As I noted when Stuart's own Panelbase poll was released last week, the Holyrood voting intention numbers effectively destroy the specific case that he made last year in favour of his own party. He argued that, in the absence of a 'helpful' intervention such as a Wings Party, we were heading for the loss of the pro-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament in 2021 - mainly due to the supposed inevitability of the SNP taking an enormous hit as a result of the Alex Salmond trial. He's been proved wrong about that, and his own polling suggests that in the post-trial world, we're now on course not just for a pro-indy majority, but for a single-party SNP majority. But the other thing I noted last week is that arguments in favour of "gaming" the system have a habit of conveniently mutating when circumstances change, and we therefore shouldn't necessarily assume that Stuart would give up the ghost. And so it has proved. He's now making entirely the opposite case to the one he made last year - he's arguing that because the SNP will win so many seats, they won't need any list votes.
So just to be clear: if the SNP are expected to do badly, that makes the case for a list-only party. If the SNP are expected to do well, that makes the case for a list-only party. Literally everything makes the case for a list-only party in Stuart's mind. (Unless of course it's 2016, in which case any attempt to game the system with a list-only party is a "mug's game". But, hey, Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia, yeah?)
I'm pretty confident I felt my ears burning at this point in Stuart's piece -
"One website has now published, we think, over 30 articles packed with increasing amounts of raging personal abuse about it, although none of them have ever attempted to address the arguments in Gavin Barrie's calm, professional analysis from last September."
Hmmm. I must confess I haven't kept track of the number of times Stuart has made passive-aggressive comments of that sort, but I suspect it's rather more than 30. (Before today's, the most recent was of course his petulant reaction to my column in last month's iScot magazine, which he clearly felt should have been censored - in spite of the fact that neither it, nor any of the other articles he's fuming about, contained even the slightest trace of personal abuse, "raging" or otherwise.) All the same, it's quite an achievement for Stuart to have a purported running tally of Scot Goes Pop posts about the Wings Party, but to have mysteriously missed my detailed twenty-three paragraph rebuttal of Gavin Barrie's pseudo-scientific assertions. Having a bit of a snooze that day were we, Reverend?
Incidentally, one thing that puzzles me about the new Independence for Scotland party is that there's quite a bit of overlap between its supporters and people who hope that Joanna Cherry will become SNP leader. If there's a vacancy at the top at some point in the coming years, I can well imagine that I'll find myself supporting a leadership bid by Ms Cherry, but I can tell you one thing for certain: that bid will not be helped by some of her natural backers having left the SNP altogether.