Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Westminster trembles as pro-independence campaign storms into poll lead - BUT DON'T WORRY, THIS IS PROBABLY ILLEGAL OR SOMETHING

We've been in the 'fog of war' stage since the Supreme Court ruling.  On the one hand there was the Find Out Now poll suggesting that public opinion had been riled up by the discovery that the UK is not a voluntary union and that Scotland is being held prisoner.  On the other hand, that poll used very unconventional wording, and both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have been claiming that they've actually found on the doorsteps that the de facto referendum plan is not going down well.  (In the immortal words of Mandy Rice-Davies: they would say that, wouldn't they?)  So the impact of the ruling has been far from clear, and I wouldn't have been surprised if the first conventional poll had shown either a big drop in the Yes vote, or a big increase.  Here's the very good news: it's the latter.

Should Scotland be an independent country? (Redfield & Wilton Strategies, 26th-27th November 2022)

Yes 52% (+4) 
No 48% (-4)

So it turns out that people don't like being told that they can't have what they vote for in an alleged democracy, or that they can't even vote at all.  Who'd have thunk it?

An even more dramatic example of that effect - which unionists perhaps should have seen coming due to what we know about basic human psychology - is that there is now a plurality in favour of holding an independence referendum within the next year, which represents a massive turnaround since the last time the question was asked.  Tell people they're not allowed to have something, and they'll start wanting it.

In favour of an independence referendum within the next year: 46% (+12)
Opposed to an independence referendum within the next year: 43% (-7)

I can't ever remember any previous poll from any firm showing such clear support for a second indyref within such a tight timescale - usually the public's reaction is 'yes to the principle of a referendum, but not just yet'.  So this is a very significant shift, and it'll be interesting to see if it holds up.

So far, it may look like Nicola Sturgeon's strategy is working brilliantly - the Supreme Court ruling seems to have substantially increased support for both independence itself and for a quick independence referendum.  There is, however, a fly in the ointment.  The poll shows that pro-independence parties are actually going backwards in Ms Sturgeon's preferred arena for obtaining an independence mandate, namely the next Westminster election.

Scottish voting intentions for the next UK general election:

SNP 41% (-4) 
Labour 31% (+12) 
Conservatives 16% (-9) 
Liberal Democrats 8% (-2) 
Greens 2% (+1) 
Reform UK 2% (+2)

Even with the SNP and Greens in combination, that's only 43% for pro-indy parties, at a time when there's actually 52% support for indy.  Let me take this opportunity yet again to appeal to the SNP leadership and their loyalists to think again, and to see the overwhelming sense of using an early Holyrood election as a de facto referendum instead.  There is absolutely no point in a strategy that successfully builds support for independence if that support simply won't translate to the election you've decided to use as a plebiscite.  What's clearly going wrong here is that the SNP are losing pro-independence votes to Labour at Westminster, because people can see that Labour are on the brink of power and (wrongly) think that voting Labour is the best way to finish off the Tories.  That problem isn't going to go away, unless Labour's mammoth GB-wide poll lead collapses over the next two years.  But it's a problem that wouldn't apply in a Holyrood election - even if polls show a swing from SNP to Labour at Holyrood as well, it would be much easier to reverse that swing over the course of a 'home fixture' campaign that is not totally dominated by Britain-wide issues, and by Britain-wide TV leaders' debates that might exclude Ms Sturgeon altogether.

And to reiterate the other considerable disadvantages of using a Westminster election: 16 and 17 year olds can't vote (most of them would likely be Yes), EU citizens can't vote (most of them would likely be Yes), and photo ID rules would disproportionately disenfranchise younger voters (who are more likely to be Yes).

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  1. As I said James - 56% (on a good day i.e. good campaign) is not impossible and in my view necessary.

    1. Whatever else it might be, it's certainly not necessary.

    2. Well, let's hope you're right.

  2. Poll findings [including good ones] must not be allowed to dictate the policies involved in achieving independence. Keep the salt handy. This new poll also shows a huge jump in positivity for Starmer in Scotland!

    1. Which is yet another excellent reason for using an early Holyrood election and not a Westminster election.

  3. Not trying to stir things up, but your comments on the benefits of an early Holyrood election/ as a plebiscite are pretty much identical to what Rev. Stu wrote today. I'm convinced.

    1. On a few specific issues, his views and mine have coincided - on the GRA, on the correct arena for a plebiscite election, and on support for the Alba Party (although I'm actually an Alba member and to the best of my knowledge he isn't). But that doesn't change the fact that he's an abusive, thuggish bully, who has a few dozen hardcore bully-boy followers who think they've got the God-given right to act as 'enforcers' for him (usually from beneath the cowardly cloak of anonymity). Nor does it change the fact that he regularly posts factually inaccurate propaganda - often but not exclusively about polling - that seems to serve no other purpose than to intentionally drain the morale of independence supporters. Funny thing for an allegedly "pro-indy blogger" to be doing.

    2. I don't actually care tbh but I will say, I have very, very little time for those who announce, 'I give up - I surrender' - he gave up in 2014 - he'll have to work very hard to become relevant again (I always liked him and still do but he's seriously over-rated - well over-rated).

  4. Many thanks to the person who just sent me a private message - I don't know how else to contact you, so just to say it's very much appreciated.

  5. SNP rightly highlighting that UK Tories and UK Labour are singing from same hymn sheet on Brexit and freedom of movement, and arguably Labour are even more strident on these. But the SNP are going to have to make that really count in Scotland, in the context of vote share in a UK plebiscite election (which I dislike for all the same reasons as yourself). Some way to go yet of course regardless of the where, when and how of the next election, but they really don't want to have Labour 10% behind them for too long, and need to start landing some punches on these key policy differences.

  6. Of course you are right. Holyrood includes 16 and 17 year old. So there is another 2% right away. If the SNP actually want independence, then they must use a Scottish election.

  7. What's the process for getting this Holyrood election ?

    1. Very simple: if the First Minister resigns, and no replacement is elected within a short timescale, the Presiding Officer is legally authorised & obliged to initiate an early election.

    2. I understand that if after 28 days no FM is appointed there has to be an election .
      So assuming Nicola resigns ,as the next largest party the Tories get the chance to nominate for the post as FM.They would obviously nominate Douglas Ross .I don't know an election where you can vote in the negative that is against a candidate you must vote for a candidate.So if the SNP abstain Douglas Ross gets elected FM . Obviously his government would never carry the confidence of Parliament a x would lose a vote of confidence.
      Would this not just end up a constitutional stalemate

    3. No, you've got it the wrong way round, actually. If there's only one candidate for FM, there has to be an affirmative vote, which means Ross would need a majority of votes, which he wouldn't get. The only way a unionist FM could be elected on a minority of votes would be if at least two candidates stand (most likely Ross and Sarwar). But even if that happened, the new FM would then be very quickly ejected from office on a confidence vote.

    4. What stops the Unionists putting up another two candidates.I think this really has to be thought through.The biggest mistake generals often forget in a war is that enemy also gets a say .What tactics would Unionists adopt.
      How would this play politically we have a cost of living crisis teachers on strike open goal for Unionists .SNP can't deal with these issues so they are distracting with this Independence nonsense . Westminster also got the nuclear option of direct rule ..

    5. "What stops the Unionists putting up another two candidates"

      Very simple (again): the public wouldn't stand for them playing infantile games like that, in the middle, as you say, of a cost of living crisis. They might attempt a stunt like that once, but not two or three times. A unionist government simply isn't arithmetically viable, and unless they want to be seen to be holding devolved government hostage for THREE YEARS, they would have to allow the election to go ahead.

      So, as you can see, these issues have already been thought through extremely carefully. The problem is not that there aren't answers to these questions. The problem is simply the SNP leadership's timidity.

    6. And by the way, the direct rule/suspension of Holyrood thing really is a complete red herring. If by some million to one chance they were mad enough to do that, it would be like Christmas for us.

    7. Im just not so sure the public will see it that way I'm also not so sure that the Yoons won't find some mechanism to hold the whole process up .
      What would happen if Westminster did impose direct rule .A few big demonstration lots of wailing and angry posts on social media .It's not as if the EU are going to take an interest Joe Biden ain't going to be on the phone .We ain't the North of Island
      The supreme court judgement has only pushed support up a few points
      My own view is that to win Independence we will eventually have to go down the UDI route .
      Support is not at the levels required for that .
      Westminster will reckon they can ride this out ..
      Perhaps new leadership is required new thinking and I don't mean Salmond his time is gone

    8. "What would happen if Westminster did impose direct rule"

      Yes support would soar to 63% and a plebiscite Westminster election would turn into a cakewalk for the SNP. You've hit on the one thing that would not be greeted by apathy.

    9. Westminster would believe they could ride it out closing the Scottish Parliament I'm not adverse to the idea of collapsing the SG I just wouldn't rush in to it before we gamed out all the possible outcomes .I wouldn't discount the possibility of Westminster stepping in suspending the Parliament and only agreeing to re open it when all parties agree to work within the devolution settlement.No doubt
      during this period of closure Labour would get some group of public sector workers to strike .All bad news that is drug deaths ferries etc would be put down to SNP neglecting their duty to the people of their elected government
      I just don't think this strategy is without risk . Westminster is not going to let us go without a fight..
      I .also a bit wary of this poll the support for Indy on the up and support for the SNP on the way down doesn't compute .
      A Westminster election with the Labour playing only Labour can beat the Tories and the UK national media dominating the campaign could be difficult .I remember 1997Govan with it's revised boundaries we were only one of two seats in the UK to swing against Labour Nicola was our candidate.
      We knew we had to split Govan off somehow from the UK wide campaign.We did it by hard work.
      If we make the campaign about Independence Brexit and Scottish democracy we can win over 50% it will be hard but it's doable if we get every Indy supporter to vote .
      I also think Starmer is a bore a drip lacks Blair's charisma ..They will do everything to keep Nicola out the head to head debates with Starmer and Sunak Nicola will eat them for breakfast

    10. "Westminster would believe they could ride it out closing the Scottish Parliament"

      I fundamentally disagree with that. It's the one thing they know for certain they wouldn't get away with.

    11. The Brits are indeed capable of closing the Scottish parliament - but I suspect that would sway a bunch of voters to YES.

    12. I really don't think Westiminster would close the Scots parliament.

      But I do think they would feel comfortable riding out a Holyrood election mandate. As opposed to a vote in their own garden.

  8. Can you show the evidence for EU voters likely being Yes (as opposed to shifting towards Yes)? Havent seen this in previous polling.

    From my experience, they don't want the UK to have more turmoil since getting settled status even if they like Scotland a lot. May have moved towards Yes, quite different to being Yes majority

    Also in the precise arena of a vote between now and 2024 the young voters would be the same cohort wouldn't they? Ie the same young voters included early in HR or later in Westminster?

    I concede the Labour problem is a problem but I don't see the franchise disadvantage (unless it's a HR vote post 2024).

    1. "Can you show the evidence for EU voters likely being Yes (as opposed to shifting towards Yes)? Havent seen this in previous polling."

      As far as I'm aware you're asking for the impossible, because there isn't any polling of EU citizens, even at subsample level. I suspect you'll be close to being in a minority of one in thinking that EU citizens don't want the country they live in to be part of the EU, though.

      "Also in the precise arena of a vote between now and 2024 the young voters would be the same cohort wouldn't they? Ie the same young voters included early in HR or later in Westminster?"

      To the best of my knowledge, no-one is talking about a Holyrood election "now" - it would be well into 2023 at the earliest, so perhaps a year before the Westinster election. It's a bogus point anyway, because it wouldn't be the same electorate - some people would die in the interim, some would move away, some would move in, etc, etc.

    2. I'm willing to change my view if I see evidence. I thought birthplace had been sampled previously, maybe it hasn't. I'm fairly sure it's has been sampled but not checking back at this time of night! I think the idea EU voters will likely be Yes majority is very debatable.

      It's not really a bogus point because it will largely be the case the vast majority of young people at that age will be in school and not transient.

      You could as easily say another year of older voters dying off would cover the shortfall of annual difference. All in all, it's zero sum.

    3. With all due respect, it's a bit vexatious to demand evidence for something that no polling company has even attempted to measure (as far as I'm aware). A subsample for "born outside the UK" is not the same thing, because it includes Americans, Indians, South Africans, etc, etc, etc.

      I suspect you're the same person who claimed the other day that the electorate for a snap Holyrood election would essentially be the same as for a Westminster election, due to the time lag effect. That simply isn't the case, for the several reasons I listed above.

  9. If you're voting SNP in a UK election, you're not voting for governing policies. There's no illusion of the SNP enacting policy. So why vote for them at all? Simple. It's a statement about Scotland's role within the UK. It's been about independence, it's been about standing up for Scotland, concessions. It's now about Independence again.

    People expect the SNP to have governing policies, they expect to be able to hold day to day policies to account at Holyrood. They like their Holyrood doing the "day job".

    I think this is a reason for choosing Westminster. It's the obvious election for vocalising Scotland's voice in the UK setting. To put it another way, why vote SNP at all at Westminster if it's got no chance of winning across the UK? It's the obvious forum for expressing nationhood.

    SNP has had nearly 50% before. Frankly if we cannot vote for it, we don't deserve it. It's upto us, noone else.

    1. That's a really, really daft comparison, because when the SNP took almost 50% of the vote in 2015, Labour didn't have a 20-point GB-wide lead and weren't about to end fourteen consecutive years of Tory rule. That's what the narrative will be about in a Britain-wide media that will be excluding the SNP from coverage wherever possible.

      2024 could be like 1997 all over again. There are some tides you just can't fight against, no matter how good you are or how strong your message is. The SNP have chosen the wrong strategy for the wrong moment.

    2. Right strategy if your overriding goal is to dominate the independence vote forever more within the union. Alba will be under huge pressure not to stand and no yes alliance at wm even if they do under fptp..much harder to organise no Yes alliance at holyrood..

      So a wm plebiscite they choose. Except due to media coverage it won't be a will just be SNP saying independence now and then.

      Then they'll get their jobs back and maybe ask for a section 30.. so what..

      They'll also jeopardise any future real holyrood plebiscite from gaining UN recognition which is the only real game in town on the grounds that you've just lost 2 2014 and wm

    3. If Scots turn their nose up at independence just because there's a sniff of a Labour government, we're already onto plums.

      No self respecting nation would do that. It's not the basis of a new, solid independent state.

      The wave should be independence with a good and united campaign. It will be a prominent Britain wide issue if it's done properly. It's upto the SNP and wider Yes to do it.

      We don't live in 97, we live in a period of independence being the dividing line in Scottish politics and post Blair and Brown.

    4. Anonymous - the SNP day job is supposed to be Scottish independence. The fact that you think otherwise shows how far the current version of the SNP are off the rails.

      Sturgeon summarised doing her day job:

      Can I have a sec 30 please Theresa - no.
      Can I have a sec 30 please Boris - no.
      Can I have a referendum please Lord Advocate - no.
      Can I have a referendum please UK Supreme Court - no.

      8 years and counting of this time wasting doing the day job.

    5. Right reasoning wrong conclusion anon. As far as the rest of the UK is concerned the SNP stand for independence at every Westminster election, they are never going to govern and haven't even been in a coalition. That's why any SNP/yes vote at a UK GE can be easily ignored, it's part of the general electoral cycle and the SNP standing for independence is barely noteworthy to many across the UK.

      A one-off Holyrood election however called specifically for the purposes of determining Scotland's constitutional future, much harder to overlook, it's a unique event with a clear winner and loser, everybody across the UK will know why it's been called, what it's for and what any outcome means. It's a Scottish election under Scotland's control to determine Scotland's future. All eyes will be on Scotland, not Labour v the Tories in London.

      Really not sure what the SNP are playing at using Westminster, really doesn't ring right. It's wrong for a whole host of other reasons as well. Hold their feet to the fire, vote Alba.

  10. Approx 350,000 eu citizens voted in 2014 id imagine most ? Voted NO to keep the status quo. Approx 100,000 16-18's voted 65% for YES . (If) it were a de facto Westminster election the unionists have lost there eu voters ? The yes vote has lost 65,000. Polls at 50/50 a vote to return to eu a no brainer.As for holyrood election would you put your house on all the snp/green msp's to vote the way you needed them to ?. The bribe and the promise of position is a potent weapon for little personel cost.

  11. I’m with you on this James. Too many opportunities for the Westminster bandits to rig a General election with conditions which will hamper the Scottish electorate. However, that won't prevent the Unionist parties ignoring a Scottish vote for Indy , so I dont expect the struggle to be resolved by that vote alone . There needs to be a coming together of SNP, Greens, Alba and all Independence groups to get us over the line.

  12. The Redfield & Wilton poll being heralded as a game changer by McPrävda includes 16 and 17 year olds. It’s the Holyrood franchise stoopid and Sturgeon is dead set on using Westminster as the vehicle for a plebiscite.

  13. YouGov Westminster voting intention, Scottish sub-sample, field work 29th - 30th Dec.
    Normal service has been resumed.
    Con - 14%, SLab - 22%, LibDems - 12%, SNP - 45%, RefUK - 2%, Greens - 5%, Other - 1%.
    SLab drop 10% in the space of a week, apparently mostly to the benefit of the LibDems. Perhaps Starmer’s democracy denial, muscular unionism isn’t playing out well.
    If “Others” is basically ALBA then “Independence United” are in the majority.

  14. The SNP and Greens will not work with Alba you can forget a Yes alliance .Hell will freeze over before that happens

    1. I agree and thats why party success is more important to them than Scottish independence.

  15. I'm thinking the 52% is probably based on the Holyrood franchise. Is that correct James?

  16. The SNP MPs shouldn't be changing their leader they should be getting out of Westminster. Their presence there only validates their acceptance of Scotland as a colony. I wouldn't put it past them to elect that clown Wishart as their new leader. If you think that is unlikely consider who they replaced J. Cherry with on their 'front bench'.

  17. The lead will narrow but Labour will keep a 10% to 15% lead barring miracles. The tories won't be able to give tax breaks like they'd love to but there is little political difference between both Brit parties, so it'll narrow because Starmer is a dull grey cloud and the tories will throw mud and sew fear.

  18. Shockaroony, the big dug and some of his wee doggers are starting to growl. Kavanagh says: " It's time for a far more confrontational and forceful approach in the Commons, ....." Now that they have been given permission by the big dug a couple of the smelly doggers join in. The Bathtub Admiral wants walkouts and sit ins ( at the same time😀 hopefully not ), philibustering and obstruction etc. Nasty numpty DrJim wants a wartime consigliere - obviously been watching his old DVDs. Once Sturgeon does nothing they will back down and say the Great Leader is always right.
    A pack of dogs that do not bark never mind bite.

    It was time for a more confrontational approach way back when Theresa May told Sturgeon to go home and think again. Complete and utter time wasters.

  19. James Kelly , you said “ I fundamentally disagree with that. It's the one thing they know for certain they wouldn't get away with.“
    I don’t agree with you James because look at Northern Ireland and what had happened there , Westminster are quite happy to have no government in Stormont and I think they would be quite happy for the same in Holyrood.
    Furthermore with regards the britnat party,s putting up two candidates and being voted out with a show of no confidence by SNP and Greens they could just keep repeating that over and over , the English media including BBC Scotland would present untruths to the Scottish public as they always do so don’t bank on the Scottish public not accepting this charade.A rule of thumb with regards Westminster politics is that they will do anything to keep control of Scotland and this island , i do mean anything, in 2013 i said that it was possible that Westminster would put the British army on the streets in Scotland if we voted in favour of independence , many people shouted me down including WGD and his merry band of followers but increasingly I see now that the realisation that Westminster will do anything to keep control is taking hold , the court case shocked people what happened at A Salmonds trial shocked people but there is worse to come, we do not have the upper hand yet but once we do you can expect the full force of Westminster to grab it, just look at events in Malta , Cyprus , Northern Ireland , India , USA , Canada , in fact anywhere that Westminster had been involved outside England you will see death and destruction.

    1. "Westminster are quite happy to have no government in Stormont and I think they would be quite happy for the same in Holyrood.

      That doesn't make any sense. There isn't a government at Stormont because the DUP refuses to form one. Power-sharing is built into the system in Northern Ireland - there can't be a government unless both sides agree.