Usual caveats apply

Survation have put out a new poll, the topline voting intention figures are CON 24%(-5), LAB 35%(-1), LD 11%(-1), UKIP 22%(+6). The 22% for UKIP is the first poll to show them breaking the twenty percent mark.

In many ways the high UKIP score here shouldn’t come as a surprise, for methodological reasons Survation tend to show the highest levels of UKIP support so if ICM have them at 18% and ComRes at 19% I would have expected Survation to have them in the low twenties. Striking it may be, but the increase in UKIP support is actually in line with what weve seen elsewhere, just using a method that is kinder to UKIP.

More interesting is the drop in Tory support, down five points on Survation’s poll in April. The poll was conducted on Friday and Saturday so at least partially after the “swivel eyed loon” story broke (it came out in Saturday’s papers, so broke about 10pm on Friday night). All the usual caveats I apply to any poll showing sharp or unusual results apply. Sure, it might indicate a shift in support, but just as likely its a blip – wait to see if it is reflected in any other polling. As Twyman’s Law of market research says “anything surprising or interesting is probably wrong”.

Two further comments, I’ve written before about people making the error of looking at the changes in a poll over a month and assuming that events in the last few days are the cause. Survation’s last poll was at the end of April before the local elections, so changes are just as likely to be down to the local elections and the Conservative infighting over Europe as anything more recent.

Secondly there is a tendency for the media and the denizens of Twitter to get all excited about unusual polls that give newsworthy stories when this is, of course, the exact opposite of what you should do if you actually want to understand public opinion. The correct approach is to look at the broad underlying trend and ignore the odd looking polls, the media normally do the opposite. The trend is that UKIP support has jumped substantially following their local election success, and that the Labour lead has been narrowing. The Conservative figure here may yet suggest a new direction, but let’s wait and see.


277 Responses to “Usual caveats apply”

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  1. @Steve2
    By September 2014, there will be a clear indication who is going to win in 2015 – just over 6 months later.

    If its Labour, will that dent the Yes vote in Scotland?

  2. @ Gray

    “As to the LibDems’ position: I don’t think it’s impossible to see a situation where they’d vote down the government, but they’d probably want to get up a few more points in the polls first.”

    A year ago I would have agreed 100% with you and I still think they will not want to risk an election in the same way Gordon Brown didn’t want to. But I actually think, with the UKIP showing, an election now for the Lib Dems might turn out to be their best chance.

    You would expect them to lose seats in 2015 but Eastleigh has shown that to some extent they can hold their vote where it matters (even if that is just Lib Dem-Con marginals) and although the polls are worse than they have ever been for the Lib Dems right now, if they did manufacture a reason to bring down the coalition and if it was vaguelly a reason to the liking of Lab-Lib dems tacticals then you might find they will do much better going now rather than leaving it to the bitter end. With UKIP on a roll I don’t think the Lib Dems will get a better opportunity to minimise their losses.

  3. Well I thought Swivelgate might bring the tories down to 25%. But its even worse than that. And this poll was only conducted at the start of that fracas.

    Any takers for UKIP matching or out-polling the Tory vote in the coming days or weeks?

    Anybody seriously believe that Cameron could survive that happening?

    My personal opinion is Cameron has been holed below the waterline and it is now only a matter of time before he faces somekind of a leadership challenge (assumung that there won’t be a major improvement in the ecomomy or Argentina doesn’t attempt a reenactment of 1982).

  4. @Couper2802

    The Con 5-poll average prior to this one is 30.2%. The five poll average prior to that is 29.2%. The MAD value prior to this poll is 30.8%

    All fairly normal looking from a YG poll perspective.

  5. @Robbie Alive

    And who is the biggest dependant on a statutory delivery service that evens out the cost of delivery across the country? The government would be shooting themselves in the foot if they destroy the statutory delivery service.

    I really don’t want to end up with a postal service run the way that Open Reach now run the national copper network.

  6. @JOHN RUDDY

    As a poll on one (me). I am undecided re:Independence but If I think there is going to be a Tory gov’t in 2015 I will definitely vote ‘Yes’ as I would be very worried about our public services like Health and Education in Scotland as there is only so much the Scottish Parliament can do to protect Scotland whilst in the union.

    That is why I really hope the Coalition ends and we have an election prior to the referendum. As my biggest fear is that Scotland votes ‘No’ thinking Labour will get in and then the Tories win an OM in 2015 (like in 1992).

  7. “Narrowing Labour lead”??? This has them up to 11.

  8. @Couper2082
    The problem is that Health and Education are already devolved, and the problems which have appeared in those services are the responsibility of policy choices of the Scottish Government.

    The form of independence which is being offered seems to give us all the bad things of the uk (Uk treasury deciding our borrowing limits, Bank of England setting our interest rates) without any of the good things – ie a chance to make a difference.

    Apprently, Westminster has been holding us back, Which is why I am puzzled as to why as soon as we become independent, we let them decide everything for us anyway…

  9. Chatterclass

    Question for AW- (on my favourite weighting interest):
    Mike Smithsonite @politicalbetting wonders whether yougov weights UKIP down more than the others. He points out that in party identification, ‘others’ (including UKIP), is weighted down from 92 to 23. Do you think yougov might be under representing UKIP support?

    Anthony explained this a little while ago (sorry can’t find the reference as it was in a comment). The apparent downgrading is to do with the way YouGov sends out its questionnaires which includes Others with the unidentified in the same quota.

    But Others are much more likely to reply from this combined group so they have to downgrade them to balance things out. So the way the system works means that they ask more UKIPers in the first place (this also has the advantage that it may make the VI for smaller Parties a bit more reliable).

    It shouldn’t make much difference because I think the weighting is done on Party id as it was at the last general election which is weighted to the 2010 results. Most of UKIP’s voters (80%?) will have changed their vote since then and so be unaffected by the weighting to past i-d. (Anthony will now come on to explain how I have got it completely wrong).

  10. John Ruddy: By September 2014, there will be a clear indication who is going to win in 2015 – just over 6 months later.

    If its Labour, will that dent the Yes vote in Scotland?

    I honestly don’t think it matters who is in No.10. The ‘Yes’ vote has barely moved despite a Tory government being elected, a strict austerity programme, a flatlining economy and very heavy SNP campaigning repeatedly pointing this all out.

    Growth returning and Labour strong in the polls certainly won’t help the SNP cause but I doubt we’ll see any significant changes in the polls.

  11. @JOHN RUDDY

    Yes they are devolved and thank goodness for that – otherwise we would have the Tory privatisation of Health that is going on in England and tuition fees.

    How long can the Scottish Parliament continue to protect Scotland after a ‘No’ vote and with a Tory OM? That is my worry.

  12. Roger – nope, you have got it exactly right (though the 80% is an underestimate – I had a look when investigating the same thing and less than 10% of UKIP’s current voters were people who gave a UKIP ID in 2010.

  13. Couper2802: How long can the Scottish Parliament continue to protect Scotland after a ‘No’ vote and with a Tory OM? That is my worry.

    Why and how would any Tory government want to interfere in such devolved matters?

  14. Alec

    “reined in” not “reigned in”…. please.

    See me later.

    Actually I’m busy, see someone else.

  15. @Steve2

    a) Idealology? Money?

    But generally I don’t trust the Tories as they were against devolution in the first place and so might just abolish the Scottish Parliament – after all MT aboloished the GLC. With a right-wing UKIP-like government who knows.

    Remember Scotland suffered through 18 years of Tory rule despite voting against the Tories time and time again after a failed devolution referendum. Could history repeat itself – of course it could.

  16. @ Couper2802

    It is terribly unlikely that any government would have sufficient political power to abolish Scottish Parliament. It wouldn’t have even pretexts to do so.

  17. M&A is down (except for the Chinese firms and funds acquisitions all over in the UK – including lots of SMEs).

    Economic surge is postponed for the time being.

  18. Correction: firms’ and funds’ acquisitions

  19. Couper2802: Remember Scotland suffered through 18 years of Tory rule

    According to Salmond, Scotland paid more in tax than it received during all those years, including during the 80s boom, so it clearly didn’t suffer that much!

    It is impossible for any UK government to scrap a Parliament created by a referendum of the people. Holyrood and the GLC are two completely different situations. You are just repeating nationalist scaremongering.

  20. @Steve2, Couper2082

    Recent Yes leaflets distributed in my area have concentrated mostly on the Tory Government – claiming threats to our NHS, for instance. (I guess you could call that scaremongering).

    One leaflet had several pictures of Dave in it, and none of Alex.

    So I think they are betting the house on it looking likely that a Tory Government comes in in 2015….

  21. I am not repeating scaremongering – I am scared.

    I am trying to be honest. I am not an SNP voter I am a Labour voter but am considering a ‘Yes’ vote because I am worried about a future right wing Tory government.

  22. R Huckle

    […]I noticed the other day YG were advertising for more people to join their panel and I am not sure it mentioned politics. But as soon as I see YG, I associate it with political polling and it would be interesting whether people joining the panel have the same association.

    There may be a danger of that, but most people probably don’t even bother to read about polls and most of those that do don’t register who the pollster is. YouGov has a pretty big panel (about 400,000 I think) so any bias towards the politically partisan would be heavily diluted. I remember someone UKPR (not a regular) complaining bitterly that she had joined the YouGov panel to answer all these interesting political surveys and all she ever got asked about was insurance and similar consumer products.

    That said it may be that the fact that YouGov’s polls are now daily means that a very high number of their surveys will contain political questions and that might encourage higher retention among the politically active. There’s another subtler effect in that panel members are going to be on average more politically aware simply because they will generally be more aware or engaged or likely to have views on things. The apathetic will always be under-represented.

    This doesn’t matter if this occurs irrespective of Party allegiance (or you can compensate for that) but it does mean that you will always (for example) overestimate to percentage of people who will vote. The only time I can remember this mattering was on the AV referendum when greater knowledge of the arguments seemed to make it more likely that someone would vote Yes (irrespective of Party) and so YouGov had the percentage voting Yes too high.

    YouGov can probably escape the worst effects of panel bias, but it may be more of a problem for those using smaller and more recently started panels such as Survation and Opinium. In the case of UKIP there may also be problem that their potential supporters are possibly more likely to be the sort of people who join panels – we certainly saw the rise in their VI happen with on-line pollsters (and in the case of ComRes their online polls) first.

  23. COUPER2802,

    Just try to identify why and how a UK government would overrule Holyrood.

    When you inevitably can’t, maybe that will help with your fear.

    And I don’t know what your impression of life in England is currently like under total Tory control, but it really isn’t the apocolyptic hellishness you appear to be imagining.

  24. couper2802

    “I am not repeating scaremongering – I am scared. ”

    As they say, just ‘cos yer paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

    Actually a lot of circular things hang together on the Scottish question.

  25. @Steve2
    And dont forget that according to Mr Salmond, we didnt mind Margaret Thatcher’s economic policies, it was her social policies that Scots didnt like.

    I suppose it depends on whether you call the poll tax an economic or a social policy.

  26. @ Couper2802

    Even if we assume a truly right wing government, it doesn’t have the infrastructure to go too far (party organisation+local administration). It can devolve such policies you mention (after all the way in which local governments and the cuts managed by the coalition for a social agenda is an example), but it would be relatively easy to sabotage them (passive resistance). To overcome these and other constraints you would need an organisation rooted in most streets in the UK.

    There’s a rhetoric and it is unpleasant and also what Billy Bob mentioned (I think) about UKIP’s finances, which is mildly disturbing, but for the time being continuity is the dominant tendency I think.

  27. @”Historically, the fortunes of M&S have matched Tory poll numbers. ”

    AW-any chance of checking this please?

  28. The SNP paper this morning looks quite interesting. many of the arguments are well rehearsed, and as I’ve often said previously, ideas that independence will be a wonderfully better option or a total disaster are both probably both wide of the mark. Scotland could be independent, as lots of small countries demonstrate, but I suspect the differences either way would be marginal, save for significant, individual crises. In such circumstances being part of a larger body generally helps, which is why I favour the union with greater devolved powers.

    What does interest me is that many of the issues the SNP blame on Westminster could have been addressed, at least in part, by Holyrood.

    As I understand it, the Scottish parliament already has tax varying powers, so if the SNP wanted to create 19,000 jobs through higher capital infrastructure spending, they could have done so themselves. Similarly, they could have used increased tax revenues to try to combat inequality, alleviate austerity or promote development north of the border. They chose not to, presumably because they didn’t want to raise taxes prior to an independence vote.

    The downside of their argument is that it harks back to the days of ‘Blame England’. I’ve seen this on the social side quite a lot myself, when throughout the long Thatcher years, Scots like myself took a rather arrogant view of our superiority to ‘the English’ in terms of education, legal system, social integration, open mindedness etc.

    Since devolution, it’s become harder to hide from the many social problems of racism, religious bigotry and homophobia that we see in Scotland, as elsewhere, and in my view, devolution has forced Scotland to recognise that we aren’t such great folk after all. As a population, we’re little different from the rest of the UK.

    I rather suspect this process will continue within the economic sphere. It’s an easy option to blame the English, and is something the Irish, Welsh and Scots have taken to with gusto over the years. I don’t think it has helped the Celtic fringe, and it has given cover to ignore many home grown issues.

    It’s also been a key driver in the emotional arguments for independence, with all kinds of manifestations. I’m always rather amused by the various Celtic festivals, where the three nations get together in a mutual backslapping exercise. It’s great swapping music and culture, but the underlying message omits to reference the fact that all three countries spend centuries butchering each other, often in alliance with the English, and it makes me smile that we’ve now culturally turned this into some kind of ancient alliance.

    Back to the economy. The SNP blame Westminster for holding Scotland back, while at the same time telling us Scotland performs better than the rest of the UK. These messages are by no means logically inconsistent, but in electoral terms, they are confusing. Is Scotland superior, or a victim?

  29. @ PaulCroft

    I actually think very little is dependent on the Scottish question, but it can be used quite extensively for seasoning the stuff served for public consumption for completely different nutritional purposes.

  30. Lets say Scotland do vote for independence and they want a “sterling zone” fine in practice, but what if the UK refuse, then they’ll most likely join the Euro, or was that the plan all along.
    I’m sure Scots don’t want to be be in the Euro or do they?

  31. JB

    “I really don’t want to end up with a postal service run the way that Open Reach now run the national copper network.”

    Blimey! When did that privatise the police?

  32. @ Couper2802

    I am in favour of Scotland remaining part of the UK but there is certainly a downside to that as well as some advantages.

    The ‘Better Together’ campaign, if it’s any good, will address people’s concerns or at least put them in context, not just dismiss such concerns as “scaremongering”.

    I think there will be no chance of any in/out EU referendum being stay-in without the Scottish vote. Therefore, I think the people who are in favour of staying in the EU have a good reason not to rock the boat too much regarding Scotland.

    I also think there could be some legislation by the Scottish parliament that a more dependent union (i.e. one where e.g. Scottish citizens lose their parliament, see its powers significantly reduced or no longer have access to the European courts) will trigger another referendum – similar to the referendum lock which exists regarding the UK’s closer union with the EU.

    Some who are ‘innies’ could claim this was an attempt at creating a ‘neverendum’ situation but that would look very wrong in the light of the UK’s EU lock. The UK government could also say that they would not recognise the outcome of such a referendum. Nevertheless, if 2014 results in Scotland remaining part of the UK, I believe it could be a worthwhile piece of legislation for the Scottish Parliament to pass. And I say that as a person who is in favour of remaining part of the UK.

  33. I am not repeating scaremongering – I am scared.
    I am trying to be honest. I am not an SNP voter I am a Labour voter but am considering a ‘Yes’ vote because I am worried about a future right wing Tory government.

    -From the 1930’s until the early 1960’s the dominant force in Scottish Politics was the Conservative (Unionist) Party.

    There is no particular reason to think that independence will prevent the rise of a right wing again in Scotland.
    If anything I suspect it would be more likely in an independent Scotland .

  34. AW
    Does that mean Luton Town AFC are responsible for the Coalition!

  35. Anthony Wells: Colin,

    Why bother?

    http://www.ipsos-mori.com/newsevents/ca/357/Political-Football.aspx

    “If their shirts are predominantly in the Conservative colours of blue or white, a Conservative victory will ensue; on the other hand if the predominant colour is red or yellow, Labour will be successful.”

    2001: Liverpool
    2005: Arsenal
    2010: Chelsea

    ………Mother of God!

  36. @Amber Star

    OK I think my eyes are beginning to swivel so I will stop the paranoia.

  37. @ Jay Blanc
    “The government will be the biggest loser …”

    I agree. Don’t shoot the messenger.

    If Automod — the Mephistophelian robot who rules our lives from his vast Polar lair will permit — I refer you to the following link on the P.Office which puts the issues v. well.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/royal-mail-a-4bn-selloff-waiting-to-be-delivered-8313216.html

  38. Well as Independence has come up I’ll chip in as Anthony can’t tell me off as I didn’t start it.

    Threat from Westminster.

    The worry for some is if it is a “No” vote and particularly the decisive one that Darling is looking for then it will be the Barnett formula that goes.

    Currently 80%+ of Scotland’s money comes from Westminster on a ratio of 10/85th of England’s expenditure.

    That gives Scotland more pre head than the rest of the UK in terms of identified expenditure and many in the South don’t like that and would like to see it abolished.

    Anthony could give accurate figures or links to them, but broadly two out of three Scots support it but think it is still to little and two out of three English want it abolished because they think we get two much.

    So it’s not so really about getting rid of the parliament. It’s less sinking the ship than not giving it any fuel.

    On An EU vote.

    It would be decided in England unless in exceptional circumstance. The idea that Scotland would make the difference is a bit like without Scotland England would have perpetual Tory rule, it worries people but isn’t really that likely.

    if the rest of UK overall was voting to leave by 52% to 48% then as that makes up 91% of the votes to turn it around to 48% to 52% then Scotland would need to have something like a 60% “Yes” vote.

    In a very narrow vote it might make a difference but even then given the probable regional and national votes how would 20m in the South East of England who had wanted to leave fell about being kept in by 5m Scots.

    Sterling Zone.
    Not really a problem in that although there would be discussions about debt etc. by and large the two economies are pretty well synchronised so the problems caused by interest rates and debt levels wouldn’t be an issue because by and large I wouldn’t expect an Independent Scottish bank to set them much differently from the BoE.

    I suppose there might be an issue with Inflation or a housing boom where the BoE raised interest rates to cool a South east boom and set them high for Scotland. In that case you would need to look at using tax and fiscal policy to counter that effect with regards to business rates or stamp duty.

    Not ideal, but then you would still be in a far better position to counter an averse effect of a UK rates hike than you are now.

    The fall back option isn’t the Euro, that is parked at least until we see what it turns into and who is in it after the current crisis and that won’t be before 2020.

    Plan B is we simply use Sterling as it is an internationally traded currency. That does mean that we have to live with fluctations in the currency caused by UK decisions but it does mean that we would be less vulnerable to oil related currency swings.

    Again even if not ideal for the Scottish economy from time to time we would have other powers to compensate which we don’t have now.

    In both cases it is a bit like Farage on Scotland swopping
    Westminster for Brussels. He likes to say it but I have yet to here him or anyone from UKIP detail a single area where Brussels has more control over Scotland than Westminster.

    Brussels can’t cut pensions or social security, it can’t raise our taxes, abolish our parliament or take us to war.

    Peter.

  39. Just tried to make a doctors appointment, but they are fully booked and have put extra weekend and evening surgries on, they have even set up a marquee outside to deal with cases. The reports are of hundreds of people with one eye pointing one way and the other pointing another.
    Specsavers have similar delays.

    What does it all mean?

  40. Isn’t it ironic that at a time when a batch of indicators are suggesting, albeit very belatedly, that some sort of long overdue economic recovery may be setting in (FTSE record, house prices, inflation, growth forecasts and past revisions etc), that the Tory Party is engaged in another one of its intermittent cultural internecine wars?

    This is exactly what they did circa 1994-97 and this caused them to be go down to a historic defeat at a time when the economy was booming following a fast recovery from the early 90s recession. Another illustration of that old political verity; electorate’s seem to dislike shambolic governments, divided parties and weak leadership probably rather more than they like the promise of increasing affluence. Economic good times don’t always guarantee success for incumbent governments, especially if it looks as if they’ve come about despite of and not because of those in power.

    I wonder if history may be repeating itself, although I’ve always been a bit of a sceptic about that hoary old cliché, I have to say.

  41. @CrossBat,

    True, with one caveat….the economic good times certainly aren’t here yet…and have yet to be registered via actual economic growth i.e. GDP figures etc.

    I agree that weak, divided governments tend not to get re-elected, even in times of economic growth. That’s why I am sure Labour would love the EU and gay marriage debate to go on and on.

  42. Peter Cairns: In that case you would need to look at using tax and fiscal policy to counter that effect with regards to business rates or stamp duty.

    Again even if not ideal for the Scottish economy from time to time we would have other powers to compensate which we don’t have now.

    So you change tax rates/spending/both with all the inherent economic and political consequences…just like that?

    Okay, why doesn’t the SNP do that now with its existing controls over public spending, income tax, business tax, council tax, borrowing rights etc.? The SNP seeks a more generous welfare state and greater spending so why not increase taxes now?

  43. @Steve2

    It had to be, so they ensured that the finalists of all those FA Cups were the same colours to ensure political victory:

    2001: Arsenal v Liverpool
    2005: Arsenal v Man Utd
    2010: Chelsea v Portsmouth

    :o

  44. I am personally still pretty sceptical that the forecasted (by some) economic recovery will happen. Despite some industry surveys etc. it’s still forecasted that GDP will barely grow this year. I know such predictions are a bit out of date now…but even so, I remain doubtful that we are about to experience a robust recovery until I see GDP figures which suggest otherwise.

  45. All the time, we thought it was the Illuminati acting as the puppeteers…and it turns out to be the FA!

  46. “Brussels can’t cut pensions or social security, it can’t raise our taxes, abolish our parliament or take us to war.”

    Unfortunately, as the PIIGS have found out, what the EU can’t and can’t do on paper means very little when it’s in a position to say “Do as we say or else”. Certainly in Greece, it was the EU that endorsed decisions to cut pensions and social security and raise taxes, and as they openly discussed delaying the 2012 election, even the existence of a meaningful Greek Parliament was dubious. No requirement to take them to war, but I believe the one thing they weren’t allowed to cut under the terms of the bailout was defence.

    That’s not to say the same will happen in Scotland – just a warning that Brussels may exercise more control freakery over Scotland than you think.

  47. http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jameskirkup/100217988/rows-over-gay-marriage-and-europe-can-hurt-the-conservatives-the-nhs-can-kill-them/

    The message seems to be dawning on the right leaning commentariat that the NHS is becoming an issue once again.

    This is something I have predicted since before the 2010 election, based on a number of reasons. At that stage, I didn’t foresee the unannounced major structural reforms, but based my thinking on the protected budget status of the NHS. While I understood the Tory need to try to persuade voters the NHS was safe in their hands, I always felt that trumpeting the technically correct rising spending, would lead voters to assume the NHS would be fine.

    In fact, their policy will see the NHS suffer a spending squeeze in every year greater than Thatcher applied in any one single year, in terms of real terms spending. Because of their spending pledges, they are unable to blame Labour and the deficit for any difficulties that will arise. As with many issues, Cameron had forsaken the long term strategic play for a short term tactical move, although on this one I am a bit more sympathetic to him than on some of his other pre election policies. The difficulty is that the move didn’t win him a majority, so arguably it failed within it’s own terms.

    The reorganisation makes everything even more difficult, as it help Labour pin everything onto Cameron, regardless of the real origins of the problems.

    The A&E crisis is a case in point. I think it’s highly likely that Labour messed up with the new GP contracts, and there are increasing pressures on A&E services anyway. Equally, NHS Direct seemed to perform better much better than the new 111 service, so there is a complex mix of issues that doesn’t fit the general election timetable very neatly.

    However, these complexities will get lost in the minds of voters. They will blame the incumbents, and this blame will be all the greater because Cameron made a promise to protect the NHS and also then changed its structure entirely without asking the electorate first.

    Interestingly, Kirkup says ‘Until and unless there is wider public understanding of the post-reform world, the incumbent government is always going to cop it for poor NHS care.’ Here, he is taking a realist position, but he appears to think that the key issue is voters failure to understand the reforms. I think he makes a mistake.

    Voters will always blame the government for NHS problems, whatever the reformed system is, because they want governments to provide a decent health service. Tories will face even worse problems if they try to hide behind their reforms and blame those now running the NHS, as voters will judge this as a dereliction of duty.

    There are two more years until the GE, and I suspect that we will see a steady increase in voter concern over the NHS, and that this will become a potent weapon for Labour come 2015.

  48. @PC

    “In a very narrow vote it might make a difference but even then given the probable regional and national votes how would 20m in the South East of England who had wanted to leave fell about being kept in by 5m Scots.”

    That’s the joy of having a ‘United Kingdom’. Any area should appreciate that they can be at the mercy of all the rest. The main problem regarding Scotland is that when Westminster has a government that contradicts how Scotland voted, many Scots think this is unfair.

    It can easily be solved. More financial parity across the UK (not just Scotland) when doing the sums. Federalism perhaps? Not only might it allow for some autonomy regionally (which can benefit central government too), it might allow for more reasonable attitudes to national issues.

    Of course, if the political opportunists are allowed to thump the regional drums e.g. “Why should the South pay for the North’s snow problems?” or “Why should the North pay for the South’s transport infrastructure?” then we’re back to square one.

    I find it ironic that Scotland might go for independence, and go straight into the EU, rather than stay in the UK and stay out of the EU (in the scenario of an EU “Out” vote in the UK).

    The one question that I haven’t heard asked (and obviously not answered either) is:

    “If Scotland is hoping to mimic Norway in the oil fund strategy, even a reduced and lesser fund, and Norway is not part of the EU, what future does any Scottish oil fund have if Scotland is in the EU?”

    I wonder if the Scottish oil fund would be welcomed by the PIIGS nations?

  49. @Steve2

    And that’s why there will never be camera-based referee decision making in football. It would prevent the right party being elected.

    /conspiracy nut job mode

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