who commissioned the poll, place greatest emphasis on the finding that a narrow plurality of respondents think that a referendum shouldn't take place unless Westminster agree to it.  We seem to be caught in a vicious circle - the more the Scottish Government talk up the need for an agreed referendum, the more the public buy into that concept themselves.  That does not actually increase the likelihood of an agreed referendum, but instead produces opinion poll results that simply strengthen Westminster's hand in saying no.

This strategic naivety must be swept away.  The message must be that a referendum is taking place - it would be great to have Westminster on board, but it's taking place anyway. And the word "legal" should be expunged from the Scottish Government's lexicon.

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If you'd like to make a complaint to the press regulator IPSO over the Daily Record's blatant breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code, the online form you'll need is HERE.

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Scot Goes Popcast: You can watch the full videos of my recent interviews with Yvonne Ridley and William Duguid HERE and HERE