Monthly Archives: February 2014

Johann Lamont punches through the bottom of the barrel…

Posted by Euan Bennet on 26/02/2014

The full title of this piece is Johann Lamont punches through the bottom of the barrel at the bottom of the rabbit hole underneath the first barrel. Again.

“We’re not genetically programmed in Scotland to make political decisions”

Full context can be found here, if you can stomach sitting through the wall of noise Lamont produces in lieu of actual democratic debate.

Just when you think that what’s been said can’t possibly be beaten, Johann “Wee Things” Lamont comes up with another belter. Recall that this is the person who aspires to be First Minister of Scotland, with the responsibility of representing Scotland to the World that comes with that. Recall also that this is the person who argued against universal public services by claiming that Scotland was a “something for nothing” society, before trying to rewrite history and pretend that she didn’t actually say it.

More recently in Parliament she described Trident, the bedroom tax, illegal wars and other major issues as “wee things”.

But let’s return to that quote from last night.

“We’re not genetically programmed in Scotland to make political decisions”

No doubt some will claim that she “didn’t mean” to say it, as they did with the other examples above. Is that a reasonable defence? Not, I would argue, for someone in her position. Recall that she aspires to be First Minister of Scotland. Even though her preferred version of that position is to remain subservient to her London masters. (a bizarre position adopted by all Unionist MSPs: in how many other professions would you find people arguing vehemently against their own promotion, with such vitriol and willingness to do down themselves and their friends and family?)

Even if she didn’t mean to say it, she has form with using particularly ugly language, such as when she whole-heartedly adopted the language of fascism. So if we examine what she meant by the latest comment, can we conclude that Lamont not only thinks of around 40% of the people of Scotland are a “virus” but that also she believes Scots are a genetically inferior species? It would certainly explain why she and other Unionists argue that Scots are uniquely incapable of running our own affairs.

Regardless of the intent, bringing genetics into the debate is unhelpful and potentially nasty. It is a fantastic example of one of the worst cases of Cringe that has ever been exhibited. It also completely misses the entire point of the referendum: that being that the people best able to decide Scotland’s future are the people that live and work here, regardless of their origin. 

Here is a much more appropriate quote:

“it isn’t important where you come from, what matters is where we are going together as a nation” – Bashir Achmed (said in 1995, before he became Scotland’s first Muslim MSP)

Back to Lamont’s infantile (by comparison) utterance: given that the only reason that we have a referendum is because the 2011 election resulted in an overall majority for the SNP. Given that several high-profile Labour politicians have claimed that the Mixed-member Proportional Representation electoral system was chosen explicitly to prevent such an outcome, the outcome of that election was no accident. The SNP majority is a result of them achieving overwhelming support in all eight electoral regions of Scotland: even a slight reduction in support in just one region would result in a total of fewer than 65 seats. Yes, I am enough of an anorak to have played with the numbers to confirm this, at the time of the election.

Now obviously support for the SNP does not necessarily correlate to support for independence, but it certainly does correlate to support for having a referendum. We wouldn’t be here today if the electorate didn’t know what they are doing. That alone is evidence enough to disprove Johann Lamont’s claim (whether she meant it or not), and possibly explains why she seems to be so angry all of the time.

From love-bombing to carpet-bombing

It’s been an interesting week for the independence debate. Last week David Cameron gave a keynote speech at the London Olympic velodrome (showing his connection with Scotland there) entreating citizens from all over the UK to contact friends and family in Scotland and tell them how much they want us to stay. The best response to this plea by far was from the Artist Taxi Driver in the video above, warning: strong language.

A compilation of responses from a small and unrepresentative number of people on social media can be found here. Faith in humanity was restored marginally.

Until…

herald_yes_means_no

Today a “senior coalition source” stated that Westminster may ignore the referendum result if negotiations don’t go their way. This is an astonishing admission, as James Kelly has noted on Scot Goes Pop there is a word for a government that overrides the democratic will of the people in its own interests: dictatorship.

Meanwhile the change in tactics was also reflected by a small and unrepresentative number of people in the rest of the UK, as reflected in newspaper comments sections throughout the mainstream media. A particularly eloquent contribution was made in this petition to the UK Government, which has an unpleasant whiff of racism about it.

Don’t you just feel the love?

This song sums it up perfectly, and should be viewed by everyone before the referendum:

What if “can’t do” became “can do”?

The latest video from Jack Foster and Christopher Silver perfectly depicts what can happen when hard work overcomes the naysayers who talk down your efforts – a perfect metaphor for the referendum debate.

As the video says, no one is saying it will be easy or will happen overnight, but voting Yes is just the first step to creating a better, fairer, more prosperous society.

On opinion polls

Posted by Euan Bennet on 11/02/2013

Much has been written, and will be written, on the interpretation and analysis of opinion polls. The constant caveat that must always be kept in mind is that polls provide a snapshot of the electorate at a particular instant, and the samples are unlikely to be truly representative. Even a poll with sample size 1,000 is only expected to be within 3% of the truth when extrapolated to the entire electorate. Each individual polling company has their own nuances and ways of interpreting the data, which adds further complications when comparing different polls. Referendum polling particularly suffers from methodological difficulties since none of the polling companies are familiar with one-off votes, and as such still depend heavily on party identification to weight responses: a practice that is as best risky and at worst outright misleading.

Ultimately as the saying goes, the only poll that matters is the one on the day of the election/referendum. The only real value of opinion polls is to look at trends over time. The mainstream media doesn’t really understand this, hence why we have had more than a year of headlines saying “polls static!”, “Support for Independence stuck at around 1/3!” etc etc. This suits their narrative but it doesn’t really resemble reality. Here is reality (in the polls!):

Image

The above figure was prepared by “scottish_skier”, one of the regular commenters on Wings over Scotland, see his comment in context here. You can judge for yourself if that looks anything like what the media have been reporting over the past few months.

Polls taken since October are particularly interesting, since the fieldwork would have been done after the publication of the Scottish Government’s White Paper. The trend since then has been only in one direction: Yes rising and No falling. As noted on Wings over Scotland, the notable thing that’s happening at the moment is that all polling companies are converging to show a gap of around 14%, plus or minus 3% – if accurate then a 7% swing is all that is required for Yes to take the lead. In my opinion the polls are way behind reality anyway, and canvassers are reporting far more optimistic results from the ground. But when the polls finally reflect this, we really will be living in interesting times. Given the panic-stricken tone of the No campaign and the mainstream media when No were “winning”, I wonder where they can possibly go next.