We thought you might like a wee glimpse into the machinery.
By now readers will probably be familiar with STV News reporter Stephen Daisley’s superbly withering review of Alan Cochrane’s referendum diaries. One quote from the book aroused particular interest:
But did that really happen?
Political etiquette is a funny thing. Should some of the more vocal supporters of a Yes vote dare to express any degree of satisfaction at a couple of dozen journalists’ jobs being lost on a Unionist newspaper, social media is suddenly aflame with pious, angry lectures about the poor taste of rejoicing in others’ unemployment – regardless of whether it might perhaps have been caused by the paper’s own unethical actions.
But when tens of thousands of blameless oil workers face unemployment just before Christmas, it’s proving all but impossible for Unionists to keep a lid on their glee.
There’s only one person on Earth currently more hated by The Sun than Russell Brand (against whom it runs a substantial attack piece roughly every other day), and that’s Vladimir Putin. So the paper’s been almost as delighted by the recently plummeting oil price as Scottish Labour and Tory MSP Murdo Fraser, because it can revel in the trouble the collapse causes Putin.
Today its main politics lead is a full-on gloat about the dreadful state Russia is in at the moment, giving up half a page to an eye-catching graphic.
It must be hoping people don’t look at those numbers too closely.
Hang on a minute. We just got yet another begging email from Labour.
Those vacancies sound familiar. The amount, not so much. £87,500?
The argument that seat projections based on current opinion polling give the SNP (based on uniform swing) a wildly unrealistic number of seats seems at first glance to be compelling. More than two dozen current Labour seats have five-figure majorities, and several are higher than 20,000. Taken individually every single one represents a mammoth task, and capturing the bulk of them looks an absurd dream.
We’re deeply sceptical ourselves about the predictions giving the SNP 40 or more seats, partly for that reason and partly because the lesson of 2011 – when the Nats somehow pulled off a 30-point poll shift in around six weeks – shows how foolish it is to call a febrile-looking election that’s still the best part of five months away.
So we’re not going to be doing that. We’re not making any forecasts here. Rather, we were interested in taking a look at how it could happen, and how First Past The Post, for so long the SNP’s mortal enemy, could next year become a powerful ally.
The egos of the SNP’s tiny band of six Westminster MPs must be swelling by the day. For weeks we’ve been recording Labour’s standard, decades-old mantra of how Scots mustn’t vote SNP or the Tories will get in. In today’s Herald, meanwhile, no less a figure than the Prime Minister warns that if we vote SNP, Labour will get in.
And the Lib Dems? The Lib Dems have completely lost their minds.
BBC News, 12 September 2014:
The Guardian, 17 December 2014:
“Senior figures in Whitehall and Downing Street became so fearful that the Scottish independence referendum could lead to the breakup of the United Kingdom that the Queen was asked to make a rare public intervention in the final days of the campaign.
Britain’s most senior civil servant and the Queen’s private secretary crafted a carefully worded intervention by the monarch, as No 10 experienced what one senior official described as ‘meltdown’ in the closing stages of the campaign after polls showed growing support for a yes vote.
The discussions between Sir Jeremy Heywood, the cabinet secretary, and Sir Christopher Geidt for the palace, led the Queen to issue an appeal to the people of Scotland four days before the referendum in September to ‘think very carefully’ before casting their vote.
And with a mighty rush, rebellious Scots to crush, eh readers?
When Jim Murphy spoke on last night’s Scotland Tonight, he’d been the “leader” of Scottish Labour for approximately 60 hours. Here’s how he’s going to play it.
Let’s quickly examine those statements, shall we?