SNP and Plaid Cymru close to within just 1% of the Liberal Democrats in today's Britain-wide YouGov poll. For the third time in 2015 so far, the combined vote for the SNP and Plaid Cyrmu has reached 5% in the YouGov daily poll - which on this occasion leaves them just 1% behind the Liberal Democrats across Britain.
You'll probably recall that we saw quite a few results like this towards the end of last year. Britain-wide voting intentions (14th-15th January) : Conservatives 32% (n/c)Labour 32% (-2)UKIP 16% (+1)Greens 8% (+1)Liberal Democrats 6% (n/c)SNP/Plaid Cymru 5% (+1) SCOT goes POP!: Is Charles Kennedy heading for defeat at the hands of the SNP? A clear majority of voters in England think Nicola Sturgeon should be included in the TV leaders' debates.
You may have already seen this in the SNP press release yesterday, but a YouGov poll conducted last Thursday and Friday found an extraordinary level of support across the whole of Britain for Nicola Sturgeon to be included in the leaders' debates - 53% thought she should be in the line-up, while only 30% did not, and 17% didn't know.
What's particularly striking is that there is an absolute majority in favour of her inclusion in every single region of England and Wales... London -Sturgeon should be included : 52%Sturgeon should not be included : 29%South of England (excluding London ) -Sturgeon should be included : 53%Sturgeon should not be included : 33%English Midlands and Wales -Sturgeon should be included : 52%Sturgeon should not be included : 30%North of England -Sturgeon should be included : 51%Sturgeon should not be included : 28%Scotland -Sturgeon should be included : 66%Sturgeon should not be included : 24%
Scotland swings behind independence by record margin in stunning YouGov poll. OK, this is a few weeks too late, but let's not knock it - the future is still stretching out in front of us.
The first (published) post-referendum poll on independence is just in from YouGov, and the findings are an extraordinary indictment of the referendum "winners", and the bogus "Vow" they made to the people of Scotland. Should Scotland be an independent country? Huge SNP lead for Westminster reported in jaw-dropping YouGov poll.
Believe me when I say to you, I hope the Middlelanders love their children too. Well, it's now official from the BBC website - the unspoofable Tory MP Rory Stewart has abandoned his "Hands Across the Border" wheeze of 100,000 people forming a human chain in a location up to 68 miles south of the Scotland-England border.
He's taken this tragic decision for "logistical" reasons. Hmmm. I wonder if those "logistical" problems might conceivably include - a) not enough people, and b) the wrong border? SCOT goes POP!: "I'm a gardener" : Eyebrows raised after latest shock claim by spin doctor McTernan. It was a lovely, hot, sunny day yesterday, and naturally I couldn't think of anything I'd rather do than sit in an underground lecture theatre in Edinburgh listening to John McTernan telling me fairy stories.
He was the star turn of 'Nostival', an unexpected and ground-breaking strand of National Collective's Yestival, which is currently being hosted at Summerhall. The written instructions for how to get to the lecture theatre were a bit daunting, not least because they somehow managed to include the word 'atrium' at least three times. National Collective's Facebook page also urged people to turn up well in advance, so to be on the safe side I arrived twenty minutes early, and found that I was the first person there.
How will "Vote No Borders" argue the case for a united Ireland? As borders go, the one between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is a particularly stupid one.
It has no historical basis whatever - the province of Ulster contains nine counties, not six, and two of the six counties that did 'make the cut' had Catholic/nationalist majorities even in 1921. So presumably we can look forward to plucky "grassroots" organisation Vote No Borders transferring its operations to Belfast as soon as our own little referendum is over. It'll make a nice change for them to actually rage against an existing international border, rather than trying to avert the creation of a new one.
I live in Newry and I need a passport to visit my gran 12 miles away in Dundalk. It's crazy!!!!! No, you don't. Yeah, but there might be. Poll Exclusive : Voters demand that the Scotland on Sunday newspaper deliver extra childcare provision NOW. Pollster :OK, here's the next question.
How and when do you think that free childcare provision should be extended to match the best in Europe? A) The Scottish government should do it after independence, once it has the necessary control over revenue to make the system affordable and self-sustaining.b) The Scottish government should ignore the laws of physics, economics, and basically just the laws, by somehow doing it now without the necessary powers.c) The Scotland on Sunday newspaper should stop MUCKING ABOUT and extend free childcare provision RIGHT NOW.Oh wait, wait, that can't be right. Voter : Hmm, answer c) I think. Yeah, the Scotland on Sunday newspaper should do it. Pollster : No, you don't understand. Voter : No need, my answer is c). Am I genetically programmed to review last night's Sturgeon v Lamont debate? Let's find out!
Derek Bateman's verdict was : "If there's been a worse 'debate' anywhere, I missed it.
" To which the obvious response is : "You missed the one with Anas Sarwar, then? " Of course it was dreadful, but it was hard not to sigh in despair when STV's Bernard Ponsonby of all people made a sanctimonious comment about "learning nothing from that". These debates are the way they are because of the format that STV have consciously chosen.
The one with Sarwar was lambasted by one and all as a totally pointless exercise in which the only winner was indecipherable noise (hilariously punctuated with the odd random intelligible word from Sarwar such as "PANDAS! "), and yet STV clearly reflected on what happened that night and decided it was exactly what they wanted. When the debate has effectively been destroyed (as it was both last night and in the one featuring Sarwar), by definition there isn't going to be a "knock-out winner", only someone who won on points. Ten reasons to be optimistic about a Yes to independence in 2014. Unlike so many of our friends in the London media, I don't claim to have a crystal ball handy, and therefore I wouldn't be surprised by either a Yes or No outcome in September.
We're in for a campaign that will be thrilling and terrifying in equal measure. But as we reach the eve of referendum year (crikey) it's time for strictly positive thinking only. So here are my top ten reasons for feeling optimistic about a Yes to independence in 2014... 1) The Tories are worried. Just a couple of days ago, the Sunday Times reported that David Cameron's campaign consultant Lynton Crosby believes that the polls are wrong and that a Yes vote is not only possible, but likely. Fascinating Panelbase poll suggests that English, Welsh and Northern Irish voters are firmly behind the SNP's plans for an independent Scotland to remain part of the sterling zone. I wasn't really expecting any referendum-flavoured opinion polls between Christmas and New Year, but one has arrived just the same, and it's proved to be something of a festive setback for McDougall's merry mob.
Contrary to the anti-independence campaign's curious belief that England is exclusively composed of stroppy teenagers who will take their ball away and refuse to play anymore if Scotland dares to govern itself, it turns out that voters south of the border are actually rather adult, and are overwhelmingly in favour of the sensible proposals for an independent Scotland to remain part of both the sterling zone and the passport-free Common Travel Area (which currently comprises Scotland, the Republic of Ireland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey). Sturgeon v the Lib Dems' third choice. I wonder just how much of a realist Alistair Carmichael is.
Questions to which the answer is "Me!" We're all hugely indebted to Andrew Morton for his illuminating report for Wings from behind enemy lines, at the 'launch' (do these things ever have a follow-through?) Of Better Together Musselburgh. The obvious highlight (if that's the right word) was this cringe-inducing question from Tory MSP Gavin Brown - "What Scottish soldier, proudly serving in the British army, would want to join the Scottish forces and spend their time parading up and down in a kilt in front of Edinburgh castle waiting for tourists to take their picture? " Leaving aside the obvious point that, regrettably, this particular brand of Brigadoon Separatism isn't actually on offer from anyone, I would imagine the literal answer to Mr Brown's question would go something like this - "One who wants to be well-paid without facing the risk of being blown to kingdom come in a pointless and illegal war.
" Why Nate Silver is wrong. It's a brave man who uses a headline like that given the accuracy of Silver's predictions in last year's US presidential contest, but nevertheless I am going to confidently take issue with his claims reported in the Scotsman that the Yes side have "almost no chance" in the independence referendum. The main reason is that there are ample signs that his opinion is based on a fairly cursory look at the polling data - by contrast he would never put his neck on the line with a US political prediction without being totally immersed in every available statistic and variable. 1) He claims that the polling evidence is "pretty definitive" in putting the Yes side at 40% (give him his due here, he's at least not making the all-too-common schoolboy error of assuming that Don't Knows can be lumped in with Nos).
But this ignores the Panelbase polls, which inconveniently and consistently diverge from the "definitive" pattern. Is Silver even aware of those polls? Jeremy Purvis reaches the light at the end of the tunnel. One of the constant refrains from Neanderthal opponents of electoral reform in the London parties is that it is simply unconscionable to have a system that enables a "loser to win". We heard it endlessly during the AV referendum campaign, but it's also often been raised as an objection to the AMS system used for the Scottish Parliament, which makes it possible for a candidate who has been defeated in a constituency to still be elected on the regional list.
Curiously, though, there seems to be considerable overlap between complaints about the so-called "losers winning" vagaries of PR, and enthusiastic support for the House of Lords as an anachronism that supposedly "works". Chiefly, of course, the anachronism works by allowing "sound chaps" like Jeremy Purvis to carry on legislating for us in spite of having been roundly rejected by the errant electorate of Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale. Altogether now... Jeremy was so right to keep the faith. SCOT goes POP!: We are all National Collective. I've got a very soft spot for National Collective, partly because I was a contributor to the site in its early days, but mainly because it's since developed into an all-round class act, which does ingenious things that simply aren't being done anywhere else.
John McTernan has a butler, or the kitten gets it. A couple of years ago, I did a brief round-up of the more unusual search engine queries that had led unsuspecting surfers to this blog. I thought it was high time for a more comprehensive list, although believe it or not this is merely the family-friendly edition... Annabel Croft hates Greg Rusedski Deadly weapons big breasts Do 81% of North Sea revenues belong to England?
Why are YouGov so convinced they can "improve" on the referendum question? Mad World Part 2 : it's "anti-women" to agree with the views of millions of women. You might remember the tagline of Mr Eugenides' old blog was "holding back the rage". I sometimes used to think that could also apply to this blog when I find myself in full-on rant mode, but I now realise that I'd be hard-pressed to match Edinburgh Eye on that score, judging by the strength of her reaction to my last post - "Alex Neil isn’t fit to be Health Secretary if he thinks he can express such anti-women, anti-healthcare views in public.
He should either retract or resign, since if Alex Salmond continues to keep him as Health Secretary, it’s a clear indication that to Salmond, Alex Neil’s views aren’t objectionable... Oddly enough, my first stumble across the story was in James Kelly’s blog instructing me that what Alex Neil thought about abortion didn’t matter and shouldn’t affect my views on independence and I must be “thick” if I thought it should.
Scotland salutes you again, Andy - this time as the champion. I've been trying to assess where Andy Murray stands now, in the wake of his sensational win over Roger Federer to secure Olympic gold. Man of a thousand faces, every one the same. Our old chum Tom Harris (affectionately known to some as "Tom4Scotland", "Admin", "Devo Max" and "Shhh...it is I, LeClerc") has returned to a familiar theme on Twitter - The SNP's victory in numbers. Many thanks to DougtheDug on the previous thread for clearing up a point that had been bugging me for a few hours.
The latest confected Joan McAlpine 'controversy' As a result of my slight mishap the other night, I'm a bit late on catching up with the latest confected 'controversy' about a Joan McAlpine utterance. As we all know, her views were cynically misrepresented last time to fit the outrage certain people were determined to feel. SCOT goes POP!