A New Year, a fresh start, but the same auld mince from the usual suspects in Scotland’s not-so-merry band of grip losing Unionists for whom hysteria is a substitute for reason. The Unionists in Scotland are exactly like the Brexiteers. Both won their referendums, and both have reacted to their victories with ill-grace, bad tempers, petulance, and a growing and increasingly vocal paranoia. The paranoia and bad tempers are only going to get worse over the coming year as it becomes increasingly obvious that the Union is a project which can only continue if the people of Scotland are willing to put up with an ever growing pile of crapulous unfairness where Scotland’s voice counts for much less than Nigel Farage’s.
But the Union still has its little elves and munchkins in the press, who’ll find a way of making sure that everything that issues from Holyrood is bad. And when there’s not enough SNPbadness to go round, they’ll commission a meaningless opinion poll that can be spun into a story that allegedly proves that people in Scotland are falling out of love with the idea of independence. Headlining in the pro-British press on Monday was a new opinion poll which purports to show that a substantial majority of Scotland’s voters don’t want an independence referendum in 2017. For some reason, this is supposed to be a terrible blow for Nicola Sturgeon.
Telling us that most people don’t want a second independence referendum in 2017 tells us as much about support for independence as throwing a bucket of blue paint over a crowd of shoppers at Parkhead Forge tells us about support for Rangers. In fact, randomly flinging about buckets of paint is very much like commissioning and publishing a misleading opinion poll. Both are exercises in pointlessness which only succeed in annoying people and creating mess and confusion. Although at least the paint flinging could potentially create something that could be described as abstract art. The only way you can create art with Scottish Unionist newspapers is to rip them up and use them to make a papier maché model of Ruth Davidson posing in a cheery photo-op with a ruminant. Which is about as incisive and forensic as they ever get with Ruth anyway.
I spend a considerable amount of time and energy arguing for independence, campaiging for independence, and travelling the length and breadth of Scotland and speaking to people about independence. It’s probably safe to say that I’m pretty committed to the idea of independence and am not only keen to see a yes vote in a future independence referendum but am also doing everything within my limited ability to help bring a yes vote about. But if I were asked whether I wanted an independence referendum in 2017 I’d say no. It’s too soon, and we’d find it harder to win than if we have an independence referendum late in 2018 or early in 2019, by which time the awfulness of Brexit will be becoming clear in all its red white and blue horror.
The best time for a second indyref is when people will be facing up to the very real and very frightening prospect of a Tory government in Westminster ripping up our human rights and employment rights to turn them into a papier maché model of a Great British Bill of Rights which they’ll burn as a sacrifice on the altar of xenophobia. Because I don’t just want the cause of independence to win the next indyref, and there will be another indyref, I want us to win it convincingly. And the best way to win it convincingly is when we go into a second independence referendum campaign with a majority already supporting the idea of Scottish independence because the British state will have shown itself to be an utterly irredeemable mad bag of spanners which is going to destroy the lives and opportunities of millions of its citizens. It will be when the people of Scotland have indisputable evidence that every single plan or project that can allow Scotland’s needs and voice to be respected and taken into account within the framework of Union has been cast aside and rejected by a greedy and arrogant Westminster government that refuses to compromise.
In my view, the best time to have another independence referendum is sometime late in 2018 or very early in 2019, by which time we’ll all know what sort of Brexit is on the cards. Right now, all we know are Theresa May’s tautologies which are an ever more transparent cover for the fact that her government doesn’t have a clue on how to proceed. She must have though it was terribly clever for her to give the main posts in her cabinet dealing with Brexit to leading Brexiteers, but all she’s achieved has been to highlight her own vacuuity while Johnson, Fox, and Davis vie with one another in an ignorance competition.
The same poll also has a question about independence. 45.5% of respondents want independence. Or to be more exact, it probably doesn’t show that at all. The poll was carried out by the same polling company which last time it did a Scottish poll asked whether people wanted Scotland to remain a member of the UK, a question which is vague to the point of uselessness, because “not being a member of the UK” isn’t defined. It is technically possible for Scotland to be independent and still to be a “member of the UK”. It just depends on how you want to define things.
But more importantly, this question can’t be compared directly with the 2014 referendum result, because that would require asking the same question as was asked in the referendum. That being said, and despite the fact that if it was phrased the same way as in the previous poll from the same company it’s likely to produce a lower percentage in favour of “not being a member of the UK” than a simple question about independence, the new poll does seem to contradict the recent Yougov poll claiming that support for independence had dropped below the level it achieved in 2014. Scotland remains on course for an independence referendum within the next couple of years, and remains on course for independence.
But if my opinion was included in this opinion poll, it would be presented in the Unionist media as a blow for Nicola Sturgeon and a falling away in support for independence. And then these same publications produce anguished editorials about false news and how it’s damaging to democracy. It might be a New Year, but we’re in for the same lies, the same deception, and the same manipulation. Thankfully more and more of us are seeing through the lies.
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