Nation Building the SNP way

No sooner am I suspicious (2 September), cynical (3 September), or bored (7 September) about the SNP’s ‘National Survey’ than another aspect is revealed that fans the flames of my interest.

Today I have to thank @thebestbond for the latest twist of the knife in the near-corpse of this ill-begotten exercise.

Tucked away at the bottom left of the online survey along with the inadequate reference to privacy and data protection is the statement ‘Made with NationBuilder’:


This is the largest I can copy the statement to fit it here: on-screen you wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of reading it without your specs on.

Having noticed this before on some other SNP web page, I had assumed in my naivety that it was something to do with the SNP itself. After all, isn’t nation building what they’re doing, at least in their own tunnel-vision eyes? Perhaps it was some unique Scottish-built software that they had commissioned to go along with the nationalist .scot web domain they’re so keen to promote.

Alas, a single click on that name took me not to some young thrusting high-tech company in Yes City/Dundee, but to sunny California, and Los Angeles in particular. These screen shots from NationBuilder’s web site should give the gist of what they’re all about.

Win your election …


Maps and data …


More sophistication …


Money, money, money …


Just review those screen shots in the context of the claim that the ‘National Survey’ is an objective exercise in finding out what people’s political priorities are. In the order I show them:

  • the purpose of NationBuilder is to help politicians/political parties ‘Win your election,’ or in this case I guess ‘Win your referendum’ (it has other related purposes, for example ‘Run your non-profit’ but this is the key one in relation to the SNP’s survey)
  • it provides ‘Everything you need to win your election’ and enables anyone’s details to be held on a map showing related information including like-minded people nearby
  • it’s ‘Top features for politics’ (I am sure there are many more) shows further purposes your personal data can be used for
  • finally, check the sort of investment the SNP must be making in this technology. Reviewing the full details of the different payment options and the scale of their data needs, I cannot believe they are paying anything less than $999/month for NationBuilder, and probably more.

I’m sure other political parties use this or similar software. The difference is that those other parties are not carrying out a mass data-capture/marketing exercise disguised as a ‘National Survey.’

As m’learned friends might say, Caveat emptor, let the buyer beware. You will see what a sophisticated political party can do with the information you unknowingly donate to them.

And you thought it was all about smiley volunteers trudging the streets to canvass you.

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One Response to Nation Building the SNP way

  1. That’s all they need , the cybernats telling voters , we know where you live.

    Liked by 1 person

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