There's a splash in this morning's edition of the Scotland on Sunday, reporting findings from research conducted by Professor James Mitchell and Dr Lynn Bennie, on the demographics of the SNP membership. Including topline findings on attitude to the death penalty, NATO and homosexuality, the report dawdles behind this cutting from Saturday's Kinlochbervie Chronicle. It transpires that Scotland is awash with researchers, scrutinising the composition of the party of government, its peccadilloes and preferences. Ecclefechan reports...
Study reveals average SNP member is "stunted Jacobite bogle"
Ecclefechan Mackay (MA), Political Correspondent
He is four foot three inches tall, is devoted to the House of Stuart, and whenever anyone invites him to remove his bobble hat during Scotland's only warm summer day, he takes it as a personal insult – say hello to the Scottish National Party’s everyman. The comprehensive dissection of the SNP’s membership in a new academic study reveals for the first time the political, ideological, and personal make-up of the thousands of low-slung atavistic hobgoblins who have helped the party to power at Holyrood.
The study, conducted by Dr William Augustus of Cumberland University, involved distracting SNP members with a "shiny groat" while persecuting them with a series of increasingly personal questions, from their attitudes towards a range of aberrant sexual practises to the precise length of their inseams.
The questionnaire was carried out between February 1707 and March 2012. It shows that nearly a quarter of members (5 per cent) had joined since 1745. Despite expectations of a young and vital movement, the shock study reveals that 88.2 per cent of the six people who responded to the study were male, while the average year of birth came out at 1724, two key conclusions the book’s author had not anticipated. To the dismay of the party leadership, the study also discovered that retired Skye boatswain, Flora MacDonald, 290, remains the SNP's only paid-up female member to date.
Controversially, the study also found that only 19.7% agree with an independent Scotland retaining the Hanoverian succession. The membership's continuing commitment to the rightful sovereignty of the King over the Water will be a disappointment for Alex Salmond, who is perceived to have moved the party in a pro-Hanovarian direction.
Interpreted as an attempt to distance himself from the effete scions of the House of Stuart, the First Minister was widely photographed widely last year, consuming a coiled, peppery sausage during an unofficial visit to Cumbria. Salmond also sought to use his Hugo Young lecture last month to emphasise what one government spokesman described as Salmond's "Hanovarophile passions". Interrupting his keynote address after just ten minutes, the First Minister produced a portrait of Queen Anne, and proceeded to oggle her suety phizog in lascivious silence for a flattering five minutes. The specially-invited audience of Guardian grandees variously described the display as "impressive" and reassuring", with Guardian editor, Adam Humbugbridger, assessing Salmond's performance as "breathtaking", adding "he really is the foremost pro-Hanovarian politician in Britain today".
Asked about their preferred candidate for the Presidency of an independent Scotland, 98.8 per cent of SNP members supported Corrie-bagging rambler Tom Weir, while fifty one per cent of party activists identified their favourite flavour of nun as "carmelised". Dr Augustus' survey also shows that two thirds of members (45 per cent) go border reaving at least once a year, donating on average two head of black cattle to head office annually.
Contacted last night, a Scottish Conservative Party spokesman said "Nobody will be surprised by these findings. Anyone who has seen an SNP conference on the telly knows that the party consists entirely of diminutive wool-clad kobolds."