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CHARLIE WHELAN: Watch out for some monkey business in General Election polls

By Gavin Musgrove

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The latest Sunday Times constituency poll for the new seat.
The latest Sunday Times constituency poll for the new seat.

Very strange things start to happen when a general election draws close.

The electorate has to be on their guard and be very aware that political parties facing defeat like the Tories and the SNP will try every trick in the book in order to cling to power.

Last week I had a very glossy leaflet from the Scottish Conservative party delivered to my house that could only be described as a complete fraud.

We were told that Labour were too far behind in the Moray West, Nairn and Strathspey constituency to win so that in order to defeat the Nationalists you had to vote Tory.

Now as this is a new seat and you may rightly wonder what an earth Strathspey is doing in a seat with Nairn, it also means that the only way we can know how the people are likely to vote is from an opinion poll.

The Tories though like to tell you fibs so on the front of their leaflet they have the result of the old Moray constituency which showed them neck and neck with the SNP which as they well know is now completely irrelevant.

In fact the most recent poll for the new constituency has Labour ahead on 31 per cent with the Nats on 30 per cent and the Tories trailing on 27 per cent.

So the truth is simple if you want to defeat the SNP vote Labour but given that this is a general election it’s the Tories we want to defeat so vote Labour anyway!

• I was down in London last week and it’s not often that a news item from Scotland, least of all from here in the Highlands, makes it to the front pages of the London based papers but that’s what happened.

The Strathspey and Badenoch Herald’s exclusive story about the escaped monkey was the talk of the town.

People were asking me if it was my garden that the monkey was eating nuts in!

Thankfully the poor monkey (what on earth is it doing in a Highland zoo) was returned safely.

I’m just looking forward to the day that some of the wolves escape and then at least we might put an end to the need for deer culling and miles of ugly deer fences!

• A few weeks ago a number of folk including yours truly gathered in Lossiemouth to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the election of Labour’s first Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald, who was born in a tiny old fisherman’s house in the town.

It really is a remarkable story that a local man from such a humble background became our Prime Minister.

I had the great pleasure of meeting Ramsay MacDonald’s granddaughter at the event. She probably gets fed up with those who say he sold the workers down the river by agreeing to a National Government.

What people should remember is that he was expelled from the Labour Party for opposing the First World War, so was truly a man of principle.

Charlie Whelan (Labour) is former spokesman for Gordon Brown.

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