Election catch-up: parliament is hanging to the left, but talk of opinion polls ‘turning’ is premature

All you need to know about the election and the English language

1. Delightful. Bloomberg’s Rob Hutton has made a guide to a new hung parliament in Lego. Very clever. More speculation here (by me) and here (by Full Fact).

2. Five opinion polls were published yesterday, the first three with Labour leads of six, three and four points. This was enough to prompt The Guardian to lead its first edition with, “The day the polls turned.” Minutes after its front page hit the internet, two more polls were published (ComRes and YouGov), both with Conservative leads of one point.

The average two-point lead for Labour is not significantly different from recent level pegging. If we exclude the six-point lead from Panelbase, which has only just started polling Great Britain rather than Scotland, the Labour lead would average out at one point.

I had assumed The Guardian would change its front page, but no, its sixth and final edition carries the same headline, with the same graphic of the first three polls, while mentioning the ComRes and YouGov polls in the text. An idiosyncratic decision.

3. Guy Keleny’s Errors & Omissions column, still one of the best things in The Independent, went up late after the bank holiday weekend. You can read his erudition on the difference between “like” and “as if”, two species of journalese and how to refer to a bishop here.

4. Alex Massie reviewed the Scottish leaders TV debate, describing Jim Murphy, the Labour leader, as “a manic pterodactyl” engaged in “Operation Salvage Something”. It was indeed a fascinating and high-quality tussle. I agree with Sarah Atkin, who said: “Politics is as far from dull as I can remember.”

5. Deadline, (heard it through the) grapevine and carpet-bagger are words with American Civil War origins. Here are some more from the Oxford Dictionaries Blog.

6. And finally, thanks to Moose Allain for this:

“In the old days you had a provisional TV licence until you passed the test card.”

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