Earlier this week we did a little poking and prodding of the Scotsman’s last ICM poll, and now the full data tables are in for the latest one, so to while away an hour before tea we figured we may as well do a bit of comparing and see how things had changed.
Wait! Come back! There’ll be Miley Cyrus at the end!
We’ve just endured Gordon Brown’s 45-minute “old man shouting out a series of random unconnected facts from Wikipedia” speech at Glasgow University. (You should be able to find it later on the iPlayer under the programme title “Briefings”, if you really want to.) It doesn’t bear a lot of analysis, being just the same old cobblers you’ve heard a thousand times before, but delivered in a more rambling manner.
There was one vaguely interesting thing about the event, though.
Here’s the Scottish Labour finance spokesman Iain Gray on last night’s Newsnight Scotland, discussing Gordon Brown’s speech in Glasgow on pensions because Mr Brown himself refused to answer any questions about it.
As ever with Mr Gray, he packs a lot of entertainment into a short space of time.
We’re still trying to make sense of some confusing arithmetic in Gordon Brown’s latest doomspeech about pensions, which was delivered this evening at Glasgow University and which we examined in some detail here.
One part in particular had us scratching our heads in bafflement, so we’ve pulled it out for some closer scrutiny by itself. Tell us if we get anything wrong.
If you’ve ever found yourselves in a situation where you’re dating someone from the hardcore militant wing of vegetarianism, readers, you’ll know that their life – and by extension yours – quickly becomes defined by what’s missing.
Whether shopping or going out to a restaurant or a surprisingly large number of other things, hazards you’d never previously imagined loom menacingly everywhere. Veggie “beanburgers” often apparently contain unadvertised cheese, innocent-looking sweeties turn out to be glazed with beeswax, and so on.
But soon you familiarise yourself with the “everything-free” aisle in supermarkets, where much more expensive facsimiles of normal foodstuffs – now bereft of dairy, gluten, sugar and goodness knows what else – reside, leaving you to wonder over the mysteries of the sinister-sounding unheard-of substances they’ve replaced them with.
And increasingly, so it is with politics.
Even the faithful Scottish media can scarcely rouse itself to hype up Gordon Brown’s latest lumbering “intervention” in the independence debate this morning. The Scotsman buries the story in a corner of page 5, below a big spread about the ongoing implosion of CBI Scotland, and it doesn’t make the Herald’s online front page at all.
(Indeed, even in the paper’s “Referendum News” section it’s only story #6, below the CBI, more attacks on Alistair Darling’s leadership of the No campaign and a vile piece of “FOREIGNERS!” dog-whistle politicking from Labour nonentity Gregg McClymont.)
It’s not too hard to work out why.
We’re still waiting for the full data tables for the ICM/Scotland on Sunday poll that got everyone a little excited at the weekend, and whose findings closely mirrored the Panelbase/Wings Over Scotland one two weeks ago that the same publisher crudely smeared and cast aspersions (which it later retracted) on the credibility of.
In the meantime, even though we’re still technically on holiday, we had a bit of a rummage through the company’s preceding one for the Scotsman papers this morning and picked out some random interesting snippets. We’ll be watching keenly to see if the latest poll has corresponding stats to compare.
From today’s Herald:
“Both sides of the independence debate will attempt to win over undecided voters this week with poster campaigns as senior Coalition sources admitted they have to have a more ‘explicitly’ positive pro-Union message.
The Tory-LibDem Government rejected accusations that its campaign is on the wrong track or scaremongering but a government source said: ‘We need to be more explicit about the fact that we are being positive in our message.
If there’s one person we know Unionists treat as an unimpeachable fount of definitive information when it comes to the subject of the EU, it’s European Commission president Jose-Manuel Barroso. Time and again they cite his opinions with regard to an independent Scotland’s status, and they almost exploded with joy when he made unusually explicit comments about it on the Andrew Marr show recently.
So in the context of our piece earlier this morning in respect of the UKIP vote in England, it seems worth pointing up something Mr. Barroso said last October, which an alert reader spotted but which for some reason didn’t get as much coverage in the Scottish media as most of his pronouncements do.
There are a couple of opinion polls in the papers this morning, of which independence campaigners are naturally paying most attention to the ICM one for Scotland on Sunday which shows referendum voting at a hair’s-breadth 48% Yes to 52% No (after removing Don’t Knows).
But perhaps more revealing is one in the Sunday Telegraph regarding the imminent European elections, which puts Labour on 30%, UKIP on 27%, the Tories on 22% and the Lib Dems – the only actively Europhile party south of Scotland – on just 8%.
If you apply those figures to the electorate of the rUK, excluding Scotland, that means that there are something like 11.3 million UKIP voters in England, as opposed to a total Scottish electorate of 4 million.
Readers may wish to consider for a moment which of those groups is likely to have a stronger influence on the direction of UK politics in the coming years.
As alert readers will know, we’re slacking off a bit over the holiday weekend, although today we’re hoping to combine pleasure with business – more on that later.
But we’d also like to have a go at getting you to do some work for us.