When I started writing this blog way back in May 2008, it was literally attracting about three or four readers per day. I thought it was an absolute miracle after a few weeks when I got 71 unique visitors in one day, but even that only happened because it was Eurovision weekend. Compare that to the last six months, when there have been hardly any days during which the blog hasn't attracted at least 1000 unique visitors. There have been a few occasions when the number has reached almost 7000.
I really have only one man to thank for that transformation, and it's Mike "can't be arsed" Smithson. For years, I used to spend more time posting at his Political Betting site than I did here, but since he banned me (seemingly for life) for refusing to pretend that his spiteful banning of a fellow pro-independence poster had never happened, I've had the time to build up Scot Goes Pop.
As long-term readers may remember, my banning took on a Kafka-esque afterlife, with Smithson's Tory moderators first of all deleting any posts that linked to this blog or even mentioned it, and then ultimately deleting posts that mentioned my name. Even after all this time, you'd be taking your life into your hands by uttering the words "James Kelly" at PB. My charismatic Labour MSP namesake is absolutely raging about it.
The moderators (or specifically the notoriously dishonest moderator TSE) did dream up a thin excuse for banning links to Scot Goes Pop, albeit one that was based on a downright lie. TSE claimed that I had once been "forced to apologise" to a polling company for posting inaccurate information about one of their polls, and that PB regulars should therefore "understand" the moderators' "concerns" about this blog. In fact, his claim was wrong on two counts - there was no inaccuracy, and I most certainly had not been forced to apologise. What I had done was speculate that an Ipsos-Mori independence poll may not have asked the real referendum question - but I made clear that was only speculation, and not a statement of fact. I then received an email from Ipsos-Mori which claimed that they had used the referendum question in unadorned form, so I issued an immediate correction, and apologised as a matter of courtesy.
That sequence of events may be ringing a few uncanny bells for those of you unfortunate enough to have visited Political Betting today. There was a wildly speculative post from Smithson this morning inviting readers to conclude that the SNP's failure to publish any voting intention figures from their recent Panelbase poll must mean that the party's lead over Labour has slipped. I knew that was garbage straight away, because one of the advantages of Scot Goes Pop's hugely expanded readership is that I often get tipped off about polls in the field, and I've therefore known for days that Panelbase didn't ask a voting intention question.
Buried at the bottom of the PB post, you'll now see an update admitting that the SNP and Panelbase have both made clear that there were no voting intention numbers. But in contrast to what I did in the case of the Ipsos-Mori poll, Smithson hasn't bothered correcting the body of the post, so anyone who doesn't read to the bottom will still be totally misled. There is certainly no sign of an apology.
In the interests of consistency, I now look forward to Smithson being banned from his own site, and to the mere mention of his name being declared verboten. After all, "you can understand our concerns".