#indyref2 causing more economic damage than Brexit! Really?
I like to read opinion on both sides of the #indyref2 debate as I think it is healthy not to be stuck in an echo chamber.
There are generally good arguments on both sides and you need to understand your opponent in order to try to influence them. More often than not though, when clicking on unionist papers I am only ever met with untruths deviously printed as if they are fact.
This morning I clicked on this Telegraph article thinking it might be a setback for the indy movement.
Survey: Scottish independence threat causing more economic damage than Brexit.
The first two paragraphs of the article present a damning picture of the economic prospects of an independent Scotland.
Nicola Sturgeon’s threat of a second independence referendum is inflicting more damage than Brexit on business demand for office, factory and shop space in Scotland, chartered surveyors have warned.
A major report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found that Scotland experienced the largest drop in demand for commercial property of anywhere in the UK in the three months following the EU referendum vote.
However, even rereading those two paragraphs more closely it becomes apparent what type of game the Telegraph are playing here.
The report by the RICS undoubtedly shows a drop in demand for commercial property in Scotland post Brexit. However, the first paragraph, where they laughably describe independence as the cause , is not based on any statistical evidence in the report. It is based on the opinion of ‘chartered surveyors’.
The third paragraph is the clincher:
A series of Scottish surveyors blamed the slump on Ms Sturgeon’s threat of a second independence referendum, which she said was “highly likely” in the hours following the June 23 Brexit result.
So, the Telegraph have taken a fact as reported by the RICS and then hung a cause on that fact based on the select opinion of some chartered surveyors.
When you look at the actual RICS report, there is no mention of what is causing the drop in demand in Scotland (and in London, which no doubt the Telegraph will blame on Sturgeon too). The report does show that 30 percent of chartered surveyors across the UK think that Brexit will lead to a drop in business. We know this because, unlike the Scottish independence angle being pushed by the Telegraph, the report actually asked about Brexit.
So where did the Telegraph get their take on this?
Well, there are comments at the end of the report from random surveyors who wished to make a comment. Four of those comments are from Scottish chartered surveyors. Three of those four blame the threat of independence for the blip. These are the three quoted in the Telegraph article. So, the Telegraph article blames the post Brexit dip in demand on the opinion of only three of the chartered surveyors in Scotland.
What is more likely; that the opinion of three surveyors represents all surveyors, or that those 3 surveyors are ideologically opposed to Scottish independence? The story has as much plausibility as me saying that UKIP are pro unlimited immigration because I met three UKIP members in the pub who expressed that opinion to me.
The article is padded out by the rent-a-gub musing of Anas Sarwar and Ruth Davidson trying to pretend that everything would be just peachy post Brexit if the SNP would just halt trying to keep us in the single market.
Not content with inventing a reason for the slump based on zero evidence, the Telegraph goes further. They narrow their made up accusation down to blame the fear of Scotland losing its biggest trading partner as the knub of the issue. This is good news, as this seems to be about the only argument the unionists have left post Brexit.
As we have argued before, this ‘export partner’ spiel is akin to asking someone to stay with an abusive partner due to the fact the aggressor earns a better wage. You can read our rebuttal to that argument here.
The main takeaway from this article should be how the press are so willing to lie in plain sight.
They take an article based on a fact and weave into it dubious opinion. They do this in such a subtle fashion that the casual reader will miss it. It is also notable how politicians like Anas Sarwar and Ruth Davidson are so willing to jump on such blatantly shoddy reporting for political gain.
It’s classic project fear – deliberately misleading propaganda based on ideology, ignoring all fact and reason.
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