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Wings Over Scotland


Archive for the ‘scottish politics’


The tyranny of majorities 168

Posted on February 21, 2017 by

The reliably-wise Stephen Bush of The New Statesman said something perceptive yesterday on the subject of an EU referendum, although it applies much more widely.

bushref

It’s a view we’ve held for many years, most often in relation to UK governments ruling with huge majorities won on pretty tiddly pluralities of the vote (often in the mid-30%s), where the bulk of the electorate has no defence against a party it didn’t vote for.

Despite an electoral system that makes such events far rarer, the phenomenon crops up a lot in Scotland too, and both sides are guilty, often on the same subject. Scottish employment figures, for example, alternate with almost metronomic regularity between being higher/lower than those in the rest of the UK, and whichever it is in any given month one side or the other will trumpet it as conclusive and permanent proof that Scotland’s governance is better/worse than that of London.

(Even though Holyrood in fact has almost no power over the economy, so deserves little of either the blame or credit, whichever applies that month.)

The most common case, though, is Trident.

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An auld familiar song 335

Posted on February 20, 2017 by

The Scottish media has today leapt all over the front-page lead story from yesterday’s Sunday Times, in which “top economist” Douglas McWilliams of right-wing thinktank the Centre for Economics and Business Research made an apocalyptic prediction of a huge deficit turning an independent Scotland into “a Third World country”.

The Express’ customarily restrained coverage is pretty typical.

mcwilliams1

We wondered if Mr McWilliams used to have a more optimistic view.

As it turned out, not so much.

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In concrete boots 313

Posted on February 18, 2017 by

From today’s Herald:

heraldbae

It seems a good time to bring up another piece of our poll data.

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Before you vote 100

Posted on February 18, 2017 by

No.3 in the series: Caroline, originally from Hastings in Sussex, now Edinburgh.

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Here comes a surprise 200

Posted on February 17, 2017 by

No voters, Leave voters and Labour/Tory voters are more racist than Yes, Remain, Lib Dem and SNP voters. Who could ever have guessed?

immigpoll

The former groups all agreed that there was a problem with too much immigration in Scotland. The latter groups all disagreed. It’s that stark, folks.

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Doublethink of a number 119

Posted on February 17, 2017 by

The one great pillar of the argument against Scottish independence – greater than not being allowed into the EU, greater than being forced to barter with beads and potatoes because we wouldn’t have a currency, greater than losing Doctor Who or having the Chinese take their pandas back – is the economy.

Scotland is far too wee and too poor to be independent, they say – while indignantly denying that they’re saying it – because we only survive now thanks to a vast bailout every year from the rest of the UK, by which they in fact mean England. (Because it’s sure as heck not coming from Wales or Northern Ireland, which by any measure you care to choose are far poorer than Scotland.)

moncktonukip2

The name and size of this bailout vary wildly. Sometimes it’s a “deficit”, sometimes it’s a “black hole”, sometimes it’s a “fiscal transfer”, and it can be £8bn, £9bn, £10bn, £15bn, £28bn£32bn or any other figure up to a hundred and eleventy thousand million bajillion squillion depending on who you’re talking to.

(The last one’s probably either David Coburn or Jackie Baillie.)

And while there are a dozen separate and compelling reasons why that argument is complete rubbish, none of them have any traction with diehard Unionists determined to believe that one of the richest and most blessed nations on Earth couldn’t possibly manage its own affairs like, say, Latvia or Ireland or Kuwait or Slovakia can.

But it turns out there IS a – surprisingly simple – way to get Unionists to categorically deny that England subsidises Scotland. You just have to ask them.

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Every revolution starts with a lone voice 255

Posted on February 16, 2017 by

From these small beginnings shall our ultimate victory come.

natanth

The votes for “God Save The Queen” being driven by Tories, English-born residents and supporters of a particular football club probably won’t come as the biggest shock in the world to anyone.

(Alert viewers will of course have noticed that due to MI5 INTERFERENCE in the poll, there were actually two votes for Hoots Mon, which have been suspiciously rounded down to one. We are conducting an investigation, by which we mean brutal purge.)

Dumbing it down for Ruth 71

Posted on February 16, 2017 by

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson managed to make a bit of a balloon of herself earlier this month when she contrived to get THREE fairly key facts wrong in a single tweet about a poll on a second independence referendum.

ruthjim

(We’re not sure who the guy in the picture with her is. Probably a colleague.)

We suspected the reason she’d so badly misunderstood the data was that there were two options for “have another indyref in the next two years” and only one for “don’t have another indyref”, so when we were putting our latest poll together we thought we’d try to make it easier for her by having an equal number on both sides.

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A close shave 71

Posted on February 16, 2017 by

There’s a nice piece in today’s Scottish Sun about one of the findings of our newest Panelbase poll, on who was Scotland’s all-time best First Minister.

mountnicmore

We thought you’d want a more detailed look at the data behind it.

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Local colours 135

Posted on February 15, 2017 by

Just for fun.

ndyball

(The combined figure for all football fans, incidentally, is Yes 52% No 48%.)

All the damn vampires 306

Posted on February 15, 2017 by

There were no surprises in our latest Panelbase poll with regard to the independence question, at least not in terms of the headline figures – in line with a flurry of recent polls they came out at Yes 46% No 54%, with 2016’s Brexit vote seemingly having caused almost equal numbers of people to change sides since 2014.

indyfeb

But as readers will know, we usually like to probe a little bit deeper into the thoughts of our respondents than other media do, so we asked a few more questions on the subject. And the results of that were just plain weird.

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Kicking down the doors 323

Posted on February 14, 2017 by

When we commissioned our latest opinion poll from Panelbase, we were aware that there’d been a lot of polls recently about independence and Brexit/the EU and even Westminster voting intentions, but surprisingly few on the next thing that Scots will actually go to polling stations for – the council elections in May.

labdisaster

That’s odd because it’s a pretty significant vote, and could lead to some fairly seismic changes in how the country is governed. Despite losing the popular vote for the first time in 2012, Labour are still the dominant force in Scotland’s town/city halls, running almost twice as many of the country’s 32 local authorities (either in sole control or in coalition/minority administrations) as the SNP – 16 to nine.

Depending on the outcome in May, the Nats could either secure a grip on all levels of Scottish elected politics for the first time ever, or a Tory alliance with Labour as junior partners could keep most councils Unionist – something which could have all sorts of wider ramifications beyond local services. (That’s an article for another day.)

So the results below are pretty interesting.

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