There’s been a bit of gloating from British nationalists this week over the opinion poll that never was. Those nats eh, what are they like. After Channel 4 broadcast its programme Brexit – What the Nation Really Thinks, claims were made on social media that the megapoll conducted for the show was giving a result of 52% in favour of Scottish independence. That turned out to be, to put it politely, misleading.
The poll was as misleading as the title of the Channel 4 programme, a more accurate title for which should have been Brexit – What England Really Thinks, as the programme failed to include a single political representative of any of what it pleases the British establishment to call the devolved nations while managing to give yet another platform to Nigel Farage to harrumph and normalise views that just very recently were seen as extreme right. Or Nigel Fucking Farage Dear God Get Him Aff Ma Telly, as he’s more accurately called in most Scottish households. I’ve recently discovered that I am older than Nigel. Which came as something of a surprise since he spends his life channelling the 1950s. But I digress.
Anyway, it’s not surprising that no Scottish representatives were included as Brexit is after all an exercise in English exceptionalism. The lack of Scottish, Welsh, or Northern Irish representation was fair enough, as Brexit has proven that the British state doesn’t give a toss what Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland think and the so-called Union is as fictional as the claims made in 2014 that Scotland was a much loved partner in a family of nations, or that Ruth Davidson is the most loved politician in Scotland – as opposed to being the most loved politician of the Scottish media, which is a different thing entirely.
The poll did include a question on Scottish independence, but not a straightforward one. Instead of asking how respondents would vote in a future independence referendum, and some of us are pressing for a Hell Yes! option on the ballot, the poll asked whether Brexit made respondents more or less likely to support Scottish independence. The result of that question was good for the indy campaign. 38% of respondents in Scotland reported that Brexit made them more likely to back independence, whereas only 25% said that it made them less likely to support it. In other words Brexit has made the Scottish electorate more disposed to look favourably on Scottish independence.
Some over-eager independence supporters extrapolated this poll question’s results onto the results of the last referendum and came up with the 52% support indy claim. This is methodologically unsound, to put it kindly, although not as unsound as Ruth Davidson’s repeated claims that Scotland doesn’t want another referendum. There was no need for it either, as other recent opinion polls have asked directly how Scotland would vote in an independence referendum should Brexit take place, and those polls have demonstrated a slight majority for independence – and that’s before an official campaign has even started.
All that the over-enthusiastic extrapolation achieved was to give opponents of independence something to gloat about, although we should be kind and allow them this, as they have precious little to feel good about otherwise. The reason that they are so angry and bitter is because they can see their beloved UK dissolve before their eyes. They know that independence is coming just as much as we do. Their only hope is to try to prevent another vote on independence from happening, because they know that once it does they have nothing to say and nothing to offer except scare stories and threats. No one is going to believe their “Scotland we love you” guff any more. Not even the Daily Record. Although Scotland does have the highest number of foodbanks per head of population anywhere in the UK, so it’s not like Britain doesn’t give us stuff. Poverty, job losses, low wages, and multiple social deprivation mainly, but hey, it’s a start. And as a bonus we also get Nigel Fucking Farage on the telly all the time.
Brexit has made many in Scotland reconsider their views on independence. For those opposed to Brexit, independence is the only realistic path which remains open for a Scotland that wants closer ties with the rest of Europe. For those in favour of leaving the EU, independence is the only realistic path which remains open for striking a realistic deal that actually works for Scotland, preserves our access to European markets, and won’t sell out the Scottish fishing industry.
On the other hand we’ve got an isolationist UK which doesn’t give a toss about Scotland, and whose government is now telling us that it’s impossible to say whether a Brexit deal will be achievable within the very limited time frame that remains. Those Tory ministers like Liam Fox who are warning us about that must be pure beelin at whoever it was that told us that striking a favourable deal with the EU would be the easiest thing in the world to achieve and must think that those eejits deserve an arse kicking. Brexit won’t deliver anything that its proponents promised, but if there is any justice in this world Brexit will at least deliver the prospect of Liam Fox and David Davis trying to kick their own arses live on national TV, which would be considerably more entertaining than Strictly and might even make some people in Scotland reconsider their attitude about paying the licence fee. But sadly there is no justice in this world, and even less in Conservative Britain, so all we’ll get on the telly is more gurning from Nigel Fucking Farage and blaming it all on the Germans.
As we’re constantly being told, Brexit hasn’t produced a banged on majority for independence in the polls. But it has made many people more favourable to independence than they previously were. It also appears that some people who supported independence in 2014 have now drifted away. So if the indy movement can get those people back on board again, together with those who’ve come over to indy because of Brexit, there’s already a majority for independence. And the thing is, persuading a former yes voter to vote yes again is a considerably easier task than changing the mind of a confirmed no voter. We’re going into another vote with half the population on our side, and a significant number of the rest who are open to persuasion. That’s why we’re going to win. That’s why I am confident about the result of the only poll that matters, the independence vote itself.
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