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Wings Over Scotland

Air traffic control

Posted on March 24, 2013 by

We don’t know about you, viewers, but when we tune into a two-hour TV programme called “Scottish National Party Spring Conference 2013”, we sort of expect the large bulk of that show to be, well, the Scottish National Party Spring Conference 2013.


With the UK’s state broadcaster, though, that isn’t necessarily the case.

For our many and terrible sins, we just sat through the BBC’s first “conference special” from yesterday afternoon with a stopwatch and a notepad, and noted down the amount of airtime given to the various people onscreen. The results were a little surprising.

In ascending order, they ran as follows:

– Blair Jenkins, director of Yes Scotland: 1m 30s
Vox pops with voters, including opposed to independence: 3m
Dennis Canavan, chairman of Yes Scotland: 3m 30s
– John Swinney, SNP finance secretary: 5m
Two gentlemen of the Scottish press: 5m 30s
– Conference delegates, including SNP MP Angus Robertson: 8m
– Speeches from the conference floor: 13m 50s
– Pre-recorded packages/other: 14m
– Professor John Curtice, the only psephologist in Scotland: 14m 20s
– Nicola Sturgeon (Deputy First Minister): 18m 30s
– Alex Salmond (First Minister): 33m

It’s a curious breakdown. Actual proceedings at the conference took up just 48 minutes of the 120-minute show, the vast bulk of that being the leader’s speech. So truncated was other coverage that viewers couldn’t even make sense of the first 30 seconds of said speech, as it referred to an introduction by Nicola Sturgeon that we hadn’t been allowed to see while Prof. Curtice waffled on about something or other.

Curtice enjoyed more airtime than SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson, finance secretary John Swinney and Yes Scotland duo Blair Jenkins and Dennis Canavan put together, despite the latter two in particular having given widely-acclaimed speeches.

(We saw just 90 seconds of Jenkins’ and none at all of Canavan’s, whose appearances were limited to some scattered bits of chat outside the hall.)

All of which would be fine if the good Professor was under-exposed in the Scottish media (rather than barely a night going by without him appearing on Reporting Scotland, Newsnight Scotland, Scotland Tonight or indeed all three) or if he offered particularly insightful commentary. Instead, though, he said things like this (5m 30s):

“Such polling evidence as we have suggests Scotland probably is rather more against Trident than in favour, but still there may be around almost half of the people who are in favour of independence are not necessarily against Trident.”

Are we sure about that, John?

“Scots are overwhelmingly opposed to replacing the Trident nuclear weapons system, with opposition running at 75% even among those planning to vote No in next year’s independence referendum.

That figure rises to 87% among those planning to vote Yes and the same figure applies to those who are as yet un-decided on the referendum issue, according to a TNS BMRB poll carried out for the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.”

Is 13% really “around almost half”? If it is, we suppose that might explain why a supposed programme on the SNP conference spent just 39% of its time showing the actual conference, and why an enormously-overused pundit got more airtime than four senior members of the SNP and independence campaign combined.

(Even if you take the full poll results at their least anti-Trident extreme, including people with no strong feelings about the weapons and those yet to decide as “not necessarily against”, the highest number you can get to among independence supporters is 30%, which is still a very long way short of “almost half”.)

We’re not sure when Prof. Curtice finds time to do his day job, so much of his life must he spend shuttling back and forth in taxis to the BBC’s Pacific Quay studios in Glasgow. Perhaps he’s due a little bit of time off.

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  1. 26 03 13 08:31

    Conference Time | laidbackviews

77 to “Air traffic control”

  1. Adrian B says:

    A little bit of time off ? – time he was put out to pasture, more like.

  2. Morag says:

    What have they done with James Mitchell?  The people demand an answer!

  3. CameronB says:

    Krustie. LOL!

  4. beachthistle says:

    Not having a telly and hardly listening to Radio Scotland these days, I have been spared the intrepid independent Professor’s recent insights and words of wisdom. However from what I remember about him and the photo above, Grassy Knollington’s suggestion that his alter ego is Krusty the Clown would appear to be bang on!
    As well as apparently being rather forgetful about other peoples’ polls and surveys that don’t support his achingly predictable narrative, a look at the ones he does have a role in, the  British Social Attitudes and Scottish Social Attitudes reports,  should tell any broadcaster wishing to spend money on an expert that it would be better spent elsewhere! Both of them, survey-wise,  are  dogs’ breakfasts, with badly-worded questions/options in a strange, almost designed-to-confuse, order.
    Like them, the over-exposed Prof is well past his for-sale-by date….

  5. Bill C says:

    @Morag- “What have they done with James Mitchell? ”  I think Mr. Mitchell is a wee bit too neutral for the British (Pravda) Broadcasting Corporation. Telling the truth would never do!

  6. Donald Kerr says:

    They interviewed him from London on 22nd March. Personally, I think that was him trying to escape. He doesn’t really want to be on the telly so much but they just can’t leave him alone. Poor Prof! On a serious not though, I’d rather see the back of him.

  7. DMW42 says:

    As I noted on another post, if Curtice was my lecturer, I’d have serious concerns for my grades.

  8. Macart says:

    The next scheduled showing of the conference is 11pm tonight. You’d think they were trying to draw attention away from Nicola’s bedroom tax announcement deliberately. 😉

  9. velofello says:

    I turn the sound down to zero when Curtice speaks, why listen to drivel? Mind you I do the same when I spot a football match featuring one of the skillful European teams playing and so could be worth watching.
    Spot on analysis Rev Stu.It seemed too that the BBC only had two cameras to operate. One featuring the speaker on the platform, and the other on a young woman who had her two young children with her.

  10. Malcolm says:

    He’s less Krusty, more Grinch.

    These two things are heard too often:
    “Joining us in the studio, Professor John Curtice” and “Joining us on Call Kaye today, Willie Rennie”

  11. Angus McLellan says:

    @Malcolm: But on the other hand, there are things we don’t hear often enough. For example, “And here with us on [your choice goes here] is Johann Lamont”. Free the George Square Bunker One!

  12. Graham Ennis says:

    Total BBC bias as usual. The day after independence, their transmitters in Scotland must be seized by the then sovereign government, and the licence fee abolished. It would be illegal to collect the licence fee after independence. 
    So no money for BBC Scotland, which would be left in only a role as a foreign media presence not allowed to transmit inside Scotland. If people want to see the BBC, nothing stops theemm paying a cable subscription. But immediately  Scottish National Broadcasting would take over. It would be financed by the repatriated oil revenues, and have about twice the cash available as the BBC has in Scotland. Then Scotland can have a high quality broadcaster that is not controlled by a foreign Government. Who agrees with me on this?

  13. Marcia says:

    Is he Duncan Hothersall’s Grandad?

  14. Morag says:

    Oh for goodness sake, nobody is going to be “seizing” anything the day after independence.  It’s all going to be done by polite negotiation and mutual arrangement.  We still get to watch Doctor Who and we get proper Scottish news however they arrange it.

  15. drks says:

    The aforementioned James Mitchell was my lecturer when in first year at uni, he’s a good guy.  Probably too busy doing his actual job to be on TV very often.  (Though it must be said, as someone who studied English and French, that the Politics dept. at Strathclyde seemed rather unfairly overfunded compared to the rest of the faculty – they have so many professors, when other departments were lucky to have maybe a couple of PhDs).  Anyway that’s beside the point.
    John Curtice is the political version of Pat Nevin in terms of over-use and over-annoyance.

  16. Dunphail says:

    Your tweet yesterday about our state broadcaster seating him too close to a Van de Graaf generator was priceless

  17. Dcanmore says:

    Every time I see Curtis he looks like he’s been dragged out of a basement somewhere then switched on.

  18. Morag says:

    There’s a rumour that many moons ago Mitchell gave a talk to London Branch SNP, and some of the guys got him drunk in the pub afterwards and signed him up as an SNP member.  But the rumour goes on to say that he didn’t renew at the end of the year.

    They do trot him up occasionally, and he is sometimes quite critical of the SNP, but overall I think he’s too neutral for the BBC’s taste.

  19. pro-loco says:

    completely O/T but in terms of stats when can we expect mongolia to demand china to take away responsibility for this dreadful liability of natural resource? Genuine bbbc article

  20. Aplinal says:

    very OT but congratulations to the Ladies Scottish curling team – world champions

  21. Strath Student says:

    Curtice is a bore and is too opinionated for my liking; he always tends to fall down on the Labour side of things and he is the ghost at the feast on broadly supported issues like votes at 16 and trident… James Mitchell is much better, never seen him in the news but he is a brilliant lecturer.

  22. Susan says:

    His day job is misinterpreting Polls and does not involve any research. Can’t take up too much time!

  23. ianbrotherhood says:

    Peter Snow is the man to blame for all this. All that gesticulating, lepping about the place,  strangling imagined creatures in an effort to whip-up enthusiasm for the impending returns from Lower Shepley. In recent years he’s been placed in ever-more stupendous CGI scenarios, hopping across counties and borders like a demented stick insect.
    If Curtice is BBC Scotland’s ‘answer’ to Peter Snow, WTF was the question?

  24. Indy_Scot says:

    The man just talks nonsense.  I think he will have burnt himself out trying to manufacture non existent doom and gloom by the time the Referendum comes.

  25. Keith B says:

    O/T (sorry)
    We now have a name for the new entity, made up of England, Northern Ireland and Wales, that will be created by our departure, courtesy of former UK Ambassador Charles Crawford – England. Who’d have guessed?

    (thanks to Peter A Bell’s Referendum 2014)

  26. CameronB says:

    @ Keith B
    I thought of linking to that, but was a little afraid of the pies that might get thrown. Krustie! Krustie!

  27. Morag says:

    That’s just factually accurate.  I know it offends some people but that doesn’t stop it being accurate.

  28. dundee bloke says:

    There have been revelations of who earns is paid what in the btbc over recent months, Clarkson, pacman, forsyth,(bruce) how much is krusty on and what was it five years ago when he was new ergo, unbiased ? 

  29. CameronB says:

    Morag says:

    “That’s just factually accurate”.
    That’s just actually an opinion. 🙂

  30. Morag says:

    OT, but has anyone seen this interview?  Sounds like absolute dynamite.  They’re saying it could be the end of Boris’s ambitions to be PM.

  31. ianbrotherhood says:

    Great post.
    Replacement undergarments for Mr Johnson, please…on the double if you don’t mind…thanks ever so much.’
    Mair for Newsnicht, anyone?

  32. Semus says:

    Keith B says:
    24 March, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    O/T (sorry)

    We now have a name for the new entity, made up of England, Northern Ireland and Wales, that will be created by our departure, courtesy of former UK Ambassador Charles Crawford – England. Who’d have guessed?
    I still prefer my suggestion of F.U.K. Former United KImgdom.ESpecially the sign after before Carlisle “Welcome to FUK”

  33. Chic McGregor says:

    Sorry about the length of this post, almost an article really, but I have, for various reasons over the years, had more cause than I would ever have wished, to study and collate polling data and some of it, every nationalist should be aware of.

    Professor Curtice almost invariably expresses only the results of the Scottish Social Attitudes survey with which he is intimately involved.

    In my opinion, the SSA is a very loaded survey.   Why?

    Well first of all, the sample used contains very nearly 50:50 for SNP:LAB voters, when the actual result at the last Holyrood election, averaging between FPTP and List vote and rounding to the nearest percent was: SNP 45%:Lab 29%.

    Next, we have no less than 5 options used on constitutional status:

    Scotland should become independent, separate from the UK and the European Union


    Scotland should become independent, separate from the UK but part of the European Union


    Scotland should remain part of the UK, with its own elected parliament which has some taxation powers


    Scotland should remain part of the UK, with its own elected parliament which has no taxation powers


    Scotland should remain part of the UK without an elected parliament


    Note first, that of those 5 options, 3 are not for independence.   That automatically introduces imbalance, especially for the eeny-miny-mo brigade.

    There are 2 options out of the 5 which equate to independence, but note that both use the word ‘separate’ (which has even been banned in the Westminster bear-pit for being prejudicial) and that both mention Europe.  Both of those inclusions are known to grossly distort response.

    By my best reckoning the impact of using the word ‘separate’ in a poll (note ‘in a poll’ is not the same thing as a real vote) is between 5% – 10% in effect. IMHO this explains some of the mystery re SSA v the rest.

    Time and again Prof. Curtice has quoted the results of this survey while not mentioning other survey results where a straight Yes/No response to the question of independence has been asked, frequently stating that support for independence has remained at about 26% since Devolution.  He is wheeled out with monotonous regularity to entone that mantra by the BBC.

    Indeed,Jackie Bird recently declared, in full ‘given’ tone, that three quarters of Scots were against independence in her Thursday date announcement ‘Special’ (it was more like Sesame St. Special :)).

    It is certainly not the case that the only indicated support for independence has been at that level since independence.  For example, look at the table below of Polls which essentially asked the straight question – ‘independence? Yes/No.’

    Most of them were are ICM polls, somewhat ironically commissioned by the Scotsman, but were never anything other than ‘buried’ deep within their pages, if at all, as far as I can remember, and in any event were dropped after two years (no surprise there).
    However, more of those straight Yes/No polls were carried again out from 2005  to 2007.   The Sunday Telegraph one (ICM) in 2007, which is not on the list below, was the only one which actually made news, they headlined it because they thought they had discovered something new, (it also indicated a probable Yes referendum result, if anything, more than the previous polls average).

    Incidentally, I remember Curtice being interviewed on the Sunday Telegraph story.  Whether to cast doubt on that particular poll or for some other reason, he said (paraphrasing from memory)”Well it isn’t the first such poll there was a series of similar results just after Devolution”. so he was clearly aware of the above polls then.  I was astonished, because to my knowledge, he had never mentioned them before, or indeed, since.

    This series of polls above also gives an interesting insight into the effect of including Europe in the question and back then, the EU was more popular than it is today.   In the polls of Jan 1999 and Jan 2000, the same voters who were asked the straight Yes/No to independence were also asked during the same survey about ‘independence in Europe’.  Support for ‘independence’, when ‘in Europe’ was included, fell to about 25%.  A ‘drop’ of 29%.

    Questions in other polls, which asked about ‘Independence outside the EU’ back then, produced results of around 14%.

    These do not add up to anything like the 54%  yes support for independence obtained in the straightforward independence Y/N? indicated questions in the table above. So where is this ‘missing’ percentage for independence?

    I think it is the case that there is a grey area, a significant percentage, who simply  do not know, or do not have enough information to decide if the EU is good or bad.

    When you ask the question Indy + EU you get those who are pro indy and pro EU. When you ask indy – EU you get those who are pro indy but anti-EU.
    What you don’t get are those who are pro indy but ambivalent or unsure about the EU.

    That last category would be happy to vote Yes in a real vote which makes no mention of Europe but are reluctant to tick a box in a poll which specifies position on the EU either way and are therefore quite likely to put down a NO or a DK.

    But there is no –

    Scotland should become independent, separate from the UK but I am unsure yet about the European Union

    option, which would have a chance of picking up the pro indy support which was unclear on Europe and would balance the survey at 3 indy and 3 non-indy options.  Another failing of the SSA survey IMO.

    Did you follow that?  It was a bit mind-numbingly tedious I will grant.

    You did? Good.


    Around the time the SNP became the Scottish Government in 2007, albeit a minority one, they seem to have formed the impression from Whitehall ‘experts’, Electoral Commission pronouncements or whatever, that any referendum question would have to be phrased such that it mandated only ‘negotiation with Westminster’ in order to comply with the Scotland Act.  So from that point, the proposed question in the SNP manifesto changed to reflect that supposed authoritive recommendation (which as it turns out, was mince anyway).

    A new series of straight Yes/No polls, using that new form of question, began at that point.   Here is the graphic:

    This phrasing of the question seemed to initially produce an immediate drop downward of ‘independence’ support of about 18%.  In my view (based on asking a lot of people but still anecdotal) that initial drop was mainly because a lot of the fundy support took umbridge at a Scottish government having to negotiate at all.  However I have never had the slightest doubt that the ‘rebels’ would still have voted Yes when push came to shove in a real vote.  Anyway, it quickly recovered to a position of parity. 
    However,…  then of course, we had the large amount of uncertainty caused by the
    Credit Crunch.  This was a much more serious blow to independence, IMHO, because, unlike the ‘new question’ temporary protest swing,  it did, IMV, affect a real shift in voting intent, rather than being merely a poll only artifact.

    Last year, I know of four polls which returned to asking the straight ‘independence? Yes/No’ question as used in the above table and predicted referendum result (i.e. when DKs are disgarded) had fallen from an average of 54% for YES to just over 40%.   Several polls using the new official question have shown similar results.  Note, even so, at no point has it fallen to the levels reported in the SSA survey.

    Again, hats off to the machinations of Brown and Darling and the Brit media for maximising the negative effect of the Credit Crunch on indy support here.

    It means that there is real work to do to persuade Scots that they and their families will be Better Untethered rather than Better Together.  We really are behind in the race, although again, nothing like that indicated by Prof. Curtice and his SSA survey.

    However, as they say ‘Events dear boy, events’.
    Even despite an almost 100% hostile mainstream media, and to give them credit once more, they have done exceptionally well, the parlous state of the UK and its primary cause, namely Casino London, will become more and more apparent as time goes on, despite their best efforts (e.g. false mini-boom by irresponsibly encouraging further property overvaluation) and they cannot keep writing up the new oil boom as a disaster forever.  They are already starting to resemble Comical Ali with the tanks moving into view behind him and there is still 17 months to go.

    Anyway, I digress a wee bit, back to Prof. Curtice, while I am sure what he relates from the Scottish Social Attitudes survey is accurate, please bear in mind the comments above and evidence presented and apply appropriate amounts of salt (if there’s enough left after this insufferably long Winter).
    Sorry about the dry nature of the above but we need to take some if only for our indy-gestion’s sake. (Ouch).

  34. Morag says:

    Thanks for that, Chic.  It comes on to thinking about the effect of engaging with the electorate.

    I’m afraid I can’t source this, because it’s a memory and it was some time ago, but a media organisation, I think the BBC, decided to do a focus group exercise in Scotland.  They chose a group of people, might have been 100, who were reasonably intelligent and prepared to look at the issues.  The numbers were in proportion to the parties’ share of the vote at the previous election, according to how these people had voted at that election.

    They had seminars and workshops and input from politicos and academics and so on, and they kept asking them what their voting intentions were now, as they became better informed on the issues.

    I don’t know how long it went on but it wasn’t long.  It was pulled because the SNP had a ridiculous majority in a fairly short time.

    I wish I had a link to that or a source for it, but I really don’t think I dreamed it.  It could have been pre-devolution though.

  35. Albert Herring says:

    We can’t call it that as that would make it’s inhabitants F.U.K.ers

  36. Chic McGregor says:

    Albert Seamus.
    I always thought ‘Former Country of the UK’ – FCUK.  At least then they would save money on T-Shirt design, a point not to be sniffed at with their future budget. 🙂

  37. Chic McGregor says:

    Interesting, never saw that one.  I do remember a debate/undecided audience one that ended up pro-indy, long time back and a bit vague.

  38. CameronB says:

    Sesame St made me smile, but that was when I believed in Santna.
    One intended to inform and uplift, the other the invention of a corporatist state. No, not Santa, the BBC.
    Cheers for that brainfart with substance Chic, but its Albert that has made me corps tonight, so far……any more facts, not to be sniffed at?

  39. Chic McGregor says:

    ‘Santna’?  Is that a tribute band with a demonic twist?

  40. CameronB says:

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha, Doh.

  41. Chic McGregor says:

    “any more facts, not to be sniffed at?”
    Cocaine is now the biggest cause of heart attacks amongst young men.

  42. Barontorc says:

    An excellent examination Chic, my thinking entirely. Curtis is just another paid-for propagandist using propagandist SSA source material and as I’ve said elsewhere, his responsibilities as a Professor at Strathclyde University are being ignored and the University by association is taking a dunt.
    Certain journalists and columnists, madcap academics, biased think-tankers and simply rotten politicos are devaluing their status on a daily basis – the question is – to what end?
    Do these chancers, if that’s what they are, realise the enormous dung-heap the UK  festers in; that it will not disappear as if by by magic, and the condition is so grave, the patient including the body part, known as Scotland will atrophy. Is that their lemming-like goal?
    Well, bully for them – but I’m for a country that breaks away from the cess-pit to get at the fresh air!

  43. CameronB says:

    @ Chic McGregor
    I remember hearing/reading that somewhere, recently. We certainly can’t be too skint then, but then again. How many young men die from heart attacks, is this a national emergency, what are the causes, etc.? It is only too easy to skew a survey when selecting the questions, and then skewing public opinion through skewed reporting of the skewed polls. What a warped world we live in.

    Talking off heavy cocaine abuse, I thought it is supposed to lead to users developing a warped perspective of reality. Or was I dreaming?

    You come across as someone who might have an opinion on the funding of academic research?

  44. CameronB says:

    P.S. I hope you wont mind me using it liberally, elsewhere?

  45. Chic McGregor says:

    Not sure of the relative use of that class A substance re Scotland at all, it was I think, a generic fact not to be sniffed at. 🙂
    I would hope that it is not at a statistically high level of fatalities unlike some other drugs.
    No idea of its effects on perception, I have never used it, or any class A or class B drug come to mention it.  (Is there a class C?)
    My opinion on the funding of academic research is a resounding, YES we should.

  46. CameronB says:

    @ Chic McGregor
    Apologies if you thought I might have been implying anything, untoward. There was nothing further from my mind.

  47. Chic McGregor says:

    Didn’t think you were implying anything, just answering your questions.
    Good news that the latest poll has nudged up to a 44:56 on the new question (less DKs).  Not sure I would want to go through 50:50 until a lot closer to I-Day though.

  48. Ron Burgundy says:

    I think Curtis is a fully paid up UK establishment wannabe. Saw him recently on the Daily Politics being interviewed by Neil in the wake of the Eastleigh by-election.
    His answers were gushing and showed such a keenness to please Neil by even pre-emting things they might want answers for – they could not shut him up.
    Obviously wants to impress on the big “stage” in London – must be pissed off with Strathclyde Uni and wants in the shop window for a move to England. I think he would have gone out and washed Neil’s car that morning if he had been asked to

  49. Chic McGregor says:

    @Ron Burgundy
    Nah!  I think Curtice is a true believer and zealot who would do it even if there were no career/money interests involved, certainly I believe money and career are secondary to his thinking.  Didn’t he stand as a candidate for a U-party somewhere?
    There are those who you intuitively feel are primarily careerists, but he isn’t one of them IMO.  That, incidentally, is what gives his views some credibility with the public.

  50. uilleam_beag says:

    @Chic McGregor
    Thanks for that bit of analysis, it made for a great read and concurred with many of my own thoughts.

    I have another angle on it, which hangs on the relative commitment to the cause of yes and no respondents to these polls. The latest one has 36% yes to 46% no, but how many of them can be relied on to actually turn up at the polling booth?

    My feeling is that most of the people who answer ‘yes’ to one of these opinion polls have made a pretty firm decision, and one that they won’t sway from lightly. A spot of rain won’t keep them from casting their vote in what they see as their one chance to alter the course of history – shings, I’m moving back halfway round the world (and putting a strain on my marriage to my HK wife in the process) just to make sure I don’t miss it.

    Can the same be said of the no camp? For sure, there are people who passionately believe in the UK, but what proportion do they make up in comparison? Without a doubt, IMHO, the ‘no’ figures are propped up by a sizeable minority who just say ‘no’ on instict – they have never given the matter much thought and are quite likely not going to go out of their way to make it to the polling station. (We also know there’s an element of unionist fundies who won’t vote on principle because they flat-out refuse to recognise the referendum’s legitimacy, but that’s beside the point.)

    I don’t think it is unreasonable to assume 90% of yes respondents will turn up, compared to around 70% of the no camp. 

    For the sake of argument, extrapolating that with the latest poll figures into a nominal electorate of 1,000 gives 324 yes votes to 322 no votes*. Aye, the abstainers would outnumber both, at 364, but a 64.6% turnout isn’t too bad.

    I’d expect the actual turnout to be somewhere north of 70%, as perhaps one in five or one in four DKs plump for a yes or no on the day. Getting more of them to pitch our way than thhe other will be crucial to nudging our way past the finishing post.

    As you say, still much work to be done, but I think this goes some way to explaining the panic-stations look we’ve been noticing in the eyes of Alastair Darling et al. of late.

    [* BTW, I didn’t reverse-engineer those figures; the 90:70 ratio has been my guess for a long while, it just happened that when I multiplied these values out they gave us a win of the narrowest margin.]

  51. Davy says:

    If their is one thing very noticeable about the coverage of the SNP conference by the BBC and Radio Scotland this past wk-end is their is always a ‘kicker’ or two put in against the SNP by whoever is presenting the show.
    Even late yesterday afternoon on radio Scotland the presenter had to finish with an unfair dig at the SNP, which had me cursing the shit out of him.
    It certainly showed that the BBC is the most unfair bias’ed bunch of wasters for a state broadcaster there is in this UK. I hope after independence we dump them and start anew.
    Vote Yes, vote Scotland.
    Alba Gu snooker loopy!      

  52. scottish_skier says:

    England-only laws ‘need majority from English MPs’

    Tories will like this idea. Would make Scotland of much less use to Labour and the libs though.

    The problem is though, what if you had e.g. a ‘UK’ Labour majority using Scots MPs but not an English majority (maybe Tories or Tories + Libs majority) without them? Who is the government then? Nope, you need an English parliament to sort this out.

  53. Seanair says:

    Re Curtice but slightly O/T, I don’t watch/listen to BBC Scotland nowadays but is Angus McLeod still the permanent reviewer of the papers on the Saturday morning radio show? he never had a good word to say about the SNP, but presumably he was foisted onto Derek Bateman by the same people who hire Curtice.
    Also very O/T but re Cameron not agreeing to debate with AS, did he not make a statement to the effect that he would do do everything in his power to keep the Union—except give his reasons why in a debate presumably…..

  54. Vronsky says:

    If I’m thinking of the same McLeod (journalist), he’s a piece of work.  I once had dinner with him – a mutual friend had invited us both, and a few others.  It was just after the Perth & Kinross by-election when Roseanna Cunningham was elected. I’d worked on the campaign from start to finish, and been outside the hall for the count.  McLeod didn’t know this, or even that I was SNP.  He proceeded to regale the company with tales of drunkenness and disorder by the SNP supporters outside the count.  After he’d gone on for a bit, I said, ‘Excuse me, I was there.  I only saw one drunk party supporter, and he was Labour’.  That fairly shut the bastard up.  He’s a liar, pure and simple.
    This is fun:

  55. Macart says:

    Why yes, yes he did. ‘With every fibre of his being’ or some such, which as you point out does not extend to confronting the FM in public debate.

  56. Albert Herring says:

    Good analysis, but I think you’re being unduly pessimistic. The core No vote is the 5% or so that want to see Holyrood abolished, while the core Yes is the ca.30% who have wanted independence for years, if not decades, and who would crawl over broken glass in a blizzard to cast their vote.

  57. mato21 says:

    Thanks for reminding us about this
    Good job the verdict went as it did or BBC Scotlanshire would be up to their armpits in court cases every week 

  58. uilleam_beag says:

    @Albert Herring
    I completely agree. It is pretty clear that around one in three voters has a strong, unshakeable belief in Scottish independence. The core, die-hard unionist vote, on the other hand, is a very small minority, but they are not the only ones who will vote no in the end. A good number of folk will no doubt vote against independence without any clear idea in their head exactly why they are doing so (and if the yes vote carries it, will probably spend the rest of their lives denying they voted no – just try and find someone who will admit they voted no-no or even yes-no in the devolution referendum!); they can’t be relied on to turn out, but a proportion of them will do so.
    My 90:70 ratio is a fairly conservative estimate. I suspect the no vote is actually a bit weaker than that and the yes vote possibly very slightly stronger. It is, however, a perfectly reasonable-sounding estimate to introduce into conversation; attempt to argue it’s 95:60 and you’ll sound like a fruitcake.
    @Scottish Skier – any thoughts, or have you already done a number on this poll on another thread?

  59. EdinScot says:

    With every passing day, John Curtices’ credibility is taking a battering and whats more its all being done by his good self.  He’s in good company with the EBC getting more desperate to prevent viewers hearing anything from the SNP conference.  I saw them interview Salmond on sunday and the interviewer (dont know his name) had bile basically pouring out him, it was an astonishing sight to behold with him trying manically to score a hit on Salmond, he showed video link of Glen Campbell interviewing Kenneth Clark(Tory mp) who was waffling on about it all being English money….Campbell in his panic reminded him that it was British money which he churlishly accepted but what a shambles ensued.  It was like the blind leading the blind.  When they cut back to a laughing Salmond who couldnt believe the gift he was given and said that it was indeed an insult as it was Scottish peoples money too the interview was brought to an end.  The interviewer was left badly beaten, so much so i swear i could see blood on the floor of Pathetic Quay.

    How many days more must we suffer the sheer partisan ineptness and unprofessionalism of the EBC in Scotland.  Ah thats right, 542 days and counting.  Thank the Lord!

  60. Les Wilson says:

    I was very angry at the tone of questioning of the BBC when interviewing anyone SNP, with a kind of viciousness which made my blood boil.
    The way the BBC reporters are undoubtedly on a set campaign, to decry anything the SNP says, their taken line is a photo copy of Labour’s policy.
    Which of course was laid open by wee Willie Bain ( doesn’t he talk posh now, he is based in London!) and actively followed by all Labour politicians across the board, Holyrood or Westminster.
    Also the BBC reporters attempt to defend the Iraq War, was something that I hope was widely noticed by the Scottish public. This was during an interview with Nicola Surgeon.
     So who gives the lessons on how to keep Scots down? BBC-Labour or Labour-BBC?

    I guess it’s a toss up, anyone got a two headed coin!

    What they really are though, is an utter disgrace. The peoples of Scotland there is only one way to sort this, vote YES!

  61. Les Wilson says:

    O/T Something I had to ask readership, did anyone watch the Sunday Politics on BBC on Sunday?
    During the latter part, there was an amazing appraisal of Alister Darling, he was touted and praised to the ceiling as the consummate Brilliant Politician !
    All “the panel” praised him to almost be the absolute best that labour have and he should be treasured! included a suggestion that labour should take him in to concoct their financial policy, it was stomach churning stuff.
    Ref Darling, let us get it right, what he did was when it became apparent to him that his boss Gordon Brown was on borrowed time, he chose to start disagreeing with Brown in an successful attempt to distance him from Brown. Curiously the Press were impressed by his speaking out and gave him kudos for doing so.
    I find it bizarre, he was instrumental in labour’s mess of the British economy, only self preservation was his back stabbing reasons for doing what he did, and for some reason being head of the “BITTER TOGETHER” lot, has made him seem even more clever. ( NOT !)
    Know this man, he is a weasel of the worst kind.

  62. Seanair says:

    Thanks Vronsky, but is he still peddling his filth on the Beeb?

  63. Seanair says:

    Thanks MacArthur for confirmation. Funny that none of the Scottish media have made the connection!

  64. EdinScot says:

    O/T Something I had to ask readership, did anyone watch the Sunday Politics on BBC on Sunday?

    No didnt see that interview with Alistair Darling Les but i heard plenty about it.  There is something going on with the Unionists in that they are trying to put a halo around the Darling one who, let us never forget,  helped crash the economy along with the Incompetent North British Brown.  In their fake fawning of him, they are trying to sanctify him.  I think this is their plan which the so called Scottish msm may take up the baton on in the run up to the referendum in the hope that the Scottish people, if they hear it often enough (the big lie), they will eventually conclude that it must be true and so in the end just relent. 

    Remember Les, that they have tried this tactic with most of the inept slab leaders such as the Wendy one, McLeish, McConnell  and latterly who could forget the Gray man of which the best exampe i can give.  The man went into Scottish folklore after running away from relevant questions (considering we were in the run up to a Holyrood election) from a small group of pensioners and into a subway sandwich shop!  This is the man the Unionists wanted to foist on the people of Scotland. No kind of leader at all but it didnt work ultimately. Thanks to the Scottish voters.  Make no mistake, a huge part in that vote was sites like this and Newsnet and various other blogs along with an ever increasing army of people like us all over Scotland debunking their myths and lies and exposing the Darlings and Grays for what they are. 
    I believe the Darlings and co will suffer the same fate come the referendum for their treachery of selling the dummy to decent people all over our fine land but only if we re double our efforts like never before to get the message out to the public of what the Unionists really have in store for them come a no vote, i.e, A big fat nothing.  More and more people are seeing through them Les, they know it hence their rhetoric gets worse.  John Curtice, looked dreadful reporting on the SNP conference.  He didnt look happy despite his own propaganda.  The fear is in their eyes.  We’re calling them out and more people are seeing their obvious bias.  Thats why we are where we are despite their very worst efforts for Scotland.
    Lets finish them off.

  65. Barontorc says:

    I honestly don’t know why these journo pundits can be so rabidly anti-SNP?
    Did somebody from the SNP give them a doin’ at one time, steal their lollypop, steal their girlfriend/boyfriend, scratch their new motor, steal their best bike, pee in their soup – what on earth is behind it all – they’re heading for the redundancy pile and will be persona non grata in many post-independence quarters, so what’s driving them?
    Don’t tell me it’s just doing a job, they hate doing, but it’s orders from on high, you see! That Jackie Le Burd doesn’t write her scripts, she only presents ‘with feeling’. That when she’s shooting from the hip in one-to-one interviews in the BBC studio, she’s just forcing out the party line. The same goes for the rest of the ‘usual suspects’, with the honourable exception in Isabel Fraser and Derek Bateman.
    I ‘m quite sure there will be enormous policy pressure in many a newsroom from such as Boorman and co – but…remind me again, when was the slave-trade abolished and what happened to self-respect – if that’s an issue – though for many of these chancers – I doubt that it is.! 

  66. Les Wilson says:

    You have a good handle on this, and I agree with what you say.
    However I wanted to point out just what Darling did in order to wash his hands of Brown, he did it in a very sneaky way, and THAT is what he is a sneak. 
    Self interest will always be in his mind, it is ingrained throughout the labour party, here and at Westminster.
    How they are trying to make him some sort of wise old sage makes me sick, and it goes to show just how low the Unionist Conspiracy will go.
    All they do is deride us, but by god, they are sure scared witless at losing us.
    LET THEM WEEP FOR WHAT THEY LOSE it serves them right. 

  67. Chic McGregor says:

    @Uilleam Beag
    You touch on what I think is a very important matter regarding the motivation of voters to get out and vote.
    One can only really guess at what the relative motivation might be between the two camps.  I think you are right, that those who are persuaded by the Yes argument might, on average, be inclined to vote than those who are in the No camp.
    OTOH, those of us who have stood outside polling booths will be only too aware of how Labour’s well oiled car ferry service to Residential Centres for the Elderly (and beyond 😉 ) operates.
    One intriguing consideration regarding voter motivation would be if the motivation generally is going to be very high.  After all, this is not just another election, it is not even just another Devolution Referendum, this is a once-in-a-lifetime Referendum on Independence.  A total game changer.
    So it is quite reasonable to consider that the turnout might be very high indeed.
    This is a very important consideration.  Why?  Because depending on whether you believe that or not impacts directly on campaign strategy.

    Here’s how.

    Although the resources of the Yes camp are substantial, they are nevertheless, finite and limited.
    For a normal election, there is a well practiced procedure which is largely concerned with countering voter apathy.  It does this by identifying known support and then targeting them with encouragement to get out and vote.  This involves, leafleting and canvassing which uses a substantial portion of available resource.
    If, however, it is the case that nearly all of those who have decided yes will be self motivated to get out and vote and apathy will not be a significant issue, then it would make much more sense to use less resource for that and a much bigger proportion trying to persuade those who can be, to switch to a yes view.
    I have already participated in putting out Yes material to identified support in this area and all the while I was trudging through the snow kept thinking I would much rather be delivering fact sheets and other persuading material to those I knew were not known supporters.
    This is not an election, it is not a party promotional exercise.  After 2014, whatever the result, everything changes.  Old goals and aims are no more, they are deid parrots.
    However, so ingrained is the standard election footing machinery that so far, apart from the missus (who is also a physicist by training) we have been unable to get that point across.  I’m hoping that at some point a directive from HQ will manifest itself at least calling for some amount of non-known support targetting.

  68. EdinSco says:

    @ Les Wilson
    100% Agreed.  We should not turn our backs on the likes of Darling for one split second.  They would sell their granny down the river to the benefit of themselves.  A parcel o rogues right enough.
    After independence, im sure we will find out far far more of the collusion from the likes of Darling to stop Scotland taking its rightful place in the world as an independent nation.  Darling and co are schemers of the very worst kind and Scotlands deserves to be rid of the likes of them.  Lets aim for that goal Les.

  69. uilleam_beag says:

    @ Chic McGregor
    Thanks for that insight. It’s good to hear the perspective of someone who’s clearly a well-experienced campaigner, and I do find your point about leafleting strategy a little concerning.
    As I mentioned before, I’m not in the country at the moment, but will be back for several months over the summer (and more permanently next year). I want to get involved in campaigning and lend some shoe leather where it may do some good. But I agree with what you say – I want to be making an effort to persuade undecided voters and having a crack at getting unionists to question their beliefs. I reckon known supporters of independence can be pretty much relied upon to show up in this one-chance-only vote, so simply persuading them to vote does not strike me as an efficient use of resources.
    If, however, the campaigning is aimed at inspiring them to be more vocal in their support, get involved and actively start persuading the people around them, then that’s a different matter entirely.

  70. Graham Ennis says:

    I think that what is driving the Unionist elements in Scotland is sheer desperation. There was another country, not so far away, and not so long ago, where a similar situation dominated things. That country was France, in about 1943, when it became apparent to the then Vichy Government and the collaborationist elements  that they were on a sinking ship. The same situation now prevails in Scotland. It would be the hight of foolishness and recklessness if these elements were allowed to have any public role in a new independent Scotland, where they would be a constant source of disloyalty, subversion, sabotage and wrecking, of the new Country. The problem is, how do you deal with them, in  a progressive democracy?…..comments welcome.

  71. tartanfever says:

    Graham – I’m not sure. I think a lot of public reaction would stem from how unionist politicians conduct themselves. I asked this a couple of weeks ago and didn’t get much in the way of responses, but I’ll try again. Imagine the scenario:
    So a day before the referendum, Ruth Davidson is in full tilt about how we couldn’t survive, taxes would be sky high, etc etc. Then the following day the people of Scotland say ‘Yes’ to independence. The following week Ruth Davidson is back in Holyrood – what does she say ? Does she still keep bleating on about ‘how Scotland will be ruined’ or does she strike a new course, accepting independence and looking to the future ? 
    What exactly do the Tory party in Scotland do ? At that point we are still in the union, with a Scottish tory MP in Westminster. There’s going to be 16 months before independence and a whole load of negotiation with the Tory Westminster government. Does Davidson start to side with the people of Scotland (in this case, through supporting the SNP Govt.) ? If she does do this, then she’ll be openly speaking out against her own party whilst they are still our government as we are still in the UK.
    Or does she look to the future, think of a new Tory party in Scotland and reform her party to the Scottish diaspora. 
    The same will happen to the other parties. We are surely going to end up with the scenario that immediately after the referendum and before independence day, the unionist are going to be fighting in-party between Holyrood and Westminster.
    And if any of these parties don’t fight the Scottish corner in those negotiations with Westminster, then come independence they’re going to take a right beating in the polls and next election.
    So Graham, I would imagine if the unionist politicians change tack dramatically on a Yes vote, then most of the politicians, journalists and other movers and shakers will probably fall into line and start to support an independent Scotland. Failure to do so would be suicide.
    Apart from Michelle Moan as she’ll be moving to England.

  72. Adrian B says:

    I rather think the Unionists leaders will be ousted by their own parties. Willie Rennie, Lamont and Ruth are all not popular with the grass roots of their parties. There is decent in the ranks which can only increase as we get closer to the Indy Ref.
    The Tories bounced back after not wanting Devolution with their carefully crafted, ‘we will make Devolution work’ line.
    Independence will change all the opposition parties, it will possibly change the SNP, although I think this may be a more gradual change as the opposition reform.
    We have Labour for Indy, The Greens, Scottish Socialists and the SDA will probably make a more defined appearance.
    It looks as if the electorate will have more choice, perhaps more minority government as seems to happen in many other countries.

  73. Les Wilson says:

    I wonder how many of these ( and there are many, I am ashamed to say are Scots ) will have the balls to stay on after a YES vote, where would they go? what would they have to offer?
    I saw a sketch ( BBC Scotlandshire ) a while ago which fits my thinking, it was a send up of Lamont working at a supermarket till, saying to a customer ” you know I used to be in charge of the the Scottish Labour Party, I did honest, I did, I did!!”
    Sounds good to me!
    What would complete it though is A.Darling stacking the shelves assisted by Ian Davidson, complete in their supermarket uniforms AaaaaH, that would do me just fine! Oh while we are at it let’s throw Ian Grey in as the van driver! LOL!

  74. Les Wilson says:

    I wonder how many of these ( and there are many, I am ashamed to say are Scots ) will have the balls to stay on after a YES vote, where would they go? what would they have to offer?
    I saw a sketch a while ago which fits my thinking, it was a send up of Lamont working at a supermarket till, saying to a customer ” you know I used to be in charge of the the Scottish Labour Party, I did honest, I did, I did!!”
    Sounds good to me!
    What would complete it though is A.Darling stacking the shelves assisted by Ian Davidson, complete in their supermarket uniforms AaaaaH, that would do me just fine! Oh while we are at it let’s throw Ian Grey in as the van driver! LOL!

  75. Barontorc says:

    Margo said – if we each just go out and convince one NO intended voter to look at the true facts and get him or her to go for YES – the job’s done and dusted. Simples!

  76. Albalha says:

    Re Ruth D
    Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is to order a review of her party’s position on Holyrood’s powers.
    In a speech in Edinburgh, she is expected to argue that in future the Scottish Parliament should take responsibility for raising a far greater share of what it spends.


  77. uilleam_beag says:

    @ Albalha
    That’s the great thing about lines in the sand – they’re really easy to erase and redraw in a totally different spot.

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