Saturday, April 14, 2012

Has Tom Harris found a new hunting ground?

A few weeks ago, I mentioned in a comment here that it wouldn't entirely surprise me to discover that the mysteriously bashful Political Betting poster "Devo Max" is Tom Harris. It was (and I'm sure this was obvious) a joke, but the poster himself made a great issue of it, as if I was being deadly serious, and it was the most ludicrous thing he'd ever heard. That over-reaction made me wonder - doth the Brit Nat protest a little too much? Since then, my suspicions have grown. Consider this...

1) He only writes Nat-bashing posts - never, ever straying on to any other political subject.

2) His repertoire is extraordinarily well-honed - this is someone who's been at it for years on a professional basis.

3) He refuses to answer or even acknowledge any awkward question - classic Harris.

4) The name "Devo Max" itself is one Harris would probably have chosen, given his known fixation with what he describes as "I can't believe it's not independence" (which would have been too much of a giveaway).

5) A comment he once made about music could well place him in Harris' broad age range.

6) He point blank refuses to reveal which political party he supports, but tries desperately hard to distract attention from his refusal to answer. It's hard not to infer that he has something to hide.

7) He has occasionally expressed admiration for David Cameron, which is consistent both with Harris' right-of-centre tendencies, and also with his determination not to be unmasked on PB.

8) He has a writing style eerily similar to Bomber Admin. For instance, he suggested a few hours ago that the SNP might seek Iain Martin's prosecution for committing a "hate-crime" - could that be a product of the brain that gave us the Downfall video that so satisfyingly backfired?

9) In response to the controversy over The Economist's front cover, he mused that he must get himself a copy. That was almost word-for-word what Harris had been reported as saying earlier in the day.

10) The PB moderators are ludicrously zealous in protecting him when he is prodded about his identity. You'd be forgiven for thinking that they were in the know. For instance, earlier this evening, the following sequence of events occurred -

I innocently asked him a question about Doctor Who.

My post was deleted within seconds.

I asked the moderators if Devo Max required protection even from questions about Doctor Who.

My post was deleted within seconds.

I observed that it seemed the answer to my question was yes.

My post was deleted within seconds.

I told the moderator his hand was going to get tired if he kept this up.

My post was deleted within seconds.

About half-an-hour later, I was banned (just "for the night", or so I'm told) for "failing to obey the instructions about not discussing moderation". Hmmm. I must say it's got to the point where being one of the perennial targets of Mr Smithson's "I will not be defied!!!" petulance is a badge of honour. At least he isn't insulting our intelligence this time by pretending that my banning is a "technical fault" - of course last time he'd only just banned Stuart Dickson (again), and my guess is that he knew full well that admitting he'd banned two SNP posters in the space of 24 hours would not look great for the owner of a supposedly 'non-aligned' forum.

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Before I forget, here is the result of the poll on how you'll be ranking the London parties in the local elections -

Won't rank them at all 70%
Liberal Democrat, Conservative, Labour 16%
Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat 4%
Liberal Democrat, Labour, Conservative 3%
Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat 1%
Labour, Liberal Democrat, Conservative 1%
Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Labour 1%

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Lastly, it is with great regret that I must announce that I have decided to ban Mike Smithson from posting on Scot Goes Pop with immediate effect. He has repeatedly ignored instructions to stop his irritating overuse of the phrase "can't be arsed", and the situation has now become intolerable. Posting here is a privilege, not a right, and if people can't be arsed to follow the Sacred Commandments, they only have themselves to blame. While I'm at it, Plato can sling her hook as well.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Poll : How will you rank the London parties on May 3rd?

One of the advantages of the STV voting system that will be used for the local elections next month is that it allows those of us who always vote for the same party to deliver a more sophisticated verdict on the other contenders. From memory, the approach I took five years ago was to rank the SSP third after the two SNP candidates, on the grounds that they were the only other pro-independence party in the ward. I ranked the two independent candidates next, followed (last and in every sense least) by the London parties. But the toughest part was to decide in which order to rank those three parties. I think the logic I used was that Labour had to be absolute bottom for tactical reasons, because the overall council battle in my neck of the woods was between Labour and SNP. And of course I placed the Lib Dems ahead of the Tories.

In spite of the fact that my respect for the Lib Dems (a party I once plumped for in a school mock election) has plummeted through the floor in the years since then, I think that logic still just about holds good this time - at least the Lib Dems have the decency to pretend to be a Home Rule party, one day out of every sixteen. But what about you - in what order will you be ranking the London parties? Or will you even bother ranking them at all? That's the subject of today's poll - you'll find the voting form at the top of the sidebar.

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Ah, the delights of being a Scottish curling fan. If I lived in Estonia, or Slovenia, or Denmark, I could have watched Scotland play in the nail-biting world championship final yesterday, live on Eurosport International. It goes without saying I could have watched the game live if I'd been in Canada, and with glitzy all-singing, all-dancing coverage at that. But as I live in Scotland itself and am stuck with "British" Eurosport, I couldn't.

Now, doubtless British Eurosport chiefs would point out that one of the events that displaced the curling was one in which there was plenty of Scottish interest - the GB v Belgium Davis Cup tie in Glasgow. The snag is, though, that I can recall occasions in previous years when they've made the judgement that British sports fans would much rather watch an obscure game between two non-British tennis players in a WTA event, than follow the Eurosport International coverage of Scotland playing in a major curling tournament. It seems that British Eurosport's definition of "British interest" is the same as Newsnight's - ie. whatever is most interesting to viewers in the south of England.

Sadly, in the end, Scotland had to settle for silver yesterday, although it would have been gold had Tom Brewster not been slightly wide with his final shot in the tenth end. This rounds off a 'curate's egg' season for Scottish curling - Brewster's performance arguably exceeded expectations slightly, and a first European gold medal for the women's team since 1975 speaks for itself. But the big disappointment was the failure of the women to medal at the world championships, having gone in as favourites for the gold.