Wednesday, February 7, 2018

"Oooh, you little fibbers!" Shock and disbelief as Scotsman newspaper is caught MISLEADING ITS READERS about an independence poll

The days of me religiously following the Scotsman newspaper (at least via its website) have long since passed. But I did vaguely register that at some point last year, an incoming editor announced that the paper would no longer have a political affiliation - individual columnists would still be free to express their own partisan views, but there would no longer be an editorial line on independence, or in favour of any particular political party.  As with the broadcast media, though, you really have to judge a newspaper by its words and deeds, and not by its nominal protestations of neutrality.  There was, for example, a very puzzling headline in January about the annual Social Attitudes Survey: "Majority of Scots want to end freedom of movement post-Brexit".  That seemed intended to give the false impression that public opinion on Brexit in Scotland is not all that different from public opinion south of the border.  In fact, the survey showed that almost two-thirds of the Scottish public would accept freedom of movement as a price worth paying for free trade - a significantly higher figure than in the rest of the UK.  It also showed clear majority backing for the Scottish government's insistence that EU powers over devolved matters should be repatriated to Edinburgh rather than London after Brexit.  Although not technically inaccurate, the Scotsman's headline was exactly the one you would have expected a rabidly anti-independence publication to use when trying to put a positive gloss on survey figures that were, on the whole, extremely unhelpful to its case.

A one-off reversion to the bad habits of the past?  I'm afraid not.  A couple of days ago, the Scotsman reported the findings of a Survation poll which asked a rare multi-option question on the constitution.  17% of respondents backed Devo Max, 32% backed full independence, and 36% favoured the status quo.  As ever with nuanced results of that type, you can spin them any way you want - you could put a pro-independence gloss on them by saying voters were decisively rejecting the status quo, and were demanding massive new powers for the Scottish Parliament by a margin of 49% to 36%.  Or you could argue that voters were rejecting independence by a margin of 53% to 32% - that would be intellectually dishonest, because Devo Max is not on offer and many of its supporters would be likely to vote Yes to independence in a binary-choice referendum, but you wouldn't be directly lying if you said that.  But incredibly, the Scotsman weren't even content with that - they went further still and stepped over the boundary into outright falsehood.  This was their headline: "Status quo preferable to independence for most Scots".  That could only have been true if the question asked by the poll had been something like "If faced with a straight choice, would you prefer independence or the current constitutional arrangements?", and if the majority had favoured the latter.  Instead, a little over one-third of respondents preferred the status quo to two other options, and very nearly half of respondents did not.  The headline is not only untrue, it's pretty damn close to being the complete opposite of the truth.

If this is what the Scotsman looks like when it practices studied neutrality on constitutional matters, the mind boggles as to what it would come up with if it actually nailed its colours to the mast.

22 comments:

  1. Meh! Gormless Wastemonster Collaborator will no doubt come along and disagree with you James.
    However it seems plain to me that we are
    a)headed for a Hard Brexit
    b)the devolved settlement is seriously under threat, and
    c)this article is correct in all its assertions.

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    1. How many punters read the Hootsman or indeed the Jock Nationalist.!
      Only fools are influenced by the press. A hard brext could be on the cards as the EU beaurocracy do not their power being eroded.
      What you Nat sis have to consider is if you do end up in the EU and the EU order you not to trade with RuK, will you obey orders! Remember two thirds of jocko trade is with RuK.

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    2. Aye. We'll do what the glorious EU masters want us to. No trade with rUK is fine. rUK would have less oil, gas, food, whisky, water, electricity. Turn out the lights Scotland is seceeding and we're totally screwed.

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    3. GWC2. Aye. How much of rUKs trade is with Scotland ? I'm quite sure it'll not be needed once UK enters its free trade Utopia.

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    4. Anon - to be so owned by a troll that you mention him before he even turns up is quite the achievement.

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    5. It would be Pravda that Red Rab C would have had us all reading if his soviet coup d'etat had succeeded. Proud patriots bravely stood against him and his red army on September 18th 2014 and safeguarded our liberty, prosperity, democracy, free press and freedom of speech, so cherish it and long may it continue.

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    6. commentor - there's a couple of posters on here who never talk about anything except GWC. Of course, they could be him.

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    7. GWC2 how much of the exports go from Scotland to rUK and then right on through the chunnel? or out of a couple of ports? and anyhow we export a lot of our food produce after we have fed ourselves,who will be hungry for our food exports? us no don't think so.

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    8. It is exports from Scotland to the RuK you knob. Exports from Scotland to the EU which is minimul do go via England.

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    9. Scotland and NI are only parts of UK to have trade Surplus.
      https://www.uktradeinfo.com/Statistics/RTS/Pages/default.aspx

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    10. Both are heavily subsidised by the The English taxpayer to the detriment of the English working class.

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    11. Gwc2 Scotland has and never will be subsidised by the English this may be true for waleshire and king billies county but not Scotland so if you are going to troll at least know what you are talking about

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    12. The jockos are heavily subsidised that is why the Nat si party do not raise taxes for the rich to help the less better off..

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    13. State of this Tory bootlick.

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  2. Mike “Impartial Election Expert” Smithson at another place:
    “... whenever new polls come out indicating that LAB is not doing as well as might be expected we get what looks like an automated response from many red team backers: The party was 20%+ behind at the last election and pulled back and ergo it can do it again.
    I would suggest that this is a totally complacent view and the very fact that the Tories campaign was so awful at the last election means that they are not going to make the same mistakes again.”

    A blocked pro-Scottish commentator might reasonably point out that whenever new polls come out indicating that the SNP is doing better than might be expected we get what looks like an automated response from many British nationalist bloggers: The party was 20%+ ahead in polls at the last election and dropped back and ergo it can do it again.
    He might suggest that this is a totally complacent view and the very fact that the polling was so awful at the last election means that they are not going to make the same mistakes again.

    But then, if the pro-Scottish commentator did, then he would be blocked. Again.

    Don’t you just love free speech?

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  3. Given Brexit the one thing not on offer is the status quo. I think it is fairer to say that 85% do not want a diminution of the Scottish Government's powers.

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  4. I saw the Scotsman article being touted on some other forum with no reference to the Devo Max element. It seems to have wet the sponges of the SiU types. A cursory glance shows that poll is far grimmer news for those against devolution/independence than those that support Holyrood in whatever form. That should have been the headline but that wouldn't play well to the few that still buy the paper.

    The Scotsman is, however, a joke. I think most newspapers struggle to afford serious journalists and therefore publish whatever pap is dumped on their desk. I would not give the Scotsman house room and I used to buy it every day.

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  5. Not only is the inclusion of Devomax (I thought it was already delivered in The Vow?) nonsense, the very inclusion of a Status Quo is false.

    The Status Quo is not on offer, because the UK is determined to leave the EU in the next few years. Either significantly more powers will be returned to Hollyrood upon the UK leaving the EU, or they will be held at Westminster. Either way, the Status Quo will change significantly.

    The only way you could argue otherwise is if, by "Status Quo," you mean "Westminster's decisions should continue to have perpetual precedence over anything we decide." Which might be more honest, but you can see why they didn't phrase it along those lines.

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  6. If this was from a Paper that actually had any readers then I would be concerned but since it's from the Hootsmon sales now under 18,000 I don't think what LIES they peddle has much influence any longer the sooner this Foreign owned rag goes bust along with all the other Papers the Better.

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    1. That sounds rather parochial Padraig Wilson. The daily Nationalist must suit you better. Maybe we should call it the daily truth with a prayer on page three.

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    2. State of this.

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  7. Was it the same 'journo' as wrote previously anti-Ind articles?

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