What a bunch of liars

The SIU Covert Letter-writing Group members in 2017

By Alasdair Galloway

Over the last three days I have had an exchange with well-known Unionists and SIU member, Alan Fitzpatrick.

This was prompted initially by his letter on Tuesday

INDY QUESTION IS SIMPLE

IS Robert Frazer (Letters, October 11) kidding, or does he really believe that “tens of thousands of ordinary people” are so disinterested in understanding what they would be voting for, or so lacking in intelligence to care, that they would be confused by having to answer such a simple question in an Indyref2 as “Should Scotland remain in the UK? Yes or No”? I doubt such people would even bother to vote at all, but perhaps they could be encouraged to lodge a protest vote if there was to be a third option of “Don’t care” or “Too difficult”.

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.

I take from this that the question he would want to use was “Should Scotland remain in the UK? Yes or No”? and replied to this next day with this

A SLANTED QUESTION

ALAN Fitzpatrick’s letter (October 12) this morning is disingenuous in the extreme. It is a well-established fact that different forms of question on the same topic can produce different responses from the same respondent, irrespective of whether they are “disinterested in understanding what they would be voting for, or so lacking in intelligence to care”.

Is it mere coincidence that a correspondent with the unionist credentials of Mr Fitzpatrick should champion “Should Scotland remain in the UK? Yes or No”, particularly when that question regularly produces a balance of opinion against independence in polls funded by Scotland in Union?

No doubt there will be dispute about question wording at the next referendum, so we have to hope the Electoral Commission does its work. However the “reforms” in the current Elections Bill, which will put the commission under Westminster Government control, place that in considerable doubt.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

Remarkably his reply to me (today) was

BIAS OF THE YES QUESTION

ALLOW me to correct Alasdair Galloway (Letters, October 13), who accuses me of being “disingenuous in the extreme” in his mistaken belief that I “champion” the question “Should Scotland remain in the UK? Yes or No”. I was not attempting to champion anything. All I was doing was making the very simple point that such wording was not at all difficult to understand, contrary to Robert Frazer’s assertion (Letters, October 11) that many people would be confused by it.

That I object to any referendum question involving a “Yes or No” answer should be obvious to any regular correspondent such as Mr Galloway from my occasional letters in The Herald on that very subject. As I have said each time, any such question is inherently biased in favour of “Yes”. That is the stated view of the Electoral Commission, and I am glad to see that Mr Galloway, in his reference to that commission, appears to share that view.

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.

Mr F seems to think he was not championing a particular form of question – especially given his connections with SIU, who have championed just that question with good results (from their pov) – moreover it appears in both his questions. If he thinks that should be the question, is that not to champion it? More seriously, he is disingenuous in that the issue with the form of question is not understanding, but what type of understanding – as I noted different questions on the same topic can produce different outcomes. I didn’t say there should be a Yes/No question, and as for the Electoral Commission, the proposals in the current Elections Bill, according to the Commission, will “fetter” their work.

So I replied this morning with this

In his response to me this morning Alan Fitzpatrick claims this the question he proposes for a second Scottish referendum “is the stated view of the Electoral Commission”. It is not.

The most recent Electoral Commission view is from 2016 when they were asked to review the EU referendum question originally proposed by the Westminster Government – “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union? Yes/No”. After consideration and their own research, the Commission decided that this the question was inappropriate because “it only sets out the ‘remain’ option in the question, and the ‘yes’ response is for the status quo”,

If we consider Mr Fitzpatrick’s preferred option of “Should Scotland remain in the UK? Yes or No”, it seems clear it faces the same two difficulties as the originally proposed EU question. First, in the same way it only sets out the ‘Remain in the UK option’, and the “Yes” response is for the status quo. It seems unlikely that the Commission would approve this.

A question such as “‘Should Scotland be an independent country or remain in the UK?’ Independent/ Remain in the UK” would be a different matter, but that’s not what he proposes.”

Whether this will see the Letters Page I don’t know – I doubt it as Drew Allan fairly consistently allows a Letter, a reply and a reply to the reply, and we have done that.

However, I have a number of reasons to write this

  1. To point to the facility with which these people lie – his reply to my letter has little to do with what I actually did write (he also avoids my point re the Electoral Commission), but in particular, as I show, what he claims is the “stated view of the Electoral Commission” is nothing of the kind. It doesn’t even make clear that they are against Yes/No type questions – just the one the WM govt proposed in 2016.
  2. The Commission’s view of the question proposed by the Government for the EU vote – “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union? Yes/No” – pretty much kills SIU’s favourite and much road-tested question stone dead, as it’s the same as the Government’s original EU question – substitute Scotland for United Kingdom and United Kingdom for the European Union and you’ve got it.
  3. They don’t want to talk about the Electoral Commission effectively being taken over by the WM government if the Elections Bill goes through. Basically, a strategy and policy document for the Commission will be published annually by the government, that the Commission will be expected to follow. To make sure they do, they will be supervised by a HoC Committee, chaired by the Speaker but with a majority of Government MPs (which shockingly is normal at WM – talk about marking your own homework!). If you want to know more about this see https://constitution-unit.com/2021/09/30/the-elections-bills-proposals-on-electoral-commission-governance-risks-to-electoral-integrity-and-devolution/ This is something that needs watched, since most attention has gone on the non-problem of impersonation at elections (justifying the use of ID at polling places), but also how democratic is it for the governing party to have this much influence over, in electoral terms, the referee?

16 thoughts on “What a bunch of liars

  1. A more basic question. It has always annoyed me to hear people described as “ordinary”.
    Can anyone tell me the definition of an ordinary person?
    To me, all people are extraordinary, in some respect or another. Real people I call them.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. They mean people not born into money, and people not in positions of power.
      They mean the people who they consdier to be the underclass, and that’s the way these bullies operate, as if they are somehow entitled to money and power, and everyone esle is there to serve them. I guess in England, people are considered to be ‘servants’, not citizens, but then people there seem happy with that! :-/

      Liked by 2 people

  2. The reason for SiU et al seeking change to the original question for a future Indy Referendum is obvious, to invert the response required as to the original versus new question.

    Since before 2014 the bright yellow YES and blue NO badges/flags/pennants signalled the answer to the expected question “Should Scotland be an independent country?”, 7 years later “YES” on a yellow background is firmly established in the national psyche as being in favour of Independence.

    Were the EC to sanction such a blatant change to a question and answer so firmly expected, this would be in breach of their mandate ensure that the question and response required are clearly understood by the voter.

    As to Do they lie, of course.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The problem with the Electoral Commission is that the WM govt are proposing closer control. A strategy and policy document will be published each year and be monitored by a committee chaired by the Speaker but with a majority of govt MPs. The Minister responsible just now is Michael Gove. So, given the change proposed in the law, they might well be fulfilling their mandate.

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      1. I fully understand your scenario, BUT, their problem is that the entire country has understood that mandate for a very long time, so a change of such magnitude would expose them to accusations of gerrymandering from all sides.
        Changing the Indy question was already floated and the vast majority in England were against it, the Tories may soon have the legal means to impose it, but at what electoral cost ?
        For all that MSM have steered English opinion it cannot do so overnight, it took decades for them to create a majority for Brexit, they cannot suddenly encourage support against a principle long held as crucial, and the Tories are entering a world of pain if they try…

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  3. The question on the SUI referendum paper should simply be :

    All things being equal , and based on previous experience , do you , as an ordinary unbiased voter , agree with the proposition , without any caveats or other provisions , that Scotland being a member of the UK should , based on the first referendum , not agree to any substantial shift in this previously stated preference and repudiate any agreement previously not agreed to in the first ballot unless said alteration is consistent with the already agreed position ?

    Vote : Mibbes aye !
    Mibbes naw !
    Can I phone a friend ?

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    1. I suspect James that if you are going to vote Yes (or for independence) you will have to attend the polling station in full “see you Jimmy regalia” and be able to recite Tam O’Shanter.

      Like

  4. If they want a clear question then surely:

    Should the governance of Scotland be the remit of politicians elected in :

    Scotland

    Elsewhere

    It’s clear why they wouldn’t want an actual factual question, which is in effect about sovereignty, but rather a vague/loaded question. After all who when asked such a direct question who would vote for another country to rule over them, except those who feel we are inferior.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The British nationalists no longer attempt to pretend they seek a better settlement for Scotland within the UK.
    Because the polls refuse to budge (they predicted a collapse after the 2014 NO), the Brit nats have decided their best option is the deny us a vote for as long as they can, and tilt the table in the meantime.
    We all know about the bias in the media, the gaslighting of Scotland on the BBC—now the hobbling of the EC.
    But there comes a point where the public can see the State trying to rig the system, and it becomes self-defeating.
    I am not a member of the SNP, but if I was them, I would announce that if Scotland cannot have a FAIR referendum by 2023, then the next UK election will be a mandate to negotiate independence.
    They wont recognise it.
    Withdraw SNP MP’s from Westminster.
    Utilise whatever powers Holyrood has to disrupt the working of the State.
    Appeal to the international community/EU/UN for support.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The question is about Scotland taking back control to use a fashionable term in UKok. It’s about whether Scotland should be an independent country, rather than a colony ruled by a neighbouring country, with very different approach to how they do government, and we all here know the difference in that regard!

    ‘Independence’ has to be on the ballot, the question ‘remain in the UK’ is misleading and obviously an attempt to pull at the heart strings, rather than this being a rational, realistic option and choice for the people of Scotland in order to secure a 21st century approach to how things are done in their own country.

    ‘Should Scotland be an independent country’ makes sense, because it’s what countries are, independent of rule by another country. ‘Remain’ tells us the opposite is to leave, maybe the question could be therefore, should Scotland LEAVE the UK, how might that be perceived? In 2014, a lot of the ‘better together’ message relied on the emotional, ‘don’t leave us we love you’, claptrap. They also suppressed the facts for in order for people to make an informed choice, and in fact accused the independence side of being ‘too emotional’. I had friends in England who told me independence was based on being ‘too emotional’, hmmm, Guardian readers and Channel4 fans, as if people were stupid, when it was the media and the British Nationalists who did everything they could to keep the facts that were actually available, away from the people.

    What the British Nationalists have to offer Scotland now simply is a faux cosy, ‘all in it together’ relationship, an abusive one at that, where Scotland is literally scammed out of their vast resources and revenues.

    The BritNat state rely on people not being given the facts and on their inablity to be rational, their inability to see outside of the fake cosy backward blitz spirit, but in Scotland most people see through that and want a future where we throw off the chains of the class system that the Tories and their best pals the Labour party, keep well alive much to the detriment of the ‘ordinary’ people.

    The sheer fact of having the monarchy who are really not apolitical at all, is just simply not conducive to a 21st century, forward looking country, one where talent, intelligence and self worth, and not money, gets a person into a position whereby they are making crucial decisions about how society functions.
    The so called royals and Tory/Labour government in England agenda is to continue to implement even more disgraceful inequality across their ‘UK’ where the ‘ordinary’ people, their ‘servants’ are kept down, oppressed and poor.

    Scotland rejects that, and independence is the only way to ensure an escape from a terrible dystopian backward future in the so called ‘UK’.

    Independence is what I want to see, Scotland deserves much better than what ‘remaining’ in the ever more utterly unequal ‘UK’, will ever have to offer.

    INDEPENDENCE it is then.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Be very very upon your guard
    The Unionists are now fully engaged in the Building of a Trojan Horse
    Torch the bloody subterfuge the moment it becomes apparent
    Know thy Foe

    Liked by 1 person

  8. They can ‘frame’ the question anyway they like but with a higher starting point once we start chapping on doors the resultant Yes is assured. For those of the many who walked the streets in 2014 make no mistake we shall redouble our efforts next time. If nothing else the prospect of yet another decade of the Tories with Bojo at the helm will bring us Independence.

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  9. Someone called Phil McDonald has pinched Indyboyposter (Colin Dunn) redundant online account and activated it. A unionist troll. Telling complete lies.

    The first assertion was that Ireland was the first country to leave the UK.

    Ireland was illegally Partitioned by Gladstone and the Westminster Gov, That caused the Troubles. People being discriminated against and not allowed to vote.

    Many counties have left British rule. The Westminster Gov causing death and destruction worldwide. The illegal wars. Killing and maiming millions. Leaving people destitute and in poverty. Life expectancy in the south going down. The first time in forty years. Austerity causing 200 knife killing in London. Another MP killed.

    Like

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