Not happening

Read it and weep! The counsel of despair wrapped in the shiny paper of academic analysis! What’s long and thin and contains no meat? If your first thought was a hot-dog sausage that’s probably because you haven’t read Gerry Hassan’s article in the Sunday National. You can save yourself the effort by skipping to the closing words – “longer game”. I wish I’d thought to do so. Being aware that the author isn’t responsible for the headline – or, to put it another way, that the headline may not accurately presage the content – I opted to read on in order to ascertain whether Mr Hassan really does write of ‘The long game for indyref2 and Scottish sovereignty”. As you now know, he does. He really should know better.

Not that it is necessary to read to the end in order to realise that Gerry Hassan is merely stirring the thin gruel of conventional wisdom concerning Scotland’s constitutional question. Granted, he throws in a handful of worthy names in an effort to thicken and flavour the watery broth. But there is nothing substantial here. Nothing satisfying. Nothing sustaining. The concoction is based on a stock of unexamined and unquestioned off-the-shelf assumptions. Here’s an example.

The case for a second indyref is based on Scotland voting to remain in the UK, and being told that this was the only way for Scotland to remain in the European Union.

Everybody knows this. At least, everybody Gerry Hassan listens to. It is established as truth solely and entirely because few trouble to subject it to any scrutiny. Few trouble to subject it to any scrutiny because it is established truth. Why question it? There are more important things to do. Those weel-kent names won’t drop themselves. Thus, the opportunity to think and say something novel and interesting is foregone in favour of sticking with the blandly uncontroversial cosy consensus. Ideas are not challenged. Intellects are not exercised. Mindsets remain unchanged.

There must be something wrong with me. I cannot have somebody tell me what is what without wanting needing to whether it is. I cannot encounter a statement such as the one above without feeling the urge to query every aspect of it. The questions flow naturally and inevitably from the assertion. The questions are inescapable.

Mention “the case for a second indyref” and I am compelled to ask why there has to be a “case” for the exercise of a fundamental democratic right. Why must we argue for something that is inalienably ours? Why are we being required to justify something which does not and cannot require any justification? Who are we trying to satisfy? What rightful authority do they have to insist that we persuade them of an entitlement which no authority has the right to withhold?

To find the best answer, first find the best question. In this instance, we must ask what is the necessary and sufficient condition for the exercise of the right of self-determination? It is unarguable that a substantial or significant demand should exist among the electorate or the populace. That is the necessary condition. To determine whether it is sufficient we must ask what might take precedence over popular demand? In a democracy, vanishingly few things have the potential to take precedence over the will of the people. That will must prevail in all circumstances unless a powerful case can be made for denying it.

Immediately, we see that Gerry Hassan has it arse-for-elbow. No “case” need be made for having the people decide an issue fundamental to the governance of their nation. What is necessary is a sufficient case for denying the people that opportunity.

That is a very long-winded explanation of a mental process which should be almost instantaneous and unconscious. I make no apology for this. Because, had that process occurred in Gerry Hassan’s mind he would have written a very different article. His entire approach to the subject would have been altered. He would have approached the constitutional issue with an entirely different mindset. Not doing so was a choice. Unless an individual is utterly devoid of the attribute – or afflicted with pathological intellectual indolence – intellectual curiosity must run its course, save that it be purposefully reined-in.

The consequences of this failure to interrogate the cosy consensus are far-reaching. It initiates stream of fallacious thinking leading inevitably erroneous conclusions. Gerry Hassan makes the point for me when he explains Section 30 as –

… the part of the Scotland Act 1998 which allows the Scottish Parliament to pass laws in reserved matters such as constitutional matters and which needs Westminster’s agreement.

This is just wrong. As it must be given that it is the product of the kind of inadequate thinking described above. Only someone who imagines a case must be made for the exercise of a democratic right would be capable of such a distorted view of Section 30. There is something irksomely ridiculous, and faintly offensive, about the suggestion that Section 30 exists for the purpose of empowering the Scottish Parliament. In order to believe such a thing one would need, not only a highly ‘idiosyncratic’ reading of the actual legislation, but a decidedly ‘quaint’ notion of what the British state is and how it operates. Not to mention a massively wrong-headed view of devolution.

Like devolution and the Union and everything else the British state is and does, Section 30 is exclusively and entirely concerned with preserving and entrenching established power. Its purpose is absolutely unmistakeable from the wording.

Her Majesty may by Order in Council make any modifications of Schedule 4 or 5 which She considers necessary or expedient.

Scotland Act 1998

Expressed in a less legalistic, and more forthright, fashion what this says is that the British Prime Minister – currently a malignant child-clown named Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson – can alter the powers of the Scottish Parliament whenever they want and in any way they deem “necessary or expedient” for their purposes – that purpose being ever and always the preservation of the Union. I think it’s fair to say that Section 30 isn’t sounding like quite the boon to Scotland some seem to suppose it to be. It is simply another device by which the British state may rein in the Scottish Parliament. Or, at least, that was the intention. Belt and braces legislation. Just in case there were any loopholes which might allow Holyrood more power than was intended, Section 30 allows the British political elite to quickly patch up any chink in the armour protecting the Union. (Section 30 Is Not Scotland’s Salvation)

All of which gives rise to yet another question. Why would somebody misrepresent Section 30 in the way that Gerry Hassan does? The answer, I think, can be discerned in the overall tone of his article. In common with the SNP leadership and probably the larger part of the Yes movement, Gerry Hassan proceeds on two associated, and somewhat contradictory, assumptions. Firstly, that the British state will continue to heap increasingly intolerable impositions on Scotland and that this will have the effect of increasing support for independence. Secondly, that despite this predisposition for treating Scotland with the contempt that flows from the very nature of the Union, the British state is, nonetheless, bound by the very democratic principles that the first assumption discounts.

The underlying idea is that the British state will drive the people of Scotland increasingly towards independence as an escape from the ever more onerous repression of autocratic, anti-democratic British Nationalism empowered by the Union, to the point where the British state – which regards resistance to such democratic demands as an existential imperative – must buckle before the demand for an end to the ever more onerous repression of autocratic, anti-democratic British Nationalism empowered by the Union.

The self-defeating circularity of this idea is too obvious to be worth explaining. But what is truly depressing about it is something which may be a little less obvious. Note how it is entirely about what the British state does and what is done to Scotland and how Scotland responds to what is done to it by the British state. Nowhere in there will you find any suggestion of Scotland doing anything. Scotland is the powerless victim. Being proactive isn’t even a possibility.

What makes this depressing is that it all too accurately reflects what is happening in the real world away from academic pontification. Independence isn’t happening for the simple and plainly obvious reason that nobody is making it happen.

Worse! If Gerry Hassan is correct, nobody is going to do anything to make it happen. Not ever! The mindset of those who have the potential to make it happen is such that they cannot conceive of making anything happen. Waves must not be made! Boats must not be rocked! Horses must not be frightened! Say only what is necessary to keep alive the hope that relief will be given. Never so much as hint at the idea that power might be taken. Scotland’s cause is stuck fast in the mire of a conviction that belief is sufficient. That action is not necessary. Action equals aggression and aggression discourages belief.

This attitude may be familiar to those who wade through Pete Wishart’s insufficiently occasional musings and mutterings from Perthshire. Arguably, there is no more stubbornly unthinking proponent of the notion that independence is eventually inevitable so long as we don’t actually do anything to force the pace. Or, for that matter, cause there to be any pace at all. Like his patently inane concept of an ‘Optimum Time’, independence is ‘out there’ somewhere waiting for us to happen upon it. We need only drift along, imperceptibly propelled by gentle persuasion, sustained by nothing more than saintly patience.

We should be untroubled by the British political elite dismantling our democratic institutions and destroying the apparatus of our state and disposing of our essential public services. Don’t think of this as harming us! Think of it as helping us in some way that remains curiously unexplained. Besides, that’s their way. We are better than that. They may have hands to slap, but we have cheeks to turn. Which means we must win. Although, again, the how of it remains a mystery.

For all this palpable nonsense, Pete Wishart does stumble on something meaningful. Although I suspect he neither intended this nor understands the significance of it. Among the seemingly endless list of things he instructs us not to say or do we find a prohibition against “trying to game or trick our way to independence”. There’s an element of this tricking and gaming in Gerry Hassan’s speculation on how things might pan out over the coming indeterminate period. It’s a waiting game, and the trick is to wait. But the eventualities which transpire are convoluted enough to appear convincing. Or, at least, worthy of one of Scotland’s leading political commentators. Gerry is always good value for his publisher’s money.

Lots of stuff might happen. And what happens may have lots of consequences. There will always be a job for those who purport to be able to unravel the impenetrable complexity they describe. The rule is that things can never be simple. If politics was straightforward, anybody could do it – or fathom it. Even ‘ordinary’ people!

Moreover, politics must be devilishly hard and fiendishly complicated so politicians have an excuse for getting it wrong. And so they can convince the rest of us that, when they do get it wrong, they are the only ones who can fix it.

The reality is that politics is surprisingly simple. We’d only be surprised because so much effort has been put into persuading us that it’s beyond our comprehension. At the core of even the most intractable political issue there is always a very simple idea. A quite clear division of opinion. A choice which, however difficult it may be to make, is always easy to express when stripped of the clutter heaped upon it by those with a vested interest in discouraging engagement with the issue and/or manipulating the perceptions of those who do engage.

Scotland’s constitutional issue is simple. I have watched in increasing frustration and despair as it has been buried in a morass of ‘ah buts’ and ‘what ifs’. It is a simply choice between reverting to being a normal nation or persevering with a political union which only the deluded and the dishonest can defend. You make your choice. Then you make it happen. That’s all there is to politics.

Gerry Hassan’s article is profoundly depressing because it so vividly illuminates the fact that, while our political leaders may have made the choice to restore Scotland’s independence, they are neither doing nor proposing anything which might actually make it happen. In all of Gerry’s analysis and speculation, there is not so much as a hint of any bold, decisive action on the part of the SNP – as either party of administration – designed or intended to make the change happen.

If that is not depressing enough, consider that we don’t even expect this any more. Few are shocked or angered when nothing happens. The tantalising carrot of a new referendum has been dangled in front of us for so long we’ve grown accustomed to the fact that it is always just out of reach. We’ve been trained to be content with it still being just in sight. We get excited when it is talked about so much that it seems closer than it ever is.

I’m not fooled. And I can no longer fool myself. It’s hard to say what tipped the balance for me. I question everything. And I some time ago ceased to be able to come up with any satisfying or encouraging answers. One thing I do recall that had a more profound effect on me than even I realised at the time was when, at a Women for Independence event, Nicola Sturgeon mocked the #DissolveTheUnion hashtag. It was clear that she hadn’t a clue about the thinking behind the hashtag. But her jokey dismissal of the very idea of dissolving the Union struck a chill in my heart that has never receded.

There is no independence without dissolving the Union which negates our independence. It is the most fundamental and crucial action which required in order to restore our independence – in order to reinstate constitutional normality. And here we have the individual who is supposedly responsible for taking that action laughing at the very mention of it. Before anyone dismisses this as a momentary and trivial lapse, we lately have another senior SNP politician angrilly berating those who so much as mention dissolving the Union and insisting that nobody who is a genuine independence supporter must ever speak of it.

There’s more, of course. Much more. But there is nothing which doesn’t cause me to end 2019 in total despair for Scotland’s cause. The aspiration to restore Scotland’s independence is as strong in me now as it ever was. Time has not diminished it at all. Gerry Hassan’s counsel of despair, while appropriate to my mood, is quite redundant. I am already resigned to the fact that independence isn’t happening. Because nobody is making it happen.



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43 thoughts on “Not happening

  1. I think we might agree that whether to hold a second [3rd 4th or nth] IndyRef is not really something we need permission for from Westminster/Whitehall.

    But the case absolutely has to be made to the Scottish people.

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    1. It has been and they voted on it at the last Holyrood election and the resultant majority for Indy ref 2 was passed by Parliament.

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      1. Exactly. I just bother to post because people are all too keen to say what an IndyRef does not require, without saying what it does require.

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  2. It’s a bit like training for the Olympics. A talented runner cannot rely on inherent talent. They will be where they are forever. Unless of course they train like hell to make the Olympics. Sitting on their arse is not how it’s done.

    Scots may inherently desire independence. However , unless they use the correct levers it will never happen. Nicola is our Olympian and we are the followers. We can’t make her win, only she can do that.

    She needs to use the power we have given her!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Indeed. We have a successor to Parnell, who, sooner or later, will be wrong-footed and crucified by courts, the press or populists – if not all three. We actually need a Lenin. #DissolveTheUnion is the only slogan aimed at stopping rule by a foreign power. Finland, the Latvian republics and even Sweden didn’t hesitate to seize control of their destinies. Our political leaders are hesitating, and throwing away the initiative.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It kind of looks like the SNP leadership, and their main big name sidekicks, are making an attempt to soften folks up, for when the Indy2Ref, doesn’t happen, and they tell us to “Play the Long Game”, as MSP Russell is now suggesting. Or MP Wishart’s “be nice to everyone”, approach.
    The SNP leadership had a chance in June 2016, and did nothing.
    They insist on asking London “permission” for something they know London has no intentions of giving. And supposing London did say”OK”, they would likely to impose such conditions on their approval, to make it impossible.

    I have said before, this has been SNP’s last chance to show us they intend doing something of use to get Independence, and the folks are not going hang around waiting any more.
    I would say that the wider YES movement isn’t going to put up with this useless approach too much longer.

    We also need a new Party of Independence. The Greens weer given our trust for long enough, but of late seem to have made things more difficult, and gone off the rails somewhat.
    Trouble with getting this new political grouping, is the timescale. And we don’t have time.
    But we can’t just sit back, and wait, and wait, and keep waiting for bold action from SNP.
    So long as we have politicians in senior positions in this country, who insist they need Westminster permission to do anything, we are going to continue in this path to nowhere.

    Brexit has forced our hand, regards time, but there have been other issues too, such as the appalling Social Security policies, or the inhumane asylum system, or the equally atrocious immigration rules, that are set in London, but do nothing for Scotland, but force families to give up their livelihoods, and shut their business, as they are forced to leave.Scotland, and that, after being encouraged here by UK Govt in the first place!
    Such injustices as these, are grounds enough for bold action on Independence, and challenges to London rue, regardless of the Brexit fiasco.
    However, that particular problem is here and now. and it has taken away the luxury of time.
    As I’ve said before, too, we would like to see the First Minister take some bold action, but at the present moment, we don’t see it happening.

    There is going to be another pro Independence demo in Glasgow 2 weeks from now. If SNP leadership show up just to tel us all they’ve been saying the past year, then they might as well not bother wasting our time.
    What folks who go on that demo want and demand, is action this time round. Not be told we must be nice, and wait for years on end.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for that Gordon, I meant to read the Russell article in the National and forgot. From that:

      “That is the way to ultimate success – and well before this decade is out! ”

      yes, it looks like he is kicking Independence into the long grass – a decades’s worth of it, while going on and on about how the SNP is doing so well.

      That would be the SNP that for many of the 1,242,380 voters on Dec 12th is the hope of Independence, as opposed to the 125,000 members most of whom are more for Indy than the SNP, or the 25,500 members as of September 2014 many of who might actually have been more for the SNP.

      We need to keep a very close eye on these bums on seats. Bums WE put there.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent and amusing article. Like you I had some kind of epiphany when I realised that the SNP leadership (which according to gossip really means Nicola Sturgeon) don’t have any realistic strategy for achieving independence other than appealing to the better nature of the UK PM, whoever it may be, to allow another referendum. Unfortunately the UK parties don’t really do democracy – they do power and will do and have done whatever it takes to remain in power in their terms and I think we ain’t seen nothing yet in the way the Tories are willing to abuse power. As someone pointed out power devolved is power retained. Since Magna Carta it has always been thus. Pretend to give something away but make sure you have the means of getting it back again.

    I don’t go along with the “too comfortable with the nice salaries and ministerial cars” idea. I simply think that the combination of “we mustn’t frighten the horses” syndrome and a serious lack of strategic nous is a fatal mix.

    NS got a lot of praise for her performance in the election, she talks well, is serious and avoids the simple populism of Johnson and others. But her government has been timid in too many respects, so many issues demanding an imaginative, even a revolutionary, approach have been afflicted by what appears to be surrender to vested interests. The Growth Commission was a disaster brought about by the selection of the chair and a number of members of the panel. (They could not have produced anything other than what they did).

    Hassan talks about the “long game”, well, to paraphrase Keynes, “in the lang game we’re aw deid”. Likewise, Elliot Bulmer compares our struggle with that of Rome and Carthage, or the UK after Dunkirk. Well, maybe Dr Bulmer hasn’t noticed, but we’re not actually in a real war, and things, including people’s priorities about what they want or what they may be prepared to put up with, have changed in 2200 years or even 80 – who would have imagined that 2 lunatics would grab power in two of the major nations of the “free” world?.

    Unless there is some radical initiative, some real strategic thinking, and communicating that thinking to the people, in the next few weeks then I think it will time for a new leadership.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Arguably, there is no more stubbornly unthinking proponent of the notion that independence is eventually inevitable so long as we don’t actually do anything to force the pace. Or, for that matter, cause there to be any pace at all.

    Very well said. Couldn’t agree more. It is a feeling of frustration with Pete and the Procrastinators (another nice turn of phrase of yours that!) which I have long shared. Why there is anyone in the SNP desperate to pull inaction from the jaws of a recent hard-won victory I just cannot understand. It is a right slap in the face for all we SNP voters.

    As for Hassan, I will only take seriously any article of his which finally renounces any hope of progress through the Union and his London Labour pals to the rescue, and urges everyone of like mind to switch irrevocably to supporting independence and never look back. He will remain a parasite until he thus redeems himself.

    (I can’t help but note though the later wee grumble about Nicola mocking your #DissolveTheUnion hashtag. So do we now get a clue to the origin of all this recent personal animosity?)

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  7. I think that if the People of Scotland don’t act soon, it will be too late. The SNP will have lost Scotland’s opportunity to become independent by colluding with the English Government of the UK to keep Scotland in bondage by playing the long game. There’s something gone wrong with the SNP mandarins!

    Thanks Peter for your wisdom!

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  8. I read Gerry Hassan’s piece, Mr Bell, and I’m not ashamed to say that I wept in despair. I have just read yours, and I wept again, in frustration.

    Even among the contributors here, the one thing that no one has the guts to say is that persuading the people, as if they are one homogeneous mass, is simply not possible. In my replies to the piece in The National, I tried to explain why the persuasion technique will never happen whether it takes a year or twenty years. I have done a great deal of research into all aspects of the 2014 vote – both NO and YES, and into the Scottish EU ref vote, trying to find correlations and links, and I believe that they are very separate issues, only superficially linked, albeit the SNP made Brexit the centre of their drive for independence, with startlingly inconclusive results.

    I run the risk always of being accused of anti Englishness and making the rUK voters the scapegoats for what the Scots themselves, in great enough numbers would not do: vote for independence. That has never been my intention, and, if ever they became the scapegoats for what is wrong in Scotland and were persecuted as a result, I’d be the first to stand up for them. My whole life has been built around human rights and civil rights and equal rights, and the right of a people to self-determination. My own family, as I have said before is both Scots and English, and we have EU relatives, too, now, as well as ones in more far-flung former colonies, so, basically, I have a foot in every camp – like an octopus.

    By stripping the 2014 result, the dynamics, the demographics and everything else down to the barest bones, it is possible to see that rUK voters were, by a massive majority, per capita, the single, largest NO voting group, at almost 75%. We must ask why, and how does that relate to what has happened in England in recent years? Is there a mindset that travels to other parts from England? Unfortunately for us, the answer must be a resounding YES.

    Once you accept that there are English Nationalists in Scotland who will never, ever put Scotland first, who will never concede, unless they are absolutely forced to, that independence from the UK should happen, the path ahead becomes relatively easy to see. The real problem comes, of course, with the denial syndrome that this is the case. No, we must be inclusive to the point where we exclude our own best interests. It is a form of suicidal madness because international law does not place any obligation on us to give precedence to the views and mindset of a minority of people who actually do not originate here. Yet, that is precisely why we are in this state of paralysis, trying to be all things to all men. Basically, the powers-that-be fear what mighty England will do.

    Thinking English people who see that their best interests lie with us and our best interests, will come with us willingly, and many have already. However, there are still too many who are imperialist and colonialist in outlook, as we have seen from the politics in the South. They consider Scotland to be part, not of the UK, but of a Greater England. This mindset transcends all rational thought and action or even the rights of other peoples, and is born of a sense of superiority seeded with a niggling feeling of inferiority that we have something they don’t, and how dare we.

    Until we are willing to take this on board and be searingly honest about what it means for the prospects of a second indyref, and, more pointedly, the prospects of winning a second indyref, we are going nowhere. That rUK vote, allied to the indigenous Scottish Unionist vote, lost us the referendum overall. Fact. I simply cannot believe that so many apparently intelligent people refuse to acknowledge the dilemma we are in, and that there is no need whatsoever to be in this dilemma because international law is on our side, that I cannot see a way forward at all.

    I believe we may have already lost the argument through deliberate political sabotage of our own best interests for the sake of those of a minority who want to weld us into a Union in which we are doomed to oblivion. The SNP, the wider YES movement, the Greens, the Socialists – all are complicit in this deliberate and irrational – insane even – pushing of the rights of a minority at the expense of our own because that is what it amounts to, all in the name of not wishing to upset a group who couldn’t give a toss whether the Scots are consigned to the dustbin of history. Scotland is there for the plucking.

    Indigenous Scots won the 2014 referendum. Resiling the Treaty/dissolving the Treaty: neither requires a supermajority or even a majority – just a substantial percentage of the population whose rights are being violated in a one-sided, almost totalitarian state. Where are the de Morays, the Wallaces, the Bruces, the Fletchers and all the others who fought and bled for our nation’s right to exist? Rolling in their graves in shame, I’d warrant, to witness the descent of their people to massive self-harm and pusillanimous lickspittledom.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Lorna.

      I read your comments here and elsewhere and always find them to be mature and insightful. Indeed often I find the points that you raise to be unarguable, as is the usually the case when one argues from a position based on clearly presented, uncontestable FACTS.

      I also have struggled to get my teeth into good data on the makeup of the voting cohort(s) from recent ‘democratic events’.

      I would be much obliged if you could provide a link or links pointing to the source of the data that you are referring to as the basis of your argumentation here, particularly with regard to quantifying the non-indigenous NO voting cohort(s).

      More power to your elbow, and thanks for all your efforts.

      I do actually think that the more readers who are exposed to these rational reality based arguments, the more the logic of them will disseminate throughout the wider population. So call me a hopeless dreamer! 😉

      Respect, a longtime reader.

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      1. Thankyou for replying and posting that link Cirsium.

        A web search found the Video which that pdf summary report accompanies.

        “Webcast archive
        2014 – 15”

        http://www.pol.ed.ac.uk/events/transatlantic_seminars/webcasts/webcast_archive

        the first playlist entry :
        “Ailsa Henderson (University of Edinburgh).mp4
        27 Mar 2015 – The Scottish Question, Six Months On.”
        length 1:02:21

        at around 00:05:07 Ailsa says

        “we have data tables, and they are very much supplementary to this
        the percentages are all in here [shown on the slides],
        if you want the raw weighted figures they are in that document there.”

        If anyone has a link to this data, that would be much appreciated. 🙂

        p.s.

        It seems that the website http://www.scottishreferendumstudy.com is no longer in existence.
        Handily there exist some archived copies in the wayback machine:

        e.g. including this 12 minute video:
        “Prof Ailsa Henderson presents the Scottish Referendum Study preliminary results”

        https://web.archive.org/web/20150330013606/http://www.scottishreferendumstudy.com/

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    2. Your argument would encourage some referendum criteria to mitigate the ongoing plantation.
      1. Scots born
      2. Scots resident for a generation, or since Devolution.
      I would add
      3. No postal or proxy votes. Abuse cannot be sufficiently disproved and more ways to defeat the system will be contrived.

      I also feel there is an opportunity for more conservatively minded individuals to come on board if there was a separatist organisation that would be more representative of their ideals, or at least those of their ideals which could be tolerated in an independent Scotland . The guiding principles of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party have much to commend them. Although there is very little ever manifested in accordance with them. There’s not much at all about Unionist. This word could be replaced with (We’re Frightened)
      Perhaps they are.

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    3. “it is possible to see that rUK voters were, by a massive majority, per capita, the single, largest NO voting group, at almost 75%”

      Even if that were the case, at ~9.7% population vs ~83.3% for people born in Scotland (2011 Census), it would appear that they’d have an insignificant impact. Given the result was 45:55, it would appear that it is the folks born in Scotland who need to be convinced, not folks born in the rUK.

      Which the suggests that “Indigenous Scots won the 2014 referendum” is simply a delusion, or are you claiming it was a 65:35 vote by “Indigenous Scots” and that all of the rUK + EU citizens (~12% population) voted against independence?

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      1. Sorry, Mr Bell, but this needs to be answered, I hope you’ll agree. Of course, it was the NO voting indigenous Scots who were the biggest group of NO voters, JB. I did not say otherwise. The largest per capita NO voting group was the rUK NO voting group (at almost 75% or three-quarters of their entire population in Scotland). Under 50% of indigenous Scots, per capita, voted NO. The EU NO voting group, at 57% was way, way lower, per capita, and, numbers-wise made little appreciable difference either side of 50%, albeit, of course they made a difference to the end result. My point was, and remains, that rUK voters enabled Scottish Unionist NO voters, allied to EU NO voters to bring the result to 55%.

        Had only indigenous Scots been qualified to vote in the referendum (as would be the case in almost every other country in the world – remember Cameron’s exclusion of the EU voters was not illegal under international law for reasons I have outlined in other posts) the indigenous NO vote would have fallen to indigenous YES. The international community would consider that quite acceptable as an expression of self-determination because the UN Charter allows indigenous peoples to maximise their chances of succeeding by excluding non-indigenous peoples who might be tempted to operate a colonial-style vote in their own interests and in total opposition to the interests of the indigenous population. I am not suggesting we remove anyone’s vote; I am suggesting that we press home to previous NO voters, both indigenous and non-indigenous, that trying to scupper a referendum is against international law and mores. This is what we have never done before: we have not used the international, legal weapons at our disposal; and we need to start asking why not?

        The startlingly high NO vote and Leave vote amongst this rUK group – and, incidentally, Tory vote, accounting, in part, for the revival of the Tories in Scotland – must be queried if we are to understand the negative impact this group’s voting patterns is having on Scotland. I’m sorry that you find facts so objectionable, JB. My beef is not that they voted against Scotland’s interests from a YES viewpoint, but why? What are we going to do to counter it? What are the links between rUK NO, Leave and the Tory revival in Scotland and the negative impact these three have had on our prospects for independence? I would suggest that the same mindset that drive Brexit in England is also up here and driving against independence. It is a mindset based largely on delusion: firstly, that ‘Britishness’, whatever that might be, is synonymous with Englishness; secondly, that England’s sense of itself, warped at the best of times, is becoming unendurable to the other three parts, or, at any rate, Scotland and NI; and thirdly, that we cannot hope to win a second indyref under those circumstances. International law allows indigenous opposition to self-determination, although I take your point that this is the group that has to be ‘persuaded’, because, if not, an alliance between our own Scottish Unionists and the rUK voters again would signal another failure. Surely that is self-evident?

        If ‘persuasion’ is not working – and it has not worked so far – what do we do? Use the weapons we have: international law; resiling the Treaty under the auspices of international law, then hold a ratifying/confirmatory plebiscite; dissolving the Treaty under the Claim of Right, the Mandate, etc., and holding a ratifying/confirmatory plebiscite afterwards. Please don’t ask me to explain the SNP mindset here because I can assume only a few things that could explain the party’s determination not to make the best use of its resources. I can only speculate that, if, given every opportunity to expedite our withdrawal from the UK (because tarrying will cement us into it, as the SNP leadership must know), the party is not willing to actually physically take us out of the UK, but to hang on and on, under the guise of some mythical ‘legal route’ that will not work, that the decision will be wrested from their hands eventually. Many members are becoming very angry at the complacency and glacial actions of the SNP. Nonsense about the long game, when the long game has already been played out. How many long games will we have? We are in a situation of stasis, paralysis, brought about by our own inaction and lack of will to do anything to upset England and rUK voters up here. That has given this group, as if it did not have a big enough delusional sense of itself already, a feeling that it can tell us what to do, what to think and what to say, with impunity. It really is an upside down universe we inhabit in Scotland. We allow the Mad Hatter to run amok while we, the Dormouse, slumber on. We need to seize the initiative NOW.

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      2. “The largest per capita NO voting group was the rUK NO voting group (at almost 75% or three-quarters of their entire population in Scotland).”

        So what? There’s nothing we can do about that other than campaign better and harder. The information is useful only insofar as it informs campaign strategy. It cannot influence the franchise. If the “largest per capita NO voting group” can be denied a vote, why not the second largest? Why not any group?

        There is no ethnic component to Scotland’s civic nationalism. That must be reflected in the franchise.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Lorna, you wrote:

        “The largest per capita NO voting group was the rUK NO voting group (at almost 75% or three-quarters of their entire population in Scotland)”

        And this allows me to really adress a key point about this issue.

        The data (that _we_ can see, which is the slide deck) does not support that statement.

        A scientist or statistician would be expected to only make statements supported by the data.

        That statement _may_ prove to be supported by the data.
        Personally I have serious reservations about the selected YouGov sample data, but without sight of the base data, one _cannot_ truthfully make the assertion that you make.

        You may think that I am splitting hairs, but I am not.

        Particularly as this could be such a contentious issue, and I do appreciate that elsewhere you have been very clear in what you have said, and what you NOT said.

        The non tendentious way to discuss this would be, in my opinion, to be absolutely clear that you are referring to these slides _and_ clearly repeat the massive caveat ‘IF the study sample is reflecive of the declared result’

        I will note in passing here that most people are not trained scientists or mathematicians, and leaving them to _read_between_the_lines_ is a recipe for misunderstanding, or in this case perhaps more likely, deliberate misrepresentation.

        If the true data and the actual report on its treatment can be procured, one might then be able to make stronger assertions.

        At the moment, all I have effectively seen is a lecture handout, with the deeper substance elided. Since the professors obviously are well used to Mentoring pHD level students, we can take it that this omission is not accidental.

        I hope you will reflect on this, I shall leave it there.

        We need data, not press releases.

        and Peter – thankyou for your forebearance.
        Unless there is an actual development, I shall leave the subject there.

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  9. I can empathise and understand the frustration in this article and I almost always agree with what Peter has to say.

    However, to use a similar comparison used against Hassan, this article is all neeps and no haggis. All moans and complaints, no propositions and no solutions. Everyone is “doing independence wrong”. It’s just the other side of Hassan’s coin. The only real outcome from this article, whether it was intended or not, is to generate animosity between people who all want the same thing. Counter Hassan’s “long game” with an alternative.

    In addition, does anyone here know, in detail, what the SNPs plan’s are? Because surmising that they’re going about it the wrong way without really know what they’re up to and not providing alternatives is only damaging the wider Yes movement. Aye there should be accountability, but there has to be an element of trust. Also, who else do we have at the moment?

    Lastly (and not leastly), if we are to go about getting an independent Scotland that is internationally recognised then we need to go about it the right way. The Baltic States, Finland etc all grabbed independence in a different era. It’s not like we can just flick a switch (that half the population don’t want flicked) and hey presto we’ve got a country. If you want more speed there are ways of operating aside of the SNP leadership.

    The no voters need convinced and we need less jaggy thistle to win them over. It needs to be legit, with international recognition, because without it indy Scotland is dead in the water.

    Apols for any typos, grammar errors etc, on the train at the moment.

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    1. I try to feel sorry for people who can only recognise a bad idea if it is set alongside a good idea. But they’re so fucking annoying! Especially when their demands for an “alternative” are nothing more than an attempt to shift the discussion away from the criticism they are unable to address.

      You exhibit all the symptoms of the colonised mind. But one of the great difficulties with this condition is that the first thing those afflicted lose is the ability to question their own assumptions and preconceptions.

      Typos are the least of your problems. We might start with your unconsidered assumption that the exercise of Scotland’s right of self-determination cannot be legitimate unless Boris Johnson says so. Or your offensive assumption that Scotland is incapable of holding an impeccably democratic referendum absent oversight by the British political elite. Or your equally offensive assumption that the outcome of this impeccably democratic referendum will not be recognised by the international community unless they get the nod from Johnson.

      All in all, you seem to have a very low opinion of both Scotland and the international community. For which you compensate with inexplicably high regard for the British ruling elites.

      Of course, you will deny this. Probably just before repeating and affirming the statements which support the conclusion. And/or trying to shift the discussion with whining about abuse.

      You see, I’ve been at this a long time. I easily recognise those who have nothing original or insightful to say about Scotland’s constitutional predicament. Those who are content to parrot, without the slightest critical assessment, the stuff they glean from the media or pick up from their political idols. I can’t even get angry about such mindlessness any more. I just get weary and despairing. Weary, because it’s so grindingly negative and repetitive. Despairing, because I can’t help but think that with so many colonised minds Scotland can never restore her independence. And won’t deserve to.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Surveys have shown that most people think we’ll be Independent “in the long term”, and it seems most people don’t mind that. Alex Salmond said early on in Indy Ref 1 there was an underlying majority for Independence and I thought he was right at the time – and still is. People like the idea, but stick to the “safe” status quo.

    Perhaps that’s what this is all about – we’re on the train to Independence and the idea is to encourage people to hop on the train and join us, but they can get off the train before it reaches its destination. The train passes through the Brexit Stop, the Austerity Halt, and the Tory Jungle, but there are other stops and people don’t have to go all the way. That makes it easy for your Massies and Hassans to endorse, as within a decade makes them comfortable they don’t get dragged away from the status quo.

    The idea of course is to cook a 4 course dinner, supply loads of drink and nibbles, and then nobody will want to get off, as meanwhile the train stops going down every side route and diversion, builds up steam, and takes the short cut and arrives at Independence in 2020.

    Ooops, did you mean to get off earlier? Hope you enjoyed the ride! The weather’s beautiful here, and it’s the Undiscovered Country. Guides are available, don’t forget your map and compass.

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    1. Perhaps, YES, but you must unlock it, and crucially, know how to unlock it. Most often, I’m afraid, it is unlocked only after independence has been achieved. The vast majority of countries that gained their independence in the last 100 years, did not do so via a pre independence referendum. Events precipitated independence and independence was grabbed with both hands as these momentous events unfolded. Brexit might do it, but, somehow, I doubt it now.

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    2. I really think we are running out of time, if we haven’t already done so, YES. The moment that EU result was brought in and it became obvious that the three parts that were not England were to be sidelined, was the time to start the journey, and we would be at our destination now. There was never the slightest, tiniest spark of hope that Brexit would be overturned. No one who has even the smallest understanding of England and its ruling elite, of its shires and its cities and towns would have been under any illusion about that. Westminster does not fear us, but it does fear its own population in England. Its entire external history in the British Isles, almost, has been about bringing the Scots to heel, and its entire internal history almost, has been about civil war within its own borders.

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  11. It has worried me since the Brexit vote that Nicola Sturgeon is turning an existential crisis for the British state into an existential crisis for the SNP. I think she is achieving that much. The existential crisis for the British state is over, resolved on December 12th 2019. Scotland’s opportunity to exploit that crisis has disappeared. The British state is now an English nationalist one with an emboldened PM and govt. The Union as we have known it is gone, but Scotland remains in it, trapped more than ever. As Alex Salmond has pointed out, support for independence should now be at 60% given all that has happened.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Cirsium: thank you for your links for aLurker. The Edinburgh University data was invaluable and I believe that Professor Ailsa Henderson is also to be thanked for the hard work done by her and her team. That is what I used for my initial research, then made my own extrapolations on the figures, adding in the 2016 EU ref result and its extrapolations. Anyone can do it. I was rather shocked, but not really surprised, that the rUK NO figure was so high, and, in light of Brexit, a lot has been explained. As I said, not enough indigenous Scots thought fit to put their own country first in 2014, but they were still soundly beaten by indigenous YES voters, and it was the rUK NO vote that won the indigenous NO vote for them, the EU NO vote not being nearly large enough to make a huge difference either way.

    That is completely contrary to the intent of the UN Charter on self-determination, which actually denounces this kind of colonialism (described as such because the people of the country which the people who are seeking independence wish to leave, vote against their right to self-determination). And that is before we even start on the Claim of Right, the Treaty, etc. I am not, and never have been, in favour of removing anyone’s vote, and a precedent was set in 2014, but there is no earthly reason why we should continue to pander to a minority group that has no right whatsoever in international law to stymie our independence.

    I find it insulting to all who have striven for decades to achieve independence, and incomprehensible for the SNP to carry on in this seemingly totally irrational way. Only two things, to my mind, can explain this anomaly: 1. the SNP is afraid of what England (Westminster and Whitehall) will do if we press ahead with independence; and/or 2. we are not fiscally able to leave the UK just yet. Neither stance stands up to scrutiny because England (Westminster and Whitehall) has done little else but keep us down for 312 years, so breaking free might actually be a lot better; and, if we do not have every figure at our fingertips, that is just too bad because it will make not a jot of difference to the dyed-in-the-wool naysayers anyway. We will know that we are fiscally sound only on independence. Only a fool would expect independence to be a panacea. It will be a long haul, but there will be light at the end of tunnel. There will be hope. With the post Brexit, right-wing Tory UK, not only will there be no light, but they will fill in the tunnel and extinguish even hope.

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    1. Lorna, for that Edinburgh Uni survey to be right, and produce a YES 44.7%, NO 55.3%, 8 times as many women would have had to vote in Indy Ref 1, as men. EIGHT TIMES AS MANY WOMEN AS MEN! It’s deeply flawed, therefore NO conclusions can be taken from it.

      Click to access Scottish-Referendum-Study-27-March-2015.pdf

      Look at the very first figure – Demographics 1. It’t total garbage. Seems to me its purpose was to create division, and the number of people who still quote it after all this time, it worked. I did stats at Uni, whoever did the stats on that should go back to primary school.

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      1. This is why it is essential to make ones own evaluation of the actual data, NOT just read the summary of the published summary.

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      2. Yes, I agree that there are anomalies and small flaws that are not explained, but, from my own research, it is basically sound in that it does reflect the fundamental demographic patterns. I believe Professor John Curtice came to a broadly similar conclusion. Nothing in the EdU study negates the fact that the rUK NO voting group was the biggest per capita, and, without its support, the indigenous Unionists could not have won. I’m sorry if you feel that it was designed to sow dissent, but I doubt that Ailsa Henderson or James Mitchell meant to do any such thing. In my experience, university professors of either sex, in any discipline, are more likely to be ‘conservative’ than not. Neither the late Professor David Walker nor Professor Ian Campbell, both constitutional experts, could be said to have any independence axe to grind, yet both uphold Scotland’s constitutional rights in the Union, in their writings. The Scottish legal fraternity, both academic and lay, is deeply ‘conservative’ (small ‘c’, of course) but, if pushed enough, you would find that they would fight tooth and nail to defend both their own discipline and Scotland. The original jurists who drafted the Treaty and Act did no less and it has been our own fault, rather than theirs, that so many breaches have been made to what was intended to be our protection against English predation, which they knew, from bitter experience, would come.

        As a statistician, why don’t you do a study? I’d be happy to eat humble pie. You are not the first to point out certain discrepancies, but, although they exist, they are not enough to destroy the entire project. Perhaps you can explain why such a massive percentage – almost 75%, three-quarters of this one group in Scotland, if the numbers are correct, of course – felt it necessary to contravene the UN Charter on self-determination and take it upon themselves to scupper our independence? That, surely, is the question? On the answer to that question hangs our future if we have a second indyref. I am quite open to accepting that they might come over to us in their droves, but, again, in my experience, that is unlikely, although I could well be wrong. Albeit, many of them will have been NO/Remain, so might be open to ‘persuasion’ in a second indyref, a substantial number will have been NO/Leave and will want to see Scotland depart the EU with the rest of the UK, so voting YES would deny them that pleasure, no?

        It is deeply worrying that so many see anti Englishness where none exists when what they should be looking at is anti Scottishness, and the reasons for it. After 2014, the EU Brexit mindset and result in England, in 2016, taken together with the large Leave vote in Scotland, much larger than might have been expected from a Scottish electorate, explained a great deal to me. A third of those Leavers were previous YES voters (there has always been a strong anti EU – any union – lobby in the SNP) but two thirds were Scottish Unionists and rUK voters, all of who would have been previous NO voters. The links are there, if you delve for them, but the two issues are separate; they do overlap, but they are not intertwined. The one thing they do have in common is a sense of Britishness (really Englishness, even for Scots) that does not exist in reality. That is what those who want a second indyref must understand and must overcome if we are to win convincingly next time.

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      3. Yes Lorna, if I had a spare £100,000 I daresay I might be able to put together a survey with 7,000 respondents which should achieve a 1% margin of error at the usual 95% confidence level. I could decide what I wanted the results to show, and work my data accordingly. So for instance I might want 3/4 of men to have voted YES, and 1/4 to have voted NO, and assured of a lot of publicity, set up some marriage guidance services and rake it in as my survey caused marital upsets amongst the fevered of brow: “The survey says you voted NO”.

        More seriously, for a survey about “Why Scotland vote NO”, I would either survey only NO voters – i.e. 100% of selected respondents would reply “NO” to “how did you vote in 2014?”, OR to be able to compare NO to YES, at least as a control group, I would make sure that the 7,000 sample size broke down to 55.3% NO and 44.7% YES – or weight the data before presentation.

        Next most important really is the sex – I think the actual referendum was 52% women and 48% men, somewhere near 50-50 anyway. After that there’s age groups, social categories, which way people voted and so on – all get weighted.

        That survey totally failed on the first two most important steps – the NO / YES ratio with the male / female ratio. Do you seriously think there’s any correct weighting to what would be the minor steps and factors – like place of birth?

        With such absolutely basic errors at the top of the data hierarchy, the survey is – worthless.

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      4. Mmm, didn’t finish that bit – I should have added “and 3/4 of women to have voted NO and 1/4 to have voted YES”.

        It’s possibly a basic mistake like that occurred either during the ed.ac’s survey, or the processing of the results. Perhaps during the survey stage itself and with 7,000 results and a grant approved and spent they had no choice but to proceed and hope for the best.

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      5. @yesindyref2

        Unfortunately the links that I posted some hours ago have not appeared out of moderation, which is a shame, as they would have provided a valuable contribution to this discussion, which is why I posted them.

        The longer video I linked to

        “Ailsa Henderson (University of Edinburgh).mp4
        27 Mar 2015 – The Scottish Question, Six Months On.”
        length 1:02:21

        I too had serious mounting questions about the presentation the more that I saw of it.

        If you watch right to the end Ailsa takes some questions and some of the issues are raised, although not actually answered in ways that would aid me to a do a proper analysis 😦

        But it may be that some curious aspects of these numbers on the slides -I hesitate to call them results, for no working is shown, no confidence intervals, probabilities or sample sizes etc. -are a result of the mangling cuased by their processing.

        So a bak-of-the-envelope ballpark evaluation/validation is not necessarily applicable, as as these numbers are probably not exactly what one might hope or image that they are.

        This is a not a random sampling and , if I don’t misunderstand, the 3!!! sets of weightings being applied, one on top of the previous, the perceived ‘results’ are not what you might hope for.

        from 0:47:45 “It is not a probability sample. It is a quota sample drawn within the online panel that Youguv has.

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      6. Apologies for the delay in approving posts. I let the system take care of moderation and, for some reason I’ve yet to fathom, it has stopped notifying me of comments pending approval.

        Like

      7. aLurker
        Glad you found problems, sometimes I wonder if I’m all there! I did post it in the Herald, and a couple of times in the National but nobody picked up on it. The second name on the survey by the way is very respectable, I can only presume he didn’t pay it enough attention. Delegated it!

        I found out about it less than a couple of years ago, when as usual someome exaggerated even its figures and claimed 80% or even 85% as opposed to the 72% “We must stop the English from voting”. I went looking and noticed a BBC report, whatever way I looked it was just madness. And sure enough, on the EdUni presentation it has Women 56.6% NO, Men 46.8% NO, Women 43.4% YES, Men 53.2% YES. Which, averaged out gives NO 51.7%, YES 48.3%. Which is 3.6% error for both. Compared to the less than 1% margin of error for data sample of over 7,000.

        Even taking account of (from memory) 52% women and 48% men voting, it still comes to 51.9% NO, 48.1% YES – 3.4% error for both. It would have to be 8 times as many women voting as men.

        But of course the BBC, Grun and other media totally ignored the arithmetic incompetence of that in their rush to get people to blame the English – and to blame women.

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  13. Mr Bell: I apologize for taking up so much of your blog. I will give it a rest for a while, as promised.

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  14. Other studies have been done, YES, that show that most NO voters, rUK or otherwise, cite ‘Britishness’ as their motivation for voting NO, without the slightest indication of why they feel this ‘Britishness’ that does not exist in reality. It is, in all its parts, Englishness, and that goes for the Scottish Unionists, too, although they appear not to notice. The Irish get it. We just don’t, for some unfathomable reason. The 2014 referendum campaign laid down a set of principles that have weighed us down with their unrealistic expectations: don’t put yourself first, but always put NO voters at the top of any Santa list, especially rUK ones; think of NO voters as, basically, your friends who just don’t realize that they are; and don’t rock the boat. Don’t ever rock the boat by telling the truth or presenting facts. Far better to live in a world where lies are truth and truth is lies, where your head is your bum hole and your bum hole is your head.

    As I said before, the basic EdU study is sound, and has been replicated elsewhere. Yes, there are flaws, but I wonder if they are statistical as much as mistakes in presentation. That is why I have said consistently since 2014 that we need a proper, in depth analysis of the 2014 referendum and extrapolate the lessons we can learn from it. I did my own research on a shoestring (having been a WASPI woman with no pension support). Much of it was gleaned from bitter experience of campaign reactions to the SNP and the mindless and utterly arrogant assumptions made by both Scottish Unionists and rUK voters – of their own “innate superiority” and of my “lack of education” because I tend, like Mr Bell, to question and query everything when I should just accept that being part of a Greater England is my, and our, destiny. I should have thought that was the very antithesis of a lack of education, but hey, ho, I’m just an ignorant independence supporting Scot. Delusional sense of a mythical ‘Britishness’ just does not cover it. It is inimical to Scottish independence and will not be ‘persuadable’, I can assure you. But have it your way. Have another indyref if you can, win it if you can, and I will bow to your superior knowledge. That’s me for 2019. I might just not get up at all in 2020 because I can see no reason to any more. Unless we start to think and stop bleating out the same old, same old, we are finished.

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    1. No, it’s duff Lorna. Before analysing any data the first thing to do is to check its integrity. Either they skipped that stage, failed to weight the three streams and check them against each other, or they didn’t bother, With some surveys that checking can even involve going back to the person or organisation to check if they made a mistake in their answers to a questionnaire – I designed and implemented a statistical framework many years ago to do just exactly that. Sometimes also you drop off suspicious or extreme data – top and tail as you could call it, so as not to skew your distribution.

      Whichever, with such a basic blooper at the top of the tree, the survey can not be used in its detail.

      Anyways, on to Hogmanay, and a Happy New Year to you and all!

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      1. If the results had not been similar to other studies, I might accept your condemnation, but, as I said, I took on board the flaws, but still came up with a similar scenario, but from a different perspective. Why don’t you design a statistical framework and offer it to the SNP? Instead of eliminating every aspect of the EdU study because it does not chime, I suspect with your own indyref2 ‘persuasion’ stance, but actually negates it, do your own study and I will happily concede your points should you come up with a different set of conclusions. That fact is, you won’t, because what happened in 2014 was more or less how the EdU study depicts it. History disproves your indyref2 stance, too. Give us all the countries of the past 100 years which gained their independence either through a pre independence referendum or through ‘persuasion’ of their country fellows, augmented by a chunk of No voters from the area from which they were trying to secede/split/whatever. The Baltic States’ minorities did vote for independence, but the choice was ‘back to Mother Russia’ or independence with their fellow Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians. They’ve never looked back. The Balkan Republics decided to be independent rather than submit to Serbian domination, albeit Serbian groups within the republics sometimes formed militias who terrorised the indigenous population, but most did not and preferred to remain with their Bosnian, Croat, Albanian neighbours. I would always recommend that, if we do vote for independence, we invite the UN to oversee it and the international community to oversee the referendum/election, etc. I believe that our English or rUK population in Scotland will come to see that their future lies with us, but they will not see it if we do not confront them with the choice, as the ethnic Russians were faced with that choice when the Berlin Wall fell and Communism sank, just as British imperialism has fallen and is sunk. The vast majority, I think, will stay, and welcome.

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  15. Mr Bell, the reason that we need to take on board the mindset of this group is that we can defeat the indigenous NO voters every time, but this group, if it continues to vote in the ways it does (not all, but most) will ensure that we cannot win. As I said, I have never,m ever advocated taking away anyone’s vote. What I said was that the UN Charter recognizes the uniquely difficult circumstances of that colonial mindset. You sometimes talk about the colonized mind, but what about the mind that does the colonizing, that is happy to colonize because it has a sense of entitlement bigger than the Empire State Building? Most independent countries’ plebiscites showed upwards of 80% for independence; we stumble on 45%. Mostly, the reason is that the huge YES plebiscites have not been pre independence ones but post independence ones. In other words, present people with a fait accompli and they tend to crumble, as we will with Brexit, even a No Deal Brexit. As they would with resiling the Treaty or dissolving the union. It’s a risk, but better than going down with a bleat – and legal and democratic.

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  16. “the reason that we need to take on board the mindset of this group is that we can defeat the indigenous NO voters every time, but this group, if it continues to vote in the ways it does (not all, but most) will ensure that we cannot win.”

    Mathematically that is nonsense.

    Scotland has about 1/10 the population of England, the rUK population within Scotland is about 1/10 that of those born in Scotland.

    So if England can take Scotland out of the EU “against its will”, then Scots can take Scotland out of the UK against the will of the rUK voters in Scotland. That 10% population (even if they all voted, and voted to remain) can not prevent the 90% from achieving their desire.

    Now if you wish to guarantee that Scotland leaves the UK, give the whole of the UK a say. England will probably vote for Scotland to leave.

    Like

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