Sunday, March 9, 2014

Telegraph shoot themselves in foot with headline implying that Andy Murray privately supports independence

I've seen some bizarre, logic-defying Telegraph headlines on the subject of independence in my time, but this one may just take the biscuit -

"Andy Murray serves up blow for Scotland split bid

Wimbledon champion will not make his view on Scottish independence public after England football team comments ahead of last World Cup"

Now let's think this one through. If Andy Murray was an opponent of independence, it would by definition be a huge relief for the Yes campaign if he wasn't planning to speak out about it. Therefore, the only conceivable way of interpreting the word 'blow' in the Telegraph's headline is that they think Murray is privately a supporter of independence, and that he is only failing to admit that publicly because he doesn't want to suffer any more abuse in the London press of the type that he had to put up with (not least in an odious article by Tony Parsons) after making an innocuous joke about the England football team.

I know of no specific evidence that would support that theory, but if they truly believe that, is it really something they want to crow about it? The message seems to be - "Our side of the debate have successfully bullied people into silence. GET IN!"

I'm also not sure what it says about the prevailing narrative in the London media (again, not least from Tony Parsons) which insists that Murray has now largely discarded his Scottishness by "maturing" and "blossoming" into a True Brit.

* * *

On one of the other topics of the day, I've left this comment over at Wings about the grossly misleading poll of Scottish businesses that appeared overnight -

I'd like to see John Curtice speak out strongly against this sort of poll and the way it's been spun in the media. It reminds me a bit of a YouGov poll commissioned by Archie Stirling in 2007 supposedly showing that 20% of the electorate would "consider" voting for his vanity Scottish Voice party in certain circumstances. If the question had asked "WOULD you vote for Scottish Voice in those circumstances", the number would have been a tiny fraction of that, and of course would have been much more in line with what actually happened.

Of course leading words like "consider" are bound to produce wildly inflated figures – after all, I might "consider" going on holiday to Belgium this year, but I also know that I probably won't actually do it. Can you imagine what the response would have been to the opposite question – "Would you consider staying in Scotland after a Yes vote?" Almost 100% of businesses would have said Yes. And what about asking businesses outside Scotland if they would consider relocating here after independence? That might have produced some interesting results.


  1. I agree about the poll, but I do think you should reconsider Belgium.

    'Tis a fine and underestimated place. French food in Dutch portions, people who enjoy a chin-wag and a drink for the sake of a drink, not like the po-faced French. To aid this, they make some of the finest beers in the world, have a healthy fascination for quality whisky and for dressing in kilts (honestly - the Belgian Highland game scene is huge, and some of the finest whisky shops you could ever hope to find).

    They are also not averse to the discussing the subject of self-determination...

  2. Nothing at all against Belgium - I didn't mean it in the disparaging way that it probably came across. Actually, I've got a good friend from Belgium, so I hope she doesn't read this post! I just meant that I may "consider" any number of holiday options, but I'll end up rejecting most (if not all) of them.

    I spent a very enjoyable week in Belgium in September 2001. It was just days after 9/11, and I remember being slightly unnerved by a very low-flying plane in the centre of Brussels (which is, after all, the headquarters of both the EU and NATO).

  3. I would have thought that after the disgusting way John Beattie treated Judy Murray last year (trying to put words in her mouth that she never said) that everyone in the Murray family would steer clear of any British Press person altogether.

  4. Really? I didn't hear about that. What happened?