After suggesting that Sturgeon and Salmond were ‘well-mashed’, Sarah Smith, on Marr this morning, could not hide a wee show of pleasure as she went on to talk about the three polls now showing an apparent small fall in support for independence.
UPDATE: James Kelly reveals poll to be non-standard: https://scotgoespop.blogspot.com/2021/03/savanta-comres-poll-yes-48-no-52.html
As well as the facial expression lifting, there was a wee handclap just on the edge of the screen. Sarah has previously given us ‘reveals’ in her choice of language and of course, her love of the Union which has given her so much, un-earned pay, is taken for granted.
Her happiness is understandable, but we need not despair. To use a footballing metaphor, they’ve given us their best but it’s still no-score at half-time.
We’ve known since 2014, from Lord Ashcroft’s poll for the NO campaign, that around a third, perhaps increasing now to over 40% are committed to independence and will not be moved. Another third perhaps reducing with the passing of time to no more than 30% will go to their graves saying NO. In between are the floating middle third or so, who quite like the idea of independence but are nervous about, in particular, economic issues and perhaps swayed by impressions of the competence and unity of SNP leaders.
For a year now, other factors such as the pandemic performance by the FM, Brexit and the Boris factor are thought to have been strong enough to have overwhelmed the other concerns.
In the last two weeks, we’ve had wall-to-wall coverage, media carpet bombing, using the Salmond/Sturgeon story of love turned to hate, a simple form so loved by tabloids. It’s been a gift they cannot expect to see again and at best, we’re neck-and-neck again. The floating middle third have floated a wee bit to NO but they’re floating remember? They can be blown back to YES.
Look at what is coming.
Mass SNP membership, recently boosted by more than 10 000. The Tories have money to advertise but no message or talent to deliver it and, critically, no foot-soldiers. Their leaflets will come through the door buried among the adverts from estate agents and pizza-sellers, with the post.
Better weather, an emergence from lock-down, kids in schools, shopping and the return to work for more and more of us, in the weeks before May 6th or at least promised before then.
While BBC Scotland will not want to let the Salmond/Sturgeon show go off-air, the election will force them into trying to save the three Unionist parties and their unconvincing manifestos. You could write the headlines and jokes now.