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Archive for the ‘stats’


Ain’t got nothing but love, babe 160

Posted on February 21, 2021 by

We’d been wondering why our traffic was so crazy high that we’d already smashed last month’s four-year record to bits with a full week of February still to go.

And then we found out.

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Representing Scotland 244

Posted on February 14, 2021 by

Two weeks ago a Wings scoop caused quite a furore to erupt around the SNP’s ham-fisted and corruptly-motivated attempts to increase BAME and disabled representation at this year’s Holyrood election.

We’ve always been opposed to what were until recently known as “quotas”, and prior to that “positive discrimination”, but have now been cunningly rebranded as “diversity and inclusion” because that’s a much more difficult thing to say you object to.

It’s easy to make an honourable-sounding case against any form of “discrimination”, because decent and civilised people are taught to automatically think of discrimination as a bad thing, even if you put “positive” in front of it.

So the word “quotas” was adopted to move the concept from a pejorative term to a neutral noun – objecting to “quotas” doesn’t sound intolerant, any more than objecting to (say) “procedures” does. So that’s fine, because you can still discuss it like adults without too much unpleasantness.

But those pushing the agenda got smarter still by changing the name again. If you say you object to “diversity and inclusion”, you sound like a monster and a racist, because diversity and inclusion are plainly good things – no decent person wants to live in a monoculture, or to exclude anybody from society – and so the debate is immediately drowned out by self-righteous tossers screaming “BIGOT!” and “NAZI!” at everyone.

And yet in the context of social policy the three phrases mean the exact same thing. They’re all systems for overriding raw democracy so as to increase the representation of selected groups at the expense of other groups, for one reason or another.

(Sometimes it’s ostensibly just penance for historical wrongs, while at other times it’s supposedly for economic benefits, and so on.)

And while the proponents of those systems will openly argue that the only group being disadvantaged is straight white men so it’s all fine (because nobody likes straight white men and anyone standing up for them can be easily dismissed as a “gammon” for lots of woke points and Twitter likes), it isn’t even remotely close to the truth.

Because in “diversity and inclusion”, some groups are a lot more included than others.

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Riding the U 271

Posted on January 30, 2021 by

There’s still a day and a half of January 2021 to go, but it’s already been the busiest month for traffic on Wings Over Scotland in several years, despite endless claims from detractors (both Unionists and Pete Wishart types) that we’re in tragic decline.

And since Saturday afternoons are the one quiet moment we get these days – and it’s not like we can go out for a nice walk in the sunshine or have a potter round the shops – we thought we’d take a deeper look into the stats.

They were quite surprising.

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Venus and Mars 220

Posted on January 18, 2021 by

In 2014, it was women who stopped Scotland becoming independent.

But it was still a man’s fault, of course. Those of us who were around at the time, while many of the SNP’s earnest young activists of today were still squeezing their spots, will recall a multitude of media articles on how it was apparently the fairer sex’s personal antipathy to Alex Salmond that was responsible for the No camp’s victory.

And who knows, maybe that was true and maybe it wasn’t. We have no idea. But what we do know is that you can’t have it both ways.

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Rhubarb and crumbling 107

Posted on January 11, 2021 by

Since the events of the last few days, folks, we’ve noticed a real ramping up of abuse towards Wings on social media from what one might call the small-L “loyalist” cult wing of the SNP. Like this dude, for example.

(A “miserable misogynist misanthrope” and “yesterday’s boring fart”? That’s a simply outrageous slur. I’m not misogynist.)

Alarmed at the news our traffic was apparently “collapsing”, we thought we’d check to see whether the situation was beyond saving.

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The state is not her 224

Posted on November 19, 2020 by

One of the dumber things we see regularly posted on social media is that Yes voices should stop criticising the First Minister because her leadership is the only reason Yes is now consistently ahead in the polls and we would have no chance of winning a new referendum with someone else in charge.

This is obviously nonsense, because Nicola Sturgeon was SNP leader and FM for five years in which support moved barely a single millimetre, until COVID-19 came along. Our current lead is due entirely to a tiny invisible virus and a giant Etonian buffoon.

But you know us, readers – we like to check.

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The distant choir 257

Posted on August 27, 2020 by

During the 2014 indyref, the astonishingly vast imbalance of the mainstream Scottish media was partly compensated by a huge rise in new media, with dozens and dozens of sites filling the gaping chasms where printed and broadcast media would have been in any country with a press worthy of the name at such an exciting time.

The subsequent shrivelling of that presence has been one of the least observed and explored phenomena of the six years since the referendum, and especially since the SNP’s election victory in 2016. The incredibly wide-ranging, mutually-supportive pro-Yes new media is now down to a tiny handful of outlets, most of which are barely read (and most of which would celebrate if the others burned down in a chemical fire).

There are many and varied reasons for this worrying situation, but before we get into those let’s have a quick look at who’s still who and what’s still what.

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How to waste your vote 255

Posted on August 13, 2020 by

We’ve been having a closer look at the latest polling for next year’s Holyrood election (YouGov, from this week), and in particular the list numbers. We thought you might be interested in a little stat from them.

That’s the full breakdown. But that’s not the graphic that really tells the story.

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Another problem solved 454

Posted on May 21, 2020 by

When the news isn’t news:

Lots of Scottish newspapers (most notably everything in the Herald And Times Group) had already ducked out of providing ABC figures at all, but this will be a godsend for the rest to save their growing embarrassment.

Wings readers can remember the pitiful state of the last published figures here.

The success story 212

Posted on January 05, 2020 by

We couldn’t help but raise a quizzical eyebrow at this assertion from SNP MP Pete Wishart in today’s Sunday National.

It was said in the specific context of securing a second indyref in 2020, and since such a referendum has NOT in fact been secured – and looks extremely unlikely to be – we wondered which other definition of “success” might be being used to justify the claim.

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The power of ideas 715

Posted on September 01, 2019 by

So it seems like our semi-idle musings about the possibility of starting a new list party for the Scottish Parliament generated some interest last month.

(That’s more than the whole of 2018, more than the whole of 2017, and over five times the previous biggest single month since we moved to our current stats provider in December 2014.)

But yeah, nobody cares and it’d be certain to fail, apparently.

The inverse miracle 140

Posted on August 21, 2019 by

We really can’t be bothered with having the GERS “debate” again, in which all the same people make all the same exactly opposite spins on the exact same data. Minor annual fluctuations aside, the core reality is the same as the one we repeat every 12 months, and serious economists on both sides of the political divide still treat the figures with the disdain they properly merit.

One such person is Richard Murphy, and in an excellent piece today he posted a version of this graph which did catch our jaded eye. It purports to show the share of UK debt supposedly accounted for by Scotland – which has, let’s remember, just 8% of the UK’s population – in each of the last 16 years, and which immediately prior to the SNP’s 2011 majority stood at almost exactly that of our population share.

(Which is itself a gross calumny against reality, but let’s stay focused.)

How very remarkable, some readers may feel, that the extent of Scotland’s supposed responsibility for the UK’s debt should have rocketed so very dramatically at the exact point when independence became a live political question.

It does rather make you wonder why the UK government, scraping as it is for every penny of possible savings, seems more and more desperate to hang onto Scotland as the terrible economic burden we become on the rest of the country grows ever heavier.

Truly, our partners in this great equal and bountiful union must be the most generous and forgiving people on Earth. We don’t deserve them.



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