Grasping at red white and blue straws

You can take a poll seriously when it has been carried out by an avowedly anti-independence organisation, at least you can when it uses standard methodology and a standard question. However there’s no point in taking a poll seriously when it has been carried out by an avowedly anti-independence organisation using a skewed and misleading non-standard question about independence. Sadly this doesn’t stop large parts of the Scottish media from doing exactly that.

Zoomers to the Crown, Scotland in Union, have published another of their polls using a question patterned after the question used in the EU referendum, and surprise surprise have discovered that 59% of people in Scotland would prefer to “remain in the UK”. This is considerably higher than most other polls show opposition to independence, and has been greeted with relief by the likes of the Scottish Tories who are currently desperately in search of a straw to grasp. So here’s a simple message for the media and the Scottish Tories – when you use a non-standard question, you get a non-standard result. Scotland in Union’s poll is meaningless.

All reputable polls about the independence question use the question which was employed in the independence referendum of 2014. That question was a model of clarity, and agreed to be such by the Electoral Commission. You cannot compare the results of a question asking “Should Scotland remain in the United Kingdom or leave the United Kingdom?” with the results of a question asking “Should Scotland be an independent country?” The two questions are not asking the same thing.

Everyone understands what is meant by independence. It means a Scotland which is a European state just like the Netherlands or Iceland. It means a Scotland which makes its own decisions on issues like whether to remain a part of the EU or to leave it. It means a Scotland which is responsible for the entirety of its own financial affairs, its own defence, and its own international relations.

On the other hand Scotland in Union’s poll question is essentially meaningless as it does not define what either leaving the UK or remaining in it actually mean in practice. Remaining in the UK could mean anything from the abolition of Holyrood, through the status quo, to dominion status as a independent state sharing the monarch as the head of state along with the rest of the UK. Meanwhile leaving the UK suffers from the same lack of clarity. It could be referring to an independent Scottish republic, or something akin to the same status as the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands – which are not a part of the UK.

However the real reason for the poll question’s lack of clarity is that it muddies the water – deliberately – by confusing people with their attitudes towards remaining or leaving the EU. And that, no doubt, was precisely the reason that Scotland in Union chose that format for their question. The fact that it frames independence in negative terms, as leaving, was just a bonus.

What is perhaps most gobsmacking of all, after three years of disputes, confusion, and uncertainty about what “leaving the EU” actually means, is that there are still those who believe that the question used in the EU referendum is a model that any sane person would seek to copy. But then, this is Scotland in Union we’re talking about here. They are desperate to avoid what they see as the negative framing for the UK implicit in the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?” As an organisation which is opposed to independence under all and any circumstances, naturally they’re going to be attracted to forms of question which they imagine will work best for them no matter how confusing or misleading that question might be. It’s a pathetic sign of their desperation. They are more to be pitied than anything else.

We shouldn’t be surprised that opponents of independence are frantically seeking a drop of water in the desert. The news for them recently has not been great, to put it mildly. There they were in 2014, confident in the strength of British democracy, the security of the UK’s place within the EU, the stability of the pound, and now the UK has turned into the basket case of Europe, the bonfire around which the rest of the continent sits with its popcorn while the pound heads for parity with the dollar, and the Supreme Court of the UK is currently deciding whether the British Prime Minister is in fact a big fat liar who has broken the law and trashed the constitution in an attempt to become a dictator.

Over the past few weeks we’ve seen the anti-independence parties lining up to say that they will not permit another independence referendum whether the electorate of Scotland give a mandate for one or not. We’ve seen suggestions that if there is another referendum then it should have to pass by a two thirds majority. We’ve seen suggestions that there should be another confirmatory referendum after the independence negotiations with Westminster have been completed, in effect giving Westminster licence to negotiate in bad faith. And now we see Scotland in Union trying to change the standard question on independence into something more favourable. It all smacks of not so much desperation as blind terrified panic.

The proof of the pudding lies in Scotland in Union’s shonky poll itself.  In November 2018 a Survation poll said that 35.64% of voters in Scotland were opposed to another independence referendum being held at all.  Scotland in Union’s new poll tells us that the figure has dropped to 27.6%.  That’s a significant fall.

The inescapable fact, the truth that the British nationalists in Scotland do not want to face up to, is that they are crapping themselves at the prospect of another independence referendum, because they know that they have nothing to offer Scotland except scare stories, intimidation, and threats. The supposed advantages and positives of being a part of the UK have been destroyed by the British government itself in its blind pursuit of right wing English nationalist populism. They know, and we know, that if they were certain that another independence referendum really would deliver a resounding majority against independence that they would be the very first people demanding that one be held.

But one will be held. One way or another the people of Scotland will cast their verdict on the behaviour of the British government, the way in which the British state has treated Scotland, and their view on the broken promises of the Better Together campaign. And when that verdict comes it will be a damning one. No amount of shonky polling questions will be able to avoid it.

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37 thoughts on “Grasping at red white and blue straws

  1. They will try anything and everything this time and they are at it already, knowing fine that “remain” is weighted by current Westminster/Brexit nightmare. It is in fact the best argument for the same question as 2014- there must be no confusion with Brexit. The YES2 campaign started a long time ago. Desperate stuff indeed.

  2. Jeezo you’re on a roll Paul. Another great article!

    And after all is said and done don’t you feel a little sorry for the Scottish Unionists, Paul? Westminster has let them down badly, don’t you think? Shown them up to be a bunch of simpering, ignorant lackeys tied to the tail of a donkey or better still ass. Little did they know what was ahead of them when they swaggered and sniggered as they broke every promise they ever made to us in 2014 (pre and post). Looks as though the chickens are coming home to roost for them now. Hell mend them. The Union is crumbling before our very eyes and don’t they know it.

    I came across this on another site, however I’m sure that Proud Cybernat won’t mind me reposting it on here. The polling paper recommended by the Unionists for Indyref2.

    • 😂😂😂😂 Good one Petra!

      Do you really believe that the Scottish yoons couldn’t see what was coming? Are they really that thick? Well, yes I suppose they are! 🙄

  3. yep, I’ve just checked; the Herald Hootsmon and the Daily Police Bulletin are running with this toss.
    We have an MSM who are merely mouthpieces for their English bosses now.

    How do these hacks look their children in the eye when they go home at night, knowing that they are actively conniving with the Brit Nats, and that includes Farage, Johnson, and Rees Mogg to attempt to keep their country Scotland as a ‘vassal state’, under military occupation by the English Fascist Oligarchy?

    They are obviously shit scared now, and so they should be.

    I note that WATP Listory Tomkins, and 7 times failure The Queen’s Eleven Murdo Fraser are trying to pull off a Londonderry gerrymandering ruse, demanding a 2/3rds majority for YES next time.
    Two political failures who are still trousering our money for nothing. One of the first things we scrap is D’Honte.

    Are you getting any respite at all, Paul? You’re on fire.

    • Thought I was the only one up at this hour Jack…
      Indeed the desperation is becoming ever more apparent in the anti-indy cabal, with SMSM dutifully amplifying it to the masses to normalise the abnormal and illogical…
      Having listened earlier to the National podcast promoting their supplement on “Better Together” promises and lies v outcomes, it was amusing contrast to see a 5 year anniversary piece pitched by the Beeb without a single mention of it…
      We haven’t forgotten, and this time they don’t get to rewrite history…

    • Jack, there’s no neef to scrap D’Hondt. The problem is the fixed lists. Let the voters determine the order of candidates, as in Finland. Voilà, no more deadweight rejects ‘elected’.

  4. Oh Dear. PANIC PANIC PANIC. You can smell it a mile away. The British nationalists barely hung on in 2014, after making big promises they could not keep, or had no intention of keeping. Since then, they have used the media to throw the kitchen sink at the Scottish independence movement, all to no avail. After 2014, support for independence stubbornly remaned at 45-48% and now looks to be on the start of the next big wave. Despite everything they threw at it continuously during the past five years, they barely dented it, and a new growth phase is poised to begin (based on demography and significantly enhanced by Brexit). All we had to do was hang on, not give up and eventually, the forces of English nationalism would destroy the union. Or destroy the reputation of the union, since it does not really exist anyway. Here we are, five years later. Five years of constant onslaught, still fighting. Another big surge starting to form, IMO. The next big wave will be unstoppable. Tsunami? You ain’t seen nothing yet. 🙂

  5. SIU undermine their position by lying and distorting fact.

    Had these idiots and the leaders they support kept promises made in 14 and put forward a firm case for the true benefits of the U.K. we may be in a different place politically now.

    Nearly everything they say helps our cause assuming the reader has a brain and knows what is going on.

    • Absolutely, Andy.

      When I get the usual moan from unionist family and friends about not respecting the once in a generation (not on the ballot paper) 2014 result, my response is always that their side had a once in a generation opportunity to resolve all the issues raised regarding the democratic deficit we suffer from, with honouring the pledges made as a starting point.

      They blew it. Not unexpectedly, but the manner of the failure has been quite staggering.

  6. This is not a good poll for SiU.
    All the metrics show a decline in support for the Union.
    Even their headline 59% to remain in the UK is down on April.
    It’s almost as if SiU didn’t read their results before publicising them and i think the general public is starting to see, even in the SiU poll, that it’s not looking good for the Union
    You can polish a turd of a poll … but it’s still a turd

    • BBC’s misReporting Scotland seems to have a problem mentioning prestigious SNP politicians, such as Joanna Cherry. Sticks in their craw? The case being heard at the Supreme Court seemingly revolves around Gina Miller (English case) only.

      Professor John Roberstson highlighting the ongoing blatant bias of the MSM, in particular the BBC, in Scotland.

  7. Pretty much and you’re on a roll. 🙂

    Also. Seems such positives as they offered last outing; in terms of ‘broad shoulders in times of economic blah de blah, pension security (sigh), job security (OFFS!), near federalism/political stability (Uh Huh! How’s that working out for everyone?) and all the societal luuurrrvvve and unity you could possibly want, didn’t actually materialise. Almost as if…. Well. Well, it’s almost as if they didn’t really mean any of it. As if those and such as those never really had any intention of honouring their assurances. 😯

    I know, I know. It’s hard to believe. But a cynical person could understandably come to such a conclusion. 😎

    The get out of jail free card, so far as the political class are concerned, seems to be… ‘but that’s how you do politics!’. They might want to take a good look around themselves about now. This galactof… is on them. NO ONE else need apply.

    There is always a consequence to how parties and how a system of government practice politics.

    • As I noted earlier, the National are doing an insert on promises and threats versus outcomes as a 5th Anniversary of Indy, while the Beeb skip over it in their review, didn’t happen, nothing to see here, moving on… So it’s not only the politicians playing the “get out of jail” card…

  8. Sorry of topic, but on a thistle no one seems to want to grip.

    Why is it that the Bias Broadcaster, and the rest of MSM are not pulled up when they continually claim that the Government won the case in the English lower court.

    When what actually happened was that the court took the “shoulders like a church steeple” approach and refused to rule on the matter claiming that “it was political and not for them to rule on”.

    So no ruling was actually made by that court.

    Therefore should the Supreme Court find in line with the Court of Session it will not in fact overturn the decision of the English lower court as none was given on the matter.

    This is how a lie is normalised to be held as a truth.

  9. SIU at it again. Given the current circus I think we should include the W-word in our preferred question. I reckon that “Should Scotland be independent from Westminster?” would score in the high 50s at the moment.

  10. Through the wonders of i- Player I’ve just sat through the farce of the Kaye Adams phone-in on Radio Jordanhill to commemorate the 5th anniversary of Indyref 1.
    How’s this for a loaded question/
    ‘Does Scotland have the appetite for a second Independnece referendum’, but not in the context of Brexit and the London coup’detat.

    Three alleged YES voters, from the Borders, Dundee and Inverness were slotted in at the beginning middle and end of this Pathetic Quay Brit Nat Propaganda, spouting the usual SNP Bad ‘once in a generation’ guff.

    The Dundee mannie was obviously a Red Tory plant, and was blaming Nicola Sturgeon for the ‘dog dirt in the street’, and the year’s delay in the opening of Edinburgh Sick Children hospital, and the austerity by the SNP that is starving LA’s of funding.
    Not UCS, not Scotland funding HS2, Trident, London Crossrail, or Cameron bombing Syria with our money.

    It’s dog sh1t in the streets, and it’s that Nicoal Sturgeon’s fault.

    No mention of Brexit, Operation Yellowhammer, or the right Wing coup d’état in London.

    SNP are responsible for dog dirt in the streets, and will have this man voting Naw the next time.

    Your man in the Borders revealed that he has stood as an independent since, and presumably failed.
    He voted YEs but was an EU Leaver, so Naw the next time.

    Your man in Inverness recalled the bitter division and racism, and allegedly voted YEs, and Remain, but has decided that the Yes/Remain lost, so he’s backing Boris.

    ‘Once in a generation’ peppered this cynical little Brit Nat Propaganda Fest from the Ministry of Truth at Pathetic Quay.

    A chap from Stonehaven, his name escapes, and shall ever escape, me, was one of the Scotland in Union wallahs who wants the question changed and a 2/3rd vote for YES or the status quo.

    The obvious question, which this lass Adams could not muster the energy to ask through her bored just being rudely awakened from a deep sleep disinterested drawl failed to ask;

    If Naw won by 55% and therefore did not have a 2/3rds majority, would there be a requirement to hold Indyref 3?
    The tawdry little show was the usual Brit Nattery.

    They are petrified now, as the Stonehaven (70% Naw) Mannie blurted out in his pitch for Colony Status.

    An Englishman, ex Forces who stated rather obliquely that he had lived in Scotland for 60 years, yet had an ‘officer Class’ SE London accent, and used the analogy of Federalism in Australia, where he’d reportedly spent some time too, to argue that we should test ‘Devolution’ for a while, ‘cos, that’s not been tested yet.

    He must have been hiding in his nuclear bunker for five years.
    Kaye Adams could have mentioned the Smith Commission, Evel, The Oath, the trashing of the Sewell Convention, the Powergrab, and of course the SC taking place at the moment. But she didn’t.

    There were a couple of ‘genuine’ callers looking forward to Indyref2 and that was it.

    Three Yessers who have changed their minds, and Scotland in Union, ably summarised in sections throughout the show by a narcoleptic Brit Nat facilitator , to answer a resounding Naw to the absolutely fuzzy ‘does Scotland have ‘the appetite’ ( Loaded) for Indyref2?

    Why the hell are we paying these people to destroy Scotland from within?

  11. No need to thank me for my instant negative feedback, Pathetic Quay.
    We all know that you are avid readers of WGD, hence his life long ban as a ‘guest’ at the Ministry of Truth.
    That hour of Brit Nat guff was a risible little free Poitical Broadcast for Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson.
    I’m sure it makes the 700 journalists at the BBC Scottish stockade proud as defenders of truth, honesty, and the Brit Nat way.

  12. Five years on and support for independence is collapsing, folks. We may as well pack up and go home. Back to our wee boxes. “Nothing to see here folks – now be nice little jocks and move on!”.

    Och ye know what? Naw, I think I’ll just hang on for a wee while to see what happens!

    After all, what’s to loose? Desperate stuff – sheer panic. 🙂

  13. It’s funny when the BBC panics and the mask comes off. The British nationalist propaganda is so blatant now that huge numbers of soft NOs have already flipped. And we havent even started the campaign yet. No wonder the BritNats are in full panic mode. The red, blue and yellow one-nation tories are now being squeezed hard on all sides.

    • I think it must have been replaced by “Fool Britannia” featuring The Charlatans (Aul Piffle, Joao Swinson and Roger Leopard).

  14. GOOD NEWS !

    This latest poll makes it almost inevitable that Scotland in Union , Better Together , The Scottish Tories , Richard Lionheart , Janus Swinson et al will be DEMANDING another Scottish referendum as they are bound to win it . YIPPEE !

    As soon as Parliament is brought back Boris Banner ( aka The Sulk ) will be signing a Section 30 order to have a decisive referendum tout de suit .

    And Ruth the Mooth will be girding her loins ( aarggghh , what an image ! ) to lead the victorious forces of Unionism , fronted by a tangerine ( NOT orange , honest ! ) bedecked band of musicians on a triumphal parade around George Square , giving two fingers to that nationalist cooncil which has discriminated so flagrantly against staunch Protestants in NO city .

    UKOK !

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