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Archive for the ‘analysis’


One way or the other 310

Posted on March 11, 2019 by

Good luck making sense of this one, folks.

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The people’s other game 202

Posted on March 09, 2019 by

Watching the Six Nations rugby tournament every year is usually quite a dispiriting experience – not just because of Scotland’s invariably underwhelming performances (broken up by the occasional false dawn), but because talking about it on social media always results in an extremely tedious flood of comments about how rugby is a sport played and watched exclusively by middle-class Tory No voters.

(That’s Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw there, with Wings mascot Hamish.)

Speaking as someone whose interest in the tournament (in the pre-inflation days when it was the Five Nations) was first sparked when my extremely working-class Bathgate comprehensive school started taking pupils to Murrayfield in the 1980s – 50p for the bus and 50p for the match ticket, which got you a seat on wooden benches actually on the grass – this attitude has always instinctively felt like complete nonsense.

So when we did our latest Panelbase poll during this year’s competition, we figured we may as well actually find out.

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Counting With The Scottish Media #2 386

Posted on February 13, 2019 by

In today’s Daily Record:

Half, you say?

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The outstanding balance 591

Posted on February 10, 2019 by

We had an interesting exchange with Scottish Labour MP Paul Sweeney this week on the deathless lie that is the “fiscal transfer” – the £10bn or so that Unionists rather startlingly insist the rest of the UK generously donates to Scotland every year out of the goodness of its heart, just for the pleasure of our company.

As you can see, the debate was of a high intellectual standard.

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Standard Wales Check 514

Posted on February 05, 2019 by

Alert readers will recall that earlier today we conducted one of our regular context checks for statistics misleadingly-incompletely reported in the Scottish press. But while those are like shooting fish in a barrel, there’s one thing that’s an even more reliable open goal for the website editor looking for content in a slow news week.

Ladies and gentlemen, once again we give you… Scottish Labour.

There’s absolutely nothing that happens in Scotland that Scottish Labour are happy with. Day in and day out they can be found putting the bleakest possible spin on any statistic for a dwindling audience of diehard supporters and Scottish journalists.

Something bad happened? SCOTLAND IS TERRIBLE AND IT’S ALL THE SNP’S FAULT. Something good happened? IT WASN’T GOOD ENOUGH AND IT’S ALL THE SNP’S FAULT. And the solution is always the same: let Labour run things.

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Context in numbers 79

Posted on February 05, 2019 by

From the Scottish Daily Mail today:

As readers will have come to expect, the article is entirely free of any figures by which readers could gauge whether 1000 was a high number or not. So as usual, we’ll have to do it for them.

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Sharpen your pencils, readers 528

Posted on January 27, 2019 by

Because it looks like you’re going to need them.

If the Scottish Government can’t pass a budget it’ll fall, and with no majority for any alternative administration that’ll leave no option but to hold a general election.

Meanwhile, at Westminster, the UK government is running out of time to get a Brexit deal through Parliament, and facing all kinds of procedural shenanigans which may very well lead to a UK general election.

Should that happen, the UK will likely ask the EU for an extension to Article 50, which would take us past the European elections in May, which would mean that the UK would have to take part in those elections  too (because you can’t have a country that’s still an EU member state having no representation in the European Parliament).

Scottish or UK general elections could lead to a new independence referendum, a new Brexit referendum, or both, sending Scots to the polling stations up to FIVE times (and the rest of the UK up to four) in a matter of months, with all the attendant campaigning, colossal expense, economic uncertainty and governmental standstill that such insanity would bring about.

Good luck, everyone.

Out of the quagmire 887

Posted on January 14, 2019 by

UK politics is stuck fast in the mud, going nowhere, and the casualties are mounting. Whether on Brexit, independence or anything else, we’ve all become so dug-in to our positions that some people – naming no names – have forgotten where the battle lines are or what their political war was even about in the first place.

For 30 months now, the Yes movement has been trying to answer the question of how to get a second indyref. The SNP has a triple-locked democratic mandate based on Scotland being dragged out of the EU against the will of its people, but as strong a moral argument as that is it unfortunately runs straight into a brick wall of reality: the constitution is reserved to Westminster.

Equally we’re consumed by the ongoing Brexit trainwreck, which has no apparent escape route from a poisonous stalemate paralysing the UK’s politicians and leaving nobody in control as the country heads for some very hard buffers.

As the self-imposed Brexit deadline looms, Theresa May is running out of options. Her deal is a dead duck. When it inevitably fails, there are two possible scenarios: a second EU referendum of some sort (nobody can agree what the options would be), or a general election.

Neither the Tories nor Labour want another referendum because both parties want Brexit to happen, so another election is the more likely. But all the polls suggest it would deliver much the same hung parliament as we have now, solving nothing.

Last week, SNP MP Joanna Cherry QC gave a speech to a diverse pro-Europe group that includes former Green leader Caroline Lucas, pro-indy commentator Lesley Riddoch and Tory MP Dominic Grieve. And as she waxed lyrical, with a twinkle in her eye Cherry slipped in reference to a hitherto-undiscussed plan that offers an escape route for everyone.

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The broken telescope 539

Posted on December 29, 2018 by

An alert reader spotted this today:

Because with Scottish Labour, lying is for life, not just Christmas.

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Embarrassment Of The Year 467

Posted on December 19, 2018 by

Okay, it’s only the 19th of December, but we don’t think there’s any chance of this one being beaten by the time it’s 2019.

As expected, Labour bottled the chance to call a vote of no confidence in the UK government today, refusing to support a motion tabled by four other opposition parties last night and thereby guaranteeing the Tories at least another two months in power.

Their official stated reason is that the only way to avoid a disastrous hard Brexit is to call a vote of no confidence in the Tories next month when it’ll (somehow, magically) be more likely to succeed, trigger a general election, get (somehow, magically) a Labour majority and then go to the EU and negotiate (somehow, magically) a better deal from them than the Tories have done.

Which makes this a bit of a beamer:

So if it’s “very clear” that there can be “no more negotiations” (and therefore no better deal), and Labour is going to vote against Theresa May’s deal (which Labour says it is), and if Brexit is going to happen (which Labour says it is), then the only possible conclusion left is that Labour’s official policy is now to crash out of the EU with no deal, and absolutely everything the party is saying in public about Brexit is a lie.

So at least everyone now finally knows where they stand. Even if, as is so often the case nowadays, it’s only because Labour told the truth by accident.

Bluffs and calls 97

Posted on December 19, 2018 by

This was the Daily Record’s front page on Tuesday:

It wasn’t true. Corbyn DIDN’T, in fact, table a vote of no confidence in either the Prime Minister personally (a meaningless and non-binding gesture even if she’d lost it) or the government. But tomorrow he may actively prevent one.

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Independence for England 521

Posted on December 16, 2018 by

The great frustration of the current Brexit shambles is that we’re being told there are no viable options. But that isn’t true. This site has already put forward one perfectly workable proposal, and here’s another.

Before the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, Scotland was told that if they left the UK, they would automatically leave the EU, leaving the rUK as the successor European state.

Scotland, it was said, would be cast out of Europe, immediately and automatically and without negotiation. Brussels agreed with Westminster on this interpretation.

This outcome of independence was said by Westminster sources to be a legal certainty, with no possibility of avoiding the consequences of being bounced out of the EU. The EU could not rescue Scotland and no treaties would exist to do so.

And that leads to a logical conclusion: if England (and perhaps Wales) decided to leave the UK instead of Scotland, leaving Scotland as the successor state in the EU, the same would be true.

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