Cornish sex memoirist, "Thatcherite outlaw" and all-round Brit Nat extraordinaire Sean Thomas (aka "international thriller writer Tom Knox") gleefully brandished the latest TNS-BMRB poll on independence earlier today, apparently blissfully unaware that it follows the pattern of several other polls so far this year in showing a swing to the Yes side. I'm grateful to him, because otherwise I might have overlooked the poll's existence.
There will be a referendum on Scottish Independence in the autumn of 2014. If this referendum were to be held tomorrow, how would you vote in response to the question: Should Scotland be an independent country?
Yes 33% (+5)
No 52% (+4)
At first glance the dramatic fall in the number of Don't Knows might look slightly odd, given that other polls of late have shown the complete opposite happening, but it can be fairly easily explained by the fact that this is the first time TNS-BMRB have used the actual proposed referendum question, rather than the long-obsolete question that might have been asked had the Scottish Government been forced to make do with a consultative referendum. I'm still not mad-keen on the unnecessary use of a preamble to the question, although the wording looks neutral enough.
The numerate among you (which is probably all of you, unless Duncan Hothersall is making one of his occasional visits) will immediately spot that, although support for both the Yes and No sides has increased, the slightly lower increase for No means that there has been a modest net swing to Yes - of 0.5% to be exact. Bearing in mind that the previous TNS-BMRB poll showed a 5% drop in the No lead, this means there has been a full 3% swing to Yes since the company's final poll of 2012.
Even more promising news comes from the other question that TNS-BMRB posed, which speaks volumes about one of the No campaign's Achilles heels - the fact that it will be compulsory for Scotland to have nuclear weapons on its soil if we reject independence.
The UK Government plans to replace the existing Trident nuclear weapons with a new system, at a cost of £65 billion. Do you support or oppose the UK Government buying a new nuclear weapons system to replace Trident?