Daily catch-up: That Speech, referendum news, and John ‘Irresponsible’ Prescott

Busy day? Here are half a dozen useful things to know to get you through it

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The Independent Online

1. Ed Miliband's speech had some good points, which I tried to list for Independent Voices yesterday. I told the Labour leader's spin doctors they did not need to read to the end.

Andrew Grice was also less than wholly impressed in today's Independent. "The speech reinforces the impression that Labour has a '35 per cent strategy' in which it hopes to limp over the finishing line with the backing of its core vote and Liberal Democrat 2010 voters." (I also did a short "what he said and what he meant" commentary.)

"The principle of together." Give me strength.

2. The speech was plagued by presentational mishaps. The Dave Lee Travis verdict was announced just as Miliband was about to speak, so when he started neither the BBC News channel nor Sky News was showing it. Part of the way through the networks then cut away from the speech to bring us Barack Obama's statement on air strikes against Isis, before coming back for yet more of the interminable chat.

Journalists who had been issued with an advance text of the speech spotted that Miliband had forgotten several important passages: mentioning the deficit; confirming Ed Balls's message the day before that Labour proposed no extra borrowing beyond Conservative plans (previously Balls had kept the option of more borrowing for capital investment); using the phrase "One Nation"; saying One Nation Labour had changed from New Labour (sensible to leave that bit out); and saying that "immigration benefits our country but..." which would have been the only mention of immigration.

Thus confirming the view that feats of memorisation are rather less impressive than delivering a text and getting it right.

3. If you have not caught up with Tony Blair's essay published on Monday on dealing with Isis, it is here. John Prescott, whose middle name was once Loyalty, compared his former leader to a medieval Christian crusader in an interview yesterday with Michael Crick.

As Julie Lenarz of the Human Security Centre said, his comments were "not only wrong but irresponsible. To evoke the idea of 'crusade' plays right into Isis's hands."

4. Now that one referendum is out of the way, we can turn our attention to the possible next one, on the UK's membership of the European Union. YouGov yesterday found a two to one majority for staying in the EU if David Cameron "renegotiated" terms and recommended a Yes vote: 54 per cent to stay, 25 per cent to leave.

5. There are still one or two myths about the Scottish referendum that need to be scotched before they become accepted. Rick Nye of Populus, the polling company, wrote this about his work for the No campaign.

"The lesson of the Scottish referendum for campaigners is that to be successful you have to focus on what the evidence says rather than what commentators say."

I have always said you should pay no attention to commentators. One thing many of us say is that the newly enfranchised 16- and 17-year-olds overwhelmingly voted Yes. This is based on a sub-sample in a Lord Ashcroft poll of 14 people, 10 of whom voted Yes and four No. This graph of YouGov figures shows what all the polls show, which is that the highest Yes support came from the 25-39 age bracket.

age.jpg

 

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6. Finally, thanks to Amanda (Pandamoanimum) for this:

"What do we want?"

"Autocorrect to stop making us look stupid by changing simple words in our text."

"When do we want it?"

"Not!"

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