STV has a new poll of Scottish voting intentions in the European elections by Progresssive. Scottish voting intention for the June elections stands at CON 13%, LAB 41%, LDEM 10%, SNP 30%.

This compares to a YouGov poll which had figures of CON 18% LAB 36% LDEM 11% SNP 29% – so somewhat higher Labour and lower Conservatives. It doesn’t make much difference, both polls would result in Labour returning 3 MEPs in Scotland, the SNP two and the Conservatives one. To change things the Liberal Democrats would need to overtake the Conservatives to take the last seat, or Labour would have to fall below three times the Liberal Democrat share.

74 Responses to “New Scottish poll on the Euro-elections”

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  1. What track record does this polling firm have?

  2. Does it matter?

    Turnout in these elections was 30% last time.

    ie two thirds of Scots think they are pointless.

  3. I wonder if the polls will be region by region or nationally? As the regions are so self-contained in these elections it makes more sense to poll like that, to get a more accurate picture.

  4. Why do the Scots hate the Tories so much? I know Thatcher was hardly their friend, but that was 20 years ago now. Why is it they have failed to rebuild?

  5. Just read the STV article in the link.

    Methinks there is something iffy about this poll.

    No mention of the central belt or borders at all in the comementary, which suggests that the poll was only conducted in the Northern half (by pop, not sqm) of Scotland.

    According to STV that Lab score of 41% came mainly from the Grampians region – you know, the one where SNP and Con used to slug it out for the Euro seat when these elections were constituency based and where Labour has no meaningful strength outside the city of Aberdeen.

    Anthony, do you have any info on the reliability of this poll ?

  6. Is it that the Scots hate the Tories so much or that the void of an alternative to Labour is covered better by the SNP? The vision offered by the SNP -rightly or wrongly- is clearly defined and suits the sociology and the history of the country.

    What do I mean?

    Scotland has never been a strong pro-Tory area (far fewer wealthy) historically but they have not recovered to their historic (low, but higher than now) base because the position of the ‘alternative’ party had been taken. In the structure of our politics we have trouble with three equally important parties; just ask the Liberals. One of the problems of a FPTP system is that minor parties get squeezed for seats, without seats (let alone power) then a party has little influence and has trouble raising their profile.

    As well, the sociological issues remain the same; UK wealth is unevenly distributed and social class still relates to which party one supports (although less so than in the past). Scotland, being a poorer part of the UK will always be much more likely to vote against right wing parties.

    As such, the Conservatives, already squeezed, are finding it very awkward to work against certain inbuilt issues in Scotland.

    I can see the Conservatives not really improving up there, but I can’t see the Party overall worrying about it. The Welsh, Scottish and NI Westminster seats are unimportant in number and so the Conservatives will continue to do that which they do well; get it right in England and you rule the UK.

    But of course, it’s that attitude and that result which helps drive nationalist parties to better results, ironically. A huge Conservative win in the next election would massively increase the SNP vote.

  7. Scottish memory is a bit longer than 20 years. It’ll be 100 years before all the Scots have forgotten Thatcher.

  8. @Kris:

    I understand your sentiment, but if Unite members can vote Tory then surely Scots can?


    Cheers, greatly informative. Especially the last 2 paragraphs.

  9. Jack

    So holding more than half the seats within living memory does not count as being strong ?

    It is true that Tories have never been strong in Lanarkshire. But, in every region of Scotland one can find evidence of “pro-Tory” pockets that belie your comment. (Indeed, a small part of Lanarkshire currently has a Tory MP)

    Yes FPTP does not help the Tories in Scotland – especially as the latest Westminter boundaries appear to have been drawn with the objective of splitting all such pockets to ensure there are no natural Tory seats.

    Fortunately the Regional list element at Holyrood provided a life-line. Conversely, because victory in FPTP elements were offset by reduction in List seats, the steady rebuilding that has been achieved at Holyrood since 1999 (FPTP seats: 1, 3, 4) has been disguised.

    On your last 2 paras, yes, that would be the case if it were the attitude of the party – but it is not so.

    Yes, Conservatives need to be realistic about how many seats we might actually win in Scotland and Wales. But that is not the same as saying these regions do not matter and we need not bother.

    Final question. What in your view constitiutes a “right-wing party ” ?

  10. Kris Keane,

    It will be longer than that before she is forgotten in England.

  11. Jack – your comment that “Scotland has never been a strong pro-Tory area (far fewer wealthy) historically” is incorrect. 50-odd years ago the Tories had over 50% of the vote there and were pretty much the largest party in Scotland. Around the same time they also used to control Glasgow Corporation (as “Progressives”).


  12. It’s not so much what the party is as what its leaders say, Paul. Osborne’s exp[lanation yesterday that his £2m IHT threshold for couples “is to encourage the aspiration to save” is pretty far right. In the sense that it’s appealing to the narrowest possible sector of society, right at the top of the wealth table. Almost everybody’s aspirations are to save far less than £2m, and stil be comfortable.

    That’s not to say that the Tory party is full of right-wingers. Some of them are well to the left of Blairism.

  13. Hi Jack, as I understand it the Tories where always traditionally strong in Scotland, and indeed post WWII Scotland was seen as a Tory stronghold. The rise in the SNP has come about largely since the send of the Empire as Scots work to define their role in the world, either through the UK, or without it. The decline of the Tories has a lot to do with Thatcher, although there are a lot of reasons. i actually think that the Tories could do well in Scotland again if they began to treat it with proper respect, which for a long time was absent.

    Also, I think it is misleading to suggest that Scotland is one of the poorest parts of the UK. It actually has the second or third highest per capita income of any region in country (South East and London excepted).

  14. Scotland was only Tory in the sense that it voted Unionist. It was the loss of the West of Scotland Protestant Unionist identity that did for the “Tories.” The destruction of Scottish manufacturing and the privatisation of all those “British” nationalised industries reduced the incentive to identify with Unionism over class (Labour) or historic identity (SNP)

    Without the Empire, Britain looked less appealing except in relation to public spending subsidies- which the Tories were not too keen on.

  15. John TT

    Do I understand you correctly to say that encouraging aspiration and saving is “right-wing” ?

    No wonder brown has been so keen on encouraging people to spend every penny and rack up unsupportable levels of debt !

  16. No you don’t understand my point paul.

    It’s the level he was talking about

    I’d encourage everyone to save, but it is extreme to say an uplift for those worth £800k-£2m and over, (with no uplift for those below) encourages most people to save.

    It doesn’t, and the suggestion that everyone is inspired to save by this tax gift to the wealthiest sliver (narowing every day that prime property reduces in value) is in my view a policy statement with a far-right tone to it.

  17. Sorry, I meant “right wing” – it’s clearly not “far”, which is a most unpleasant word.

  18. I think the Tories are probably underated in this poll, and Labour overscored. Scottish Opinion don’t have a good track record when it comes to accurate predictions (Holyrood 2007, Glasgow East) so I’d bear that in mind.

    As to why the Tories have declined so much… The party that won over 50% of the vote in Scotland in the 50’s was the Scottish Unionist Party. It sat with the Conservatives in Westminster, but it was able to present itself as authentically Scottish. The decline set in after amalgamation with the Conservatives in England & Wales in the 60’s, it just accelerated after Thatcher came to power.

    Foolishly, in electoral terms at least, the Tories emphasised being Unionist at the expense of being Scottish

    There’s a warning to the Ulster Unionists there, although they’re already starting from a pitifuly low base of 1 MP, so I suppose they can only improve.

  19. John

    So does that mean that the left-right measure is a monetary scale ? i.e. – the more economic wealth one has the further to the right one must be ?

    Excuse me. This naive student of politics had always assumed that it derived from the distinction between socialists on the left who wanted to redistribute wealth from those who produce it to those who consume it, and economic liberals on the right who believe that the state should limit its interference in the wealth-creating process and constrain itself to areas of security (foreign affairs / defence / law & order) and “social wealth” (health and education).

    Is it the quantum of the IHT threshold that offends or the principle of encouraging people to aspire to greater wealth ?

    Actually – re-reading the above, I see that a policy which encourages wealth creation is indeed “right-wing” – so by that definition, Osborne is being true to right-wing (Conservative) principles.

    Perhaps the give-away is in your description of this as being a “tax gift”. Oh what games we can play when we distort the true meaning of words.

    “The mugger was most considerate. Not only did he refrain from stabbing me with the knife with which he threatened me, he actually let me keep my bus-pass so that I could get home after he robbed me of my wallet and valuables.”

    Never forget that taxation is legalised theft of personal property by the state.

  20. Surprised Cllr Peter is not on yet (why he can`t just go by his name without stating his position I don`t know). Being in third place does matter to the Tories since they get an MEP. So Peter I accept your apology for denigrating third place in an earlier thread.

  21. well just over two months left before the country and england vote, i still see a tory gain hear and their but this time around it maybe hard for them to make big gains as most countys are conservative anyway and a few are becoming unitary this year as well and in thoes the tories could make gains as the council will suffer from new council blues. but in genaral at council level unlike early predictions on some sites, at this point i will only say the tories will gain 200-250 seats maximum and in the EU elections they will gain a few seats 6 maybe, labour gain 2 and ukip lose 8 or something like that, for labour and lib dems the council elections could be a bad but not a melt down unlike 2006-2007-2008 which were dreadfull for labour and not goo for the lib dems

  22. Paul – we are starting from a position where the established tax is as it is. A tax “gift” is effectively a gift because of that fact.

    If you regard taxation as theft, then my argument would be that it is a right-wing idea to stop thieving from the wealthiest as the top priority, but continue thieving from the remaining 98% of us.

    There are better ways to encourage wealth creation than to say “if you ever get to be in the top 2% layer of wealth-owners, we’ll reward you by not taxing you any longer”

    The choice of means is right-wing. Wealth creation is a common goal.

    “constrain itself to areas of security (foreign affairs / defence / law & order) and “social wealth” (health and education” – That’s a pretty exhaustive list. Of course, you need to add an administrative layer to collect and distribute funds. Ands a jolly old quango or two like “the office of budgetary responsibility”

    “Never forget that taxation is legalised theft of personal property by the state.” – Put that on a poster and ask passers by which party they thought was responsible, and how “right-wing” they think they are!

    You are clear a right-winger, but just how far do you think we would get if we decided that only those who sell or make things contribute, and therefore should be treated any better than those in support/services or (perish the thought!) entertainment and The Arts?

  23. Mike – Peter identifies himself because Anthony asks people to.

  24. Sorry, that should have read “those who sell or make things, or inherit things”

  25. JohnTT

    “…if we decided that only those who sell or make things contribute, and therefore should be treated any better than those in support/services or (perish the thought!) entertainment and The Arts?”

    In a low tax society (ie one where government is small and ‘individuals’ have greater responsibility) do you believe that support/services or indeed ‘the arts’ would not exsist?

    Is the United States a place devoid of healthcare or film production?

    Small government (and therefore lower taxation) can lead to better support services, better run and more efficient.

    It’s only right wing if you start from the assumption that Communism is a ‘good idea’. Most evidence over the last 100 years or so says that monopolies are almost always poor performers. Governments included.

  26. Ahh the old left-right argument.

    Lefty: “You want to lower taxes on the rich to make the rich richer and the poor poorer”
    Righty: “No, I want to lower taxes on everyone, allowing everyone to keep more of their own money. By definition this will mean the rich keep more because they have more taken to start with but the end result is everyone pays less tax”
    Lefty: “See, you would make the poor poorer by spending less money on them and giving that money to the rich”
    Righty: “Not true. By letting the poor man keep more of his money he can decide for himself what he wants rather than government telling him what he can have”
    …. and so it carries on.

    Curiously (and correct me if I’m wrong but this is the sense I get) the argument always focuses on what the right-wing man would do and never on what the left-wing man would do. You hardly ever hear the righty saying “You would create a benefits system to support single teenage mothers. Very honourable but, say, what do you think that will do to the teenage pregnancy rate?” for instance.

    I hope you both realise that you aren’t going to change the others mind. There’s more chance of the Labour party balancing a budget than there is of John saying “Gee, you’re right. Well, looks like I’m putting an X in the box marked Conservative next time”.

  27. Well put Mark! If I didput the X next to a tory, it would be because they’d lost the loony-right tag as emphatically as Labour lost the looney-left tag (which is when I switched to them.

    You always hear Mr Righty much louder than Mr Lefty, certainly on here, but I take your point entirely re pointless arguing.

  28. Actually I identify myself by choice so that people can make a judgement on my comments with full knowledge of my politics and background.

    The net is full of sites where small groups of people using pseudonyms post comments anonymously for their own ends pretending to be non political when they are anything but.

    I just think people have a right to know.


  29. Re the Inheritance Tax arguments, it is worth remembering the time , context & detail of the Conservative policy announcement-and indeed the Labour policy response which is hardly ever mentioned.

    In 2006, Halifax reported that IHT revenue had doubled in that financial year when compared with 1997-to around £3.5bn pa. They calculated then that 20% of all properties would exceed the then nil-rate band by 2020, unless the NRB was properly indexed. Halifax calculated that it should then have been £430k-not £285k as it then was.

    IHT was & is notoriously a tax which the very rich do not pay, because they employ lawyers to construct tax avoiding trusts, which the ordinary homeowner tends not to do.

    Osborne’s 2007 announcement of an increase in NRB to £1million, and more controversially, the ability to pass unused NRB between spouses after the first death, was trumped by Darlings similar change to allow unused NRB ( now £312k) to a surviving spouse.

    Osborne claimed that his policy would remove 9million families from IHT, and Darlings would clearly have had a somewhat less impact-but they both recognised that large numbers of homeowners were being increasingly dragged into IHT liability at that time by property price increases.

    Clearly things have changed on that front, but neither Darling nor Osborne have sought to renege on their promises as a result of falling house prices.

    In both policies it is only the proportion of NRB unused by the estate of the first deceased spouse which can be passed on. So it is no more correct to say that Osborne has relieved all estates up to £2m than it is to say Darling did so up to £624k.( well only where the first death left a zero value estate)

    Finaly, the much quoted cost of Osborne’s policy proposal -£3.5 bn. pa-included the cost of reducing Stamp Duty on homes under £250k value.

    The cost of both these tax reliefs is to be recouped by a levy on the much debated non-doms-the really super rich who make their money here, but don’t pay taxes here.

  30. Ivan @ 9.43am-well responded.

    It is truly amazing how many non-sequiturs masquerading as logic & fact lurk in the undergrowth here.

  31. “Finaly, the much quoted cost of Osborne’s policy proposal -£3.5 bn. pa-included the cost of reducing Stamp Duty on homes under £250k value.

    The cost of both these tax reliefs is to be recouped by a levy on the much debated non-doms-the really super rich who make their money here, but don’t pay taxes here.”

    …I meant to say that the cost of Osborne’s policy has now fallen dramatically-Treasury estimate is that it has halved. So if he sticks to his non-dom levy he could be actually generating tax revenue .

    Darling will by the same token see his IHT revenue falling-I can’t remember how he planned to pay for his IHT concession.

  32. Colin – Ivan’s response was irrelevant – didn’t address my point at all which is that public sector workers should not be treated as less worthwhile than private sector. . It’s amazing how little gets past the blinkers sometimes.
    The “right-wing” (and Paul wanted definitions, not I) would entrust all to private subscription

    The reduction in cost of the IHT proposals reflects falling values, thereby limiting the benefit to even fewer at the the very top of the wealth table.

    i imagine the claw-back from non-doms is similarly expected to reduce.

  33. The Irony of course is that the dependancy culture and sick benefit growth and the under class expolsion came under a right wing Gov’t in the ’80s
    Thatcher could do this withoiut impacting Tax payers too much as she had North Sea Oil revenues.
    This segues nicely in to Tory Scottish weakness. OIl money went south whilst Scotland lost manufacturing jobs. Scotland take of UK Gov’t spending was above average per head (and compared to tak take) due not just to Barnett but due to social transfer payments.
    Simplistic I know but broadly right.

  34. Thanks Jim Jam – that reminds me that most of my points were irrelevant too.

    Do the SNP expect to do worse in European elections than any other?

  35. “my point … is that public sector workers should not be treated as less worthwhile than private sector”

    But who has suggested otherwise?

    “The “right-wing” would entrust all to private subscription”

    All of what?-who says so?-what right wing?-is this a reference to a Party Policy somewhere?-what does it mean?

  36. Colin,

    Many years ago Sir Keith Joseph referred to the ratchet effect of socialism which had been in place from 1945 until 1979.

    By his repsonse to my deliberately provocative statement that Taxation is theft John TT reveals that the left continue to view the evolution of taxation on the ratchet principle – ie the existing level is taken as a given, and it is for tose who wish to reduce taxation to justify their position rather than for the left to justify why they continue to need what they have already taken.

    My point is that it is for the state to justify every penny taken in taxes, and show that the communal good achieved exceeds the economic cost. That should happen each and every year for each and every tax and each and every spending programme. That is after all why we have an annual finance bill – which makes the postponement of the budget till after the expiration of the 2008 Finance Act for no legally justifiable reason all the more scandalous.

    I don’t for a moment imagine that I will persude John, or other readers of this site, to change his vote. But I do think that it is worthwhile to invite people to sometimes question their assumptions and look at things from a different viewpoint.

    [aside pertinent to this thread – sounds similar to the EU ratchet – otherwise known as the “acquis communautaire” – but then we always knew the EU was a lefty creration.]

  37. John TT,

    “Never forget that taxation is legalised theft of personal property by the state.” – Put that on a poster and ask passers by which party they thought was responsible, and how “right-wing” they think they are!

    You might also ask them to think about what it means. I can’t think of a better way to provoke a taxpayers revolt – especially when they start to think about how much they pay and what they actually get in return.

    Taxation is one part of the complex bargain between the individual and the state. When one party to a bargain seeks to abuse its position, it should not be surprised if the other party withdraw its consent.

  38. Colin – you have to appreciate that Paul asked for a definition of” right wing”, and has indicated that the private sector could happily exist without the public sector.

    To me, both are inter-dependent and complaining about the apparent unfairness of it all is for most part a bit pointless, and, for those on “the right wing” leads to statements like “all taxation is legalised theft”, and calls to taxpayer revolt and such-like. Just as right-wing as “property is theft” is left-wing

    In other words, the “right wing” promote tax cuts for the better off, where the “right wing” is whatever Paul was asking for when he requested a definition.

    Ideas like :
    Wealth trickles down and public services can be paid from the proceeds of growth that results from allowing the wealthiest to keep more and more of their money.

    are signifiers of “right wing”.

    Sorry if you missed the question posed by Paul, Colin, but all I’m doing is suggesting what he was asking for. What is “right wing”?

  39. ‘Is the United States a place devoid of healthcare …

    Small government (and therefore lower taxation) can lead to better support services, better run and more efficient.’

    Actually the American healthcare system is appalling and is something which really is shameful for such a wealthy country. It is one Clinton tried to improve and which Obama also has on his list of major things to improve. Basically there is no NHS there and so most can’t afford to get sick. The ‘low taxation’ of the USA- which is off course offset by a huge debt which is only manageable whilst the world uses dollars as a reserve currency and which China and the GCC (Arabian Gulf) countries are looking to alter – is not low taxation whilst national debt increases (it’s really more deferred tax). If China and the GCC countries stop holding dollars even just to a minor degree then the consequences for the American economy will be disastrous.

    One notes that Cuba’s free health care system is much better (ironically…) than the USA; it even exports graduates around the world…

  40. OK john-thanks

    Yes I would agree that State has a role in society , and it needs employees to carry out that role.

    But because it is unchecked by the commercial imperative of having to “earnin” revenue, the State can get a bit bloated sometimes.

    It might be argued that “left wing” policymakers tend to allow this to happen-seeing always the need for direct State intervention somewhere, and assuming Tax Revenues will pay.

    Right wing policymakers can err in the opposite direction, sometimes seeing no role for the State where one is advantageous.

    I think Cameron will carry out this fundamental review of the role of the State, as all Conservative administrations do-but I think he will tread a more middle line than some of his predecessors.

    Of course he may conclude that the Charitable Sector ( which has massive resource & expertise) is best placed to carry out a particular role for the State, rather than directly employed State workers.Provided that does not mean the withdrawal of State financial support where that is appropriate, I see that as common sense & neither right wing nor left wing .

  41. Ignoring the historic origin of the term as irrelevant–

    Right wing parties are normally defined quite simply in all text books as-

    ‘Today, the term the Right is used to describe groups who stress tradition, fundamentalism and nationalism. A second usage, especially in the United States, is to describe groups who favor laissez-faire capitalism and free markets and oppose socialism and communism.[4]In a particular instance, it is often difficult to tell which meaning of the expression is intended.’

    wiki definition.

    Stereotypically the normal definitions go; right wing are social conservatives (state control) but economic liberals (less state control). Left wing are social liberals (less state / no state control) and and economic control by the state, The degree of left / right determines the amount of control the party or individual supports.

  42. “One notes that Cuba’s free health care system is much better (ironically…) than the USA”

    mmmm….better for some of the recipients of Cuban State sponsored Medical Aid…but better for Cubans?

    Are you sure?

  43. I meant “overseas State Sponsored Medical Aid”, -ie exported Doctors

  44. ” the left continue to view the evolution of taxation on the ratchet principle – ie the existing level is taken as a given, and it is for those who wish to reduce taxation to justify their position ”

    You have me wrong there – it’s my position that taxes should reduce as standards of living increase, but that they should reduce from the bottom up (using targetted threshold raising such as tax-credits and quantum “gifts” like winter allowances etc rather than % reductions which favour the better off within each section.

    I also think taxes should go down in recessions and up (to pay down debt) in periods of growth.

    I don’t speak for those on the other end of the see-saw from you, Paul.

    And you certainly won’t persuade anyone to think from a different perspective if you signal so clearly that you are locked into yours.

    As a wiser man than both of us once said – A fool will try to persuade me with his arguments, but a wise man will try to persuade me with my own.

  45. ‘Jack

    So holding more than half the seats within living memory does not count as being strong ?’

    Looking at percentage results I see the last time the Conservatives were ahead in Westminster elections was roughly 1959 and the high point was probably around 1957. The chart then show a steady decline for 50 years (fairly steeply from 1992).

    This I think reflects people’s feelings more accurately than seats where tactical voting can have an impact. It also has more meaning than polls as elections are the times when opinions matter. (Mind you, the polls rarely show anything much for the conservatives in Scotland for the reasons I have argued.


  46. Colin – it would be amazing to see the voluntary sector filling the gaps so spectacularly well that the Victorians would be proved right.

    A lot depends on how generous people become when they have to retrieve their money from tax havens and put it to good use (and as Paul says himself, they shouldn’t be surprised that their abuse is leading to certain social contract clauses being cancelled)

  47. Jack,

    US healthcare worse than that of Cuba?!


    Never fully understood the blind hatred of the USA by those on the left but anyway, replace America with China instead if you wish.

    No welfare at all, low tax, zero rgulation, no state healthcare. Pure ‘wild west’ capitalism for 20 odd years (albeit in a one party state). Result; Literally hundreds of millions of people drawn out of poverty, into education and higher standards of living almost across the board.

    I do not of course agree with the human rights situation there but it cannot be denied that replacing state control with individual responsibility has brought China on leaps and bounds.

  48. …Of course, as has already been pointed out, there’s no point trying to change peoples minds here. Years of political interest from our various perspectives has made us all set in our own way of thinking.

    I will endeavor to stick to poll comment from now on.

    I’ll say though that it is a little depressing that the only votes that sway are those of people who, by definition, don’t really care about or understand the issues at stake. It means that the party that ‘spins’ the best will always be the winner.

  49. Yougov poll up – n/c 41/31/17

    interesting poll on spending plans too..

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