"There's tone deaf, and there's this."
The implication being that Angus MacNeil and Chris McEleny are out of tune with the public mood, and that what voters really want is for the SNP to kick independence into the long grass for a considerable number of years. Tom thinks the party should use that time to "develop a new prospectus", whatever that means, rather than doing what they were actually elected to do - ie. giving people an urgent choice on Scotland's constitutional future due to the material change of circumstances brought about by Brexit.
All of this begs an extremely obvious question - one that Tom mysteriously doesn't even attempt to address. If voters don't want Plan B to be explored, why have they just told a leading polling company that they do? Do they not know their own minds? Did they somehow misunderstand the question? As a reminder, here's the exact wording -
If Boris Johnson and the UK Government manage to block an independence referendum, do you think that pro-independence parties such as the SNP and the Greens should consider including an outright promise of independence in their manifestos for a future election, to give people an opportunity to vote for or against the idea?
That seems pretty difficult to misconstrue. Remember that a large part of the reason the poll showed such a strong majority in favour is the overwhelmingly positive reaction from both SNP voters and people who would currently vote for independence. Less than 1% of Yes supporters think it's a bad idea, while 86% give the thumbs up. You don't have to be much of a mystic to work out what's going on here - a sizeable chunk of the electorate (a majority in this particular poll if Don't Knows are stripped out) want independence, and they're actually serious about it. They're unhappy that Westminster is using undemocratic means to thwart a referendum, and want a way to be found of overcoming that obstacle. That shouldn't be any great surprise, given that it was only six months ago that Scotland gave the SNP a landslide majority of seats on a manifesto pledge to hold a referendum this year. The pandemic has pushed the timing back - no-one in their right mind still wants action to be taken imminently. But people do want a sense of urgency once the crisis is over, rather than years and years of unproductive thumb-twiddling.
At the start of the pandemic, unionist journalists (Deerin, Massie, et al) were almost unanimous in their assessment that fate had dealt the independence movement a crushing blow, and that the British 'family' was coming back together in a time of adversity. An avalanche of polls since then - from YouGov, Ipsos-Mori, Survation and Panelbase - has told a radically different story. Having misread the public's instincts and mood so completely, you'd think these individuals might have the humility to ponder whether it's actually mainstream journalism in this country that has yet again proved itself to be "tone deaf". But, as per usual, it's doubling down that we're seeing.