Sunday, September 4, 2022

Who has the most vital role in the British constitution - the Queen, or YouGov?

I don't pay the Murdoch Levy, so when I wrote my blogpost last night I didn't realise that the Truss cunning plan for making Scottish self-determination illegal comes in two parts.  Not only is there a near-impossible 50% rule for any referendum that is actually held, there's also a 60% rule to prevent a referendum happening in the first place.  There would have to be "evidence" over a long period that 60% of the Scottish public want a referendum before London would "allow" it.

I must say it's a novel principle in an alleged democracy that before the majority of voters get their way, they require an additional 10% just to be allowed to vote in the first place.  But more to the point, how is this "evidence" of 60% support going to be defined in law?  You can't really have a referendum to decide whether or not there should be a referendum, so I can only assume the new legislation will have to make some kind of reference, whether direct or indirect, to polling "evidence" - in other words to numbers produced by private firms such as YouGov and Survation.

I've written before about how polling companies seem to be assuming a de facto constitutional role, but this would take it to a whole new level.  If YouGov are to be given the power to literally determine the destiny of Scotland, how are they to be regulated?  Sleights of hand like the notorious "Kellner Correction", an artificial mechanism by which YouGov lowered the reported Yes vote in their indyref polls due to nothing more than a hunch by the anti-independence Peter Kellner, could no longer be pretended to be simply a private matter for a private firm.  It would affect the lives of us all.  So would there be a state regulator to keep the pollsters in check?  Would the British Polling Council be nationalised and become Ofpoll?

Incidentally, the extreme nature of the Truss plan demonstrates once again that people are missing the point when they complain that the SNP are closing off too many options too quickly as they rush towards a plebiscite election.  The world has moved on since 2012, and not even the most ingenious strategy has any serious prospect of bringing about an agreed referendum.  When you have a government in London that will go to the extreme of retrospectively outlawing any move towards an independence vote that the Scottish Government make, it's reasonable to conclude that the idea that a bit of extra pressure on the Tories would yield a Section 30 order is for the birds.  The reason why a plebiscite election is realistically the only game in town is that it's the one thing that can't be made illegal.

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We've already seen since Nicola Sturgeon's announcement that the overwhelmingly unionist mainstream media are attempting a 'shock and awe' campaign to try to kill off independence - and the misuse of polling is playing a key part in that.  If you'd like to balance things out with polling commissioned by a pro-independence outlet and which asks the questions we want to see asked, one way of doing that would be to help Scot Goes Pop's fundraising drive - see details below.

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  1. This demonstrates two things. 1) Truss wouldn't do very well in a game of chess. She clearly can't think more than one step ahead.
    2) These people do not play by the rules and they are in serious danger of creating a new Northern Ireland.

  2. Except guns and bombs are so last century.