Monday, August 25, 2014

ICM poll confirms that a brilliant Alex Salmond stormed to a decisive win in tonight's crucial TV debate

The results of ICM's instant post-debate poll are as follows :

As far as you are concerned which one of the two leaders do you think won the debate?

Alex Salmond 71%
Alistair Darling 29%

There were red faces at both the BBC and the Guardian tonight, as the disconnect between the above numbers and the initial spin that both organisations attempted to place on the debate illustrated vividly just how out of touch they often are with the instincts and concerns of the electorate in Scotland.  Andrew Sparrow of the Guardian hilariously called it "a draw" (yeah, that Brazil v Germany match was pretty close as well, wasn't it, Andrew?), while Allan Little of the BBC bizarrely observed that this debate was "much closer" than the previous one.  Thankfully, good old Brian Taylor partly saved the day for the BBC by popping up afterwards to insert a dose of realism, and to declare that Alex Salmond would be the happier of the two men.

I probably shouldn't be too hard on Allan Little, who has consistently been the best and most even-handed BBC network reporter on the referendum.  But just to emphasise how absurd the "much closer" claim is, the ICM poll after the first debate gave Alistair Darling a mere 12% advantage, which wasn't all that far outside the standard margin of error (and was probably inside the real world margin of error, given the severe upweighting of some groups of respondents).  Tonight's ICM poll gives Alex Salmond the win by a whopping 42% margin.

Would it have been better for Yes if Salmond could have produced these kind of dream numbers in both debates?  Perhaps, but there's also a lot to be said for being on the right side of a "comeback kid" narrative, and if any of us had to choose which of the two debates we'd rather have seen result in a clear Salmond win, it would undoubtedly have been this one, with postal votes just about to be sent out.

If the poll results had been slightly closer, I have no doubt that the unionist media would have attempted to maintain the risible line of "it was a draw".  As it is, they'll be unable to completely ignore the elephant in the room, although I suspect their back-up argument will be "Salmond won, but it doesn't really matter".  To be fair, they can pray in aid the fact that ICM have before-and-after numbers for voting intentions, which on the face of it suggest that Salmond's win had only a minimal impact -

Should Scotland be an independent country? (Post-debate figures, with changes from pre-debate figures in brackets)

Yes 49.5% (+0.6)
No 50.5% (-0.6)

However, exactly the same thing happened in ICM's instant poll after the first debate, and yet the majority of the polls since then have shown movement (mostly towards Yes).  So the true impact may not become clear until voters have had a chance to reflect on the debate, talk about it with family and friends, and digest the media spin on it - which ironically will be largely driven by the ICM poll itself.  And it should also be remembered that ICM's respondents may have wanted to avoid looking fickle by admitting that the debate had directly changed their voting intention.

Now.  Ahem.  You'll probably have noticed that, regardless of the fact that they didn't alter much after the debate, the voting intention numbers listed above are rather wonderful for Yes.  Should we be excited?  Only up to a point, because ICM have once again been at pains to point out that this is not a normal representative poll, and was by definition restricted to people who were planning to (and who actually did) watch the debate. Nevertheless, the results were still weighted to reflect the demographic profile of the Scottish population, so what we've ended up with is a curious 'half-breed' poll, which doesn't attempt to directly reflect either the population as a whole or just the fraction of the population that watched the debate, but instead aims to artificially hover somewhere in between those two possibilities, which you'd think really ought to be mutually exclusive.  So although the voting intention numbers can't be regarded as fully reliable, they shouldn't be dismissed out of hand either.  At the very least, we can certainly use them to help measure how opinion has changed between the two debates, because ICM performed exactly the same exercise last time around.  On the pre-debate figures, these are the changes since the 5th of August -

Yes 48.9% (+2.0)
No 51.1% (-2.0)

And on the post-debate figures...

Yes 49.5% (+2.7)
No 50.5% (-2.7)

Although the swing to Yes is within the margin of error, it's entirely consistent with what we've been seeing in the last three 'proper' polls, from ICM, YouGov and Panelbase respectively.

And so much for Salmond's much-vaunted "woman problem", by the way.  ICM found that female watchers of the debate were significantly more likely than men to say that Salmond had a more appealing personality than Darling, and had the better arguments.  Having said that, both genders agreed that Salmond won on those counts.


  1. Salmond wiped the floor with Darling this time, however will YES see a bounce in the polls in the next couple of weeks?

  2. The referendum figures in the poll were Yes: 49% No: 51%

  3. I am surprised it was as high as 29% for Darling. He was soundly beaten. Bad night for the no campaign, and a real opportunity for the yes campaign.

    1. That would be the core 30% BT vote which will never accept that Yes could be right on anything.

  4. Thanks for the honesty, Flockers.

  5. Hi, Sam from PB here

    If I were Scottish I'm sure I'd be pro Indy.... as I'm from South East England I don't really care much, nothing to do with me, which kind of is your point I suppose.

    But James, I watched your video at the weekend saying one poll (the one from the first debate showing Darling winning) was not enough to make any pronouncement upon... So what's with your headline on this here thread???? Bit inconsistent?

  6. It was obvious to me that Salmond was battering Darling, but in all honesty I thought he'd blown it later by letting it become a bit pub bickery.

    Right on the first count I suppose!

    Well done AS. Never write that bugger off do you! Let's see how this shifts the polls, if at all.


  7. Calum Findlay:

    On top of that - somewhat interesting is that Yes leads among female voters. I don't think I've seen that before.

    ICM's page has a disclaimer saying that they have weighted according to the Scottish population but there should be some caution on the figures because it was limited to people who watched the debate (which I guess - though with no evidence - may be skewed towards the yes-inclined). Will be interesting to see if James thinks the more detailed figures look okay.

  8. Sam. If a result is 55-45, you might need more polls. 71-29. Not so much. ;-)

  9. Brian

    Fair point!


  10. The Stormfront lite herd. Can't keep the racism hidden for long. Well done them.

    alex said:
    How much would it harm the Scottish whisky industry if on day 1 of independence the UK Govt doubled the tax for "health reasons"?

    Also Smithson is dribbling on about Betfair. Who gives a flying gonad about the bookies? When did they ever win a vote?

  11. Worth reposting this here I think and try not to laugh to hard at the No trolls after tonight.


    I think one of the most crucial points might have passed a great many by and certainly won't have occurred to the PB tory twits.

    The most probable turnout for the Independence referendum is beginning to solidify at around 80%.

    That's a MASSIVE voter gap between those who vote regularly at elections and those who don't. Why do you imagine we in Yes have spent so much time registering to vote and campaigning hard in areas the No campaign have never and will never set foot in? The heavily working class areas where people are utterly disillusioned and fed up with with politics as usual.

    Do those in the No campaign seriously believe these people who never vote at elections are actually being represented in all the polling?


    Not a fucking chance.

    There is a huge effort getting volunteers to GOTV on the Yes side. It is already bearing fruit and a great many have signed up for it already. I can tell you that for a fact.

  12. I find it a bit weird that the ICM poll results for the referendum question are almost identical both pre- and post-debate, even though Salmond defeated Darling 56-36 on who had the best ideas. Any explanation?


  13. Xavi : It was exactly the same after the first debate - no change to the headline numbers.

  14. Thanks, James.

    Does that mean that these small samples that they use for political debates tend to be a bit narrow-minded?


  15. Nice to have you back, James, you've been missed.

  16. Oh and since I haven't done so already, welcome back James. :-)

    The past few weeks of campaigning have been very satisfying so tonight was just the icing on the cake.

    The woman in the audience who utterly annihilated Darling and the No campaign on the NHS.



  17. I didn't watch it, political debates bore me. Didn't watch the previous one either. Apparently the post-debate poll, while being a clear win for Salmond, showed no movement, just like the last one. I never expected TV debates to make much of a difference either way. All the Clegg stuff that we got in the 2010 Westminster election turned into a whole load of nothing.

  18. MY 17 year old's verdict on the first debate was that even though Salmond did badly, just bringing the issues into the light of day means people move to Yes.

    In this one, where he was very clear and persuasive, that outcome is likely to be magnified.

    It's not that the debate swings votes either way. It's that they are part of the much broader canvassing process of getting people to think about the issues and make up their own minds rather than simply accept what they've been told. And that means movement to Yes.

  19. Will the last TV debate happen STV,after the roasting?

  20. Salmond clearly going for the Labour vote. Sounded just like a Labour politician against a Tory. NHS Trident Poverty - all Labour dog whistle issues very clever.

    Oh and why no Indy polls we've not had any since they started moving to Yes.

  21. Denise - are you Couper2802 on UKPollingreport? Identical comment!

  22. Really terrible for Darling. I had to leave the room in embarrassment when he was asked about the job-creating powers and seemed to lose the capacity to form syllables.

    Still, will it make a difference? The media line seems to be that they were both too shouty, and apparently no one in the Guardian's sample of viewers switched sides (or not immediately, anyway).

  23. Have a look at Oddschecker, folks. Right now (I think it was in the course of this evening, since it seemed to happen as I refeshed the screen) 4 of the bookies pulled their prices and not offering odds. 4 dropped to 7:2 - which I think is just about the shortest it's been (may have touched 3 at one point some months ago). If it is correct that most of the No money's from London, and most of the Yes from here, then this suggests to me that tonight's frightened the horses stabled down south. Anybody who's been watching the bookies more closely than I have got a take on this?

  24. Sorry - forgot to give link for Oddschecker:

  25. @Anonymous:
    "Also Smithson is dribbling on about Betfair. Who gives a flying gonad about the bookies? When did they ever win a vote?"

    I'm not a particular fan of, but given that it's a betting site, I don't think it's entirely unreasonable for him to be discussing Betfair.

  26. BVB1909

    Yes got fed up of them sneering on there thought I'd come across here

  27. Alastair: quite a few of the bookies reached 2:1 back in the spring time, but as soon as that happened one of the massive multi hundred thousand bets got placed and pushed them all back up again.

    Expect a wealthy tory donor to be placing another massive bet down in London any day now.

  28. Thanks Pantone. It's weird on Oddschecker. Shortly after the end of the debate it was showing a lot of the Yes odds shortening (blue) and the No odds drifting (pink). Then all the colours disappeard. Now they're back, showing only one bookie drifting on Yes. Confusing - at least, to us non-betters.

  29. Alastair McIntosh:

    I seem to remember the odds bottomed out at around 2 with some bookies at one point. One of them (32Red) offered as low as 19/10. It was around the time of the ICM poll in April showing a three point gap. I believe that is the lowest odds that anyone ever offered. I have a good memory for figures (I'm also an irredeemable geek).

    The odds for a Yes win have been much wider this past month than they've been in a long time. Though after this debate we're bound to see the odds shorten somewhat.

  30. I takes to a guy on twitter. The bookies are giving long odds because they reckon Yes voters are optimistic. So I reckon they shortened automatically as online bets went for Yes. The bookies adjusted to tempt more Yes folk to bet. Apparently bookies stand to lose a packet if Yes win.

  31. Denise:

    You're correct. The guy who runs the politics desk at Ladbrokes said as much:

  32. PB Is as much a betting site as Mumsnet. He's using the current odds as a dirty great club to beat Scotland with. Just another sad britnat.

    The odds have been fixed by some monster bets being placed in London. By concerned millionaires like I Taylor perhaps. Or maybe by acolytes of G Osborne trying his best to put Scots off from voting as it is a done deal for No.

    So fck PB, Fck that racist Cnut Smithson and Fck You wazzock!

  33. PB Is as much a betting site as Mumsnet. He's using the current odds as a dirty great club to beat Scotland with. Just another sad britnat.

    The odds have been fixed by some monster bets being placed in London. By concerned millionaires like I Taylor perhaps. Or maybe by acolytes of G Osborne trying his best to put Scots off from voting as it is a done deal for No.

    So fck PB, Fck that racist Cnut Smithson and Fck You wazzock!

  34. @Anonymous
    k, I'm convinced.

  35. Courier give the result:

    85% Salmond
    15% Darling

  36. The question was asked, "what impact will this debate have on the undecided". According to the ICM/Guardian Poll following the debate, the answer appears to be considerable.

    Before the debate, Yes 221(48.89) No 231 (51.11) Undecided 53 ( not included)

    After the debate, Yes 230 No 235, Undecided 40

    In percentage terms, YES 49.46 No 50.54, the highest level ever reached in a poll by ICM or any other this year. The gap between the two sides is ONE PERCENT.

    A drop of 13 in undecided with 9 going YES and 4 going NO.

    Also note that 25% of the undecided made a decision after the debate with 69% going to YES and 31% going to NO.

    Applying a similar shift to the remainder (28 Yes, 12 No) would make the final result, YES 259 No 247 or Yes 51.2% and No 48.8, a gap of 2.4% in favour of YES.

  37. "Blow for Salmond as women more impressed at performance than men".

  38. That would be the core 30% BT vote which will never accept that Yes could be right on anything.

    You'd expect so. They get that max for those who say they're fully against indy (so not tempted by it) on their 1-10 scale. TNS get similar for 'backing No and won't change my mind on the day'.

  39. The poll that never was at the weekend was apparently

    44 Yes
    44 No
    12 Ud

    Great performance by Salmond, nice morale booster and it doesn't bode well for the no campaign....nhs/trident and child poverty all things the women care about....

  40. @chalks

    Hey chalks, don't leave us men out of caring about those things too!

    "nhs/trident and child poverty all things women [also] care about"


  41. How do you like your chestnuts Darling? Roasted?

  42. What poll was this Chalks? I was wondering why we hadnt seen anything for the last 9 days or so..... Any idea who the polls was from etc?

  43. Sorry Justin haha

    There was a rumoured Panelbase poll for the Sunday Times, believe the last one was End of July, so it's coming up to that time.

    They may have decided to hold it back until after the debate. Of course, the fieldwork for it, would be pre debate, so again, the impact of the debate would be completely lost, but it would give us an interesting take

    We shall see....

    1. Doesn't make much sense. Why would a newspaper hold back the publication of a poll - esp. when it knew that this ensured that the poll would be out-of-date when released?

  44. current debate on another political site:

    "vote no or say goodbye to yr call centres"

  45. Nevertheless not too far away from icm snapshot last night either. 50:50 v 49:51....

    I must say i sensed a move to yes before last night. Only time will tell.

  46. One reason to hold it back e.g. could be to caveat the results with an anticipated Darling victory after the fact?

  47. More likely held back because the proprietor didn't like the result. Probably hoping the debate would change the momentum.

    1. Don't be daft. If the Times had concerns about producing a poll with a bad result from the No perspective, then why would they have commissioned a Panelbase poll, as opp. a YouGov one?

  48. scottish_skier nails it.

    "Blow for Salmond as women more impressed at performance than men".

    But, but, but, but they were ARGUING!!!

    The Daily Mail didn't like it!!
    What more proof do you need?!?



    The comedy gold just keeps right on coming. The desperate hysteria and outright lunacy from the out of touch tory twits may be even more hilarious than Darling's piss poor performance, which is saying a GREAT DEAL.

    As if it wasn't clear already it's perfectly obvious these imbeciles don't have the first idea about basic politics and how a debate can be the perfect opportunity to transition from your most powerful issues into the campaign on the ground. Which, rest assured, will be happening TODAY and from now on. People with the biggest smiles on their faces today? Not even the SNP campaigners, it's Labour for Indy campaigners. They've been saying this ALL ALONG and Darling just made their entire case for them. Their meetings are going to be packed to the gunnels from now on and rightly so.

    Incredibly, some of the most clueless twits are still banging away dementedly on currency. They actually STILL don't get it. Even after the previous debate which only narrowed the polling and last night which made it crystal clear to anyone with an I.Q. higher than a peanut.

    This is all about trust and Darling took out the 'better together' shotgun and spent last night blasting away at his own feet and then his own head. Just in case anyone was in any doubt whatsoever that he was hopelessly outmatched and should have stuck to flipping houses and his lucrative westminster expense claims.

    Even that wasn't enough for Darling, oh dear me NO.


    Not content with exposing the entire No campaign as the pitiful out of touch westminster joke barking "currency!" witlessly every five minutes, he then took aim at little Ed and Labour's own election strategy for 2015 and blew massive holes in that too.

    Make no mistake, the little solace the tory twits have is that Darling has blown a gaping hole in labour using the NHS as a weapon against the tories. You could see some tories gleefully relishing using Darling's incredible defence of tory privatisation stupidity on the NHS for their debates in 2015. Though to be fair some of the idiot tories have blew a gaping hole in their own campaign plans by praising the incompetent Darling and his economic 'genius' to the skies. So much for "Don't let labour ruin it again" when everyone knows that means Darling as the labour chancellor crashing the economy.

    Darling will have to make himself scarce as the knives will be out for him from Labour and the tories soon enough.

    And while we're at it let's just focus on those 2015 debates which, lest we forget, the cowardly Cameron was still trying to stymie with timing issues against the 'might' of little Ed!! Though to be fair having three debating 'titans' the public has such great respect for in Cameron, Clegg and little Ed will of course put the passion on show last night in the shade.

    That epic battle of the out of touch twits in 2015 will not only be appreciated with hushed and awed silence from the audience but the meek whispering and complete lack of arguing and passion from the three westminster stooges will convince the public they were wrong about them all along.

    Or something ;-)

  49. I just have to highlight yet this before I go out and meet up with some Yes campaigners during my lunchbreak.

    I seem to recall posting this particular gem quite a few times.

    Turns out this was as powerful an indictment of Darling and his NHS privatising chums in labour as I always knew it would be.

    Alistair Darling paid thousands by NHS Privatisation Company

    Labour MP Alistair Darling was paid thousands of pounds by a company heavily involved in the privatisation of the English NHS, it has emerged.

    In 2011, the Edinburgh MP who heads the anti-independence campaign Better Together, received over £10,000 for addressing a dinner organised by Cinven Limited.

    The company is a leading buyout firm, who in 2008 bought 25 private hospitals from Bupa for £1.44bn. Other UK investments include Spire Healthcare, who run private healthcare hospitals, and whose clinical director Jean-Jacques de Gorter said the use of private sector would "spiral" as a result of Conservative MP Andrew Lansley’s reform proposals.

    Mr Darling, who this week will give a speech on behalf of Better Together, is one of a string of current and former Labour MPs who have links to or have benefitted financially from companies involved in private health care.

    Others who have benefitted include Mr Darling’s former Labour cabinet colleagues Alan Milburn and Patricia Hewitt who were both former Health Secretaries. Hewitt was a former advisor to Cinven and landed a lucrative £55,000 role with the firm after standing down as an MP.

    When in office, Milburn received tens of thousands of pounds from several firms involved in private health care.

    Imagine a member of the audience in scotland having the sheer gall to raise the TRUTH about Darling during a TV debate. It's SO unfair!!


  50. Why was it held back?

    Who knows, I'd imagine they maybe figured they may as well wait and do another one after the debate?

    I was told about it by a good source whom I trust. Whether it sees the light of day is another thing of course.

    They might never have been planning on reporting it last weekend and had intended on putting it in this weekend, we'll find out.

  51. Darling lost badly last night. He was oddly nervous and even more oddly determined to retreat to the comfort blanket of the first debate, even to the point of reprising some of the language that worked for him first time round ("I want you to imagine for one moment that you're wrong..."). And of course he was wrong to focus on currency in the way he did. Astonishingly he has taken an issue which should be a massive problem for the "yes" campaign (and which will be a massive problem for iScotland if it happens) and, through mindless repetition and failing to adapt to Salmond's obfuscation, has managed to effectively neuter it as a campaign issue. Campaigners will study that part of the tape for decades to come.

    The decisive moment in the debate came at the start of the cross-examination when Darling, who had started to recover some ground, went back to the currency issue. There were groans in the audience, and they did not sound staged. From that moment it was lost.

    On oil, health and defence Darling was better. Salmond was playing a little dirty in trying to associate Darling with Conservative policies on health and welfare but Darling held his own and I don't think either man had a significant advantage.

    But on currency Darling lacked flexibility, depth and a new angle, which he needed in order to justify currency's billing. He would have been far better off touching on it lightly, just reinforcing the main points from last week and then moving on to other issues.

    Salmond will be pleased with his work but actually missed an opportunity. While his constant interruptions helped put Darling off his game, it also made Salmond look aggressive and petty. Salmond was far more persuasive when he focussed on the positive case for Scotland to control its own destiny, and far more authoritative when he was himself calm and collected. He also could have done more to try to convince floating voters and soft nos that he understands their concerns, recognise that they are legitimate and that he has plans that will address them. Instead he is too dismissive. It's a real weakness.

  52. EdinburghPhil is absolutely right. Why would the Sunday Times delay or censor a sensational headline -making poll on Sunday, which would generate a mass of interest and coverage? All the more why would they when its proprietor R. Murdoch is openly pro-Salmond and pro-independence? The answer is they wouldn't.

    However the figure sounds perfectly plausible given the Panelbase trend. So there may be something in this but I don't know what it is. Expect the Scottish Sun endorsement of yes anytime too now.

  53. Independence is one large step closer today.

  54. Nice lying job done there by the "Expat", whoever she is?

    R Murdoch stated quite clearly during his evidence at The Leveson Enquiry that he was NOT a supporter of Scottish Independence.

    You just can't get good quality astroturfers anymore. Maybe that morbidly obese racist McDougall has eaten too much of the budget?
    Or snorted it?

  55. As I've said, perhaps they never actually intended on releasing the poll last weekend, perhaps it was always intended for this weekend coming.

    It was the last weekend of July the last one, so it chimes that it would be the last weekend of August.

    They commission Panelbase as they have always have done when polling on the indy ref.

    Time will tell. As I've said.

  56. Further to my last post on this rumoured Panelbase ST poll it is pretty interesting to note that Panelbase for the Sunday Times on 4th April 2011, a month before the 2011 Scottish election polling day, also reported a dead heat (in this case between Labour and SNP) at 38%, 38% in the constituency section. In this respect any such poll would be an extraordinary echo of the past. Though note in 2011 YouGov had already had the SNP one point ahead a week earlier so they were not trailing, in fact in that respect they got there before Panelbase. Though indeed these were essentially similar results.

    After that poll it was only a matter of five days before the SNP opened up a good lead in the constituency polls and held it for the rest of the campaign .

    But it's also true in the same poll on 4th April in the Regional vote, Panelbase was the first to show a really big SNP lead. Though unlike others I don't think the regional vote is relevant for this First Past the Post poll and I am quite sure the polling companies will not be wanting to repeat whatever methodology they used for Regional which was clearly different and produced a different result. It did most of them no good

    Even so there is an uncanny feeling about all of this. The essential question seems to me is this: will a euphoric bandwagon prevail or will the closeness lead to caution over such a massive change. It might even be that a poll like the one rumoured would constitute a massive wake-up call tot the UK. You might even see a stock market reaction as the precipice appears.

  57. There is a factor that has never been truly highlighted, that the Yes groups and voters have a consensus in the aims and direction for the kind of society they want, and a very large section of the No vote share those aims.
    In an independent Scotland they both can work to seeing these fulfilled.
    If the vote is No, then there is Westminster with two parties who may share policies but their long term aims are different, on top of which there is the unelected House of Lords and it's interests.
    The Yes and No common aims would be lost in the maul at Westminster.

  58. Mick Sweary said: "The most probable turnout for the Independence referendum is beginning to solidify at around 80%.

    That's a MASSIVE voter gap between those who vote regularly at elections and those who don't. Why do you imagine we in Yes have spent so much time registering to vote and campaigning hard in areas the No campaign have never and will never set foot in? The heavily working class areas where people are utterly disillusioned and fed up with with politics as usual."

    GE turnout was 63.8% in scotland in 2010 ( 80% would only be 15% more and only half of the "missing million". I say turnout will be 77%. :-)

  59. Even so there is an uncanny feeling about all of this. The essential question seems to me is this: will a euphoric bandwagon prevail or will the closeness lead to caution over such a massive change. It might even be that a poll like the one rumoured would constitute a massive wake-up call tot the UK. You might even see a stock market reaction as the precipice appears.

    Yes, a dramatic poll could have a variety of consequences. Somehow, though, I suspect the Yes campaign would still welcome a poll that was favourable to them, and the No campaign would not.

    Still, these poll rumours rarely come to anything.

  60. The Yes shop here in Dundee was cleaned out of stickers, badges etc this morning after the debate.

  61. You would think cretinous no trolls might have a bit more sense than to make a fool of themselves after Darling's utter humiliation, but up pops sayLolToTwatMan to give us all a laugh.

    James runs an adult political site kid, so fuck off back to reading your mum's Daily Mail and stop behaving like a prissy little twit. You can be 100% certain the avalanche of swearing from Darling and his better together chums after last night's utter disaster would upset you far more than anything on here.

    "those who vote regularly at elections and those who don't."

    Elections plural. The 2011 scottish election was 50% turnout so the gap could be between 15% and 30%. Not that it matters since out of touch tory twits seem happy to write off that 15-30% because they are too clueless to have noticed that's more than enough to swing the referendum. :-)

  62. Interesting tactic in the new BT ad, attempting to appeal to the "long-suffering spouse of a Braveheart-watching cybernat" demographic. I thought it was teeth-grindingly patronising, but I guess I'm not the target market.

  63. NONE of the yes-voting men I know has a no-voting wife.

    Half the yes-voting women I know are tearing their hair out because of intransigent no-voting husbands.

    (OK, I was told a cousin of mine is undecided and his wife won't talk about it, off to send him a WBB.)

  64. I want to pick up on Expat's comment, "You might even see a stock market reaction as the precipice appears."

    Earlier on in the Indy debate there was speculation as to whether, nearer the time, we might see some kind of violent dirty tricks being played. Newsnet, for example, ran a story on Adam Busby in January 2012 - The notion that opponents of independence might use overt violence to invoke fear of voting yes always seemed a bit far fetched to me. However, following the 3 recent polls and last night's debate, I do wonder if it is beyond the boundary of credibility to imagine that the City and its pals might try to engineer a little bump on the stock exchange, or on the value of the pound. (And remember, that by speculation on the futures you can make money betting on a fall in share prices or currency value just as easily as on a rise - counter-intuitive, but perversely true).

    I therefore wonder if the Yes campaign might be advised to think that one through in order to be critically poised with suitable responses in the event of any financial instability.

    For example, a drop in the value of the £ could be spun as market nervousness about Scottish indy and therefore reason (for those with £££) to vote No, or equally, as demonstrating the validity of the point that a currency union, at least initially, would be in the best interests of both Scotland and the rUK. A wobble on the pound would therefore be a consequence of BT doom-mongering.

    Similarly with share values. Why should indy worry the markets, except perhaps that access to Scotland's resources might be reallocated under an independent Scotland.

    I'm sure there's other arguments that could be added by others more experienced than I am in this field, but probably no bad thing to have them up our sleeve just in case any financial bombs get set off.

  65. Alastair, the tory party made no secret of a similar tactic in 2010 and took to the airwaves scaremongering of the 'dire consequences' for the stock market if they couldn't cobble together a coalition.

    This was predicated on the somewhat bizarre belief that there was a time limit on just how long the City would give the parties to talk through the various options and come to an agreement.

    Fact of the matter is it was more of a scare tactic to push recalcitrant tory backbenchers into accepting a lib dem coalition. Not that it stopped there either. Afterwards we then got the ludicrous proposition that the only thing that stopped some kind of imaginary financial meltdown was the current lib dem tory coalition arrangement. Everything else, from minority administrations to confidence and supply, was then deemed to be an obvious route to economic chaos in a somewhat comical attempt to justify what Clegg and Cameron had done. That justification is still used by the more desperate of the Cleggites and Cameroons for falsely claiming that there was no alternative to what they did.

    The problem Cameron and Osborne would have in attempting any economic scare tactics right now is that the UK economy is nowhere near strong enough to start blithely using it as a propaganda tool. It's floating on a bubble of London and SE house prices so they can hardly afford to start rocking a boat which could capsize with them in it mere months away from a UK GE. They would most assuredly take the blame. Osborne is chancellor so it would be on his watch and voters tend to notice those things. The so called recovery just isn't happening for vast numbers of voters which means Labour would have no scruples at all in in taking advantage of any economic crisis. Why would they? They have a very poor leader and are anything but guaranteed to win in 2015.

  66. Those sound like valid points, Mick. I keep forgetting that, in the deep south, 2015 looms bigger than 2014. I spent the w/end in England speaking at a festival and I was astonished, as previously, at how little awareness there is about what's happening in Scotland. That said, some informed circles are very worried. I was up on Uist when that thing came through the other day that we "might not be allowed" to join NATO without going to the back of the queue ("good", I thought to myself). But it was ironic, because the day my wife and I arrived at Lochmaddy for a holiday on Berneray there were about a dozen army radar tracking vehicles all pulled up on the pier to board the ferry. It was an eerie spectacle, but a reminder that now way would NATO want to open its north-east flank. As I surveyed various missile tracking installations on the Uists I thought: far from not being allowed to join NATO, more likely not allowed to leave!

  67. tsk tsk tsk mick, you'll find that "grown-ups" don't swear when engaging in serious debate with each other, only children pretending to be grown-ups. :-)

    On another point, the "privatisation" of the nhs. Who else realises that 20% of the nhs budget goes to private pharma firms to pay for drugs? Then add on equipment costs: it's multi-nationals like toshiba who make MRI equipment not some nationalised industry in socialistworkershire. If you object to private firms being involved in the nhs then you'd better get an up to date berries and mushrooms field guide to try and cure your ailments instead of some nasty private-sector sourced Flucloxacillin, and hope to hell nationalised East Coast Trains start making hospital beds and CAT scanners.

    Start thinking for yourself people, not just parrot what the yessers tell you to think.