There are two new voting intention polls in Sunday’s papers – ICM for the Sun on Sunday and Opinium for the Observer.

ICM in the Sun on Sunday have topline figures of CON 41%(-1), LAB 42%(+2), LDEM 7%(-1), UKIP 4%(-1). Fieldwork was Tuesday to Thursday, and changes are from the ICM/Guardian poll a few days before. Changes are within the margin of error, but unlike ICM’s last poll it’s now Labour who are marginally ahead. Every single poll ICM have published since the general election has had Labour and the Conservatives within two points of each other.

Amongst other things ICM also asked about the Tory leadership. Only 23% of respondents think Theresa May should step down now, but only 35% think she should fight the next general election. A further 26% think she should go at some later later, either after Brexit (15%) or just before the election (11%). As with other polls, the public don’t seem to have much appetite for any particular successor as Tory lead – Boris Johnson leads, but on only 11%, ahead of Ruth Davidson on 6%. No tabs yet, but the Sun report is here

Secondly there is a new Opinium poll for the Observer. They too have a small Labour lead, with topline figures of CON 39%(-1), LAB 41%(-1), LDEM 7%(+1), UKIP 6%(+1). Changes are once again insignificant – the Tory leads in YouGov and ICM straight after the Brexit deal aren’t reflected in the latest polls, and were either just co-incidence, or a brief blip on the back of good publicity. The underlying trend remains one of stability, with Labour a tad ahead of the Conservatives and no obvious movement in support.

The full tabs for the Opinium poll are here and contain a lot of background questions. The Conservative party are seen as the most divided party – 47% think they are divided, 38% united. The Labour party are seen as united by 42% and divided by 40% – so while stories of Labour infighting are no longer constantly in the media in the way they were before the general election, the party are still seen as divided by much of the public (if not as divided as the Tories!). On the Tory leadership Opinium show a similar picture to ICM – 27% think she should go now, 28% think should should fight the next election, 23% think she should go later (either post-Brexit, or pre-election).

On the EU, Opinium found a negative reaction to Theresa May’s negotiations so far (though not as negative as in YouGov’s tracker – possibly because Opinium ask about May personally rather than the government as a whole, possibly because Opinium ask about approval rather than doing well or badly). 30% approve of how May has handled the negotiations so far, 45% of people disapprove. Opinium found 37% support for a second referendum once the terms had been agreed, 49% were opposed. For the type of Brexit, 39% of respondents would rather Britain remained in the single market (even if it meant freedom of movement continued), 33% would rather Britain stopped freedom of movement (even if it meant leaving the single market).

Finally, the Independent reports a BMG poll that has Remain with a ten point lead over Leave in a referendum vote tomorrow. This has, as ever, caused some over-excitement on social media.

My normal caveat on unusual and interesting polls is to wait and see if it is reflected in other polls. In this case we don’t have to wait, the BMG poll was actually conducted over a week ago (5th-8th Dec), meaning that we have already seen the results of other polls conducted after this one, and they don’t show any large movement towards Remain. The ICM/Guardian poll released earlier this week was conducted 8th-10th December, and had results of Remain 46%, Leave 43% – a Remain lead, but a far smaller one. YouGov’s regular tracker on whether people think Britain was right or wrong to vote to leave was asked on 10th-11th Dec, and showed 44% think we are right to leave, 45% wrong to leave… again, typical of recent results.

The other caveat to consider is that the poll does not actually show any great shift in opinion directly from Leave to Remain, most of those voters are unchanged. The large Remain lead is almost wholly down to people who did not vote in the 2016 referendum. Many polls show those who did not vote in 2016 now saying they would vote remain, but the divide in this one is extreme. I am somewhat sceptical about leads that rely upon people who didn’t vote last time suddenly turning out to vote one way or another (particularly in polls that aren’t weighted by likelihood to vote!). While I am sure that there are some people who didn’t vote in 2016 who would now (those who have turned 18 and those who didn’t realise how close it would be), I suspect the sort of “non-voters” who turn up in opinion polls are rather more likely to vote than actual non-voters. The full tabs (and a measured write up from BMG) are here.

On any subject you feel strongly about it is easy to convince yourself that the polls showing what you’d like to see are somehow more accurate, and that polls showing less positive things are wrong. That would be an error. As ever, the best way of looking at a finding like this is look at all the polls, and consider the long term trend, rather than get overexcited about individual polls that put out unusual results. My opinion on whether Britain is changing its mind on Brexit is unchanged since I wrote about it here – if you look at the referendum VI questions from Survation and BMG, or the right/wrong decision question from YouGov, there does appear to be a genuine movement towards Remain since last year… but as yet it is only small, and the country remains quite finely divided between Remain and Leave.


595 Responses to “New ICM and Opinium polls”

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  1. Maraan
    “It is also interesting that Conservative voters, Scottish Unionists, Brexiteers, and lovers of blue passports also have something in common: they are overwhelmingly of pension age.
    So all their opponents have to do is wait…”

    Others have said this, but you all seem to forget that the generation who are now pensioners or nearly so were around in the Summer of Love, at the time of hippies and anti Vietnam war demos. Younger ones may have been punks or supporters of Militant. Most people mature and get wiser as they get older, so there will be a continuous supply of older people with more (small-c) conservative views. It’s just a simple fact. Many young people are anti-establishment, but as they grow up and have families and perhaps some property and capital they have a vested interest in stability.

    Having said that, in the case of Brexit it was the old folk who were the revolutionaries rebelling against the establishment. In the 70s referendum, all political parties, most of the press, the BBC, business and the unions were all united in wanting to stay in the EEC. This time round they even wheeled out the Pope and Obama as well.

  2. Pete B

    It’s not that unusual for revolutions to be supported by those who feel that they have lost out compared to what they had (or thought they had) secured previously.

    The peasant response to the re-imposition of feudal rights by the aristocracy in pre Revolutionary France may have resonance here.

    Of course, the peasants got stuffed in any case!

  3. ON
    If I remember my history, the aristos didn’t do too well either.

  4. @Trigguy
    Do not worry about the size of the passport that is set by the ICAO. So the UN decides the size and internal information and we decide the colour.

  5. @PETE B

    “Others have said this, but you all seem to forget that the generation who are now pensioners or nearly so were around in the Summer of Love, at the time of hippies and anti Vietnam war demos. Younger ones may have been punks or supporters of Militant. Most people mature and get wiser as they get older, so there will be a continuous supply of older people with more (small-c) conservative views. It’s just a simple fact. Many young people are anti-establishment, but as they grow up and have families and perhaps some property and capital they have a vested interest in stability.”

    Ah, that old cliche. If it’s a “simple fact”, then I assume you have some proof, perhaps even a poll, rather than the usual anecdotal “evidence” hahaha!

    And I think you’ll find the next cohort of “older people” are unlikely to turn into climate-change-denying flat-Earther ultra-nationalistic xenophobes. Apart from the ones who used to be NF boot boys – you may be surprised to learn that not all youngsters back then were “punks or supporters of Militant”.

  6. I see 3D printing as more of a worrying challenge for the UK than a great opportunity and here’s why.

    my son was interested in doing sound production when he leaves school in the summer so he went to see a guy who runs a small studio near by.

    his verdict was it’s a route to somewhere between unemployment and slave labour. the reason being that over the last decade almost all of the UK’s film, Tv and Music audio engineering has moved to Brataslava.

    You can record here down load it have it done in Slovakia for a fraction of the cost and have it back just as quick as if it was done in a studio next door.

    I had a friend who went to see Bae systems in Govan about five years ago and one of the things he saw was a technician on a computer controlling a welding/cutting machine remotely.

    He asked what it was for and was told that it was parts for a steel bridge in Indonesia. when he asked if he could go and see the actual machine cutting the steel he was told,

    “Fine by us but you’ll need to pay for your own flights to Indonesia!”

    I suspect that we will have good designers who can make great things on £D printers across industry, but so will other Countries elsewhere in the EU, some cheaper and increasingly across the globe and it will be easier to in many if not most cases to have the printers themselves elsewhere.

    Peter.

  7. PETE B

    Old people do not necessarily become wiser. They do perhaps become more cynical

  8. Maraan
    Your oddly aggressive reply to my quite reasonable post does not warrant an answer. If you disagree with me at least have the grace to be courteous.

    Mike Pearce
    You may well have a point.

    G’night all.

  9. @PETE B

    I am puzzled, as certainly no aggression or discourtesy was intended, and rereading my post I see none. Perhaps I should stress that when referring to “climate-change-denying flat-Earther ultra-nationalistic xenophobes”, I am not implying that you are one, nor anybody else on this site. Such people do, however, exist.

    On reflection I would say my co-workers and I have drifted more to the left as we have become older and less self-centred. And indeed I would agree that we now have a “vested interest in stability” and Brexit, whether it be good or bad, certainly means anything but stability. This is why I questioned what you stated as a “simple fact”. Nevertheless, if you don’t want to discuss it, that’s absolutely fine.

    Peace.

  10. @PETER CAIRNS

    “over the last decade almost all of the UK’s film, Tv and Music audio engineering has moved to Brataslava”

    This simply isn’t true. It is precisely the sector I work in, and my work takes me all over Europe and sometimes further afield.

    And school leavers wishing to enter the industry have always been treated as slave labour. This is really nothing new.

    Coincidentally, I hope to move to Scotland in February (offer made on a house and accepted) to set up… a recording studio!

  11. Pete B

    “Maraan
    Your oddly aggressive reply to my quite reasonable post does not warrant an answer. If you disagree with me at least have the grace to be courteous.”

    I can see nothing “oddly aggressive” in Maraan’s post myself. He was merely asking you to back up your “simple fact” with some evidence. Your reply would suggest you have none and are just looking for a way to avoid answering.

  12. @Crofty – “I’ve been checking the rules of Quibble and 1/ It is not open to Scotch contestants and 2/ The petty nature of the matter being discussed means that it could not fall under the aegis of a serious game…….”

    Wrong on multiple points.

    Firstly, it’s ‘Quibble!’ – with the exclamation mark being integral to the name (denoting an excited interjection) and secondly, the rules of the game (the classic 1876 Basingstoke version) are clear that players take great delight “…in challenging opinions and statements, no matter how inconsequential the subject matter….”.

    Pettiness is everything!

    On the point about ‘Scotch’ players, that isn’t specified anywhere in the rules, so you are welcome to shout ‘Quibble!’ and make a challenge.

  13. alec

    Those were not “multiple points” – two at most – so, as I read the rules, your quibbles are invalidated. **

    “No Scotch players” is a safety rule that applies across virtually all games, including chess – I am surprised that you are unaware of such a basic health and safety issue.

    ** I was going to throw in a “you make my point for me”, but, as that is worth 100 points the day before xmas eve, I have decided to let you down lightly.

  14. For evidence of the resilience of conservative viewpoints, how about the Scottish Conservatives. For years on here and elsewhere I’ve heard comments along the lines that the Tories are irrelevant in Scotland, and that they are just a vestigial remnant of blue-rinsed pensioners who will soon die off etc.

    And lo and behold, they’ve surged back, occupy a solid second place in Scotland and are led by a charismatic young gay leader.

    I think the truth is that the goalposts move constantly on social attitudes. The general direction of travel is towards social liberalism, but the last generation’s social liberals can often become the next generation’s social conservatives exactly as a result of this. It’s perfectly possible these days for someone who fully supports, for example, same sex marriage, to be seen as a social conservative due to their views on other current dividing lines. 40 years ago that person would have been seen as radically socially liberal.

    I also think there’s a tendency by politically active people to lump everyone who hold opposing views into one, coherent, menacing “them”. Someone who abhors Islamophobia and Homophobia will often imagine that they are fighting against one great mass of bigots, when in reality Islamophobes and Homophobes are often in two very different camps, with a visceral hatred of each other. (See Pim Fortuyn and the Dutch experience).

    In general I think we could all benefit from seeing those who disagree with us as ordinary people, with a range of views, rather than Stormtroopers for an enemy empire that must be defeated in rhetorical battle.

  15. Just looked in quickly.

    PeteB & Neil A

    Your last posts both splendid, sound words of wisdom from you both.

  16. Pete B,
    “Others have said this, but you all seem to forget that the generation who are now pensioners or nearly so were around in the Summer of Love, at the time of hippies and anti Vietnam war demos. ”

    But you also forget these things were reactions to the existing order at that time, which has been mostly swept away. While some protested, most toed the line. Sex outside marriage? isnt that mainstream now?

  17. Most younger people today simply do not see the Nation State as important in the way that many older people do.

    This is a shift in cultural attitudes like equal marriage. I really don’t see these people turning into Brexiteers as they get older, even if they turn into Tories as they become more wealthy..

  18. @ ToneofCat

    “Do not worry about the size of the passport that is set by the ICAO. So the UN decides the size and internal information and we decide the colour.”

    Thanks, yes. I did a bit of digging after my post and found that out. I feel stupid now, should have known already. So I’m happy.

    I wonder if there will still be people who carry their new smaller blue passport in a larger, rigid old-style jacket.

    Anyway, merry non-working period to those that are indeed not working for the next few days, for whatever reason. Looking forward with interest to the polling in the new year to see if anything our marvelous politicians do makes a blind bit of difference to VI. But not as much as I’m looking forward to Dr Who and Inside No 9.

  19. Neil A
    Much of what you say is very sensible.. It echoes much of what I said about the Nation State. I think in 30 years time we will be back in the EU and everyone will be wondering how we were mad enough ever to leave it..

    I am not sure the current second second place for SCon is all that solid though

  20. Oldnat: I used the term “whining” about your subsequent comments out of respect for (what appears to be) your very limited understanding of language, and (probably) minimal comprehension of variations from your own dialect,

    I had thought you above petty, gratuitous and clearly ill-founded insults.

    I’m not going to trade qualifications, publications and proficiency in several languages with you. Suffice it to say that I’d have no concerns about the outcome if I did.

    Still, you’ve scored one result. I’ve always been sympathetic to Scottish independence, but that’s now reinforced by a new appreciation of the case for English independence from Scotland.

  21. @Andrew111

    That’s possible, but I think it largely depends on what happens to the UK, and to the EU, post-Brexit.

    There seems to be an atmosphere at the moment that the EU will treat the UK as at best a rival, and at worst an opponent. That could harden attitudes over time. Nothing makes a person dislike someone more than a feeling that that person dislikes them.

    Also, I think the views of young people are, and have always been, a bit faddish. In my day, the very root of young people’s political activism was usually environment policy. People protested constantly against new housing, new by-passes etc. It is probably an echo of this that underpins my own vote for Brexit, which was motivated by a desire to restrict population growth (in order to prevent further development of green spaces). That whole ethos seems to have been largely forgotten these days. Now, it will be middle-aged people campaigning against the housing and the by-passes (and being labelled “NIMBYs” etc) whilst the young are more concerned with diversity and social justice. The Green Party is now in favour of building on the Green Belt, for example.

    Whose to say that in 30 years time we might not have the middle-aged obsessed by building houses and their children vehemently opposing them on environmental grounds?

    But in a sense you’re captured my point, which is that I am not at all convinced by Peter’s linkage (albeit based on evidence from a poll) between Brexit and “social conservatism”. I think there’s some overlap, certainly, but it’s a very complex picture.

    My adage has always been “Everyone’s in a minority of one”.

  22. Oh and by “solid” I didn’t mean that the SCon position is permantent or sustainable. I meant that it is unarguable (based on the seats won in recent elections). I probably should have chosen the word “clear” rather than “solid” as it conveys my meaning more accurately.

  23. @Neil A

    Much of the Tory support is due to the Tories shouting loudest as the anti-indy / anti-SNP party. I could give specific examples of the sort, but you can do your own internet searches. More than a few councillors are less than savoury. It’s not some political shift in the Thatcher or Blair sense, but rather the Tories have managed to pull most of the UKIP supporters, and the ‘anyone but SNP’ inclined to their banner (including some floating voters from Lab / SNP / Lib).

    Ruth is probably eyeing a safe Tory seat in the South of England. Soames’ seat? Who will step up when she leaves?

  24. I had a wry smile when I read what should have been a concluding message last night in the spat between Somerjohn and Old Nat: that ON had named two words he had refrained from using (girn, peesie-weesie) since Somerjohn wouldn`t know them, yet they are widespread outwith Scotland.

    Perhaps the shades of meaning are rather different in England and the US, but surely the Cumbrian Girning competitions are well known.

    I sympathise with ON in that I have read many gushing accounts by Scottish dialect researchers of how our dialects are richer than in England when their yardstick for comparison has been the debased RP-influenced dialects of SE England so favoured by the BBC for their newsreaders and presenters.

    In reality we have a rich set of dialects across Britain, and they do not conform to national boundaries (the 20% plus of not-Scottish-born persons in the Borders and Dumfries & G 2011 Census illustrates the flux). So it might be better to talk of North British Standard rather than Northern Standard and Scottish Standard.

    For example the variant “brig” for bridge extends down from Scotland to Central Lancashire. I`ve often heard it said that Bamber Bridge south of Preston is the last place going south for this – folk in BB are called Briggers, And in Preston there is a weind (narrow town lane, usually spelt wynd in Scotland).

    I don`t think there are weinds in Bolton and Wigan, and maybe Shevi will tell us what locals say for Platt Bridge.

  25. @Davywel

    Thanks for introducing a smile – albeit wry – into what I must say was a baffling exchange. I had made no mention at all of language or dialect, nor had I made any responses relating to that point, so why I ended up on the receiving end of disparagement of my linguistic skills and dialect knowledge, I have no idea.

    However, what is interesting to me is that so many current Scots dialect words appear to derive from Scandinavian languages, rather than Gaelic. Bairn, for instance (Norwegian: barn), fell/fjell etc. Your example of brig isn’t so clear (Norwegian: bru) but that does raise the intriguing possibility that we in Engand should call Scotland’s favourite fizz Ironbridge.

  26. Maraan
    “Perhaps I should stress that when referring to “climate-change-denying flat-Earther ultra-nationalistic xenophobes”, I am not implying that you are one, nor anybody else on this site. Such people do, however, exist.”

    Undoubtedly they do, but 17 million people voted for Brexit and they can’t all fall into such a category. But I’m afraid I’m not going to provide a reference for that because it’s just common sense.

    ” …certainly no aggression or discourtesy was intended”

    Good, though perhaps you can see why statements such as the first one I quoted could be interpreted that way. Anyway, as you say, ‘Peace’.

  27. Alleyways are many & various in our wonderful legacy of regional dialects.

    https://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2014/10/02/regional-words-alleyway/

    Twittens down here.

  28. @ Davwel
    There is a Wiend (sic) in Wigan which replaced a much older one I was fond of in my youth when it was a narrow town centre area. It rhymes with ‘seened.’

    I’m not aware of one in Bolton.

    I can’t recollect a dialect word for Bridge. The Waz in Platt Waz meant something else entirely – I’m happy to leave Shevii to explain that. We definitely didn’t have a Wiend in Platt Bridge when I were a lad.

  29. It`s good to have some informative and pleasant exchanges before Xmas, so thanks Somerjohn, Colin and SEN5C.

    I`m a bit stuck on this street name that rhymes with “seened”; or is it seemed?

    The Preston ginnel (Mainsprit Weind) seems to be a corruption of the way to the cockpit (main`s pit), but Wiganers wouldn`t have indulged in that sort of fighting(?!).

    The Norse influence on Scottish speech isn`t usually considered great – fells don`t go beyond the Southern Uplands. Rather there is a considerable Anglian influence with words like “burns”, as in NE England.

  30. DAVWEL

    On Wiend prononced to rhyme with Seened:-

    The OD link I posted above gives this :-

    “In parts of Scotland and Ireland, a narrow alley is not a gennel but a vennel, a word which was also once used in Northumberland for a conduit or open sewer: this seems to be a 15th-century borrowing of a medieval French word for an alley, venelle (or venele), ultimately a diminutive of the Latin word for “vein”. Similar semantic motivation seems to lie behind the use of gully (or gulley) as a word for a passageway in parts of the Black Country and Wales. Wherever you live, it seems, an alley can be a damp and smelly place.”

    So is Wiend derived from Vennel -or Vein. W & V being the same letter pronounced with differing degrees of friction as the air passes between the lower lip and the upper teeth.

  31. A brief bit of searching on ‘Wigan World’ which contains numerous photos of the old ‘Wiend’/’Weind also turned up this from ”Gary”:

    ‘An enamel street sign used to be at the Market St entrance to the Weind, and that was spelt with the ‘e’ before the ‘i’.
    In the 1960s, I questioned the spelling of this sign, as at the time I was having the ‘i’ before ‘e’ rule drummed into me at school. I was told that it was an old English word for an alley or passageway, and that the correct spelling was ‘WEIND’. A similar word ‘wynd’ is used in Scotland for thoroughfares of this nature.
    There are numerous mentions of ‘Weinds’ in the Preston Court Leet records,all with the ‘e’ before ‘i’ spelling.
    There are also Weinds in Garstang, all with the ‘e’ before ‘i’ spelling – Stoops Hall Weind, Thomas’s Weind, Storey’s Weind, Nickson’s Weind, Grayston’s Weind, Fletcher’s Weind, Carrick Weind, and Eagle and Child Weind.
    Weind is the correct spelling.’

    Be that as it may I and others knew it as Wiend and pronounced it to rhyme ‘een’ – Germanically if you like or dialect.

  32. SEN5C

    Many thanks for that fascinating message and the Garstang list. Clearly it`s an E vowel in Wigan

    And to Colin – I had read your link. But my problem with that derivation for weind is the Scottish (and N. Lancs/Cumbrian pronumciation as an I vowel. And Scottish books and other dictionaries like Collins say from ME winden (= to wind or twist).

    I also noticed some strange wrong things on the internet just now, The Scotsman saying wynd is obsolete!

    Well we have a new one with posh houses just up the road in our NE small town, where our helper in tomorrow`s carols stays. And a`body pronounces it wynd with an I.

  33. @PETE B

    “Undoubtedly they do, but 17 million people voted for Brexit and they can’t all fall into such a category. But I’m afraid I’m not going to provide a reference for that because it’s just common sense.”

    I did not say Brexiters fall into that category, nor did I ask you for proof that they do, did I? eh?

    I asked you for evidence of your “simple fact”. Go ahead, read what you wrote and what I questioned.

  34. “Good, though perhaps you can see why statements such as the first one I quoted could be interpreted that way.”

    Actually, no I can’t. I mean explicitly what I write.

  35. Weinreich popularised the observation that “a language is a dialect with an army and navy” about Yiddish originally, but it sums up the reality that there is no useful distinction between a “language” and a “dialect”.
    Since the forms of English used in Scotland and Northern England both developed from Old Northumbrian, it’s not surprising that they share some common vocabulary – or indeed with other Germanic languages too.
    Prior to the Union, Scots was the official language of the Scottish Parliament and courts. It was recognised as a “sister language” to the tongue used in the English Court.
    Norwegian and Danish are very similar, and could well be considered as dialects of Norse – but they have armies and navies!
    Variations in language use within related tongues range from minor differences in pronunciation to such extensive differences as to produce mutual incomprehension.
    Often, changes towards or away from a single norm happen because of different political influences – Flemish and Dutch are closely related, but literary Flemish has been strongly influenced by French
    The philology of “languages” and “dialects” is a fascinating study but, on this site, the political implications should be the most important.
    It is understandable that those who prefer centralisation of power and who wish to enhance commonality within their preferred political unit, will see linguistic variations within that unit as “dialects”, while those who prefer different political units will frequently describe the difference as representing a different language.
    Are the different dialects in Scotland, dialects of English, or dialects of Scots? Your answer will probably reflect your political leanings – as well as any class-based bias.
    The “official” definition of Scots is as a “minority European Language” (EU) : “a regional language” (UK), and unsurprisingly in a fuller statement from the former Slab-SLD Executive in Scotland (endorsed by the SNP) –
    the Scottish Executive recognises and respects Scots (in all its forms) as a distinct language, and does not consider the use of Scots to be an indication of poor competence in English.

  36. Back to politics.

    What I have just read in our local paper is a foretaste of the things that will affect VI in 2018 – Aberdeenshire Council puts up care home fees by £140 a week with immediate effect for new residents.

    So up from £775 per week to £915 per week, starting in April for those already in the homes, which is an extra £7000 cost a year.

    Clearly the meagre allocation to local authorities in the Scottish Government budget has necessitated this, and was in turn caused by the meagre allocation to Scotland by the UK government.

    Fortunately the cold spell has eased, since I have never known such grumbling about the lack of snow clearance and gritting in 50 years of living here.

  37. ON @ 3.39

    I say fair comment, and try to respect the two views.

    But I have to add that persuading your fellow Scots not to adopt the sounds of Southern England but persist with our long-standing local pronunciations is at least as hard as learning the incomers.

  38. Davwel

    Grumbling may (or may not) have political consequences. It may also (or may not) reflect the actual work being done, and changes from previous years.

    Have the councils in the NE given any detail about whether they are gritting and snow clearing less?

  39. Davwel

    The most recent research I saw on language change in Scotland suggested that the greatest movement was towards folk in much of Scotland adopting a more Glaswegian accent, rather than the sounds of Southern England.

    I do hope that Buchan and Garioch are resisting the encroachment of “Estuarine Whine” :-)

  40. ON:

    Yes lots of detail on the cut-backs, and complicated rules for different sorts of route.

    Things like if a thaw is forecast within the next 48 hours, we will only deal with bus routes (I haven`t checked the actual words, but that is the main thrust).

    So in country areas like the higher parts of Buchan I was in earlier this week, there are amazing scenes: the fields completely green with snow gone apart from tiny drifts in the shelter of dykes, but the roads are solid ice. This has developed from vehicles compressing snow that largely fell 10 days previously, and is highly dangerous.

    In places the ice has gone along wheel tracks but the road centres are frozen hard, and will damage low clearance cars.

  41. @”It is understandable that those who prefer centralisation of power and who wish to enhance commonality within their preferred political unit, will see linguistic variations within that unit as “dialects”, while those who prefer different political units will frequently describe the difference as representing a different language.”

    It isn’t very understandable to me really.

    For me a “language” is the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way , by a particular community of people.
    That community may be confined to a particular country. But it may find itself spread across more than one country.
    The language will probably be a recognisable component of a distinct culture .But it will almost certainly by now have evolved from one or more other languages , through human contact & interaction.

    Its essence will be more truly found in a long cultural history rather than the transient construct of a particular “country”.

    Dialects are regional variations within a language.

  42. @OLDNAT

    I was once told that in Inverness the locals spoke the most perfect accent-free English you could hear anywhere in the British Isles. Was there ever any truth in this?

    My impression is that nowadays they speak a softer form of a generic Scots accent, but with a slight Irish feel to it. Am I even close? And remarkably, on the nearby Black Isle, they drop their h’s, just like down West ‘Am…

  43. @Oldnat

    Basque is quite clearly a language and not a dialect of Spanish (or of anything else). The Basque country doesn’t have any armed forces so far as I know.

    And American English is quite clearly a dialect of English, rather than a language, and I don’t think anyone doubts that the United States has the odd tank and warship…

  44. Maraan:

    It`s a myth about Inverness speech, but often said.

    I had an Inverness colleague for many years, was a very hard worker, and I think typical of most locals from there. He didn`t have the f-for-wh shift of NE Scots, neither Central Belt or Western Isles sounds. So you could say mainstream Scots – if I said it, I could be shot down!

    Definitely not “by fa far fat and fan, you can ken a Forfar man”.

  45. Maraan

    “I was once told that in Inverness the locals spoke the most perfect accent-free English you could hear anywhere in the British Isles. Was there ever any truth in this?”

    No.

    My Dad was brought up in the Black Isle – my Gran was a native Gaelic speaker, but (as was common in the early 20th century, he was brought up to be an English monoglot).

    However, the “English” that he learned to speak was a literal translation of English for Gaelic words, within the structure of Gaelic sentence construction. When he went to University in Aberdeen, he had to relearn his “English” to the Standard Scots English version.

    He spoke that, to the end of his days, in a strong Black Isle accent (as my family there still do).

    Many Scots Gaelic speakers (or those from that tradition speaking English) don’t really “drop their hs” in the way that many languages/dialects do. They use aspiration and pre-aspiration differently, so that the “h” is there, but very soft.

    As to “accent free” – most people can’t hear their own accents, so only “other people” have accents. Invernesians are no different in that regard!

  46. Crofty

    A
    lec

    I am sorry gentlemen to tell you that you are under a number of misapprehensions about this game. First, it was invented by yours truly. It is not a bored game. It is called Squibbles and the aim of the game is to produce small, incendiary and explosive incidents or remarks. The game is otherwise pointless. Patients pending. The winner is decided by acclamation in which both winner and loser may participate. .

    Scotch and Irish are not prohibited and both may participate simultaneously. When this occurs Irish are expected to distinguish themselves by typical remarks such as: ” Who’ll step on the tails of me coat -who’ll say boo?” And, “Begorrah and bejasus, it’s a fine day for a scrap.”

    Typical Scotch remarks are anticipated: “See you, Crofty.” and, “Mine’s a double, ye ba$t1rt.” Other unusual phrases from a Bourbon, can occasionally be heard: “If that don’t take the biscuit,” and, “I’m an Abernethy man meself.”

  47. Colin and Neil A

    I’m sure that professional philologists the world over will be impressed by the depth of your erudition in linguistics and philology.

    Perhaps you could mount some seminars for them, to put them right?

  48. Sam

    Is it true that when Squibbles was converted to internet forum format, that the universal response of over inebriates “You lookin at me, pal?” had to be dropped as a permissible response, due to its inappropriateness in a non-visual environment?

  49. Oldnat

    It was assumed that “over inebriates” would not be recognised or would not exist so there was no need to adjust any universal responses. This was, in my opinion, a sensible course of action. Otherwise, the overt recognition of the non-visual environment might have brought about the introduction of moderated sentences, for example: “Perhaps you lookin at me, pal?”

    Also, an inclusive approach allows for this to be included despite the literal application of the non-visual environment.

    “LISN bud LISN
    yuhduhno
    yuhduhnonudn…”

  50. Sorry to intrude mere politics on this site, but the Court of Session has approved the petition by politicians from every Scottish party (except the Tories) to ascertain the legality of stopping the Article 50 process.

    http://www.thenational.scot/news/15790858.Legal_action_by_Scots_politicians_to_reverse_Brexit_gets_go_ahead/?ref=twtrec

    It would have to be referred to the ECJ, of course, but it could have a dramatic effect on the importance of a “meaningful vote” by UK Parliamentarians on the final deal.

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