Spannergate 3: The reboot

three monkeys

Film reboots are a tricky business. They must walk the line between changing too much (“Why didn’t they just make a brand new film?”) and changing too little (“What was the point of that?”)

Today’s Sunday Herald piece, Revealed: The unionist Twitter trolls who shame Scotland, sadly leans too far towards the latter.  Given the byline of the piece, and the Herald’s call this week for an interview with Brian Spanner, fans were surely expecting that this article would be the grand unmasking, so far missing from the Spannergate franchise.

sunday herald spanner

Instead they were treated to the mildest possible reheat of the original Spannergate outing. The same old, old tweets, the same insinuation that J K Rowling is somehow the property of Scotland, and is therefore not allow to make her own judgements about who she befriends on-line. the same weary determination to make this a unionist problem, rather than a social media one.

The new cast do little to disguise the reheated nature of this outing. Jill Stephenson’s cameo as Historywoman could have added some intellectual weight, but her brief appearance, in amongst the other new-comers – all of whom have more digits in their usernames than their follower counts – reduced her to just an out-of-context tweet.

All this article really has to add to the series it seems are a few typos that a good editor would have spotted and, coming as does a year and a half after the story it repeats, the mystery of whether The Herald is employing slow readers, slow typists or merely slow thinkers as its columnist.

The brief allusion to the original theory that there may be more than one person behind the Spanner account even makes it in, although it is so hackneyed now that one wonders if it was meant as a sly backhanded compliment, implying that Spanner’s output is too diverse to be the work of a single man.

That certainly isn’t a problem that Brian’s “counterpart” on the independence side, Wings Over Scotland, has, as virtually everyone who reads his pieces thinks, “This was written by a single man”.

Which brings us, finally, to the main problem with this reboot. Reboots work best when there is a solid reason for their existence, but this one is a transparently thin attempt to distract from in-fighting in the independence camp by trying to interest them in settling their differences and re-fighting an old battle instead.

That Spannergate III is so weak that it can’t even entice pro-Indy supporters to fight pro-Union ones is surely the most damning condemnation it can be given.

 

Scotland the not-brave-enough

saltire note

In this blog I’m going to talk about something a little outside of my comfort-zone; economics.

I did, briefly, study economics at A-level, back in the late 80s. Owing to having to make a stark choice between turning up for a key exam or going to my girlfriend’s house when her parents weren’t in I obtained an ‘unclassified’ grade. I stand by my choice and have no regrets, but I hope you will excuse any minor errors in my economic theory and write them off to teenage hormones 30 years ago.

On Tuesday Ben Wray, the Common Weal head of policy, published this article. It lays out how an independent Scotland should manage its currency policy in order to prosper outside of the remains of the United Kingdom. The thinking rests upon the premise that, “a government with its own currency can never go bankrupt as it can, without cost, produce more money”.

This allows the article to swiftly move past the issue of £13bn deficit that Scotland would face without rest-of-UK (rUK) support; it would simply print enough money to bridge the gap.

Obviously there’s a serious problem with this, and that problem is why the rest of the article is so tame.

Why stop with simply bridging the deficit? If you’re firing up the ol’ printing-presses it’s hardly worth stopping them after the first £13bn, is it? Why not keep them cranking until you can reward every indy voter with a personal windfall of £1m?

That may seem like a pipe-dream, but think about it – the currency is being produced at, literally, no cost. and pumping that money into the economy would free up jobs (by encouraging people to retire early), create new jobs (to support the spending sprees of the newly wealthy) and, you’re thinking, through VAT, fuel duty, alcohol & tobacco tax, massively boost government revenue.

Wrong! You’re still thinking too small!

The is a political and financial cost to collecting tax. People don’t like it and you need staff, some of them very highly skilled, in order to prise money from your populace. On the other hand, simply deciding how much tax revenue you need and printing that much has absolutely no political or financial cost.

Even that, though, isn’t audacious enough. Why limit yourself to only printing what you would have got from tax? Hospitals in Scotland could be like palaces, schools could be like…different palaces, the trains could be liked wheeled palatial residences, every public service could be the envy of the world.

Speaking of the world, why not properly put Scotland on the world map? Its booming economy, zero tax rate and wonderful public services will mean that it will become the number one destination for companies and individuals worldwide, and proud Scotland can have its pick of the potential immigrants. At the moment it’s content to be a small part of larger efforts in space exploration, but when the top rocket scientists are keen to make Scotland their home, and when hi-tech businesses seek out Scotland’s massive public subsidies, its world-class transport links to Berwick, its near-English-speaking workforce and its predictably mundane weather, and when $5Tn is just a matter of a few weekends overtime for the lads at RBS (who can also print off their own bonus) then why not set our sights on a 100% Scottish manned mission to Mars?

To bring ourselves back to Earth for a moment, Wary does explain mention that governments collecting taxes keeps inflation down, so a no-tax Scotland would need a different mechanism to achieve this.

The answer is achingly simple. Every year (I suggest on Scottish independence day) a new batch of all the money is printed, and notes from the previous year become invalid a week later. This gives the government complete control over the money supply, and stops selfish individuals hording their money, rather than keeping it moving through the economy.

If necessary, by printing slightly less than all the money, the government can even make inflation negative, helping to lower the cost of living for Scotland’s joyous population.

There you have it, then, by adopting Wray’s ambitious, yet flawless, scheme and by refusing to be bound by old-think on how money supply works it becomes possible to build a new Scotland. A Scotland with one foot in modernity, one foot in a brave new future and one swinging towards Mars, ready to kick it into the net of history.

What a goal!

Bouncy-Bouncy F**cking Content

On every trip to the cinema we see, just before the main features starts, its certificate from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). This is such a part of our normal experience that we barely notice it, yet it’s a symbol of one of the strangest, yet most successful, collaborations between government and private enterprise.

bbfc classifications

Despite the ubiquity of the BBFC’s familiar age-restriction symbols on DVDs and video games it is not a branch of government; it was found by – and remains funded by – the film industry itself. Even more strangely it has never had any legal authority to control what is seen on cinema screens around the UK. That power rests with local authorities who, via the 1909 Cinematograph Act, licence local cinemas and thereby hold in the ultimate say in what they can show.

The BBFC was formed in 1912, by an industry worried that if they did not self-regulate then a much more heavy-handed government censor would arise. Since then they have built a symbiotic partnership with local and national government; the local authority issues cinemas with their licence, a condition of said licence is that they only show films that have been classified by the BBFC and the studios work with the BBFC to ensure that their films gain the classification they desire, and pay them per film for their classification, while the BBFC keep Whitehall’s scissors far away.

The BBFC didn’t gain any legal status until 1984, with the Video Recordings Act, which made it illegal to sell a video in the UK if it did not carry a BBFC certification. This was a deft legal move by the government of the day. The legal path for taking a film producer or distributor to court involves the Obscene Publications Act (1959), which means proving that the work taken as a whole is likely to “deprave or corrupt”. The government of the early 80s saw a new technology that was rapidly spreading through homes in the country, and their route to preventing the sort of filth that Mary Whitehouse and her Festival of Light got so flustered about led them straight through many protracted court-cases, which would inevitably hang upon the broad-mindedness of 12 people picked at random for the jury.

The VRA solution put the decision making in the hands of the organisation that had been doing exactly that for more than 70 years and made the legal process as simple as, “Did you supply this video? Does it have a classification? Guilty!”

I mention all of this history, because the BBFC is to again have its remit expanded, as it is to be the body appointed to decide what is, or is not, a pornographic web-site, under the governments proposed new age-verification laws.

One one hand (no pun intended) this seems simple; if the BBFC determines that a site is pornographic then it must introduce a method of verifying the user’s age. Web-sites that are non-compliant may be fined, or the BBFC may force UK ISPs to block access them (and fine the ISPs if they fail to do so). Any site with the purpose of providing sexual gratification which contains material that they would classify as 18 or R18 (the classification used for adult videos, which can only be sold by licensed sex shops) will have to provide an age-verification mechanism.

The first problem with this is that some websites will contain material which the BBFC cannot classify as R18, because of UK law. While this includes material that we’re all happier without (child abuse, necrophilia, bestiality, etc.) it also includes a fairly arbitrary list of banned subjects, that were sneaked into the 2003 Communications Act at the end of 2014 and ignored, because they were unenforceable. This change will make them enforceable…so if you’re happily wanking away to a bit of face-sitting, spanking or female ejaculation then your days are numbered.

The BBFC is left with the choice of asking these sites to remove this content (which, in some cases, may be their entire raison d’être) or have them entirely blocked by UK ISPs. This is not the film industry, where the BBFC has always been on the inside, quietly advising on what would or wouldn’t get past their eagle-eyes at the classification stage. This is the BBFC as a straightforward ban/allow censor, a role they’ve spent all of their post-war years moving away from.

But this is just a manifestation of a subtler change. The BBFC has always been a fairly progressive force – the legal underpinnings that allow them to pass, say, Fifty Shades Darker uncut as an 18 this year haven’t changed since the days of black & white films. The BBFC exists to protect the film industry from the Obscene Publications Act and they have done so by skillfully reading what the public will deem acceptable.

rebel-without-a-cause-movie-star-news--2-720x500-blur
Ban this filth!

This ends now, as the BBFC is where it never wanted to be – up against the hard wall of legislation. The BBFC cannot unilaterally decide that, say, the UK public is ready for watersports. That will require an act of parliament (and I pity the MP who decides to introduce it). For 105 years the BBFC have been quietly pushing the bounds of what adults can watch, and now we’ve reached a point where they can no longer help us.

The biggest problem though is what a fundamental change to the BBFC this is. Their relationship with their previous content providers has been, as was mentioned, symbiotic. If you want your film shown in a cinema you have to take it to the BBFC. If you want to sell it on DVD in the UK then you need the BBFC certificate. And the BBFC charges a rate per minute to examine the material. Their customers come to them, and always have.

Their new client base doesn’t want their attention, isn’t paying for it and has hours – years – of content, changing on a daily basis, new sites rising and falling as quickly as the action in their videos.

I’m sure that on a site like PornHub it will take an examiner seconds to determine that it is a porn site, but determining whether it contains anything illegal under UK is probably weeks of work. Is there an appeals process? Determining if a site exists for the purposes of sexual gratification doesn’t sound like much more of a solid legal test than those in the OPA (and if you imagine this is always an easy determination then I respectfully point you to Car Stuck Girls, which looks and feels like a porn site, but doesn’t actually seem to contain anything that is pornographic, except presumably to those with extremely specialised tastes). How will the BBFC ensure sites keep on complying? Do sites that only list handy links to non-age-checking websites have to be age-verified? Are the BBFC going to be held responsible for every site that slips through the net, or every one that offers something which isn’t legal in the UK?

While it’s tempting to see these new powers as a natural extension of the BBFCs role they do then represent a sizeable shift away from their century-old business model, and one which drops them into a world they’re ill-equipped to deal with.

In fact, it’s almost as if this is a hasty, ill-considered, “think of the children!” knee-jerk reaction that tries to hammer a square peg into a round hole, simply because no other pegs are available. It’s enough to elicit a “fucking idiots” even from Mrs Whitehouse.

mary whitehouse

 

 

This blog is not available

This week I invited my reader to submit their essays giving a ‘hot-take’ on the casting of the new Doctor, with the promise of publishing the best one right here,  on the world’s number 1 spreadsheet/religion blog.

Unfortunately me and my team have been unable to pick a winner, so this blog will not be appearing.

doctor who sorry

I hope the rejection letters below do, in some small way, explain this inexcusable editorial lapse.

Dear Mr Think of the Children,

Thank you for your submission to the ‘Doctor Who Hot Take’ contest. We found your article well-written and passionately argued. Unfortunately, however, it seems that you failed to carry out a Google search for the term “male heroes”, which would have comprehensively disproved your central tenet.

Yours, etc.

Dear Mr Slave,

Thank you for your submission to the hot-take contest. Your interpretation of Doctor Who as a series where the viewer takes the passive, female role and waits to be terrified and have aliens ‘mansplained’ to them was both novel and well-reasoned.

However, your development of these themes rendered your article entirely unsuitable for publication on a family blog and, should they make the transition into reality, seem likely to cause you serious internal injuries.

Yours, etc.

Dear Mr Angry-of-Taunton,

Regarding your recent submission to the hot-take contest; although we did not set an absolute word limit we rejected your entry at around the 15,000 word mark (just as your 3rd wife left you), because you hadn’t yet mentioned Doctor Who and there was nothing to suggest you were ever going to.

Yours, etc.

Dear Mr Anti-SJW,

Thank you for sending us your hot-take. Unfortunately, owing to a 3-minute downtime on our e-mail account, it was found to be stone cold upon arrival.

Yours, etc.

Dear Mr PC_Gone_Mad,

Thank you for your detailed imaginings on directions that new Doctor Who story-lines may take. Unfortunately we feel that questions like ‘How much menstrual blood does it take to drown a Dalek’ and ‘Can you strangle and Ice-Warrior with a bra’ are ones which we cannot answer, although we are rather worried that our readers may attempt to.

Yours, etc.

PS Sorry to hear about your PC problems. Perhaps try reinstalling Windows.

Caan_mutant
Ewwww!

Dear Dr Whore,

Thank you for your extremely…inventive…entry. You certainly seem enthusiastic about the casting decision! However, we feel that the issues you raise would be better directed at the script-writers/the BBC wardrobe department/the police. Also, as pages 3-6 of your e-mail were stuck together, we had to reject your entry as incomplete.

Please DO NOT resend it. We’re happier this way.

Yours, etc.

Dear Ms Gal O’Frey,

Thanks for sending us your (very) short entry to the Doctor Who hot-take contest. While we agree with your sentiment (“Jesus, at least wait until she’s appeared in a episode before you decide, you pathetic man-babies”), we feel it’s hardly in the spirit of the thing.

Yours, etc.

Thank you to everyone for their entries. Almost everyone. Some people. God, we’re never doing this again!

The big heat

Is there a way to win?

There’s a way to lose more slowly.

It’s hard to escape this week the feeling that we’re all playing a role in an artfully directed film noir. The stifling heat-wave acting as a skillful metaphor for the stupefying complexity of Brexit; cheap fans recirculating hot air over the people recirculating year-old arguments; everyone hoping for the slightest breeze to bring relief.

Like the hard-boiled detective we stake out our mark, David Davis, watching the building across the street, looking for any clue as to what he’s up to in there, sweat on our shirt collars, a camera and a hip-flask our only companions. Slowly we’re starting to see the big picture. This isn’t a film with a happy ending. There are no goodies and baddies. Instead we’re caught in the cross-fire of two rival crime gangs; they hate each other, certainly, but that doesn’t mean that either of them cares for us.

may b&w
“From the minute she walked into office I knew that dame was trouble”

In fact we might have the sneaking suspicion that we’re nearing the point in the plot where one or the other sends their goons to beat us senseless, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear to us.

First there’ll be a scene where we can’t sleep. We toss and turn, entangled in the unpleasantly damp sheets of tedious negotiations, before heading to the sash window and looking to the sky for relief. All this heat means that the storm must be coming. We can taste it on the air and convince ourselves that we can hear the distant rumble of its thunder.

may B&w2
“She had legs that just wouldn’t quit. Not just the legs, actually”

The director, of course, won’t allow the storm to break just yet. It as to wait for the climax of the film, when the McGuffin we’ve been chasing is almost within our grasp. That’s when the rain comes hammering down, and the drowsy daydream we’ve been living is violently washed away.

That’s when, torrents pouring down parched gutters, we must face whichever gang boss remains. First they’ll appeal to our reason, and ask us nicely to see things their way. If that doesn’t work then that’s when they up to stakes and the threats are unveiled.

corbyn B&W
“Made it, Marr! Top of the world!”

Then we find out what kind of story this was. Whether it’s the kind where the hero dies, or has a clever plan to get out of it all. Whether there’s any sort of ‘happily ever after’, or even a beautiful friendship. Whether it’s just the kind where the hero has to accept that they’re part of an imperfect world, and try to find morality not in being moral, but rather in recognising that they’re not.

But we won’t know until the storm breaks.

Until then, how can one sleep or work or think in this insufferable heat?

Meet the new bus…

In amongst the past week’s political turmoil and human tragedy The Daily Express’ claim that Brexit would make the UK £156 billion per annum better off passed almost unnoticed. In case you missed it, here’s one of my favourite hard-Brexit idiots sharing the story – and reading it exactly the way The Express intended it to be read:

better brexit 1

This is, of course, the stock-in-trade of The Express, and it would be easy to dismiss this as just another day of drum-beating for Brexit, maybe make a joke about it and move on. However, when I did exactly that, one of my Twitter followers asked if I’d read the report on which it was based, and kindly provided a link.

I read the article, I read the report, I read the reports the report cited. I’m not an economist, but this material is largely written for the lay-reader anyway or, perhaps more accurately, it’s written for the lay-journalist, who is looking for quick headlines and may overlook the stage-magician misdirection in these pieces.

Let’s start with Dancing Palace Guard – who I genuinely do not believe intended to mislead anyone, they simply either looked only at the headline, or were misled by the article. The ‘better off’ that is being talked about is a £156bn increase in the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP). GDP is an estimate of the total value of all goods and services produced within the UK. It’s not government revenue, so it can’t pay for a new NHS, more armed services or indeed anything else. It’s just a suggestion that the total amount of ‘stuff’ that we make and sell would rise.

The Express kindly tells us that this amount is equal to 7.2% of current GDP, and even breaks down where that money is coming from.

better brexit 2

Starting at the arse-end of that sentence you may recognise the money that was the most important thing in the world up until 23rd June last year, after which it was discovered that nobody had ever mentioned it or alluded to it in any way at all.

Former London Mayor Boris Johnson speaks at the launch of the Vote Leave bus campaign, in favour of Britain leaving the European Union, in Truro

It’s striking that already terms are getting muddled up. Our net contribution to the EU is direct government spending, quoting it mixed up with estimates for increased GDP is either confusing or confused.

Slightly more striking thing is that it’s the wrong figure.

Basic maths tells us that if 7.2% of GDP is £156Bn then 0.7% of GDP is £15.2Bn, not the £10Bn mentioned by The Express (which, in turn, is citing this report by the, presumably neutral, Leave Means Leave campaign)

This suggests that one of two things happened here:

  1. The writer of this piece has done their own calculations (workings not shown) and come to the conclusion that investing £10Bn into the UK economy would yield a 50% ROI, every year, in terms of GDP growth, or
  2. The writer of this piece spend so little time on the original report that they didn’t even notice that the mention of 0.7% of GDP was in an entirely different section to the investment of EU contributions.

better brexit 3

Easy mistake to make.

You might also notice that the report specifically recommends against spending our EU contributions on the NHS – or any public infrastructure at all – but rather spending it on “commercial ventures” which “create[s] economic growth, wealth and jobs”. Perhaps, “We send £350 million per week of tax-payers money to the EU, let’s give it to private companies and hope that, in our new low-tax economy, they spend it well enough for us to get some of it back” wouldn’t fit on a bus.

But let’s get back to that deregulation, from which The Express claim we’ll see a 2.5% bump to our GDP. Here the Leave Means Leave report (a) starts relying on external sources and (b) manages to descend almost into farce.

It starts by referencing Open Europe’s top 100 most costly pieces of EU legislation. Here’s there top 5, from their own web-site:

better brexit 4

In total Open Europe estimates that the top 100 most expensive policies cost us £33.3Bn annually. The top five however gives us a flavour of the problems with just reclaiming that money. Nobody in the EU referendum voted to repeal climate legislation or to worsen conditions for permanent or temporary workers. These laws would have to be revisited and rewritten and, presumably, recosted.

[Edited to add: The mysterious ‘CRD IV package’ that’s at number 2 in that list is the raft of regulations that were brought in after the 2008 financial crisis, and are designed to stop us having to do another £500 billion bank bail-out. Tearing up legislation with gay abandon is a very dangerous thing to do]

The Leave Means Leave report then cites the British Chamber of Commerce’s figure of a total annual cost of £80Bn for all EU laws. It then goes on to say:

better brexit 5

Firstly, 2% of GDP is around £50Bn, from laws costing us £80Bn/year. That is not a “modest deregulatory target”, that is tearing up more than 60% of laws and not replacing them with anything.

More importantly – why the hell are they quoting these figures as a percentage of GDP??? This gives the impression that if we scrap these laws then all of the money saved somehow ends up in our national bank-balance. GDP is, recall, just the total value of ‘stuff’ that we produce. If we save a company £1 in regulation does £1 more of ‘stuff’ fall out of the end of the sausage machine? Or is it more likely we remove legal protections for everyone in exchange for more profit for shareholders?

They tellingly say (emphasis added):

Potential savings from deregulation of 0.7 per cent of GDP were estimated by Open Europe at the time of its report as the maximum politically acceptable savings from deregulating a proportion of the top 100.

Even if this £33Bn, or £50Bn, or whatever were there for the taking even the people proposing it are recognising that it’s only something we can do after Brexit. It’s not an automatic consequence, it doesn’t swing into action the minute we step away from the EU. And it’s still less than the 2.5% that The Express are quoting.

The author adds to the end of this section,  somewhat wistfully:

Having sat for years on Mrs Thatcher’s Deregulation Task Force, which was largely fruitless, the willful forces of inertia in Whitehall and amongst their doppelgänger, big corporates, should not be underestimated.

There’s no doubt that this ‘modest’ deregulation is the work of years, or decades.

This is also the main issue with the big 4% boost to GDP from Free-Trade Agreements (FTAs) with the rest of the world.

Here the argument gets more technical, but basically it boils down to Treasury forecasts say the economy will shrink by 8% post-Brexit, while another group, Economists for Free Trade (formerly Economists for Brexit) say that it will rise by 4%, thanks to all of the free-trading that we’ll be doing.

That is, however, contingent upon:

we have as near to “signature ready” arrangements available on Brexit day plus
one, with as many countries as possible. These will help facilitate future economic growth and the removal of technical barriers

In the best-case scenario, then, we are plunging into Brexit with only the hope that countries across the world will be happy to sign free-trade agreements with us, negotiated in record time, and that the ‘technical barriers’, of which there are many, will be happily resolved in the future.

Leave Means Leave then reassure us that this is not the be-all and end-all of Brexit:

However, it is also important to recognise that 80 per cent of the economy is not concerned with exports and will benefit from the other manifest benefits of Brexit. As will the 11 per cent, which is already associated with exports to the ROTW.

A report that, in places, dithers over whether it wants 0.7% growth or 0.9% growth here manages to write-off one fifth of the UK economy, doesn’t even attempt to work out what percentage don’t directly export, but do rely on imports or form part of the supply chain for a final exporter, and seems not to recognise that the 11% of the economy that trades with the rest of the world does so under EU agreements.

As the section concludes:

By contrast FTAs with the ROTW, including with the United States, are dependent on other parties and while business will be encouraged by the success of these, it will be even more so by recognising benefits that are more certain, especially in prospect as opposed to completion.

In other words, the difference between an 8% shrinkage of our economy and a 4% growth is entirely in the hands of other nations, and even if they cooperate we still have barriers to overcome.

All in, then, our £156Bn Brexit bounty is dependent on funnelling tax-payers’ money into private commerce, in a market which may be tanking, while also shredding regulations and simultaneously negotiating dozens of free-trade agreements, in the hope that in some distant future we’ll start to see those publicly funded businesses do well enough to pay a bit more in tax.

Sounds very much like a case of “Meet the new bus (same as the old bus)”…

better brexit 6

Sample assize

I just did a Twitter search on the term “trust polls”, and the results weren’t good. Nobody wants to trust polls. The polling industry stands accused of a list of crimes; the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, the 2015 general election, the 2016 EU referendum and US presidential election and now, just to prove that they haven’t mended their criminal ways, they’re refusing to clearly say what the outcome of this election is going to be.

Some rogues are saying that the Tories still have a double-figure lead, while others have the gap as slender as a couple of points. They won’t simply tell you whether the ruling party is going to gain or lose 20 seats.

After getting all those things wrong how dare they toy with you like this?

ukip poll
Accurate polling, pictured yesterday in 2015

Well, let’s talk about you. Yes, you. And, frankly, it’s about time we had a chat about your unreasonable behaviour. Since the dawn of humanity you’ve been demanding to know the future. “Read the chicken entrails!” you demand, “Interpret my dreams”, “Deal the Tarot”, “Look for patterns in the heavens”, “I’ve come all the way to bastard Delphi and you won’t even tell me next week’s lottery numbers!”

And when the chicken entrails lie, or your dreams were just dreams, or the Tarot card you pick is no more exciting that the 4 of cups, and your lottery numbers don’t come up, well then it’s the fault of the fortune teller, not your greed for certainty in an uncertain future.

elvira-mistress-of-the-dark
Cassandra, who was cursed to speak only true prophesies, to men who were too busy staring at her boobs to listen

Let’s face it, you devour polls. You weave your narratives around them, they become crutches for your lame political biases, you distribute them to laud, you distribute them to mock, when your back’s against the wall you’ll even call them up, like a mugged drunkard summoning his well-kicked dog, to defend your arguments, and, by and large, you pay not a penny for them. Yet you deride them as inaccurate, you call them biased, you accuse them of being tools of influence, rather than reflection.

You need to wind your fucking neck in, mate.

Do you not understand polling? The polls tell you no more than you told them. In 2015 you told them – you promised them – that you were going to vote Labour. And then you didn’t. Then you demanded to know why the polls had reported your lies as if they were truth. Why didn’t they find the shy Tories? Why didn’t you spot the lazy Labours, why did they stick to statistics when we needed to see psychology, why…oh, hang on, it’s time for another general election – yes, I’m voting for Labour.

Never mind whether you trust the polls, the killer question this election is whether the polls trust you.

trust graph