I must have been living down a hole over the last week, because I somehow missed this notorious comment from Downing Street spokesman George Galloway about the Scotland v Ireland game at Celtic Park -
"Celtic fans welcome to support the country which colonised the land of their fathers then 'welcomed' us as immigrants like a case of Ebola"
Now I would never dream of imposing a Tebbit-style "cricket test" on anyone, especially not someone from the same community as me (although it has to be said Galloway's surname is considerably less Irish than mine). But I don't think it's entirely unreasonable to expect a little intellectual consistency here. If he really does see himself as Irish-not-Scottish, how does he justify the prolonged outbreak of synthetic anger he displayed in the TV debate with Jim Sillars a few months ago, after Sillars suggested he was no longer a Scottish MP because he doesn't represent a Scottish constituency? And when he made his famous Promise To The Nation at the Hydro on behalf of Downing Street, he should really have phrased it a bit differently -
"As an Irishman, let me say this to you, my conquerors and oppressors - you are forgiven! And as a gesture of reconciliation, I bring you a gift! Not just Devo Max, but Devo....SOUP-per Max*!"
*Terms and conditions apply. Offer only applicable until you vote No, and thereafter will be subject to rapid reinterpretation and convenient memory loss. Your statutory rights are most definitely affected.
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SCOT GOES POP POLL OF POLLS
With today's update of the Poll of Polls, we revert to being totally reliant on Scottish subsamples from GB-wide polls (five from YouGov, one from Populus and one from ComRes). In spite of that, the numbers have remained remarkably stable, with the SNP retaining a 17.3% lead over Labour.
Scottish voting intentions for the May 2015 UK general election :
SNP 43.0% (-0.6)
Labour 25.7% (-0.4)
Conservatives 15.4% (-0.5)
Liberal Democrats 5.7% (+1.0)
UKIP 4.6% (-1.7)
Greens 4.4% (+2.0)
(The Poll of Polls uses the Scottish subsamples from all GB-wide polls that have been conducted entirely within the last seven days and for which datasets have been provided, and also all full-scale Scottish polls that have been conducted at least partly within the last seven days. Full-scale polls are given ten times the weighting of subsamples.)
The other day, I was taken to task on Twitter again - this time not by a troll, but by an Oxford political scientist (albeit one who has been known to spend a bit too much time in the company of "risk assessor" groupies for his own good). Basically, he was complaining about my use of subsamples in the Poll of Polls, which he described as "like being thirsty and drinking salt water because it's the only water around". I have to say I'm not remotely impressed by that line of argument - if the great and the good don't take Scotland seriously enough to commission regular Scotland-specific polls, then it's totally unrealistic to expect people who care about Scotland to ignore the only available evidence, however imperfect that evidence may be (and regular readers will be only too aware of the health warnings I've been monotonously putting on subsamples since I first started covering them on this blog in 2009).
Where does it lead if you do ignore that evidence? For starters, it led John Curtice a few weeks ago to misleadingly point to massively out-of-date Opinium polls as suggesting that the SNP had little chance of making a Westminster breakthrough, even though by then we were already snowed under by subsample evidence that correctly suggested the situation had completely changed, and that the SNP were well in the lead.