You very rarely get useful stats about online newspaper readership, so we were quite intrigued by this snippet on tonight’s BBC2 Scotland documentary “Paper Thistle”, about the 200th anniversary of The Scotsman.
We don’t know what the numbers are or how brief the period was, but Wings’ average traffic is higher now than it was in 2014, while we suspect The Scotsman is moving in the opposite direction. For a single-issue website to be anywhere even in the same ballpark as a two-centuries-old broadsheet news brand with scores of full-time writers and production staff and a daily newsstand presence is a remarkable thing indeed.
We might start doing classifieds and sport just to see what happens.
Fear and lies work. Over many decades (and really for centuries) the Unionist parties and the media have succeeded in persuading a large percentage of Scots that they’re beggars, scroungers, vagrants and “subsidy junkies” dependent on the ever-generous charity of England to keep them from starvation.
And in terms of the facts, that hasn’t always been an easy sell.
We rarely do stat posts now, because readership has settled to a pretty steady level (generally bobbing between around 250,000 and 300,000 users a month) and we’ve run out of ways to blow our own trumpet. But we’re making an exception this month.
The snide, arrogant, pompous and casually factually-inaccurate comment above was made by a founder/editor of a rather less popular Scottish political website. And in the (statistically unlikely) event that you happened to read it and became concerned, we thought you’d like a little more information about our “ever-decreasing readership”.
We’ll be honest, readers, we’re actually quite happy that the Tories are now the lead Unionist party in Scotland. Because after four and a half years, we’ve pretty much run out of things to say about the epic, unquenchable stupidity of Scottish Labour.
Of course, that Lamont should choose to blame the SNP for cuts coming down the line from the Tory government at Westminster (that only controls Scotland’s budget at all because Lamont and her colleagues campaigned for Scotland to remain in the UK) is no surprise.
But it’s the sheer jaw-dropping lack of self-awareness in that last line which lays bare the incredible inability of her pseudo-party to learn a single lesson from the revolution in Scottish politics that’s been going on for most of the last decade.
Over the past few days, readers, we haven’t been able to avoid noticing a recurring theme among Unionist types on social media – namely that the Holyrood election results are proof that support for independence is declining.
But it’s not until you ask them to explain that it gets completely mental.
A few weeks ago we rather cruelly highlighted an old post from Kezia Dugdale’s blog in which she bitterly bemoaned the practice of candidates who’d been rejected by voters in constituency seats still being able to get into Parliament via the “back door” of the regional lists.
Considering we’re only eleven days from a general election, there’s remarkably little politics coverage in the Sunday papers today. Most of what there is is in the Sunday Herald, which has a substantial (and quite entertaining) interview with Kezia Dugdale and another two pages devoted to what’s essentially spluttering attempted justification of its shambolic front-page lead from last week.
We’re not going to go into it in depth, as James Kelly on Scot Goes Pop! has already had a close look and made a pretty fair assessment. But for want of anything more interesting to talk about, and in the wake of some depressing Twitter conversations with people who apparently STILL don’t understand either the Holyrood electoral system or basic arithmetic, we’re going to have one more wade in the list-vote debate.
You might want to see if there’s football on or something.
Last weekend’s edition of the Sunday Times gave an article to a Green activist and party worker – not billed as such, even though until last month he was on the party’s regional candidate list for Lothian – to predict that the Greens would get 10 seats at next month’s election.
Much campaigning by the various fringe parties for the Holyrood contest has been based on “seat predictors” like the one deployed to produce the figures in the piece, purporting to show that a tactical-voting strategy on the list can deliver a large gain in numbers of pro-independence MSPs compared to using both votes for the SNP.
We’ve examined that argument in considerable depth already, both theoretical and practical. But its also worth noting that so-called “seat predictors” are a rather shaky basis for making such bold forecasts.
A reader directed us today to a tweet by one of the most consistently abusive Tory trolls on social media, slightly concerned about whether his gleeful assertion of a 12% drop in SNP support had any grain of truth to it.