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Wings Over Scotland

How the north was lost

Posted on May 11, 2015 by

The reasons for Scottish Labour’s obliteration at the hands of the electorate last week are manifold, and most of them were very thoroughly explored in the weekend’s press, for example by Kevin McKenna here and here.


But as is our wont here on Wings, we wanted something a little more empirical to get our teeth into, so a few days before the election we commissioned a poll of 1,013 Scottish voters from Panelbase covering some of the subjects the regional office had campaigned on under its branch manager Jim Murphy.

The results were fascinating.

Murphy’s first policy pronouncements on winning the leadership, supposedly in pursuit of the votes of Glasgow Man, all seemed to be about football, specifically the Offensive Behaviour (Football) Act and the end of the alcohol ban at matches. The sport was the passion of Scotland’s biggest city, ran the apparent reasoning, and it had voted Yes, so something had to be done to win the core Labour heartland back.

The loudest voices of Glasgow football supporters – echoed, as it happens, by pretty much the entire media, which is heavily dependent on selling newspapers to them – are those in opposition to the OBFA. As recently as Saturday the Herald carried a large story bigging up a 4500-signature petition from “Fans Against Criminalisation” against the Act.

(For perspective, that’s less than a third as many signatures as we got a while back for a joke petition inviting Gordon Brown to “Go f**k yourself”.)

So we realised that to understand the issue properly we’d have to find out the football allegiances of our poll group. From previous experience we’d learned it was pointless breaking it down to individual clubs outside the big two anyway (you end up with samples of two St Johnstone fans), so we focused on Glasgow, dividing respondents into four groups: Celtic, “Rangers”, other clubs and people who didn’t like football.


We found that 16% considered themselves fans of “Rangers”, 11% Celtic, 18% another Scottish club, (plus a further 9% who identified with a non-Scottish club), and 48% not interested in football. Unsurprisingly, the “Rangers” fans were the most Unionist, having voted No by almost 2:1, but still split almost evenly between the SNP and Labour (41%-40%), while Celtic fans (57-23), those of other Scottish clubs (56-25) and football-haters (46-21) were all much more likely to back the Nats.

(We should note that we owe “Rangers” fans on Twitter an apology here. In a couple of quickly-deleted tweets this week, we misread the tables and considerably overstated the UKIP backing among Ibrox denizens, although in our defence they are the most UKIP-friendly support in Scotland by a large margin – 7%, compared to 2% for other clubs and 0% for Celtic.)

But their differences almost vanished when it came to the OBFA.

“The Offensive Behaviour (Football) Act 2012 bans the singing of sectarian songs in and around football matches, but some supporters claim it infringes their civil liberties, or that it was intended to victimise their club alone.

Do you support the Act, or do you think it should be abolished?”


Support the Act: 60%
Should be abolished: 14%
Don’t know/don’t care: 26%


Support the Act: 59%
Should be abolished: 29%
Don’t know/don’t care: 13%


Support the Act: 64%
Should be abolished: 25%
Don’t know/don’t care: 11%


Support the Act: 76%
Should be abolished: 10%
Don’t know/don’t care: 14%


Support the Act: 54%
Should be abolished: 8%
Don’t know/don’t care: 38%

That’s a colossal margin across the board. Scots as a whole back the Act by a massive 4 to 1. Celtic fans – the voices most often heard complaining about it, and in particular the prohibition on the IRA-praising ditty “Roll Of Honour” – back OBFA by over 2.5 to 1. “Rangers” fans support the Act less than their Celtic counterparts, but still by a thumping 2 to 1.

Supporters outside the Old Firm, meanwhile, want it to stay by a crushing margin of almost 8 to 1, and bewildered onlookers by almost 7 to 1.

So let the debate end here. Every single demographic in Scotland, without exception, including the people targeted and supposedly “victimised” by it, backs the Offensive Behaviour (Football) Act overwhelmingly, despite uniform media criticism and the constant shrieking of persecution-complex loonies. The government is representing and enacting the wishes of the people. Jim Murphy picked a loser.

But what of booze? The Scottish Labour leader made an outwardly-compelling case: that football, still a mainly working-class sport, is uniquely discriminated against. Fans can enjoy a beer at rugby matches, or at any other sport, with only football excluded. Is it really a threat to society, Murphy asked, if Hamilton Accies and St Johnstone fans relax with a lager at half-time?

That position, of course, overlooks the fact that no other sport in Scotland has a long and shameful history of booze-fuelled thuggery, and also that reducing Scotland’s alcohol consumption, even for two hours at a time, is a desirable goal in itself. But we’re not here to reprise all the arguments, we’re here to report the poll data.

“The purchase and consumption of alcohol has been banned inside Scottish football grounds since 1980. Do you think the ban should stay in place, or should it be repealed?”


Keep the ban: 70%
Allow alcohol: 10%
Allow alcohol except at games involving “Rangers” or Celtic: 7%
Don’t know/don’t care: 13%


Keep the ban: 70%
Allow alcohol: 14%
Allow alcohol except at games involving “Rangers” or Celtic: 10%
Don’t know/don’t care: 6%


Keep the ban: 67%
Allow alcohol: 22%
Allow alcohol except at games involving “Rangers” or Celtic: 6%
Don’t know/don’t care: 5%


Keep the ban: 70%
Allow alcohol: 9%
Allow alcohol except at games involving “Rangers” or Celtic: 15%
Don’t know/don’t care: 6%


Keep the ban: 71%
Allow alcohol: 5%
Allow alcohol except at games involving “Rangers” or Celtic: 3%
Don’t know/don’t care: 20%

We’re calling that comprehensive. By massive, massive majorities all the way across the board, the people of Scotland want booze kept away from football. The HIGHEST level of support for Jim Murphy’s proposal was among Celtic fans, but even they wanted alcohol to stay banned at their matches by a thumping 73 to 22.

When the Glasgow Man strategy failed to turn the polls around, Scottish Labour tried some new tacks. The first was the classic “Vote SNP get Tories”, a fatuous tactic based on pretending there was no difference between a majority Labour government and a minority one kept in power by the SNP, and characterised by the desperate and increasingly tortured clinging to the endlessly-debunked “biggest party” line.

But that didn’t work either, because not only were Scots not SCARED of a Labour government that was reliant on the Nats, they actually WANTED it that way. When we presented respondents with a forced choice between the two, the preference was almost 60-40 for an SNP “conscience”:


Obviously that figure was distorted by a huge SNP vote (although, who are the 5% of people who were voting for the Nats but wanted a Labour majority?), but significant minorites even among those voting for the Unionist parties actively wanted the SNP holding the Westminster government’s feet to the fire.

And of course, the point is that SNP voters were the primary target of the attack anyway – people already voting Labour didn’t need to be persuaded away from the Nats. The numbers of Tory and Lib Dem supporters it affected simply weren’t ever going to be enough to make a significant difference, which helps to explain the epic failure of the tactical-voting campaign.

Murphy’s penultimate throw of the dice was the bogeyman of Full Fiscal Autonomy, giving another outing to Labour’s last tried-and-trusted tactic when all else has failed – frightening pensioners. Again, we’re not here to debate the merits or failings of the policy, merely its efficacy as an electoral strategy.

“The SNP propose “full fiscal autonomy” for Scotland, which means the Scottish Government controlling all taxation and spending. The other main parties all oppose it, saying it would lead to a bigger deficit.”


Scotland’s voters back FFA by around 3:2, including around a fifth of those who were planning to vote Labour or Lib Dem. But again, it was really SNP voters that Labour needed to win round, and just 7% of them were convinced by the blood-curdling tales of gargantuan deficits.

The final gambit, of course, was the phantom of a second referendum. But we didn’t bother asking about that because it had already been dealt with in a recent Survation poll for the Daily Record, which the paper misrepresented heinously in print but which actually found that over 80% of Scots DID want another referendum at some point, with almost 60% wanting it within 10 years.

The prospect simply doesn’t terrify the electorate, because democracy rarely does. We suspect that if there were ever to be another referendum people wouldn’t want a three-year campaign again, but voters tend not to object in principle to having direct decision-making powers put into their hands.

Jim Murphy unquestionably inherited a bad position. But under his leadership, the party’s strategic strike rate was 0 from 5. At every single turn, he took a position in opposition to what the people of Scotland wanted. That, not what was perhaps always going to be an irresistible electoral tide, is Murphy’s failure.

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4 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 19 05 16 10:56

    Offensive Behaviour: the case for the SNP repealing their own act | speymouth

  2. 02 11 16 22:15

    Why I Don’t Like Football | A Wilderness of Peace

  3. 07 04 19 11:46

    Top Scottish policeman says football violence has increased since repeal of anti-bigotry law

553 to “How the north was lost”

  1. Fiona

    I am really puzzled why the english are prepared to accept the profoundly insulting narrative we are seeing.

    “Scotland too poor, too wee, too stupid” rightly angers us: why does “England too cowardly, too stupid” not have the same effect?

  2. Kenny

    I too think Fluffy will be driven to a nervous breakdown. He did not want the gig, he said himself it is “above my payscale.” Better the SNP talk to Mundell and maybe urge him to ask for SoSfS to be abolished. Either that or he will end up resigning, exhausted.

    In theory, the Tories *could* enter a sort of mini-coalition agreement to give the job to Carbuncle…

  3. Fiona

    What does the SofS for Scotland actually do?

  4. Ken500

    UN law is international basic rights and Domestic Law serve different functions. They co exist.
    Countries can apply to join the UN. UN members break UN Law with impunity. A bit of a talking shop.

  5. Alex Beveridge

    Ken500 @ 7.41. While I agree completely with the first part of your comment, and while there is no doubt some accuracy in what you say about the elderly being unduly influenced by the M.S.M, both about the referendum and the recent G.E, on the doorstep I have found that more and more they are realising that they have been played for mugs for years, especially by the Labour party. That is one of the reasons we managed to achive, in our constituency, a swing of over 30% to the S.N.P, and give us our first M.P for over forty years.

  6. sensibledave

    Helena Brown 6:27 pm

    You wrote: “Just thought I would mention I have just had a bollocking from Sensible Dave who said you lot were rude and ignorant”

    Helena! Shame on you! You little fibber!

    As you well know, it was you that called all Tories “rude and ignorant” (and you know that I can quote you!) I merely pointed out that if you want to see “rude and ignorant” try asking a simple question on WoS, from an English Tory perspective, and see what abuse you get!

    I think you are a trouble-causing Troll Helena. Also quite funny actually. I thought you were my friend.

  7. Grouse Beater

    Fiona: fundamental principles which form the core raison d’etre of a political party

    I am talking about censorship. And whenever you hear a politician talking about principles head for the hills.

  8. Clootie

    Joemcg says:
    12 May, 2015 at 8:11 am

    An interesting question. My answer is simple and comes down to commitment.

    Scots who moved (pre-independence) to Canada, America, New Zealand,Australia etc etc helped found a nation and had every right to vote for or against such an option. It goes beyond a vote e.g. Scots who died at the Alamo, American Independence or the American Civil war.

    If you move to a country and it becomes YOUR nation then you are entitled to have a say and also have a duty to build.


    If you are merely taking advantage of a nation e.g. Those who move to Catalonia/Spain and try to turn it into a form of “Chiantishire” found in other parts of Spain then you are wrong to block a vote for independence due to self interest – you do not care about the future of the people.

    It sums up the YES campaign – a hope that people will vote for what is best, in their opinion, for their society instead of self interest which is the current direction of travel in the UK.

  9. Grouse Beater

    Chalks: Andy Murray could be done for it at every Tennis match he plays.


    When a thread gets that daft time to get back to work.

  10. Ken500

    Westminster can’t have the Supreme Court as arbitrater of Scottish affairs because it break the rights of Scotland to have a separate legal system forever under the terms of the Act of Union. Another illegal Blair Court. Blair acting illegally. Westminster is breaking the Law again. (Scottish/UK/ and EU Law) The Scottish Gov will soon point that out and appeal to the EU court again, because Westminster is breaking EU Law again.

  11. Jim McIntosh


    “the fact you are unable to call a rangers fan a ‘hun’ anymore is ridiculous, apparently that is sectarian, when it has nothing to do with religion, but everything to do with describing their fans as barbarous and warlike,”

    Not being from the west of Scotland, I might be incorrect, but I always assumed ‘hun’ referred to the religion and ancestry of the English royal family, and the Ranger supporters support for them. Germans were called ‘huns’ during the war(s).

  12. sensibledave

    @ Helen 6.27

    …. and what were you doing hanging about on English political blog site? You must be a Troll!

    Actually, good to see that at least one person on here is prepared to debate with those that have different points of views.

    As an aside, the suggestions from some (albeit a small minority) above that people not born in Scotland should be barred from voting in Scottish referendums are, frankly, odious.

    Nothing wrong with passionate Nationalism – but that is heading in another direction altogether.

  13. chalks

    @Grouse Beater

    Point is, why is it only at football matches that those are punished for acting in a particular manner?

    Here is the legislation:

    1 Offensive behaviour at regulated football matches
    5 (1) A person commits an offence if, in relation to a regulated football match—

    (a) the person engages in behaviour of a kind described in subsection (2), and
    (b) the behaviour—
    (i) is likely to incite public disorder, or
    (ii) would be likely to incite public disorder.
    (2) The behaviour is—
    (a) expressing hatred of, or stirring up hatred against, a group of persons based on
    their membership (or presumed membership) of—
    (i) a religious group,
    (ii) a social or cultural group with a perceived religious affiliation,
    (iii) a group defined by reference to a thing mentioned in subsection (4),
    (b) expressing hatred of, or stirring up hatred against, an individual based on the
    individual’s membership (or presumed membership) of a group mentioned in any
    of sub-paragraphs (i) to (iii) of paragraph (a),
    (c) behaviour that is motivated (wholly or partly) by hatred of a group mentioned in
    any of those sub-paragraphs,

    (d) behaviour that is threatening, or
    (e) other behaviour that a reasonable person would be likely to consider offensive.

    So, threatening behaviour or other behaviour that someone may find offensive, this happens in every spectator sport and even from some competitors of the sport.

  14. Fiona

    @ Grouse Beater

    It is not censorship that was being discussed, so far as I can see. As to your final comment on principle: I could not disagree more profoundly, I don’t think. A written constitution must necessarily enshrine principles, it can do not other. So, too, should the constitution of a political party.

    Perhaps I have missed your point?

  15. Ken500

    There was not much difference numerically in who voted YES and those who voted for the SNP in the GE. Different electoral conditions. Referendum decision YES or No as opposed to FPTP. 45%+ on lower turnout. Some people who voted NO didn’t vote in the GE. The direction does seem to be changing however. Some people do want to be part of the Union but support SNP policies and governance. Like SNP protection of essential services etc. A question of trust.

    Holyrood has PR system. That is the next goal to get Unionist MSP out of there.

  16. Ken500

    Please ignore the troll. Only trying to disrupt. Until Rev Stu takes action. Pro Independence commentators are not allowed on most sites. There is no open discussion.

  17. Fiona

    I remain unconvinced by the case for PR. I would like to see the arguments laid out, because so far it seems to be taken for granted the system is better, without any specificity in which PR system is better, and why it is better.

    Would those who support please set out the case for it?

  18. Fiona

    @ Ken500.

    I have no objection at all to unionists commenting here: I think that is healthy. I do object to disingenuous trolls, however. They are not the same thing

  19. Ken500

    John Smith changed the rules of the PLP to give the leader more power. That is what allowed Blair to act as a dictator and break the Law, while rest of the useless articles sat on their hands. That has destroyed the Labour Party. Milliband has changed the rule back.

  20. Louis B Argyll

    Just a passing thought…

    The tag “hun” confirms the misnomer of the “British” royal family.

  21. Ken500

    They are. Unionist are tolerated on every (pro Unionist) website. Independence supporters are deleted and banned with impunity. Unionist trolls have deliberated destroyed any free discussions on most websites. This website is Independence supporting for free discussion. That is why it is so successful. Unionist trolls have not destroyed it because they have not been allowed to. That is why most commentators are here. An oasis from Unionists trolls, who seek to destroy it. Give them free rein and they will. Experience shows that. Any Unionist troll who genuinely wants discussion can go there.

  22. Ken500

    Most PR systems are more democratic in relationship to the overall votes that are casted.

    16/17 years olds were not allowed a vote in the GE, although is was majorly supported. That would have affected SNP support. (it would have been higher). It would have been a complete wipe out. The new generation deciding starts to kick in. That will realise the YES vote. Demographic changes.

    It’s a pity thst the list system in Scotland can’t be changed so that those who are completely defeated, can’t come back on the list. That is annoying. It has to be another party member. Fresh.

  23. sensibledave

    @ Ken500 9.21

    From the “ABOUT US” Page, WoS

    “It advocates Scottish independence, but is not affiliated or connected in any way to the SNP, and neither gives to or receives money from the party, or indeed any other party. We have an inquiring mind, and actively welcome intelligent contributions from all sides of the political debate. Got something worthwhile to say about Scotland’s future? Try us”

    ….. based upon the above, pLease let me know how you define a “troll”. Maybe its just that an alternative point of view simply cannot pass the “intelligent contributions” test?

  24. Fiona


    Most PR systems are more democratic in relationship to the overall votes that are casted.

    Let us unpick that a little.

    It is true that the aim of at least most PR systems is to make the parliament more nearly reflect the party support in the country. That is true. But you assert that is more democratic. Why is it?

    In principle with FPTP you know what you are getting. Obviously that is not wholly true, because party manifestos are kept as vague and as short as they can possibly be; and, more legitimately, circumstances can change so that a manifesto commitment becomes untenable. So that is a problem. Nonetheless each party sets out a programme and if they are elected they have the power to implement it: if they do not it is seen they do not and we, the electorate, can quite properly punish them for it. We have allowed an erosion of the importance of manifesto commitments and that is a part of the neoliberal agenda: but they do still matter

    Under PR there is no such mechanism at all. Since PR produces many more coalitions, and of greater diversity, one cannot know what one is getting until after the horse trading which comes after the vote. In those circumstances I see nothing necessarily democratic about it and I think the lib dems in the recent coalition demonstrate that in spades

    In this latest campaign there was much talk of “red lines” and that is an attempt to deal with this problem: but I am not convinced that is a sufficient safeguard.

    I do not vote for parties on the basis of loyalty or tribalism, or even a belief that they are decent people: I want to know what they propose to do. I see nothing democratic about buying pigs in pokes

    So assuming you recognise that is a problem, how would you deal with it, if PR was adopted?

    Don’t get me wrong: I am not wedded to FPTP. PR might well be better. But every system has flaws and I want to know how they would be addressed before we commit to change. I have not heard any of those who assert PR is an improvement explain how this particular problem is overcome. What is the plan?

  25. sensibledave

    @ All

    As an English “troll”, I know you get all confused when I say, that as far as many of us are concerned, you are pushing against an open door as far as Independence/FFA/autonomy is concerned. But ….

    Mr Johnson (Boris) told the Standard: “I genuinely think that after the election we need to have a sit down and people need to think about the future of Scotland. “I want a United Kingdom but we may have to think about a federal structure for the UK. I’m on for that.”

    I know it doesn’t fit the meme that the wicked Tories want to continue to oppress the Scots – but if you stop the “victimhood” for a while and actually look outside WoS, you might be surprised by what you find.

  26. HandandShrimp


    We do look outside of Wings and we are aware of Boris and indeed John Redwood on Panorama last night.

    Yes, the signs are hopeful but I won’t be trusting any of these people until I see the ink on the dotted line. Flying kites is one thing, delivering another. It may be that for whatever synsergies the party most against devolution ends up delivering federalism. Ironic but I won’t complain. In the meantime we shall continue to press our case.

  27. Louis B Argyll

    The European aristocracy has allowed just enough democracy to exist to let us think that the people have true representation.

    The power struggles of the last 250 years have brought us to this state of PROFESSIONAL WAR and MODERN FAMINE.

    Humanity is scraping the barrel, looking for reasons to commit to a future of flagrant inequality.

    Scotlands oppression is over.. We shun your history, we have our own hopes and fears.

  28. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    “Dundee United fan here, but can I just say I think the Rangers thing is terribly out of place given the nature of this site.”

    The nature of this site is to tell the truth about things the media lies about. Pretending “Rangers” is the same club as the one that was liquidated in 2012 is very much in that category.

  29. donald anderson

    Reply to sensibledave
    “Mr Johnson (Boris) told the Standard: “I genuinely think that after the election we need to have a sit down and people need to think about the future of Scotland. “I want a United Kingdom but we may have to think about a federal structure for the UK. I’m on for that.”

    Malku Rifkind, when interviewed a couple of days ago admitted Scotland’s status will have to change. He said that Federalism would not work as England has about 80 odd per cent of the population and would easily outvote the Scottish end. Federal Unionism is also a “policy” if the Lib-Dems and CPB. I know many ex CPers who say that it was never a real policy as they never pushed it and much prefer a Scottish Socialist Republic.

    Mr Findlay of the GBLP, Scottish branch, now says they should have a “separate” Scottish Labour Party with affiliation to the English Labour Party. Wot, with the same old SNP hating numpties? No chance, not at least till Scottish Independence is well secured.

    PS Dave, some of my best friends are Sassunachs.

  30. Louis B Argyll

    Absolutely right Rev Stuart..

    Centuries of misplaced loyalty must be challenged… and when the “bloodline” of Rangers itself (the trueness of its blueness) has been altered, their current hard-line supporters are seen as “loyalist” fantasists.

    It is over Rangers… Stick to football.. You have LOST the argument… The future was only ever Orange through rose tinted spectacles, remove the pink hue and true colours are revealed.

    There is a whole world out there, join it.

  31. sensibledave

    @ donald anderson 11.49

    I admit I do not know the ins and outs of the various potential solutions. The point is, contrary to what many think here, there is a will to address the issue. Given the results of the GE in Scotland, how could any democrat think otherwise?

    Earlier on in this thread I think, I simply asked, openly and without any “angle”, what solution is the SNP representation in Westminster going for during this Parliament?

    … that makes me a “troll” apparently.

    I am coming to the conclusion that the SNP don’t actually know the answer to the question.

  32. chalks

    SNP will be going for FFA, but in order to suitably lure the tories into it, they are playing it down so as to make the tories think it’s a shrewd move on their part to offer it, as clearly they think it will endanger the SNP in Scotland.

    Nothing could be further from the truth however, the tories are rushing into something they do not fully understand the complexities of, nor are they thinking abotu the impact such FFA will have on N.Ireland and Wales.

    This has Salmonds fingers all over it and it’s most welcome.

    FFA will lead us closer to independence, than we’ve ever been before.

    It won’t save the UK, nothing can really save the UK anymore, short of bombing us.

  33. HandandShrimp

    Sensible Dave. The track record for the unionist side is to declare any SNP proposal an economic/social/military disaster of unimaginable proportions. Our reticence is born of experience that scaling the steps one at a time is better strategy.

    Having said that, we would like independence but short of that as much autonomy as possible. We don’t want IDS sticking an oar in because he doesn’t want devolution interfering with his unworkable UC plans or the Westminster government appointing some Tory Lord to talk to the EU fisheries commission on our behalf.

  34. K1

    Now now chalks…they only want to ‘love’ bomb us…really 😉

  35. sensibledave

    @ chalks 1.54

    Is it beyond the realms of possibility that Westminster might actually want to give Scotland what it wants?

    Personally speaking, whilst I am a “unionist”, the last thing I want is a country being forced to stay in the Union when it doesn’t want to be part of it.

    At the risk of incurring the wrath of most commenters here again, the referendum vote is a serious issue in determining how far one can go with autonomy, before “the 55%” feel they are the ones being ignored.

  36. K1

    I think this image (from Rev’s twitter) conveys the essence of our opposition’s perfidy. Underestimate them at our peril. They don’t do ‘fair play’, they merely make an appearance of it to suit their own agenda.

  37. chalks

    Dave, if we are to take every Scottish Social Attitudes poll since they started, a majority regularly votes for change from the Status Quo i.e. Westminster rule.

    A third for indy, a third for devo max and a third for things to stay as they are with 10% don’t know.

    The yes campaign won over half of those that want devo max, the no campaign won over the other half and got the don’t knows.

    This has been the case for some time, yet Westminster HAS NEVER even mentioned Devo Max until the Union is under threat, hence why Brown talked about it and many people say it saved it. It’s the great teaser for the Scottish people and it’s time the SNP took it out of the hands of the Unionists.

    Most senior tories know that devo max will lead to independence, only those completely in the westminster bubble do not seem to realise this. It’s why most commentators are now saying the Union is over, as Devo max is the next logical thing to happen.

    The tories have no choice but to offer something, if they do not the SNP will create all kinds of hell and push for another referendum as they will have proved to that 15-20% of the ‘want change’ electorate that Devo Max will never happen. Not even when the Union is pushed to the brink of dissolution.

  38. HandandShrimp


    Although there was a 55% 45% vote against full independence the opinion polls have always indicated a much stronger preference for autonomy short of full independence…more in the region of 65% in favour.

    It would be a mistake to assume that the 55% represent those in favour of no further change. The number for that is very low indeed.

  39. sensibledave

    I agree!

  40. Big Jock

    Agree Stu. While we all welcome Rangers fans converted to the cause of Scotland. They must not delude themselves by pretending the Old Rangers were not 80% pro union. I am not sure how Newco will develop. Hopefully some of feh baggage can be dropped. Why their fans sing Rule Britannia cannot be rationalised by independence supporting fans.

    I remember being at a Scot!and game in Easter Road. On the train home 5o Falkirk. Casually dressed Rangers fans booed us for singing Flower Of Scotland. They sang over us God Save The Queen. When one of us said she’s not my Queen. They called us bigots!Go figure a Rangers fan calling a Scot a bigot!

  41. Fred

    Jock where do you get this 80% shit from? the Rangers fans were probably more inclined to vote Yes than Hearts, Hibs or Aberdeen fans, away & dae the maths.

    They sing Rule Britanna to wind up Celtic’s republican support, it’s very old hat, stop obsessing about fuck-all.

  42. Chic McGregor

    @Bob Mack
    “Is it an attempt to have the English Supreme Courts the final arbiter in the UK with regard to the legality of a future referendum without interference from the European Courts ?.”

    Yes it is.

    This rouse was first concocted between Canadian and British constitutional experts during the patriation negotiations for Canada in the 80s.

    When it was suggested that new constitutional powers for the Canadian Supreme court could help with the Quebec ‘problem’ it was observed and stated (I saw the minutes) that a similar move might also prove helpful in any future case of independence for Scotland.

    As a consequence I have been trying to warn people for many years that there would be a UK Supreme Court created (there was) and that it would ‘acquire’ remit up to the point of constitutional rulings which it may use against the right to self determination of the Scottish people at some point, if necessary.

    However, whether that approach will be considered legal by the international community remains moot because there has not been another referendum since the amendment of the Bill of Rights and Supreme Court ruling on unilateral independence, in which Quebec has said Yes but Canada said No.

    The UN has remained silent on the matter.

    However it should be noted that in the fairly recent case of Kosovo, the UN judical body the ICJ, ruled that Kosovo had not acted illegally in declaring UDI from Serbia.

    So it does not look good for the Canadian/UK approach on this.

    Not to say they would not just go ahead with it anyway.

    Leaving the ECHR will help the UK in that it will probably lead to them also leaving other UN human rights treaties because the ECHR is basically a subset of the human rights enshrined in various UN charters and covenants.

    This will undoubtedly ‘unfortunately’ include having to leave those with particular relevance to Scotland’s right to self determination, even though that part is not included in the remit of the ECHR. Like the right to self determination enshrined in the ICCPR treaty.

    Incidentally, all EU member states are signed up to the ECHR and the EU has collectively signed up to it as well.
    Any future members to the EU must now agree to membership of the ECHR as part of the entry requirements.

    Therefore,leaving the ECHR, although it is not an EU body, will result in the UK having to leave the EU, unless the UK courts continue to mirror ECHR advice and allow its citizens access to the ECHR. Whether there is a referendum or not.

    It therefore raises the question as to whether Cameron, May et al are really genuinely pro-EU or whether they are secretly arranging a ‘get out anyway’ card?

  43. Grouse Beater

    Ken 500: A written constitution must necessarily enshrine principles

    A politician resorting to his ‘principles’ – think of Murphy’s principles – has bugger all to do with a nation’s written constitution.

  44. Grouse Beater

    Hand and Shrimp: It would be a mistake to assume that the 55% represent those in favour of no further change.

    55% is close to 50%, close enough to keep Westminster scared.

  45. Big Jock

    Fred how many Saltires do you see at a Rangers game? How many Union flags do you see? Are we all seing something that only exists in our mind. No whataboutery either. I don’t care about Celtic. I am talking about Rangers and their obsession with the Queen,Union flags and all things British.

    If I dropped in from France or Spain and went to a Rangers game. I would just think I was at an England game. Same flags ,same songs same histrionic obsession with empire and wars.

    The Rangers fans seem to adopt every English song including the dambusters which has feck all place in Scottish football. You can continue to pretend its a minority like the media. You know in your heart Rangers are a pro British club obsessed with the past.

    I have heard all that pish before about wearing England tops to wind up Scots and Celtic fans. What is wrong with these people. Why on earth would a Scot not support Scotland ,and also wear the top of our rivals

    You are absolutely barking with your logic. Why do no other Scottish teams sing Rule Britannia to wind up Celtic fans. Well maybe Hearts would. But you are actually offending most Scots by singing imperialist bullshit songs. We are very embarrassed by you that’s the point. We find it hard to support Rangers in Europe because they act like a English team when the fans go abroad. I want to support all Scottish teams in Europe but find it impossible due to the nature of the fans with the Union Flags.

    Why don’t you admit the problem and then try and change it. Instead of just denying the bigotry exists.

  46. Thistle

    No chance on federalism for me as one of the main reasons I want independence is because of the UKs foreign policy. I hope the SNP get us another referendum asp especially with the Tories in power at Westminster.

  47. DR

    Basic arguments for PR. 1. FPTP commonly denies representation to the majority of votes cast, which reduces both turnout and engagement, and leads to Parliaments/Governments unrepresentative of political opinion (so, contrary to democratic principles). PR (of any kind) does not.

    2. FPTP almost by definition reduces the *effective* choice to 1 of 2 candidates, preventing policy adaptations to meet changing circumstances. PR allows people to meaningfully reduce their support for both main candidates (should they or their parties not be performing adequately) while also electing someone else with their vote.

    3. Given modern statistical tools, it is possible to target very accurately the limited demographic groups in particular FPTP seats that will allow one a Parliamentary majority, while ignoring both popular opinion, and ones own voters in ‘safe seats’. As well as being undemocratic, this incentivises policy that allows a government to bribe these voters – and no others – to the detriment of the national interest. PR reflects the balance of public opinion, which is more difficult to manipulate directly.

    4. Nominally, the purpose of UK FPTP elections is to elect a Parliament, not a Government (i.e. parliamentary, not plebescitary). However, the tendency to produce majorities – often on very small vote shares – functionally allows Governments to pass laws *without* the approval of Parliament, needing only the votes of their own party, where MPs’ freedom of choice is restricted by the ‘whip’ system. By encouraging the election of a broader range of representatives, PR encourages debate and co-operation in parliaments, leading to more inclusive and considered lawmaking.

  48. Will Podmore

    The SNP’s 56 MPs will indeed make no difference at Westminster. The elected Tory majority will misrule us all.
    We the people will have to turn ourselves into the opposition, not delegate this task to politicians, whose first priority will be to vote themselves a £10,000 a year pay increase.

  49. Grouse Beater

    Plodmore: The SNP’s 56 MPs will indeed make no difference at Westminster.

    The electorate will decide that, not you.

    So far they have ignored the negative press and media, and antagonistic opposition MPs to elected the SNP.

  50. donald anderson

    Will Podmore says:
    “The SNP’s 56 MPs will indeed make no difference at Westminster. The elected Tory majority will misrule us all.
    We the people will have to turn ourselves into the opposition, not delegate this task to politicians, whose first priority will be to vote themselves a £10,000 a year pay increase.”

    This not just 59 m9re Lumpem Party MPs on the make and looking to join the Westminster Club of privileges. These people actually represent change and a cause. Labour have no cause and grub up all the small change they can get.

    Q. How many Labour MPs does ot take to change a lightbulb?
    A. None. They never change any.

    Cameron knows it and can’t fob, or buy them off.

  51. Louis B Argyll

    W Podmore…

    You say that the people will have to turn themselves into the opposition…

    Not sure you thought that through.

    Thats why we have “representatives”..

    Surely the SNP MPs have the” character ” to communicate our opposition to parliament.

    Public opinion is bypassed when it suits the majority party… Any frustration or protest can be turned against the opposition.. People power doesn’t work against the Tories.

    The SNP, with its current personnel, can be thorough, opening up arguements to let people know that there are other ideas out there.

  52. charlie

    For the record, re the Huns nickname, they were always the Gers and after WW2 that became Germany > Huns which bothered nobody because the war was over and won. Rangers fans took up the nickname as people used to take jokes [sighs]. Got that off a knowledgable fitba fan older than myself.

    I still think the neutral term for them is ‘The Stickies’ even tho it’s not rhymong slang for Sevco 😉

    All the best


  53. mr thms

    Where does the money in BBC Scotland go?

    “61% of (BBC) Scotland’s local output is news, whereas it is 15% in the network.”

  54. Donald Anderson

    Singing “Ooh! Ah! Up the Rah!” in Sellick pubs in the Swallygate doth not Republicans make. Especially if the chorus is led by Royal Loyal Unionist Labour Cooncillors and MPs. I can tell you that the real Republicans “acroass the watter” do not regard these bams as Republicans.

    As for the other half of the OF,ugly sisters, all that can said of them is that their bigotry is logical and non contradictory, given their beliefs.

    We all know what Labour Divide et Imperia stands for and it aint Scotland or the WC un general,

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