Often you hear independence switherers worrying endlessly about losing their favourite TV programmes, such as the Great British Bake Off, Big Brother or The Apprentice. The reply is often that Ireland has made a deal with the BBC to make their channels available in the Republic, at a lower price than Scotland currently pays through the licence fee, and of course Scotland will be able to do the same.
That’s true, of course, but something that’s often overlooked is that most successful TV show concepts these days get bought by foreign TV channels. Scotland wouldn’t be restricted to watching the Great rUK Bake Off (if it’ll still exist by then), but a Scottish TV channel would probably buy the concept and broadcast The Great Scottish Bake Off.
Just to illustrate how accurately the concepts get copied, here are a few foreign Bake Off clones:
Den Store Bagedyst from Denmark:
Das große Backen from Germany:
The Great Australian Bake Off:
Bake Off — Ale Ciacho form Poland:
The Great Irish Bake Off:
Le Meilleur Pâtissier from France:
You can see a complete list of international version on Wikipedia.
It would have the advantage for Scots that it would be much easier to get onto these shows because they would be recruiting from a population of 5½m instead of 64m, and as far as I can tell, the quality of the cakes isn’t any worse in the Danish version (Denmark has roughly the same number of inhabitants as Scotland).
But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles
To fall down at your door
I’ve seen people drawing 500-mile radius maps around Leith to figure out where that’d take you.
However, given the lyrics clearly specifies the mode of transport is walking, I realised you can do so much better and use Google Maps option to establish exactly where that’d take you by clicking the appropriate icon.
Walking 500 miles from Leith will take you to Camping Perroquet, a camping site in France very close to the Belgian border:
I presume that’s a reasonable place to look for the woman you love. When you then realise she isn’t there and decide to walk 500 miles more, you’ll end up in Aabenraa in Denmark:
I’m not sure I’ve ever been to Aabenraa, but it almost makes me want to go there.
If I’m right that the SNP’s National Survey is basically just an excuse to get activists chapping on doors, we need campaign materials.
I’m frankly a bit surprised the SNP isn’t supplying us with any, but I guess we just need to take matters into our own hands.
When I was at the rally on Glasgow Green last Sunday, I sensed there was a real desire to start campaigning again, and if we are to hold Indyref2 in two years’ time, we really need to get started on building a majority for independence.
It would be good with a number of A5 flyers targeting different audiences (e.g., EU citizens, NHS workers and pensioners) and specific topics (such as currency, EU membership, and whether there’ll be a hard border with England).
An updated reprint of Wings over Scotland’s Wee Blue Book would also be amazing.
And finally I’d like to see a card with links to various independence websites (several versions of this existed two years ago).
I’m sure there are tens of thousands of people out there who are desperate to deliver them, and they would probably also help pay for them and all.
Who’s up for designing them, organising the printing and doing the crowdfunding? Has any of this been done yet? I really don’t think we need to wait for the SNP to do it, or for Yes Scotland II to be set up. Who’s with me?
Let’s first recapitulate how I defined the four groups:
The blue tribe consists of the 33% of voters who want Scotland to be an independent country inside the EU [mnemonic: blue as the Saltire and the EU flag].
The yellow tribe is made up of the 11% who want Scotland to be a completely independent country outside both the UK and the EU [mnemonic: yellow as the background on the lion rampant flag, which this group in my experience is very fond of].
The green tribe is home to the pro-EU unionists who were perfectly happy inside both unions (28% of voters) [mnemonic: green for hope, because they will hopefully vote Yes next time].
The red tribe is made up of the 23% of voters who are pro-UK Brexiters [mnemonic: red as the cross on the English flag].
The first point that I don’t think I stressed enough in my first post on this topic is that it’s important to bear in mind that the four tribes aren’t homogenous groups separate from each other. Many voters for instance inhabit the blue-green borderland – they’re primarily internationalists and aren’t actually that concerned about whether they’re citizens of Scotland or the UK. Other voters are found in the blue-yellow area and are primarily pro-Scotland and less concerned with Scotland’s membership of the EU. The interested reader can as an exercise describe the green-red and yellow-red voters.
In Indyref2 the goal for the Yes side is to turn the blue-green greens into blue-green blues without losing the yellow tribe (in particular the yellow-red yellows). And similarly I expect the No side will focus on winning over the yellows without losing too many of the greens.
And this leads me to my second point: I don’t think the opposing tribes have anything in common. The blue and red tribes are complete opposites, as are the green and yellow ones.
It’s interesting that when Better Together (which were of course dominated by green-tribe politicians) talked about the Yes side, they always seemed to describe the yellow tribe and not have any understanding of the blue tribe, and I think the Yes side (which was almost entirely a blue-tribe effort) made a similar error of assuming all No voters were deep down from the red tribe, and we didn’t really understand how you could be a progressive internationalist and still vote No.
If my analysis is correct, the potential problem for Indyref2 is that you can’t create a successful coalition of yellow-blue-green: As soon as you start appealing to the green tribe, the yellows will walk out in disgust, and vice versa. It’s already very clear that the yellow tribe are deeply unhappy about Indyref2 being run on the basis of continued EU membership. On the other hand, if we focus too much on keeping the yellow tribe on board, we’ll be unable to appeal to the green tribe.
The million-bawbee question is how many members of the green tribe we can realistically win over in Indyref2. If we stop appealing to the yellow tribe, we need to win over a significant number of green-tribe voters to compensate.
We badly need an opinion poll to segment the green tribe into blue-green and red-green (and perhaps even finer shades than this). When push comes to shove, how many of them will join the blue tribe rather than the red one? I hope this is something the SNP are doing behind the scenes.
One fact that seems to be overlooked by many commentators is that when the UK leaves the EU, all EU citizens living in Scotland will get disenfranchised overnight because it’s an EU rule that gives us the right to vote in local elections, and independence referendums use the same franchise. So when Brexit happens, we’ll suddenly have no special status and will be treated the same as Americans or Argentinians, which means we won’t be able to vote.
Because voting Yes to Scottish independence this time is a complete no-brainer to any EU citizen living in Scotland (differently from last time, when many thought continued EU membership was secured better by voting No), it means we will lose up to 173,000 safe Yes votes by holding the referendum after the UK has left.
You’d need to feel extremely confident about the result of Indyref2 to discard these safe Yes votes just because you don’t really like the timeframe it imposes on you.
It’s an excellent article, and I agree with most of he writes. However, I think he’s wrong in thinking that it’ll happen in May 2019:
So if we assume it must happen by next May, that makes May 2019 the logical cut-off point for Brexit. It’s coincidentally also the date the next European election is due – an event which of course remains on the UK political calendar, precisely because we haven’t even begun the process of Brexit yet.
It would be farcical for the UK to still be an EU member at that point – because we’d still have to hold those elections if there was no clear exit date in place – but in the current UK political climate, something being farcical is no barrier to it happening.
Nevertheless, let’s take it as the closest thing that we’ve got to a rationally plausible outcome. It would make sense to hold a second indyref at the same time. It would massively reduce the costs and admin, and it’s infinitely preferable from everyone’s point of view – Scotland’s, the EU’s and the rUK’s – for Scotland to STAY in the EU rather than to be dragged out then try to JOIN at a later date.
(Honestly, it’s simply not possible to overstate how much that’s the case. For about a thousand mainly pretty obvious reasons the technicalities of the latter scenario, for all three entities, would by comparison be absolutely insanely complex and costly. It’d be a lot less trouble just to go to war with Russia.)
I totally agree that it’d be barking mad to be dragged out only to rejoin a couple of years later, but I just can’t see how it can technically be done in time to ensure continued EU membership if we don’t vote till May 2019. Two years ago we argued that we needed about 18 months to set up an independent state. I always thought it could be done quicker, but the six months it took Czechia and Slovakia to separate is probably the gold standard. I would therefore say that the autumn of 2018 is the latest realistical time for the referendum to ensure Scotland remains within the EU without spending some time outside the door. (Unless, of course, we pre-negotiate everything, but I doubt Westminster will agree to doing that.)
One last note: At the rally on Glasgow Green yesterday, Robin McAlpine seemed to argue that we had to wait till at least 2020 before holding Indyref2 because Westminster won’t let us hold a new referendum before 2019 because they’re too busy with Brexit to allow themselves to get distracted by other matters. Surely that’s an excellent reason to hold it sooner rather than later – it can only help us if Westminster are too busy to interfere, and as somebody who believes in the sovereignty of the people of Scotland I don’t think Westminster can morally or politically block it anyway.
Today’s Panelbase poll (coinciding with the 2nd anniversary of the first independence referendum) very helpfully asked the respondents to pick their preferred scenario for Scotland’s place in the world. I’ve put the figures into a pie chart, ignoring the 5% who are undecided, to make it easier to spot the possible majorities.
To make it easier to discuss the four groupings, I’ll refer to them by colour in the following. The blue tribe consists of the 33% of voters who want Scotland to be an independent country inside the EU; the yellow tribe is made up of the 11% who want Scotland to be a completely independent country outside both the UK and the EU; the green tribe is home to the pro-EU unionists who were perfectly happy inside both unions (28% of voters); and finally the red tribe is made up of the 23% of voters who are pro-UK Brexiters.
As a rough approximation, the Yes movement two years ago was a coalition between the blue and yellow tribes, and the No side was home to both the green and red ones. However, during the Brexit referendum, the Remain side brought together the blues and the greens, and the Leave side consisted of the yellows and the reds.
The question now is what happens in Indyref2. The green tribe has just become politically homeless because their preferred option simply doesn’t exist any more. Will they eventually join the blue tribe or the red one?
Wings over Scotland today focuses on the yellow tribe (or the “unhappy 11%”, as he calls them). However, I don’t think that’s a big worry. At the end of the day, they are in favour of an independent Scotland, and even though they might not be very active during the next campaign, I can’t imagine that many of them will actually vote No to independence — surely they’ll just start a UKIP-like party in Scotland post-independence.
The green tribe is our big opportunity. They’re not happy with the outcome of the Brexit referendum, and they need to rethink their political priorities. If Brexit turns out to mean a soft Brexit (a.k.a. the Norwegian solution), they might eventually join the red tribe, but if it seems like the UK is opting for a hard Brexit, it should be easy to convince most of them that joining the blue tribe is the internationalist and outward-looking position, and that will enable us to win a landslide victory in the next independence referendum.
Let’s not get so focused on keeping together the Indyref1 coalition that we completely miss the opportunity to assemble a much bigger Indyref2 coalition.
In the immediate aftermath of the Brexit referendum, most sensible people believed the Tories had a plan. Not necessarily a good one, but at least some sort of idea of what they wanted to achieve.
It then dawned on the rest of us that they had absolutely no plan whatsoever, that the Leave campaign had consisted of nothing more than infinite amounts of hot air and wishful thinking.
We then all expected the Tories to formulate a plan and tell us about it. This is clearly what the EU negotiators still are expecting – they’ve lined up their team and their negotiating position, and they’re now waiting for the triggering of Article 50 and to hear what the UK wants to do. The Scottish Government also seems to be waiting to find out whether the Tory plan involves being part of the Internal Market and whether Scotland will have a formal rôle in the negotiations as promised.
However, what if they never clear things up? What if the various members of the UK government continue to contradict each other in public? What if they keep promising to listen to Scotland without ever doing so? What if it doesn’t become clear till the night before Brexit takes place what it actually entails? It could actually be deliberate – if you have a weak hand in negotiations, clarity helps your opponents, so the Tories might think maximum obfuscation is the best way to get a good deal.
So I think we have to brace ourselves for the possibility that we might not know whether post-Brexit England and Wales will be part of the Internal Market till the Tory negotiators emerge in the wee hours of the morning from a smoke-filled room in Brussels in early 2019. Until that point, they might very feasibly keep saying they want to restrict immigration while having full access to the Internal Market.
The problem for Scotland is that if our plan is to use continued Internal Market membership as the way to get a majority to vote Yes in the next independence referendum, we effectively tie our hands because we can’t then call the referendum until we know what the Tories are doing, and that could very well be too close to the actual Brexit date to allow us to hold a referendum in time to ensure that Scotland never leaves the EU.
I’m aware some independentistas would like us to wait till everything becomes clear and the consequences of Brexit are real and felt by everybody, but as I wrote yesterday, I feel that’s like walking out onto thin ice with our partner when we could be standing on the shore.
We need to come up with a plan that works even if the Tories do their best to muddy the waters. Walking onto thin ice in the middle of the night when you can’t see what you’re doing is hardly better than doing it during the day!