Simple referendum maths

The ICM poll in today's Telegraph provides a timely illustration of the point I made in this post on Thursday: that not including the option of devo-max in the Scottish independence referendum will substantially increase the percentage that will vote for independence.

Three options

Independence ... 26%
Fiscal autonomy ... 26%
Status quo ... 37%
Don't know ... 10%

Two options

Independence ... 40%
Status quo ... 43%
Don't know ... 17%

ICM, 15 January 2012

I think it's reasonable to assume that the 10% who are undecided when three options are presented to them will also be undecided when presented with two. So that means the vote of the 26% who would have wanted fiscal autonomy but not independence splits three ways:

14% ... would vote for independence instead
6% ... would vote for the status quo instead
6% ... would be undecided

In other words, substantially more than half of them would vote for independence.


It is also interesting to note that people in both England and Scotland are in favour of establishing an English Parliament with the same devolved powers as the Scottish Parliament, by a margin of more than three to one:

In England

In favour of an English Parliament ... 49%
Against an English Parliament ... 16%

In Scotland

In favour of an English Parliament ... 49%
Against an English Parliament ... 16%

Yet Paul Murphy, bless him, is still thinking in terms of devolution to the regions of England rather than to England itself.

This shows that he really has no idea about what people in England think. The previous attempt to establish elected regional assemblies in England failed primarily because it ignored the idea of England as a political entity in its own right.

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Anonymous said...

What about people in Wales and Northern Ireland?

Anonymous said...

I agree, I think if there is devo max it will mean a no for independence. It's a tough call on what Salmond will do.

Personally I would go for the independence yes or no vote - that's it. And if there is just around 40% then clearly he has a case for devo max (as he has already). I also think it is quite hard to have a referendum on devo max and independence - as most would concentrate on the independence side. And if devo max won the vote - it is quite immoral if it hasn't been properly debated. Furthermore for devo max to work, there must be a Bill for people to look at - otherwise it is just some ambiguous word.

On English regions MH,
Do you agree with me that they must first prove they are able to govern themselves like us Welsh did? maybe give them a 1999 sort of Parliament first, and then when they're ready - introduce them to the LCO system. Then we'll see how they like a "foreign" Parliament blocking powers!!!

MH said...

I don't think our views count, Anon 17:22. Either that, or Wales is just assumed to be part of England.


Anon 17:26, I agree that devo-max means nothing unless it can a) be clearly defined, and b) be implemented by the UK Parliament. This is a wake up call for the unionist parties to get their act together or risk Scotland becoming independent before devo-max is even put on the table.

For Scotland's sake, I hope the unionist parties fail. However there are advantages for Wales in working out a symmetrical system of devolution in which each of the countries of the UK, including England, has equal devolved responsibilities. It means we take a huge step forward, and it makes the steps we then have to take to become independent that much smaller.

I don't think devolution to the English regions can ever work unless England can first establish its own political identity. However, when that identity has been established, I think there will probably be a place for regional devolution within England ... though obviously it will be a question for them. Similarly I think there will also be room for regional devolution within Wales, and that this needs to be considered as part of how we rearrange local government in Wales. Yet it would be inappropriate for us to do this while the overall constitutional picture is so unsettled.

Unknown said...

At the moment, with the unionists silly flouncing and empty threats, which they have to retract almost as soon as they are made, Salmond &co haven't had to flex a single muscle. 800 new members last week in response to CallMeDave's puerile threats. There will be more this week after his nonsense about the electoral roll, and Gideon bumnose's threat to ban Scotland from keeping Sterling (typical colonial English attitude - they think it is excursively England's currency - same thing about the embassies!.

Thbey are piling the lies on thick and fast, but it is not working. the SNP have detailed answers to every unionist salvo, but it is too early to deploy them yet while the unionists are doing so well in recruiting people to the cause of independence.

paul Murphy has at least - and at last - accepted the idea of devolution, even though he doesn't really understand it.

Anonymous said...

Paul Murphy, Carwyn Jones, Welsh Labour playing catch-up again. They really are having difficulty with joined up writing aren't they.

Nia What's her name, Llanelli MP really is a bit twp isn't she.

It really does show, the stronger case Plaid would make for Welsh independence, the more mad or anti Welsh or down right lies Labour in Wales will blunder and flounder into saying.


Jac o' the North, said...

What people like Murphy don't seem to appreciate is that England has no regional identities to compare with other large countries.

England has been a unified and centralised country for over 1,000 years; this is why it was so easy for the Normans to conquer. Defeat and kill the king then march on and occupy London. Game over. Or maybe regional identities were a luxury that could not be afforded in a new country still containing large numbers of the previous inhabitants.

Knowing Murphy, and his attitude to Wales, my guess is that he envisions regional assemblies that reduce Wales to an English region.

However you look at it, now that they've woken up to the threat, the Unionist politicians are putting their feet in it every time they open their mouths because they are totally unprepared for what faces them.

For decades the SNP was dismissed as an electoral annoyance, like the Lib Dems; able to win by-elections but little more. No one ever thought that one day there would be an SNP Government in a Scottish parliament planning a referendum on Scottish independence.

US presidents in Sci-Fi movies seem to have more idea of how to confront previously unknown extraterrestrial invaders than Unionist politicians have of dealing with the SNP government and the referendum.

Anonymous said...

The Labour govt could have offered genuine regional English devolution, but all they offered was a county council on stilts to the NE. The various departments would not give up any of their power.

Good idea or not, it's too late now.

Gwalchmei said...

I am not saying the game is won yet but we are on our way and will follow in Scotland’s footsteps. As far as regionalisation in England is concerned, it is likely to be the next step. I doubt if the NE of England would make the same mistake again given the chance to vote for devolution. We have got to remember that the memories of T. Dan Smith and his crowd of labour scoundrels were still a recent memory for them and they saw it as just another form of ‘jobs for the boys’.
My worry would be for the poor sods left behind in the Tory Rumpland of the SE. Without the electoral weight of the regionalised areas of England (and of course, Wales and Scotland), they will be condemned to the likes of this crew governing them for a long time. I don’t mean the ones who are daft enough to vote for these cretins, but I feel sorry for the good hard working souls who hate this crowd as much as I do. But, I suppose that is how democracy works. We’re just lucky to have the option to get these lunatics out of our lives.

Neilyn said...

As a previously independent country that 'voluntarily' joined in a union with England(andWales), Scotland's right to independence once again is not officially denied. I wonder, however, whether Wales will be treated so respectfully when the time comes to call our own referendum, or will we be reminded of our 'legal incorporation for all time' into the realm of England? We too, need to have our responses prepared.

Ambiorix said...

Neilyn said... I wonder, however, whether Wales will be treated so respectfully when the time comes to call our own referendum, or will we be reminded of our 'legal incorporation for all time' into the realm of England?

The answer to that question is no! Wales has always beentreated as a backyard for the English.

Anonymous said...


Historically nationalists have (badly) failed to address this vital issue.

It is one of the reasons the party finds itself in its present predicament.

Respect has to be deserved. A child is likely to be repeatedly bullied in the playground unless and until it begins to stand up for itself.

Unfortunately we in Wales have repeatedly failed to do that - for a number of reasons. We believed the propaganda fed to us by the British media and unionist politicians who have told us we're too small, too weak, too poor and too stupid to govern ourselves. These people have spoken and acted out of party and self-interest.

We have been betrayed by our own countrymen/women who have taken the English monarch's shilling - a House of Commons pension - a pitiful reward for selling their own people down the river. If named, the list would be long.

The Labour party in Wales is full of such people, particularly those representing Wales at Westminster. They have done nothing for their country, but ensure it remains in perpetual penury and ruled from elsewhere. One could say much the same of Labour's AMs.

The Scots in their wisdom have realised that voting Labour gets them nowhere. Until the people of Wales wake up to that fact, there will be no change. But first they need a credible alternative, such as the Scots found in the SNP.

As for the Tories and LibDems, what can one say? The former represent an alien political force. For the sake of me I can't understand why anyone here votes for them - the party of wealth and privilege.

The LibDems don't know what they stand for and manage to face every direction at the same time. The Scots have realised that these two British nationalist parties haven't acted in Scotland's interests, and never will.

Plaid's failure to get its act together in the last decade - to elect a credible leader and to formulate clear policies - is self-evident. It has itself to blame. It has lost the opportunity to take the lead. It is stuck with some elected members who shouldn't be in the party let alone in the Assembly.

As a first step it has to elect a leader who can command respect and who has a clear direction and vision, who appeals to a wider constituency than the party has managed hitherto.

To my mind, Leanne is the only one of the four who has real potential to take the party forward. It will be a tragedy if she isn't elected. I am am heartened by the increasing level of support for her candidature and the high level endorsements she has received so far.

We witnessed the respect given to the Irish Republic during the queen of England's recent visit - the Irish people stood up for themselves and shook off their colonial status.

Salmond demands respect, and he'll get it from Cameron and his ilk, because he has the Scottish people behind him - he won't be bullied.

Wales has to follow suit if we are to get the respect of others.

The Scots, it seems, will decide Wales' and the UK's future - that is not as it should be - we should be calling the shots for ourselves.

Neilyn said...

Indeed Anonymous, I agree with you, every word. It's time for the Welsh to grow a national spine, politically and socially speaking, pronto. Otherwise our future is as an 'ethnic minority' in England's western region of Wales, and ethnic minorities don't qualify for international rugby and football tournements. Less pride, more bloody resolve!!!.

Anonymous said...

This is worth watching:

Ambiorix said...

Anonymous said... Plaid's failure to get its act together in the last decade - to elect a credible leader and to formulate clear policies - is self-evident. It has itself to blame. It has lost the opportunity to take the lead. It is stuck with some elected members who shouldn't be in the party let alone in the Assembly.

Who would those members be?

Anonymous said...

Plaid needs a leader like former Newfoundland premier Danny Williams, a fighter and Newfie patriot who took it to the federal government and turned the province. Newfoundland is no longer subsidised but a net contributor to Canada.

He's also hilarious!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and he's a left-leaning Tory - which is true of most Welsh people IMO.

Anonymous said...

"There's a couple of the things mainlanders miss. Danny Williams does not talk to mainlanders. Danny's message is entirely aimed within the borders of Newfoundland and Labrador. He doesn't care how it's perceived outside the province. … He plays to the hometown crowd all the time," says Hollett.

"He was a caricature of a Newfoundlander in certain peoples' minds, in a derogatory sense, when he was talking about trying to continue to get something that looked a lot like equalization even after we would no longer qualify for it. Or turning down Hebron and starting a fight with Ottawa because the handouts weren't big enough.

"It plays to all the stereotypes that some people on the mainland would have about Newfoundland … (and it) doesn't matter. He's not talking to them. He's only talking to the 490,000, 500,000 people in Newfoundland and Labrador," said Hollett.

But while standing up to Ottawa and what Williams calls "Big Oil" has made him widely popular at home, there's more to it than courting votes, Temelini insists.

"I think that Danny Williams really, truly believes that by doing this the province will achieve greatness. So I don't want to fall into that camp of commentators who say he's just an opportunist. I don't think that's what's going on here at all."

Even before the memorandum of understanding on the Hebron field, the most recent polling put Williams' popularity with voters at nearly 75 per cent. With an an election coming Oct. 9, Temelini predicted the Progressive Conservatives under Williams could win 42 seats in the 48-seat Newfoundland legislature.

Temelini points to a range of Williams' policies that both put him in the centre-left politically and make it difficult for the opposition to knock him down.

"There's a whole lot of policies -- freezing tuition fees, giving money to the arts community and now they're talking about giving money back to public sector workers (that) has really made it complicated for the other parties," he said.

His government's policies are popular simply because they resonate so much with Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, he said.

"I always find it intriguing that young people and people generally (in Newfoundland and Labrador) understand the province has to control its natural resources. There's a long history of not doing that, Temelini said.

"If I was living in Ontario and a government said we want to take over five per cent ownership of Chrysler Corporation, you'd be hard put not to vote for that government if you were New Democrat," he said.

MH said...

Thanks for the link to the Vote Britain video, Anon. I thought it deserved a post of its own.

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