A NEW opinion poll, conducted by YouGov, has confirmed other recent polling in showing that the SNP are likely to suffer a drop in popularity due to the party’s current travails over their finances and the ongoing police investigation.

Given the wall-to-wall media coverage of a damaging story which is still very far from running its course, a drop in the party’s position in the polls is only to be expected. This poll, if replicated at a Holyrood election, shows that the SNP would take a battering and lose a significant number of seats, with Labour predicted to gain as many as the SNP lose.

However, there are signs that all is very far from lost, and those who insist that it’s all over for the SNP are likely to be premature in their haste to write off a party which despite everything remains the largest in Scotland in terms of membership, public support and number of elected representatives.

Most importantly, this poll shows no drop in support for independence and also predicts that there would still be a pro-independence majority at Holyrood thanks to an increase in the number of Green MSPs.

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Despite all the vitriol hurled at them, much of which comes from other independence supporters as the sour and ill-tempered remarks of Fergus Ewing at First Minister’s Questions illustrate, the Scottish Greens have clearly established themselves as the second party of independence, and are the only other pro-independence party which can reliably count on seeing a significant number of its candidates winning elections and gaining representation in the Scottish Parliament.

With concern about environmental issues and support for socially progressive politics regularly figuring in polling as being more important to younger voters, the electoral importance of the Scottish Greens and their influence within the wider independence movement will only increase with the passage of time, no doubt much to the chagrin of their many critics.

Twitter removes legacy blue ticks from platform 

Meanwhile, social media platform Twitter continues its descent into unusability with the removal of so-called “legacy” blue ticks from verified user accounts.

The blue ticks were mainly used by organisations, companies, journalists and public figures. A blue tick next to an account name was an important signal to other users that the account was really that of the person or organisation that it claimed to be.

However, following the purchase of Twitter by billionaire Elon Musk, the blue ticks now only mean that the user has paid £67 a year to Musk for the privilege.

On taking over Twitter, Musk restored a number of accounts which had previously been banned for hate speech, with users soon complaining of a surge in instances of racist, misogynistic, homophobic and transphobic language on a platform which had already acquired a reputation for toxicity.

These latest changes risk making the platform even less usable and more unreliable. There are fears that the changes will facilitate impersonation on the platform.

Those who pay Musk will have their tweets preferentially pushed by Twitter’s algorithms at the expense of those who feel that Elon Musk already has more than enough money. This means that an impersonating account which has paid for a blue tick will be given greater prominence on the platform than a genuine one which has not.

Twitter has also introduced a gold tick, allowing business accounts to signal that they are genuine, but this will not be available to individuals such as celebrities or journalists. Additionally, there will be a grey tick for verified government accounts.

Twitter has already haemorrhaged users since it was taken over by Musk. These new changes are only likely to accelerate the losses.