Another batch of Ashcroft opinion polls in individual constituencies were released on Wednesday, and they could hardly have been worse for the Unionist parties. They were in fact so bad that even Reporting Scotland had to mention them, so that was pretty bad indeed.
The Smugurph was de-smugged as the softly spoken Jim was drowned in a tsunami of treacly goodness, although not good for Jim. Jim actually got off comparatively lightly, as the Ashcroft poll in his seat showed that he had a lead of 1%. This is well within the margin of error, so to all intents and purposes Jim’s tied with the SNP – a remarkable fact in a seat which until recently had a Tory majority. It’s even less comforting for him when you look at the raw polling data. Strip away the statistical conjuring employed by all polling companies to take account of previous voting behaviour, the gender, income and age of respondents, and what star sign they are, and you find that Jim was well behind. Just a tiny push more, and the Blairite who claims he’s a socialist, the supporter of nuclear weapons who claims he’s a disarmer, could lose his seat. That would be karma for the political chameleon.
Magrit’s stairheid was rammyless and if you stood quiet and still you could hear the sound of distant sobs and neighbours complaining that she never took her turn with the mop, she just polluted the close with her sense of entitlement, so they’ve swept her away themselves. Wee Wullie Bain has run off back to his maw’s, and Ian Davidson is wounded and limping away from the bayonet that’s going to finish off his career in a few short weeks.
The big beast Gordie Broon saw the biggest beasting in his seat. In Kirkcaldy there’s a projected swing of over 30% to the SNP, which will see Gordie’s successor come far behind the SNP. People in Fife would quite like an MP who actually turns up and represents them. Now there would be a novelty. Kirkcaldy deserves an MP who realises that his job is to speak in the Commons on behalf of the people who voted for him, not to swan off and give highly paid speeches for a charidee that exists only to enable the MP to continue to swan off and give more highly paid speeches in expensive conference centres. Gordie Broon’s the man of the people, the former leader of the people’s party, who will only speak in front of vetted or paying audiences. He never saw the irony.
Over in Paisley Dougie Alexander desperately tried to take credit for keeping a hospital ward open in the hope that reflected credit might buy him a vote from some people who hadn’t heard he’d played no part in the campaign to save the ward – he just turned up for the photie. Dougie’s career is on life support and he needs all the help he can get. The Labour machine is going to be unplugged very soon, a visit to the Dignitas clinic is the only dignity they’ve got.
The Murph E Coyote keeps up with the spin as he leaves the cliff edge far behind. The McTernan Acme Policy Catalogue is raided for yet another cunning wheeze, but nothing works. All Jim has left is repeating the stale lie that the largest party forms the government and voting SNP reduces Labour’s chances of being the largest party. That’s not how the House of Commons works, and Jim knows that full well. He’s just hoping that you, me, the woman on the 60 bus and the guy in the queue at the post office don’t. But we know better. What do you do when the lies don’t work any more Jim? What do you do?
But the weeping and wailing and gnashing of wallies was not confined to Labour. The wallies of the Lib Dems discovered that they’re even more screwed than Labour is, which is a bit like finding out that you’re even less popular in auditions for Britain’s Got Talent than a dysentery virus doing an impression of a zombie apocalypse. Although it must be said that Labour do an extremely convincing impression of a zombie apocalypse. Anyone who has actually seen Gordie Broon give one of his speeches knows just how good they are at that, which is probably why they’re always by invitation only.
Charlie Kennedy made the realisation that he was going to have a lot more free time to muse over whether if he’d had given himself less free time while serving as an MP then perhaps he just might not have lost it. But it’s even worse for fellow Lib Dem Robert Smith (no, I’ve never heard of him either) who some years ago was given a knighthood for services to being a nonentity. Boabie discovered that he’s going to be paying a double price for his shortcomings. It’s bad enough that he’s a Lib Dem, and Lib Dems are now a byword for “lying scheming duplicitous gits who’ll sell their soul for a ministerial motor”, but Boabie also has a profile flatter than road kill and is about to turn into road kill himself. Sucking Boabie isn’t just going to be beaten by the SNP, his vote share was lower than the Conservatives. That’s like discovering that you’re less welcome than Hannibal Lector turning up at a vegetarian dinner party with a recipe for home made liver pate.
Not that the Tories have anything to crow about, down in the Borders Scotland’s only Tory panda is staring extinction in the face. Davie Mundell, is tied with the SNP in his seat. Just a couple votes more for Emma Harper, and she can consign the panda to oblivion.
These polls are all the more remarkable for the simple reason that the campaigning hasn’t even started yet. Even on generous estimates of party membership for the Unionist parties, the SNP all by itself can count on three or four times the entire combined total of members of Labour, the Scottish Tories and the Lib Dems. And that’s assuming that Labour’s supposed members are as motivated and energised as the SNPs, and that the Tories can supply enough zimmer frames to get their membership out of the care home. The SNP’s members and activists have barely started chapping on doors yet.
So if you’re a Yes voter and you live in David Mundell or Jim Smugurphy’s constituency – or indeed anywhere else in Scotland – get out and get active. Support the candidate with the best chance of unseating your local unionist placeholder. Let’s wipe the slate clean.
The English poet John Dryden once wrote: beware the fury of a patient man. Scotland has been patient far too long. The fury of a patient people is about to arrive.
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