Martin Hannan: Time to dispel election myths

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The general election has already thrown up so many myths and downright inaccuracies that it would take a whole book to list them.

Nevertheless, here’s my handy guide to answering the nonsense that has been spouted so far.

Nicola and the SNP, of which I’m a member, want another referendum: of course we do, the clue is in the party’s constitution – “the aims of the party shall be independence for Scotland”. That hasn’t changed and having stated that we will achieve independence via a referendum, the SNP will work towards gaining a second one. This I will say – after last September’s verdict, it will not happen for some considerable time, possibly five to ten years at the minimum, and will only take place when it is clear that sufficient numbers of the population of Scotland have changed their mind to vote Yes.

There is only one poll that counts: I love that line, especially as May 7 draws nearer. Of course they ALL count, as poll results indicate which parties are gaining momentum and which are not, and that counts for a great deal in convincing voters about how they should vote.

Ed Miliband is a ninny and would not make a good prime minister: he may occasionally come across as a bit of a prat, but Miliband is surprising many people, including myself, with a much stronger showing than was expected. He is beginning to look as if he could occupy Number Ten and would do a better job than David Cameron, that’s for sure.

The Unionist parties won’t do a deal with the SNP: absolute nonsense – if they require SNP backing to gain power, they will all beat a path to Nicola Sturgeon’s door. For what it’s worth I am sticking to my prediction that the SNP will not win a landslide in Scotland, but will hold the balance of power unless there’s the late surge from Ukip to the Tories which I anticipate. As for the Liberal Democrats, I expect them to implode and win fewer than 20 seats.

Tactical voting will be hugely important: yet again the London media is imposing its mindset on actuality. The vast majority of 
voters across the UK will stick to their first choice of party, and will not be swayed by thoughts of changing vote to keep another party out. Voting tactically would be a negative thing to do and it’s JUST NOT BRITISH, don’t you know.

The largest party in terms of seats will form the next government: that may well be the outcome, but it doesn’t have to be. The new law on fixed term parliaments makes it abundantly clear that if there’s a hung parliament, even if Labour gets more seats, David Cameron could try and stitch together a right-wing coalition to keep Miliband out of Number Ten.

The broadcasters must give every party a fair crack of the whip: that is arrant nonsense, as the Scottish leaders’ debates showed. The decision to keep Patrick Harvie of the Scottish Greens off the debates was blamed on Ofcom’s rules about “major parties” but that is a downright lie. STV and BBC Scotland’s exclusion of Harvie from their four-party debates – the Beeb’s is on May 3 – shows disgusting bias and the editorial chiefs at both channels should resign forthwith.

Store discount for one day only . . and not on anything they have in stock

An elderly lady of my acquaintance travelled all the way across Edinburgh to Homebase’s store at Straiton at the weekend. She was keen to take advantage of the extra discounts on offer only on that particular day on a particular type of garden furniture, as advertised on the Homebase website.

When she got there she was told there were none left, despite the fact that one set was being used in the store as a display product.

Challenged firmly by the lady’s daughter, the manager said he would honour the discount as soon as a set of the furniture came to the store, though he couldn’t say when that would be.

Put it this way, I’ll be checking to make sure that happens.

Hibees can focus on Premiership

Commiserations to all at Hibs over the defeat by Falkirk in the Scottish Cup semi-final at the weekend.

There is only one good thing to come out of it, which is that Alan Stubbs and his men are now free to concentrate on making sure that they get back into the Premiership next season.

You can do it, lads.

No token action

If you are thinking of using national book tokens to buy your holiday reading at the WH Smith bookstores at Edinburgh Airport, don’t bother, as the staff could not process mine.

Is leak breach of Secrets Act?

On the subject of general election lies and distortions, has anyone considered that the so-called “Frenchgate” leaks about Nicola Sturgeon’s supposed view of David Cameron is possibly a breach of the Official Secrets Act?

The information was leaked by a “crown servant”, as the Act puts it, and has damaged relations with France, so in terms of prosecution it would seem to be a possible breach.

Just as long as the “crown servant” is prosecuted and not the journalists who printed the story. Their only fault was not to bother checking if it was true. . . which it absolutely was not.