When I saw the large sample poll suggesting a 56% to 44% lead for Yes, by Hanbury Strategy, it rang bells. I felt sure there was something dark about them.
Our Corruption Correspondent, Annie McIndoe, was on the ball again and shared this with me:
Here’s an extract:
A lobbying firm run by allies of Dominic Cummings was handed a contract worth £900,000 to conduct public opinion polling on the coronavirus pandemic. The contract was awarded to Hanbury Strategy without any advertisement or competitive tender process. And it was awarded to Hanbury despite the fact that – as our sworn evidence discloses – Hanbury was ill-suited to do the bulk of the work and would have had to subcontract it to others. That sworn evidence also suggests that the price paid by Government was “absolutely off the chart”.
Then, I went back through the TuS archives and found this in October 2020:
In one of the most bizarre suggestions from a supposed ‘think-tank‘, Hanbury, commissioned by an increasingly anxious Conservative Government to think of new ways to counter the surge in support for independence has come up with the idea of ‘pressuring the European Union to nix (sic) the idea of Scotland re-joining the bloc as an independent country.’ Reported in Bloomberg, yesterday, the authors argue against any aggressive, full-frontal attack on the SNP or the wider movement, suggesting it would be counter-productive. Wow! What a stunning insight! Instead, they recommend ‘Operation Sneaky Gove’, making the SNP ‘pay the price‘ for running a devolved administration and ‘co-opting the EU into demonstrating that there is no viable pathway to renewed membership.‘
And this in June 2020:
The YouGov/Hanbury poll [getting a No lead of 1%] in February used a non-standard question and did not include 16/17 year-old’s, so can be ignored. The YouGov poll on January 22nd also did not include 16/17 year-old’s.
So, no friends of the Yes campaign?
Now, they find this:
In a quietly released poll by Hanbury Strategy, with a large weighted sample of 3 884 Scots over 16, on 1st March the results were Yes 56% and No 44%. For the male sample of 1 903, the lead was even greater at 57% to 43%. Perhaps most striking is the huge lead for Yes among the younger voters; 81% to 19% for the 25 to 34 years olds, for example. This is a very large sample, more than three times bigger than most and therefore significantly more reliable.
What is going on here? Boris did sack him. Hell hath no fury greater than an Eton schoolboy scorned?