Welcome to March - the month in which the wretched Westminster parliament of 2010-2015 will finally be dissolved. At the stroke of dissolution, all sitting MPs will cease to be MPs - there simply won't be a parliament at all. (A bit problematical if there's an impending nuclear war in April. The contingency plan to reconvene parliament and force through legislation introducing powers of summary execution would be thwarted. Oh well, the unelected Privy Council would just have to do the dirty work instead. Isn't British democracy wonderful?)
What that means in concrete terms is that by the end of this month, the parliamentary careers of 30+ Scottish Labour and Lib Dem MPs will already have ended - if we can trust ourselves to finish the job in May. Now there's a thought to conjure with.
There's another crucial significance to the fact we're now in March, because it was the month that marked the turning-point in the dramatic Holyrood election four years ago. The SNP's victory in 2011 was arguably the most extraordinary comeback in the history of UK elections, so if Labour leave it any later than March to make telling inroads, we can safely say their chances of turning things around will look very slim indeed.
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The list of constituencies in which I have reports of people receiving recent calls from Populus now stands at six -
Rutherglen & Hamilton West
Lanark & Hamilton East
Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath
Ross, Skye & Lochaber
Unfortunately, though, we can't take that as a provisional list of upcoming Ashcroft constituency polls, because it's become clear that Populus have also been conducting very extensive internal polling for Labour. So the only ones that I can be fully confident will emerge as Ashcroft polls are Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath and Ross, Skye & Lochaber.
If you want to know definitively whether you've been interviewed for an Ashcroft poll, this is how you can tell -
1) The polling company identify themselves as Populus.
2) They ask two separate voting intention questions, with the second one inviting you to think about the candidates in your own constituency.
3) They ask how you voted in the 2010 UK general election, but NOT how you voted in the referendum or the 2011 Holyrood election.
Strangely, I've heard from a couple of people about YouGov making calls. On the face of it, that doesn't make any sense, because YouGov are an online-only firm (unless they've branched out into telephone polling without me noticing). I'm wondering if perhaps there's a Chinese whispers effect at play, with Populus being mistaken for YouGov.
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One of the nice things about Indiegogo is that they show you the amount of money donated by people who follow any link you post to a fundraiser. (There's no information about individuals, I hasten to add - just an overall total.) In the last post, I linked to three SNP constituency fundraisers - and although the number of people who followed each link was roughly the same, far more of you went on to actually donate to the Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale one. In total, Scot Goes Pop readers have so far given £285 to Emma Harper's campaign to unseat David Mundell. It seems you're rather keen on the idea of Scotland becoming a Tory-free zone once again, and I can't say I blame you!
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At some point in her life, Stormfront Lite's resident pub bore "Carlotta Vance" was encouraged to think she was a sparkling wit, and the rest of humanity has been suffering the consequences ever since. She posted this a few hours ago, with the marks of ellipsis helpfully indicating the points where you're supposed to be splitting your sides.
"We haven't had such an entertaining Nat since 'Comical James' defenestrated himself - goodness knows what the demands will be if the SNP do get 46 seats.....I reckon 'free Unicorns' will be back on the table......"
I presume 'Comical James' is me, in which case "defenestrated himself" is code for "he was randomly banned for no good reason, but hey, I'll just bravely lie about that, because it's not as if he has a right to reply anyway". And "free unicorns" is presumably a reference to Scotland's crazy desire not to have weapons of mass destruction on our shores.
The 200+ countries in the world that don't possess nuclear weapons must seem like Narnia to these people.
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I was at Murrayfield yesterday to see the calamity in person. Needless to say I'm planning to delight you with my high-quality photographs of the event (ahem), but my eyes are beginning to droop, so it'll have to wait. Rest assured this is only a temporary reprieve.