The short answer to that question is that it looks very much like the SNP are the ones who are serious about successfully reaching a genuine compromise - John Swinney and Linda Fabiani both strike me as natural conciliators who members of other parties find it difficult to dislike. By contrast, I can't even imagine what sort of message the Lib Dems' appointment of Tavish "Two Hoots" Scott, and the Tories' appointment of Adam "IT'S THE LAW!!!!!" Tomkins, is supposed to be sending out. Both men are noted for their irrational tribal loathing of the Scottish national movement. In the case of Tomkins, you can kind of see the logic for having him there (even though he isn't, to the best of my knowledge, a member of the Conservative party), because he was the architect of the party's blueprint for greater devolution, and they'd want someone with a mastery of the details in on the discussions - although the snag is that he has a self-image of being an infallible God-like figure, so how flexible he'll be when he discovers that others think his blueprint can be (gasp!) improved upon is open to question.
Scott is a different matter. His own personal loathing of the SNP famously extended to refusing even to enter into the most preliminary of discussions on a possible coalition after the 2007 election, even though his party had happily compromised for eight years to sit in coalition with the Labour party. If these negotiations are to have a chance of succeeding, they will surely require the (nominally) federalist Lib Dems to act as the bridge between the Devo Max-supporting SNP and Greens on the one hand and the Devo Minor-supporting Tories and Labour on the other hand. Is Scott the man to achieve that, or will he turn his back on his own party's policies so that he can do what every instinct in his body will be telling him to do, ie. side with Labour and the Tories?
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I went to the Ryder Cup yesterday. I bought the ticket last year when the random draw was held, and suffice to say that one day was all I was ever going to be able to afford. With such ridiculous prices, it's unsurprising that there wasn't the same kind of democratic crowd we saw at the Commonwealth Games - it was mostly dyed-in-the-wool golf aficionados, plus a lot of corporate-looking people.
From my own point of view, the timing wasn't ideal, because for obvious reasons I'm still feeling a bit shell-shocked. So I spent most of the day just trying very hard to concentrate on what I was actually looking at! It was fun, though - there aren't many sporting events where you can turn around at any moment and find someone like Justin Rose sitting right next to you in a buggy. The crowd was infectiously raucous, and of course Gleneagles itself is absolutely stunning.
The place was drenched in tartan, and kilts, and slogans about Scotland being "a land of #brilliantmoments". I couldn't help wondering if international visitors thought this display of Scottishness-not-Britishness was a bit peculiar from a country that has just decided (albeit perhaps only for the time being, and only by a relatively narrow margin) not to be a proper country, and that was even grotesquely "congratulated" by the US President for voting not to join the global family of nations. I'm sure the contradiction won't seem so strange once a few months have elapsed - after all, we've lived with it all of our lives. But right at this moment it does feel very, very odd. When the train pulled in to Gleneagles station, we were welcomed by a piper - surely in the light of the No vote, it should have been Bernard Cribbins singing Right Said Fred?
This is one side of their decision that I think a lot of No voters are in denial about. How many times during the campaign did we hear Scott Hastings wax lyrical about how the union gave him the best of both worlds, by allowing him to proudly play for Scotland? The problem is that the union didn't do that - it's just a freakish accident of history that allows Scotland to play as a country in its own right in rugby and in a handful of other sports (including golf). In most sports, last week's vote has directly robbed athletes of their chance to play for Scotland, and has subsumed the country into a uniform Great Britain identity in which the waving of saltires Shall Not Be Tolerated. Perhaps the most poignant moment of the last week-and-a-bit was Andy Murray's declaration of support for the Yes campaign being followed just a couple of days later with him issuing a statement about how he was looking forward to playing for Great Britain for "the rest of my career". Now, I'm sure he genuinely is looking forward to it - he seems entirely comfortable with either identity. But the point is that, even if he wasn't so comfortable, he wouldn't actually have a choice.
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If you think the conspiracy theories about the referendum being rigged are a bit silly, you should have heard the woman that was sitting opposite from me on the train back to Glasgow last night...
"I always thought that G-Mac was gay and that the girlfriend was just for show. But then they got married and had a baby. They could still just be pretending, though."
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Introducing the Scot Goes Pop Subsample Aggregator
OK, I probably won't be updating this one quite as religiously as I did the referendum Poll of Polls, but it might be interesting to have a look at now and again. In the absence of regular full-scale Scottish polls of Westminster voting intentions, it's possible to get a very rough idea of trends by adding up the Scottish subsample figures from the daily GB-wide YouGov polls. It's not an ideal method by any means, because YouGov weight their GB-wide figures by Westminster party ID, meaning they usually produce a much worse result for the SNP than other pollsters. But as it happens, in the four polls that have so far taken place entirely after the referendum, the SNP have been doing extraordinarily well...
Westminster voting intention (average of four YouGov subsamples) :
Liberal Democrats 5.5%
We really can't rely on this lasting - it's only happening because the SNP have been in the spotlight so much recently. Where we end up will depend on how resilient the vote proves when publicity from the London media melts away in the heat of a general election campaign, and especially after the broadcast of another round of rigged leaders' debates that completely exclude the SNP and Plaid Cymru.
The main hope will be that the debates don't capture people's imaginations in quite the same way this time. Even if Clegg performs reasonably well, he's so distrusted now that he won't get much credit for it. And I think we can safely assume there isn't going to be any "Mili-gasm".
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I gather that Alex Massie wrote a snide article the other day about how Yes supporters were going through the classic "stages of grief". Well, he's half-right, but what we're actually grieving for is the loss of those halcyon days when we thought Massie was an "undecided voter" (ahem), and when it didn't even occur to us for a moment that he was misleading people by blagging his way on to a BBC referendum debate as a "Don't Know". And then it turned out just days before the referendum that he'd been some kind of Tory unionist all along. The shock! The devastation! How could we not have noticed?
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