Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The credibility of the Political Betting website hits a new low - because of hypocrisy as much as inaccuracy

When I started writing this blog way back in May 2008, it was literally attracting about three or four readers per day.  I thought it was an absolute miracle after a few weeks when I got 71 unique visitors in one day, but even that only happened because it was Eurovision weekend.  Compare that to the last six months, when there have been hardly any days during which the blog hasn't attracted at least 1000 unique visitors.  There have been a few occasions when the number has reached almost 7000.

I really have only one man to thank for that transformation, and it's Mike "can't be arsed" Smithson.  For years, I used to spend more time posting at his Political Betting site than I did here, but since he banned me (seemingly for life) for refusing to pretend that his spiteful banning of a fellow pro-independence poster had never happened, I've had the time to build up Scot Goes Pop.

As long-term readers may remember, my banning took on a Kafka-esque afterlife, with Smithson's Tory moderators first of all deleting any posts that linked to this blog or even mentioned it, and then ultimately deleting posts that mentioned my name.  Even after all this time, you'd be taking your life into your hands by uttering the words "James Kelly" at PB.  My charismatic Labour MSP namesake is absolutely raging about it.

The moderators (or specifically the notoriously dishonest moderator TSE) did dream up a thin excuse for banning links to Scot Goes Pop, albeit one that was based on a downright lie.  TSE claimed that I had once been "forced to apologise" to a polling company for posting inaccurate information about one of their polls, and that PB regulars should therefore "understand" the moderators' "concerns" about this blog.  In fact, his claim was wrong on two counts - there was no inaccuracy, and I most certainly had not been forced to apologise.  What I had done was speculate that an Ipsos-Mori independence poll may not have asked the real referendum question - but I made clear that was only speculation, and not a statement of fact.  I then received an email from Ipsos-Mori which claimed that they had used the referendum question in unadorned form, so I issued an immediate correction, and apologised as a matter of courtesy.

That sequence of events may be ringing a few uncanny bells for those of you unfortunate enough to have visited Political Betting today.  There was a wildly speculative post from Smithson this morning inviting readers to conclude that the SNP's failure to publish any voting intention figures from their recent Panelbase poll must mean that the party's lead over Labour has slipped.  I knew that was garbage straight away, because one of the advantages of Scot Goes Pop's hugely expanded readership is that I often get tipped off about polls in the field, and I've therefore known for days that Panelbase didn't ask a voting intention question.

Buried at the bottom of the PB post, you'll now see an update admitting that the SNP and Panelbase have both made clear that there were no voting intention numbers.  But in contrast to what I did in the case of the Ipsos-Mori poll, Smithson hasn't bothered correcting the body of the post, so anyone who doesn't read to the bottom will still be totally misled.  There is certainly no sign of an apology.

In the interests of consistency, I now look forward to Smithson being banned from his own site, and to the mere mention of his name being declared verboten.  After all, "you can understand our concerns".


  1. Seriously no one should pay attention to what Smithson says he is a gambler and so has ulterior motives. I suspect he has shorted the SNP and so is trying to drive the price down. I would never believe a gambler's opinion because he is covering his own bets.

  2. That's absolutely hilarious, to pinch a phrase from Mick Pork.

  3. Another post about Mike?

    Let it go man.

    1. When your mate Mike stops misleading his readers, I'll stop pointing it out. Deal?

      Which PB Tory are you, by the way?

    2. None of them. Voted SNP on last count.

      The point is, I read this quite often and most articles are good, but your constant mentions of Mike, who a lot of people don't even know, is tedious and petty.

      Your site, do as you wish.

      But to recap, he's not my mate, I'm not a Tory, and you'd do much better to grow up a little.

    3. I'll be blunt - I don't believe you. As I've said a hundred times before, don't post that sort of comment anonymously if you don't want to be assumed a troll.

      (The affectionate "Mike" thing kind of gives the game away too.)

      "Grow up" and use your own name if you want to be critical.

  4. Feud for thought?
    Doesn't bother me. This is still the best place to go for poll analysis.

  5. What I know about betting wouldn't fill a postage stamp. Personally i think it is a mug's game from any angle.

  6. Smithson is a racist as well as a deluded LibDem zealot.

    He's also a total and utter liar.

    MikeSmithson Posts: 2,291
    antifrank said:
    If the data hasn't finished dripping out, might it be that the SNP are looking for a big headline on 1 January?

    Until the drip stops, it's a little dangerous drawing conclusions. If it stops without the polling figure, the conclusion suggested looks right.

    The point was made very clearly in the email that this was the "last finding". But then again the SNP told us before September 18th that there's be no other referendums if it was a NO.

    Nobody other than the Scotophobes has ever said there would never be another referendum.

    He repeats his smear from the column header and doesn't bother to correct it. The man is disgusting. Although anybody who enjoys the company of Plato, Rodger, ScottP, MonicafromMonza, Fitalass, Fluffythoughts, Carlotta and SeanT is proven to be either mad or a bigot.

  7. James, it may have passed you by on PB a couple of days ago, Nick Palmer exMP was rushing to join in the anti- Scottish and stampede by calling for tactical voting in Scotland, particularly in the Gordon constituency.

    I am pretty sure that this breaks some kind of Labour Party rules, not least coming from an experienced candidate who would expect loyalty from his own supporters.

    Quite why this vapid bore of a man is so keen to ingratiate himself with the braying yahoos on PB is as mysterious as what pleasure the reader is meant to get from his trivial and self-aggrandizing anecdotes which he fondly imagines to pass for sparkling wit.

    The chump should be locked in a room with Plato and Jack W and left to patronise each other into silence.

    1. If he did say that, and assuming the suggestion was that Labour supporters in Gordon should vote Lib Dem, then it's a clear breach of Labour rules, although doubtless he'll get away with it. I actually hold Nick Palmer in good regard - he's a relative voice of sanity on PB, but as with so many others he has something of a blind spot about Scotland.

  8. I think we could take a fairly good stab at guessing panelbase VI (if it had been asked) by simply eliminating the DKs on the what would be best for Scotland question:

    47% SNP holding the balance of power and working with Lab
    26% Lab majority
    18% Con majority