The Question Of Scotland Isn’t Settled, Ctd


A recent survey finds that two-thirds of Scots want another referendum on independence from the UK within the next 10 years, while 58 percent want one in the next five. This confirms Larison’s suspicion that we haven’t seen the last of the Scottish secession movement:

One might have thought that the referendum had been decided by a large enough margin to quash such sentiments, but that has clearly not happened. As I guessed it might, the ‘No’ victory seems to have just put off a final reckoning on the future of the U.K. rather than putting a stop to the independence debate. Whether independence for Scotland makes any more or less sense for the country in five or ten years’ time, the question is not going to be “settled” anytime soon. All indications are that the referendum campaign has significantly changed the political landscape in Scotland with consequences for the entire U.K., and the independence question seems likely to keep roiling British politics for the foreseeable future.

Pointing to another poll suggesting that the Scottish National Party could take all but four of Labour’s Scottish seats in next year’s parliamentary elections, Keith Humphreys speculates on the SNP’s potential to cause “an earthquake in British politics”:

First, the SNP has a reasonable chance of becoming a kingmaker in the UK general election of 2015. Particularly in the event of a Scottish Labour wipeout, it’s not unlikely that neither of the major parties will have enough seats in Westminster to secure a majority. Unlike in prior cycles, the Liberal Democrats, who have been bleeding support for years, may not be able to make up the difference, leaving the SNP with the opportunity to enter a coalition government. It’s obvious what price they would ask for this, though it’s unclear if either major party would be willing to pay it or would instead choose to muddle through as a minority government.

Second, if the SNP control Scotland, the West Lothian question becomes more important. Even if they are not included in the UK government, being able to vote as a bloc on English policies could give the SNP a free hand to extract concessions simply by making mischief wherever possible (e.g., when the ruling party can’t get all its ducks in a row on some English-specific issue). If the Scottish MPs were Labour, this problem could be minimized by the party leadership, but SNP members of the UK parliament would not owe anything to either major party leader.

Check out the Dish’s complete coverage of the independence vote here.

Labour Support Collapses In Scotland

According to a remarkable new survey:

The survey, by Ipsos Mori, found Labour is currently polling at just 23 per cent in Scotland which, if replicated in May, would see the party lose all but four of the 41 MPs it currently has north of the border. Such a result would make it next to impossible for Labour to win an overall majority in Westminster and form a Government after the next election.

Massie calls this “the most astonishing survey of Scottish political opinion in living memory”:

There will be two stories in Scotland next May.

On the one hand Labour will, as always, present the election as a contest between two possible outcomes: Prime Minister Cameron or Prime Minister Miliband. This has traditionally squeezed the SNP vote in Westminster elections and Labour are counting on it doing so again. A vote for the SNP is effectively a vote for David Cameron. If, as you say you do, you hate the Tories you have no choice but to vote for a Labour government. Sure, Labour may be uninspiring but, come on people, focus on the bigger picture.

Quite so, say the Nationalists. The bigger picture is bigger than Miliband vs Cameron. The SNP will argue that only the Nationalists can truly stand up for Scotland. Only the SNP will put Scotland first. The only way to advance Scotland’s interests is to send a large delegation of SNP MPs to Westminster. There they will hold Westminster’s feet to the fire. There they will hold the balance of power and wield their influence for Scotland’s advantage. You need not believe in independence to vote for the SNP. To vote, in effect, for Scotland. Labour’s difficulty, you see, is Scotland’s opportunity. (And a Tory government is better for the SNP than a Labour one.)

The thing about it – the thing that makes this election interesting and also dizzyingly unpredictable  – is that both of these stories, both of these arguments, are true.

Larison zooms out:

There are some lessons that other parties could learn from Labour’s recent travails. The most important lesson is that a party can neglect its core supporters for only so long before they give up and move on to an alternative. Taking support from any constituency or region for granted will eventually come back to haunt the party, and this can happen at the worst possible times. If a party is effectively representing the interests of its voters, it won’t keep suffering mass defections to its competitors.

Scotland Stays, Ctd

Clive Crook contends that last week’s vote “settles nothing”:

Here’s the problem. If the nationalists had won, they’d have started a risky, costly transition, but the final destination would have been clear. The unionists’ victory avoids that short-term pain but prolongs the constitutional uncertainty indefinitely. Cameron might wish things were “settled,” but they aren’t. The demand for independence isn’t going away. When you consider the apocalyptic predictions of the No campaign, the Yes campaign’s transparent dishonesty (on taxes and spending) and incoherence (on the currency), the threats of Scottish businesses to move south, and the rock-solid consensus outside Scotland that leaving the union would be a tragic error, 45 percent support for independence suggests a certain resilience.

Larison agrees that the conflict is not yet over:

As we have already seen, instead of settling anything the referendum has produced new promises of devolution for Scotland and increased demands in England for significant changes to the current system. The former probably can’t or won’t be honored, since they were made on the fly without the consent of the rest of the U.K., and that will eventually mean another referendum. In that case, unionists won’t be able to make credible offers of greater devolution, and that would make it more difficult to avert independence later on.

But Keating begs to differ:

I suspect British politics will return to normal fairly quickly. Some have also predicted that the independence movement isn’t quite done yet, and that there’s potential for a Quebec-style “neverendum” in which independence becomes a perennial debate. But with the aftermath of the euro crisis and an unpopular Conservative government in power in London, this was probably the best opportunity available for Alex Salmond’s Scottish National Party. The independence advocates took their best shot, missed, and probably won’t get another one as good for a while.

Meanwhile, John Cassidy notes that “As Salmond and the ‘Scottish question’ recede from the headlines, the ‘English question’ could well replace them.” Crook explains:

Recall that the Scots, despite having their own parliament in Edinburgh, currently enjoy the bizarre privilege of sending Scottish members of parliament to Westminster to vote on English-only matters (not to mention a fiscal bonus called the Barnett formula, which underwrites higher public spending in Scotland). Because Scotland leans to the left, this arrangement has been vital in maintaining the strength of the Labour Party in the south. You’ll be shocked to learn that it was a Labour government (led by Tony Blair, born and educated in Scotland, and Gordon Brown, a Scot representing a Scottish constituency) that enacted it.

A new round of devolution, with Tories in charge in London, opens this Pandora’s box. To meet the demands of English conservatives, Cameron has said that the rest of the U.K. must now get devolution, too –English votes on English policies. The prospect is a constitutional restructuring almost as radical as the one implied by full independence for Scotland.

The question is already splitting the parties:

On Friday morning, the No victory in Scotland’s independence referendum just hours old, David Cameron stood before 10 Downing Street and set a trap for the opposition. The new powers pledged to Edinburgh during the campaign would be transferred on the promised, fast timetable, he confirmed. On the same timetable, he added (in a barb reportedly devised over curry with George Osborne the night before), William Hague would work on plans for English-only votes on English matters. …

So far Labour has brushed aside the proposal. It is self-interested, cynical and drawn up on the back of a fag packet, party figures avow, rightly pointing out that there had been no agreement to link new Scottish devolution to solving the English question. In an interview with Andrew Marr this morning Ed Miliband countered that it would be hard to separate parts of legislation only affecting England from those affecting the rest of Britain, and that EVEL would create two classes of MPs. He wants a constitutional convention, a longer, more exhaustive and more bottom-up process than the constitutional supermarket-sweep proposed by Mr Cameron, one also encompassing devolution to city and regional authorities within England.

These points are all entirely valid. But they risk making Labour look as self-interested as the Conservatives. And the question is not likely to go away. According to the British Social Attitudes and Future of England surveys, the proportion of voters “strongly” supporting EVEL rose from 18 percent in 2000 to 55 percent in 2012. The imminent transfer of new powers (particularly tax-raising ones) to Holyrood will only accentuate that trend.

Zooming out, political scientist Graeme Robertson suggests that “the key lesson from the Scottish referendum is something that scholars have long known but that citizens and politicians often seem to miss – allegiance to states is highly malleable and can be quickly changed by events, even in an old country like Scotland.”

Not Taking “No” For An Answer

Scotland Decides - The Result Of the Scottish Referendum On Independence Is Announced

Catherine Mayer recalls what Westminster promised Scotland should it vote no:

Ahead of the referendum, the three main parties in Westminster — Cameron’s Conservatives, their Liberal-Democrat coalition partners, and the opposition Labour Party — had joined together to make a series of pledges to Scottish voters. In return for Scotland’s fealty to the union, there would be a fast-tracked process to ensure a further devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament on tax, spending and welfare. And the formula by which public spending is allocated by the U.K. Treasury to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would remain unchanged.

Cameron is already backtracking:

With Scotland now secure within the union, Cameron — pink cheeked and bright eyed despite a sleepless night — issued a fresh pledge, of “a balanced settlement — fair to people in Scotland and importantly to everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well.” How might such a settlement be possible with Scots getting more from the public purse than their counterparts South of the border? The answer, as prominent members of his own party have already pointed out, is that it might not be.

But James Lindsay expects Alex Salmond, who spearheaded the independence campaign, “will press Westminster hard on its pledge to devolve extensive new powers to Scotland”:

The size of the yes vote highlighted the Scots’ deep dissatisfaction with their relationship with London. As Salmond presses his advantage, Westminster will confront the give-a-mouse-a-cookie problem. What it gives will not be enough; Salmond will demand more.

Elaine Teng recalls that, “while Salmond has rejected devo max on the campaign trail in recent weeks, he advocated to include it on the ballot when the referendum was initially negotiated in 2012”:

A BBC reporter tweeted Friday morning that sources within Westminster are suggesting that the new powers would be “an extension of existing responsibilities” rather than the promised devo max. The negotiations will be complicatedCameron’s own party has threatened to revolt against his leadership should he agree to implement devo maxbut with 1.5 million votes behind him, Salmond will now feel empowered to push Cameron to live up to his panicked pledge.

Numbers suggest that devo max is what Scots actually want. A June 2012 poll showed that a clear majority of Scots supported increased local power on nearly every issue, with over 60 percent of respondents favoring Scottish control of the economy, employment law, welfare benefits, and energy policy.

But Larison is skeptical “that the promise of much broader devolution of powers will end up being honored”:

It is just as likely that unionists have told Scots whatever they thought the latter wanted to hear and will later renege on the offer when the threat of independence has receded. It may turn out that the unionists “saved” the union by making promises that they couldn’t possibly fulfill, which will just lead to even more discontent with U.K. government.

Devolution will certainly be a heavy lift. Carol Matlack covers opposition from the monied interests:

While investors and corporate leaders heaved a sigh of relief over the referendum result, the prospect of a federalized U.K. clearly makes them nervous. Among their fears: a more-complex tax regime that would increase the costs of doing business and deter foreign investment. The divvying-up of political power must “not undermine the strength of the single internal market,” John Cridland, head of the Confederation of British Industry, said in a statement.

Fraser Nelson and James Forsyth marshall other arguments against further devolution:

The origins of this mess go back to the last century. The whole New Labour devolution settlement has been a disaster. It was intended to (as Labour then put it) ‘kill demand for independence stone dead’. And it was an obsession for Scottish Labour. The late John Smith wanted this done, and Tony Blair inherited the project. The idea was to make a separatist majority impossible. After all, in a four-party system with semi–proportional voting, was any party ever going to win an outright majority?

But rather than strengthen the Union, devolution weakened it by creating separate national conversations. National newspapers began to produce Scottish editions — they were a commercial success, but meant the people of Britain knew less and less about each other. Even Westminster insiders are uninterested in the Holyrood parliament. As one Tory cabinet member puts it: ‘I could not name more than three members of the Scottish government, which is bad. What’s worse, in fact, is that I could not care.’

But Martin Kettle thinks something has to give:

The immediate political question now suddenly moves to London. Gordon Brown promised last week that work will start on Friday on drawing up the terms of a new devolution settlement. That may be a promise too far after the red-eyed adrenalin-pumping exhaustion of the past few days. But the deal needs to be on the table by the end of next month. It will not be easy to reconcile all the interests – Scots, English, Welsh, Northern Irish and local. But it is an epochal opportunity. The plan, like the banks, is too big to fail.

Alex Salmond and the SNP are not going anywhere. They will still govern Scotland until 2016. There will be speculation about Salmond’s position, and the SNP will need to decide whether to run in 2016 on a second referendum pledge. More immediately, the SNP will have to decide whether to go all-out win to more Westminster seats in the 2015 general election, in order to hold the next government’s feet to the fire over the promised devo-max settlement. Independence campaigners will feel gutted this morning. But they came within a whisker of ending the United Kingdom on Thursday. One day, perhaps soon, they will surely be back.

(Photo: A discarded Yes sticker lies on cobble stones along the Royal Mile after the people of Scotland voted no to independence on September 19, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. By Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Scotland Stays

The results from yesterday’s voting:

Scotland Voting

Alex Massie, a Scot in favor of union, reflects:

[A] 55-45 victory is both a handsome margin – wider than the 53-47 I had guessed – and a remarkable repudiation of the Union. It is clear enough to be decisive; close enough to demand modesty in victory.

He is heartened by “the rediscovery that, actually, Britain was something – a place and an idea too – that was worth fighting for.” But Massie also faces uncomfortable facts:

The Union was saved, in the main, by wealthier and older Scots. The poor chose differently. That’s an uncomfortable fact for Unionists and one that requires attention. Plenty of Yes votes were cast in hope more than expectation; many others were votes predicated on the fear that voting No offered no prospect of personal or community improvement.

One lesson of this campaign is that the poor, so often marginalised, have a voice too and that they should be heard. This too, I think, should temper Unionist joy this morning. A sobering, timely, even necessary, reminder that the status quo does not float all boats.

Isabel Hardman looks at Scottish voters’ reasons for voting one way or the other:

[T]he reason more frequently cited for voting ‘Yes’ than any other was ‘disaffection with Westminster politics’, with 74% of those in favour of independence naming that, then 54 per cent also picking the NHS, followed by 33 naming tax and public spending. For No voters, the biggest issue was the pound, which does vindicate Alistair Darling rather for banging on about currency union, even when some in his own camp thought he needed a change of tack. 37 per cent cited pensions, followed by 36 who named the NHS as a reason for voting ‘No’. Similarly, 47 per cent of No voters said the most important reason for voting no was that ‘the risks of becoming independent looked too great when it came to things like the currency, EU membership, the economy, jobs and prices.

But Jason Cowley predicts that “unless there is far-reaching constitutional reform, there will be a second Scottish independence referendum before too long”:

What the referendum campaign demonstrated was that, in the right circumstances and when people believe that something truly significant is at stake and that their vote matters, they care passionately. At a time when fewer and fewer of us are members of political parties, nearly 4.3 million registered to vote, 97 per cent of those eligible. Overall turnout was 86 per cent, testament to a nation’s engagement and a direct challenge to a broken political system.

But how now to capture and harness the energies that were unleashed during a referendum campaign in Scotland that shook the foundations of the British state, stunned a complacent elite and came so close to shattering the 307-year-old Union?

Live-Tweeting The Scotland Vote

Originally posted at 8.49 EST. Scroll down for the latest updates, in rough chronological order:

Is Scottish Independence Irrational?

People Of Scotland Take To The Polls To Decide Their Country's Fate In Historic Vote

Adam Gopnik addresses the question:

Irrationalities are as essential to dissolving unions as they are to maintaining them. Scotland, which is just now voting on independence, is also, we’re told, acting against its self-evident economic interests—or, at the very least, acting with huge, unfunded optimism. Once again, as is so often the case in the twentieth century, the atavistic thrill of nationalism is ballooned up by the blithe certainty that it will somehow magically lead to a progressive paradise. As Canadians alone remember, the province of Quebec, in two referendums, did, or came close to doing, the same thing with the same unfounded belief.

It is easy to say that such a move makes no sense, but nationalism is almost always a more powerful drug than is the promise of continued prosperity. The irony is that many Scottish nationalists see the larger European Union as their alternative to the apparently stifling British one, though E.U. membership for an independent Scotland would be far from guaranteed, and would affect everything from the politics of emigration to the price of scotch. Nationalists in Quebec believed something similar, holding out the dubious hope that the United States would be a welcoming market for and partner with a monolingual French Quebec in ways that Canada somehow was not.

Michael Brendan Dougherty blames the EU for the increasing nationalism across Europe:

By creating a federated superstate with its own defense policies, currency, and central bank, the EU takes off the table some of the hardest questions a separatist or secessionist movement has to answer. The EU does a lot of the work of a nation-state for them. To some degree, extant and aspiring nationalisms are free-riding on an official internationalism.

The EU tends to be extremely generous in dignifying minority languages, regions, and even political movements with some kind of official status. Latvian, Irish, and Maltese are all recognized European languages, but good luck finding four million people who speak any of these fluently. Still, this kind of recognition is important to nationalists looking to maintain some kind of identity in the face of an overwhelming, powerful neighbor, or globalism more generally.

But Nicholas Shackel refuses to label Scotland’s Yes voters irrational:

It is certainly true that a lot of the time for a lot of people acting rationally does amount to acting prudently. But it is not generally true. Rationality requires acting in accord with what one care’s about. If you care most about your best interest it would be irrational to act against it, but when that isn’t what you care most about then it isn’t irrational to act against it.

So then the question of the rationality of voting for Scottish independence comes down to what the person voting most cares about. They may care more about freedom of association than about their self interest, and if for them not being ruled by the British state but being ruled by a Scottish state instead satisfied what they value in freedom of association, then voting for independence could be perfectly rational despite it being against their best interest.

Jonathan Tobin argues along the same lines:

Whether it is true or not, a great many Scots believe themselves to have been oppressed by the English and to have had their nation stolen from them. They may not be mad enough to wish to bring back a descendant of the Stuarts, but the longing for the return of Bonnie Prince Charlie, the last Stuart Pretender who led the Scots to disaster at Culloden in 1746 and then was forced to flee to European exile, left its mark on the country’s national consciousness. That fueled the romance of a separate Scots identity that was never entirely extinguished even during the heyday of Scottish involvement in the enterprise of the British Empire. So long as these myths are influential and can be buttressed by modern grievances, however insubstantial, independence will always have a constituency that will consider it worth a great deal of inconvenience if not hardship.

(Photo: An independence supporter sports a Scottish Saltire tie, badge and rosette as he stands outside a polling station on September 18, 2014 in Strichen, Scotland. By Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

A Vote Against Inequality?

Katie Engelhart views the Scottish vote as a manifestation “of the increasingly hot debate about rising global inequality and what we should do about it”:

Scotland’s pro-independence movement differs from similar movements in places like Catalonia, Kurdistan, and eastern Ukraine in that it does not revolve around hard identifiers like language, religion, and ethnicity (or Russian military backing). What divides Scotland and England is a vocal lilt and a legacy of 14th-century clan warfare—seemingly surmountable obstacles to keeping a country together. As a result, Scottish nationalists have taken to claiming that London is to blame for all of Scotland’s economic ills. They contend that, with independence, Scotland can strike a different kind of compromise with its citizens. They argue that a vote for independence is a vote against inequality.

Reporting from Scotland, Noah Caldwell heard over and over again “the belief that Scots are fairer, more caring and more egalitarian than the rest of the United Kingdom”:

Initially a bemusing, inconsequential assertion, after enough repetition I realized it was a fundamental motivator for Yes voters, and therefore key to understanding independence. Since Scottish nationalism isn’t an outright ethnic, religious or linguistic movement, it relies heavily on socio-cultural definitions of “Scottishness”—namely, a shared egalitarianism. It’s the bedrock of the country’s liberal politics. It’s why First Minister Alex Salmond believes Scotland will be the next Denmark or Norway. Its roots, however, are hard to pin down, and even harder for Scots to explain to a panting American journalist on a beat-up retro road bike. It is, essentially, a living, breathing myth.

Gordon Brown connects to push for Scottish independence to globalization:

Globalization comes down, in practical terms, to the shift from the national sourcing of goods and services to their global sourcing, and from a reliance on national flows of capital to global flows, and it is matched by our ability to communicate easily and instantaneously beyond old borders and around the world.

And secessionist groups may be on the rise not in spite of these global forces — but because of them. In the years of the Industrial Revolution, people turned to political nationalism to cushion their regions against the uneven, inequitable patterns of growth. Now, people who see themselves as victims of change are turning back to — and organizing their politics around — old loyalties and traditional identities. They seek to insulate themselves against what appears like an unstoppable juggernaut of economic disruption and social dislocation. But because change seem to threatens to sweep aside long-established customs, values and ways of life, political nationalism becomes a credible vehicle for their response.




Scotland’s Day Of Reckoning

The Guardian is live-blogging the Scottish vote. From their afternoon summary:

A final poll has put the no vote on 53% and yes on 47%, in line with other recent predictions. The poll, by Ipsos Mori for the London Evening Standard, also found that 90% of Scots said they intended to vote today, with 57% saying they based their votes on hope more than fear.

Ben Page, the chief executive of Ipsos Mori, unpacks that poll:

[T]here is the idea of “silent Nos” – that there is a spiral of silence making some intimidated “No” voters less likely to agree to take part in surveys at all, or to say they are undecided or refusing to say how they will vote and biasing the sample. The challenge for us is spotting them in the polling data and how to treat them. If “shy Nos” really don’t want to take part in even internet surveys, or completely private phone calls, then even with samples that are demographically matched to Scotland’s population, we will be understating the size of a No vote. We will see.

The Guardian is also keeping tabs on the voting process:

Polling stations have been busy all morning, with some reports of queues, but there have been no complaints of intimidation of voters, and the threatened potential “carnage” has not been in evidence. Unconfirmed reports suggest that there has so far been one arrest at a polling station.

Murdoch dismisses reports of violence:

Carl Bialik explains when to expect results:

For the election junkies who want to watch results as they come in, I’ve put together a guide to how early Friday morning could unfold: when the 32 local councils can be expected to report their constituents’ vote counts, what percentage of the electorate each area represents, and which way voters from each area can be expected to lean. The registered voter numbers are solid and were provided Wednesday by Dougie McGregor, who works in the office of the referendum team’s chief counting officer. (He said those numbers might change slightly when final counts are available.) The times and the electoral lean, though, are rough enough to warrant a number of caveats

His guide:

Scotland Vote Guide

The Best Of The Dish Today

The Final Day Of Campaigning For The Scottish Referendum Ahead Of Tomorrow's Historic Vote

There’s a kind of hush all over Britain tonight, as Herman’s Hermits once had it. That bitter old lion, Gordon Brown, delivered a barn-burner for the union:

Tell them this is our Scotland. Tell them that Scotland does not belong to the Scottish Nationalist Party. Scotland does not belong to the Yes campaign. Scotland does not belong to any politician – Mr Salmond, Mr Swinney, me or any other politician. Scotland belongs to all of us. This is not their flag, their country, their culture, their streets. This is everyone’s flag, everyone’s country, everyone’s culture and everyone’s streets. Let us tell the people of Scotland that we who vote No love Scotland and love our Scotland.

It was arguably the strongest speech in the campaign – and even revived calls for Brown to get back into politics. Watch it all here. And isn’t it marvelous the way this referendum has really brought out a huge outpouring of democracy, of debate in every venue, and a staggering 97 percent registration rate? At a time when politics seems increasingly distant from most voters’ lives, in which political elites become as despised as economic elites, the simple ballot and the simple question have brought real democracy back to life. The Guardian introduced a new point:

A decision of such gravity – to break away from a 300-year-old union – should be the settled will of a nation. The very fact that Scottish opinion is so closely divided is itself a weakness in the case for independence. Moves of such import should command enduring and overwhelming support, as the creation of the Holyrood parliament did in 1997.

But what if the vote isn’t as close as it now seems to be? The referendum has achieved a 97 percent registration rate, as Tim Stanley has noted. You think all those new voters want to keep the status quo? But, as usual, the Onion FTW:

A tragedy is unfolding in Scotland. One glance at this week’s headlines reveals that the region’s fractious political situation is intensifying, with separatist activists gaining more and more support every day. Barring something drastic, Scotland seems bound inexorably for a cataclysm. Can the United States stand idly by as Scotland descends into civil war? …

How many Scots need to die before Obama says “Enough is enough” and steps in? The United States has a moral imperative to intervene, starting immediately with air raids to break the militant separatists before they gain a stranglehold on power. But that will not be enough. We need boots on the ground as soon and in as great numbers as possible.

Where is John McCain when you need him?

Full Dish coverage of Scotland in one place here. Elsewhere on the blog today, I tried to add some historical perspective to the growing hysteria over Russia and Iraq and Syria. Readers revealed their own personal eggcorns – after my epic embarrassment. We noted that Obama has not just given ISIS the mother of all propaganda coups, but has actually brought Al Qaeda and the Caliphate into an alliance. Pretty great start, no? Instead of letting these fanatics fight each other, we’ve gone and made them all want to fight us. I hope Lindsey Graham is satisfied.

As for the midterms, the Democrats seem to be holding weirdly steady. Could it be a function of general loathing of the GOP?

Many of today’s posts were updated with your emails – read them all here.  You can always leave your unfiltered comments at our Facebook page and @sullydish. 20 more readers became subscribers today. You can join them here – and get access to all the readons and Deep Dish – for a little as $1.99 month. Gift subscriptions are available here if you’d like to introduce the Dish to others. A reader gets what we’re trying to do here:

[Dish editor] Chris, thank you so much for posting [my email on husband beaters]. You have no idea how much it brightened my day/week/month and probably my year. It’s also interesting to me which part you cut out of my email. I don’t know if it was just to keep it snappy or not to attract the pure shitstorm that comes with even mentioning men’s rights activists? Either way I wouldn’t blame you.

I’ve been reading Andrew since this 2006 article on the rise of fundamentalism. At the time I was wrestling with a lot of questions about faith and his words in this felt like a revelation to me. I’ve been reading ever since. When I have strong opinions about politics or other things that go on in the world, I usually talk with friends and family, but I can never be sure I’m not just in an echo chamber. I can look for conversation online, but, well … you know how bad the comments section can be. It’s full of people yelling half-formed opinions into an abyss of pure noise and never really listening to what others have to say.

But even getting a passing mention on the Dish is special to me. It’s actually having a seat in a full conversation. I’m sure some readers will disagree with what I say, and I welcome that, but even being one voice on the Dish tells me at least I’m asking the right questions.

See you when the conversation resumes in the morning.

(Photo: Unionist supporters gather near George Square, where Yes activists had been holding a pre-referendum event in Glasgow, Scotland on September 17, 2014. By Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)