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By Jason Michael

Sky News launched a poll asking us who was Britain’s most influential woman. Scotland spent the weekend telling Sky who influenced it, and the result has pretty much left the intended winners for dust.

Thursday is International Women’s Day and to mark the occasion Sky News launched a popularity contest on its website, asking the public to vote for Britain’s most influential woman. Naturally this poll had nothing to do with the one hundred women on the list. These things are always about reinforcing the dominant ideology on the culture space of the general public, and this one was no exception. The idea is, of course, that the faces themselves are reduced to cyphers for the political ideas they represent; which might explain why six of the bottom ten slots are filled with women of colour.

Given this, and given that we are in the season of Brexit and British faux patriotism, we can safely assume the authors of the poll fully intended the usual very British suspects to have an easy lift to the top; Elizabeth and Victoria Sax-Coburg und Gotha, Diana Spencer, Maggie Thatcher, and maybe Florence Nightingale because she used to be on a tenner. In fairness, they weren’t wrong. They all made it to the top ten. But Britishness refuses to recognise winners unless there are losers, and so a couple of losers had to be inserted into the list to teach their supporters a lesson.

In both Wales and the north of Ireland there are women in politics, but Leanne Wood, Michelle O’Neil, and that Arlene Foster one aren’t listed. Back in November last year the BBC made a lot of noise about Ruth Davidson; the leader of the Scottish Unionist Party, being named The Herald newspaper’s “politician of the year,” but she doesn’t appear either. So we can take it that the appearance of Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgoen [sic], and her SNP colleague Mhairi Black indicates who the Sky News pollsters’ intended to be pilloried.

The internet however, as Sky News has been reminded, is a bit of a swine. Readers in Scotland clocked what was going on and sounded the alarm on social media. Over the weekend Twitter and Facebook did what they do best, and folk all over Scotland rallied behind their favourite people. From their place of obscurity they quickly shot to the summit, with Scots voting in their tens of thousands and sharing the news to the furthest reaches of the internet. By Sunday afternoon supporters in Wales, across parts of England, and all over the island of Ireland were joining in. The website crashed a number of times as traffic on the page mushroomed, and no doubt the admins at Sky shut it down a few times to limit access, but the votes kept pouring in.

It’s Monday now and Nicola and Mhairi are comfortably sitting on first and third place respectively and the vote doesn’t end until Wednesday. We can rest assured the headlines were already written before the poll went live: “Queen Voted Britain’s Most Influential Woman Online.” But now that that does not look to be the likely outcome, we are left to wonder what will now happen. Nicola Sturgeon being voted “Britain’s” most popular woman – with a ten to twenty thousand vote lead on Bess – is not going to be wall-to-wall news in the UK on International Women’s Day.

So what will happen? If it is mentioned at all it will be on the couch with a couple of talking heads explaining how the poll was “rigged” or “hijacked” by an extreme element of fifty thousand Scottish nationalists. Most likely it won’t be mentioned at all. Thursday will come and go and the page will be quietly removed by the admins. Its only purpose was to create something useful to say to Sky viewers about how Brexit is bringing the people of Britain together. But they can’t say that now. Sure, Theresa May couldn’t even scrape two thousand votes as she dangles precariously just above the Spice Girls – a reminder – if ever there was one – not to ask questions we don’t want the answers to.

Back in Scotland, where we are forever being told by news outlets like Sky News that the SNP has peaked, the unionists online have produced so much froth over this poll they have pushed the share price of Mocha Frappuccino south. On the yoon stream the chorus is all about the vote having been rigged, implying that Sky News is actually now in support of Scottish independence. It hasn’t been rigged, but it has been hacked. Scottish independentistas have figured out how to use Britain’s media arsenal to strike it back, and this tactic has proven to be shockingly successful. All of their wailing is, however, very informative. Their rage and frustration at our ability to rock a UK-wide online popularity contest and to call up the support of friends and allies further afield tells us that this is something they cannot do. Online British nationalism is an astroturfing project centred on a handful of paid unionist activists. Faced with a true grassroots movement they are powerless.

It is still a long time until the polls close and it would be daft to get complacent. It’s not important that we win this. It changes nothing. But winning would send a powerful message to the British media establishment – an establishment that has fought us for years and ignored our complaints concerning its open bias. We will be saying that we are watching and that in fact we do have the numbers and the will to do something about how the media behaves and how it wants to represent us and our political ambitions and aspirations. This is the sort of activism we should be doing.

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The Daily Show – Nicola Sturgeon


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35 thoughts on “Britain’s Most Influential Women

  1. In actual fact, I suppose that Margaret Thatcher should top the list in terms of influence. It’s just that the influence she has had is frankly all bad – but I suspect that wasn’t what they meant!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. they will rig it in the end, i remember way back when The Scotsman ran a poll on who would be the better First Minister, jack o donnell or Alex Salmond, Alex was leading all the way until the last few hours of the poll and i happened to be awake and watched with my own eyes 1000’s of votes going to jack, and lo and behold in the morning jak ‘won’.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This could end up like those Sciosman polls where indy supporters established a colossal lead, but somehow several thousand ‘grassroot’ unionists managed to vote simultaneously at 3am, and completely changed the result.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I am expecting a late surge from Union voters pluscruth will bring in the postal votes.
    Establishment will not like this but maybe a lesson in here – never underestimate the power of the people! 👍🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Don’t wish to put a hex on the final result: BUT, assuming the current standings are how they finish, this will not rock the UK boat. What it does do however, is spell out if ever it needed to be that Scotland can marshall forces (civic and civil naturally) with minimum effort when the call is made, something the UK cannot do unless it involves our armed forces and the good old British stiff upper lip. With Indyref on the horizon in the coming months (potentially) it makes you wonder what response when that call is made!!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Undoubtedly there will be a massive upsurge in votes for HM, or even PM which will see either one just pip Nicola to the post. This upsurge will probably take place in the last few hours of the poll being open and the poll will close as soon as either one gets to the number one position.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. If Nicola wins the poll clearly a message is being sent to those who support Brexit and who oppose Scottish independence. The message is that many of us in Scotland feel passionately about our country’s future wellbeing and the Conservative Government in Westminster is not listening, preferring to listen to misinformation given to them by David Mundell and Ruth Davidson. It would be foolish to suggest the poll has been high-jacked. No one person or group has created this result – it is the result of thousands of individuals being highly motivated to send a message of support to the SNP, and to indicate to the establishment that it is time they started listening seriously to Scotland.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Nicola and Mhairi were taken off the poll for some time today,no doubt to let queenie do a bit of catching up. Thankfully they’re both back on the poll again, and not a lot has changed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Were they?? I’d call that dishonest of Sky News if they did that, frankly, and an obvious intention to rig the results.

      This poll wasn’t hijacked at all. It was open to the public and anyone could vote, which supporters of Nicola and Mhairi did in their thousands – and didn’t need to be paid to do it, either! – unlike the paid twitterers for Labour and the Tories.

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  9. Auld Lizzie with win it 55 to 45 per cent when the Postal Votes are counted, Ruth the Mooth will announce it astride a poppy liveried buffalo wearing mine clearance kit in a fake Afghan village in Norfolk…..

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My thoughts exactly…This vote was meant to look something like this ..1st Queen Elizabeth 2nd Princess Diana 3rd Queen Victoria or Florence Nightingale…..Never in a million years would they contemplate Nicola Sturgeon winning by a landslide vote like this. Ha ! Ha ! It’s not over yet but I can guarantee their will be a massive influx of votes for Queen Elizabeth with all the staff at SKY HQ tapping away furiously trying to surpass Nicola Sturgeon’s vote. If not and they let it ride naturally and she does actually win ..then the results will be released with nothing more than a whimper instead of splattered all over the mainstream media had it been Queen Elizabeth that won . This is going to be very interesting to see how this all pans out .

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  11. I’m an expat in Oz and voted for Nicola and Mharie and no doubt a lot of expats who follow these pages did the same 😁
    It will be interesting to see how this pans out and no big surprise if queenie suddenly overtakes our FM. Nice work people 😁

    Like

  12. Or maybe Nicola IS just hugely popular all over these isles?? I have a number of friends around the world who have voted for her in this poll and they aren’t even Scottish! Soor grapes??

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  13. I have been following this poll for a few days now. It has read since the beginning ” Come back on Wednesday to see who wins” This is now removed and the votes are still coming in. We are now into the early hours of Thursday and the poll is still not closed. I guess they did not like the result and are keeping it open so they can change the result.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Don’t see how a lot of people voting for Nicola and Mhairi amounts to rigging the poll. The very fact that a lot of people are willing to do this is proof that they are indeed influential.

    Like

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