Well, it's been far too long since I last offended Craig Gallagher's sensibilities by reposting one of my exchanges from Political Betting. "The Screaming Eagles" is the most prominent of the site's notorious group of Tory moderators who have endlessly harassed left-wing contributors by deleting posts at random, and issuing bannings which they then innocently pretend to have been caused by a "technical fault" - that is if their Plan A of burying all evidence of the bannings has failed. I was also once sent an extraordinary (and credible) piece of information about this individual that profoundly shocked me, but unfortunately it was on condition that I didn't make it public. Frankly, if his claim in the following exchange has any truth in it, then I think "prominent pollsters" at Ipsos-Mori ought to be choosing their chortle-mates with a touch more care.
Me : AlanBrooke -
"it was the same when the Nats bigged up all they were going to do post 2011 elections"
You'd better hope that isn't a precedent, Alan, because as you know the SNP secured a historic triumph in the May 2012 local elections. Their first ever win in the popular vote, and only their second win in terms of seats. A bigger increase in their share of the vote than any other party, and a bigger increase in number of seats than any other party.
But I'm sure you haven't conveniently forgotten about that.
AlanBrooke : Yeah. yeah jimbo
Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Sterling as wee wifie might say.
Me : You really should tell her to stop singing the 1997 Scottish Tory anthem - if it didn't help Michael Forsyth then it's unlikely to be much use now.
And "Nein zur Tartan Steuern!" has probably had its day as well.
But I salute your wife's political and marital fortitude.
TheScreamingEagles : I'm really disappointed in you Mr Brooke.
You missed a golden opportunity to reference Arthur Donaldson into that.
Me : Alan, you seem to be in pain. Perhaps a trip to a therapist might be in order, so you can construct a comforting new national identity that can flourish without depending on keeping another country captive.
I take some pride in being one of the few posters here who has never voted for a party that once boasted the future leader of the British Union of Fascists as a prominent MP.
TheScreamingEagles : You mean Arthur Donaldson, that former future leader of British Fascism, I thought he'd be associated with the yes side?
Me : No, Oswald Mosley. I've yet to hear from you about how you feel towards the man who was a prominent Conservative MP. And perhaps we should have a chat about Lord Halifax some time...
(NOTE : Posted before you edited your comment to make it even more peculiar.)
TheScreamingEagles : Like Mr Mosley, Mr Donaldson was interned.
To be honest, people who were MPs/Leaders of political parties before my father was born, I really don't think is going to swing the independence vote one way or the other.
And on that note, I'm off to see one of Scotland's finest actors at the cinema, Mr Gerard Butler, in Olympus Has Fallen.
Me : And unlike Mr Donaldson, Mr Mosley was interned on some kind of rational basis - ie. he was, actually, a fascist, rather than a threat to the British state because he supported democratic self-determination for the Scottish nation.
TheScreamingEagles : The report I'm reading says
"Donaldson, who had been thrown out of the SNP in 1940 because of his extreme nationalist views"
Me : What is of considerably more interest is WHERE are you reading that 'report'?
TheScreamingEagles : Here (from November 2005)
Me : "Here." I note you couldn't actually bring yourself to use the words "in the Sunday Times". Moving on...
TheScreamingEagles : It's from the national archives.
Me : TSE, a word of advice for future reference - if you want to reach a consensus with SNP supporters (or anyone with an ounce of common sense) on what constitutes historical fact, it's probably best not to pray in aid an article in a Brit Nat rag that carries the headline "SNP boss planned Nazi Scotland".
TheScreamingEagles : James I would have thought you'd have learnt your lesson the last time you wrongly automatically dismissed something published in the Times/Sunday Times.
Me : Not only have I not learned a lesson from it, I don't even recall it. It wouldn't be a figment of your imagination, by any chance?
So tell me, TSE, what was the nature of the "extreme nationalist views" that led to Donaldson being thrown out of the SNP in 1940? (That golden year when Britain was the junior partner to the US in World War II...)
TheScreamingEagles : Please don't take this as proof that I read your blog, but at the time, a prominent pollster emailed me this, because they thought I'd be amused at it.
"UPDATE : Ipsos-Mori have been in touch, and have asked me to correct this post, which originally stated -
'There is also a question on voting intention for the independence referendum. Caution should be exercised here, because from the little I've seen of the report in the Times, it looks very much like this is yet another example of a unionist newspaper commissioning a pollster to ask a question that bears little resemblance to the actual proposed referendum question. However, for what it's worth, here are the figures...'"
Me : I ought to tell you what a prominent PB poster once emailed to me, because he knew I'd be shocked by it, but alas I'm sworn to secrecy.
I was contacted by Ipsos-Mori and asked to make a correction, and I did so immediately. You may be "amused" by such professionalism, as may your prominent pollster chum, but if I may say so I'm content for my actions to stand comparison to your antics as moderator of this blog.
Let's see if you've got the guts to leave this post up.
(For what it's worth, the guy who contacted me at the time was called Christopher McLean, and billed himself as a "Senior Research Executive" of something called "Ipsos MORI Scotland".)
* * *
Talking of pollsters, Angus Reid have published their latest UK-wide opinion poll of voting intentions for Westminster. As ever, the figures from the Scottish subsample are of more interest than those from other companies, because they seem to be properly weighted -
Labour 38% (+3)
SNP 37% (-2)
Conservatives 14% (-4)
Liberal Democrats 6% (+1)
Although that represents a small boost for Labour, it nevertheless leaves the SNP - in Angus Reid's own words - "practically tied" with Labour for Westmister voting intention, which would represent a massive 10.5% swing from Labour to SNP since the last general election.