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Wings Over Scotland



The fruits of apartheid 118

Posted on November 18, 2019 by

A new study reported at the weekend has found disturbing levels of sectarian beliefs among pupils at Scotland’s 357 Catholic schools. But there was an interesting twist – sectarianism was higher among the pupils who WEREN’T practicing Catholics.

Whatever could be the explanation?

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Brooks Was Here 190

Posted on October 18, 2019 by

As we write this, Boris Johnson’s new Brexit deal appears to hang in the balance. According to Sky News this morning the arithmetic is poised on a knife-edge.

The four “in play” groups down the middle of the graphic are, from the top: three Tory “Spartans” (hardcore Brexiters who might yet back the deal), 19 Labour MPs who’ve suggested they might do so for various reasons, 20 former-Tory “rebels” who had the whip removed by Johnson for voting to block no-deal, and 14 independents, mainly from the “Change UK” wing or whatever they’re called this week.

The government needs 36 of the 56 to vote with it to get the deal through, and can probably count on most of the 20 former Tories. Labour sources are suggesting, quite plausibly, that double-figure numbers of their 19 will also back the deal. So it’s close.

If it passes, England and Wales will get what they voted for (Brexit), Northern Ireland will – after a fashion – get what it voted for (effectively staying in the EU), and Scotland will get shafted. It’ll be placed at a significant economic disadvantage to NI, at a likely severe cost in jobs and investment. The nation which voted the most decisively on Brexit (for either option) will be the only one not to get its democratic wishes respected.

And slightly surprisingly, the whole UK thinks that’s unfair.

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The soul of the SNP 269

Posted on October 15, 2019 by

As we write this, voting has just ended to elect the membership of a number of key SNP internal bodies, including the Member Conduct Committee which has the power to discipline members and even expel them from the party.

This year has seen a concerted attempt by a small but active faction within the SNP, led by the Young Scots for Independence and Out For Indy groups, to flood the MCC (which in normal times struggles to fill its ranks) with officers aggressively committed to transgender ideology, with the openly-declared intent of purging “gender-critical” women from all party candidate lists and ensuring that anyone seeking to protect women’s sex-based rights can be expunged for “transphobia”.

(An attempt to deselect Joanna Cherry on such grounds failed earlier this year, but with control of the MCC the faction could pretty much dump anyone it wanted to.)

The matter has not escaped the attention of the independence-hostile media.

We avoided discussing the committee elections while voting was taking place because it’s not our business to interfere in the internal affairs of the SNP, and also because a certain element of the party has been having a massive tantrum over some poll results we published last week and it might have ended up being counter-productive.

But make no mistake – the outcome of these elections will have a huge impact on both the SNP’s electoral fortunes and the chances of securing independence. We’re about to find out, in other words, how screwed we are.

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Faith is always blind 294

Posted on October 13, 2019 by

The first novel I remember reading is “The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy”, shortly after it came out in 1979. I was 12, and it had a huge and lasting effect on me – it was the first thing that made me want to be a writer, and both Adams’ writing style and the worldview it deftly illustrated have been lifelong influences.

Almost every line in the book is great, but this one always stuck with me:

And so to the last of the results from our current poll.

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The broad church 186

Posted on October 12, 2019 by

Our feather-ruffling Panelbase poll of SNP voters is now almost at an end, with only one further revelation to come tomorrow. So we thought it was worth taking a moment for a little bit of closer examination of just who the respondents were.

We know, of course, that the criteria for the sample was people who said they currently intend to vote for the SNP with their constituency vote at the next Scottish Parliament election in 2021. But what else do we know about them?

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With the bomb lighting 185

Posted on October 11, 2019 by

A certain independence blog has written FIFTEEN articles in the last month-and-a-bit about Wings, with a steadily-increasing tone of purple-faced rage, since we passingly suggested the idea of setting up a 2021 Holyrood list party if and only if the SNP had failed to deliver a second independence referendum by then.

Now, we do understand and empathise. There’s really not a lot to talk about in Scottish politics at the moment, with the political scene having been utterly consumed by Brexit for the last two years, and trying to attribute significance to some piddly meaningless subsamples of UK-wide polls can only take you so far.

But since over the past few days we’ve been starting to fear that they might have some sort of aneurysm if they get any more wound up, we suppose we ought to finally reveal the results from the first of a series of polling questions we’re intending to ask on the subject of the notional party.

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Priority boarding 173

Posted on October 09, 2019 by

It’s been quite the week so far. For the vile and sickening crime of [check notes] finding out what SNP voters were thinking about the important political issues of the moment, we’ve had (especially on Facebook) a two-day barrage of stuff like this, and worse:

So, y’know, on with what we always do: reporting the facts.

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Honest dirty hands 320

Posted on October 08, 2019 by

Yesterday’s poll results attracted quite a surprising amount of anger from people who apparently don’t consider it at all important to the cause of independence to find out what people intending to vote SNP at the next Holyrood election think.

They’re probably not going to like these ones much either.

A third of SNP voters are unconvinced by the First Minister’s constant assurances that a second indyref will be delivered in the next 18 months. But the related question posed by several readers yesterday was “If you don’t think the SNP has a coherent strategy for securing a new vote, what would YOU do, Mister Smartypants?”

Which is annoying, because it’s a question we’ve answered in various contexts half a dozen times in the past year and a bit. So we thought we’d see if voters had been paying any more attention.

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What you want to believe 350

Posted on October 07, 2019 by

This site has repeatedly – much to the displeasure of some readers – expressed the view in 2019 that the SNP doesn’t know what it’s doing with regard to Brexit. But it turns out we’re not the only people who feel that way.

Last week we commissioned a Panelbase poll of SNP voters only (specifically those currently planning to use their Holyrood constituency vote for the party in 2021), and these were the results.

In other words, nobody has a clue what the goal is, let alone the strategy.

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Movers and shakers 381

Posted on October 04, 2019 by

So we’ve done a new poll, and this one’s a little different than usual. The sample was 1007 Scottish voters who said they would vote SNP with their constituency vote at the next Holyrood election.

Which makes these findings pretty interesting.

The fact that 10% of SNP voters would either vote No in a new indyref or aren’t sure isn’t the surprising part – in fact those numbers are unusually low for that question. Historically around 15-20% of SNP voters have been opposed to independence. While that seems mad, they simply feel that the party are the best option for running the Scottish Government and are willing to gamble that independence won’t happen.

The curious part is the significant proportion of the sample – 15% – that voted No in 2014 but supports the SNP now, but of which only two-thirds has also come over to Yes. At a time when Scottish politics is supposedly completely polarised around the constitution, and when cracks are beginning to show in the party’s domestic record (under, it should be said, very difficult circumstances) and the First Minister’s personal approval ratings struggle to register a net positive, significant numbers of people still appear to be switching to them, yet are unconvinced about independence, yet the party’s voters as a whole are becoming MORE strongly pro-indy rather than less.

And if you think THAT’S confusing, folks, wait till you see the rest of the poll.

We’re talking about money 283

Posted on April 25, 2019 by

…unfortunately. The hottest topic of debate within the Yes movement in recent months has been currency, and what sort of it a prospective independent Scotland should use. We’ve avoided it because it’s such a boring and pointless debate (at this stage, at least), and because the impact it had on the first referendum was vastly less than the media frantically insists.

The truth is that in 2014 most people simply didn’t believe the UK government’s claim that it would refuse Scotland a currency union, and nor did most people find it very important anyway. By enormous margins, Scots thought that an independent Scotland would keep using the pound, despite the No campaign’s assertions to the contrary.

We already live in a world of multiple currencies. People buy things seamlessly on the internet from Europe or the USA or China with all the exchange transactions handled automatically and invisibly. It can cause some issues for businesses, but it simply isn’t an issue for the huge majority of voters, however obsessively politics nerds debate it.

But just for the sake of argument, and for the benefit of delegates to this weekend’s SNP conference in Edinburgh, here’s what they think right now.

By comfortably more than two to one in our Panelbase poll conducted in March, Scots want to keep using the pound forever after independence. Yes voters marginally prefer a transition to a new currency, but only one in six want to go there on day one, and almost as many as want to transition want to stay with Sterling permanently. No voters – who are the people we need to persuade, remember – are overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the pound, with only 16% wanting a new Scottish currency at any point.

Wings has no position on the subject, because to be quite honest we don’t understand it well enough. Strong arguments have been made on various sides and we’re not sure which one we favour yet. It’s a decision for an independent Scottish Government.

But what these findings tell us is what the public thinks – and therefore which options would play the best in a referendum – and the public isn’t in much doubt at all.

Scotland’s first choices 187

Posted on April 12, 2019 by

We’ve still got a few of the results from our last Panelbase poll (conducted last month) to round up, and this one seems pertinent this week:

As has been the case ever since we started asking this question about the nation’s twin constitutional dilemmas back in July 2015, the single most popular option in a four-way choice remains an independent Scotland inside the EU, which leads the impending reality (a UK Scotland outside the EU) by a clear 10 points.

Scotland isn’t merely about to get something it doesn’t want, it’s about to get the exact opposite of the thing it wants most. But oh boy, is it ever more complicated than that.

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