John Curtice, Scottish independence and the uncertainty principle:

Schrodinger's Curtice

Schrodinger’s Curtice

Should supporters of Scottish independence be Denis Norden optimists or Doris Day pessimists? Neither. It won’t necessarily be alright on the night. Nor should we surrender to the fatalism of whatever will be will be.

We live in a world that is neither fixed and immutable in every aspect of our lives, nor one that permits us unrestricted freedom. There is a tension. That is something to be embraced. As individuals we don’t have the power to defy gravity and walk on water. But as a species we are able to work together to build heavier than air machines that permit us to cross the Atlantic and even to walk on the Moon.

Sociologists, psephologists and other commentators pontificate about what they think will happen. They divide each other and the rest of us into pessimists and optimists. They forget something rather important. History is made by men and by women. Politics is not about prediction. It is about creating the conditions for shifting our fellows along a path we consider to be progressive.

John Curtice’s analyses are no mere snapshots of how society would vote if we were able to vote today, which of course we are not. His measurements are a contributory factor into how all of this will play out, of how we will move, can move and will move as a direct consequence of these new revelations.

What we have here is directly analogous with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle of quantum mechanic. To the extent that the opinion polls of John Curtice and his colleagues draw the attention of political anoraks to what is happening in wider society, to precisely that extent he places ammunition into the hands of political strategists of all kinds.

What we do with that information depends on how intelligent we are. And it depends on the forces we are able to deploy not simply to directly get things done, but also to educate others into themselves becoming agitators to fight for our shared goals.

Has John Curtice provided us with insights into who will win the Scottish referendum? Actually, no, he’s not. But he has provided all of us with raw data and a set of ideas about the key battle grounds both sides have to win. John Curtice has exposed his own personal prejudices, his blind-spots. These need to be discussed openly. Here are a few of my insights.

Comrade Curtice argues that most DevoMax supporters will end up voting against Scottish independence. That is not what I have done. Nor is it what Lesley Riddoch nor Iain Macwhirter have done.

I cannot speak for all two thirds of the Scottish people who feel robbed by the Labour Party, Tories and Liberal Democrats. These parties fought to remove the option from the ballot paper that was supported by most Scots. Clearly these voters are now key to the referendum. Unless Scottish independence supporters do something very stupid, it should not be all that difficult to galvanize most devomax supporters into voting for independence on 18th of September this year.

Every offer of more devolved powers to those disenfranchised the two thirds of Scots who wanted DevoMax is meaningless. David Cameron’s Tories and Ed Miliband’s Labour simply believe that since Nick Clegg’s twats got away with their broken Lib Dem pledge on student tuition fees, then each of them have one free shot of lying to get our votes.

Not one of these anti-independence parties can guarantee they will secure a majority under first-past-the-post. All of them have no problem negotiating away their entire election manifesto commitments, blaming voters for giving everyone a get-out-of-jail-free card. The problem is first-past-the-post. First-past-the-post gives all these parties freedom to do whatever the hell they like. And this contempt for the electorate is one key reason why most Scots have an incentive to vote for independence.

Westminster is an anti-democratic monstrosity. Am I happy that when Scotland votes for freedom on 18th of September this year, we will be leaving our English brothers and sisters behind? No, I’m not. However, when Prisoners Of War glimpse an opportunity to escape, those who are left behind take comfort from this sticking of two fingers up to the guards. Sooner or later our English and Welsh comrades will also tunnel out of the United Kingdom’s dungeon. And Scots will prove themselves enthusiastic in doing everything we can to accelerate that process.

Scottish voters have used our genuinely democratic electoral system at Holyrood to flush the Tories, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP down the toilet of history. To the extent that Johann Lamont and Alistair Darling have been caught embracing David Cameron and George Osborne’s Toxic Tories, they have signed their own death warrant. They have signed it on toilet paper, and with David Cameron’s bodily fluids and solids. Down the sewer you go.

Scottish Labour MPs, MSPs, and councilors may have no problem following the Tories, but their voters do have a problem.  These people share the same interests as most Scots. Scottish independence need these Labour voters. To win them over, we need to challenge all the lies of Better Together’s megaphones at the BBC, at SKY News, at Channel Four News, ITV and Channel Five.

On the shared currency, Scottish independence supporters are on the firmest of grounds. Unconvinced? Check this out:

Johann Lamont and Alistair Darling are destined to flounder on the shared currency. The BBC et al will be proven to have been lying through their teeth from day one. And the English voters are going to be demanding answers as to why Labour, Tories and Lib Dems formed this unholy anti-democratic cartel to disenfranchise all those south of the border who see the sense of a shared currency.

Scotland won’t be frightened of a shared currency. It is true that it will set limits on our freedom of movement over interest rates. So what? Under no scenario does Scotland secure sovereignty undiluted over everything. The questions are what sovereignty should be shared, to what extent, and with whom.

The answers to these questions are questions about an independent Scotland’s relations with the rest of the United Kingdom, with the European Union and with the rest of the world. Voting for independence is voting for a renegotiation with our brothers and sisters beyond territorial borders.

As I have argued on my blog on many previous occasions (here, for instance:, Scottish independence will bring to the very top of the political agenda in England and Wales questions that champion democracy on both sides of the border. And may I say to English and Welsh socialists, you’re welcome.

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