SBR 30: Dodgy polls, dodgy leaflets and dodgy parties

Hello there! A bumper roundup this week. There is so much good blogging at the moment, and since there was no mid-week roundup, this is a bit long and some bloggers are featured more than once. As Richard Leyton says, the quality of debate is that good.

So while we’re on the issue of mid-week roundups, I would like to point out that they do exist. And moreover, for the next two weeks there will be two mid-week roundups. So — for two weeks only — Sunday morning and Tuesday and Thursday evenings are the times to visit.

Perhaps the biggest story in the Scottish blogs this week was the suggestion that The Herald has suppressed an opinion poll that showed a big lead for the SNP. The poll was apparently conducted by mruk, just weeks after it predicted a lead for Labour.

Grant Thoms at Tartan Hero has the details. It is worth saying that Charles McGhee claims that no such poll existed.

Whether it existed or not, the thing to bear in mind is that mruk is not a member of the British Polling Council and does not make its methodology public. Therefore, all opinion polls from mruk — or Scottish Opinion, as Jeff points out — should be taken with a heaped shovel of salt.

Gus at 1820 is also critical of the Scottish media’s generally unionist persuasion. He links it to Labour’s negative campaign, which is another subject that Scottish bloggers have been writing lots about this week.

Red Squirrel’s Lair has takeen a look at Labour’s lacklustre campaign against the SNP. Korakious is surprised to see himself agreeing with a Tory!

Shuggy is also shocked that David Cameron has said something sensible.

I don’t know how many people will take Labour’s apocalyptic warnings about the effects of the dissolution of the Union but they don’t deserve to be taken seriously. The idea of Scottish independence isn’t ‘crazy’, as Blair would have it; would it kill them to simply say that they think, as I do, that it is undesirable? Because as it is, one is left wondering if there’s anyone in this Labour cabinet that has anything positive to say about the Union.

Meanwhile, in the Labour camp, Kezia Dugdale has a go at arguing that negative campaigning isn’t necessarily bad campaigning. There is a lot of hypocrisy when it comes to negative campaigning. SNP supporters are constantly criticising the Labour party for its negative campaigning — but this is itself a form of negative campaigning.

Back to opinion polls now though, and some really interesting analysis. An anonymous commenter wrote his ideas at SNP Tactical Voting, and Jeff thought it was so good that he gave it its own post.

It takes the current opinion poll figures then corrects it according to how far the opinion polls were off in 2003. A very interesting approach, with some eyebrow-raising results. Holyrood Watcher adds his thoughts here.

CuriousHamster has been doing some good old-fashioned investigative blogging. Two of the “local people” in a Labour leaflet have turned out to be other Labour candidates. A classic trick, and CuriousHamster notes that most people probably won’t even notice (even if he did blog about it).

But in addition to Labour’s PEB snafu, this is quite embarrassing. Will Patterson is wondering what has happened to Labour’s slick spin machine.

It’s at around this time during every election campaign that everyone starts to talk about the BNP and persuade people not to vote for them. Clairwil has all the information you need on the BNP’s candidates, just in case you were getting fooled by the superficial spruced-up image they apparently have.

Mr Eugenides tackles the issue from the freedom of speech perspective. Is it okay to link to the BNP’s website? A thoughtful post. Richard Leyton also has his view on the BNP, believing that they key to stopping the BNP is halting apathy.

So it is apt that Sarah at Whoopdedoo has decided to try and be less ignorant about the upcoming elections. She could single-handedly stop the BNP tide! (Or… maybe not.)

Over at The Mushkush Miscellany, Niall is close to spoiling his paper. But is that due to apathy? He takes a look at the parties’ proposals.

McGellie reports a conversation he had on the train. English people are probably more in favour of independence than Scots are. But is that a surprise?

The arguments brought forward are primarily economic, but Robert Sharp argues that independence has nothing to do with economics. It’s more to do with notions of nationhood and identity. But I suppose that isn’t too much of a surprise either.

Richard Havers is not too complimentary about the Liberal Democrats. It seems as though the tactic of making the Lib Dems a one man show he been criticised quite often. It’s strange, because usually the Lib Dems suffer from not having enough well-known figures. The Nicol Stephen Party approach is only exacerbating that.

Meanwhile, Menzies Campbell’s insistence that the Lib Dems don’t enter a coalition with the SNP is investigated by Fitaloon at MicroShaft.

After the election when Labour has been properly buried the Lib Dems will do anything to try and stay in coalition, they won’t worry too much about again being the whipping boys in any coalition, as long as they can get their snouts deeper into the Holyrood trough they will be happy.

Still, the theory is that Mr Campbell isn’t interested in Holyrood so much as he has his eye on a Lib Dem–Labour coalition in Westminster!

Away from Scottish politics, the biggest story of the week — the shootings at Virginia Tech — have prompted Flying Rodent to make a rare serious point: “Where is all this rage coming from?”

Forty years ago, it was almost unheard of for middle-class people to snap and murder their peers and colleagues – now, it’s treated as a force of nature, as inevitable and unstoppable as tsunamis and earthquakes.

Back in Parliament, why is David McLean trying to stop people from gaining information on him? Put in those FOI requests about Mr McLean now!

Clairwil brings us an amusing story about how Charlie Gordon reacted when an actual member of the public actually asked him an actual question.

Is this the big story of the election simmering under the surface? Doubts are being raised over the electronic vote counting systems that will be used for the first time on the 3rd of May. I wasn’t even aware that such systems were going to be used. Fitaloon has this post on the matter, pointing out the Labour government’s disastrous record in IT.

Bookdrunk has discovered the obvious. If youngsters aren’t told about sex, guess where they turn to for advice?

Davie Hutchison has been campaigning, and it’s just a big who’s who of Scottish political blogging. He has bumped into Ewan Aitken and Mark Lazarowicz.

Calum Carr dissects an article written by Alan Milburn about the European Union. Did the article have a point? A lot of his criticisms can be levelled at Westminster as well.

Something a little bit lighter from Will Patterson, who considers the comparisons between the STV voting system and the scoring system used in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Anastasia Beaumont-Bott is offended by the new Mental Health Bill.

Why is it we want to lock up the people who cannot help their condition like people with mental disorders, but yet we are ok to let go / give early release and “support” to those who can help their actions? – y’know like certain murderers, thiefs, rapists, violent offenders etc…

Jamie Hepburn is excited that the MoD is “ready to enact SNP policy”.

This week Angry Steve is angry about the IPPR, who have proposed that the legal drinking age should be raised to 21 to curb underage drinking.

Are you really fucking dumb? By increasing the drinking age, all you’re going to do is increase the number of under-agers drinking.

We all know that the left–right spectrum is out-dated, but there are debates as to what we could actually replace it with. Flying Rodent seems to have cracked it.

…and that’s it! Phew! Some last minute notes now.

One of the roundups to appear in the next couple of weeks will be a ‘special’ about the way social networks are being used as political campaign tools. So if you know of any interesting ways that Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and the like are being used, please join the Scottish Roundup Facebook group and add your thoughts!

You could also just let me know through the usual ways — in the comments, or an email to Any suggestions — blog posts, YouTube videos, whatever — are also welcome.

Don’t forget to pop by on Tuesday for the next ‘special’. Then the next regular roundup will appear on Thursday, and I am delighted to say that it will be edited by Mr Eugenides.

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