stooges of the Kremlin

Wings Over Scotland


Archive for the ‘uk politics’


The Bank Of The Clyde 90

Posted on May 24, 2018 by

Of all the dishonest memes regularly put around by the Unionist side in the Scottish constitutional debate, the most bare-faced is the notion of the “fiscal transfer”. Part-time pretend economists harp on endlessly about how the UK “transfers” money (the current popular figure is £9bn) to Scotland to balance the books every year, as if it was a munificent gift out of the sheer kindness of Westminster’s heart.

The reality, of course, is that it’s a loan, which Scotland has to pay back with interest. If an independent Scotland ran a deficit – like almost every country on Earth – it could take that loan out from any number of possible lenders and carry on as normal.

It is in no sense whatsoever an argument for Scotland staying in the Union, because it’s completely irrelevant to the Union, except in so far as that the only reason Scotland needs to borrow money at all is because it’s been part of the UK for the last 40 years and has been left impoverished as a result while a very similar neighbouring country has become wealthy beyond imagination.

But still, let’s indulge them for a moment and assume there really is a £9bn hole in Scotland’s finances. Is there anything we could do to reduce the size of it significantly? Well, since you ask, we have some poll data on that.

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Girls And Boys 237

Posted on May 23, 2018 by

The phrase “the Labour Party has gotten itself into a catastrophic mess on [X]” is a sentence you can complete with almost any subject these days, whether it’s Brexit or anti-Semitism or anti-Asian racism or factionalism or Venezuela or just about anything else under the sun, so it should be no surprise that its gender policy is no different.

The party’s stance regarding all-women shortlists is now that men can be on them, so long as they say they’re women, with no questions asked, except when Labour decide arbitrarily that they aren’t really women at all because they’re obviously really men, except for all the other occasions when they’re obviously really men.

Which seemed like a timely moment for some more new poll data.

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Guess who’s coming to dinner? 247

Posted on May 22, 2018 by

Last week we revealed that English voters would happily see Scotland and Northern Ireland leave the UK if it was the price of securing Brexit. But one of the odder things was that those figures included a sizeable number of Remain voters, who don’t want Brexit to happen at all.

We were a little perplexed, so we did a follow-up question asking those people if they’d elaborate a bit and got some interesting replies. One person, for example, answered “The Scottish people are very arrogant and although they want to be separate from the rest of the UK they are happy to take money from England”. Charming.

But there was also another stream of opinion on the subject, and it was revealed in the responses to another question in the original poll.

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Dreaming the unpopular dream 69

Posted on May 20, 2018 by

A couple of weeks ago Scottish Labour announced, to the traditional merriment, its commitment to greater federalism for the UK, as it has done every year since 2011 or indeed since 1910. (Sometimes under the equally-meaningless term “Home Rule”.)

In today’s Sunday Times, the much-missed former SNP spin doctor Kevin Pringle also pondered the idea, concluding that he could get on board a federal Scotland in the UK under certain conditions:

So in our poll of English voters last week, we thought we’d ask their opinion.

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The road to hell 173

Posted on May 19, 2018 by

The island within an island 101

Posted on May 18, 2018 by

Our poll of English voters has already revealed that, on balance, the people of England would be happy to ditch Scotland, Northern Ireland and (very narrowly) Gibraltar as the price of Brexit. But what about if we approached the idea of England’s independence the other way round? We thought of that too.

If England was already independent, its electorate would (by almost 3 to 2) be happy to join up with fellow Leave voters in Wales, but only fractionally over half of English people would want to enter a union with Scotland if they weren’t already in one.

(To be fair, they’ve already had most of the oil, so we’re not quite as attractive a bride as we once were.)

Considerably fewer fancied taking on Northern Ireland, but fairly substantial minorities were keen on the idea of entering a sort of mini-EU with one or more of France, the Netherlands and Belgium. English people are weird. But it certainly appears that an awful lot of them think that the UK has had its day and they’d rather just go it alone.

Super-alert readers may also recall that in our first ever Panelbase poll, way back in August 2013, just 18% of Scots said they’d vote for a union with England if Scotland was currently independent, with 55% saying no. Looking back on the past 300 years, it looks increasingly like hardly anyone thinks it was such a great move.

Nations overboard 178

Posted on May 17, 2018 by

As alert readers will recall, this week we commissioned Panelbase to poll the good people of England, and we got some answers that we think will blow your minds. But we’re going to start with one we suspect people will find sad, but all too predictable.

Many will remember bitterly the short-lived “lovebombing” campaign from the indyref, in which a list of semi-celebrities from the rest of the UK was assembled to assure Scots of how much they were valued and cherished by their UK partners.

Four years on, not so much.

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The most popular policy in the world 84

Posted on May 16, 2018 by

Just before we (thankfully) stop talking about this insanity entirely, one last thing.

This month, just for fun and a bit of a change, we’ve commissioned a Panelbase poll NOT of voters in Scotland, but our neighbours to the south. English folk are always complaining that in a world of UK devolution nobody speaks for them and them alone – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own Parliaments, but not England.

So we polled 1020 English people (and we do mean English – we restricted responses to people who were both resident in England and were born there) about all kinds of things. Many were related to England’s relationship with Scotland and the rest of the UK, but while we were there we figured we might as well ask some other stuff too.

And as the UK parliament hotly debates Leveson 2 and press freedom in general, it seemed a pertinent time to re-ask a question which in polling invariably unites people of every colour, creed, class and persuasion across the entire UK, and which might be the only political policy anywhere in the UK which comes even close to matching the mass popularity of Scotland’s now-repealed Offensive Behaviour (Football) Act.

It’s this one:

English people love the Queen, but not as much as they love this idea. Men, women, young, old, rich, poor, Tory, Labour, homeowner, tenant, worker, student, it makes no difference. Overwhelming majorities of every single demographic support putting an end to the ridiculous situation that newspapers can get away with blaring an untrue story all over the front page (and pages 2, 3, 4 and 5) in gigantic screaming type, and then print the correction in a microscopic corner of page 23 two months later.

It’s just about the only thing that totally unites Remain and Leave voters – our poll found identical responses (79% for, 5% against) among those who want Brexit and those who want to stay in the EU.

It’s simple, practical and costs nothing. We can’t for the life of us work out why nobody is prepared to offer it to the nation. If any party wants to actually win the next election, we’d suggest sticking it on the front of the manifesto and preparing for a landslide.

While we’re talking about job descriptions 108

Posted on May 16, 2018 by

Which we were this morning, perhaps someone should tell David Mundell his.

Because he seems a little confused about it.

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Theresa’s Big Plan 282

Posted on May 02, 2018 by

Sane people across the nation have watched in growing disbelief for the last two years as the UK government’s catastroshambles over Brexit has unfolded. In the latest jaw-dropping developments, David Davis has revealed that he’s only just now thinking of STARTING negotiating a trade deal with the EU – 22 months after the referendum and with absolutely no idea of how to solve the Irish Question on which it all depends.

Meanwhile, Faisal Islam of Sky News has made the pertinent point that the one “land-based” border between the UK and mainland Europe, the Channel Tunnel, has no infrastructure in place for serving as a checkpoint because it was fundamentally never designed or envisaged for a Europe without the UK, and the UK government has done absolutely nothing in the last two years to prepare for that changing.

And the more ludicrously chaotically and ineptly the whole farce plays out, the more it’s only possible to come to one rational conclusion about it: that the Prime Minister’s grand plan for enacting Brexit is to fail.

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Nicola Sturgeon: a clarification 273

Posted on April 30, 2018 by

We apologise if any readers were inadvertently given a misleading impression by any of these headlines, stories or claims.

The correct version of the report is below.

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A rapist’s theory of consent 415

Posted on April 26, 2018 by

We weren’t going to do anything on yesterday’s disturbing development in the legal wrangle between the Scottish and UK governments over devolved powers and Brexit, because the rest of the media has been covering it at length and we don’t have any particular expertise or insight to offer.

But it was hard to ignore the striking turn of phrase used, not by some sensationalist partisan commentator but by the learned and sober QC Jonathan Mitchell, last seen acting for the petitioners in the Alistair Carmichael lie case.

It doesn’t pull any punches, but as a summary of the relationship London wants to put in place between itself and the devolved nations for years to come (Labour-run Wales has already caved), and which Unionist politicians and the more witless pundits are of course portraying as unreasonable grievance-mongering and failure on the part of the Scottish Government, it’s about as accurate a description as you’re ever going to find.



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