I was interviewed for the Scottish Independence Podcast

Alistair Davidson interviewed for the Scottish Independence Podcast

Brief thoughts on Britain

I keep hearing this weird argument that Scottish independence is not desirable because the real battle is between classes. Variations on this are that a yes vote has to be blindly nationalist, or that the working class of Scotland must not be divided from the working class of England – never mind that Unite the Union organise just fine in Ireland. I don’t buy it.Image

The battle between labour and capital will continue regardless of the borders of states. Neither a vote for yes or no moves us closer to a global democratic socialist society.

However, Britain is an almost unique state. It is an empire that has transitioned from direct rule of one quarter of the Earth’s surface to an immense system of financial piracy. Something like a third of the world’s bank deposits are held in London, crown dependencies, or various ex-colonies that function as a spider’s web, drawing capital to the City itself.

Britain is considerably more neoliberal than any continental country (except perhaps the Netherlands) for this reason. It is in the hands of spiv bankers.

There is no realistic plan on the table to change the nature of Britain.

Meanwhile the greater part of Scotland is an artificial desert, maintained that way to serve as a hunting estate for aristocrats and bankers alike. Its largest native language is widely regarded as “not talking properly”, an uncouth and uneducated language to use.

The working class of Scotland regard Scotland as a country. They have been taught that it is inferior, that they are inferior. That is all that ties them to Britain.

I’ll be voting to end the empire.

Completing the set

TNS-BMRB’s poll for March is now out, so all six pollsters have now reported this month (Angus Reid haven’t had a poll in months, so I’m ignoring them for the time being). It shows a small decline for Yes. The raw figures are Yes 28%, No 42%, Don’t Know 20% – TNS-RMB continue to have by far the highest Don’t Know figure of any pollster, probably because they conduct their interviews face-to-face. With Don’t Knows excluded, the figures are Yes 40% (-1), No 60% (+1)

James Kelly’s excellent analysis notes that the fieldwork on this poll is actually older than the recent Survation and Panelbase polls, among other caveats.

The No lead in the @moh_kohn poll-of-polls is falling, but not fast enough so far for Yes to expect a win.


The polls really are quite divergent – far more so than they usually are in elections. It’s anyone’s guess what all this means (click to enlarge image).


Full data and more charts on Google Drive.

Sensational new ICM poll shows #indyref is too close to call

What a couple of weeks for Scottish independence polls! With don’t knows excluded, the last two polls had Yes on 45% (Survation) and 47% (Panelbase). Now ICM, the ‘gold standard’ of British polling, has Yes at 45% too. This returns ICM to their figure from January, which originally ‘set the campaign alight’ and – some claim – provoked David Cameron’s ‘sermon from Mount Olympus’ in February.

The raw numbers are Yes 39%, No 46%, Don’t Know 15%.


As you can see, Panelbase, ICM and Survation are all now clustered around the 45% mark. We’re still waiting for a TNS-RMB poll this month, but Ipsos Mori increasingly look like an outlier. It could be that their landline-only polling method is the cause. Panelbase, Survation, YouGov and ICM are all online pollsters. TNS-RMB use in-person interviews.

The @moh_kohn poll-of-polls has surged above 42% for the first time.

poll of pollsAnd the (must-be-taken-with-many-pinches-of-salt) linear trend has Yes losing 53% to 47% in September.


Remember, yes campaigners, the only way to be sure of a win is to get out and campaign!

As usual, all the data used and lots more charts are available on Google Drive.

New Panelbase is best poll ever for yes

The new Panelbase poll on Scottish independence is the best poll ever for the Yes campaign. The raw figures are Yes 40%, No 45%, Don’t Know 15%. Without Don’t Knows, that’s Yes 47%, No 53%. As you can see in the graph, this is a large swing, 6%, since Panelbase’s poll last month, which used the same question and methodology.

UPDATE: it appears there were two preceding questions which have not been reported. This poll might not be comparable with others.

UPDATE 2: I bumped into John Curtice on the train and he tells me Panelbase assured him the preceding questions were just demographic, and the methodology is the same as in previous polls.

Panelbase have returned to being the most optimistic pollster for Yes.


Historically, support for Scottish independence struggled to get above 33%. Since the referendum campaign began, far more people have been backing independence. It seems likely that a lot of Scots have never asked themselves the question in a serious “It could really happen!” way, until now.


All in all, this takes the @moh_kohn poll-of-polls to just under 42%, confirming that Yes is enjoying unprecedented levels of support, but still has a long way to go to win.


The linear trend – a projection, not a prediction – has Yes losing 46:54 on the big day.


There’s a long way to go to secure our independence – so get out there on the streets!

Full data tables and even more charts here.

Six months to Yes – your country needs you

As of today there are just six months until Scotland votes on its independence. I believe Scotland can, should and must be independent, and I believe Scotland will vote Yes.

Six months is a long time, but it’s also quite a short time. It has been a year since the Scottish Government announced the date of the referendum. Two thirds of the campaign has already gone.


By rights, we ought to win this. The arguments are overwhelming – Scotland is rich enough to be independent, Scotland would be more democratic if it was independent, and Scotland must escape the starvation agenda being imposed by the Westminster Tory government. Yes campaigners all know this, and on Facebook and Twitter it feels like we have already won the referendum.

But we could still lose the referendum.┬áNot everyone is on Facebook and Twitter – almost half of Glaswegians, for example, don’t have broadband internet. Pensioners almost all vote, aren’t on the internet, and lean heavily towards No. Of course they do – to them, BBC TV and the Daily Mail are still major news sources. The polls still show No on course to win, for all that Yes is making slow and steady gains.

For the next six months, we have to work like we’ve never worked before. The case for Yes must be taken out into our communities. It must be inescapable. Our opponents control the news media and big business. We control the streets of Scotland. To win, we must be bold, proud, unafraid to put our views forward. We must knock on every door in the country and put our case directly to the people.

In twenty years time, we’ll be looking back on the few short months of summer 2014 and asking ourselves – what did I do? Win or lose, our children and grandchildren will want to know what roles we played. This is a chance – a fleeting chance – to etch our names into history, to change the future.

There are events happening up and down the country. Contact your local Yes group. Do it today. Volunteer to help with whatever they need, whatever you can do.

Come September there will be no hiding place. Your country needs you.

Survation poll has Yes at 45%

A poll out today by Survation for the Daily Record is one of the best results yet for the Yes campaign. It gives a raw vote of Yes 39%, No 48%, Don’t Know 13%. With Don’t Know excluded, that’s Yes 45%, No 55%. Any change from the previous Survation poll is well within the margin of error, so this is a no-change poll.

The movement in the polls this year has been very small so far, showing perhaps a slight drift to yes (ICM changed their methodology, which explains their large swings). Depending on which pollster you believe, yes need to find anything from a 5% swing (Survation, Panelbase, ICM) to an 8% swing (Ipsos Mori) to win.


YouGov and Survation have both shown an increase in their raw Yes and No numbers. It could be that rather than shifting people one way or the other George Osborne’s Sermon on the Pound has hardened attitudes on both sides.


The @moh_kohn poll-of-polls (the mean average of the latest results from six major pollsters) shows only margin-of-error changes since January, with Yes at just below 42%.


My (somewhat experimental) linear trend since September 2013 has No on course to win 55% to 45%. The positive for the Yes campaign is that there is a clear trend towards Yes since September, it just isn’t a strong enough trend to bring victory. We will need much bigger movement in the polls for that to happen.


The raw data and calculations for this, plus some more charts, can be found on Google Drive.


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