Tuesday, October 19, 2021

An important update on forthcoming Scot Goes Pop polling on GRA reform and independence

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

Some concrete suggestions of how to achieve Yes unity

I gather that Ruth Wishart has issued a call for an end to "internecine warfare" in the Yes movement, although ironically I can't see what she said because she blocked me in the summer after I sent her a couple of polite replies.  Nevertheless, unity is obviously a desirable objective, and here are my own concrete suggestions about how it can be achieved.

1) Set a date for a referendum, and immediately start the process of a) requesting a Section 30 order and b) legislating for the referendum after the Section 30 order is refused.  This would end the deep suspicions on the leadership-sceptic side of the movement that the SNP are stringing us along, and are more interested in reaping the career benefits of what Wings called "the independence industry" than they are in delivering independence itself.  The stock objection of "but we're still in a pandemic" is bogus, because it would be perfectly possible to choose a date some time in 2023, by which time the pandemic will either be over or there'll be sufficient normality to hold a referendum.  As soon as we have a fixed date to build towards, we'll all start moving forward together with a common purpose.

2) Find a genuine compromise on GRA reform.  In saying this, I'll infuriate some of my fellow Alba members just as much as SNP leadership loyalists, because both sides of the debate believe there is no room for compromise due to the fundamental principles at stake.  Nevertheless, the only apparent alternative to compromise at the moment is an imminent total victory for the trans rights lobby, which will poison relationships in the independence movement for years to come.  The likes of John Nicolson and Mhairi Black may not want to hear or admit this, but a very substantial proportion of the movement is made up of what they describe as "transphobes", without whom there's unlikely to be any victory for Yes in a referendum.  The two sides will somehow have to learn to co-exist under the same umbrella.

3) Establish normalised relations with Alba.  Parties in electoral competition with each other don't have to be in a state of all-out war, especially if they agree on the same flagship policy.  The SNP regard the Greens as friendly rivals, not enemies, and there's no reason why the SNP and Alba can't develop a similar relationship.  At the very least, stop treating Alba like a terrorist organisation.

4) And Alba should do its bit in return.  As I've said before, it's important that Alba's electoral strategy is soberly calculated to maximise the chances of independence, rather than to maximise the chances of revenge against the Sturgeon leadership of the SNP.  We must be incredibly cautious about the risk of splitting the pro-indy vote by putting up candidates in first-past-the-post elections, and we should show generosity of spirit in the local elections next year by urging Alba voters to give their lower preferences to the SNP, the Greens, and any other pro-indy parties or candidates.