If the case for independence is so strong, why isn’t Yes winning?

Indyref poster FW printBy Jonathan Rowson

As fatigue kicks in, tensions rise, nerves fray, and morale on the ground is repeatedly confounded by aggravating opinion polls, the Yes campaign needs to go beyond wishful thinking and find an authentically positive strategy. To get there, we need to look at two difficult questions head on:

1.       Given the persistent and significant gap in the polls, is there honestly a chance Yes might win?

2.       If the case for independence is so strong, why isn’t Yes already winning?  

The answer to the first question is an assured rather than resounding yes, but only if we face up to the difficulty posed by the second question.

The reflex answer of a Yes loyalist is that we’re not winning because of misplaced fear, unreasonable doubt, widespread misinformation and lack of political imagination. While that contains some truth, it is bad faith, placing the power to influence the outcome outside of ourselves.

A more productive answer is that Yes is not winning because around 10-20% of the population have viewed their case in one way, but might yet view it in another.

Political preferences are not really about issues or personalities or even logic. Those factors lie at the surface of the debate, but perception is what matters and that is mostly unconscious, grounded in moral foundationscognitive frames and root metaphors. The Yes campaign will surely be familiar with these perspectives, but they may need to take another look.

The signal and the noise

Almost exactly a year ago, perhaps the best electoral forecaster in the world said his reading of the polls was that the chances of a Yes victory in the Scottish referendum were ‘virtually non-existent’. Nate Silver’s understanding of UK electoral politics is not quite golden but he has a reputation for seeing through superficial volatility in opinion and being proven right in the end. A whole year later, after plenty of apparent volatility and with just a few weeks remaining, YouGov’s Peter Kellner makes a very similar claim in Prospect magazine:

“Scottish divisions over independence look more like those in the United States, where Republican and Democratic voters really do seem to inhabit different worlds in their values and outlook. This is bad news for Salmond, for the 60 per cent majority looks deep as well as broad. There seem to be few “shallow” opponents of independence who might be won over by effective last-minute campaigning.”

The ambiguity concerning ‘few’ and ‘shallow’ is something to hold on to. Moreover, even the best pollsters with large samples say that they are only right within a 2% margin 95% of the time; and there are reasons to believe this referendum could be among the disobedient 5% – it’s a once in a lifetime event after all.

Nonetheless, that still sounds like wishful thinking. The No majority is ‘deep and broad’ and the basis for their tenacious lead appears to be about stable factors like values and outlook rather than volatile ones like issues or events.

So here’s the point. Impeccable reassurance on the currency position probably won’t do it. A perceived victory in the second debate probably won’t do it. A huge push to get the Yes vote out on the day probably won’t do it either. Even if Yes fights heroically and wins all those battles, it may not be enough to win the war.

The brutal fact of the persistent 3:2 ratio against independence is that a strategy focussed on winning over the truly undecided vote is objectively a long shot, because if that’s all you do then you’ll need to win over almost all of them. Unless you are wildly optimistic, it’s hard to see why that would happen.

It follows that if you are serious about achieving a Yes victory you probably have to get some apparently settled no voters to change their mind, which means campaigning more explicitly at the level of values and outlook.

Reaching moral foundations:

That’s not easy, but it’s not impossible. The reason the argument can feel so binary, blinkered and baffling is because by nature we are not so much rational as rationalising; mostly we select facts and theories to serve the position we currently hold for reasons that are broadly ‘moral’. What it means to have ‘made up your mind’ is that you are at ease with how your decision feels to you, and that means it aligns relatively well with your moral foundations. To change your view, you would either have to start feeling uncomfortable at the level of those foundations, or more comfortable with the alternative option.

While the psychology of political messaging is too complex and contested to unpack fully here, the following sketch gives a fresh perspective on why Yes is losing in spite of what feels like a strong case for independence, and includes some thoughts on the kinds of shifts in framing and communication that might be necessary to reach No voters who are still susceptible in principle, but unpersuadable at the level of ‘issues’ alone.

Social psychologist Professor Jonathan Haidt argues that our intuition operates on the basis of a palette of six main moral foundations below.[i]

1.     The Care/Harm Foundation is based on concern for others and a desire to protect them from harm.

I would say this one is evenly balanced at the moment, but Yes could tip it in its favour.

Yes reaches this foundation with its emphasis on social justice and a fairer society, but the risk of harm from independence is still viewed as significant by many No voters. Yes needs to push harder on the idea that saying no is not about safety, because it could entail exit from the EU and the end of the NHS which would be extremely harmful to Scotland. To ‘win’ this foundation, Yes therefore has to be seen to entail increasing safety for Scotland from the threat of a No vote, as well as better care for Scottish people through social policy. It looks like it’s already beginning to do that.

2.     The Fairness/Cheating Foundation relates to a particular sense of justice, treating others in proportion to their actions, sometimes called proportionality, as in Aristotle’s famous line that ‘justice is giving each their due’.

I think No is currently winning here, while Yes probably should be.

Yes should be winning here, because the core argument that a nation should have its own state is grounded in a sense of proportionality and fairness. However, for many, the position on the economy in general and the currency in particular is that Yes may not be ‘coming clean’. The Yes side has begun to shift the perception that it’s the deviant weaker party potentially willing to default on debt, and framed the prospective opponents instead as being the creators of needless doubt, uncertainty and instability, which is good. However, while this perspective has given the Yes side a clearer sense of vision and purpose, it’s not clear it has convinced those who were not already inclined to be convinced. I think Yes should acknowledge the complexities and uncertainties of the monetary union, but do so in a measured way that makes the other side appear shrill and unreasonable.

3.     The Liberty/Oppression Foundation is about resisting domination, and the sensitivity to people being tyrannized. Jonathan Haidt says this “triggers an urge to band together to resist or overthrow bullies and tyrants.”

Yes is winning here.

This is a natural win to Yes because independence is about resisting domination by a remote power we mostly didn’t elect. However, for many, the Yes side are thought of as ‘Nats’ who are domineering and fanatical and therefore cannot be trusted to wield power fairly, and some remote voters believe Central Belt domination would be just as bad as the status quo. In some ways the currency issue is an opportunity to gain more ground here, because the veto on a currency union can be presented as taking away our currency and effectively bullying us into a second-rate option, which is already happening.

4.     The Loyalty/Betrayal Foundation is about the love of tribes and team mates, about our drive to form cohesive coalitions, whether through families or nations.

No is winning here, but doesn’t have to be.

I think many Scots feel that voting Yes is a kind of betrayal of an extended family with shared history and institutions. Yes have done quite well to speak of the ongoing positive relationship that would emerge, but notice how ‘No’ speak of ‘divorce’ and ‘separation’ and ‘breaking up’. The positive case for the currency union and the Queen as Head of State should be linked to this foundation by emphasising the maturity of the ongoing relationship of equals. Yes might always ‘lose’ in this foundation, but I believe the problem is compounded by a perception that some on the Yes side view voting no as a betrayal, which, in my view, it clearly isn’t. Working hard on this foundation might be a key part of reaching larger sections of the female vote where, anecdotally, this kind of vilification appears to be a real turn off.

5.     The Authority/Subversion Foundation is tradition and legitimate authority, grounded in respect and an appreciation for the structures provided by hierarchies.

 No is currently winning here, but Yes can narrow the gap.

A no ‘win’ on subversion is built in to the subversive nature of independence. However, Yes have a chance to use the currency union issue to their advantage if they can take a really strong line on this and go on the attack. We need to find the ‘strict father’ voice that the No campaign currently has on that issue, and we can do that by painting a picture of Scotland’s strong position in the currency negotiation more vividly in voters’ minds. Over the last view days that has begun to emerge. I also think Yes should think about ‘legitimate authority’ a bit more. Rather than saying the value of independence is that it allows us to ‘be in control’ of our country, which is very abstract, it would be better to say ‘we can’t make plans’ and link that to energy and planning policy – this taps into the foundation better, by making constraints on our actions feel more visceral.

6.     The Sanctity/Degradation Foundation is about avoiding disgusting things, foods and actions but it extends to a broader conception of purity or disgust, and our ideas about what is sacred.

I believe no is currently winning here but Yes can narrow the gap.

This is a difficult one to call, but I think for some who are not predisposed to yes, there is something desacralizing if not disgusting about ‘breaking up’ when it is not strictly necessary – for some people the idea is actually offensive at some level. I also wonder if Alistair Darling’s unwillingness to say that Scotland could be a successful independent country relates to disgust. Moreover, some potential Yes voters are genuinely disgusted by the perception that particularly zealous Yes campaigners make the other side feel uncomfortable. Again, this foundation might be particularly important for female voters.

In addition to general campaigning discipline, to counteract these issues perhaps Yes could make more of the kind of nationalism that connects to the sacred. The positive case doesn’t have to be ‘blood and soil’, but reminding people of their love of the country has a place.

That brief sketch of complex and contested terrain begs a lot of questions, but the point is that Yes needs to get beyond campaigning for the undecided voters and reach some No voters too, by connecting better with the moral foundations that are not currently being reached. 

So if you’re out there campaigning and you are asked about typical no concerns relating to currency or pensions or just general uncertainty, realise that you’re really being asked about protection, oppression, fairness, betrayal, subversion and disgust.

At the risk of making politics sound like football, the tenacity of the No lead can be explained by the ‘score’ on moral foundations currently being about 4.5-1.5 to No. However, the good news is that with some intelligent reframing and improved messaging the score could be more like 4-2 to Yes, in which case some relatively stable no voters would begin to change their allegiance and Scotland would become independent. There is still everything to play for.


[i] In the selected model, the theory is that certain adaptive pressures in evolution gave rise to a tendency to make quick automatic associations that are largely emotional in nature, leading us to make evaluative judgments extremely quickly. On this account of ‘social intuitionism’, reason only emerges after the fact, to rationalise the moral position we have already intuited. More details here: http://www.moralfoundations.org/



Categories: Commentary

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188 replies

  1. Who says yes isn’t winning, the “Unionist Polls”, I don’t get that feeling that yes is losing, in fact over the past month or so, I feel yes with regards to the polls is actually ahead. Now you may say this is over confidence but, I say not really, a quick scan through, social media and other sites linked to the independence debate, leads me to believe my confident claim is sustainable.

    Yes rallies and grassroots meeting are taking place all over Scotland, they’re undeniable and well informed, the same cannot be said for the unionist movement, who’ve had to bus in supporters from south of the border.

    • “Who says yes isn’t winning, the “Unionist Polls”, I don’t get that feeling that yes is losing, in fact over the past month or so, I feel yes with regards to the polls is actually ahead.”

      That’s because you’re living in a bubble.

      • So you actually believe IPSOS/MORI/Survation//YouGov and other polls that show yes behind, you do know the Westminster government commissioned a poll a few months back but wouldn’t publish the result, Hmm! I wonder why? after repeated calls to publish it over several weeks they still wouldn’t publish it. Now it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work out why they didn’t publish it, but if you live in a bubble you might not recognise it.

        Other biased approaches to polls if it was just a yes or no straight answer the polls wouldn’t lie, but the responses are weighed and all sorts data taken in consideration, to manipulate the results. Do try and be a bit more open minded you may surprise yourself.

      • I must be living in the same bubble.

      • You’re the one living in the bubble. A true believer who thinks the polls are right. The POLLS have NEVER been right in any recent important Scottish votes. Go and check the pre-vote Poll returns with actual results for 1997 Referendum, 2011 Holyrood election and Euro 14 electiom. ALL rubbish. Anytime a particular figure is the same as an actual figure it is pure chance.

        Based on hundreds of canvass returns, straw polls in the newspapers, at public meetings, social media, “feelings on the street” YES is well in the lead.

    • republicofScotland

      Quite agree, there have been polls like the Press and Journal which have put YES well ahead and mass canvassing results back this up. The vast majority of people I come into contact with are voting YES so I find this article a bit naïve and out of touch with what is really happening.

      • Really?!

      • There’re also the interesting results of the canvassing done by the RIC in recent months. The last one, just on the 6th, found 59.8% in favour of Yes, with ‘Don’t Knows’ excluded. Particularly interesting for two reasons: first, they were canvassing a far larger number of people than any polling organisation (5098 responses in the most recent); and secondly, they were doing so in generally less wealthy areas, where there has been general disengagement with politics otherwise. Granted, the RIC are obviously coming at this from one side, but still.

        Moreover, I don’t think any of the polling organisations will be able to get a real handle on the referendum – it’s a different creature entirely from regular elections, with much more to consider and much more at stake.

      • MACDUFF
        I agree both about your views on who is ahead and with your view that the article is naive and out of touch.

        And YES Bella: Really.

    • I say YES isn’t winning. Whhaaaat????? I say YES isn’t winning…..

      I base this on the polls, which – although I accept are generally biased towards a NO – are the best indication of how the public are feeling. I won’t start thinking that YES may be winning at least until the poles indicate that it’s 50:50. Until then, it’s just wishful thinking.

      As for social media and buses full of foreign unionists etc which you mention, well that’s because we YES supporters are more politically motivated than our opponents. YES is more people driven than the party driven NO camp, and hence you’ll fins more YES activists shouting or typing “YES” in their respective campaigning domains. I know you don’t need to be told that, but I’m telling you because whilst it is one of the most exciting and encouraging experiences I have ever had, IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT YES IS WINNING!

      The only thing YES has won is the argument. We are yet to convince enough people of this.

      OK?

      It is often wise to be cautious in life, assess where you are, how you got here, and how you can move forward. The above article does this well. And with 4 weeks to go and polls that all suggest YES has to keep moving forward in order to win, it may be wise to spend a little bit time thinking about how we are performing and how we can move forward and ensure a win for YES, as opposed to just assuming the polls are all biased and therefore YES MUST be winning.

      Good Night.

      • The polls do not have to be biased to get it wrong. UK polling companies are notoriously useless in predicting the the outcome of purely Scottish elections. I would think that is likely to be the case even more strongly with the referendum, as it seems lots of people are registering in order to vote YES who have been absent from the electoral register for decades. I find the assumption YES is losing because of the polls unconvincing. It also happens to be too horrible a thought to contemplate. Should i just get back in my bubble?

  2. Just what we need, more confusion!

  3. Common answer I hear – “Quite simply.. Better together! I have a good job, family life is good, the quality of my life is good so why disrupt it all!! “

    • That’s exactly what I hear Grant. All nice and clever sounding stuff from Jonathan but the reality as I see it is that plenty of people are happy as they are, life’s ok thanks very much. And these people are fairly apothetic having been turned off politics over the last 20 odd years so don’t see and don’t care about the appalling performance from Westminster and the widening inequality.
      Put simply, why change?

    • I might have some input – as a definite NO voter, but one that enjoys this website with the best commentary on the referendum. Many, probably most, Scots have thought about it and have decided independence is a bad idea, or at least a worse idea than the status quo. We are not YES voters in waiting. There seems like a lot of politics in the YES arguments, but Scotland is more than Holyrood and the UK isn’t just Westminster. In fact the Westminster thing doesn’t resonate. It’s not that we like Westminster; we just don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it – or Holyrood or Strasbourg for that matter.

      Grant, I think your question is the best one. If the YES team can come up with a snappy and convincing answer, it may be onto something.

      • I’m rather worried that you seem to believe there is a status quo option on offer. With every UK party offering more and harsher austerity, and the rumblings that suggest the Barnett Formula is heading for the scrapyard, things will not go on as they are now. We’ve had a cushion for a few years now from the worst of the austerity measures, however it is unlikely to survive far past a No vote.

      • My snappy answer would be this:
        Over many decades, a country’s worth of wealth has been stolen from the people of the UK by the wealthy, powerful elite. We now have a chance to redress the balance in Scotland.

  4. You have to believe that the polls are a correct reflection on voting intensions for the argument to hold any water. I for one don’t

  5. thanks for that fascinating perspective. It’s very puzzling to us committed yes supporters, looking at the sullen nos… Why don’t they “get it”? It’s good to be reminded that they too are behaving like “normal human beings”! ;-)

  6. A first class chess player. The problem with analysis like this though is it falls apart like any other de-constructivist explanation and so renders the subject impenetrable or ‘workable’. Do you really believe that No are winning on item 4 betrayal and loyalty? to what? westmisnster mps and the lords? Nah! Keep presenting a simple positive message and leave all the skulduggery and politics to the baddies. It turns people right off.

  7. The real issue for Scottish Independence is that the majority of the Scots have been conditioned to “being taken care of by big government”. They have lost any self esteem relative to having confidence in their own independence and self reliance. This is a referendum about “regressive” socialism and personal freedom, independence and responsibility.

    An appeal has to be made to the individual’s personal self respect. Are they “free and independent” or are they just “subservient vassals” to the English and dependent on their benevolence and charity?

    “Freedom is messy. In free societies, people will fall through the cracks–drink too much, eat too much, buy unaffordable homes, fail to make prudent provision for health care, and much else. But the price of being relieved of all those tiresome choices by a benign paternal government is far too high. Big Government is the small option: it’s the guarantee of smaller freedom, smaller homes, smaller cars, smaller opportunities, smaller lives.” – Mark Steyn

    What ever happened to the Scots sense of pride and love of freedom and independence?

    “For so long as one hundred men remain alive,
    we shall never under any conditions submit to the
    domination of the English.

    It is not for glory or riches or honours that we fight,
    but only for liberty, which no good man will
    consent to lose but with his life.”
    The Declaration of Arbroath, 1320

    “They may take away our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!” – purportedly said by William Wallace

    Socialism is NOT liberty. Socialism is indentured servitude to a “hopefully” benevolent government.

    “In a free society the state does not administer the affairs of men. It administers justice among men who conduct their own affairs.” – Walter Lippman

    “When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work, because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is socialism and the beginning of the end of any nation.”

    “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.”― Milton Friedman

    “The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.” – George Washington

    Unfortunately: “The greatest argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” -Winston Churchill

  8. “morale on the ground is repeatedly confounded by aggravating opinion polls, the Yes campaign”

    This reads as if it was written by some Ivory Tower academic with little experience of the campaign “on the ground” , where morale is high.

    “Given the persistent and significant gap in the polls”

    “Polls”?

    What polls?

    The inaccurate and un-scientific “samples” clearly being referred to here are not “polls”.

    There is only one poll, the one on the 18th of next month.

    “is there honestly a chance Yes might win?”

    Not just a “chance”, not just “might”

    YES will win.

    ” If the case for independence is so strong, why isn’t Yes already winning?”

    Yes IS already winning.

    In repeating the myth that No is ahead, you’re falling for propaganda from the British State, the British State Broadcasting Corporation, the British State sponsored media, etc.

    ” a strategy focussed on winning over the truly undecided vote is objectively a long shot, because if that’s all you do then you’ll need to win over almost all of them”

    Ignore those propaganda exercises masquerading under the false description “polls”

    Consider the survey conducted by the Radical Independence Campaign on the 6th of August.

    First of all, over five thousand people surveyed makes it a far bigger survey of opinion than any of the things that pass themselves off as so-called “opinion polls”.

    Secondly, it was done on a door-to-door basis, which makes it more of a survey of opinion than most of the things that pass themselves off as so-called “opinion polls”.

    Thirdly, the survey was conducted at forty two different locations throughout the length and breadth of Scotland, which makes it more of a “national” survey than any of the things that pass themselves off as so-called “opinion polls”.

    Fourthly, note that the Radical Independence Campaign ALWAYS tell us at least four things that Better Together NEVER tell us .
    They tell us the number of locations surveyed.
    They tell us the number of canvassers.
    They tell us the number of people canvassed.
    They tell us the numbers and the percentages of folk voting the way they would rather they didn’t.

    All you get from Better Together is meaningless waffle like “loads of folk saying No Thanks in Auchenshoogle”. They never tell you how many folk said “Yes Please”. I suspect the reason for this is that their survey results, if they ever did publish them, would not be all that different from the RIC’s. Which is probably why they don’t publish them.

    Now: there are two big, obvious, differences between the results of the RIC mass canvass and the things that go under the alias of “opinion polls”.

    The first is the clear Yes majority over No.

    The second is the much higher percentage of ‘Don’t Knows” – THIRTY PERCENT still undecided.

    In both of these findings, I’m willing to bet these mass canvass results will be proved to be more accurate than the so-called “opinion polls”.

    There are still a huge number of Don’t Knows. Yet as has been proved time and time again, (those of us who are active know this to be true) it can often take only a couple of minutes conversation to turn many of these DKs into Yes. Difficult as this may be for some to accept, it really is the case that many of them are just looking for somebody to say “it’ll be okay”.

    With such a high percentage of Don’t-Knows, there is still a helluva lot of work to be done in five weeks. But there is every reason to believe it will be rewarding work.

    My prediction remains the same: there will be a really massive, quite un-precedented, turnout, well over 80 percent; a majority of the Don’t Knows will end up as Yes; every region of Scotland will return a Yes majority; and the overall result will be a decisive win for YES.

    • You are living in fantasy land if you think the RIC mass canvas is a representative sample of voters. It would be absolutely hilarious if it wasn’t so sad.

      • Polling is not an exact science, best to expect the unexpected. That Vox Pop is soooo fickle.

      • The schemes are overwhelmingly voting Yes. There have been a number of extensive canvasses of a number of places near me, Clydebank being the main one and the Yes voters are in the majority by 2 to 1. And Clydebank is a sizeable town of around 50,000 people, the kind of place that will take central place in the referendum result. My information is that there have also been canvasses of Kilmarnock, Motherwell, Coatbridge and Falkirk and they have also resulted in healthy Yes majorities. Maybe the poll organisations run by Cameron’s friends are only polling the posh suburbs and the rural areas..

    • I wouldn’t bet against a lot of the DKs that the RIC canvasses identify being shy No. They may know how they want to vote but not want to get into an argument over it with a radical socialist canvasser. I think the greater hope to take from RIC’s work is that they’re getting a lot of people who haven’t previously voted registered and voting Yes. There are lots of folk like that who are voting Yes and probably precious few voting No. That in itself could well be enough to swing it for Yes.

    • Dave Coull
      I fully agree with you.
      And it should be noted we now have a pet troll in the form of näbd (@naebD), whoever that may be, patrolling the comments and trying to diss all the good YES vibes. He is a true believer in ‘The Polls’ even though they have NEVER been right in a major Scottish voting situation.

  9. The impression that Yes is not winning is driven by the pro-union propaganda machine comprising Westminster and the Scottish Mainstream Media.
    An interesting piece of information to the contrary is the result of the Radical Independence Campaign’s National Mass Canvass held on Wednesday, 6 August 2014 when 587 canvassers covered 42 areas across Scotland with 5089 respondents. The results were Yes 42%, No 28%, Don’t Know 30%. When the DKs are excluded the returns show Yes 59.8% with No 40.2%. Who says Yes is not winning?
    I wonder if anyone has seen this reported anywhere in the Scottish MSM? I very much doubt it but there may have been and I missed it.
    5089 respondents is an impressive figure and in a functioning democracy would rightly merit nationwide media acknowledgement. If a poll of only 1000 women (many of whom think Alistair Darling is “Principled” …. AYE RIGHT!) can get blanket coverage then surely the RIC Mass Canvass with five times the respondents should get similar coverage.

    • I completely agree with this. All of the data available to Yes Scotland indicates a lead over know and an incredible amount of don’t knows. As someone who canvasses for Yes, I see this all of the time. The polls are not picking this up for some reason.

      • There is one very simple reason inter alia the polls are not picking up what you are finding. They are polling a self selected group of people who put themselves forward to be polled. And these people are politically aware. I am quite certain such a group does not include many of your ordinary men in the street and absolutely certain it does not contain people who very rarely vote. However those are the people you are canvassing and who are replying to newspaper polls and ad hoc straw polls which are showing YES well ahead.

        Just remember that ‘the Polls’ have NEVER been right for any major Scottish vote. Go and check Wikipedia for 1997, 2011, and EURO14. The poor quality of the Polls’ findings will astonish you.

    • It’s true that the Mass Canvass had more respondents than commercial polling, but it’s not representative. The Mass Canvass is deliberately targetted at working class areas, which we already know are more Yes-friendly. The Mass Canvass is not intended to get a cross-section of general Scottish opinion.

      • The choice of which places in their area to canvass is not decided centrally by the RIC, but decided separately by 42 different local groups. In the case of Radical Independence (Angus & Mearns) the decision to go for the “Glens” housing scheme in Montrose, rather than the very similar “Gallowshades” housing scheme in Forfar, was partly because the one in Forfar, being on a hill, would be more difficult for me with my bad leg. It’s true RIC tends to focus on working class areas. To a far greater extent than is ever true of any mere election, the majority of voters in this referendum will be working class. The so-called “opinion polls” deliberately exclude, or, at least, massively under-represent, the working class. That might sort-of work for a Westminster election. It’s not going to work for this. The RIC mass canvass is a far bigger survey than any so-called “opinion poll”, and, in less than five weeks now, it will be conclusively proved that the RIC got it right, and the “polls” got it wrong.

  10. If by some fluke the polls are confirmed by the ref. result that is not and must not be the end. We do not need outbreaks of mass depression or any wallowing in romantic what-might-have-beenism or endless and pointless analyses of minutiae of the campaign or self-lacerating in-fighting which only the system will enjoy. Our cause is just. It is worth fighting for, again and again. However, we are not there yet!

  11. This contribution makes a sound point about the need to build a shared frame of reference within which different groups can come to accept constitutional change. Successful independence movements elsewhere have done so to such an extent that the vote in favour of constitutional change has attracted support of the order of 90%, not 50%.

  12. This was an interesting article. I think a lot of no voters are voting no because they’ve been successfully persuaded that independence would be a total economic disaster. They take this out on the messenger, Salmond, since they’ve been trained to hate him over many years, and it’s easier to say you’re voting no because of a man than it is to say “I’m voting no because I believe my country is too crap”.

    Sorry – this comment didn’t address the content of the article which I think I’ll need to re-read to get more out of.

    • Derek Bateman has an interesting piece today about corporate branding. The voters have been trained to hate Salmond and many Noes aren’t about the issues they are about the way the media has portrayed Salmond.

  13. Intellectual laziness is a factor. Many people just can’t bring themselves to find out more about the advantages of independence. Far easier to swallow the media line – prejudiced in favour of No – and return to watching Emmerdale. The No support is founded on ignorance.

    • “What do we want?”
      “A revolution!”
      “When do we want it?”
      “After our tea.”/”After we’ve watched Corrie.”/”After the footie.”, etc.

      It’s good to see that we as a society have our priorities straight. More accurately, it shows how thoroughly the Brits have brainwashed and pacified us over the years.

  14. THis is all crap there is a poll now thats over 400,000 strong its called Facebook. if thats even a massive 10% out it still puts yes ahead. twitter puts yes even father ahead. these like the unions polls are all based on the question asked.

  15. Ummm! Couldn’t it be that the Scots have simply been filleted over 300 years? Probably only independence will give them back their spines.

  16. Useful article for me as it helped me see what’s holding back a few nos I’ve spoken to.

    My new catch phrase is going to be “you’re rationalising, not being rational”. Politely of course as it’s my mission in life to convert them!

  17. I can’t believe that Bella could let itself be used like this.
    Is there a plant amongst the editors?

  18. The most recent post on Craig Murrays blog found that three different ‘No’ posts agreeing with each other came from the same IP address.
    To you, to me.

  19. I go along with much of what the writer says here up to a point but I must say I have found that by far the majority of those who are saying they will vote NO are doing so quite simply because of a combination of blissful ignorance of what YES is actually saying coupled by the fear of change that Better Together has succeeded in crafting, and not because of any lingering wish to remain under Westminster control.

    The Future of Scotland White paper was an excellent piece of work for those with the time and inclination to read it through, but far too unwieldy for getting the YES message across succinctly or well enough, and given that the MSM and BBC are heavily engaged in routinely filtering out the YES message, it should have been followed up with something far more readable to the average voter.

    Wings Over Scotland has made an excellent stab at producing such a thing with his “Wee Blue Book” which I heartily recommend to all those trying to persuade NO voters to change their minds – see http://wingsoverscotland.com/weebluebook/

    • Marian, we’ve been distributing a much-shortened version of the WP for weeks, but it took Yes Scotland and the SNP campaign advisors far too long to see the real world.
      It should have gone out WITH the full version.
      We saw just how out of touch (they really do think this is an election in Florida) with the advice and guidance they gave to AS before his encounter with Darling.

      That wasn’t AS debating – it was the creation of professional spinners and ‘special’ advisors, and it’s not too late to get rid of them and ask US what’s going on.

  20. Apologies – I’m responding without reading the whole article – because the ‘why aren’t we winning’ is a silly question, and all grassroots activists know the answer.
    Basically, as many as 1.4 million voters in Scotland have ‘no easy access’ to a computer, and get their news from 36 unionist newspapers and 100% unionist radio and TV broadcasters.

    We – the ‘non-creative’ folk – found this out when the DWP floated the plan to have all claim and appeal forms online. One of our major charities (can’t remember which one, but it was CPAG Scotland, Oxfam Scotland, or similar) discovered the ‘1.4 million’ figure, and the majority are elderly or at the bottom of the social scale.
    I remember one young London based DWP cyber-type asking why those without a computer didn’t just use their local internet cafe. – you know – like the ones in Annan, Callender, Tullibody, Selkirk, Thurso, and all the other places that aren’t called London, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee…….
    They’re also the least likely to be a part of the polling world.

    I suppose it’s the difference between the way those young planners who live in the cyber-world and work for the DWP/Westminster ‘ideas’ departments and the ‘creative/arts’ world (no offense is intended) – and the real one of foodbanks, DLA, poverty, ESA, the Bedroom Tax …… you know – the million+ in Scotland who can’t afford a computer or smartphone, and think ‘tablet’ is a pill or a sweet.

    There’s also a significant number who don’t use the Net for news or networking. All our local Yes activists do. We’ve seen the real evidence.
    But most of those who answer a canvasser’s knock or chat to us at the weekly information stalls ….. don’t.

    And that’s why if a single ‘red top’ comes out for Yes in a week or two, we’ll be on 50+ within a couple of days.

    The answer ? I don’t know, but what might work would be a letter-writing campaign by National Collective and Bella, with famous ‘names’ that ordinary folk recognise bombarding our newspapers and shaming them by simply pointing out who and what they (journalists and editors) are supporting, and who will benefit from a ‘No’ vote

  21. I think we are in the lead. A lot of the undecideds are just folk who don’t want to divulge how they’re voting. Already we have know that most undecideds are going towards Yes.

    • That’s dangerously complacent.

      • Why not call it, confidently optimistic.

      • Your little comments throughout the discussion tend to show you believe the Polls as opposed to the canvass returns and other newspaper and social media polls. As a YES supporter would you please give reasons for that view. Or are you just trying to justify asking Rowson to write this piece in the light that most YESSERS on here disagree with him?

  22. The part played by the media has been left out of this analysis. You can’t just call it blaming others when the media is such an elephantine factor in this debate. People have been bombarded by a media campaign which, on a daily basis, has constantly sought to undermine the idea of independence. How can you examine the words chosen by the BT side to describe independence as deliberate and not also recognize that defining the argument in their terms has been the object of the media campaign? They can spin and tell lies over and over again and in the end they know that it is the wall of noise which drowns out the argument of the other side which simply normalizes No as the the ‘ majority ‘ opinion. It is not insignificant that so many people on the Yes side do not buy newspapers any more or watch TV news.

    If there is a No vote, to pretend that it was simply a misinterpretation of people’s motivation – according to some pseudo-science – which lost the election, is to miss the point which is obvious to many people – namely that if the media had allowed this referendum debate to be covered fairly, the Yes side would be ahead. We are being asked to accept that the polling is correct when some of their methodology is suspect. Psephology is not an exact science either so why are we to accept their findings as persuasive? That their results could help to sway people is another matter.

    People tend to be sceptical about politicians but a chorus of voices from what they believe are “independent” sources, such as academics or experts from one side being given uncontested media exposure for instance, is more likely to have a persuasive effect on the perspectives of an audience. You seem to ignore the constant negative presentation of the independence argument by the media. The grass roots campaigning is done by the Yes campaign, actually meeting people. My personal experience while canvassing in my area, is that people often do not want to engage if they are voting No and when they do, it’s to reiterate what they have heard on TV, then run away, Practically no chance of any dialogue there.

    You don’t have to be a psychologist to know that saturation techniques are employed by authoritarian regimes because they work. It is difficult for an individual to withstand the repetition of the same surround-sound message coming at them every day. Whatever the result in September, it will have been in the midst of the relentless attacks of an undemocratic media which has used its ubiquitous presence to try to gain a No vote, After the referendum, It will be illuminating to discover whether these unsubtle techniques have worked or not, but whatever, after the result, as far as the media is concerned, we will be living in interesting times.

    • I think you have got closer to the real reasons why YES appears to be stuck behind NO in the polls than most on this thread.

      Like it or not the BBC and newsprint media still wield enormous influence in Scotland despite the best efforts of YES and social media to out-manoeuvre them with the biggest grass-roots campaign ever seen in Scotland.

      Just look at how the BBC and MSM promoted UKIP before the Euro elections and even succeeded in getting a UKIP MEP elected for the first time in Scotland.

      Not for nothing did Westminster retain control and regulation of broadcasting, newsprint, and other information services media when devolution was granted to Scotland.

      If there is a NO vote it will be due mainly to the actions of the BBC and newsprint media in actively promoting the NO messages whilst ignoring most of the YES messages.

      If they do succeed in getting a NO vote by these unscrupulous methods, then you can be certain that the same methods will also be used by the MSM against Miliband and Labour in the UK general election next May on order to ensure a Tory/ UKIP victory.

      I

      • Regrettably I cannot vote in the referendum as I am domiciled in England though have been in favour of an independent Scotland since I was in my teens or early twenties. I remember sticking Forward Scotland stickers on letters to pen pals in place of postage stamps – and they all got delivered.

        As a retired psychologist I am familiar with some literature that has a bearing on the subject of attitude change and persuasion and, although now entering my seventieth decade, the desire to see Scotland independent once again is just as strong and the reasons just as self evident: the existence of greater than average levels of poverty, poor health, inequality, social class bias, etc.in Scotland than in the UK. I trust the information I provide below might be of use.

        In addition to reading MSM I have been trying to keep up with the limited amount of discussion and presentations on Youtube. What struck me most about panel discussions on BBC and STV is that rarely were issues followed through, the moderator inevitably turning from one topic to another without (balanced) conclusions or opinions being presented to the audience. That is a form of bias (whether intended or not) that turns people off (or, to be charitable, does little to inform them) yet ostensibly presents a fair and balanced opportunity for people to present their views.

        In his book The Political Brain, Drew Westen asks the question ‘Why do most Americans agree with Democrats and vote for Republicans?’

        His answer is because they appeal to the heart. Democrats appeal to reason. Whilst harking back to Braveheart is unlikely to win any points, anything that brings heart to your rational appeal at an individual level will pay dividends and, given the bias in the media this may be crucial.

        A strong case for Independence can be found in Wings Over Scotland’s Wee Blue Book and Adam Ramsay’s 42 Reasons to support Scottish Independence. They provide excellent summaries/arguments but even if everyone in Scotland received a copy the vast majority of people would have difficulty digesting the information they contain. And, even if they agreed with everything they read, for a persuasive message to influence (voting) behaviour some six steps are seemingly required: the message has to be seen/heard; it has to attract sufficient attention for it to be thought about; some of it at least has to be understood; the conclusion has to be accepted; the conclusion (changed viewpoint) then has to be remembered; if so, behaviour change will follow.

        How does one make the most of steps two, three, four and get to the heart of the matter (sorry about the pun) when dealing with Don’t Knows? When leafleting, ensure when you hand over your leaflet that you touch the recipient ie don’t hold it by the edge, hold it in such a manner that when you hand it over you physically make contact with the other persons hand. Smile at the same time. When meeting or cold calling someone (people invariable will accept the handshake when you stick out your hand). That minimal touch will be sufficieint to get them to like you and like your views better.

        I would also point out that biased reasoning occurs if you offend or challenge anyone with a partisan viewpoint – and worse, they get a kick out of rejecting the challenging information. You make their bias stronger so don’t waste time on confirmed No voters.

        People have to get used to unfamiliar situations before they change radically and the SNP has presented a strong bulwark against Westminster. This hopefully will help counter decades of communications that has militated against Scots developing the confidence to take the final step. I hope the breakthrough comes in September but if it doesn’t one should remember that attitude change is a slow process.

        Weston states the best predictors of voting behaviour are emotional, not cognitive, and this is more likely to be true in what is likely to be the once in a generation, if not lifetime, referendum opportunity with the possibility of developing a saner, more caring, more egalitarian society.

        Four factors in a hierarchy determine who/what people will vote for, and it is clear that it is FEELINGS that matter most.

        1) HOW THEY FEEL about the issue/person/party and its principles (and the SNP of course, though only part of the Yes Campaign, will be what most ordinary individuals focus on).

        2) HOW DOES THAT MAKE THEM FEEL, personally?

        3) HOW DO THEY FEEL about the person/candidate/high profile figurehead, in particular regarding issues of integrity, leadership and compassion (it’s little wonder Alex Salmond is often ridiculed in the media and his personality can be off-putting for many).

        4) HOW DO THEY FEEL about their stand on issues that matter to them.

        Starting with factor four, facts and figures, inevitably leads to losing the argument/vote. Winning requires recognising that the most persuasive appeals are the most honest, acknowledging ambivalence, uncertainty, that information, especially statistics has limits. It is also important to avoid hedging and defensiveness. If the answer isn’t there or not clear cut, admit it. It means developing shared and unshared networks across different constituencies and appealing to people’s better instincts. At its core is the necessity of developing and nurturing social relationships and presenting candidates/canvassers capable of telling compelling stories that resonate with their fellow citizens.

        From my reading of the on-line literature this apparently is what is sustaining an extremely large grass roots campaign. I trust this continues to grow over the next few weeks. This is where success is most likely to come from.
        .

  23. You don’t know why the Yes campaign isn’t winning? It’s simple. There’s no debate. There are only entrenched positions which trash any points which might give comfort to the other side. It’s called confirmation bias. The day that (for example) Wings Over Scotland concedes that the Better Together campaign has raised a valid issue is the day that undecided voters might take the Rev Stu seriously.

    So if you’re uncertain there’s nowhere to go. All arguments are disregarded and the status quo is maintained.

    • Are you mistaking Wings for a newspaper? It’s unashamedly in favour of independence and uses it’s platform to attack the litany of lying, incoherence, and misleading of the No campaign. That’s it’s entire raison d’etre.

      And for what it’s worth, if Wings wasn’t doing that, I’m not sure who would be. Because the mainstream media simply regurgitate Better Together briefings entirely uncritically so they certainly wouldn’t be doing so. So who would be cataloguing it? Who would be debunker in chief without Wings?

      Put it this way, without Wings I’m utterly convinced that the lead for No the polls are reporting would be higher. Without the Yes blogosphere in its entirety that would be a lead heading towards landslide territory. Without the grassroots campaign they’d be weighing the No votes and independence would be gone as an issue pretty much for eternity.

      • Allan – I’m not criticising Wings, which I read every day and admire for its passion, its trenchancy and its commitment. The point I was trying to make is that, as you say, it’s unashamedly partisan. In short, it’s preaching to the converted. So it’s not going to sway the votes of the undecided. That’s all I meant to say.

  24. Churm I urge you to quote one valid argument from the no side that can’t be picked to pieces.Currency no because we are using Sterling with or without agreement its nonsense.Europe well we know that Scotland is applying from within and any moderate person knows that Europe is good for Scotland and vice versa.Trident jobs yes but we will have a conventional navy proving more jobs than servicing a useless penis extension.Same for shipbuilding relying on one government contractor is utter stupidity.The workers effectively get paid with their own taxes! Name me one that has any credence! its not that Stu is being unfair he is just highlighting the flaws in their arguments.There is not one thing that Scotland couldn’t do better as an independent nation that’s the point.

    • Big Jock: As I say above, I’m not criticising Wings for being what it is. I agree that it’s a useful corrective. But it’s surely absurd to claim as you do that the no side has no valid arguments that “can’t be picked to pieces”. You ask for an example. Here’s one. You say that “every moderate person knows that Europe is good for Scotland and vice versa”. Well, there are twenty eight countries in the European Union representing five hundred million people and to be honest I have no idea what they all think about Scottish independence. You seem to think you can speak on their behalf. Bully for you. Just give me the evidence.

  25. I think the article has some validity in pockets. In the NE canvassing in Inverurie reflects some of the findings.
    However the dismissal of RIC by some is too fast.

    In my view the hard NO of the article is probably valid in a few wealthy pockets. However we have a great many more areas around Scotland at the bottom end and off the radar of pollsters compared to the wealthily areas in Aberdeenshire. This group will move to YES.

    I think the polls are out by around 5 percent based on a poor model of referendum versus

    The 80 percent turnout, the registering of those who gave up on politics 30 years ago.

    More ground troops.

    Internet communication.

    I think your article a little too pessimistic.

    • Yes certainly have more ground troops, many more. And the registering of the people who never vote is a very interesting scenario. I have spoken to some of these people in the yes campaign office in Alexandria (pop 28,000) and it seems as if they are overwhelmingly disposed to voting Yes, mainly because they’ve got nothing to lose.

  26. The only poll that matters is the one of the 18th September. Of course the MSM are trying to convince us that No is going to stroll to victory. They would say that.

  27. The MSM dare not come out with a poll showing a small or no difference in the YES and NO intentions. It would be even worse to show a lead in YES potential voters. Reason: If it were shown that these numbers prevailed, it would cause a serious run on the £. The thought that Scotland might vote YES with no agreement on a sterling currency backed by the Bank of England would mean a diminution of the sterling area and a 10%, a reduction in income from exports including oil that Scotland brings to the UK. £1.5 trillion debt and rising by 130 billion/yr., then remove Scottish export element supporting sterling – you couldn’t let that out of the bag! No, they’ve got to show the world that the UK will go on as before with continued stability (i.e. getting steadily further into debt as always).

  28. On Point 2, I’ve just had a batch of badges made that say simply “It should”. The answer to “Should Scotland…”

  29. Quietly stunned (and depressed that an article that refuses to go ‘Yay we’re secretly winning’ is being panned.

    • I’m not panning it. I think it’s really interesting and helps to explain why different types of fear drives some (most?) of those who say they will vote No. I hear The Loyalty/Betrayal Foundation regularly from members of my family. Other No voters are simply selfish. I entirely agree that without any broad quantitative evidence that Yes are in the lead, we should assume that we are, currently, not. Simple sense. Still think we’ll get the Yes though on the day.

    • Yeah, it’s a pretty astonishing set of comments. I couldn’t quite believe what I was reading. No doubt many of the posters now regard you as a fifth columnist.

  30. First of all, I am a YES, always have been; always will be. I cannot, for the life of me find anything, and I mean anything negative in having complete control of all the powers that are available to us.
    All the slogans about bigger and stronger together, sharing the risk, punching above our weight, seat at the top table, shared history, blah de blah de blah, are in my opinion, nothing more than that. Slogans.
    Slogans are the backbone of the NO campaign, if you can call it that.
    Then there is the fear tactics: No currency, little wee Scotland, kicked out the EU, and a country full o auld age pensioners unable to care for themsels.
    They have no proposals to improve the lot of people living in Scotland.

    There are still many genuinely undecided voters to be won over. They are looking for certainty and security.
    They need to be convinced, that Scotland, with all the powers that complete independence offers can provide that certainty and security more than the rUK. This means the NHS being safe. Pensions being paid. Free higher education and care for the elderly. Win that argument convincingly and the soft YES will come over.
    They REALLY want to vote YES and will feel good about themselves if they are voting for the common good.

    There is a hard YES vote and a hard NO vote. I feel that is something like 3 to 1 in favour of the YES. These are people who will not budge. This is the feedback I’ve got when chapping on doors in Dundee with Ric.
    With the soft YES, added after being assured that it’ll be fine, and in my opinion, apathetic soft no (probably no gonna bother voting) there will be a victory on the 18th of September when people are asked “should Scotland be an independent country”.
    The answer YES!!

  31. Could I offer a serious consideration here, that Westminster are manipulating the big official polls because they already have a plan and strategy to rig the vote and keep the polls with a No dominance so it doesn’t come as such a shock ? Can’t say it’s not possible, and we know they rigged the last independence vote, why would you think it’s not possible, at present we have no one independent monitoring this, if it’s possible and they are capable why would we believe they have any moral issue, I think it is something we have to consider and take some action over.

  32. “There are still a huge number of Don’t Knows. Yet as has been proved time and time again, (those of us who are active know this to be true) it can often take only a couple of minutes conversation to turn many of these DKs into Yes. Difficult as this may be for some to accept, it really is the case that many of them are just looking for somebody to say “it’ll be okay”.

    That’s absolutely true David, and it’s reflected in the mass meetings that are taking place all over the country. Just one example – the recent result from Ellon, a pattern that repeats itself over and over.

    Attendees polled on their way into the debate responded: Yes 42%, No 36% and Undecided 22%. Following the debate, the figures were Yes 56%, No 35% and Undecided 9%.

    • He was absolutely spot on with US Presidential elections and the US Senate races (quite close on the House races too). But the fact is that he has a model for those things which he’s developed over around 5 election cycles. And it’s entirely reliant on polling which in the US is more extensive, and more frequent than anything we see here. And he also adjusts individual polls for what he euphemistically calls “house effects” where he thinks there’s an inbuilt overstating of one side or the other from polling companies.

      He was stitched up on our referendum a bit. He simply said that the historical precedent suggested that No would win given the state of the polls. He didn’t have any information about how the polls in Scotland have performed previously (miles out for the bulk of the last Scottish election, wrong by around 5% in favour of the status quo in the 2 devolution referenda) that I’m aware of.

  33. This is the 2nd ‘what we’re doing is working: therefore we are morally and ‘objectively’ obliged to change it’ I have read from pro-indy sources today! Despite some useful info, the above reads disappointingly like a call to go around convincing people that ‘our side’ is *really just like* the ‘other side’, so they can feel okay voting for us. Which to me, is the underlying reason for the mess British politics is in right now. There are many reasons people think as they think, just as there are many reasons they vote as they vote. One thing we do know is that voters in Scotland *do not* vote as they would be expected to from what they ‘think’ in opinion polls.

    Across the UK (and so UK media and polling) the 2010 election was heavily contested, as shown by producing the UK’s first electoral coalition. Less well remembered is that there was *no change* from 2005 in the number of seats held by parties in Scotland. How could such a heavily contested media and political environment result in no change, in Scotland only? The answer is, no-one knows (or wants to talk about it). The contention of the No campaign is that there are no meaningful differences between voting in Scotland and in the rUK. It’s not surprising that current polling reflects this idea. Still, *voting* has not.

    For example, current polling of 2015 voting intentions predicts that the Conservatives will win 6 seats in 2015! On a swing of 1.7%? While the SNP are predicted to win an extra 4, on a swing of 7.7%? And Labour to lose *no* seats, on a swing of -2.1%? This *could* happen – but is it what we see around us, regardless of our ‘wishful thinking’? Or is it, instead, indicative of the fact that pollsters (with their non-political hats on) always tend to focus on the advertiser-attractive demographics: the regular voters, who are more often key in FPTP than straight-majority votes? Both the polling, and RIC can be right about their samples – because they are talking to different people. Do we really believe the people RIC are talking to are less important (or that there are less of them) because they’re not in the magic 1,000?

    All UK polling is heavily based on FPTP assumptions, and the source above (electoralcalculus.co.uk) says: “The Scottish sample size of each [Westminster voting intention] individual poll is small (around 150 voters), which is not usable in isolation. However, if we add up all the Scottish components over a full month, the total sample size is around 1,500 voters which is a usable total… they seem a reasonable second-best indicator in the absence of proper polling.”

    We could ask Nate if that’s the sort of data he habitually bases his analyses on? Data collected now, although for the last decade (after the end of regular Scottish polling by The Herald, 2003) “there have only been occasional Scottish opinion polls”? This is why even the Telegraph is dubious about the referendum polling! But even if the polling is spot on, it is *not predicting* a No majority: it is predicting ‘too close to call’.

    Playing to the polls, not the issues, is a known political trap. It is a particular political trap if it leads to focus on No voters (and the premises of their questions) not undecided voters (and the reasons for theirs). Because, let’s be clear, the only way to *be* undecided on this is if you feel you might *want* independence, but aren’t sure it’s achievable. The No campaign, in speaking solely to these undecided voters *in these terms* is wholly focused on the undecideds. Remember, No’s hard-core of support hasn’t grown, despite media and polling dominance – saying it’s ‘3:2′ ignores undecideds, who *are* going to be decisive – and is not large enough to deliver a majority alone either. This is as it should be: this isn’t Scotland-already-decided.

    Being told ‘you aren’t winning hard enough’ – and listening! – is also a known political trap. It is used to obscure the fact that the contrary position expected to be well-ahead, but *isn’t*. This was regarded as a no-contest by the No campaign. The fact that 75% of Scotland’s voters want a *lot* more powers was disregarded, until recently. Even No have been saying ‘of course you want independence, just *don’t vote for it*’. If we are going to keep on believing the UK media (and pollsters working from UK assumptions, who never bothered to poll here before) are the source of all ‘objective’ truth, then even a Yes won’t make much difference. An independent electorate needs to believe its own eyes, and ears, and to trust itself to understand and work with its own politics. That’s the question we need to answer: Can we do that? Will Scotland’s voters do that? (Yes.) Or will they do as they are told? (No.)

  34. The article is not being panned by all of us. For those who are surrounded by entrenched ‘No’ voters (ehm moi) it has given me some ideas to approach the discussion in a different way. Who knows, it might work this time. Thanks Bella

  35. Well, the truth is a lot simpler than all this. It’s the media stupid, and in particular the state broadcaster, the BBC. The anti-independence campaign would be dead in the water today, were it not for the media.

    The low information voters, perhaps THE cohort who will decide the outcome of this referendum don’t go to new media to seek out information – I’m sorry, they just don’t. In fact, they don’t seek out information, period. That’s why they are low information voters in the first place.

    They don’t read the Herald or the Scotsman. If they happen upon one of the plethora of fabrications in these house rags of Unionism, it is the gist of the headline that is retained, and these newspapers are fastidious in maintaining a wholly negative headline narrative (“Salmond accused” anyone, or that perennial favorite, “Blow to Salmond”? Conflates a vote for Salmond and the indyref vote, and informs you that Salmond is a bad man – were he not, he wouldn’t be getting accused all the time, nor would he be receiving those constant hammer blows).

    No, this crucial cohort are almost entirely informed by a diet of simple memes fed to them in their living rooms each evening.

    It is not facts but the tone of the BBC’s assertion-narrative that informs them. Their information gathering and processing is more akin to osmosis than active search and inculcation. If they are told authoritatively and repetitively, night after night that there’s going to be no pound, and no EU, and no pensions, in an iScotland, eventually they will absorb this propaganda and hold it to be self-evident truth. Good luck trying to deprogramme them after that.

    The most insidious and effective propaganda is that not recognised as propaganda by its victims.This sort of customer conditioning is worth its weight in gold.

    The BBC’s power to wield political influence is derived from that cohort’s perception that its news and analyses are fair and impartial, and that it’s output is a truthful representation of the facts. Succinctly: The BBC has power because it is believed.

    When you’re flooded with messages, drip-drip-drip, on a subject that doesn’t particularly interest you, that’s how you form opinion too. Being “low information” on any issue, has naught to do with cognitive ability and everything to do with your perception of the relevance of the issue to you.

    That’s all rather depressing. Is there anything we CAN do? Sure there is – We know Providence is on our side, for it gave us Boris to pummel the BT beast until it stops twitching. Here’s the YES camp’s killer app http://www.weourselves.com/boris-johnson-born-with-a-silver-foot-in-his-mouth/

    AND though VERY late in the day now, we can continue the splendid work of some who have sought to expose the BBC as politically corrupt, by demonstrating that it is criminally liable, too. Will it require perp-walking its executives out of Pacific Quay in handcuffs to bring the Corporation to Jesus over its wrong-doing? Enquiring minds and procurators fiscal wonder. http://www.weourselves.com/the-bbc-is-corrupt-ii/

  36. To identify the change in the Scottish psyche and particularly the sense of collective family, you would have to isolate just when the W in WE inverted it’s self to become ME.

  37. Anyway, I was at a Yes meeting in Dumbarton tonight with Jim Sillars and the excellent Phillippa Whitehead and another excellent young chap whose name escapes me. The whole event was conducted in an upbeat manner and was attended by over 300 people. Many excellent points were made by all the speakers but the one point that I thought worth noting was that Britain, with its 1.2 trillion debt imports much more than it exports and has, therefore, a high Balance of Payments deficit. Scotland, on the other hand, exports much more than it imports thanks to strong performances from its Food and Drink sector (especially whisky), the Tourism sector and Life Sciences to name a few.
    I thought, too wee, too poor and too stupid…aye right!

  38. BT have played very cleverly on the weaknesses of the Scottish psyche – conservatism, lack of confidence, corrosive cynicism, distrust of politicians and ‘smart arses’, crude binary thinking, an unwillingness to go aginst the group and so on. This is low hanging fruit for negative campaigning. It may be morally reprehensible to exploit these negative characteristics but BT are more interested in winning than building up a positive psyche in Scotland. I think they have been much more focused, aided by the fact that Yes naively seem to think we are fighting the Boy Scouts rather than the British State. Yes’ strongest card has always been Scottish identity, yet this has been hardly played. Yes has fallen badly into the carefully set trap of anti-nationalism and still seems uncertain of how to play the Scottish card. Play it now or lose it forever, folks.

  39. I found this a very interesting article and well worth taking on board. I think it’s incredibly tempting to allow ourselves to become more and more vehement as the day approaches and the stakes get bigger, but we must remember that many people are only just starting to engage with this debate and need us to go back to basics. For what it’s worth I think the approach with undecided voters should be this. We should encourage them to imagine the morning of the results and imagine it is a No. If their first reaction is imagining disappointment rather than relief, then they have their answer.

  40. the question should be why are nob orders not over the horizon by now with every yep every news organisation Press TV runs anti independence clips 4-5-6 times a day with all parties down south Lab-Lib-Ukip-Tories having a wee dig and never a right to reply or rebut all the lies mis informed a new panic scare every day all this because a wee country on the edge of europe wants to be a normal Country the roof will fall in a cataclysmic event will occur the earth will be knocked off its axis god what a F/n shambles from NOB ORDERS

  41. I agree with some points in this article. I think there are several things not making headway with the convinced Noes. I think we have not made it clear enough the dangers of the status quo, or rather, spelled out how the status quo is an illusion that is fast disappearing (the fear noted in 1., above). I also agree with 5. that the SNP as the government in power, have not made it clear how far devolution hampers what we are able to do, why devolution is unsatisfactory. They have been so focused on trying to show that they have made a difference, they have not shown how much more they could have done if we were independent. I do think they lack ambition in this regard, the ambition not simply to wish for things but to attack Her Majesty’s Government more directly. This also relates to 1., the harm index. For instance, fracking. The 1998 Petroleum Act, how many have heard of that? Yet this act made by HMG lays claim to all onshore shale oil and gas as a property belonging to HMG, not the British people, but to the government as a kind of executive corporation, and they are developing this not as a national asset but are awarding licences to private companies, many of whom have direct links with HMG. For instance Osborne’s father has a key interest in fracking company Cuadrilla. They have now anounced that most of Central Scotland is up for grabs. OUR land. Our land and our property is proposed to be sold off. Why are the SNP not screaming about this? It’s an outrage!

  42. I got as far as:

    ‘The brutal fact of the persistent 3:2 ratio against independence’

    so according to the author, polls stand at 60% No, 40% Yes.

    Considering your other comments here Bella regarding optimistic Yes supporters being complacent, I presume you agree with these figures ?

  43. I disagree with a great deal in this article. Especially the assertion that NO are winning most of the moral arguments when in fact they and their British establishment bedfellows are guilty of one of the most immoral exercises in the history of British politics – ever, and that is saying something.

    The degree to which propaganda has been exercised in this campaign is an affront to the very principles of democracy itself, and has even surprised me. Especially the denial of information which would make the case for independence abundantly clear to the vast majority were they but given the opportunity to receive it.

    I still think Yes will win, but I do not despair if there is a No vote because that can only surely be a very temporary hiatus. The truth about the UK economy, which must come out soon thereafter, the lies told by the British establishment will too, quickly become manifest, and the, no doubt, already prepared plans to emaciate the Scottish parliament – will all backfire on them, big time.

    Ironically it will be the duped, the No voters, who will be the most vociferous in clamouring for another referendum, or if that avenue is cut off by a post referendum Westminster, by voting for a party or parties which have a unilateral independence option as their main manifesto pledge.

    It remains to be seen whether this is the end, or just the beginning of the end, of the monstrosity which Westminster has become, but it is the end.

  44. The upcoming shredding of AS on the ECB with it’s planted audience questions and it’s presenters comments on the proceedings should finish us off. I cannot for the life in me understand why AS agreed to debate with this Labour back bencher with no credibility in the first place. All it is doing is once again making the Referendum appear to the audience as The Nasty SNP versus the UK for his “vanity project” and they Will believe it !!
    The truth is that the British State has lied and schemed to hit the Fear which has been ingrained in the Scots for the last 300 years and they are succeeding to a great degree.
    The Wee Blue Book (which is six months too late) breaks it down to “5 Key Points” The first 3 words of point 5 (should there be a YES Vote) are naïve. “People are sensible”
    No they are not !! Not the bunch of Gangster’s and Killer’s at Westminster and the House of Lords.
    I’m angry. I believe the Don’t Know’s will not vote.

  45. Why yes isn’t winning. Who says yes isn’t winning? The MSM, The so called polls which have form on getting it spectacularly wrong (especially if it has anything to do with the SNP) or BTNT.
    Hardly what I would call reliable sources of information. The polls are not reflecting what is happening on the ground or online. The MSM have all but abandoned Scotland and will go down with the union. And BTNT, well the less said the better. For all our failings we are not a stupid people.
    The increasing desperation of both the unionists and the MSM is revealing, as is the constant rebrands and launches of the BTNT.

  46. I think a great many older voters without internet connections (part of the 1.4 million) who would be inclined to vote No simply won’t vote at the end of the day. Too confused, ill health, and perhaps a guilty feeling this is really for younger people to decide. I think that despite what they may be telling pollsters now their instinctive Scottishness will kick in and disincline them at the end of the day to put an X in the No box even if they think Yes has got it wrong. So the easiest thing will just be to sit it out at home and not vote. I’m not sure if many 16-18 year olds will bother voting either – though their parents, if committed to one side or another, will no doubt urge them to vote.

    The Electoral Commission reckons there are just over 4 million registered voters. If 80% turn out, as has been predicted, that willl be 3 million votes cast. Just under 1 million voted SNP in 2011, (if Greens and SSP are included this comes to about 1 million for the non-unionists) but anecdotally experience is telling me that far more will vote Yes than voted SNP in 2011. About 50% more. I think it is still very tight.

    • I also think that if the polls predict a landslide for No, this (ironically) works in our favour as lazy Noes will think they don’t need to bother. Notwithstanding that there is a ‘deep’ No vote as this article notes, and that No is also broad, not all of it is broad AND deep. Some of it is lazy and complacent.

  47. This campaign has simply gone on too long. Designed by politicians for politicians and political anoraks the sheer tedium of the process has become evident. In the final weeks the vital passion for this cause has to be allowed to slip its chains. This is rather more than a Salmond v Darling beauty contest or a richer v poorer guessing game, isn’t it?

    • I agree about the tedium and that the vital passion now needs to be let loose. A lot of people will decide how they will vote at the very last minute. An acquaintance of mine said she would probably make up her mind on the way to the polling station. Some people will still be hovering in the booth.

      • Minds will be made up in a variety ways. How the voter feels about “life”, totally unrelated to the thing itself, can influence choice. Good weather on the day is rumoured to be a good thing too. Certainly by the time the pen is poised all the minutiae of the argument will blur and the gut instinct will kick in. Like marmite you’ll either love or hate the idea of being free. For some the unique taste of independence is just beyond their palate.

  48. “The Electoral Commission reckons there are just over 4 million registered voters. If 80% turn out, as has been predicted, that willl be 3 million votes cast. Just under 1 million voted SNP in 2011, (if Greens and SSP are included this comes to about 1 million for the non-unionists)”

    I don’t think anything can be taken from the 2011 election. The SNP didn’t fight it on the grounds of gaining independence (8th on their 10 point manifesto, and even then tempered by offer of a referendum – so you could vote Yes to the SNP with the comfort of having a No come a referendum). I think it would be fair to say the SNP hierarchy and most of the membership are probably, but the same couldn’t be said of the Greens (Robin Harper?)

    Conversely, long-standing Labour/Conservative/Lib Dem voters are not automatic Nos. This goes outside party lines and I agree that the debate is not well served by reducing it solely to party leaders.

    • 80% of 4 million is not 3 million it is 3.2 million also the turn out for this according to our private polling and voting intention surveys shows turnout will be 85-88% depending on the weather, also at the last meeting I was at the figure given by the electoral commission was 4.1 million + now registered. If we say 4.2 million registered by September the 2nd then 85% of that gives us 3.57 million voters (minimum) meaning we will need 1.8 million to get 51% (roughly)

      They way people talk online about a 60-70% Yes win is delusional. We have won the internet battle but that’s a given because those of us who use the net for more than just Facebook and twitter etc have the real facts, therefor are most likely to be yes voters.

      As one of the people behind the RIC Mass Canvasses i can tel you a few things, but first a short thought on the “polls” the major problem I see with them (and I have read and analysed them all) is that they are weighted to show that between 45% – 50% of Scotland’s population is middle class, now for me this just can’t be possible. Also they fail to take into account the sheer size and scale of the number of people who don’t usually vote in elections but will turn out and vote in this one (most of these people are from working class or poor backgrounds)

      Now as for the RIC Mass Canvass, while it is true that a lot of the areas we go to are working class for example Cranhill in the east end of Glasgow rather than say Muirend in the southside of the city, we do not pick and chose or weight the data and this is important for a two reasons.

      1.it gives a straight up look at voting intentions
      2.nobody can accuse us of misrepresentation

      We go to an area and knock on every door in that place that we can in 2-3 hours, we introduce ourselves as either members of RIC or Yes campaigners (depending on your preference) we ask how that person is intending on voting in the referendum if they are undecided or No voters then we engage with them if they want to talk if not we mark down (yes/no/undecided) there answer and move to the next door.Now in total between the two National Mass Canvasses and the 4 original Glasgow Mass Canvass sessions we have had around 15000 responses and what what we find is that in actual fact some areas are indeed leaning No but most are leaning Yes, however nowhere on a consistent basis (with the exception of Dundee) is returning results with a more than 50% Yes vote before the undecided voters are taken out, these undecided voters make up around 30% of the population.

      People have to ask themselves if all we see online is YES YES YES and we have 30% hard NO vote and 30% Undecided vote why are we not seeing that replicated at the doors?

      The Media are still a huge factor in all of this and as a poster pointed out if a red top comes out for Yes (which in my opinion it wont) then the Yes vote would climb above 50%, but at the moment we on the Yes side still have not convinced a total of 60% of the population to Vote Yes and this should be of concern to every single person who wants to build a better society and use the tools that gaining our independence will bring us to do so. We can win and we will win but we have to right now redouble our efforts on the streets and in our workplaces and with our friends and family that are still wavering by changing our approach, ask them exactly what it is that is stopping them from voting Yes and get an exact reason from them and then present them with the facts to show them that it can be done.

      We need to get our heads out of the clouds and stop going on about dodgy tactics and tory polling companies and actually understand that the next four weeks are the most important weeks of our lives if we want to secure a Yes vote and reshape our society.

  49. I personally hope the “Polls” stay against us right up until the last minute. Contrary to many thoughts above I see the first signs of a “Head of Steam” building up, I want us to remain the underdogs as long as possible.

  50. “Authority/Subversion” – today’s Herald revelation that one of BTs top economists says a currency union would collapse due to the oil-related “huge mismatch” ie Scotland higher relative future wealth MUST contribute to this effect.

  51. also agree with J Galt above – much more to come out of the woodwork, such as the police chiefs on today’s GMS ( but not on the BBC Scotland website )

  52. What is this defeatist pish?! There’s enough of this speak your brains defeatism/NO campaign psy ops in the MSM.

  53. I think that a fairly large proportion of no voters are reluctant nos, that is, they would rather vote yes but they believe the no narrative that a no vote is the sensible, sober, financially beneficial thing to do, even if they accept this position with a heavy heart.

    If the media told them that yes was the sensible, financially beneficial option, then yes would be winning the polls. But the media are telling them the opposite.

    Our hope is to bypass the media and speak to these people directly. It can be difficult to be believed though, when the entire media is agin you.

    • I met a reluctant No the other day. He’s a chartered accountant with an interest in Scottish culture, so the focus of his working life has been money, allied.to a professionally cautious attitude. He’s swithering and admits he may not vote on 18 Sept, I presume because he may not want to feel he has actively voted against his own nation..

  54. Polling cards are in. Only 33 days to go. What will I do will all this hope if it’s a no? Where will all the momentum for change go? Is Bella going to set up a support group after 18th of Sept.

  55. Whilst leaving aside the rather vexing question of which side is in the lead, I personally believe that unfortunately the Better together Campaign is probably well ahead. I have no empirical evidence to substantiate this contention, rather it is a gut feeling, in addition to informal discussions with acquaintances.
    On the substantive issue, I believe that by his insistence that Scotland will retain the pound, Mr Salmond (skilful politician that he is) has walked into a not very well disguised Unionist trap. The fundamental failure of the Yes side, has been to fail to point out that the whole currency issue is a chimera. That is to say that absolutely no politician in any country, in the entire world can clairvoyantly predict the economic and social circumstances that will apply in the future. Further, if the bloody minded ness of the UK government is such that they are prepared to kill the goose that lays the golden egg, then obviously the concept of a second or even third option should be honestly set out.
    Whenever, historians write the story of the entire referendum saga, I have no doubt that Alex Salmond’s position will be intellectually vindicated.
    However, as much as most of us would wish otherwise political debate occurs within a narrative created by the powerful and pays no heed to morality or even fact as the Better Together campaign clearly shows

    • Mark

      A very balanced post.

      However if those campaigning for Independence in the 40’s/50’s/60’s//70’s…..until now had not continued against the odds we would not be having a referendum on Independence.

      If a handful of people 70 years ago could see the vision and work for it, even when it looked hopeless, then we would never be at this point.

      If we can’t win it this time then we move it one step forward. The pressure of the Independence movement has helped Scotland counter much of Westminster’s attacks.

      I’m fighting for a win and by doing so I’ll get as close to that line as possible.it is still winnable I have no doubt of that.

      • There were a lot of people signed John MacCormick’s National Covenant in the 1950s, two million, I believe. That’s more than a handful of people.

      • I agree wholeheartedly with much of what you say, in particular I strongly believe that a No vote is an end to the matter for all time. Much, as Unionist politicians such as Mr Carmichael tout that this would be the case , it is complete and utter nonsense. Whilst, I would accept that a No vote in the referendum would put the issue on the back burner for a number of years, Scottish independence is most definetly an idea whose time is coming if it’s not here yet. Despite, the wishes of those who wish it would just go away, so that they can return to their normal game of bigoted right-wing economic orthodoxy.

      • I got carried a impression.way, I meant to say that I believe a no vote DOES NOT mean an end to the matter for all time. Apologies, for giving an erroneous

  56. That’s a very long-winded way of saying we need to get some no voters to change their minds.

  57. I often wonder how valid a No victory would be if we have been going into this debate under a form of duress like assertions that the currency is not a joint asset of both partners in the United Kingdom and will be witheld by ‘UK’ if Yes wins.

    I often wonder if there is a legal cause to pursue about this in the event of a No vote.

    • I can’t see any basis for a legal challenge – and I think both Yes and No would accept the result. If it is a very close vote, the unionist parties might be emboldened to campaign in 2015 on a platform for a second referendum, but I would doubt it.

      “the currency is not a joint asset of both partners”

      Currency is the product of a process, rather than something that can be divided up like a house or a bank account. It’s value (or not) is in the ongoing economic activity underpinning it, and we can’t force rUK citizens to let us join their process, any more than the eurozone states.

      With our own currency, we will have the liquidity to maintain our public sector and our internal economic activity, and we set our own economic policy. Well managed (i.e. oil fund to smooth out the peaks and dips) we will then become eligible for eurozone membership, if we want it.

      With a currency union, we lose those levers and are as tightly bound to the rUK economic cycle as ever, and no prospects of euro membership. Without a central bank and financial regulator we may struggle to get Member State status too. Every other EU Member State has these.

      Using the pound (sterlingisation) as the currency would lead to the contraction of all sectors in Scotland, including the public sector, except those with access to trade/remittances with rUK. It’d be like the USSR with only dollars and no roubles.

      The reserves in the BoE could be treated as an asset (mostly a big pile of foreign banknotes, very little gold) though I can see that being conditional on accepting national debt, probably denominated in sterlig.

      • The Bank of England was nationalised in 1946 only they never got round to renaming it. This confuses many people. It is the UK’s bank. A joint property. The challenge would be in challenging the Opinion which HMG sought which claimed ‘rUK’ would be the sole continuator state and Scotland would be a new state. This Opinion is merely that, it has never been litigated. But it does contradict other legal opinion such as Lord Cooper’s 1953; or the Balfour or the Kilbrandon commissions on the nature of the union. The assertion that we have no claim to the Bank of England because we would be a new state and not an equal and integral partner in the UK so that if we opt to leave, the UK no longer exists but splits into its two component parts, is just that, an assertion.

      • There is also this – Scotland and England from a union of parliaments to two independent kingdoms – http://lril.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/08/12/lril.lru007.full.pdf

        The first paragraph states ,”“The rUK continuator state argument has a political motive—with its insinuation that the implications of independence should appear traumatic to Scotland, faced with the possibility of exclusion from its current membership in international treaties and organisations.”

        It goes on to say, ““The UK Government thus appears to be approaching the question of Scottish
        independence without regard to the usual international law markers regarding
        ‘self-determination’.”

        The final paragraph states, ” “The Union has served its original purpose and is increasingly viewed as an anachronism but more so a dangerous one, an impediment to democracy, prosperity and security—and no longer an aid to negotiating the opportunities of the modern world as Scotland attempts to re-build her post-imperial, postindustrial economy.”

        An interesting read.

      • @MBC – I don’t think the issue is that we don’t have a claim to the assets, but that the physical, transferable asset is not the currency.

        We could get a net share of reserves/liability, the HM Treasury computer model, even a pro rata share of filing cabinets and paper clips, but we don’t get the process – the tax and spending power of rUK, the printing of money, the track record of being a (relatively) good risk to lend to, etc.

  58. As somebody who started out as undecided, was attracted ‘Yes’ but eventually ended up at ‘No’ let me articulate why I’ve ended up with that mindset, as it might help folk answer the question posed in this article.

    I have no emotional dog in the race. I have two Scottish Grandparents and two English ones. I’ve lived half my life in England and half in Scotland. I have two children in their 20s who were brought up and went through school in Scotland, but chose to go to University and subsequently work in England. I don’t see their choices as being something that was forced upon them, just as my choice to move to Scotland for work purposes wasn’t forced upon me.

    My view is that Scotland is not disadvantaged by being part of the UK, when compared to other UK areas. We punch above our weight economically, politically, educationally….no reason to change there.

    Here we get to the interesting bit. Forget the UK – could Scotland be a successful independent country? Clearly the answer is yes, but the two important words are could and successful. ‘Successful’ is relative: Greece is successful compared to Ghana, but not to Germany. So what would ‘successful’ mean?

    More importantly ‘Could’ doesn’t equal ‘will’. I spend my entire working life trying to persuade people to change from A to B. Showing that B is better than A is the easy bit, the difficult bit is persuading people that the transition is achievable, sufficiently low risk, not too costly etc.

    So if I sum up my position it’s this: I want the fairer political society, but decision criteria that I’ve arrived at are principally economic, as I have the view that economics trumps politics – if you haven’t got the money you can’t effect the change.

    Too many Yes folk don’t want to address my concerns. I get told that the basis of my decision is wrong, whereas a smarter thing to do would be to understand why I’m basing my decision in that way and to try to persuade me. Concerns about the marked lack of plans for the transition are effectively met with ‘we’re going to vote first and then we’ll work out what it means’ and any worries about the impact on major employers are brushed aside. I know that X countries have left the British Empire, but I don’t recall Uganda having a massive financial services sector that was joined at the hip to the UK.

    So my answer to the ‘If the case for independence is so strong, why isn’t Yes already winning?’ question is that the Yes camp has failed to understand or engage with the concerns of people like me, failed to articulate their vision in terms that would address my concerns and have – amazingly – spent much of their time telling me that i’m either wrong or scared, which is not a great way to persuade someone to make up their mind in your direction!

    • I find your thoughtful response desperately disappointing and sad. I just don’t see how anyone who has examined the issues and the evidence can come to the same conclusion you have. If you want a fairer society, I can’t for the life of me see how you think a No vote will achieve that. Few except dyed in the wool Better Together supporters deny that an independent Scotland is quite capable of supporting itself, indeed it seems much more likely that we’d be better off. The economic case is the one that doesn’t stack up for No, despite the “sky will fall” hysteria about the currency union etc.

      In the end, I get the sense that many No voters like you have made a cost benefit analysis (however crude) that the risks of independence are outweighed by the comforts of the status quo, and even outweigh the risks inherent in remaining in the UK. For many converts from devo-max like me, the outcome of the cost benefit analysis is a resounding Yes. I’m convinced the economic arguments favour Scotland becoming independent, and that the risks of staying in the union far outweigh those of opting for a split.

      The trouble for Yes is that sadly you are wrong, and you are scared, but you should be more scared of the prospects for both Scotland AND the rest of the UK of staying with a profoundly regressive socio-political system which is dominated (overwhelmingly) by “comfortable” England which sees no need to change, is happy with perpetual austerity and inequality, the creeping privatisation of public services and actually rather LIKES the idea of Boris Johnson as PM and has no real issues with Farage and UKIP.

      • I think you’ve just illustrated Mr T’s point beautifully. The “you are scared” bit is a particularly nice touch. Well done.

      • Thanks for your reply. I am genuinely interested in the political debate and posted my comment to try and explain why I feel that the two sides are locked in a stalemate.

        Can I suggest that you review your reply and think about whether you might have got a more productive conversation going had you answered something like this:

        “Mr T, you seem to be a thoughtful person that maybe shares the same ideals and objectives as me, so I’m interested to know how both of us have looked at the same landscape and come to different conclusions. Tell me why you are currently thinking of voting No.”

        “I’m getting the sense that you have carried out some sort of cost benefit analysis (you’ve got that bit right) to come to your current position. So is it that you are concerned about the costs or that you don’t see the benefits?”

        “I hold a different view to you, but you have the right to come to a decision that doesn’t match mine. (The voter has the right to be wrong, if you genuinely think that I have made the wrong decision you need to look in the mirror and ask yourself where you failed to understand my decision process & criteria). I’m going to try and understand how you’ve come to that decision and how I might phrase my argument differently.”

        And BTW. Your ‘scared’ is my ‘unwilling to act in a way I perceive to be reckless or foolhardy’.

    • The most sensible post I’ve read on this site so far. The level of tinfoil-hatting and/or disparaging of the other side among the other contributions is truly eye-opening.

    • I hear what you are saying, but there’s another twist – democracy. We have had policies forced on us in Scotland that we didn’t agree with and have had far-reaching and dramatic effects on our economy and society by governments we didn’t vote for.

      An example is the forced closure of our pits and steel in the 1980s, or the sell off of UK utilities (which were part-Scottish, having been nationalised in the 1950s by Labour). Between 1981 and 1991 250,000 people left former Strathclyde region alone. Currently 40,000 young people aged 16-24 leave Scotland every year. These figures mean our economy if failing (not because we are poor) but because we are denied the levers of power with which to direft and control it. Meanwhile the SE of England expands and expands and expands. It’s mad, frankly.

      Another key example is the mismanagement of our natural resources like North Sea oil, and now they’re going to do the same with onshore hydrocarbons – offer licenses to private companies to develop them. The 1998 Petroleum Act (ever heard of it? I hadn’t until recently) makes the astonishing claim that any onshore resources are the property of HMG, not the British people, even if they are under our houses, which mostly they are, and they (HMG) will be handing out licenses (for a fee, which the Treasurt will pocket) to private companies to develop. The harvested hydrocarbons will belong to these ‘investors’ and not the British people.

      I profoundly disagree with this economic model. I do not want it in my country, Scotland, and if the English are happy with it, fair enough, but why should it be imposed on us? This is our future, our resources, to manage for our children, and they should be under national not private control. There should be an oil fund established. But without sovereignty we can do nothing about this as we stand by powerlessly and watch as our resources are squandered.

      • I think you are missing Mr T’s point. The point is that the yes side needs to make a reasoned case for the pros of independence outweighing the costs, not simply assert that the benefits are obvious, that there won’t be any downsides, and that anybody who disagrees with them is a moron, in the pocket of the wealthy, and/or scared. That’s not how to persuade people; that’s how to put them off.

    • Ghana is the most successful African country these days.

      • You’ve also missed the point. In this case the relevant point is that success is relative. It’s not a question of whether Scotland can go it alone. That’s never really been up for serious debate, as far as I can tell. The question is whether the undecideds perceive they will be better off staying in the union or leaving it. If the yes campaign can’t grasp that, it’s in even deeper trouble than it currently appears.

  59. Winning over cynical voters is how we will win.

    How do you fight cynicism? By compromising over issues, but ultimately looking at the economic situation of Scotland. If we were winning the economic argument then this referendum would be over.

    I can see some points, but I also know from speaking to people and looking at past polling that women for example are only now starting to switch onto the arguments. All we can do is keep talking, with a little bit of compromise thrown in and we will win. An independent Scotland is not a cure all, it is a start of us governing ourselves. Important to stress that as the cynic’s out there are voting no as they think everything will just be the same as it is, with a Yes vote.

    I would point you all in the direction of the 60% that want Scottish parliament to be responsible for all decisions. We have at least 40% voting yes. There is still 10% – 15% of that lot, currently voting no, to capture.

  60. We are told that polling companies weight their raw polling data according to how their sample population voted in the last election. We are also told that the turnout in the independence referendum is set to exceed, by a mile, anything that has happened in the past, so there will be many voters who have not voted and do not have a previous voting preference. So how do we trust the polls to give anything like the correct information?

  61. “I think both Yes and No would accept the result” says Crubag.

    Speak for yourself, Crubag. In my opinion, the so-called “polls” are propaganda exercises. The mass canvass conducted by the Radical Independence Campaign was FAR bigger than any of their tiny “samples”, it reached parts that none of the things fraudulently described as “polls” have ever reached, and it came to very different conclusions.

    The purpose of the propaganda exercises lauded by the mass media as “polls” is rwo-fold.

    (1) to seek to depress YES campaigners by giving them the utterly false impression that they are losing, and

    (2) to prepare the ground for a fraudulent claim that No has “won”.

    I have been campaigning for this referendum for nearly ten years now. I am delighted that we are, at long last, going to have the simple, straightforward, non-party-political, single-question, independence-yes-or-no, referendum, for which myself and others have campaigned so long. That in itself is a huge victory, regardless of the result.

    But although I have wanted this referendum for nearly ten years, I have also said, for nearly ten years, that there is a danger of some opponents of independence seeking to rig the vote.

    My prediction is, there will not be a no vote.
    The majority will vote yes.
    However, although there will not be a majority for no, that is not the same thing as saying that we will not be TOLD there has been a majority for No.

    If you are told on the 19th of September that there has been a no vote, you are probably being lied to.

    I feel extremely confident that there will be a landslide majority for yes. The very worst that could happen is a somewhat narrower majority for yes.

    HOWEVER, there are very good reasons for suspecting that some on the NO side could seek to rig the vote.

    One reason is that some of our opponents have previous convictions for this. The other reason is that the “security” services of the British state have previous form for this, but, of course, can not be convicted.

    A few months ago, I wrote to the Chief Counting Officer for the 2014 referendum, Mary Pitcaithly, whose “day job” is with Falkirk Council, expressing my concerns about possible “massive, organised electoral fraud”, involving postal votes, of the type for which three Labour Party councillors in Birmingham were found guilty.

    I received a reply from one of her Falkirk Council colleagues, on her behalf, basically saying that they would be keeping an eye on things, and it would be okay. I did NOT find that reply re-assuring.

    A few years ago, three Labour members of the city government of England’s second-largest city were found guilty of electoral fraud. In sentencing them, Judge Richard Mawbrey said the three members of Birmingham Council were involved in “massive, systematic, and organised fraud” supported by the Labour Party.

    The “massive, systematic, and organised fraud” involved postal voting.

    Since then, there has been a huge increase in postal voting, amounting to many millions in general elections to the Westminster parliament.

    Attempts at cleaning up the system have been hampered by party political interests. Although the Liberal Democrats are in coalition with the Tories, they are annoyed at their partners over the failure of a “proportional representation” referendum. So they have sided with the Labour Party in postponing a boundary review which could give the Tories as many as 20 extra seats in parliament. Unfortunately, the legislation for that boundary review also includes the legislation to clean up postal voting. So it looks like that essential clean-up could be indefinitely delayed.

    And we have a referendum on independence here in Scotland in which up to a million votes could be cast, weeks before the referendum, by postal voting.

    Now, nobody grudges the infirm and the sick not having to go to the polling station. But the possibilities for what that Judge in Birmingham described as massive, systematic, and organised fraud, supported by the Labour Party, have certainly not gone away.

    The “Better Together” propagandists keep saying only a minority of Scots will vote for independence. I don’t believe that – AND NEITHER DO THEY. The truth is, they are shitting themselves. They think they could lose the referendum.

    There have been instances in Scotland, as well as in Birmingham, of Labour Party involvement in dodgy electoral practices. And they are worried. So the temptation on some of them to “bend the rules” will be very strong.

    And here’s another thing. In his autobiographical book “Spycatcher”, the former MI5 agent Peter Wright boasted about himself and a large number of his fellow agents acting independently of, and, indeed, against, the government of the day. They broke into loads of houses all over London, safe in the knowledge that, even if they got caught, they would never be prosecuted. They regarded the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, as a “commie”, and they were confident of deciding for themselves what was “in the National Interest”, without orders from any politician.

    And OF COURSE there are still folk in “Intelligence” who wouldn’t even feel the need to get the approval of politicians for what they considered to be “in the national interest”.

    Who knows what dirty tricks THEY might get up to? They are quite capable, for instance, of staging some “false flag” atrocity, and seeking to blame it on supporters of independence. They have done that sort of thing in the past. They are also quite capable of actual ballot rigging.

    They are quite capable of doing that sort of thing because, although the hypocrites claim to act in the name of “freedom” and “democracy”, the reality is that they are defenders of the established order, and they are quite prepared to subvert freedom and democracy.

    Some have sought to dismiss concerns about the activities of “spooks”. But they are not mythical creatures. It is acknowledged that they do exist. The British state pays thousands of spooks to defend the interests of the British state.

    Right now, right at the very top of the interests of the British state, so far as these thousands of spooks are concerned, is ensuring the continued existence of the British state.
    And the number one threat to the continued existence of the British state is a majority YES vote next month.

    Now, I think David Cameron and his colleagues have probably told the spooks they should stop at nothing to defeat that threat.
    But even if the politicians have not officially told them they should stop at nothing, there are plenty amongst those thousands of spooks who are quite capable of figuring this out for themselves, and acting on their initiative.

    Yes, there will be attempts to rig the referendum. The best way to ensure these attempts do not succeed is to make as many people as possible aware of this, so that we have as many people as possible watching like hawks for any dodgy business. Plus, as well as ourselves watching out for this, we should also tell the entire world about our suspicions, and invite the entire world to come and observe our referendum. The more scrutiny there is, the harder it will be for the riggers.

    But if, despite all that, we should be told that there has been a narrow victory for NO – I will say it’s a lie, and demand international enquiry into the anti-democratic fraud committed by the British state.

    • Quite simply if the Better Together lot were so convinced that they were going to win, by a country mile they wouldn’t be devoting such time and money to ensuring the vote foes in their favour

    • Do you actually know what the procedure for postal votes are? You need to be registered. You then need to apply for a postal vote. You then need to send in the postal vote. And the signature attached to all three needs to be the same.

      Now considering the number of Labour members & campaigners who’ve jumped ship to Yes, why would there have been zero revelations about the mass fraud they’re perpetrating?

      Unless the vote is decided by a tiny margin, fraud is not going to be remotely decisive.

      Btw, the Scottish government is organising this election, not Westminster. If Yes wins will you accept claims from the No side that it’s because it’s been fixed?

      Fwiw I’ve got a postal vote permanently because I don’t know in advance if I can make the polling station on the day. It increases turnout.

      • “the Scottish government is organising this election, not Westminster” claims Allan Hosey

        As a matter of fact, the referendum count is under the control of the Chief Executive of Falkirk Council. Falkirk Council is a coalition of Labour, LibDems, and Tories. Exactly the parties which form ‘Better Together’.

        And of course so far as the “security services” are concerned, the “security” of the British State (which includes the continued existence of the British State) takes priority over EVERYTHING else.

        “Do you actually know what the procedure for postal votes are?”

        I know the procedure is identical to the procedure which was used in Birmingham which led to instances of what Judge Richard Mowbray described as “massive organised fraud” by official representatives of the Labour Party. The reason it is identical is because, although it was agreed the system was wide-open to abuse, the LibDems were annoyed at their Westminster coalition partners, over Tory opposition to their PR referendum, so they have sided with the Labour Party in postponing indefinitely the much-needed reform of postal voting.

      • There certainly are loads of Labour voters turning to Yes, in my experience. One note of caution: I have heard that the No vote in the North East, an SNP stronghold, is bigger than expected and that many people who normally vote for the SNP are voting No. In other words they are conservatives with a small ‘c’.

    • It seems to be very easy to register.

      There does not seem to be any requirement to show that you have been resident in Scotland for the previous six months. You could have arrived from France, Northern Ireland, Germany or England on September 1st and you could be given a vote. You do not even have to prove you are actually resident at the Scottish address you give.

      All you have to do is to say where you were registered previously.

      What is therefore to stop me from applying to register mutliple EU residents names to my address by September 1st (providing these are real names of real people) and them obtaining votes two weeks late?

      14% of the votes cast in 2011 were postal votes.

  62. I don’t think anybody ‘knows’ who is winning but most agree the key to winning is those who do not normally vote and those who normally vote Labour. We need to focus on them relentlessly and knock them all up on polling day.

    Being underdogs is not necessarily a bad thing if it keeps No voters and activists sure that they are going to win. We can’t rely on that though.

    We need a massive polling day operation, twice. Don’t forget postal votes start to go out in a couple of weeks.

    • But the verification process of these postal votes does not appear to be rigorous. If 14% voted in 2011, on an expected 80% turnout we could be looking at the verification of 500,000 postal votes.

      Do we honestly believe Falkirk Council has the resources to do that by September 18Th?

  63. Creating uncertainty over whether Scotland will have to use marbles or a sheep to buy an iPad is a gamble as well for no and it is their main area of attack, (so many other areas of no negativity have gone from the public perception as they crash and burn) one I believe is not going to be as strong as they must hope.

    I the media even gave 25% of assessment of the Yes campaign in an honest manner the polls would be as neck and neck as they will be in the final fortnight when people will really begin to consider the option of Scotland having its own government or trusting the floundering undemocratic westminster and their lacklustre same old same old parties to continue doing such sterling (no pun) work.

  64. If a turn out of 80% occurs in the Referendum, then a sizeable amount of people who rarely vote must be going out of their way to do so……..it is a question as to whether they are likely to get off their arses on this seminal occasion to vote no or to vote Yes.

    It is extremely difficult with the way the media has portrayed this debate on Scotland’s future to tell whether the people who are usually less inclined to vote at all will do so in the Referendum to support westminster and the uk though I would say that people who don’t vote are usually disenfranchised and disillusioned (or apathetic) and surely those in Scotland might be less inclined to support the union style of uk politics?

  65. Over at Wings the fundraiser for 200,00 plus print copies of the Wee Blue Book reached its target in under 3 hours! Now at 125% and climbing. Stay positive. Get people to read the WBB and even NO’s turn to YES.

    And if anyone on Bella hasn’t heard Dr. Philippa Whitford live then Google her and listen to any of her talks. The one last one at Business for Scotland is a good one. Watch her and vote No if you are independently wealthy and don’t care about NHS Scotland, or your fellow human beings.

    Enough introspection, just over a month to go. Keep on campaigning!

  66. The yes campaign will lose because people will vote on the basis of better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. For that sentiment not to win the day, the devil they know would have to be pretty awful, and, although it may fall well short of Utopia, it is not awful. On the other hand, the completely unknown devil might be.

    • ‘although it may fall well short of Utopia, it is not awful’

      Ehh ? A completely un-payable national debt of £1.4 Trillion and an annual deficit now stuck at £110bn a year adding to that total. £46bn a year in interest alone. Trade deficit getting worse, no improvements in manufacturing and a false drop in unemployment because people are being forced to become self-employed and earning a crap salary. The new jobs that are created are minimum wage and many zero-hours contracts.

      Austerity has failed, it has not made one bit of difference as the deficit has remained steady at over £100bn. Even if you stopped all UK state pensions now, the £75bn saving would still not cover the deficit. Throw in Income Support, JSA and all disability allowances and guess what ? You’re still not covering our annual deficit.

      Add to that the housing bubble being created by Osbourne because stamp duty receipts of £13bn a year are the only thing preventing the deficit getting worse.

      Now we hear that the Eurozone is having another wobble and the UK press report it as ‘we’re not as bad as those Europeans, look at how much worse it is for them’ when the reality is that because of trade if they have it bad, they aren’t going to buy our exports and our already bad trade deficit only gets worse.

      So this might get you a bit angry and you might think, ‘hey let’s get out and demonstrate, I’ve had enough of this’ – but you can’t. The new anti-social behaviour bill means that anyone congregating anywhere that is deemed ‘out of the ordinary’ can be arrested. You haven’t committed a crime but that doesn’t matter – you can be detained and shoved into jail for up to 2 years (promise you, I’m not kidding, read George Monbiot).

      Now while your sitting in jail, some fracking company comes along to your area and because of new legislation they can drill right under your house, and they don’t even have to let you know. They’ve got a permit from Westminster to drill in that lovely wooded area you use to walk your dog that you thought was a safe green belt space but they’ve all been sold off (again, new legislation).

      Shall I go on ? There’s at least another three paragraphs I can supply off the top of my head.

      • Spot on. At least the Americans have seen the light now re the ‘ Anglo-American Economic Lunacy’ as it was known in Europe. Thank goodness none of the other large European countries fell for it, although they were teetering on the brink when the crunch hit. Europe is still, just about, capable of isolationism, if it becomes necessary. In terms of food production and manufacturing it could sustain a population in something like the manner to which they have become accustomed.

        But the rUK, destroyed by elitist, entitlement/privilege believers, is a basket case.

        Naive nutters who are the equivalent of a parasite which thinks it can continue to grow, further emaciating the host, indefinitely and sustainably.

        I’m afraid it is all going to end in tears, sooner rather than later.

        The window of opportunity, to lock up the loonies and start rebuilding a proper economy which might have avoided disaster, closed about 5 years ago.

        Just hope an independent Scotland can avoid some of the flak.

        ob. worst in Western Europe additions to your list:

        Wealth Gap
        Food Banks
        University tuition fees
        State pension PPI
        Unhappiest Children

        In the pipeline:
        Conscription
        Full privatisation of health care
        Leaving the ECHR (hence leaving the EU)
        Unfettered infringement of human rights:
        Internment
        Secret trials
        Rendition
        Deportation
        Torture
        Slave labour

        Seem like fantasies? Some of that is already happening.

  67. I’m gobsmacked that so many ‘intelligent’ folk seem to be unaware of Psyops.

  68. I don’t understand this matter of Independence.In war cemeteries english and scottish soldiers lie together dead for the same flag since 1707(and it’s a lot of time).
    Why to divide the living britons while the dead ones are united?

    • We don’t live in the past. Who is to say what these men believed in or what their politics were?
      It’s important to remember the past in as much as it helps you understand how you got here. But you should never let the past blind you to the present and more importantly the future. The world they knew, doesn’t exist anymore. But then the dead don’t care about these things. Its the living who have to make the choices. The dead make no choices and offer no opinions. And that includes all those that have past, not just the war dead.

      The UK is going down a deep dark scary hole. I have seen no compelling reason as to why Scotland should tag along for the ride.

      As for the article I think the problem is that the debate got so polarised that its almost impossible to judge which way its going. Better together polling has to be taken with a huge pinch of salt. They have been caught once to often issuing dodgy polls. The only reason they get away with it is a very Anti-indy press. Don’t believe me? just look at the Dunleavy debacle.

      My feeling is that its too close to call.

      I fervently pray that it is Yes. A no vote is going to be ugly, very ugly.

    • antonio, maybe you can explain to me why the mortality rate for Scottish troops in WW1 was 26 % but for English troops it was only 11% despite us all fighting in the same army ?

    • Prior to 1707 the only “enemy” we had was England. After 1707…the World!! Basta con queste sciocchezze! Vota SI! SI! SI, Viva la repubblica scozzese!

  69. I appreciate very much your very kind reply to my opinion.But if you write the UK is going down a deep dark scary hole I’m forced to believe that you don’t consider what’s happening
    on the continent.The yesterday gross production figures of Germany,Italy,France and so on
    compared with te UK’ ones show that Britain is still a land of hope and glory

    • Antinio, we want independence because we are first of all, a nation, not a region; and secondly because the way the UK is organised constitutionally as a composite state, it doesn’t allow us as a nation to have any control of our own affiairs; as a ‘region’ (their understanding, not ours) of the UK we feel we are misgoverned by people who don’t understand us; and thirdly, for reasons of democracy because we REALLY don’t agree with the policy decisions that are taken by the centre. We are not oppressed, but we are not thriving either. We are misgoverned. We are like lodgers in our own house, who only get pocket money back in return for our wages. If we agreed with the policy decisions that were being taken by England, then that would be far less of a problem. We are not asking for much and can’t see why we can’t have it. We will still be friends after independence, in fact better friends.

    • Really ? You clearly have absolutely no idea how disappointing that news is to the UK because if they have it bad, our trade suffers. We already have a pretty awful trade deficit and this is only going to make it worse as Europe, our largest export market, stops buying even more goods.

      ‘As long as they’re having it worse than us’ is one of the most soul destroying, energy sapping, pathetic arguments I hear from bloody unionists.

    • I do see what is happening in the continent & I see it happening here. Reactionary, unthinking, rightward leaning insanity. Scotland cannot prevent the UK from veering to the right. It never has had that kind of influence. A Britain that defended foodbanks by saying Europe had them first, and wants to extend workfare to pensioners, can never be considered a beacon of hope. They have taken hope away from the most vulnerable and the poor. Thats not glorious or great, its simply sick.

    • Consider gentile signore that a referendum is due on Scottish independence. Presenting the UK as rich and “a land of hope and glory” is exactly the kind of ad hoc propaganda needed. Throw in all that stuff about how awful it is in the Eurozone and allez hop! you got the perfect parcel of tall tales to fool the Scots into staying, so they think. Well some of us have actually spent time in Europe and if thats bad what were the good times like..The Brits virtually invented the modern usage of the term “propaganda”. They are good at it. Just remember it is the product of somebody’s fertile imagination. Not based on reality.

  70. I live in Florence,but my father was born in Dumbarton.Some of my scottish relatives
    live in kirkcaldy and my nice is a solicitor in Edinburgh.I love Scotland and admire
    very much scottish proud and bravery and wish the scots the best future for them.
    Economic statistics show the UK will be for 2018 the wealthiest country in Europe.
    If you are wealthy you have money for social security and social equality.
    It’s my firm opinion that Uk is the best opportunity for Scotland with a major devolution
    so that Scots can run their own business.

    • What economic statistics prove your theory Antonio, please provide some evidence ?

      Well if wealth is indicated by social security and social equality, then surely Scotland is far wealthier than the rest of the UK as we can manage to pay for prescriptions, university education, travel and elderly care – most of which you will be charged for in England.

      You’ve actually provided a great reason for us to vote for independence.

    • I remember your father’s cafe in Dumbarton. It was an institution.

      • Possibly you remember my grandfather’s Joseph cafe in Dumbarton.He came from
        Barga,a small tuscany town whose population mass migrated to Scotland.
        Ever heard surnames Casci,Nardini,Gonnella,Conti and Notini?They all come from
        Barga as i.e. former catholic archbishop of Glasgow Mario Conti and singer
        Paolo Notini’s parents.

    • UK the richest country in 2018? Take out chinese, russian, arab money and what is left….still shuttered shops, collapsing infrastructure, low wages, the super rich just getting richer thanks to a government of feudal tory boys. Private wealth and public squalor is the norm and as for the quality of life….A Scots republic might not be a magic wand for instant perfection but at least we can order up our own spells.

  71. If the case for independence is so strong, why isn’t Yes already winning?  
    It isn’t strong at all – To the vast majority it is a huge unnecessary gamble with our future our children and our grandchildren’s futures.
    No one is saying we couldn’t be an independent country but the reality is that it would take 10-15 years of hardship to steady the ship. Some people will lose their jobs, houses, businesses and livelihoods in the process. Just last week the BoE have announced contingency plans to cover the Uk economy up until the point of independence – after that people’s life savings/ bank accounts etc will no longer have the protection of the BoE. Personal bank deposits of up to £85,000 are currently covered by the FSCS department of the BoE. The UBS bank have predicted that there could be financial flight to rUk after independence prompting a potential run on Scottish banks.

    Re polling – This is a universally accepted way of gauging public opinion on voting intention accross the world and only in a few cases
    have been totally wrong. This is normally due to an unexpected deviation such as a late change in public opinion or very low voter turnout.
    It is said that the 1992 gen election opinion polls were swayed in the last few days by the tory press and their headlines about Kinnock.
    The 2011 SG opinion polls were swayed by an extremely low voter turnout resulting in an SNP win.
    The Quebec independence referendum – saw a late swing of about 5% on the day towards the status quo. I predict this will happen in our ref as well as the bravado wears off and the reality of exiting the Uk kicks – people are more likely to play safe.

    • Sure Scot…like the monicker. Has the rather dodgy resonances of “True Scot” or “Proud Scot”. Be that as it may, political pollsters and opinion pollsters read the runes and the entrails like the rest of us. Like weather forecasters, meteorology is a science unlike polling, they can and do get it wrong. The public simply cannot be trusted to be consistent or even tell the truth. Leading pollsters up the garden path is part of the fun. The real non-hypothetical sounding of the vox pop is yet to come. Suggest we all discard the crystal balls and wait for that.

      • My I ask those Scots so sure of a yes victory how many pounds will they bet
        on this referendum result?
        (excuse me,this is a poor attempt of that british sense of humour I loved so
        much when in Scotland)

      • I would gladly bet you a million pounds on YES winning, Antonio. Unfortunately, it would be dishonest of me to do so. YOU might have a million pounds, but I don’t. It would be equally dishonest for me to bet you a thousand pounds, or a hundred, and for the same reason. Most weeks, I just barely struggle through from one pension day to the next. So, even though I do not think there’s a snowball’s chance in Hell of me losing the bet, it would not be fair to you to take your money off you.

      • It is very easy to get caught up in a bubble of any sort by surrounding yourself by people holding the same opinions as yourself. Just because a certain Facebook post has 20,000 likes or more than half the people in your street have yes stickers on their windows does not mean that the majority of 4,000,0000 voters in this country agree. This is where opinion polls come in to reflect the opinion of the entire population.
        Take the Declaration for Yes website as an example. In approximately 2 years it has only amassed 800,000 signatures in total. That equates to less than 25 % of the electorate. Given that yes voters are far more commited to the cause and are very vocal on social media, the vast majority of yes backers would have signed this (btw – it’s still ongoing – anyone can still sign this online). There will be some that haven’t or are simply still toying with the idea of voting yes.
        Being generous I would put support for independence somewhere around 1.2 to 1.3 million which is about 30- 35% of the electorate – which surprisingly is what the opinion polls are finding.
        Opinion polls are as scientific as you could get without asking the entire electorate. The samples are representative of social background, age, gender, previous voting intention etc. It is calculated to represent a cross section of the entire Scottish electorate – not just people that you or I know.
        It is thought that some opinion polls (eg. Panelbase and Survation) have too high a sample of SNP voters due to the low voter turnout at the last SG election which is not an accurate reflection of the voting population. TNS – BMRB and YouGov seem to have taken this factor into account and have a more balanced sample (according to other elections with normal voter turnout).
        It is also possible that because of the emotions that this ref has stirred up some people are very wary of saying they support No – due to fears of looking or feeling “unpatriotic” somehow.
        I know of a few people that have had Yes canvassers at their door that they say they are voting yes just to avoid confrontation and prolonged discussion.
        On the day – free from anyone else judging your opinion – people should then be free to vote with their minds instead of their hearts.
        That is the beauty of a democratic secret ballot!

      • “opinion polls come in to reflect the opinion of the entire population” – they do no such thing! .”Take the Declaration for Yes website as an example. In approximately 2 years it has only amassed 800,000 signatures in total” – I was against that “Declaration”, from the very start. I always regarded it as a distraction. There is only one number that matters: the number of those voting YES on the 18th of September.

        “Opinion polls are as scientific as you could get” they are PSEUDO-science, practised by confidence tricksters on the gullible. They are tiny alleged “samples” carried out by middle class people asking other middle class people their opinions. They deliberately under-represent the working class. And it sort-of works, for Westminster elections. It’s not going to work for the referendum. I know a woman in her mid 50s who has never voted for ANYBODY in her entire life, but is determined to vote Yes in September. I know a man in his mid-40s who has never voted for ANYBODY in his entire life, but who is determined to vote Yes in September. There are hundreds of thousands more like them. But according to the “opinion polls”, they don’t exist. The “pollsters” ask if you voted in the last election, and if you voted in the one before that, and, if you didn’t vote in either of the last two elections, they classify you as “unlikely to vote”, therefore your opinion doesn’t count. I am going to take great pleasure in pointing out that the Radical Independence Campaign was right, and the “pollsters” were wrong.

    • David Coul – Opinion polls do reflect the opinions of an entire electorate not just the middle classes as you suggest. The samples are based on many things including education, social background, professions, employment status (yes they do include the appropriate % of unemployed people as well), pensioners (well off and poor ones) and us this case 16-18 year olds. It is not just previous voting intention they target. The sample is a true reflection % of the social standings, age and gender of the electorate.

      The RIC “doorstep challenge” was always going to produce results in favour of yes! Most people would say yes just to get rid of them – people don’t like canvassers at their door – a quick yes gets rid of them! (If you say No its 10 minutes of assertive questions like – Don’t you want to live in a better country? etc) Is it not just possible that they have selected areas to poll that are more likely to vote yes.

      • Regarding opinion polls versus reality in referendums, we need look no further than the ’97 Devolution Referendum.

        The following is a graph published at the time by the Scottish Affairs mob. I retained it for future (present) reference.

        Note that the actual results were more than 10% (electorate percentage) points higher than the polls leading into the referendum.

  72. Under which psychological model would be a distaste for being patronised by the yes campaign and treated as though I am stupid? Is it perhaps an assured ego versus disbelieving dogma model? In practical terms, when someone who is less well qualified than me, who has a less high status and lower paid job than me, and who makes the moral decision to ever so slightly distort the truth in advancement of their cause, tries to tell me what to do, it annoys the hell out of me. So does someone who assumes that I am uninformed/lack information/research skills/understanding, etc.. This isn’t the only basis of my decision-making, but there does seem a relative lack of awareness in the Yes camp that they are actually only pissing people off rather than persuading them to their cause by this patronising approach. And it is the sort of people you would need to pay the higher taxes that a more socialist Scotland would require. It really isn’t at all likely to succeed. Theres a related problem of a lack of quality people in Scotland to deal with the consequences of independence well, and such an approach to independence is only likely to drive more of them away. Its a glaring lack of logic, and one which cannot be covered up by shouting or bullying.

    • “someone who is less well qualified than me, who has a less high status and lower paid job than me”

      Okay, so you’re a snob who looks down on those less fortunate than yourself.
      There are quite a few like you.
      Quite a few, but a minority.
      As will soon be proved.

      • Dear Mr.Dave Coull,regarding bets I meant to bet at Ladbroke not certainly to me.
        I get a pension of a small amount and survive because I have a house in property.
        I don’t agree with your opinions regarding the referendum but anyway I think
        they are intelligent and expressed in a very polite way.
        I think that possibly I’m still conditioned from what the most important italian
        journalist wrote some years ago “who doesn’t love Britain doesn’t love freedom”.
        May I wish you the best things in every Scotland,independent or still in UK?

      • Antonio casci

        magari!

    • This is the expression of the black propaganda canard that supporters of independence are of a lower social class and less “bright” than the average or mainstream or whatever. It also implies that Scots in general are less able intellectually, even genetically pace Johann Lamont, to manage their own governance. Believe that if you choose Sir but I will not be lectured to by the failing unionist apparatus and its apparatchiks on the basis that I or my fellows are inferior. You skate on the thin ice of racism.

  73. Never read so much pooop in all my life …. Hocus Pocus masquerading as political science and expert commentary … ! If you really knew your stuff … you’d have known, that provided the YES campaign achieved certain basic targets of methodology and message … YES was allows going to win. Not squeeze past the post, but stomp home, miles ahead! If the pollsters and political ‘experts’ actually understood human psychology, our history, the power of social media …. they would have realised that … No cant win … the simple figures just don’t add up! The only way NO could possibly have won, was to have managed to have their cheating, lies and deceptions, go unchallenged and exposed … and that was never going to happen!! Anyone who actually knows there stuff realised some years ago that a fundamental shift has occurred in the relationship between citizen and state. Unlike previous referenda , whether it be in Scotland of Canada or else where … no longer can the states propaganda machinery spew its lies without challenge! Yes was always going to win! Of those that vote, between 68 to 75% will vote Yes! That figure was calculated two years ago and still stands!

    • Duncan Woodward – Please tell me your post is a wind up -yeah?

    • What planet are you on? The majority of Scots (of which, for the avoidance of doubt, I am one) will vote no. They are doing this not because they don’t believe Scotland can be independent. It’s not necessarily even because they don’t want independence. It’s because this attempt at it, by the SNP and the current Yes campaign, is an awful mess.

      The figures aren’t made up. There’s no conspiracy against you. Scotland just doesn’t want it.

      • As you are so certain o the future, could you please jump back in your time machine an gie is the winner o the Scottish Cup this year. Thanks!

  74. Now in mid-August, a victory for Yes, for Scotland as an independent country, is uncertain.

    Which idea could help to persuade undecided and “no” voters that they should vote Yes on September 18th ?

    We suggest:

    The Right of the people to much greater influence in deciding public policy, in planning and in building the country anew.

    How can this supervision and control of our government be organised?

    There’s no need to abolish parliament or government :-) But we do need to improve the system by adding the correct “tools”. By “tools” we mean the procedures of direct democracy, that is, citizen-led democracy. We need basic law which asserts our right to exercise political power (sovereignty) by means of both referenda and electing politicians. To make these rights “watertight” we must guarantee and spell out our citizens’ right to use specified instruments of democracy. This must be very clear or politicians will try to wriggle out and fiddle the rules for their own perceived benefit. The instruments should include

    A. Citizens’ proposal (“initiative”). The right to call a binding referendum of the whole electorate on any public matter. After an agreed but not prohibitively large number of citizens have endorsed (signed) a proposal then a binding referendum must be held.

    B. Veto. The right to block a government proposal, bill or recently passed law. Within a reasonable time period a veto referendum may be called by an agreed large number of citizens.

    These rights to political action must be established in law which can only be changed directly by the electorate in binding referendum.

    For an introduction to the methods of direct democracy see http://www.iniref.org/

    ———————————————————-

    The uncertainties of a post-independence future could be less worrying if we were confident that we – many, most or all of the people – would be able to intervene with proposals which can go to referendum, plus the ability to block unwanted government plans or laws. By taking these powers we could confirm that in Scotland “the people are sovereign”.

    Our First Minister has invited our contributions to running the country. He is quoted as follows (Your guide to an independent Scotland 2013):

    “Of course some would prefer Scotland to become a republic, to leave the EU or NATO, or to have our own currency. After Scotland becomes independent, any political party seeking to make these kinds of changes would first have to win support to do so in an election.

    That is the real democratic value of independence – the people of Scotland are in charge.”

    The way things are now, we would have to rely on the promises of one or more political parties to make “these kind of changes” – matters vital to our future as individuals, families and country. In order to put into effect that “the people of Scotland are in charge” of public affairs, we must give ourselves better tools of democracy, better than merely giving away our vote and power to politicians once every few years.

    Wallace-Macpherson
    Perthshire

  75. If we believe we are going to loose, we certainly will, and the régime will have won a psychological victory even before the event. This negative fatalistic strain in the Scottish psyche needs urgent attention.

    • Last night I was in Barga,a small town in Tuscany virtually a british colony.English and
      Scots drunk and sung together taking both not seriously the matter of independence

      • A group of Scots and English drinking and singing has very little to do with Scottish independence. Just as in WWI English and Germans taking time out to play football had little to do with war itself but more to do with two corrupt systems. Stop playing the racist card Mr Casci. You live in Italy (of course you could just be a unionist troll) so this has nothing to do with you; you have no vote.

    • I completely agree. And that’s why I despair of all the anti BBC/MSM comments I see. Let’s answer the points of the BT campaign, and not retreat into conspiracy theory. That’s an excuse not an argument.

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  1. Scotland: We’ve done the impossible and that makes us mighty. | Scottish Pokemon – What do you believe in?
  2. What do undecided voters need to see, hear and feel to vote yes on September 18th? «

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