Thursday, September 4, 2014

Brit Nats and egg-tastic distraction tactics

I have a new article at the International Business Times about the eggstraordinary way in which the media lapped up Jim Murphy's distraction tactics a few days ago - you can read it HERE. (It's also on Yahoo HERE.) In case you're wondering, the title I suggested was 'Supporters of independence are just the boy or girl next door'. Credit is due to Mick Pork for (I presume!) originally coining the term "eggpocalypse", and obviously the sentiment in the closing paragraph is inspired by comments made by Scottish Skier.

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I got a direct message on Twitter yesterday which confirmed the suggestions that there is (or has been) another Panelbase poll in the field - this time it's not quite so clear to me who the client is.

I can't really shed any light on the claims and counter-claims swirling around about the unpublished Panelbase poll that was conducted last week (probably for Yes Scotland or the SNP), except to note that there was a single tweet on Saturday night, which went strangely unremarked upon, saying that there were rumours that the Sunday Herald were about to publish a poll showing a 50/50 split.  I did wonder for an hour or two if there might be something in that, but obviously when the front page appeared with no mention of a poll, I just concluded it was completely baseless.

56 comments:

  1. As the Police service leaks like a sieve, you would think that a journalist somewhere would have the inside line about Jim's "egger" by this time. Having already decided that it was a nasty separatist, it is almost like they don't want to know. If it turns out to be a fellow Labour chump with a grudge - how deep will the news be hidden ?

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  2. Presumably if it was a 50/50 split the SNP and/or Yes would have released it?

    The fact they didn't suggests that either it didn't show that or it was a internal poll never intended for publication.

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  3. Anon : Although it's a phrase I've used myself, I don't think any of these polls are "never intended for publication" - a judgement is made once the figures come in. I originally would have agreed that the silence means that Yes can't have made any further progress in the poll, but as others have pointed out, there are perfectly plausible reasons why you might occasionally withhold a good poll. I really don't know what to think.

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  4. It is intriguing, the lack of polls. there certainly seems to be an air of panic in the media- stories like "Tory MPs say 2015 election will have to be postponed if Scotland votes yes to independence " in the Guardian. It looks like the "media objectivity index" is going to be set at "Gulf war" or "Falklands" by the 17th

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  5. But there is an absence of all polls despite plenty of anecdotal fieldwork. If Yes was slipping back then the non-Yes polls would be front page screaming headlines. So if Yes has a poll and it bad it is rogue because BT media mates would be rekeasing own polls

    If Yes have a good poll they might bury it because they have to carefully manage momentum. They want to stay the underdogs until they win.

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  6. Cud

    So BT are not rekeasing polls because they don't want momentum to go to Yes. Yes aren't releasing polls because they are timing momentum.

    Tells you Yes are the more confident campaign. At this point Yes are on course to win. I worry about the postal votes but Yes will have factored those in.

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  7. Personally, I know there was a poll.

    But, I do not know why it has been held back. I have a feeling it will come out this weekend.

    Whether it is to coincide with something else, I couldn't possibly say. Just a hunch that something else is in the works and it's designed to create a shitload of momentum.

    If I was running it, that's what I would do, this is the business end of the campaign.

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  8. Or maybe Yes's polls are showing good results for No, and No's are showing good results for Yes? Which would mean we probably wouldn't hear about either.

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  9. @James

    Surely they do internal polls to direct their message/campaigning? I.E I am guessing their new tactic on the NHS was the result of polling.

    I can't imagine why you would sit on a good poll unless you're withholding it for later.

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  10. There's a bit of chatter about something coming out today. But I've noticed the people who were doing the talking have removed the comments now.
    Intriguing.

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  11. If Yes found movement towards Yes they'd be best placed to sit on it. Let the papers do that. After all, Yes would be moving without the need for lots of published polls showing this (polls not affecting how people vote). Don't jump the gun and if there is really a Yes surge, let it continue until some papers break with it.

    If No has good polls, it would be in their interests to publish these regularly as they have done with glee for most of the campaign. Hammer home 'Blow for Salmond' as much as possible.

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  12. Hi, James,

    Some months ago, someone in the Yes campaign insisted that 'Yes would not be ahead until September'.

    That reminded me of the Quebec referendum of 1995. To what extent did polls with Yes in the lead alter the result, by reminding people of their emotional bonds with Canada that were about to be severed? Is it possible that the publication of those polls backfired? Is there a "Quebec lesson" to be learned by the Yes campaign: do not publish favourable polls too early?

    And now, some months after those thoughts --and three weeks before the referendum--, it seems that a Panelbase poll is missing.

    Could that be a sensible hypothesis?

    Best,

    Xabi

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  13. Hiya, first post, if yes are sitting on a poll that shows a big swing it's because they understand the Scottish psyche. I keep noticing Alex Salmond stating 'we're still the underdog' and similar language. He understands that is instinctively how Scottish people feel about our country, the idea of being an underdog resonates strongly and it helps motivate us. For the sake of the momentum of the campaign, it will be best to only publish polls that show a narrowing gap with Yes slightly behind.

    Yes Scotland know what they're doing in this regard, let's not push them to reveal their hand. We know what a Panelbase poll at the moment will be saying, it doesn't need published just to prove us right, we'll be proven right soon enough.

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  14. @Scottish_Skier:
    A good poll for Yes wouldn't affect the way people vote, but a good poll for No would? Eh?

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  15. Hi Lorna, welcome to the site, I agree with you, we do rise to the
    occasion when we feel we are underdogs and this is a very good point you make.

    I have another possible scenario:

    Can it be a Yes/SNP commissioned poll, that is being withheld to have maximum impact on London's financial markets?

    We all saw the pounds value drop by 1% just because the Yes vote came within 6% of No, so what would happen if Yes drew level or went ahead?

    I'm sure this would cause a major wobble for the pound and would bring a lot of pressure on Cameron/Osborne.

    Now if the poll was released just before the markets closed for the weekend, but with enough time for them to react to the news, we would see a flurry of meetings between the big hitters and the Tory leaders, with a clear warning from the city that if the Tories did not make an announcement that a currency Union was possible or even probable, then when the markets opened again after the weekend there would be a run on the pound.

    If the Tories failed to agree to this, I could see the City talking to 'their people' in the cabinet and on the back benches, with the resulting backlash against the party leaders, if however as would be far more likely the Tories did make this announcement,the whole BT campaign would collapse overnight and we would see the Labour Party go into embarrassed meltdown.

    lets see what plays out over the coming weekend.

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  16. Wow what an interesting thought Patrick, would that tie in with Alex Salmond's editor-ship of the Daily Record tomorrow? Apparently Yes won the toss and selected to edit the Friday edition rather than todays.

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  17. A good poll for Yes wouldn't affect the way people vote, but a good poll for No would? Eh

    I didn't say that No favourable polls would encourage people to vote No.



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  18. The London markets don't care about CU with what would be a country of 5 million people. If the markets wanted CU they would have pushed the UK into the euro a long time ago. What the markets want is certainty, the closer it gets to 50/50 the less certainty there is, so the pound drops. After the 18th the result will be known and the markets will bounce back as the pension/hedge funds/capitalist running dogs can now make their plans accordingly.

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  19. Xabi, on Quebec, the polls showed a pretty much steady increase in the Yes vote through the campaign, ending with Yes a few points ahead. The result, as you know, was the narrowest of Nos. There are 2 possible explanations I think:

    1. There was a dramatic late swing caused by cold feet, lovebombing, maple syrup, something else ...

    2. The polls overestimated Yes support by a few points throughout due to some structural flaw (like a faulty thermometer that always shows the temperature a few degrees to high).

    The media narrative tended to be 1, probably because it sounds more dramatic and people love to hang poll changes onto events. I tend to think 2 is more likely though.

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  20. @Scottish_Skier:
    You said it would be in No's interest to release a poll that was favourable to them. What do you mean by this, if not that it would encourage people to vote No?

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  21. Caught your article yesterday James (your articles are getting very positive promotion on Indy sites and twitter these days BTW) and thoroughly enjoyed it.


    Eggpocalypse just seemed the most appropriate term James. :-) I did indeed think of it on the spot when I saw the hilarious unionist media reaction.

    Speaking of which, the No campaign are being annihilated on the ground. The very fact that all they want to talk about is Murphy's amusing 'tour' should have told people that much by now.

    The out of touch westminster bubble media, press and websites are looking more laughable by the day with their comical attempts at 'reporting' the campaign.

    The town hall meetings Yes have been holding talking directly to ordinary scots have been going on for years, not months, years. True, the last six months are when we really saw the numbers for those attending skyrocket, but they were still slowly building the groundswell well before then. Just in case anyone was dumb enough to believe the unionist media's out of touch idiocy since their absurd impression is that the ground campaign only started in the past couple of weeks and culminated with the eggpocalypse.

    The BBC in particular are like someone who was invited to a party long ago and turns up when it's almost over. They've been dragged into a broom cupboard by the No campaign to watch Murphy shaking his fist at an Egg while an angry and red-faced Darling shouts obscenities at a pound coin. Meanwhile there is a huge hall filled to the brim with an inspiring grass roots Yes movement of all ages and from all backgrounds. The BBC and unionist media can clearly hear the enormous commotion, even inside their broom cupboard, but they refuse to acknowledge just how overwhelming it is and only mention it when they have to in passing.

    Is it any wonder that the media and press have never been so distrusted by the scottish public as they are now?


    Yet more new faces yesterday helping out in the Yes shops and on the streets and the grass roots campaign is simply going from strength to strength. A couple of folk were curious about new polling and the panelbase rumours, but absolutely nobody needed affirmation from the pollsters to go out and keep working for a better scotland.

    We'll get a new poll when we get get new poll. Though FFS! the latest YouGov was in the papers on Tuesday, only two days ago. Calm down people. ;-)

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  22. I hadn't noticed that Salmond was editing the record on Friday. That does seem like a good moment to slip a cheeky panelbase into the mix. :-)

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  23. *IF* there is an unpublished poll showing YES in the lead the time to release it would be on Friday am when the Daily Record will be produced under YES editing control. The YES campaign would be able to hype it to the sky in the DR and afterwards in other media with LOADS of TV i/vs. And of course mass hysteria among the NO supporting media and other supporters already alluded to.

    Are you reading this Mr £800,000 NO bettor?


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  24. Oh and I thought it might be informative and useful to highlight just a few examples from the Yes grass roots movement and the what's happening in the campaign right now from twitter.

    :-)

    Chris Paton ‏@ChrisMPaton 1h

    "Son I voted Yes" - possibly the most moving video I've seen in 2 years of the #indyref campaign. http://youtu.be/pZgu0KichKE @YESLargs

    Mike McGrail ‏@mike_mcgrail 2h

    Who's Winning the #indyref Social Media Battle Now? - http://bit.ly/1ttAXG5 < my new analysis pic.twitter.com/iTL9d2jXMV

    patronsaintofcats ‏@patronsaintofca 3h

    No matter what the media tell you, this is the reality on the ground #indyref #Yes pic.twitter.com/2hBDwQpUZ0

    Darth Alba ‏@DarthAlba 4h

    You know how little WM think of #indyref when none of the WM party leaders have debated or even talked to Scottish public. Shameful.

    patronsaintofcats ‏@patronsaintofca 3h

    The media and unionists would have you believe this man is a two- headed monster #indyref #Yes pic.twitter.com/07cTDfJCpo

    GeorgeMonbiot ‏@GeorgeMonbiot 1h

    I've never written anything with half as much traffic as yesterday's #indyref article. It's still going beserk. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/scots-independence-england-scotland …

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  25. What do you mean by this, if not that it would encourage people to vote No?

    For exactly the same reasons they jumped with glee on every poll that looked good for them. To give their side confidence and make the Yes campaign feel increasingly despondent.

    If I was the Yes campaign, I'd let press finally crack and be the first to publish good Yes polls if that is what is happening. That way it doesn't come from Yes so there's no 'Oh but your polls would say that'. Also keeps them the underdog which wins in dramatic fashion.

    If I recall correctly, the SNP didn't release any of their own polls ahead of 2011. Parties tend to avoid doing that and let the papers do it.

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  26. Oh and good article once again James.

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  27. @Scottish_Skier:
    Wouldn't polls have the same effect on the Yes campaign's morale? Certainly the YouGov seems to have given a boost.

    Anyway, I see that Ladbrokes are now offering a market on the next Panelbase:

    Yes 2/5
    No 3/1
    Tie 5/1

    It's all getting very meta.

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  28. Scottish Skier 12:32 PM
    I think yours is a very good analysis of the situation. But...if there IS an excellent poll. Friday would be a very good day to publish it.

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  29. Wouldn't polls have the same effect on the Yes campaign's morale?

    Sure. Not a Yes campaign poll though.

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  30. The Yougov one that is.

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  31. @keaton

    The Ladbrokes numbers are reversed. They are actually offering 2/5 on NO being ahead in the next Panelbase poll. Now, this could be because they have insider info (in which case it seems unfair to even offer odds), or this could simply reflect the fact that out of 83 polls, No has been ahead in 82.

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  32. @Callum
    Yes, I thought those No odds were a bit generous - was actually considering setting up a Ladbrokes account to take some of that 3/1.

    I got those numbers from Mike Smithson's tweet, which it seems was wrong.

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  33. Patrick Roden wrote: 'if the Tories did not make an announcement that a currency Union was possible or even probable, then when the markets opened again after the weekend there would be a run on the pound.'

    What in heaven's name makes you think the markets want a currency union? Just look at the mess in the Euro and the agony the currency union inflicted there with massive bail-outs from Germany? On the contrary it is to protect the currency in the rest of the UK that a currency union with Scotland will be denied. As Goldman Sachs said yesterday while there may be some currency turbulence the risk of a major run is on Scottish financial institutions. Most of them will have to relocate


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  34. Expat, I thought it was the rUK economy the markets were worried about?

    http://www.neweconomics.org/blog/entry/scottish-independence-uk-dependency

    RE the Eurozone, are saying the markets are keen to see the Eurozone break-up because currency unions are bad?

    That wasn't the impression I had.

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  35. Speaking of Twitter, there's a lot of expectation management from the No men about this Pimpernel-like poll.

    Jamie Glackin @Jamie4Labour
    Pretty certain that Panelbase does have Yes in the lead. If youre a No supporter its time to get busy and get vocal. Too much at stake.

    Duncan Hothersall ‏@dhothersall
    Panelbase poll fieldwork done. @Daily_Record front page under @YesScotland control on Friday. I think we all know what's coming. #indyref

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  36. I gather fickle old Duncan has completely changed his mind since he wrote that tweet, thought.

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  37. Bob Geldof "NO" rant in Daily Record online. 56% disagree with him using "in article" voting buttons. Not proper data, but interesting for a very anti yes publication.

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  38. I noticed that a Facebook friend had posted that Panelbase have announced their latest poll which shows Yes in the lead for the first time 44% - 43%, fieldwork 23-28 Aug (can you tell what it is yet?).

    She complained that the image showing tweats kept getting taken down on FB, and suggested sharing it.

    Anyway, the tweat in the image showed the changes since July 2013. This is abot last years poll which showed Yes ahead!

    Could this have anything to do with the speculation?

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  39. SoC : Yes, it certainly does! But I think the speculation was happening anyway, and then people started doing searches to find 'evidence' of the claims, and only at that point did the confusion about last year's poll start.

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  40. In the words of Yoda

    'No, there is another'

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  41. Good to see Ed 'I'm less popular than David Cameron in Scotland' Miliband up on the campaign trail.

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  42. In the words of Yoda

    'No, another there is'


    Corrected that for you.

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  43. Who knew Skeletor Jim Murphy was such a delicate, effete, fragile flower, squealing drama queen ? He's practically Quentin Crisp

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  44. TV 'historian' and media tart Mrs David Starkey who presents programmes about old queens said '' Alex Salmond is Adolf Hitler !!!'' Isn't that a bit insulting to victims who suffered under the nazis ? While Jeremy Paxman called ''Alex Salmond a North Korean Dictator'' !!! Meanwhile Tony Blair and David Cameron invades Iraq and Libya, kills innocent women and children, and the London media industrial complex has the cheek to call Alex Salmond a warmonger !!!

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  45. Robert, West LothianSeptember 4, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    First post folks so be gentle with me.
    Back to the polls but did anyone notice the grin on Blair Jenkins's face on Monday night's Scotland Tonight when he said he looked forward to the next poll? Compare it to the wet weekend coupon of the other Blair on the same programme and it might just tell us something.I could be wrong of course but we shall see.
    By the way James great site and thanks for all the analyses of the polls.

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  46. Yes and No probably both have favourable polls and are waiting for the other to release theirs first so they can then trump it.

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  47. @ Expat

    What makes me think the markets want a currency union?
    Are you serious?

    I wont enter into a debate about this except to point out that the Yes campaign coming within 6% of No caused the pound to 'go down' 1% within a few hours, with wide spread media reports that the markets are waking up to the possibility of a Yes vote and getting very jittery.

    Since writing my comment I have read on several media outlets that Financial markets in the city have already started saying they expect a CU to be agreed and that failure to secure one would have disastrous consequences for the RUK's business community.

    Please tell me your not taken in by the Tory/Darling bluster?



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  48. @ Expat

    What makes me think the markets want a currency union?
    Are you serious?

    I wont enter into a debate about this except to point out that the Yes campaign coming within 6% of No caused the pound to 'go down' 1% within a few hours, with wide spread media reports that the markets are waking up to the possibility of a Yes vote and getting very jittery.

    Since writing my comment I have read on several media outlets that Financial markets in the city have already started saying they expect a CU to be agreed and that failure to secure one would have disastrous consequences for the RUK's business community.

    Please tell me your not taken in by the Tory/Darling bluster?



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  49. @ Expat

    What makes me think the markets want a currency union?
    Are you serious?

    I wont enter into a debate about this except to point out that the Yes campaign coming within 6% of No caused the pound to 'go down' 1% within a few hours, with wide spread media reports that the markets are waking up to the possibility of a Yes vote and getting very jittery.

    Since writing my comment I have read on several media outlets that Financial markets in the city have already started saying they expect a CU to be agreed and that failure to secure one would have disastrous consequences for the RUK's business community.

    Please tell me your not taken in by the Tory/Darling bluster?



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  50. Oh dear please delete the duplicates James

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  51. Patrick, it's a common misconception by smaller partners in a union (scotland-->uk, uk-->eu) that the larger part of that union thinks as much about the smaller partners as the smaller partner does about them. They don't. The money markets wouldn't push for a CU between scotland/uk, as there's as much money to be made in exploiting differences as in commonalities when it comes to the city's paul daniels'-like sleight of hand with financial stuff. What they want is certainty - which way to jump and plan, but with closer polls they're getting uncertainty instead. That stops on the 19th regardless of the outcome.

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  52. But there is reason for the £ to be sold off if there is a prospect of Scotland leaving the sterling currency union: namely, the increased current account deficit that would result from losing the overseas sales of oil (and, to a much lesser extent, whisky).

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  53. UK oil good.
    Scottish oil not good.
    Eh?
    Do the oil companies know they wasting billions on developing Scotland's oil reserves?
    Why won't they listen to oil experts like Alistair Carmichael and
    Gordon Brown?

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  54. The problem isn't just the value of the pound because of the loss of Scottish resources, it's the balance of payments, that RUK will lose as a result of Scottish exports no longer counted in their marketing figures because we are no longer in a CU with them.

    In simple terms so loved by politicians, if you have been paying off a large debt (as Uk is doing)

    On top of this you will be losing a large part of your income.(as they will)

    As well as paying out a lot more than you bring in (in foreign currency exchange) (balance of payments)

    You will be very vulnerable to a run on your currency (it's already started with us 6% behind in the polls)

    I'm sorry RUK without a Currency Union,Your goose is cooked.

    After years of thinking you were the big kid on the block, you have to face up to the fact that it's been Scotland who has been subsidising the RUK, and without us in a CU you will be in the shit.

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  55. Hey, guess what, it turns out the egg thrower was an unemployed nationalist! ;-)

    http://news.stv.tv/scotland/290908-stuart-mackenzie-threw-eggs-at-labour-mp-jim-murphy-in-kirkcaldy/

    I thought it was meant to be a set-up job no?

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  56. Hey, guess what, it turns out the tory twit SayNoToYesMen is a liar! ;-)

    The eggman was just some guy who stayed near where Murphy was making his speech. He merely said he supported independence. He had nothing to do with the SNP and self-evidently wasn't bussed in from anywhere by anyone. He was a local who lived there.

    "I thought it was meant to be a set-up job no?"

    I know tory twits are a wee bit dolly dimple but it was Murphy, the Britnat twits and the unionist media who first claimed some kind of massive lunatic conspiracy of this being some kind of organised SNP eggpelter that somehow Salmond had coordinated.

    Turns out they were liars too and as full of shit as you are.

    But please carry on shrieking about the EGGPOCALYPSE! as it's almost as funny as PatronisingBTLady was. :-)

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