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Who do you think you're talking to?

What is the average age and IQ of a Scottish voter?

Thursday, June 20, 2024
4 mins

Who do you think you're talking to?

by Les Bertrand

A few weeks ago, when the date of the general election was announced and the parties started rummaging around to see what they could put out on their stalls, we drew attention to an interview with Kate Forbes where she described the timing of the poll as 'a very good moment' for the SNP.

Off-Topic Scotland | 'A Very Good Moment' (offtopicscotland.com)

The Deputy First Minister appeared on the Peston show on June 12th. Here's a transcription of some of what she said, followed by the link if anyone wants to check that we've done it accurately:

'There is currently a majority of seats in the parliament of people who support independence. So we have that mandate in terms of support for independence. The point that we've made in our manifesto is that for those who believe in real change and not just sort of shifting the deck chairs around as Labour would propose for Scotland, for those who believe in real change, there is an opportunity to acknowledge that in the upcoming election and to vote for a better future for Scotland, that is, to vote for independence. Now, the language there indicates that we will start discussions with the UK government in order to provide the people of Scotland with a referendum, a means, an internationally recognised means, for voting for independence itself. But, in, our manifesto sets out the value of independence, of being able to do things differently, you take for example, Labour's position on immigration. I would say in Scotland there's a recognition of economic benefit of immigration but neither the Conservatives nor Labour, who're going to form the next UK government, are in any way keen to support the positive case for immigration. And that's why we think that powers at a Scottish level are where we should be determining the decisions that matter most for the people of Scotland.'

(2) Peston on X: "“We will start discussions with the UK government in order to provide the people of Scotland with a referendum” Deputy First Minister of Scotland @_KateForbes says the SNP’s manifesto sets out the value of Independence, citing their positive stance on immigration #Peston https://t.co/j2edhNXy7s" / X

Who is Forbes appealing to here?

If Swinney is the 'bad cop', using the SNP manifesto launch to wave his tough-guy credentials around onstage and smack impertinent journalists with his gigantic hands, Forbes is the cute counterpart, the friendly girl from the croft next door, delivering the same messaging with a wee smile.

It seems fair to assume that she didn't just tack on a generalisation about Scots' attitudes to immigration as an afterthought. Whoever is advising Forbes, Swinney et al must believe that this line is a vote-winner. Otherwise they wouldn't use it.

But the main reason we highlighted Forbes's 'very good moment' spiel was because she, more than anyone else in the current SNP Holyrood contingent, looks like a permanent feature in the place for years to come and has long been touted as FM material. (The fact that she reacted to the announcement of Yousaf's leadership victory with the same enthusiasm one might see in someone who has just evaded a firing squad was telling.) That's why whatever she says is worth paying attention to - she's playing the long game and, right now, that requires steadfast adherence to whatever script she's been handed.

Who's writing the script? And who is it aimed at?

Do you feel it's aimed at you?

If not, then who is the target?

If we can work out who Forbes *thinks* she's speaking to then we can form a clearer picture of who's 'advising' Swinney and may help make sense of what otherwise appears to be deliberate self-harm.

One thing's for sure - the 'average' Scottish voter (regardless of their views on independence, immigration, or anything else) is not eight years old and doesn't appreciate being treated as such.

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