It's still very early days, but it looks possible that the Labour wind-up merchant who graced us with his presence yesterday is going to be bitterly disappointed - the first test of public opinion to have been entirely conducted after the contents of the Smith report became known suggests that the SNP vote remains rock solid. The Scottish subsample from today's YouGov poll (conducted on Thursday and Friday) has the SNP on 44% and Labour on 31% - very much in line with the results we've been seeing for weeks now. As noted yesterday, the two earlier polls with fieldwork that straddled the Smith announcement also showed an entirely familiar picture.
Today's poll once again shows the SNP and Plaid Cymru on a combined vote of 5% across Great Britain - just 2% behind the Liberal Democrats, and 1% behind the Greens.
It could well be that the unionist parties were always barking up the wrong tree in thinking that Smith was going to lead to the Scottish public reverting to their former status as Labour-voting sheep. There's at least an arguable case that any focus on the constitution is beneficial to the SNP - unless of course it involves Labour stunning us by going further than we ever thought possible, which simply hasn't happened in this case.
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Never one to knowingly shy away from biting the hand that feeds, Adam "IT'S THE LAW!!!!" Tomkins has followed up his stint as a Tory representative on the Smith Commission by sending this extraordinarily arrogant and patronising message to English Tory MPs -
"What we need is a sensible approach and for some of the English Tory backbenchers to wake up and stop complaining. I don’t think the Union could withstand a surge in English nationalism."
Do you get the impression that he's telling them to "shut up and eat their cereal"? That line worked a treat north of the border, and I have a feeling it might have an identical effect in the Tory shires. Let's hope Tomkins is right about the end destination of the English nationalism he's helping to whip up with his characteristically tone deaf approach.
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The latest application of the unionist black arts seems to consist of Labour spin doctors furiously trying to convince journalists that the SNP, for some unspecified reason, acted counter to their whole raison d'être by seeking to water down the Smith recommendations. We're expected to believe that the SNP actively opposed the minor welfare powers that Labour heroically secured for Scotland, and that John Swinney privately let it be known that he didn't want the power over abortion law that Maggie Chapman and Linda Fabiani were pushing for. That, of course, would make Swinney less keen on Scottish self-government than the Tories or the Lib Dems, both of whom were perfectly willing to transfer control over abortion law without the "further consideration" that is now required.
I'll be blunt with you - I'm not convinced. Labour seem to have overlooked Rule 1 of concocting a Big Lie - it only works if people don't start laughing at it within the first two seconds.