Sunday, 15 December 2013

Vested Interest

Polls, Schmolls.

We've now seen the last of the referendum opinion polls of 2013 and things now are pretty much the same as they were in December 2012. Indeed as they were in December 2011.

Obviously, Yes Scotland and the SNP have a vested interest in maintaining that there is all still to play for. They would only be doing their job if they continued to maintain that in the face of similar polling on 17th September.

And, oddly, they have an ally in that approach over at Better Together. I joke on twitter that there is no room for complacency but indeed in terms of fundraising and motivation of footsoldiers the last thing Blair McDougall wants to do at this stage is to give the impression that it is all over bar the shouting.

And both sides also benefit from a vested interest in the press in seeking to promote this narrative. All major media outlets, print and electronic, currently devote disproportionate resources to Scotland based on the premise that the result might go either way. No journalist enjoying additional column inches or network air time, possibly even employment itself, by virtue of that phenomenon is likely to wish to bring their temporary prominence to an end by suggesting that there is really nothing very exciting to report.

So, I think we can assume that, ideally, right until the last minute we'd be told that anything could yet happen.

But, as I've said before, the relentless march of time is inevitably reducing the opportunities for the much predicted game changer and, while the polls remain as they are, the Nationalists are more and more in need of such an event. If not, notwithstanding the cheerleading of both campaigns and the media, at some point all but the active partisans on both sides will come to the conclusion that it is indeed all over and, at that point, politicians of any stripe may have to take care not to irritate the public. This, I think, is a particular, issue for the nationalists. If they proceed on the basis that there has to be last minute surge of support for them to win, they must at least be alive to the possibility that there could just as easily be a last minute collapse. A vote in the low twenties, by no means an impossibility, would not so much settle matters for a generation as settle them forever. Indeed such an outcome would inevitably call into question any continuing purpose for the SNP, at least as an overtly pro-independence Party.

So it's with that thought I'll leave you. What if the "so many people" who tell Blair Jenkins that they haven't yet made up their minds are in fact just being polite? What if Project Fear no matter how "disreputably" it has conducted itself has nonetheless achieved its desired objective? What if the polls which haven't significantly moved in two years still haven't moved in another six months? What happens then?

At the very least, vested interest might eventually clash with the obligation to report what is actually likely to happen.

1 comment:

  1. You have been called a liar due to your statements last night.
    What is your response?