Hi, I'm James Kelly, and I'm the author of the pro-independence blog Scot Goes Pop.
It's one of the most-read and also one of the oldest pro-independence websites in Scotland. It began way back in 2008, but gained in popularity in 2013 when I launched the Scot Goes Pop Poll of Polls for voting intentions in the independence referendum. I had become quite cynical about the way anti-independence newspapers repeatedly seized on individual No-friendly polls as 'proof' that the campaign was supposedly over before it had even started. The intention was clearly to sap the morale of Yes campaigners. The Poll of Polls was a useful corrective, helping to put unfavourable polls in their proper context by comparing them to the average numbers across all polling firms, and emphasising the high degree of uncertainty about the true state of public opinion.
More recently, Scot Goes Pop has also commissioned several polls of its own with your help. One of them was the first poll to show that the events of the pandemic had pushed Yes back into the lead, and turned out to be the first in an unprecedented long unbroken sequence of twenty polls reporting a pro-independence majority.
There have been a number of spin-offs from the success of the blog. I'm currently a monthly columnist for the wonderful iScot magazine, and I've written polling and election analysis for The National newspaper and its Sunday sister paper. For many years I was a columnist for the International Business Times and then the Talk Radio website. I've been interviewed on BBC Breakfast, CTV News (Canada), Al Jazeera, the Bauer radio network, RT, Radio Sputnik, BBC Radio 5 Live, and last but not least IndyLive Radio! I've also taken part in numerous podcasts, short films and livestreams, and I began my own podcast - inevitably called the Scot Goes Popcast - in early 2021. There have been fourteen episodes so far, featuring many high-profile guests.
Blogging is a very time-consuming process, especially during election and referendum periods when there may be several polls a day to cover. Like all writers, I have to keep body and soul together while I write, and running a general fundraiser every year helps me to do that, while also giving me the flexibility to drop everything and write a blogpost whenever a new poll comes out. However, last year a significant percentage of the money raised from the general fundraiser went towards the cost of the three opinion polls I commissioned, which cumulatively came to a five-figure amount - in fact it was well into five figures. Because the third poll was about a time-sensitive subject, I had little option but to press ahead before the target figure had been fully reached. As a result, my finances have remained fairly tight in recent months.
If this crowdfunder succeeds, I'll be able to keep the blog afloat during another crucial year in Scottish politics. Local elections will take place in May, and the Scottish Government have promised to start the process that will enable an independence referendum to take place by the end of 2023. Polls will be a crucial battleground for those seeking to legitimise or delegitimise the proposed referendum - which means it's important we ensure poll results are not misreported and distorted. Scot Goes Pop can assist in that regard with its unique coverage of the polling situation from a pro-indy perspective. I also hope to commission a further poll myself - and that's already been partly funded with your generous help via the dedicated poll fundraiser I started in the autumn. However, this time I'm going to be cautious and wait until the funding is fully nailed down before going ahead.
To get a better idea of what the blog is all about, please watch this short promo film that I made with Phantom Power.