Having failed over the course of several years to label the SNP “Nazis” and “fascists” (or, depending on which sort of newspaper you were reading, “Tartan Stalinists”), the party’s political and media opponents have a new(ish) meme to punt: that the SNP is a religious cult made up of credulous, fanatical zealots impervious to logic or facts.
The leader of this new front is right-wing columnist Alex Massie, who by our count has managed to flog someone this diatribe at least four times already this year – the most recent being in yesterday’s Times:
But he’s far from alone.
There’s been something of a resurgence recently in pundits bemoaning online abuse and saying “Yes, there are bad apples on both sides but the overwhelming majority of offenders are Yes supporters”.
The authors of such articles oddly choose to ignore the only statistical data so far in existence, which shows the opposite:
It also seems not to occur to them that their own experience of abuse may be a result of their particular – real or perceived – partisan position. (Ours, for example, is that 98% comes from No voters, but then that WOULD be our experience because on the whole you tend to get abused by people who disagree with you, not your own side.)
So we expect they’ll ignore this inconvenient statistical data from our latest Panelbase poll too, but we’ll put it out there anyway, alongside the Express poll, for reference. It’s pretty much all you can do.
Alert readers can’t have failed to notice the media working itself up into a particularly dopey froth this week over the subject of a second independence referendum. First the press, short of actual news in the political silly season, pumped up Alex Salmond stating the bleeding obvious into some kind of hold-the-front-page revelation.
(Salmond has said, like, forever that he believes Scotland will be independent in his lifetime. That can only happen through a referendum. It therefore stands to reason that he must believe a second referendum is inevitable. Him saying so, for the 500th time, in response to a direct question is about as far from “news” as it’s possible to get.)
Then today all the papers reported David Cameron ruling out any possibility of another one while he’s Prime Minister, as if it was any of his business to do so.
(Should the SNP stand on a manifesto commitment to another referendum, and win a majority on that platform, it’d be not only an affront to democracy but politically idiotic to block it. Even those Scots opposed to independence, or to another referendum, still want their country’s democratic will respected.)
Luckily, there’s an easy solution to the problem.
On last night’s surprisingly feisty Scottish Labour leadership debate, one thing the two candidates firmly agreed on was that Scottish Labour should NOT become a fully autonomous party able to form its own policies. So it probably won’t come as any great shock to find that they’re both out of step with public opinion.
In fairness, it should be noted that a narrow majority (40% to 28%) of Labour’s own voters still want the Scottish branch office to be ultimately controlled by the UK party, as do Tory and Lib Dem supporters. More disturbing is probably the 29% of all Scots (including 13% of Labour voters) who think it doesn’t matter either way.
Whoever wins, we suspect they shouldn’t get their hopes up.
With David Mundell and Ian Murray both having appeared on today’s “Good Morning Scotland” singing the praises of the wonderful Scotland Bill and how it would deliver all a nation could ever dream of, it seems a good time to publish the results of our recent Panelbase poll on the subject.
The nation, it seems, has rather more ambitious dreams.
Alert readers may recall a few weeks ago, when this was a thing:
The SNP standing for seats in England, of course, is an idea that’s been put forward before by some of the nation’s sharper and more insightful political commentators, but the party has for obvious and understandable reasons shown no inclination thus far to undertake the experiment.
But as we realised after chatting to a left-wing English chum this week (a successful creative and businessman), such a party actually already exists, and has dozens of MPs. It’s just that it’s currently trapped inside a corpse.
These pages from the 14 March 1998 issue of NME (just 10 months after the election of Tony Blair’s first Labour government) are a fascinating historical document.
They needed saving. So we found them and we saved them.