Friday, 6 April 2012


The great consultation of the Scotland Office has been closed! The results have shown, overwhelmingly, that Scotland and the Scots want exactly what the Tories (and their Lib Dem associates in the Westminster executive) have told us is best for us.

Fancy That! Amazing considering that the country only has one Tory MP and the Scottish Tories have only three constituency MSPs (one fewer than last time after David McLetchie lost Edinburgh Pentlands to the SNP). While their Lib Dem cohorts have been reduced from 15 MSPs last time to just 5 this time (two of whom have constituencies). What a mandate!

Never mind, the fact that Kezia Dugdale was forced to admit in a (to coin a Scottish Labour phrase "humiliating climb-down") that as much as half of the admitted 3,000 responses came from a pre-written Labour website. Ooops! Was that not what they were accusing the "cybernats" of supposedly doing for the Scottish one? In other words while Lamont and Sarwar were jumping up and down accusing the SNP or rigging the Scottish consultation they were busy rigging the English one. So cyberunioistas one, cybernats nil! 
Additionally there was a further blow for deputy Scottish leader Anas Sarwar when the Scotland Office itself admitted that it had received a similar proportion of anonymous submissions to the English consultation (3.3%) as the Scottish Government had to the Scottish one (3.5%).The whacky world of the Scottish Labour party (leader: answers on postcards please) gets more like a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta every day

The SoS (Michael Moore) himself recently admitted that submissions to his English consultation would be vetted for "quality". So did he accept 900 similar or identical responses from a Labour site as being of sufficient merit?

So is the SoS going to coin a Scottish Labour party phrase perform a “humiliating climb down” and submit the English consultation to an independent examination along similar lines to those that the Scottish Government will for the Scottish one?

In the interests of the freedom of information readers may wish to submit an FOI request to the Scotland Office requesting the full results of their consultation rather than simply accept the regurgitated version provided by Mr Moore.

For those of you who read these pages regularly you may recall that I said I would submit an FOI request if I was not totally happy with the veracity of the UK consultation. Suffice to say I’m not, and here is the text of my FOI request:

“The Scotland Office’s recent publication of the results of its consultation on the terms of the referendum to be held by the Scottish Government; titled “Scotland’s constitutional future” and published 4th April 2012, mentions 3,000 submissions, which it then goes on to summarise. Can you please inform me if this number was the full number of submissions received or if the total number of submissions was greater but was in some way vetted for quality? If the total number of submissions were vetted can you please provide me with details of the framework used in that vetting process? In addition can you please provide me with copies of all submissions (vetted or otherwise) or inform me where the full texts of these submissions including details of who submitted them may be viewed online?”


  1. Good luck with your FOI request tris.
    These FOI's are too helpful to the people so there are plans afoot to water down the laws and make it harder to find out what's happening. Sadly the Scottish Government are ahead of the curve and are busily deleting judgements etc.
    I remember the much aclaimed 'concensus' by 3,000 scientists that the world was warming up was debunked when it was found that only 59 scientists had actually responded and only the questions that were favourable to the global warming scammers were actually used in the results.
    The same will happen with this survey.

  2. Munguin:

    One other little fact about the Labour webform. In the form they say submissions are now not going to the UK consultation as that has been closed.

    But if you go and look at the code for the site there is a line which still contains two email addresses rather than the one you would expect if the email for the UK consultation had been removed.

    This is the line.

    <input type="hidden" name="RecipientsAddresses" value="" />

    In other words the Labour party appears to have been sending a copy of every submission and its personal details to an email account it owns and has probably been doing that from the start.

    That's a clear breach of the Data Protection act.

  3. Today on Lallands blog I read another academic is disputing the interpretation,spin,lie (choose whichever word you deem appropriate) accorded to her submission
    How many more will be found to have been misrepresented (alternative word is available) if proper scrutiny is carried out?
    I fail to see anything of worth that can be drawn from this discredited exercise

  4. I was surprised to read that the Labour party, before it made a fuss about anonymous submissions, didn't think to look at what it was doing, to see if it could not be interpreted, as it now has been, as an attempt manipulate the result.

    I'm not sure that being anonymous or not makes much difference. After all if they wanted to people could put in multiple submissions using family or friends names, and quoting their email addresses. Many people have more than one email address, they could use all of them.

    Given that Mr Moore was going to scrutinise for quality, the submissions to his own rather poorly subscribed exercise, is it not rather strange that he allowed 900+ which had come from the Labour Party and had either identical or similar replies, to pass.

    I'm sure they were of the highest quality, having been written my the party bigwigs, but surely he must have doubted that they reflected the true feelings of the people in a proper and balanced way.

    Had 900+ submissions with views contrary to those of the Tory party come in, would he have thought them to be of such stunning quality?

    Hmmm probably not, methinks.

  5. I am very suspicious of the fact that he reports very little interest in a second question on devo max.

    With every opinion poll for months showing that this is the most popular of the possibilities before the campaign has even begun, and one last night showing something like 68%, if I remember rightly, in favour of the second question, it seems very odd that Mr Moore's respondents were so against it.

    Orchestrated campaigns like this aren't really in the spirit of the thing...but then who ever thought that the Tories would play a clean game?

  6. Thanks Monty, I heard that the Tories want to start charging for FOI and of course they made all the doings of the royals free from those pesky requests to see how often Prince Charles wastes ministers time with stupid interfering questions!

  7. The good old Labour party we can always count on them to trot out the dirty tricks bag and they just do not seem to have any morals at all, when they are quite happy to accuse someone else of employing a dirty trick they are busily doing themselves!

  8. We shall see how we get on with our FOI request, they should publish the results in full and then allow what scrutiny you will. I imagine I will not be the only one requseting the full result.

  9. Tris its clearly a fiddle and Mr Moore's idea of "quality" is anything that agreed with what Mr Cameron told him it was, so the 900+ identical submissions from the Labour party were good "quality" while anything will a minor spelling errror or typo in a pro-independence one was poor "quality".

    What amazes me is just how shabby and transparent it is. I'm sure if the "mad Scotsman" (as the Tories like to respectfully call Alex) were gonna really fiddle the Scottish one it would be done properly and not in the cack handed way the English one has been!

  10. The best survey debacle has to be The Hootsmon's online poll. It was asking if the independence referendum should be brought forward. It was 60 to 40 % against this view but their counter did a reset in the wee small hours and became 60 to 40% in favour lol...

    The Hootsmon lost the plot when attacking the SNP for Amazon's tax status ( knowing full well that tax is a London matter) but this poll makes them look even worse.

    Newsnet Scotland has long since banned my commnets due to my 'alternative' view but they do great investigative stories .

  11. It's a pity that we don't live in a democracy Monty, isn't it?

  12. Yes it's a shame there's no democracy tris. An elected dictatorship is nearer the truth. You switch through the tv channels and see the tories and labour slogging it out with each other but you couldn't get a cigarette paper between them on the major issues affecting us. Perpetual war, more EU integration, more immigration , more spending on the global warming scam, more 24/7 surveillance and recording of citizens private and public thoughts, free rein for the bankers to rob us blind and then get bailed out by us, nuclear weapons etc...
    Any alternative view ( SNP /UKIP etc )is ignored or attacked by the corporate media who support the whole sham.
    Any 'solemn pledges' or 'cast iron guarantees' are quickly dumped on getting into office if they interfere with the running of the matrix.
    Then in 5 years time the people go through the whole sham again and forget the previous lies and spin and hope things will get better. But they only get worse.

  13. pseudepigraphia (in Blog list). Conan has a great post on the somewhat 'volatile' Scotsman poll!

  14. ta I'll check that out :)

  15. As Galloway infers Moore epitomises in his analogy that the arses in Westminster have 3 cheeks, am unable to question that.

  16. Must make sitting down awfully uncomfortable, must't it?

  17. 3,000 out of 4,000,000 ish people, well thats alright then eh, an obvious constitutional democracy majority there to be sure!

  18. Nominedeus, that will be after Mr Moore vetted them for "quality" as per instructions from his leader in Scotland, David Cameron! For all we know they may have got a similar number to those reported for the Scottish one (12,000+)but after the "quality" test of "do you agree with Mr Cameron?" is applied that number goes down to 3,000!