Everything you need to know about Scotland's economy, its finances, independence and the impact of Brexit on Scotland in an App.
Believe in Scotland has put Scotland the Brief in an App to make the content easy to share with friends, family and anyone interested in Scotland’s future. The App also features notifications of new articles, videos and events, a quiz on Scotland’s economy (bet you score less than 4/10!) and it answers frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Believe in Scotland.
View this page on your phone and then click below to download the app.
|1.) Open the link using Google Chrome.
|1.) Open the link using Safari.
|2.) You will be prompted to Allow or Block Push Notifications. You will then be asked to install the app by clicking the banner popup at the bottom of the screen.
2.) You will see the app in the browser and a popup to install the app and 'ADD TO HOME SCREEN' will appear at the bottom of the screen.
|3.) After clicking the 'ADD TO HOME SCREEN' link, press 'add' (If you have dismissed the prompt, you can add manually by choosing 'Add to Home Screen' from the Settings menu of the browser).
|3.) When you click the blue "ADD TO HOME SCREEN" button you will then see instructions for how to add to the Home screen on iOS.
|4.) Install app & allow or block notifications.
|4.) Tap the relevant icon then press the 'Add to Home Screen' icon (You may need to scroll down to see the '+' Icon). Then click 'Add to Home Screen'.
|5.) The app will now appear on the Home screen of your device.
|5.) You can then click 'Add' in the top of the screen to complete the install process.
Need more help? Click here.
What is a progressive web app?
A poll conducted by Panelbase for Believe in Scotland of over 2,000 Scottish residents, aged 16+ conducted has shown that 56% of Scottish voters would support Scottish independence if the Scottish Government put a Wellbeing Economic Approach at the heart of its economic plans for an independent Scotland. A plan that recognises that quality of life, equality, fairness, sustainability, happiness, and health are all outcomes that should be given equal weight as it does to traditional measures such as GDP.
The same poll asked the standard Yes/No question on independence, Yes support came in at 48%. This means that a Wellbeing Economic Approach increases independence support to 56% an 8% increase. You can learn more about the Wellbeing economics approach here. This poll demonstrates that there is a route to independence if the Scottish Government is willing to adopt the Wellbeing Economic Approach and drop its outdated Sustainable Growth Commission.
The impact of a Wellbeing Pension on independence support.
Believe in Scotland has also been campaigning for a Wellbeing Pension. The UK basic state pension is the second worst in the developed world and is a direct cause of pensioner poverty. The Wellbeing Pension has been calculated by Scotianomics, the research arm of Business for Scotland, as the minimum amount required by pensioners to live with basic dignity. That amount is £225.00 per week.
When asked “If the Scottish Government’s Wellbeing Economic approach included a commitment to increasing the basic state pension from £141.85 to a Wellbeing Pension of £225.00 per week in an independent Scotland - how would you vote in a Scottish independence independence referendum?” Support for independence skyrockets to 60%. That is a full 12% increase just by clarifying the message and doing the right thing.
The Scottish Independence Congress Supports Wellbeing
When a similar question was asked of delegates at the recent Scottish Independence Congress hosted by Believe in Scotland and attended by 241 delegates selected from 126 local Yes Groups - 97% of delegates agreed that a core focus of Scotland’s campaign to become independent should centre around introducing and pursuing a Wellbeing Economic Approach.
97% also supported the adoption of a Wellbeing Pension as a core manifesto commitment of pro-Yes parties. The message from the Yes movement is clear - they want Scotland to be a country which places the welfare and happiness of its citizens on par with economic prosperity.
Sustainable Growth Commission published in 2017 is now outdated and irrelevant to the new reality. It has been overtaken by events such as the economic damage done by Brexit, the health crises, the cost of living crises and disastrous economic management from the UK Government. There is no place for outdated conservatism in the economic plan for an independent Scotland. The next First Minister of Scotland must continue and in fact, accelerate, the Scottish Governments adoption the Wellbeing Economic Approach in their campaign for independence.
How the Wellbeing Economic Approach changes minds on independence
It is clear that a focus on wellbeing economics increases support for independence, but where is that increase felt? In short, the difference is felt across almost every age group, sex and party affiliation. The commitment to a wellbeing economic approach by the government of a newly independent Scotland increases the support for independence across the board. The most stark demographic jump is among females aged 18-34 where support for independence increases 11% to 75-25 in favour.
The next most interesting change comes from those who intend to vote Labour in the next Westminster election. When asked about their support for independence with the wellbeing commitment, Labour voter support jumps by 11% and LibDem support for independence increases by 12%.
Across all regions of Scotland there are also significant increases in support for Yes. The largest increases are felt in the West and South of Scotland, where opposition to independence is traditionally strongest. In these areas a Wellbeing Economic Approach increases support for independence by 9% and 8% respectively, taking both areas above majority support for independence.
How the addition of the Wellbeing Pension changes minds on independence
Committing to a Wellbeing Pension as part of the Wellbeing Economic Approach increases support for independence even more strongly across the board. The increases across demographics are felt more strongly among females, with the most consequential increase being Females 55+. This demographic was most opposed to independence in 2014, due to fears over pensions, this result shows there is a path to winning them to the cause of independence.
Looking at the results across party lines we can see support for independence once again increases significantly for Labour and LibDem voters. The key here is that the adoption of the Wellbeing Economic Approach with the Wellbeing Pension of £225.00 per week wins over large swathes of Labour voters, these voters are the key to Scotland winning its independence as they are most likely soft No voters or undecideds who voted to remain in the EU and are disheartened by the path the UK is on, if we can show them that an independent Scotland can offer a brighter future, we can win them over.
These results show that a key way to increase support for independence is to offer a vision of a fairer, more equal and happier nation that prioritises more than just economic growth but also the happiness for its citizens.
Believe in Scotland and its parent organisation Business for Scotland have, since 2011, championed the introduction of wellbeing economics as the dominant economic model of an independent Scotland. The current and past failures of the UK Government highlight, even more starkly, that now is the time to move to this model. The old economic and political dogmas of the left and right are dead, they offer us no solutions to the current state of the UK. The world economy has teetered on the brink of collapse twice in just over a decade, with the UK economy never fully recovering from the first. We need new answers and wellbeing economics provides them.
Wellbeing economics provides answers to the big questions, such as how do we combat climate change, reduce inequality, improve health outcomes and quality of life? The solution is simple: we must give these outcomes the equal weight we currently give to traditional economic indicators such as GDP growth or trade statistics, incorporating them into official government publications and policies. Scotland’s aim should be to become a world leader in all the areas listed above by building a strong society and a strong economy - as one cannot exist without the other.
Through independence, Scotland can make strides to become a world leader in the other wellbeing indicators and the results of this poll shows that the Scottish people want that future. One where their quality of life and happiness is prioritised as much as economic growth.
A Panelbase poll conducted on behalf of Believe in Scotland has found 48% of respondents in support of Yes, the same as polls in October 2022, despite alleged ‘setbacks’ for the independence campaign. These results show that with a concentrated effort by the independence movement and the Scottish Government to put the focus back on independence, the results can be even higher and put us in a good position to hold a referendum campaign.
This poll was conducted by PanelBase, surveying more than 2,000 respondents across Scotland weighted for age, social class etc. It finds that, when those who responded ‘Don’t Know’ are removed, 48% are in support of independence, compared to 52% who are opposed. This is a 4% decrease from a previous PanelBase poll conducted for The Times in December 2022 but is identical to another poll conducted in October 2022. Despite reported ‘setbacks’ in other polls, overall support for independence remains strong. The poll also measures how individuals would vote in a UK General and Scottish Parliamentary Election, which is particularly important given the Scottish Government’s proposal to run the next General Election as a de facto independence referendum. When these votes are translated into seats, we can see that the SNP would maintain a majority of seats both in Westminster and Holyrood. However, as things stand they do not have a majority of votes, even when this is combined with support from other pro-indy parties like the Scottish Greens and Alba. This shows that the use of such a strategy would have to be carefully considered in order to achieve a Yes vote that eventually grants us independence.
While these results do not yet display an overall majority for Yes, voters have also shown they believe that Scottish independence is not only likely but inevitable. 65% of those polled believe that Scotland will become independent in the future, with over 50% believing that it will become independent in the next 10 years. This reinforces what Believe in Scotland has been saying for years- independence is normal and it is a likely prospect in the minds of many people across Scotland.
When the results are considered in detail, we can also see some variations in support with different demographic groups. Young people aged 16-34 years old consistently support independence at a higher rate (67%) compared to those who are older, particularly in the 55+ age group (35%). Interestingly, more women aged 35-54 support independence at 57% compared to men at the same age at 46%. Another significant group that supports independence at a higher than average rate is 2016 Remain voters (55%), as well as people who did not vote in that referendum (68%). People can see that Brexit continues to be an unmitigated disaster and are reacting accordingly. Conversely, 2016 Leave voters are one of the largest groups opposing independence at 71%. Campaigning to appease Leave voters to win a campaign like the rest of the UK political parties will not work. The independence campaign must promise closer ties with the EU or at least to address Remain and those who did not vote fears.
The poll does not paint a good picture of public opinion on the Westminster government. Over 90% of those polled argue that UK Government policy was a factor in causing the current cost of living crisis. The Scottish public can see the impact of Westminster mismanagement in the form of increased heating bills, the cost of essentials and potentially not being able to afford food. They deserve better than what they have been given.
These results are critical following the resignation of Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister of Scotland last week. The independence movement is currently at an impasse in terms of how to approach the independence vote following the UK Government’s blocking of a Section 30 request for a second independence referendum in October 2023. The 2014 independence referendum campaign began with support for independence in the mid-30s, rising to 45% in the actual result. With a concentrated campaigning effort, which puts the focus back on winning independence, the EU and the Wellbeing Economic Approach, we are almost guaranteed to push support even higher than where it is now. Despite Westminster and the UK media establishment’s best attempts to divide and undermine us, we can further consolidate support.
Fortunately, we at Believe in Scotland believe we have the solution. Believe in Scotland, along with its parent organisation Business for Scotland, have been championing the adoption of the Wellbeing Economic approach in an independent Scotland, with the idea eventually being endorsed by the Scottish Government. This approach puts social development on equal footing with economic development, believing that you cannot have one without the other. Our poll found that support for independence with the adoption of a Wellbeing approach increases to 55% and this approach with the inclusion of an increase in the current state pension to at least £225 a month, support increases to a supermajority of 60%. These results are telling- we can achieve independence if we put wellbeing at the heart of our campaign.
Saturday's Scottish Independence Congress will be the biggest ever gathering of Yes Group organisers. More than 200 delegates from around 100 Yes Groups have registered to attend the online Congress.
The growing success of this event (registration opening only two weeks ago) serves to prove that the grassroots independence campaign is getting ready for a final push to gaining Scotland's independence - regardless of the pathway to independence chosen by the political arm of the Yes movement.
In a coup for Believe in Scotland, leadership figures from the three main independence-supporting political parties have agreed to be quizzed on the best route to Scottish independence and the Congress will vote and agree on our proposal on the way forward. Michael Russell of the SNP, Kenny MacAskill of Alba and Ross Greer of the Scottish Greens will all be quizzed by The National's chief Political Reporter, Judith Duffy.
Believe in Scotland is the grassroots campaign support organisation managed by Business for Scotland. Believe in Scotland now has 136 affiliated local and national Yes Groups that campaign together to promote the benefits of Scottish independence.
The Congress is open to all active campaigning groups regardless of their affiliation and so it's an all-political party and no-party congress of leading campaigners from Orkney to the Borders.
Also on the agenda will be an exclusive announcement of polling results conducted by Panelbase for Business for Scotland that will reveal the key economic and social policies that will significantly increase independence support. A panel session, chaired by former Sunday Herald and The National editor Richard Walker, with activists and commentators: Lesley Riddoch, Kelly Given and BiS Founder Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp.
Delegates will then participate in a series of votes to agree on the position of the Grassroots Yes Movement on the pathway to independence. The success of this Congress sends the message that independence is moving higher up the political agenda. Even if the leadership of political parties changes, the destination and our determination to get there remains the same.
Scotland will become a successful, fairer, greener, wealthier, healthier and happier thriving independent nation in the near future.
If you run an active independence campaigning Yes group and would like to attend email [email protected] for details on how to register.
Polling by YouGov has indicated that if a snap general election were called, the SNP would be the official party of opposition in Westminster following a crushing defeat for the Tories.
This is based on opinion polling for the UK and Scotland which shows Labour would win 529 seats with a majority of 408, the SNP would become the second largest party with 51 seats and the Tories would be relegated to third having won only 30 seats.
Even if an independence referendum was not granted before a general election, there is simply no way it can be denied if the SNP forms the Official Opposition and is the second largest party in the House of Commons. However, if there were a snap election the SNP would fight it on an independence platform so their MPs would only be going to Westminster to negotiate the terms of independence.
Our calculations are based on two polls conducted by YouGov at the beginning of October of UK-wide and Scottish voting intention at Westminster. When the results of these polls are converted to Westminster seats, some interesting things happen:
- Labour wins a landslide victory with 529 seats and a 326-seat majority in the House of Commons.
- The Tories would experience a total collapse, with their seats dropping from 365 to just 30.
- The SNP would win a massive landslide of 51 seats in Parliament, overtaking the Tories in Westminster.
- The Lib Dems would only win 16 seats.
- This means that the SNP would in fact be the second largest party in the UK Parliament and would form the Official Opposition.
It’s also important to keep in mind that we used Electoral Calculus for the seat projections and two of the seats in Scotland predicted to swing to Labour are currently held by MPs that defected to the Alba Party. Our analysis is that the SNP would almost certainly win these constituencies, bringing the potential total of SNP seats up to 53.
It’s important to note that these polls predate the resignation of Less Truss and the complete collapse of her Conservative Government. As a result the situation now may well be worse for the Conservatives and better for the SNP. After just 44 days in office, Liz Truss has become the shortest serving UK Prime Minister, with her tenure making all of the disasters of recent Tory administrations seem like minor gaffes. She oversaw a mini-budget offering such unsavoury levels of unfunded tax cuts for the wealthy that even the most steadfast Thatcherites found difficult to stomach.
The subsequent turmoil in the sterling and gilt markets forced the Bank of England to intervene to save the pensions sector from total collapse, leading to the resignation of the Chancellor. Her premiership came to an embarrassing end when she missed a vote in the House of Commons on fracking, which may or may not have been a vote of confidence in her own government.
Through all this, Mrs Truss’ premiership might be best known for inducing the total collapse of the Conservative party as one of the pillars of the two party system.
These results demonstrate that, above all else, now is the time for an independent Scotland. The people of Scotland deserve better than the current farce at Westminster and have a right to distance themselves from this calamity.
Let's take a minute to salute the real heroes of the independence movement:
The local activists, leaflet deliverers, stall staffers, marchers, flag wavers, banner holders, micro donors, cake bakers, meeting organisers, ambassadors and persuaders. Whilst others complain, you campaign; whilst others shout at the social media Yes bubble, you talk to the undecided. Whilst others ego-blog to get Yessers whooping and hollering, you engage, educate and inform voters of our plan for a better Scotland.
Scotland needs more like you. Whilst others can claim to be part of the Yes community, you are the lifeblood of the Yes Campaign - there is a difference. It's campaigners, local grassroots organisers and workers that will deliver Scotland's independence - so we salute you for your hard work, your sore knees and backs, fingers mangled by letter boxes, stained by ink as you sort newspapers into delivery bundles and your sore throats after spending all day telling passers-by on the high street, just why you believe in Scotland.
Local activists, grassroots organisers: We salute you.
On Saturday, August 13th approximately 100 local Yes groups across the country joined in our Autumn Day of Action. Have a look at the gallery and see the rewarding work already underway by our local heroes.
Believe in Scotland is the grassroots campaign for independence and we have 125 affiliated local Yes groups: consider joining us - even if you can't campaign yourself. Get on our mailing list by pledging your support now at www.believeinscotland.org/pledge.
When you upload campaign images to social media just remember to:
1.) Use the hashtag #BelieveinScotland.
2.) If uploading to Facebook, you can also post these into the 30,000-strong Believe in Scotland Facebook group.
If you think we have missed any images from the Day of Action, you can send them to [email protected] and we will add them to the gallery below.
Let's campaign - let's win
Guest post from Europe for Scotland
is the arm of the Scottish campaign that campaigns across Europe. It is a grassroots movement of Europeans who would like to welcome an independent Scotland back into the EU. We are shining a spotlight on Scotland in continental Europe, rallying support for Scotland’s right to choose its own future, and calling on the European Union to welcome Scotland back with open arms if Scots wish to rejoin it as an independent country.
Our pan-European initiative launched in April 2021 with an open letter, organised by a handful of people but signed by almost 200 renowned intellectuals and cultural figures from all European countries and all UK nations, which was simultaneously published in ten countries. In the months since, thousands of Europeans joined these first distinguished signatories and signed our open letter on Action Network.
With the pandemic waning across the continent, we have ambitious goals for 2022. We have recruited more than 50 volunteers from 17 European countries that form groups of national ambassadors of our campaign, who work on strategies to increase support for our arguments in their respective countries. A group of cultural ambassadors will soon start planning events to remind Europeans of the many ways in which Scotland could enrich the European Union. Lastly and most crucially, we have recruited a group of lawyers, lobbyists, and EU insiders that are developing a plan to lobby the European Parliament, where we hope to convince MEPs to take a stance and vote in a motion on Scotland’s future in Europe in 2023.
We find that there is great affection for Scotland across Europe, rooted in familiarity with Scotland’s rich history and culture, vibrant cities and beautiful landscape. However, both among the European public and among European politicians the many differences between Scotland’s desire for self-determination and other independence movements are not always well known. In order to gather European political support for Scotland’s choice about its future we are promoting a deeper understanding of Scotland’s past and present, raising awareness that Scotland is not a region in Great Britain (or, indeed, in England) but an ancient European nation that existed long before most other European nations. Most importantly, we are highlighting Scotland’s unique situation as a former member of the European Union (for 47 years), which rejected Brexit by 62% and yet had to leave against the will of its people–a democratic injustice that Scots should have the right to reverse.
In addition to promoting a culture of solidarity with Scotland across Europe, Europe for Scotland also wants Europeans to appreciate how much Europe would benefit from Scotland rejoining the EU. On a practical level, Scottish universities enjoy great popularity among Erasmus students, Scottish shores have enormous potential for renewable energy, and Europeans would like fewer obstacles to work and trade with Scottish businesses. On a political level, Scotland’s patriotism and pride in its culture and history, coupled with its desire to be an equal partner among European nations stands in stark contrast with British nationalism and desire for dominance. While Brexit emboldened not just Trump but also far right Euroskeptics across the continent, Scotland rejoining the EU would have the opposite effect, as Scots would inspire Europeans to follow their example, showing them that they can celebrate their national culture whilst they embrace their European identity.
With the help of our groups of national ambassadors, as well as of our EU lobbying group we want to make the case for Scotland’s future in Europe, lobbying EU leaders to explicitly support Scotland’s choice about its future and to clarify that if Scots wish to return they could speedily rejoin the EU.
It is vital that this assurance comes before a referendum is held. During the Brexit referendum voters did not have clarity about what they were voting for, as Brexiteers and British tabloids spread lies about the EU, whilst the EU itself remained silent. Scottish voters deserve honesty and clarity about the future that is on offer when their referendum takes place, and EU membership should be an offer that is on the table. We will do what we can to ensure that Europe does not stay silent this time, but rather guarantees Scottish voters that an independent Scotland would have a bright future in the European Union. Speaking for the many Europeans involved in our campaign we can certainly say that Europeans miss Scotland and we would love to welcome you back! If you would also like to see an Independent Scotland in Europe, please sign and share our petition with your European friends!
Believe in Scotland is two years old - We reach the undecided and soft No voters and we support local Yes groups across Scotland.
Our second year of campaigning got off to a good start with Believe in Scotland being named the Independence Campaigning Group of the year 2020 by the Scottish Independence Foundation and The National Newspaper. It ended with us having distributed approximately two million individual pieces of independence campaigning materials to Scottish voters.
Thanks to the 120 local Yes groups, thousands of online activists, The National, The Scottish Independence Foundation, The National Yes Network, The SNP, and the Scottish Green Party who worked with us (on specific projects) to make it happen.
Here are just a few of the highlights of Believe in Scotland’s independence campaigning activities in our second year.
Burns Supper - Lockdown had led to the cancelation of most of our events and almost halved our revenues. So, we started the year with our Online Burns Supper which was attended by 550 independence supporters raising more than £4,000 for our planned Yes Billboards campaign. The highlight of the evening was a performance of 'A man's a man for a' that' by Brian Cox, Lesley Riddoch, Eunice Olumide and Alistair Heather, which has now been viewed more than 30,000 times on Facebook alone.
Billboards - Next up came our first of several batches of billboard's, two messages alternating on more than 100 electronic billboards throughout Scotland. Simple and effective messages, first, 'Independence is Normal' and second, pointing out that the 'UK Government pays the worst basic state pension in the developed world'. The latter seemed to really annoy unionists and resulted in multiple complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority and to the Electoral Commission both of which investigated and rejected the complaints - As they always do
Raising funds – Believe in Scotland is an offshoot of the pro-independence think tank Business for Scotland (BfS). BfS which produced the best-selling book on Scotland’s economy, Scotland the Brief which has now sold 46,000 copies with all proceeds going to support independence campaigning.
Funding – The revenues for the Burns Supper and the Scotland the Brief profits, however, are minuscule compared to the spending power of our opponents who are often fake grassroots groups with dark money sources. This led us to launching our first crowdfunder for Believe in Scotland campaigning and it was a great success. Pro-independence business donors from Business for Scotland agreed to match the first £50,000 raised from the public – pound for pound and in the end, we raised £129,490 which amongst other things paid for free campaigning packs for 120 Local Yes Groups and our Big Day of Indy Action (more on that later)
Become a member of Believe in Scotland for free here, or become a Stakeholder member here for as little as £5.00 a month – All our funding comes from donations and 98% from micro-donations so please help us campaign for independence.
Social Media to the Lockdown Rescue – With all our events cancelled due to Covid we had to move online and get better at getting our message out via social media. And yeah, we did pretty well! we started the year with an audience of approximately 49,000 followers and ended it with roughly 238,000.
This makes us significantly larger than any other active Yes campaign organisation in terms of audience. The only other organisation with a larger audience (The 2014 Yes Scotland profile) has been inactive since 2014.
Our website clicks via social media have grown by around 1,000% from 2020. But so much of our campaigning is done via social media now that website stats are less relevant. Over the course of 2021, our engagement has grown by 338% on Facebook and 272% on Twitter. We also started a more regular presence on Instagram & LinkedIn.
Our Social media reach is near impossible to determine but it has been tens of millions. On just one day alone (our National Day of Action in conjunction with The National & 112 local Yes groups) we had #BelieveinScotland trending on Twitter and reached around 1,000,000 people on social media. A perfect example of the organic strength the Yes movement boasts when it works together.
Regional Pages – We also launched our Believe in Scotland Regional Social Media Network on Facebook that will accommodate local Yes groups and ran Free online training for Yes group social media managers with more than 60 volunteers attending. You can find and follow our regional pages here.
Our Facebook Group – Our Believe in Scotland Facebook Group is only about 18 months old but has grown to host nearly 28,000 members. The group alone has had 3,407,049 views in the last 12 months. They will have viewed some of the 10,000+ posts and comments made by the Yes movement. Having started roughly six years after most of the others it is now the second largest Yes group (by membership) on Facebook but it’s by far the busiest and there is no party politicking, trolling or negativity allowed.
The Wellbeing Newspaper – Time to go big or go home. Business for Scotland has for years championed the Wellbeing approach to economics and later in the year the opportunity presented itself to build upon the success of the Open Mind’s newspaper with a new partnership. Believe in Scotland, The National, The SNP and later the Scottish Green’s teamed up to publish and deliver to homes across Scotland one million copies of an 8-page newspaper focussed on our wellbeing economics approach.
Make no mistake, this publication fired the starting gun on indyref2 but it also started to redefine the purpose of independence in response to the chaos of Westminster, Brexit and Covid lockdowns. The paper also marks a step-change in the key message of the independence movement and starts a conversation with undecided voters about the type of nation we want to build with the full powers of independence. It’s core message was also incompatible with the Sustanable Growth Commision but few seem to have noticed that.
Adding the one million copies of the Wellbeing paper to the Day of Action materials and the approximately 300,000 leaflets and books we distributed earlier in the year and we find that we distributed around 2 million items of independence campaign material between Jan 2021 and Feb 2022.
50,000 copies leaving BiS HQ
Only a snapshot – We could write another 20 paragraphs detailing other campaigning initiatives but you would be reading all day. Frankly we held the line when Yes was slipping in the polls and the SNP were focussed on the health crisis and even the marchers couldn’t take to the streets. We found a way to campaign and to campaign more effectively than ever before and in 2022 we are going to do more.
You should join us - become a Believe in Scotland Stakeholder member by donating just £5.00 a month here. We are the only national Yes campaign group that can reach the undecided, that can deliver major campaigns and if you Believe in Scotland then please join us now – indyref2 is next year!
The Daily Mail yesterday ran an article criticising Believe in Scotland as having made a false claim about pensions which Believe in Scotland then thoroughly debunked. We have now discovered that the Daily Mail previously published the same claim about the UK state pension being the worst in the developed world. We, (only half-jokingly) wonder if the paper should now report itself to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) admitting that it must have either misled its readers in 2018 or is misleading them now?
So why is the paper in such a muddle now, contradicting itself and creating an embarrassing Scottish Daily Mail Fail?
First of all, they sourced their story from Twitter trolling by a biased unionist campaigner who lacked the expertise to understand the issue or simply wished to convince The Mail to mislead its readers, then the paper itself didn't check the facts - nor did it realise that its own UK Policy Editor previously broke the news about UK pensions being the worst in the developed world in the national edition of the paper.
BiS Chief Executive Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp has written to the editor asking for a retraction and a right to reply which would be given the same amount of space in the paper and online as the original misleading story. There are four reasons that we have demanded the right to reply.
- The story is incorrect, as we have proven already the statement that the UK pays the worst state pension in the developed world is a factual statement. We provided the evidence that the claim was factual prior to the article being published (quotes from the same email were used) thus proving that the paper was aware the story was false.
- The Daily Mail itself ran the same story claiming the "UK had the worst state pension in the developed world" and the same headline in 2018 when the research was first published by the OECD. Thus, the paper is either misleading its readers now or was misleading them in 2018.
- The article headline states that Believe in Scotland claimed that the UK state pension was the 'worst in the world' we never have, we have always stated that the "UK Pension is the worst in the developed world". The former is untrue the latter is a fact, we have always used the factual statement.
- For the Daily Mail to go ahead and publish a story that was based on unsubstantiated Twitter trolling based on misrepresentations of Believe in Scotland's actions is both biased and unprofessional.
We await the Daily Mail's response to our request for a retraction and an equal right to reply.
The facts are not even disputed.
Links to other media outlets that claimed that the UK has on of the worst pensions in the developed world".
The Times, a deeply Conservative and Unionist newspaper has today launched an incompetent and completely self-defeating attack on the nonpartisan Believe in Scotland campaign, in a blatant attempt to provide political and legal cover for a plethora of fake unionist campaigning groups who have been accused of dark money funding.
Why is it "Incompetent and completely self-defeating"? Well, all the evidence required for any reader to understand that Believe in Scotland is 100% above board is contained in the article. The fact is, we discussed our 2021 campaign plans and the money we would spend, with the Electoral Commission, and they agreed that we did not have to register. That should have been the end of the article right there. However, The Times, desperate to make a story out of nothing, sought a quote from the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) about dark money and the dangers it poses to democracy and added it into the section about Believe in Scotland as to make it look like the ERS was calling for an inquiry into Believe in Scotland dark money donations. We spoke to ERS, and they made it clear that is not the case saying that "The quote from us doesn’t call for an inquiry” and that it was "Not targeted at Business for Scotland/Believe in Scotland but more a general call we make for improved transparency when it comes to campaign finance laws".
The article headline is "Call for ‘dark money’ campaign inquiry" but who is calling for that? It's not the ERS as the article tries to make the reader think. In fact, there seems to be no specific call for an inquiry. The headline seems to come from comments made by Jackie Baillie, Scottish Labour’s deputy leader who has a track record of making outrageous claims. In this case, she is clearly trying to deflect on behalf of unionist front groups facing dark money accusations - some of whom have links to the Labour party (you couldn't make this up). In fact, BiS parent company, Business for Scotland, has called for such an inquiry, see our article - Electoral Commission: We'll look into any claims of 'dark money' funding Unionist ads
We want to make it clear that the Believe in Scotland campaign believes wholeheartedly that dark money being funnelled to fake Unionist groups is an affront to democracy and we also call for an inquiry into such dark money groups - the Electoral Commission requires more powers to investigate the bank accounts of such unionist groups.
Dark money coming to BIS - don't make us laugh - we are very open about where our campaign funding comes from and we are completely political party neutral, never campaigning for a specific outcome in any election.
"We simply believe that any government of any political colour controlling all the powers of a normal independent country will be better for Scotland than any government of any political colour making bad decisions for Scotland from Westminster."Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, Chief Exec Business for Scotland Ltd and Founder of the Believe in Scotland campaign.
Our spending was independent of all political parties - we have never and will never accept funds from political parties, neutrality is very important to us.
Our funding comes from four key revenue streams and arrives mostly through micro-donations. See our successful 2021 fundraiser, it's not a secret!
1) You can donate £5.00 a month or more to Believe in Scotland here
2) You can buy a copy of our best selling and game-changing book on Scotland's economy, Scotland the Brief here
3) You can become a member of Believe in Scotland here
4) Our events calendar has been curtailed by lockdowns, but you can join the BIS mailing list here and we will let you know about forthcoming events.
The Times article was dishonest in four key ways
1) It splits the article in two placing the credible concerns about dark money funded unionist groups in a missable sidebar, whilst the non-credible attack on BiS is presented as the main thrust of the article.
2) It places the quote from the Electoral Reform Society in the BiS section in what seems like a deliberate attempt to mislead the reader into thinking the ERS is complaining about BiS when they have made it clear to us that they were not.
3) The article states that an anonymous campaigner had said our billboard campaign would have cost as much as £30,000 but when they contacted us, they were saying as much as £80,000 and they clearly backed off that ridiculous amount when we told them it was laughable - they are basically making it up as they go along.
4) The Times will not say who made the claims about BiS or who supplied the estimates. The article was not researched by the journalist in question but seems to be based on evidence supplied by people with links to those accused of being fake unionist campaign fronts. When I asked him (by email) to tell me who was making these false accusations he wrote "I don't discuss any sources for stories".
We discussed our 2021 plans with the Electoral Commission, explained that we were not campaigning for any party standing in those elections and that our campaign was ongoing - and they agreed that we were not required to register.
We have never and will never accept funds from political parties, our neutrality is very important to us. All our funding comes from events revenues, publication sales, memberships, and donations.
There has been well-documented and justified criticism of potential "dark money" used by unionist campaign groups. They are indeed a threat to our democracy and seem very well funded, potentially from vested interests, whereas almost all our funding comes from monthly micro-donations from ordinary people who simply believe in Scotland.
Believe in Scotland has hundreds of thousands of followers but only a tiny fraction donate to us (£5.00 a month helps massively), we make every penny count and last year we distributed nearly two million items of physical campaign materials to the Scottish public to help them realise that independence is normal. You can see what we are up against - organised fake unionist fronts with questionable and massive funding - please donate now and level the playing field.