By Jason Michael

Never look a gift horse in the mouth. By attempting to set Nicola Sturgeon and Mhairi Black up to fail in an online popularity contest Sky News set its own trap and walked right into it. Scotland has never had quite so much fun.

British establishment media bias is something we have become used to in Scotland. Whether it’s the BBC, Sky News, STV, or any of the unionist papers, the misrepresentation of Scotland and the blatant distortion of “the news” have become accepted realities of everyday life since the independence referendum. Usually, however, it’s not until after the fact that we can call it out; a fact that leaves pro-independence media analysts playing catch-up once the damage has been done. It’s rare indeed when we’re ahead of the posse and in a position to see what’s coming and predict the outcome. Well thanks to Ceren Senkul’s poll on the Sky News website we all had front row seats to one of the most spectacular British propaganda cock-ups of all time – and it all happened in slow motion.

When I was a youngster – a younger youngster than I am now – I remember sitting on the couch with my older brother watching our dad down on his hands and knees about to “sort” a plug socket with his famous screwdriver. The brother and I looked at one another, both with the same hellish grin on our faces. The mains hadn’t been turned off. My big brother mouthed silently: “Watch this!” What a clatter. If the electricity wasn’t out when the trusty Phillips went into socked, it was out now. Dad had been catapulted to the other end of the room swearing like a trooper and we couldn’t laugh. Scelpings weren’t frowned upon in those days.

When Sky News launched a poll asking the British public to vote for Britain’s most influential women ahead of International Women’s Day, everyone in the independence movement in Scotland recognised it as one of those screwdriver moments. We knew what was going to happen long before anyone at Sky could do anything about it.

The poll was rigged – like all of these British media popularity contests. No doubt Ms Senkul had been briefed. The “Top Five” – to be revealed on Wednesday – would be the usual paragons of ideal Britishness; Mrs Saxe-Coburg und Gotha, Diana Spencer, Maggie Thatcher, maybe Victoria, maybe Theresa May, maybe a baroness or two – you know, the British types. In a list of a hundred women not one of the female politicians from Wales and the north of Ireland got a mention. Kezia Dugdale, one time leader of the Labour branch office in Scotland, wasn’t on the list and neither was Ruth Davidson – The Herald newspaper’s “Scottish politician of the year” 2017.

So it was as clear as day why the Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and the youngest Westminster MP Mhairi Black were on the list. As prominent female members of the Scottish National Party – the party that threatens to tear Britain asunder – their intended function was to lose and so furnish the media with yet another handy stick with which to beat Scotland and the SNP.

Saying now that this isn’t quite what happened would be the understatement of the year. People all over Scotland cottoned on to what was happening and pretty soon the whole poll was on course to blow up in Sky News’ face. Folk all over Scotland rallied behind Nicola Sturgeon and Mhairi Black and showed their appreciation by giving them their votes, and they voted in their tens of thousands. Social media was on fire over the poll. It was shared with family and friends – all Sturgeon and Black supporters – all around the world. By Tuesday night it was clear the intended winners didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of making the top spot. As the cut-off date drew close Nicola Sturgeon was a fine Scots mile ahead of the woman in second place and Mhairi Black was not far behind in third.

It was at this point that something truly remarkable happened. The general feeling in Scotland was that something would happen to knock Sturgeon from first place. Few believed Sky would allow the biggest benefits claimant in the UK to come second to an upstart little oik from north of the border. Some suspected a troll farm would be used to give Mrs Windsor a wee boost, while others thought perhaps the whole poll would be abandoned and quietly deleted later on. But what actually happened was far better than anything anyone could have guessed. Sky News simply deleted any mention of the closing date and let the thing run in the hope that the wonderful patriotic people of Britain would rally behind their dotty sovereign. That never happened.


Wednesday came and went. The votes kept pouring in for Nicola and Mhairi and – to our great delight – Mhairi leapfrogged Betty. Scottish social media erupted! What had been designed as a propaganda tool to humiliate Scots and Scotland, while providing the basis for the fabrication of a story about Britons – Battle of Britain style – keeping calm and getting on with Brexit, turned into a beautiful expression of the Scottish people’s unwillingness to tolerate any more guff from the British media. In a final act of utter capitulation Sky News, in the most sickening and ungracious way possible, announced the result of the poll:

And it seems the fans of two of the SNP’s most prominent figures have responded in their thousands. Both party leader Nicola Sturgeon and MP Mhairi Black are among the top five, along with the UK’s longest serving monarch Her Majesty The Queen, the country’s first female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the ‘People’s Princess’ Diana, Princess of Wales.

“Nicola Sturgeon and MP Mhairi Black are among the top five.” Sky News, it would appear, doesn’t even know how to lose face with dignity. Rather than acknowledging that the result was an earth shaking landslide in favour of Scotland’s favourites, the unnamed author opted instead – to the resounding laughter of Scotland – to hide what had actually happened behind the petulant language of SNP “fans” spoiling our fun.


Rev. Peter Nimmo, my favourite Inverness minister

It was – for us at least – all just a really fantastic bit of fun, but a bit of craic from which we can learn. The subtle and not so subtle bias and misrepresentation of Scotland has always been an integral component in the British establishment’s strategy of keeping us in the union. In a very Pavlovian sense we have been trained to see the British state and its media machine as undefeatable, and as a result we have inherited a national inferiority complex that is seen in all its inglorious misery in Scottish unionism – the sycophantic servility of the cap-doffing quisling Scot. But this experience has been wonderful. We have learned how to see them coming, lay a trap, and rout them so completely that even over cyberspace we can hear them crying.

There is nothing unbeatable about the British anti-Scottish media machine. It is as arrogant as it is stupid, and that – for us – is a marvellous combination. Cheap hacks the likes of Ceren Senkul can be hired ten-a-penny to do “journalism” by numbers; a pathetic stringing together of clichés and slogans without even the slightest nod to honesty, truth, or integrity. Their paymasters – who are every bit as thick – have nothing behind them but an idiotic belief in the greater goodness of their Britishness. That, ladies and gentlemen, is all that it is; nothing but a big confidence trick pulled off by wealthy establishment ideologues and an endless supply of private school trustafarians. We should do this more often.


Mhairi Black’s Speech on misogyny as a Hate Crime

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54 thoughts on “Sky News Poll: A Crash in Slow Motion

  1. Best news story of the week. Laughing so hard here in America you can hear me if you listen. Thank you for the levity and the sense of sanity in a world gone temporarily dotty.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh the joy.
    When the MSM wheel out the same dusty old figures in a condescending and patronising attempt to define “Britishness”, it is refreshing to see the response of the Scots.
    That Scotland, a forward looking country that opens its arms and welcomes all comers, yet still retains an identity so powerful…..this brings me joy.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Whether we like it or not, the UK’s standing in the world still suffers from the perception of an old colonial power who raped and plundered its way to ‘Greatness.’
    Unfortunately, the dinasors in power are harking back to the distant past and crossing everything in the forlorn hope that Brexit will bring back the old Empire.
    Not in my name, not in any decent Scots name!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What are the media so scared of? Why be so childish about the results? It’s almost like picking sides for teams and not getting to choose the people you want, these people need to grow up and start telling the truth.


  5. Its Betty Battenberg. Mrs Windsor implies she’s married to a Mr Windsor. Not so he took his mothers surname Battenberg as the Greek arm of the Danish royal family does not officially have surnames. Ergo its Mrs Battenberg.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As to the United Kingdom media, the old Scots saying springs to mind, “Ye canna mak a silk purse purse frae a soo’s lug”. An by goad yon SMSM’s ae michty, muckle soo’s lug.


  7. It was the perfect ending to our “Day after Tomorrow” and “Snow-mageddon” double bill across the country… Before we could pack up the Popcorn 🍿 and move quietly out of the “Home cinemas”…. Along comes that unbilled encore from Sky…

    More popcorn 🍿 bought, and we sat back down in our seats to watch this Gem 💎..

    Thanks Sky…. The gift that keeps on giving… Once you remove the “closing date”…. Obviously.


  8. If it was simply SNP ‘fans’ voting, Ms.Sturgeon and Ms.Black would have had pretty much identical numbers in the poll. The figures suggest a lot of people recognised that here are two (living) women who earned their place by effort (not birth), who ask serious questions about the world we inhabit, whether Scotland, England, the EU, or beyond, and who have injected more far more dynamism into politics than the Establishment Westminster parties can muster.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hear, hear. From an English woman who wishes that England had its own parliament with politicians of character and integrity. We are not happy being slaves to the UK parliament.


  9. It was the most wonderful week as we watched this unfold with folk tactically voting Theresa May down further by the day . Nicola and Mhairi coming first and second should cause some reflection . Then again given the arrogance of British Nationalists , I doubt it .
    Saor Alba .

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Didn’t we just love that! Give us some more chances to show that the ‘Independence movement’ plus friends, in Scotland and far afield, is alive and kicking.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It was wonderful to watch the votes mounting up … and you could almost feel the SKY people praying for something else to talk about .


  12. I think it’s worth mentioning that, despite Sky’s implication that the poll was abused by SNP supporters, the poll was also being widely shared by britnats, furious at the lead Nicola was taking. There is no way they didn’t all pile in and vote for May, the Queen, and Thatcher – but they still lost.


  13. Their problem is that they asked a question that could be answered honestly. Diana may very well have been “most influential” whilst still alive but that’s not what the question asked. Nor would I class May as more than someone being pushed around by others in her party. And if the Queen is anywhere near the top of that list then she’s doing it wrong.

    Was considering the political move of a vote for Mhairi and if I’d known about that speech would have. So see this result as an honest assessment of “Who is Britain’s most influential Woman” given they failed, monumentally, to couch it in historical terms.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They thought it would be a vote-fest for the Windsor Girl, Thatcher and possibly Mrs. May.
      Considering Scots are outnumbered 10 to 1 by (mostly) English voters, they thought Nicola & Mhairi would be WAY down the list – a propaganda victory, hurting all the more by that David & Goliath ratio they would make a point of ignoring.
      It didn’t work out that way did it!
      Their reaction is priceless, what an epic fail.


  14. To be honest I wouldn’t call any politician influential, but the outcome was both predictable and quite hilarious what on earth did they expect to happen.


  15. Sky reluctantly admits Nicola and Mhairi are “in the top 5” not that Nicola poled double the votes the queen of England garnered or that Mhairi bet Lizzie to 2nd place by a comfortable lead.
    Scotland is rightly laughing her heid aff at this showing that, despite MSM spin, the Scottish “Yoon” numbers are not as prolific as they would have us believe.


  16. it is far easier for us Scots to define our Scottishness in terms of the present, that it ever will be for our neighbours down south, whose heritage still seems to be based on a bygone feeling of belonging to an Empire


  17. I have seen many comments from ‘the biased ones’ saying the whole thing was rigged. I asked in all innocence ‘What – are you talking about this poll- or 2014? ‘ They can’t even see it all as the wonderful bit of sport it had become. I’m enjoying myself.


  18. Well done Scotland from Tasmania. Justice has prevailed.
    Well done voters for Nicola and Mhairi!! Let the cry continue in vote fight for Independence!!


  19. Such eloquence from Mhairi Black. So sad that there were so few in the chamber to hear her speech first hand. Just as well we have social media, as this speech would have been swept under the carpet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a fact Brian.
      It’s a rather uncomfortable fact for the Elite in Westminster, but there you go.
      With such a bleak choice of representation in most of England, the third option the SNP offer just isn’t on the table. Nicola and her team have made big positive changes in Scotland, developing policies that resonate with the aspirations of thousands of voters – and they show their appreciation by continuing to vote them back into power.
      Wales has Plaid Cymru – and Leanne Wood (just love her Welsh accent). Their day is coming, just like the SNP has arrived in Scotland. England needs to get a charismatic female on board and start the ball rolling. They need to ditch the corrupt 2 horse race politics offered by the Tories and Labour (you can’t shove a fag paper between them anyway) and create something new and forward-looking.
      It looks like Scotland will be scampering off into a bright new future with independence, perhaps that will catalyse change for the better in England (sincerely hope so).

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Bonnie Scotland when are we going to rid ourselves of the establishment lies and chains . Fellow country men and women pull of the blinkers and take a hard look at the real facts and give us a country which is fair and inclusive and a place where it’s a joy to live


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