Daily catch-up: how to predict the next election; and more on the Chancellor’s war on the BBC

All you need to know about politics and other trivia to start the week

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The Independent Online

1. Fabulously complex map of the options in a hung parliament, by Martin Baxter of Electoral Calculus. It plots likely numbers of MPs for the Conservative and Labour percentage shares of the vote. Their current averages in the opinion polls are 31 per cent and 33 per cent, the point shown as a large blue dot. This is in the pink zone, in which Labour would need either the Lib Dems or the SNP to make a majority in the House of Commons.

(On the map, the Lib Dem vote share is the residual implied by Conservative and Labour figures: Baxter assumes for these purposes that the SNP and other parties’ shares are fixed. This does not take into account the changed levels of support in Scotland – see item 4.)

2. Of course the BBC is biased: my article for The Independent on Sunday about the row between George Osborne and the BBC over the suggestion on the Today programme that the Autumn Statement forecasts would take us “back to the land of The Road to Wigan Pier”.

I said the BBC was guilty of “institutional stubbornness”. However, James Harding, Director of BBC News and Current Affairs, came closer than BBC bosses usually do to admitting the Road to Wigan Pier reference was a mistake (“a tad strong”).

Also in The Independent on Sunday, my Top 10 this week was Forgotten Brands. Another Old Codgers Go On About How It Used To Be, I’m afraid.

3. Andrew Rawnsley, my rival in the Sunday political commentary business, had a striking line in his superb assessment of Gordon Brown’s career: “It is worth recalling that the New Labour years were the longest period of non-Tory government since 1762.” He’s right, you know.

4. Polling news. One of the hardest things in political forecasting at the moment is working out how the situation in Scotland will affect the outcome of next year’s general election. There have been five all-Scotland polls since the referendum, putting the SNP ahead of Labour by an average of 17 points. So it is interesting that Mike Smithson reports that Populus, by aggregating its Great Britain polls for November to produce a 1,200 sample in Scotland, put the SNP only three points ahead of Labour.

5. Thanks to Phil Lucas (via Tim C) for this addition to my Top 10 Genuine Shop Names:



6. And finally, thanks to Tom Freeman for this:

“I will never get over my dismay that ‘well-wishers’ doesn’t mean users of wishing wells.”