Some eejit said “places with high leave votes were also where large numbers voted yes in 2014 indyref.” While Libby Brooks gamely attempts to rationalise this by referring to districts within local authorities, the only verifiable statistics deal with local authorities. I, like Ms Brooks, was at both counts (Inverclyde in my case, naturally) so I can provide anecdotal evidence too – but that’s all it is. All we have to go on are local authority counts, and unless we actually make a point of breaking down the counts by smaller districts (which I would be entirely favourable towards, particularly if broken down into Immediate Geographies) votes subdivided by local authority is the best we have. In any case, this statement follows previous witterings where the High Heidjit compared the Yes Campaign with the Leave Campaign, a comparison that demeans all Scots.
Nonetheless, I think it’ll be interesting to look at a few of the local authorities in question, and see what we can see.
It’s almost two years since the independence referendum, and I still find it difficult looking back at the statistics. But since The Material Change in Circumstances, I’ve found it a bit less painful.
Since certain people have equated “Leave” with “Yes,” let’s see how the 32 local authorities voted in that order:
You can somewhat see where the notion “high Yes = high Leave” votes comes in when you consider 5 of the top 10 Remain votes were also in the top 10 No vote areas (Edinburgh, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, & Orkney). If “high No = high Remain,” then surely the opposite would be true?
Yet of the ten highest Leave votes in Scotland, only the Highlands, Islands, and North Ayrshire were also in the top 10 Yes votes; of them, only North Ayrshire was placed in a higher comparable position in the Yes tournament (9th highest Leave, 6th highest Yes). Indeed, exactly the same number – Aberdeenshire, Dumfries & Galloway, & Shetland – were in the top 10 for Leave, and bottom 10 for Yes; meanwhile, Glasgow, Renfrewshire & Inverclyde were in the top 10 for Yes, but in the bottom 10 for Leave. (Interestingly, Fife occupies the same rank in both votes, at 14)
However, this ranking analysis does not acknowledge one of the big differences between the two referendums – the sheer gap between the vote percentages overall. While 4 areas in Scotland voted Yes, not one of them voted Leave – itself a significant distinction, with only one borderline constituency in Moray. The highest Yes voting percentage was Dundee’s 57.3, while the highest Leave percentage was Moray’s 49.9 (a 7.4 difference). In contrast, the highest No percentage as Orkney’s 67.2% compared to Edinburgh’s 74.4% for Remain (7.2 difference). What’s more, there were only 10 constituencies in Scotland which voted more than 60% No, and none over 70%: 16 voted more than 60% to remain, with 3 over 70%. And, it should go without saying, not a single constituency saw Leave gain more than 50% of the vote: there are at least 4 Scottish constituencies which voted over 50% Yes.
This is, of course, if you’re going by the Yes=Leave, No=Remain paradigm. What if you reject that comparison? Sure, a simple argument could be made that the two referendums are about exiting or staying in a union – but by the same token, I could argue that it was a referendum between keeping or taking control from Westminster, i.e. Yes=Remain, No=Leave. Certainly Leave was considered to be the British Nationalist’s choice, what with UKIP, the BNP, Britain First and other such organisations advocating Leave. What if we compare the constituencies that way?
But then, comparing the two referendums is not comparing like for like. I don’t think there is any useful correlation between Yes voters favouring Leave and No voters preferring Remain, despite the best attempts of politicians and journalists (& certain independence supporters): their attempts to convince independence supporters to vote Leave to hasten a second referendum may well have worked to some degree. That applies the other way, where some people somehow believed that a Leave vote would either frustrate the cause of Scottish independence, or prevent it entirely. Some still believe it. This is even before we factor in the franchise, where 16-17-year-olds & EU nationals could vote in one, but not the other.
So, what have we learned? Not much, except that some people should maybe have a wee think before they say things.