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Wings Over Scotland

Labouring the point

Posted on September 03, 2013 by

Alert readers will, we trust, remember how yesterday we highlighted the somewhat differing approaches that the Herald and Scotsman both took to reporting the two drastically-opposed independence polls of the last 48 hours.


Here’s the Daily Record’s version.

Both the above images are taken from the paper’s Page 2, the left one from Monday and the right-hand one from today. The YouGov poll showing a huge lead for No gets a large main story, backed up by two supportive, “positive” pieces on Gordon Brown’s meaningless speech to “United With Labour” in Govan and George Osborne’s absurd “Vote No and Scots will be £1.29 a week better off, assuming you believe I can really predict the economy 30 years into the future” claim on the same day.

By contrast, the Panelbase poll gets the minor bottom-of-the-page slot, alongside a negative story about the cost of decommissioning oil platforms. (Making it two days in a row that the staunchly Labour-supporting paper is uncharacteristically keen to take the views of a Tory Chancellor at face value.)

The headline is about bookmakers “slashing” odds (actually barely moving, from 9/2 to 4/1) rather than the somewhat more dramatic news of a poll putting Yes in front for the first time this year, and only one of five paragraphs actually reports the poll, with the rest of the text taken up by mentioning the previous day’s YouGov survey again, and airing Prof. John Curtice’s criticisms of the Panelbase poll’s methodology.

We know you know all this stuff. We’re just keeping track.

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49 to “Labouring the point”

  1. Gillie says:

    The thing is, this poll showed for the first time that the Yes campaign can win this referendum vote by extolling the positives about Scotland aimed directly at the waverers and the undecided.
    So it is really up to pro-indy groups and their supporters to get out there with that message.  
    “Unsure how to vote – let me explain why voting Yes will be good for you, your family and your country”

  2. the main news item on the right, showing why only independence will be able to make a difference to Scots, when we’ll get the government we actually vote for.  Why don’t they get that?

  3. seoc says:

    The outcome of the Referendum lies not in the hands or words of newspaper/ politically funded wee stories, but in the firm hands of Scots looking out over a new vista of gathering benefits and a fuller, healthier life of freedom for our children.
    How could anyone afford not to grasp this one-off opportunity?

  4. Luigi says:

    Ach, all this crude anti-Scottish BS spread by the MSM is about to backfire spectacularly, just like it did in 2011.  Some people never learn.

  5. DMyers says:

    @Gillie: I think the Panelbase poll suggests that Yes doesn’t even need to explain the positives to get ahead, rather that the issue of trust is more important. We all know there is already a majority in favour of independence, but that people just don’t realise that independence is what it is called (yet). But I agree that, overall, once the positive message starts hitting home, the polls should shift further towards yes. It’s doable 🙂

  6. jim mitchell says:

    We have ALL learned to look at what surrounds unionist stories, yesterday, although they won’t admit it, they were really scared and it was obvious.
    As for us, we keep on working!

  7. wee jamie says:

    Take a lodger or get a job 
    This just shows the crass insensitivity of your average Tory to the wants and  needs of the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society, they really care nothing for the suffering of other human beings, as the auld witch herself said ” there is no such thing as society “, and they genuinely believe this.The way london labour has colluded with what they are doing in order to make themselves electable really shows up the fundamental differences between the views of the Scottish and English electorate. As for Lamont and the rest of the Ermine -chasing “uncle Tam’s ” ,I hope  they will aw be oot on their arses come 2014 .

  8. Gizzit says:

    This website and others will be a valuable historical record of the twisted, skewed media portrayal of the Independence campaign
    Regardless of the outcome, people should be aware of who’s interests the MSM serve

  9. MajorBloodnok says:

    As long as they keep producing the same old shite, which I see no sign of changing, then they are not helping themselves at all.  And the more people actually get the facts, rather than the self-serving negative spin that Labour wants us to have, the more likely it is that Scots will vote YES.  It’s up to us.

  10. Thepnr says:

    George Osbourne trying to be sneaky again. The cost of decommissioning an oil or gas field at the end of it’s life is solely down to the oil companies that owned the field.
    Only in the event of a default will the treasury be responsible. Is he seriously suggesting that EVERY oil and gas operator will default on their responsibilities? How can these politicians lie so easily?

  11. faolie says:

    Shameful really, when you look at the bedroom tax story above the poll panel. A paper like the Record could have a field day juxtaposing the rise in support for independence with a vote yes and be rid of it story. There must be, just must be, journalists at the DR crying into their beer/coffee/camomile tea when they see a page like this and think what it could be like.
    Really beats me when a paper like the Record clings to the Union when they could instead help to secure an independent Scotland with a Labour government. Happy days no? (for Labour folks anyway).

  12. call me dave says:

    The Chancellor (Osborne) will take the opportunity to reveal a treasury report which estimates that staying within the UK single market could boost Scotland’s economy by as much as £5 billion over the next 30 years (approximately £66 per household per year).
    Very generous of him!  When we kick them out next year I believe we will be £500 per person better off.  Now that’s a better deal.
    Except that we wont actually all get £500 it’s going in the Scottish kitty. That’s fine.
    Meanwhile some light relief:
    What a stitch up.  (Scotsman 1817 ? it’s in there)
    Just the same well done..

  13. Macart says:

    They’re not even pretending now, its right out there for all to see.
    You’d have to be deaf, dumb, blind and criminally insane not to notice the intent behind the editorial of every mainstream title on the racks. They are in the pockets of Westminster or Westminster parties and a complete disgrace to journalism. Bought and paid for.

  14. X_Sticks says:

    Thepnr says:

    “George Osbourne trying to be sneaky again. ”
    Yes, we can have our independence, but the oil industry will be better managed by westminster even if we vote Yes.
    Lying, cheating and deceipt. Nothing is below these rats.
    Osbourne is a pathetic little shit.
    They are obviously very, very rattled!

  15. David Sharp says:

    Going by previous unionist behavior, whether it be MSM or anybody else, this shows how much the panelbase poll has them rattled. They now concede they HAVE to give this pole attention, so are using much energy undermining it.
    It goes back to that saying ‘ the enemy of the lie is the truth,’ attack the methodology to trivialize the outcome and make it inconsequential. when they lose control of polling output, they REALLY dont like it, because the dodgy polling feeds the hysterical headline.
    That is why independent polls are SO important.

  16. Elizabeth says:

    A brilliant article from Joan McAlpine  
    “Take it as Red.. Clydesiders would have been voting Yes”

  17. Luigi says:

    I hope George Osbourne makes a few more visits to Scotland before September 2014.  He is very effective!

  18. Holebender says:

    Thepnr, it isn’t that easy; there will be huge tax write-offs as profits are eaten up by decommissioning costs so, although the oil companies will pay the bills, the treasury will lose out on a lot of revenue as a result.

  19. HandandShrimp says:

    Papers have always been politically biased and shameless about the fact. The Mail in the 1930s would make people’s hair curl today. It was well to the right of Attila the Hun.
    We have to work around their bias and get the message across in spite of them not through them. Make no mistake, if we get to two or three polls showing Yes ahead over the next couple of months they will start to panic and a panicked herd is dangerous. They will try to stampede back over the top of us. If we go into poll position there will be frantic backroom deals between Labour and Cameron to cobble a DevoPlausible together and slap it on the table as a means to peel away some of the Yes support. In some ways an 11th hour swing to Yes just as there was an 11th hour swing to the SNP in 2011 would safeguard against that. They might have even started making plans to trim Scotland’s sails post an anticipated No vote rather than offer more. The down side from our perspective is that an 11th hour swing would be a trifle nail-biting. Whatever, we are in for an interesting and bumpy ride. Rogue or not, this poll has been a reality check for the No campaign…although in rare visit to Better Together I saw their regulars were as complacent as one might hope they would be. We must fight for every vote and even if it looks like we have 75% still keep fighting for every vote.

  20. HandandShrimp says:

    Sorry, that got a bit “we will fight them on the beaches…”. I woke up in a funny mood this morning.

  21. Training Day says:

    Yes, there are still those who may not/will not waken up prior to the referendum, but the MSM’s inability even to feign impartiality to thinking Scots will prove the ultimate undoing of the No to Scotland campaign in a wider sense.
    Even if they attempted now to ameliorate some of the slegehammer anti-independence propaganda they would fail.  It’s too far gone for the MSM to retrieve any credibility, and the significant thing from our point of view is that they lacked (and still lack) the self-awareness to realise that their arrogance and condescension will prove fatal to their cause. 

  22. sneddon says:

    Holebender- sadly true.  The Govt could of course change the tax rules to factor in the cost of decommisioning into the drilling licence sale and/or tax rate for extraction.  But that would be too easy.  The govt would rather ‘spend now and pay later’ .  There isn’t a word for the depth of short sightedness they exhibt.

  23. Doug Daniel says:

    Thepnr: “How can these politicians lie so easily?”
    Because the media lets them.

  24. Ivan McKee says:

    @ Thepnr, @ Holebender.
    Re- Decommissioning costs.
    The position is that the Oil companies will foot the bill, but as Holebender rightly says there will be able to offset that cost against their future tax bill. So the Treasury will lose a % of it from future tax revenues.
    A lot of this will be far into the future, so the effect is basically to bring forward the effective end of oil tax revenues. In other words its probably not money we should need to pay out, most of it will be money we just wont receive at some future date.
    However if this was a Corporate Finance deal then the Buyer (the people of Scotland) would negotiate with the Seller (HM Treasury) to take this pending liability into account in the Price (basically the amount of UK Debt we will inherit)
    The logic is that  the Seller has had the benefit of the tax income already, and the liabilities (future tax loss on decommissioning costs) are directly related to the benefits already taken and should therefore be taken into account in the deal price.
    In other words most likely I think we would negotiate to inherit a lower National Debt from the UK on Day 1 on the basis that we are carrying a future liability on our Balance Sheet to compensate for that.
    I have some experience of these kind of deals, but I’m not a Corporate Finance specialist so anyone who has a better understanding would welcome their input.

  25. Stevie says:

    Gillie – I agree it shows we can win but it’s not the first poll – there was a poll in August 2011 and another previously putting indy ahead BUT it is true that this poll in the heat of the battle is the first putting us ahead.  Polls will go up and down but the undecideds are there to play for.

  26. patronsaintofcats says:

    O/T – I just completed my 2nd Panelbase poll in the space of two weeks, both on politics and both of which asked the referendum question.  The one just published is self explanatory, commissioned by the SNP.  The one I just completed asked very specific questions about the LibDems – perhaps they commissioned it?  So if the Rev does another poll this month that will make 3 in about 30 days time all via Panelbase.  Just a heads up…

  27. “Because the media lets them.” very very true, Doug.

  28. wee jamie says:

    An independent scottish government have about 40 years of continuous revenue and technological development to play with , plenty of time to work out a new ,fairer,greener, and more responsible regulation and taxation system, binding on all concerned.

  29. Thepnr says:

    @ Holebender @Ivan McKee
    I’m an engineer not a finance expert so yes, I failed to take into account that reduced profits equates to reduced revenue. Thanks Ian for the very lucid description as to the possible negotiating position with regards to sharing of the national debt.
    Now why didn’t George Osbourne (economic guru?) explain this in a similar manner instead of stating that it will “cost” every Scot £3800?

  30. Braco says:

    How on earth will Norway cope with it’s decommissioning costs? (Sarcasm off)

  31. Breastplate says:

    regarding ‘the same old shite’.
    It puts me in mind of Wellington’s quote  “they came on in the same old way and we defeated them in the same old way”.
    The No mob don’t seem to be nimble of mind to change tactics but that’s good and at the same time hilarious.

  32. wee 162 says:

    Has anyone been bringing this sort of stuff to the attention of Media Lens or the likes? Scotland is slightly off their beaten track, but in particular the BBC stuff which has been regularly noted on here would be highly likely to be of interest to them. They have a constituency, and they will be no shy about highlighting this sort of stuff. If they do start reporting on it that raises the profile of the completely biased media coverage we’re suffering in this debate. It might even give the MSM a little bit of a pause for thought on the way this is being reported…
    If no-one else has done this, I’d be happy to collate some stuff from here (and elsewhere if anyone has any suggestions) and get it over to them. If anyone wanted to point me in the direction of particular pieces that stick out to them that covers media bias (I’ve only been reading for a few months) that would be splendid.

  33. Edulis says:

    I have until now regarded John Curtice as reasonably fair and objective but I must say his performance last night on Scotland Tonight revealed another side. He went on at length about the leading nature of the Panelbase poll before popping the Referendum question. By contrast he had a 5 second reference to the leading preamble to the Yougov poll.
    In my mind the way that Panelbase do this is much more reflective of what will actually happen in the campaign and is therefore more accurate. Before people get to the polling booth they are going to be asked fundamental questions about where they stand and what they hope for. That to me signals a ‘Yes’ vote because it is asking people to think deeply about this once in a lifetime opportunity.
    I can’t see Scotland’s people asking for more of the same. The result? 60:40 in favour of independence. 

  34. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    The major significance of these two polls is that the wide variation undermines polls and if this happens often enough they will become valueless to our enemies.
    I would love to see Wings commission three polls from different polling companies asking exactly the same simple question ie “Do you think that Scotland should be an independent country?” and see what figures we get. 
    In the interim our response to YOUGOV polls should be”We pay no attention to them as they use a weighting system designed to deliberately underestimate the YES vote” 

  35. sneddon says:

    Just a thought about decommissioning.  Could the dry wells be used for carbon capture purposes.  You know the thing the SG were going to do but westminster withdrew the funding.  Surely the costs could be off set by reusing the dry wells.

  36. Luigi says:

    I would love to see Wings commission three polls from different polling companies asking exactly the same simple question ie “Do you think that Scotland should be an independent country?”
    That would be really interesting.

  37. Thepnr says:

    “An Independent Scotland won’t be able to meet the costs of decommissioning North Sea platforms once the oil runs out.” Says Gideon.
    Why didn’t he just state what he really meant:
    An Independent Scotland will be too wee, too poor and too stupid to meet the costs of decommissioning North Sea platforms once the oil runs out.” 

  38. scottish_skier says:

    In my mind the way that Panelbase do this is much more reflective of what will actually happen in the campaign and is therefore more accurate.
    Yes. I’ve also find it absolutely hilarious watching the great extent unionists have gone to in their efforts to highlight how simple it is apparently to get Scots to vote yes. According to the pro-union campaign, all you need to do is ask them two simple, non-leading questions and then send them to the polling both. A yes result will follow. It’s like they want to hand the referendum to Yes on a velvet cushion. I mean they’ve had folk on the telly discussing the very same questions that apparently lead Scots to vote Yes. I can’t quite believe the ineptitude. However, I am enormously grateful.
    In the interim our response to YOUGOV polls should be”We pay no attention to them as they use a weighting system designed to deliberately underestimate the YES vote” 
    I don’t think it is intentional. The method works for England and it’s lazily applied to Scotland where it doesn’t. I guess they don’t feel it’s worth the money developing a new approach for a different country with a different political system / culture (in terms of newspaper readership, party affiliation, desire for different levels of home rule/independence etc).

  39. X_Sticks says:

    Latest BBC – with Comments allowed!

    “Alex Salmond to lay out SNP government plans”…/…

    The unionists have been waiting for this to open obviously – lots of anti Salmond comments….

  40. HenBroon says:

    This decommissioning of the North Sea is work that goes on since the North Sea was first developed, it is a factor built in to the license to operate. Shell for example have been working on the decommissioning of Brent since 2006, yet the field is till in production.
    “The Brent Delta platform reached CoP (cessation of production) in December 2011. Brent Alpha and Bravo are currently scheduled to reach CoP in late 2014 with Brent Charlie CoP date scheduled for late 2015.”

    As we constantly are reminded by industry news many fields are having their life extended due to technological advances, many of which originate in Aberdeen to be used all over the world. Aberdeen has long been regarded in the industry as a center of excellence, technically. The export of this technology is a massive earner for the UK, one of the hidden spin of industries that the posh boys say we do not have.
    “Shell began a programme in 2009 to abandon redundant wells on the Brent Delta platform prior to cessation of production. Wells “P&A” (plugging and abandoning) work has started on Brent Alpha and Delta platforms. The Brent Delta decommissioning services contract was awarded in 2010 to Wood Group PSN and the tender process for contracts for the topsides removals and onshore dismantling of the Brent platforms is progressing, with award planned for Q3 2013.

    Following Brent Delta reaching cessation of production in December 2011, there now follows a period of several years to engineer down the platform, make it clean of hydrocarbons and to prepare the topsides for removals. Topsides removals is not scheduled to commence before 2015.
    The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process is underway and the EIA scoping report is now available to stakeholders.

    It is planned to submit the draft Decommissioning Programme including the EIA for approval to the regulator DECC [Department of Energy and Climate Change] in 2014 followed by a 60 day period of public disclosure and consultation.

    Decommissioning of the Brent field is a multi-phase, multi-year process. We remain committed to maintaining the integrity of the Brent assets and a safe working environment through to the final decommissioning of the platforms.”

    As can also be seen these contracts to decommission often go to Scottish,  companies, resulting in increased revenues and profitability and corporation taxes that go straight down to London at the moment.

    So the treasury gain on issuing licenses, they gain on decommissioning, and they have gained billions over the years of production. HOW WILL WE EVER COPE WITH SUCH INCOME?

  41. scottish_skier says:

    Let’s run over this panelbase poll once more.
    Let us imagine the Yes Campaign have discovered that the first two questions in the panelbase poll, if posed to a wavering voter, do lead them to the conclusion that Yes is the best option.
    So, the SNP commission a poll doing exactly this. It gives the desired result. They are perfectly aware what will happen if they publish the poll; the unionist parties will try to say it was leading. Most importantly, by doing so, the pro-union campaign broadcast these very same questions (which are not leading themselves and perfectly legitimate) to the nation, making people think about them.
    You couldn’t make it up!

  42. gordoz says:

    John Curtice couldn’t wait to cast doubt & aspertions over the leading question scenario (?) of Panelbase Poll as its the only poll to ever do this. He was champing at the bit. He has shown is hand on this matter no credability left at all surely.
    Does Scotland posess no other pollsters ??? (BBC & STV keep using this gut)

  43. scottish_skier says:

    John Curtice just did exactly what the Yes Campaign wanted him to do.
    I mean imagine broadcasting to the nation the very questions that apparently lead people towards yes in 2014!
    There will have been big cheers at Yes HQ last night.

  44. EdinScot says:

    Its really quite incredible that despite controlling the airwaves and with all the printed press doing their batting for them, there is a poll that has YES to independence ahead!  There really is something going on.  A quiet revolution it would seem, that is building and building which in turn is creating a snowball effect, demonstrated by a surge in the  numbers to Wings  and a steady decline in the Unionist press.  It tells me that our strategy is working, as we strive to reach even more people to point them in the direction of sites such as this and arm them with factual information.  This in turn nullifies such tactics as demonstrated above in the DR. 
    It suits me for them to sit on their laurels thinking they still have the entire situation aka us and our country stitched up.  They havent.  Our work rate will only increase the nearer we get to the refererendum as will the Unionists lies which will ultimately be their demise.  Hope over fear is surely a no brainer. 

  45. Dave says:

    AFAIK, each oil company is responsible for their own decommissioning costs as part of their development licence. Maybe George Osborne could explain why he has transferred that cost to the Scottish taxpayer – or is he telling porkies?

  46. fordie says:

    @wee 162 That’s a great idea. You could start with
    and of course Rev’s varied articles on the MSM

  47. Red squirrel says:

    Call me suspicious but why does GB’s big idea to legislate to prevent the Scottish Parliament from being dissolved not make any sense? Aside from him not usually making much sense it seems rather unnecessary unless a) a No vote means Westminster will try to dismantle it or b) a Yes vote will be obstructed by Westminster superglueing themselves to iScotland in a fit of desperation.

  48. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Call me suspicious but why does GB’s big idea to legislate to prevent the Scottish Parliament from being dissolved not make any sense?”

    It doesn’t, for all the reasons people said straight away (it’s meaningless, as no government can bind its successors, and even if it was legislated a new government could just un-legislate it again). Maybe he just pooped himself when our poll revealed that a fifth of Scots thought the rolling back of powers was a possibility after a No vote?

  49. David Justice says:

    Perhaps the current editorial staff at the Scotsman need to read the pledge made by their founders in 1816 shown on page 26 of todays Scotsman. 

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