Thanks to Marcia on the previous thread for alerting me to the fact that Ipsos-Mori have now released their Holyrood voting intention figures. The party leaders' satisfaction ratings were published a few days ago at the same time as the independence referendum poll, and the slippage in Alex Salmond's figures did lead me to fear that there might be some kind of feed-through to voting intention (although of course he was still ahead of all his Scottish rivals, and light-years ahead of the Westminster leaders).
I needn't have worried.
Holyrood constituency vote :
SNP 45% (-4)
Labour 32% (+9)
Conservatives 12% (-1)
Liberal Democrats 6% (-4)
Others 5% (-)
Ipsos-Mori's own report suggests that these figure are good news for Johann Lamont, which in one sense is an understandable interpretation, given Labour's nine-point increase. But all that really does is illustrate just how mind-bogglingly awful the previous poll was for Labour, because they're now essentially back to where they started in the May 2011 landslide defeat.
One slight note of caution : these figures are based only on the respondents who say they are certain to vote. The SNP's lead is a more modest four points among all respondents who offered a voting intention. However, the latter is not used as the headline figure for a good reason - there tends to be a very strong correlation between the percentage who tell pollsters they are certain to vote, and the actual turnout in elections.
In case you're wondering, there are no figures for the regional list vote.
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I tend to view the Twitter spat between Caron Lindsay and Rev Stu over a spoof 'Better Together' poster as a culture clash, rather than a question of right and wrong. Admittedly, I know only too well that photos can have an emotional power that words cannot match. Long-term readers of this blog will remember how incensed I was in 2009 when Kevin Baker used a photo of an elderly woman who had been practically beaten to a pulp, and accompanied it with a caption along the lines of "this is what James Kelly regards as mere bumps and bruises". But my complaint was that he had demonstrably used the power of the photo to distort the truth - by contrast Rev Stu's point is indisputably accurate, namely that being part of the United Kingdom ensures that Scottish servicemen and women will inevitably fight and die in British wars. The other, more important criticism that could have been levelled at Baker is that he was "appropriating" the suffering of the clearly identifiable woman in the photo, even though for all he knew she might have had no truck whatever with the point he was trying to make. Again, that doesn't really apply to what Rev Stu did, because the picture he used is in long-shot, and is therefore representative rather than specific and intrusive.
I suspect that if a photo like that had accompanied a sober article making much the same point as Rev Stu's, nobody would have batted an eyelid. And it goes without saying that if the photo had accompanied a piece glorifying war, and insisting that we "must go on" in order to ensure that the deaths "were not in vain", that would have been deemed absolutely fine, even though the bereaved families in the photo might not have shared the sentiment. The complaints in this case really just boil down to personal distaste for an edgy blogging style, rather than a legitimate objection to the point actually being made (which I imagine caused a degree of discomfort). Whether Rev Stu went too far is thus in the eye of the beholder, but I certainly feel strongly that we should never allow ourselves to be browbeaten into regarding the reality of war and its human cost as off-limits for normal, robust political debate - the notion that certain things are unsayable, and that certain platitudes are unchallengeable, is one of the factors that lead to pointless military and civilian deaths in the first place.