Monday, April 12, 2010

The wayward voice of the Record

Via SNP Tactical Voting, I see that - right on cue after my earlier post - Torcuil Crichton has revealed the results of a new Scottish YouGov poll of Westminster voting intentions. It should pretty much lay to rest any notion that the SNP and the Tories are "virtually neck-and-neck", as it in fact shows the Nationalists increasing their lead over the Tories from six to seven points. Admittedly, the SNP will probably be very glad to have something of a buffer, given the obscene bonus coverage the London-based parties are about to receive. Nevertheless as things stand they appear to be reasonably well-placed to secure second place in the popular vote in a Westminster election for the fourth time in their history (the previous occasions were October 1974, 1997, and 2001).

Chrichton is eager to make the point that these figures indicate very little change in terms of seats. If you assume uniform swing, that's of course right, although we all know that in practice the swing is likely to vary considerably from constituency to constituency, and the SNP will be confident of disproportionately high swings in Labour-held target seats such as Aberdeen North and Dundee West. But what leapt out at me in Crichton's post is this rather desperate piece of spin -

"the SNP could go back up to 7 MPs if they gain Ochill and South Perthshire though Labour’s Gordon Banks is favourite to hold the seat."

That's written in such a matter-of-fact way that I initially assumed there must be something to it. I should have known better. The SNP need a swing of just 0.75% from Labour to win Ochil and South Perthshire, and this poll suggests a national pro-SNP swing of 3.5%. So perhaps there is a different trend locally that has been picked up by the bookies? Er, no. Ladbrokes shows the SNP as 4/6 favourites for the seat, with Labour way back as joint second favourites with the Tories at 3/1.

In precisely what sense is Gordon Banks the favourite to hold the seat, then? In the sense, I can only presume, that Torcuil Chrichton is employed by the Daily Record, and is paid in large part to write such nonsense.

Back in the real world, Annabelle Ewing seems set for a welcome return to Westminster.

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