Daily catch-up: what to call Germany, what to make of Scotland and the role of Rupert Murdoch

Recommended reading on the great question of the moment, and some lesser questions

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The Independent Online

1. Fascinating map showing what people call Germany in the different countries of Europe. Spotted by Amol Rajan, the Editor, via Patrick Chovanec.

2. Apart from the linguistic history of the Teutons, there is only one question in the UK today, and that is the future of Scotland. I wrote about it for The Independent on Sunday yesterday, and then gloomily updated my analysis of yesterday's two opinion polls for Independent Voices.

3. For a better understanding of the polls, I recommend Andrew Gelman in The Washington Post (thanks to Professor Will Jennings of the University of Southampton). Gelman explains how polls can sometimes exaggerate shifts in opinion, as supporters of the side gaining ground become energised and more likely to take part in surveys.

Alex Massie, in a brilliant post at The Spectator, also makes the point about peer effects ("herd" effects if you want to annoy the nationalists). "If you’re going to jump I’ll jump too. Even if it is a long way down."

Also well worth reading is Professor Ailsa Henderson, of the University of Edinburgh, who debunks the myth of "Scottish values" being different from English ones. Once you control for social class, the Scots are no more "left wing" than the rest of the UK, except when asked where they would place themselves on the left-right spectrum. 

She has written a chapter on this in Sex, Lies and the Ballot Box, a wonderful book of political well-I-nevers edited by Rob Ford and Philip Cowley and published next month.

4. One of the great oddities of the Scottish referendum has been the support for the No campaign from Alex Salmond's comrade-in-arms in the fight for an egalitarian paradise, Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch, whose other friend in British politics is Nigel Farage, wrote on Twitter yesterday:

"Salmond's private polls predict 54-46 Yes. Desperate last ten days ahead for both sides. Most powerful media, BBC, totally biased for No."

Fancy a hard case such as Murdoch falling for the old "private polling" spin (if Salmond really had such polls, he would have published them, as Sunder Katwala points out). According to Andrew Neil, one of Murdoch's former editors, the two men spoke on Saturday:

"Sources tell me Murdoch called Salmond on Saturday re 'good news' about Sunday Times poll. Interesting."

If you need cheering up, though, just watch Jon Stewart make fun of Murdoch's Fox News coverage of the 2012 US presidential election, in which Karl Rove insisted that Mitt Romney would win even after Ohio was called for Barack Obama. (Thanks again to Rob Ford.)


5. Tesco lemonade. "No artificial flavours or colours. Ingredients: ... sweeteners, including aspartame." That is the kind of word play that gives capitalism a bad name.

6. Finally, thanks to Uncle Duke for this, which I missed at the start of the summer:

Eve: I got an Apple.

Adam: ...

Eve: ...

Adam: ...

Eve: What?

Adam: I thought we'd decided on Android.

Eve: The serpent said this was better.