This is “Better Together” campaign director Blair McDougall looking comfortable and confident on last night’s edition of Scotland Tonight as the recently-controversial subject of campaign donations was discussed.
Not for the first time, his comments seemed a little at odds with the truth.
Later in the show Mr McDougall came out with some extraordinary unsupported allegations about co-ordinated and sustained harassment of the No campaign, but for the moment we’re going to focus purely on his claims of fact.
“I think what we’ve seen today is that almost every bit of money that the Yes campaign has got has come from the SNP. By contrast we’ve had nearly 10,000 donations, 10,000 small donations from Scots, many of them who will have never donated to any cause before, and we’re really proud of that, because it’s reflective of the fact that it’s our side of the argument that commands the majority of support from ordinary Scots.”
That last line’s interesting. How might one measure “the majority of support” in the context of financial donations from “ordinary Scots”? How about a handy graph?
Hmm. The two pie-charts (which are correctly proportioned relative to each other), would rather seem to suggest that the “majority” of support is firmly with the Yes camp. Not only that, but contributions to the Yes campaign from within Scotland are almost four times as high as to the No side, at £1.63m to £0.46m.
We’d also be intrigued to hear the justification for the rather woolly claim that “many” of the No donors “will have never donated to any cause before“, and to have clarification of whether “the SNP” includes anyone who is a member or supporter of the party, in which case Mr McDougall’s previous assertion that the No camp “have not received a penny from political parties“ would ring a little hollow.
(Because if donations from SNP supporters like the Weirs are counted as coming from “the SNP”, then presumably contributions from Labour and Tory supporters must by Mr McDougall’s logic be regarded as coming from Labour and the Tories themselves.)
That the “Better Together” campaign is mostly funded by English Tory money isn’t exactly news, of course. But it’s a bit odd for the campaign’s director to be so brazenly trying to pretend that the cash has actually come from “ordinary Scots” when a minimum of 60% of it is from residents of England, and that a figure representing just 39% of the combined total raised by both campaigns is a “majority of support”.
Readers might want to bear such claims in mind in future when assessing the truth or otherwise of anything else Blair McDougall asserts, is all we’re saying.