Blow for Yes after union rejects … the No campaign

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By a Newsnet reporter

On Saturday the Herald newspaper ran a story with a headline that read ‘Blow for Yes as PCS union decides to stay neutral on indyref’.

The story revolved around the result of a vote taken by trade union PCS the outcome of which was that the union would adopt a neutral stance in the independence campaign.

By a Newsnet reporter

On Saturday the Herald newspaper ran a story with a headline that read ‘Blow for Yes as PCS union decides to stay neutral on indyref’.

The story revolved around the result of a vote taken by trade union PCS the outcome of which was that the union would adopt a neutral stance in the independence campaign.

The final result was 18,025 votes for a neutral stance, with 5,775 in favour of backing Yes.  The Herald reported it as “18,000 against only 5000 who wanted to support a Yes vote.”

Notwithstanding the missing 775 people who backed Yes, the article adopted a rather curious narrative that painted the result as a blow for the Yes campaign which was strange given that delegates also had the option to back No … but not one did.

But how can a vote which returns 5775 in favour of Yes and zero in favour of No be portrayed as a blow for the Yes campaign?

Well one day earlier the Herald had published an article which predicted the union would back Yes.  On Friday Magnus Gardham’s article was headlined ‘Boost for Yes camp as PCS trade union moves to back independence’.

The evidence for this confident prediction was a well-placed source who told the Herald: “I would be shocked if the vote is for anything but a Yes position.”

According to the paper, another union source told them: “Listening to the debates within the branches, the final vote is going to be close between adopting a neutral position and supporting Yes.”

So just how did the newspaper get it so wrong?

Not only that but Gardham’s poor prediction allowed the Herald to run a headline that painted a result that was damaging to the No campaign as though it was damaging to Yes.

Newsnet Scotland understands that delegates at the conference had already been mandated by their respective branches on whether to back Yes, No or Neutral before they turned up at the conference to cast their vote.  Given this, then PCS insiders would have had a pretty good idea what the result was going to be before the official result was announced.

We also understand that some insiders at PCS were surprised at the headline published by the Herald which predicted a majority in favour of Yes as it was believed that the result was going to be in favour of neutral.

No-one can be sure what lay behind Friday’s headline, perhaps it did indeed portray an honest belief on the part of some insiders that the union would back a Yes vote.

Other more cynical observers might point to Mr Gardham’s pro-Union leanings and suggest he has been rather mischievous.

Whatever the reasons for Saturday’s headline, people who take little more than a passing interest in Scottish politics and/or the referendum campaign have been left with the impression that the Yes campaign had just experienced a setback.

5775 votes for Yes and zero votes for No is indeed a blow for one side, just not the one the Herald would have you believe.