Pollster : OK, here's the next question. How and when do you think that free childcare provision should be extended to match the best in Europe?
a) The Scottish government should do it after independence, once it has the necessary control over revenue to make the system affordable and self-sustaining.
b) The Scottish government should ignore the laws of physics, economics, and basically just the laws, by somehow doing it now without the necessary powers.
c) The Scotland on Sunday newspaper should stop MUCKING ABOUT and extend free childcare provision RIGHT NOW.
Oh wait, wait, that can't be right.
Voter : Hmm, answer c) I think. Yeah, the Scotland on Sunday newspaper should do it.
Pollster : No, you don't understand. I think someone in the office must have been having a bit of a larf. Just let me make a quick phone call, and I'll see if I can find out what's going on here.
Voter : No need, my answer is c).
Pollster : Seriously, you can't say c). There's no way the Scotland on Sunday newspaper can deliver free childcare provision.
Voter : Why not?
Pollster : Well, because they don't have the powers.
Voter : But we've already established that the Scottish government don't have the powers at the moment either. Does that mean I'm also not allowed to give b) as my answer?
Pollster : No, b) is a perfectly legitimate answer. The poll was commissioned by the anti-independence campaign, and is therefore pushing their agenda (with the assistance of an obedient Scotland on Sunday front-page splash). Feel free to make them happy - that's what we're paid for!
Voter : Paid? Did you say paid? That means you've been given some of the blood money from Ian Taylor?
Pollster : Well, I wouldn't put it in quite those terms, but I suppose...
Voter : In that case, d).
Pollster : What?
Voter : My answer is d). YouGov should extend free childcare provision RIGHT NOW. Do it with the Taylor money!
Pollster : Look, I don't think you fully appreciate...we may have been given a tiny fraction of the Taylor money, but there's no way it would stretch that far.
Voter : You mean they've still got almost all of the cash? That does it, my answer is e)! The anti-independence campaign should extend free childcare provision RIGHT NOW!
Pollster : OK, reality-check time, I feel. In the first place, you cannot possibly give me an answer that the anti-independence campaign deems illegitimate. This poll is being conducted under the long-established and scrupulously fair "Questions to which the answer is Er..." rules. So please cut all this nonsense out, because it just ain't on. And in the second place, the anti-independence campaign can't possibly extend free childcare provision anymore than YouGov can. They may have cash, but remember they also have enormous overheads. And they have salaries to pay, and...
Voter : You mean like the salary for that thoroughly likeable and philanthropic chap Blair McDougall?
Pollster : Well, yes, among many others.
Voter : OK, f).
Pollster : What?
Voter : My answer is f). Blair McDougall should use his personal fortune to extend free childcare provision RIGHT NOW.
Pollster : No, no, no, no, no. It really isn't his responsibility to do that.
Voter : And whyever not?
Pollster : Well, between you and me, Blair's more of an apparatchik than a politician. Delivery just isn't his scene.
Voter : In that case, g) is my answer! Alistair Darling should do it instead. He's a politician, isn't he?
Pollster : Well, sort of, I suppose, but he has even less power to act than anyone else we've mentioned so far.
Voter : Oh, surely not! He's Alex Salmond's opposite number, isn't he? So if we vote No in the referendum, he'll be in charge of the country. He can do what he likes!
Pollster : Ah, now I see where you're going wrong here. No, it doesn't work like that. If you vote No it'll be David Cameron in charge of the country, not Alistair Darling. I don't think Mr Cameron is very interested in childcare.
Voter : So why do the anti-independence campaign seemingly want to put up Darling rather than Cameron to debate Alex Salmond on TV?
Pollster : Er...
* * *
Which brings us neatly onto the only serious poll to be released this evening - a Panelbase one showing that voters on both sides of the border are distinctly unimpressed by David Cameron's failure to live up to his stated intention to "fight with every fibre of his being" against Scottish self-government.
Q. Do you think that there should be a televised referendum debate between Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond to argue the case for an independent Scotland, and UK Prime Minister David Cameron to argue the case for the UK?
RESPONDENTS IN SCOTLAND:
RESPONDENTS IN THE REST OF THE UK:
Of course, the obvious follow-up question I'd have liked to see asked is : "And if Mr Cameron declines to take part in such a debate on the grounds that this is an issue for Scots, do you feel that he and the non-Scottish members of his government will have forfeited any moral right to intervene in the referendum campaign from that point on?"