I take it all back. AM2's sophistry used to be entertainingly inventive, but it's clear now his heart's gone out of it and he just goes through the motions. He responded on his blog tonight after I challenged him on how he could possibly characterise the SNP's support for local income tax as "anti-British". First of all, he directs me to a typically ill-conceived article by Angus MacLeod of the Times, as if that explained everything. (What's next - Alan Cochrane?) Then, perhaps sensing this wasn't quite good enough even by his own recent standards, he hastily adds that the whole purpose of the SNP's existence is to "break up Britain" (it's known as "Scottish independence" round our way) and they must therefore be anti-British. Is that really the best you can do, AM2? The SNP are against the continued existence of the British state, therefore every single thing they do is anti-British? Is the abolition of bridge tolls 'anti-British'? Is the saving of accident and emergency departments 'anti-British'? Are Kenny MacAskill's efforts to tackle binge drinking 'anti-British'? AM2's response to me was so absolutist that, incredible though it may seem, I can only conclude his answer to those questions would have to be 'yes'.
I then on a separate thread put to him Mike Smithson's second golden rule - ie. that he can't simply dismiss the latest poll on independence as a rogue just because he doesn't agree with the numbers or finds them hard to accept. He responded with a brief set of cryptic observations. I presume the reason he did this is that he knew what he was saying made zero sense, but he wanted to be able to pretend to his readers - as is his way - that the only reason it all seemed like meaningless nonsense is because they simply weren't trying hard enough to understand. Sophistry, but of the more lazy, tedious variety. Firstly he pointed out that in November 2007, System Three had a poll showing 40% support for independence. Then he pointed out that YouGov showed just 27% support two months later. Okay, AM2, this is the bit where you reluctantly accept that System Three has now shown support back up to 38%. But, no, he instead reaches into the faithful AM2 doomsday database and conjures up an out-of-context March 2008 quote from Alex Salmond, in which the First Minister supposedly conceded only a quarter supported independence. Why would he say that, asks AM2 knowingly, before abruptly disappearing into the night. Well, just off the top of my head - maybe, just maybe, it's because that's what the most recent poll happened to show at the time?
Now here's your own starter for ten - what does the most recent poll show now?