The full tables for YouGov’s weekly poll for the Sunday Times are now up here. As one might guess from five point Tory lead in voting intention, they are unremittingly dire for Ed Miliband.

On leader ratings David Cameron stands at minus 3 (from from 7 last week), Nick Clegg at minus 50 (from minus 49 last week) and Ed Miliband at minus 53, his worst so far and the first time he has dropped below Nick Clegg. Only 18% think Miliband is doing well, compared to 71% who think he is doing badly. Amongst Labour’s own supporters 50% now think Miliband is doing badly.

Asked if Labour had the right policies and the best leader for them, only 8% thought they had both. 31% think they have the right policies, but only 14% think they have the right leader. Even amongst the 31% who think they have the right policies (and are therefore must be somewhat well disposed towards them), three quarters think they don’t have the best leader for them. Only 24% of people, and only 26% of Labour’s own supporters, think that Miliband should lead the party into the next election.

Turning to Labour’s policies, YouGov asked how well people think they understand the Labour party’s position on the cuts. 37% say they understand it very (4%) or fairly well (37%). 54% say they don’t understand it well or don’t understand it at all. Asked about Labour’s decision to support the 1% cap on public sector pay rises, 50% said they agreed with the decision to not reverse the cap. Labour supporters were evenly split – 41% supporting the decision (and therefore the cap), 38% disagreeing with it.

As well as this there were a series of questions on the “Boris Island” airport, which generally speaking found people opposed to the idea by about 2 to 1. YouGov also found opposition to the idea of a new Royal Yacht – only 24% of people supported it, compared to 64% who were opposed (of the 24% who supported it, 62% thought the taxpayer should contribute, with 37% thinking it should be funded wholly from private funds)

Finally there were some questions on the Falkland Islands. 57% of people think they should remain British, 12% think they should be given to Argentina. Were the Islands to be invaded again today, 58% of people say they wouls support military action to defend them, 27% say they would oppose it.


191 Responses to “Full YouGov/Sunday Times report”

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  1. I would have thought a key and decisive factor is that all , according to YouGov, the three UK leaders are MUCH more unpopular in Scotland than they are across the UK including an incredible -70 for Milliband!

    When you contrast these very negative vibs to all three Westminster parties with the sustained goodwill towards Salmond and his Government, then this becomes a huge factor in understanding the likely course of the referendum campaign.

  2. MACTAVISH

    Welcome-nice to see another blue supporter around.

    I share your concerns about defending the Falklands-Sandy Woodward wrote this last year :-

    “without American support, the Falklands, the reclaiming of which cost 253 brave British lives, are now perilously close to being indefensible.”

    And he knows something about defending the Falklands.

    Re Carriers-we have an arrangement with the French I believe.
    Now that would be very interesting if it kicks off down there.
    Do the Argies still buy Excocets ?

  3. CALUM SMITH

    Sorry, but I think you are being too simplistic. There is a churn of voter movement between parties. All that the polls (or actual elections) pick up is the net effect.

    For more detailed data, have a look at the Scottish Election Studies.

    Voting Retention

    Voted Party in 2007 and in 2011

    SNP 89
    CON 75
    LAB 69
    LIB 35

    Who Lib Dem voters in 2007 voted for in 2011

    SNP 37
    LIB 35
    LAB 22
    CON 6

    That 6% of LDs who moved to Con would more than explain the rise in the Tory VI. If the LDs are/were seen as a busted flush, then there is no point in voting tactically for them any more.

  4. Okay, OldNat I was just trying not to get too excited! I guess this could be bad news for the LDs in former Tory places like Kincardineshire then.

    However, as you say, speculations are just really for fun at the moment as much could be either improved or damaged for parties following the referendum.

  5. CALUM SMITH

    On the basis of no evidence whatsoever!! I suspect that tactical voting in 2015 (assuming that Scots have voted for independence and Westminster is still dragging its heels on the issue, or that Scots have decided we remain in the UK – doesn’t it get complicated? :-) ) will be less affected by the new constituency boundaries than elsewhere in the UK.

    There are strong regional differences in voting patterns here, and few of the new constituencies traverse the regions.

    Before a possible 2015 Westminster elections, we have the locals in 2012, the European elections in 2013, and the referendum in 2014.

    That’s a lot of events to go through!

  6. @ Old Nat

    “How dare you suggest that we can’t be as shallow as anyone else! :)”

    Lol, didn’t mean to offend. There are a number of good looking Republican pols here who I would never vote for. I chalk it up to not being shallow.

  7. @OLDNAT

    “Even Statgeek’s accumulated data from them can only be indicative.”

    Indeed. The current data (using median absolute deviation) suggests that the Scottish numbers are:

    Con 18.9%
    Lab 37.1%
    Lib 5.9%
    SNP 32.3%
    Others 5.7%

    That translates to Westminster as:

    Lab 40 (-1)
    SNP 12 (+6)
    Con 4 (+3)
    Lib 3 (-8)

    No boundary commission factors applied though. Basically it looks rather similar to the numbers from October. While the Scottish crossbreaks get wild, the outliers still don’t seem to affect the general trends (yet).

  8. Just to reassure people on the Falklands.

    T=C*I

    Threat equals Capability times Intent

    On capability;

    30 years ago we still had Vulcans and then we put Phantoms on the Islands after the war to deter a combination of Mirage and Skyhawks.

    We later deployed Tornadoes and now Typhoons….

    Argentina still has Mirages and Skyhawks, they haven’t really invested in their airforce in a generation.

    On the naval side they still don’t and probably never will have anything to catch let alone match an SSN.

    Intent;

    Argentina may not like the current status quo, but there is absolutely no indication that they care enough about Malvinas to start another war.

    The last one was a disaster for them and as rightly pointed out a rather desperate attempt by a failing junta to divert attention from their domestic woes.

    Anyway why bother, much like China with Taiwan they feel time is on their side, they know that Britain is too strong for them now and would fight.

    Generals make bad politicians and Politicians bad Generals.

    The Falklands showed that sometimes Generals make bad Generals in that, they over estimated their abilities and underestimated Britain’s determination.

    Those were political mistakes made by soldiers. I don’t see the same happening with politicians.

    If I was in Buenos Aires my focus would be on Brasilia not London.

    As Brazils economic strength grows and it becomes an ever bigger market for UK exporters and the City of London, the trade off of our interests in the Falklands will edge closer.

    Brazil sees itself ultimately as South Americas USA and getting the UK to negotiate with argentina would be the kind of strategic move that would cement that position.

    Like it or not Argentina means a lot more to them than Britain does.

    The tabloids and the Tories will try to deny it for as long as they can, but we really don’t have any influence beyond Europe any more and they both seem hell bent on diminishing even that.

    Cllr Peter Cairns (SNP)

  9. @ R Huckle

    “I do feel sorry for US voters. The republican candidates for President are a bit of a joke. The way they conduct themselves with negative briefings being issued. I see Romney has been pressured into releasing his tax returns and there were allegations of money held offshore.

    I bet Obama is having a good laugh at their expense. I haven’t seen much of him lately, so presume he is keeping a low profile to allow the media to fully cover the divisions within the republicans.”

    I wouldn’t feel too sorry for us. If Romney has released his tax returns, I haven’t heard about it. I think it’s been established that he does have money in Cayman Islands bank accounts so it’s more than just an allegation.

    I’ve seen plenty of Obama in the media. He was at Disneyworld most recently meeting with tourism industry C.E.O.s and announcing new initiatives to lift travel restrictions to the U.S. He was also seen singing Al Green at a fundraiser at the Apollo Theater. Plus he’s going to give the State of the Union on Tuesday night so he’ll be in the media plenty.

    @ MacTavish

    “The Democrats themselves were torn, right down the middle, between Clinton and Obama in the 2008 primaries. In the end, Obama relied on superdelegates to win the democratic nomination. At times, the democratic campaign did get nasty. One could argue, though, long primaries help the frontrunner to avoid receiving direct hits from their opponents. Overall, I think it’s just the way the elections are run in the US and has nothing to do with republicans or democrats.”

    That was based on a personality split. Obama and Clinton were identical ideologically. Democrats liked both candidates. Republican voters don’t like any of their candidates and of the four left standing, all four have very different ideologies and represent four very different wings of the Republican Party. These four wings are in conflict with each other and the longer the race drags on, the more split the party risks becoming.

  10. @ MacTavish

    “It’s not all a rosy picture in Argentina as far as I know. Economy, there, is in a bad shape and there is still high levels of corruption at the government level. Having said that, the scrapping of our aircraft carrier, harriers, reconnaissance aircraft etc by David Cameron have not gone unnoticed in Buenos Aires. They also know, from 1982, that NATO, in particular the US, will not directly intervene. These factors have all increased the likelihood of a military confrontation and I doubt that unless some of the defence cuts are reversed, we are capable of sending a naval task force and retake those islands.”

    Keep in mind though that back in 2002 when Argentina suffered a major economic crisis, there was no military junta and the democracy there remained intact.

  11. Peter Cairns

    @”they both seem hell bent on diminishing even that.”

    That is just silly rhetoric.

    GO & DC ( & WH) are globe trotting with the stated objective of improving UK trade & influence beyond the benighted EU.

    GO is to visit Brazil after his Asian trip I believe.

    They are trying to do the very opposite of what you suggest.

    RE Defence of the Falklands, I must say I find it amusing to receive assurances on our comparative military strength , from a representative of the SNP :-)

  12. COLIN
    `They are trying to do the very opposite of what you suggest.`
    I think the councillor is alluding to a split from the European Union

  13. But this might help :-

    “N AMERICAN energy giant with links to the Pentagon is poised to spend at least £1billion on the British oil rush in the FALKLANDS.
    A deal would transform the political stand-off between Downing Street and Argentina over the future of the islands.

    Four execs from Houston-based Anadarko flew to Port Stanley last week to meet with Rockhopper, a UK explorer that’s struck 700 million barrels of “black gold” off the Falklands’ north coast.

    The private jet landed Wednesday and parked at the military airbase.

    Sources claim Anadarko made a provisional offer to invest in Rockhopper’s mammoth discovery and develop it.

    One told The Sun: “A deal has been tabled.

    “Anadarko has got approval to do this from the highest levels in the US.

    “And they’ve been reassured the British will stand by the islands.”

    The US giant’s board of directors include Kevin Chilton – a former commander of US Strategic Command. Another, Preston M “Pete” Geren III, was in the US Department of Defence for much of the last decade.”

    The Sun.

  14. SMUKESH

    @”I think the councillor is alluding to a split from the European Union”

    In which case I think he will be wrong about that as well-once le petit francais has departed.

  15. COLIN
    `In which case I think he will be wrong about that as well-once le petit francais has departed.`
    I hope so…The bill to approve extra funding to IMF is coming up soon and we will know how the MP`s line up…Already the usual suspects have been on the media telling us what a foolish idea it is

  16. Colin,

    I used the word “both” after tabloids and Tories, and I suppose I should have said eurosceptic Tories.

    Either way regardless of how much effort Cameron and Osborne may be putting in I’d say few would think that the last few months have increased our influence in Europe.

    Bashing Brussels may go down well at home but it doesn’t make friends.

    As to visiting Brazil ,well I am sure he will do his best but I doubt he will convince anyone that in the long term it is more in Brazils interests to back Britain than Argentina.

    I really doubt that in the current situation he can get anywhere close to the influence that China now has in South America.

    Look at the facts;

    UK budget cuts 2010 to 2115 = £17bn

    Foxconn announced investment in Brazil in 2110 =£7.8bn…

    Thats just one company, all be it a big one making ipods.

    The world is changing fast and we and Europe are now in the slow lane.

    Brazil is aiming to be the superpower of South America and that makes Argentina far more important than us from their point of view.

    Cllr Peter Cairns (SNP).

  17. UK & Argentina will both be kicked into touch by the Falklanders, if there is a significant ‘oil strike’.

    Their best friends & worst enemies will both be personna non grata. They will want to keep it all for themselves.

    Thus, the current squabble is 2 bald men fighting over a comb which belongs to a 3rd man. ;-)

  18. @Ewen Lightfoot

    “I think the Tory lead is down to dog=whistle stuff on immigrants claiming benefits.”

    Welcome to the site, Ewen, and I don’t think we’ve heard from you before, have we? It’s always good to have new people with a different perspective on things and, if your observation above is anything to go by, I think you will be a very welcome addition to the discussions that take place on here.

    Dog whistle campaigning, though not entirely a sole possession of the political right, does tend to be a favourite device of right wing parties and was first brought to this country by the former Australian PM John Howard’s old strategist, Lynton Crosby, when he was brought over to assist Michael Howard’s doomed campaign in 2005. “Are you thinking what what we’re thinking” is a classic dog whistle message and featured, if you recall, in a lot of Conservative posters during the 2005 election, touching on a range of delicate issues.

    The accepted definition of dog-whistling is “to use coded language to convey an implicit, almost subliminal, message to a select target audience, while maintaining “plausible deniability” against accusations of prejudice or fear-mongering”. In other words, hint at a delicate issue, suggest implicit support and plant the seed in the voters mind.

    Thankfully, it turned out in 2005 that, much to the consternation of the Conservative Party, most of the British electorate weren’t thinking what they were thinking! lol

  19. Amber

    The USA hasn’t played the Monroe Doctrine card yet.

  20. @Amber,

    If the Falklands thinks it’s vulnerable now, imagine what a plum it’d be with hundreds of millions of pounds of oil streaming ashore.

    Someone is going to have armed forces on the Falklands. Whoever that is will have a handsome share of any oil revenue. The Falklands itself is highly unlikely to be the one with the armed forces.

  21. “The USA hasn’t played the Monroe Doctrine card yet.”

    Diamonds are a girls best friend?

    Cllr Peter Cairns (SNP)

  22. Good evening psephologists! We’ve not published the last in our series on the South Carolina Primary – for anyone interested in detailed analysis of what happened follow the link:
    http://www.allthatsleft.co.uk/2012/01/south-carolina-round-up/

  23. @ Peter Cairns

    ROFLOL :-)

  24. @NEIL A

    With all that oil money, the Falklands could arguably buy a nuclear deterrent. ;)

  25. @All

    Just thinking about this latest poll, and the strange weightings data aside, with 41%, 36%, 9% on the UKPR basic swing calc it returns “Hung Parliament, Con 5 seats short.”

    I wonder how the BC changes impact on those numbers?

  26. STATGEEK

    “With all that oil money, the Falklands could arguably buy a nuclear deterrent.”

    And there is just such a facility over the firth from here that needs to be moved. :-)

  27. @ Cllr Peter Cairns
    “Either way regardless of how much effort Cameron and Osborne may be putting in I’d say few would think that the last few months have increased our influence in Europe.

    Bashing Brussels may go down well at home but it doesn’t make friends.”

    On the other hand if the only way you can keep your influence is by doing what the other side wants, what exactly is the nature or value of this influence?

  28. @ Paul HJ

    “How many went from being prominent before their reinvention, completely changed their image, and then went on to be more successful ? I struggle. Examples welcomed.”

    First example that comes to mind is Churchill. Compare his image following his lowest point (the failure of the Gallipoli campaign in 1916) with his image by the time he took over as PM in 1939.

    I think that goes to show that it is possible for even a well-known and prominent figure to have a major change to his or her public image, but it’s difficult and may take some time and/or particular events to achieve.

  29. RICHARDW

    “On the other hand if the only way you can keep your influence is by doing what the other side wants, what exactly is the nature or value of this influence?”

    Is that a reference to the “Special Relationship”?

    Peter

  30. @ Oldnat

    “And there is just such a facility over the firth from here that needs to be moved.”

    Faslane employs a lot of people, so if the naval assets are moved after Scotlands independence, most of the jobs will move to the UK.

    It would be up to an independent Scotland, but if Scotland wanted to have its own armed services, it would cost a lot. I am presuming that the current armed forces in Scotland are funded centrally from the MOD budget, with no costs funded by the Scottish government.

    I just hope that the SNP will make clear the costs of funding some areas, not covered currently by the money allocated to Scotland. If it is possible that taxes would have to rise, then this should be made clear during the referendum debate.

  31. @ Peter C

    A fair comment on the special relationship with the USA!

    But I thought you were referring to DC’s approach to the EU and suggesting that he could have preserved ‘influence’ by doing what everybody else wanted, which might have been sensible, but doesn’t sound much like influence.

    Richard

  32. R HUCKLE

    With respect, you haven’t though that true.

    Westminster derives its funding from the whole of the UK – including Scotland. It then disburses that money on a number of different projects.

    Some of the money that Scotland sends to Westminster, is sent back as a Block Grant to the Scottish Parliament. Other monies are spent in Scotland directly by the Westminster Government.

    Other monies don’t come back to Scotland at all.

    I’m quite sure that you aren’t delusional, but only someone who was would think that all the assets of the UK had been paid for by rUK and somehow Scotland had paid nothing.

    As with the debt of the UK, the assets need to be appropriately divided.

    Should Scotland decide to be independent, then we get an appropriate share of both assets (including military assets) and debt.

    If rUK decides to behave like Serbia, and assets aren’t distributed fairly, then you can kiss goodbye to our taking our appropriate share of the debt.

    Currently we pay our share (probably more than our share) of military spending, though the expenditure of that money disproportionately benefits the economy of SE England. The UK (and, therefore, us spend 2.5% of GDP on defence. The Scandinavians spend around 1.5%.

    Spending on the Scandinavian model would be a massive saving for the Scottish economy.

  33. @Richard W – “… the only way you can keep your influence is by doing what the other side wants”

    David Lidington in front of the Lords select committee (17th Jan) – kept saying he could not disclose details of the negotiating position – even though the 17 noble Lords all had a leaked copy in front of them of the “safeguards” Cameron demanding for the UK.

    The consensus among these highly expirienced elder statesmen – seemed to me at least – to be one of embarassment that Cameron’s negotiation position could not be defended, concern that the UK is no longer in a position to negotiate its interests in certain respects… and they concluded by expressing (in a suble way) their expectation that there will be no repeat of these “histrionics” next time the PM represents the UK as head of state in Bruxelles.

  34. “you haven’t though that true.” = “you haven’t though that through”.

    (I was watching Pele’s overhead kick in “Escape to Victory” – a film with the most overweight POWs ever! :-)

  35. BILLY BOB

    @”The consensus among these highly expirienced elder statesmen – seemed to me at least – to be one of embarassment that Cameron’s negotiation position could not be defended, ”

    Quite clearly then, both they & you have missed that report Merkel is considering dropping FTT , & that EZ would introduce the UK equivalent-stamp duty.

    This was reported in the context of German desire to bring UK back into play.

  36. @ Oldnat

    Yes I see what you are saying. I have not seen any budget projections for an independent Scotland, as to what it would look like.

  37. R HUCKLE

    The best estimates ( given the inadequate nature of the UK’s “accounting”, estimates are all that can be achieved) of fiscal balance, for any part of the UK, are for Scotland.

    You can access them here

    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Economy/GERS

  38. Sometimes we ought to look at things from a non-economic perspective. An independent nuclear deterrent is one of those things, IMO.

    Does it make Scotland & the UK safer? Or does it make us a target? Does it support a ‘nasty’ foreign policy position, where we can do & say what we like because, at the end of the day, we can nuke ’em if they get smart with us? Or does it support a ‘nicer’ foreign policy position because we can afford to allow some latitude, knowing that it won’t go too far because other countries know they can’t simply use force to get their way?

    IMO, we can’t view defence through the prism of economics because, when we do, any economic argument quickly leads to the conclusion that nuclear weapons are a cost-effective way to defend the country. Economically speaking, it is conventional deterrents which are expensive (money & British lives); partly because non-nuclear ‘defences’ can also be deployed for purposes other than defending ‘Queen & Country’.
    8-)

  39. @Colin – “This was reported in the context of German desire to bring UK back into play.”

    Perhaps she wants us in because she needs another big economy to pay the EU bills?

  40. @Colin – “Quite clearly then, both they & you have missed that report”

    The select committee meeting (17th Jan) missed a report (19th Jan) that Merkel was “mulling things over”?

    I was reponding to Richard W’s query about UK influence in Europe – by saying Cameron mishandled the negotiations – and the cabinet minister could not defend that position in front of people like (David) Lord Hannay (who pointedly referred to the attendance of Hague behind the scenes – by implication the pressure Cameron was under to play domestic party politics) .

    If Merkel is prepared to hold our hand and find a way back for us – that may say more about her influence. The episode does the UK no favours in the long run.

  41. @Amber,

    You’ve encapsulated the reason that I’ve always, with a heavy heart, supported an indepdendent nuclear deterrent.

    If we are in the business of threatening our enemies in order to stop them attacking us, I don’t want us to be threatening them with battalions of living, breathing soldiers. I don’t want to tempt them to analyze and quantify that threat. I don’t want them calculating “Oh that’s OK, even if the UK throws their whole army at us, we’ll only lose 100,000 men and then they’ll be broken”.

    Nuclear war is un-analyzable and unquantifiable. In some counter-intuitive way for me it is more equitable and humane than telling a group of men that they have to run at a line of machine guns.

  42. Amber

    You are assuming that having WMD “deters” anybody. Just who are we thinking of deterring from attacking Scotland? Are they the same people who will attack Ireland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden et al? Who are they?

    Public spending needs to be appropriate to its functional purpose.

    A country that wants to conduct a leadership role in interventionist foreign policy, obviously needs to have a much larger military (let’s not pretend it is about “defence”) than a country which simply wants to provide an appropriate contribution to international humanitarian / peace keeping operations, as well as support for the civil authorities.

    I quite understand that the British want to have a role in supporting the USA in their military adventures and/or retaining their seat on the Security Council. I have never understood why they don’t want to be part of an even larger military bloc, like an integrated European military force would be – other than narrow nationalism.

  43. @ Ray North

    Thanks for that link. I think that Gingrich’s ex-wife’s revelations may have helped him surge as far ahead as he did. Are you sure that Romney will get the delegates from the state’s 1st Congressional District? I haven’t seen them awarded yet.

    I think that it’s been seen that momentum can shift rapidly in this race. A week ago, Romney was far ahead in South Carolina and looked like he would cruise to an easy victory. He was the “inevitable candidate” and Republicans were lining up behind him. That’s been taken away and allowed Gingrich to become the anti-Romney candidate. I don’t think this is a mere return to December. All the candidates who rose to the top of the field against Romney collapsed and did not come back. Gingrich has now come back. Also, during the period Gingrich’s rise to the top in December, he led in Florida by far more than he did in South Carolina.

    Romney’s victories in Richland County and Charleston County were both very narrow.

  44. NEIL A

    On that basis, you must have no problem with every other country having WMD? What is good for the goose is presumably an equally good position for the gander – if we discount the obvious sexual positioning of each?

  45. @ Old Nat

    “The USA hasn’t played the Monroe Doctrine card yet.”

    I don’t think that’s applicable here.

  46. SOCALLIBERAL

    They may not want (or need) to play it, but it must be applicable.

    “We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and shall not interfere. But with the Governments who have declared their independence and maintained it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.”

    That the USA chose not to apply it in 1908, when the Brits claimed the South Sandwich Islands, doesn’t mean they couldn’t apply it now.

    But, of course, the UK has a nuclear deterrent of US missiles, so Washington will be scared that a UK Trident sub will fire US missiles ate the US?

  47. So cal

    The Monroe doctrine is always applicable even in a mostly landlocked Asian country

  48. Oldnat

    That was the only sensible defence of a nuclear deterrent I have ever read, but would we really nuke the states?

  49. AMBERSTAR,

    There is a least a suggestion by some that reliance on deterrence leads to a more aggressive stance, but not because of bullying.

    Classic deterrent theory relies on the 3C’s; Capability, Credibility and Communications

    Capability-
    You need a weapon and a means to deliver it.

    Credibility-
    What you threaten must be credible and seen as proportionate.

    Communication-
    You need to make it clear by words and deeds that you mean it.

    This, some think, leads to the situation where any challenge must be answered as if your resolve is questioned in a small conflict so is your deterrent.

    I seem to remember talk of that kind about why we needed to show our resolve over the Falklands and I clearly remember Blair saying that NATO’s credibility was at stake if it didn’t act over Kosovo.

    Top marks to Blairs skill as a spinmeister as he managed to get away with;

    If we don’t attack they won’t believe we are a defensive alliance!

    So the question is;

    Does avoiding the big wars mean having to fight lots of small ones.

    Oh and in general UK Defence spending in 2010 was about £43bn so Scotland pays in about £3.6bn (2.3%).

    Other European spends where;

    Norway- £4.1bn (1.6%), Denmark- £2.9bn (1.4%), Finland- £2.4bn (1.5%), Austria- £2.2bn (0.9%), Ireland- £0.9bn (0.6%)

    I am not sure how much the Scottish public will mandate a new Scottish government, regardless of party, to spend but I’d venture that it will be less than Norway but more than Ireland.

    What I do know is that;

    1) The SNP won’t decide it before the referendum because it’s beyond our power to do so. We’ll have our ideas but the voters will choose the government not us.

    2) Given the range of budgets, economies, alliances options and structures around Europe, the notion that uniquely Scotland can’t afford or organise its own defence is just daft.

    3) What really matters to the SNP is that Scotland is free to make all those choices itself more than the actual choices themselves.

    I am for a non nuclear Scotland out with NATO as I think deterrence is nothing special, just another government policy, and if it fails like many do the consequences are unimaginable, and to be honest I think NATO has all the drawbacks of the EU and few of the benefits.

    However if Post Independence Scots voted for a government that let Trident stay and remained in Europe, I’d still support Independence.

    Whats the answer to the big question;

    “How would an Independent Scotland defend itself”.

    “However it wants too”

    I sometimes think that’s what some Unionists ( but by far not all) really hate, the idea that we have the audacity to suppose that there is a different way to do things let alone a better one.

    Cllr Peter Cairns (SNP).

  50. RiN

    I’m convinced that Bush only caved into Blair’s insistence that Iraq had to be invaded because Blair threatened to nuke Washington if Bush refused to take the lead. :-)

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