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Wings Over Scotland



Girls And Boys 257

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? 250

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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Tomorrow’s man today 108

Posted on May 21, 2018 by

Michael Gove has been saying some words today, to the general astonishment of all.

Which seems like a good time to bring up some more data from our latest 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 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.

(And only a bit over a third wanted to be joined with all three other UK nations.)

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 bigots 147

Posted on January 28, 2018 by

Which we were yesterday, we couldn’t help noticing this:

And that reminded us that we still had some more poll results to reveal.

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Heroes of the working class 164

Posted on January 27, 2018 by

We’re a bit annoyed about this, because we were going to give the Absolute Fanny Of The Week award to Anas Sarwar every week as a joke, but now it seems we can’t.

So that’s a professional journalist who’s studied the Offensive Behaviour (Football) Act, or OBFA, so intently and diligently that he keeps calling it “OBAF” instead. But that’s not the stupidest of it.

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Something to keep in mind 263

Posted on January 15, 2018 by

…as the Scottish Government releases its Brexit impact paper.

(Panelbase, Scottish adults, fieldwork mid-December 2017)

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A tale of two leaders 124

Posted on January 12, 2018 by

Ruth Davidson appeared on Good Morning Scotland today as part of their series of interviews with what they call “the leaders of the larger parties in Scotland”, which for some reason is also including the Lib Dems and Greens.

You can listen to the piece – which showcased the usual evasive, time-killing waffle technique Davidson employs as standard, noticeably uncomfortable only when Gary Robertson pressed her on welfare-cuts suicides – for yourself if you want, but in our Panelbase poll last month we discovered a difference between Davidson and Nicola Sturgeon we thought was quite interesting, so we’re going to talk about that instead.

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Talking Scotland up and down 479

Posted on January 10, 2018 by

The Scottish media has been operating at what former BBC journalist Paul Mason once called “full propaganda strength” for the last few weeks, trying to inflate some pretty standard seasonal fluctuations into a “WINTER NHS CRISIS”.

One of the more egregious examples came yesterday when the state broadcaster’s Scotland editor Sarah Smith announced to the nation that 100,000 patients had waited more than four hours at A&E departments last week – a pretty impressive feat since in reality only a quarter of that number actually visited A&Es in Scotland last week, and four-fifths of those were seen in under four hours.

The 100,000 figure in fact refers to an entire year, not a week. Depending on how you look at it, Smith misrepresented the reality by either 2,000% or 5,200%. Yet at the time of writing we’re not aware of the BBC having issued any correction or apology for this, well, let’s be generous and say “error”.

The stats record the time taken for patients presenting at A&E to be dealt with (that doesn’t just mean “seen”, but seen, assessed, and then either treated, admitted or sent home). For the whole of 2017 the figures for Scotland were:

Patients dealt with in four hours or less: 93.1%
In eight hours or less: 99.2%
In 12 hours or less: 99.9%

Which doesn’t sound like too much of a crisis.

Alert observers will of course be aware that this is all entry-level basic operating mode for the media. Even if they weren’t trying to whip up politically-motivated “SNP BAD” material – and most of them are – it’s a deep journalistic instinct to exaggerate and hyperbolise everything into the worst news possible in order to drive traffic and clicks.

But does it work?

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