Pollsters - already in the bad books following the general election - will be sweating it ahead of the Labour leadership contest
Pollsters have largely kept their heads down since the general election, having felt rather sheepish after all the money lavished on them in the run-up to May 7th proved to have been spectacularly badly spent. But the desire to know the unknown is too strong, and so the pollsters march on. This hasn’t stopped some questioning whether they have got the whole Corbynmania thing completely wrong. After all, this is not a straightforward ‘first past the post’ election system, but a complicated preferential ranking system which lends itself to skewed results. Some people will be difficult to poll because they aren’t members, others because they’re keeping their heads down so as to be fifth columnists within the Labour movement. If the outcome again looks to be completely out of kilter with reality, there might be a second, stronger feeling that more needs to be done to improve accuracy, so expect the pollsters to be sweating it on 12th September.
In other news, Scottish Power have announced that coal-fired Longannet, the second largest power station in the whole UK, will close in 2016 with the loss of hundreds of jobs. This is to some extent the result of policy intervention, which is pushing coal out of the mix in preference to renewables, but that hasn’t stopped the SNP – as sure as night follows day – blaming the UK Government for the closure and blaming transmission arrangements. DECC has countered that Scottish bills payers have some of the cheapest transmission charges in the country. The way Scottish politics has changed since the referendum however means that support or opposition for an independent Scotland will determine which argument to believe, such is the change in the political dynamic north of the border. In fact, this shows no sign of going away. So long as the SNP remains a large political force and the Scotland remains in the UK, this is the way arguments will play out. Settle in; this one’s going to take a while to play out…