This Sunday’s polling is mostly dominated by Scotland – even the YouGov/Sunday Times national poll mostly had questions about Britain’s attitudes to the Scottish referendum.

Let start with the Scottish polls though. Last weekend we had a Survation poll in the Mail on Sunday which was widely reported in the media as showing that George Osborne’s intervention in the referendum debate had actually boosted YES. This was mostly rubbish – the change appeared to be largely, but not wholly, the result of Survation changing their weightings. I concluded we should probably wait for more evidence before deciding what the impact from the currency row was.

Today we have a new ICM poll for Scotland on Sunday. Their topline figures with changes from a month ago are YES 37%(nc), NO 49%(+4). At first glance this poll would indicate the currency row had led to a significant boost to the NO campaign, but once again I’d urge some caution. Regular readers will remember that the previous ICM poll showed a big swing towards YES, far bigger than any other poll, so this one may very well just be a reversion to the mean rather than any meaningful change (in particular ICM’s last poll had an unusually pro-independence sample of young people, which I suspect may have vanished. On that subject this month ICM have apparently changed their method very slightly, changing the age bands they use to weight young people.)

In the rest of the poll ICM found that 63% of people in Scotland think it is in Scotland’s best interests to keep the pound, 12% think she would be better off with a separate currency. 47% think that an independent Scotland would be able to use the pound, that the main British parties are bluffing. On the issue of Scotland’s EU membership, 54% would like to see an independent Scotland be an EU member, 29% would not; 57% think Scotland would be able to join, 24% think membership would be blocked.

The SNP have also commissioned a new Panelbase poll. Now, the last time we saw an Panelbase/SNP poll they played silly buggers with the question ordering, but I’ve double checked with Panelbase and nothing like this happened in this one (though the wording is very slightly different to that used by the Panelbase/Sunday Times poll). The topline figures are YES 37%, NO 47%. The no vote is two points lower than the last Panelbase/Sunday Times poll, but Panelbase’s previous poll was a bit higher than usual – for most of the past year Panelbase’s polls have consistently shown a NO lead of between 8 and 10 points, this is wholly in line with that.

In short, looking at the post-currency row questions we’ve got some polls showing YES up, some showing NO up, some showing little change, all of them obscured to some extent by reversion to the mean after unusual results or methodology/wording changes. It’s a pretty confused picture, but I’m struggling to see any clear movement to YES or NO.

Meanwhile the weekly YouGov/Sunday Times poll is here and has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12%. In England and Wales 21% support Scottish independence, 61% are opposed and English & Welsh respondents are now slightly more likely to think E&W would be worse off (27%) than better off (23%) if Scotland left.

Also worth noting there is an interesting non-Scotland related question – YouGov repeated a question from last April about the government’s welfare reform package as a whole, freezes, caps, bedroom tax, etc. Back in April 2013 56% of people said they supported them, 31% were opposed. Now 49% support them, 38% are opposed – so still more in support than against, but a significant movement over the last year.


397 Responses to “ICM and Panelbase Scottish polls”

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  1. @ Alec

    I thought that both Cameron and Miliband have indicated that if Scotland votes no, they will both look for the Scottish parliament to have more powers. Devo Max subject to negotiation is already a given, so why have a vote on it ?

    I think Cameron was correct that there should be one vote, independence yes or no.

    The mistakes Cameron makes today is taking his London based cabinet to Scotland. I am sure this just reminds people, it is a Westmister eilite who decide on many of the issues affecting Scotland. There there is the issue about North Sea oil, saying it is only the backing of UK government, that the oil companies will continue their exploration. I am not sure this is true. If the oil companies think they can get a good return, after spending money on exploration they will continue.

  2. Neil A and others
    Re PIE and the NCCL in the 1970’s , l was a student at Leicester University when the PIE applied for the use of the Student Union building for a weekend conference. As l recall , there was a lengthy debate of the SU , with the case for the PIE being put forward by various of the far left parties, on the grounds of freedom of speech,etc, the proposal that the PIE should use the building was defeated by the Labour Club and the FOCS acting together, coalescing around the view that what was being presented as a civil liberties issue , was in fact the denilal of the liberty of children not to be co-erced , and moreover was advocating illegality.
    The use of the acronym PIE , struck me at the time as an inept attempt to disguise unacceptable and repellant behaviour , although it’s not much of a disguise, and indeed ‘pa*dophile information exchange’ is instantly sinister in its full form.

  3. FOCS= Federation of Conservative Students.

  4. @ EWEN LIGHTFOOT

    I don’t doubt that there are many issues regarding PIE, other organisations and the NCCL ( now Liberty).

    What I don’t understand is why these issues are not being raised with Shami Chakrabati. She is the director of Liberty and is responsible for the organisation. Insteady the Dmail only appear to be interested in 3 Labour politicians who happened to work for NCCL. Why not ask all formal executive members of NCCL to account for all decisions that were made in the 1970’s ?

    The Dmail will never be the place where Labour politicians explain their role working for a civil liberties organisation. If Harman and the other want to reply, they would better to go via their former employers Liberty. It is really for Liberty to address the decisions made by their organisation.

  5. @R Huckle – I think there are great problems with the referendum in total. A single Yes/No vote, without any idea what Yes actually means, is awful. I know nats will say that voting Yes means that they can then shape their own future, but that isn’t actually true.

    As we have seen with all manner of areas, there are very many powerful stakeholders outside Scotland who will shape Scottish destiny, not directly, but through the range of options that are presented to post Yes Scotland.

    I personally find it quite incredibly that we are not going to have a referendum on an actual constitutional proposal – but merely of a vague idea of what might happen, if various countries and organisations agree with one, particularly biased, view of how negotiations might develop.

    If we are to have such a vague and ill defined choice presented to the electorate, all the possible options should be open to them, in my mind. This opens up devo max for discussion as yet another vague offer, alongside independence. For a straight Yes/No vote, I think you need to have clarity of what both sides mean – at present, there is no clarity about either.

  6. I’m in agreement with Alec, at least to some extent. The Yes campaign can easily point to the amount of time the Westminster parties have had to come up with some alternative to the status quo, but “Better Together” refuse to get together and propose anything.

    My impression is that the No campaign have now said almost all they can. When they are reduced to talking about the Eurovision song contest you know they’re scraping the barrel. If they can’t come up with some really positive things to say over the next six months I can only see their support drifting downwards, perhaps getting to 45%.

    This drift will be helped by any further perceived threat to social welfare, pensions, etc. which come out from Westminster in the meantime. Because, even though much social policy is centred at devolved Holyrood, many Scots are looking to the south and wondering if the model we see developing down there is one we wish to be associated with in any way whatsoever.

    All the Yes people need to keep saying is “We’re offering you a better future – and certainly better than what the Tories are going to give England”.

    And I return to what I said last week about Salmond: He can read the Scots far better than Cameron or Milliband can. Carmichael hasn’t a base in the central belt (never forget that Salmond, although representing the north east is from West Lothian), although Darling has, of course. But we’ve heard nothing of substance from Darling for two weeks or more. He just keeps coming out with the same stuff. No ideas for the future from that quarter. And Johann Lamont, bless her, always seems to be fighting yesterday’s battles.

    So, @ John Bracewell: no, I don’t think it’s all done bar the shouting.

  7. I just found out what “PIE” stands for. I had thought that the more familiar “Proto-Indo Europeans” didn’t make a lot of sense in this context.

    The CPGB (Provisional Central Committee) is still in favour of abolishing the age of consent, or so I’ve heard.

  8. R Huckle
    Yes, l agree that the DM is probably grinding a familiar anti-Labour axe, however as you say the resolvable issues, at this distance in time, lie in the archives of Liberty, how long the PIE was affiliated to the NCCL , and who accepted the affiliation would seem to be at the heart of the matter.

  9. RHuckle

    I have a reply in Mod, Lord knows why!

  10. @John B – yes, I think I can agree pretty much entirely with that.

    I have to say, I’ve been astonished by the outright crassness of much of the no campaign – not necessarily the official BT campaign, but some of the stuff being put around was just extraordinarily inept. For example, the ex public school Tory MP for Penrith wants to get English volunteers to line up along Hadrian’s Wall and light beacons to show how much we love the Scots. What on earth has this got to do with offering Scots a positive view of the Union?

    My personal view is [not really appropriate for this forum – AW]

    I have to admit to being deeply, deeply pessimistic about Scotland’s future, given the dreadful state of the referendum debate. It’s an awful exhibition of what has always been claimed to be a nation’s general standard of learning and understanding, and the Scot’s people are being asked to make a chose with two competing visions, each based on thoroughly mediocre understanding.

  11. @Alec

    As for a possible constitution, the Westminster parties blocked all that sort of discussion by saying that there would be no negotiations until after the vote. You can’t have it both ways!

    It would be entirely wrong for the SNP or the Greens to say “This will be the constitution”. A new Scottish Constitution can only be drawn up by a Convention which represents all sides. If Better Together want a proposed Scottish constitution against which to campaign they’ve got to get involved in drawing one up.
    Or they’ve got to give definite details in Devo-Max as an alternative.
    Like I say, you cant have it both ways: either put up or shut up!

  12. @ Alec

    I’m not so pessimistic about the future as you seem to be.
    At a local level (something the London media seem to miss completely) there have been good and informative public meetings. There is much more going on than just the mud-slinging and my impression is that people are doing a lot more thinking on these matters than they have in the past.
    The question many Scots are mulling over is, I think, “If the rUK wants us to stay, what sort of UK is being offered?”
    What many London media folk forget is that Scotland is a small country where people genuinely know each other. “Ah kent his faither” is much truer here than could ever be the case in England. Politicians simply cannot get away with stuff; and folk know that Salmond skates close to the edge. They don’t need London folk to tell them. We’re not thick! Scots are not taking everything he says on board as though it is from God! What we are asking is: “Who of this lot is expressing a positive vision for Scotland” – and BT just isn’t. it could if it got it’s act together, and maybe it will. But at the moment there’s no sign of it.

  13. @Oldnat – “I’m not sure that I am aware of the evidence for that. The Survation poll asked whether people thought that the Uk was “bluffing” or not. 37.0% thought that they were, while 37.3% thought that they weren’t.”

    I based my post on John Curtice’s blog in the Scotsman which said – “Only 35 per cent of all voters, and only 34 per cent of those who would like to share the pound, believe an independent Scotland would not be able to do so.”

    This is based on the latest ICM poll, and therefore shows 65% of Scot’s don’t believe what’s in the White Paper.

    You also said –
    “Incidentally “Salmond’s claims” is exactly the kind of personalisation that the UWS study identified in their analysis,…
    It’s a tactic that should be used by campaigners, not those on UKPR trying to analyse events on a rational basis.”

    I would disagree. Salmond is the pinnacle of the Yes campaign, the leader of the SNP, the First Minister, and the man with ultimate responsibility for the claims […] made in the White Paper.

    Like it or no, his credibility as a leader is absolutely central to the Yes campaign […]

    My original point stands. The majority of Scots don’t believe Salmond on the currency issue. If the No’s can find an issue with greater salience that people also distrust Salmond on – like losing VAT opt outs leading to higher prices – then they could have a vote shifter.

  14. @John B – “As for a possible constitution, the Westminster parties blocked all that sort of discussion by saying that there would be no negotiations until after the vote. You can’t have it both ways! ”

    Perhaps I didn’t express myself clearly enough, but that’s exactly what I’m saying. London really goofed on this.

    Your subsequent post is encouraging – I hope that more deep thinking is going on than meets the eye. I could readily agree with the lack of positive vision coming from the union.

    People really need to vote for something, not agin.

  15. @Alec

    Sorry if I didn’t read you aright. Yes, BT have goofed at several levels. And that’s why the Yes campaign may yet win, to the continued uncomprehending incredulity of many in the south.

    Furthermore, many up here have commented wryly on the fact that folk in the south seem only now to be waking up to what is going on. Better late than never? And is it too late? Indications so far is that, having woken up, the Westminster lot have decided to take over the BT campaign – in a rather hamfisted way so far.

  16. As a southern Englishman, I have to say I am a bit puzzled by the timbre of the referendum campaign debate here on UKPR – any onlooker without access to the polls would think the ‘No/Better Together’ campaign had ground to make up!

    As it is, the No campaign appears to be some distance ahead, has been for many months, with little sign of the gap narrowing (correct me if I’m wrong)? Of course, that might well be in spite of poor campaigning from their side – but it hardly indicates they’re having a disaster?

  17. @Alec

    “For example, the ex public school Tory MP for Penrith wants to get English volunteers to line up along Hadrian’s Wall and light beacons to show how much we love the Scots.”

    That sounds screwy. You can’t see Hadrian’s wall from most (if any) of the Scottish Border. He does occasionally use a map, this chap?

    Reading your and JohnB’s posts, it seems we can choose between coherent negativity, or incoherent positivity.

    Incidentally, has anyone got a clue as to where the UK cabinet is in Aberdeen? My instinct would have been BP HQ Dyce, but they keep saying the two meetings are 5 miles apart, so that would suggest the centre of the city.

    Using Google Maps, Portlethen to the Shell Building in Altens is 5.3 miles. The interviewer I saw for the BBC had a certain vista behind him, and I think that’s where they are meeting.

  18. This latest poll from the Aberdeen press & Journal is surely worth discussing. We could call it an outlier but it seems way beyond even that and makes hair-raising reading for the yes camp. Be very interested to hear the site’s comments.

    http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/3587342

    [The author of the site’s comments is that there is no indication of who conducted it and whether it was sampled or weighting in a way that is likely to have produced a representative sample of the population being sampled. In the absence of that, I would advise ignoring it until such details emerge – AW]

  19. @WES

    I think you are labouring under a major misapprehension. Yes, BT are ahead in the polls, but the questions Scots are asking are often not being answered by BT – and if they are being answered they are often answered negatively. Every intervention from someone like Cameron/Osborne or Milliband/Balls is seen as liable to backfire because they run the risk of ‘speaking from Mount Olympus’. And for Labour and LD supporters (and under normal circumstances I would be in that category) the unquestioning support for Osborne last week was a bit of a shock.

    Folk in the south often forget that this is not a debate which started last year. Scots have been mulling over the options now since the mid 1970s. A No vote will not stop the ongoing internal discussions.

    The narrowing of the gap is significant – who would have predicted five years ago that we might be in this situation now? – but, as yet, not definitive. What I think will be crucial is what happens in the five years following what I still believe will be a No vote.

    ‘Stands Scotland where it did?’ (Macbeth iii 164). The answer, asked year on year, continues to be ‘No’. But that will lead, I think, eventually, to a ‘Yes’ to independence. Not now; but it’s potentially not a long way off. Only a radical Devo-Max will keep the UK as a political unit in the long-term.

  20. Statgeek,

    “Reading your and JohnB’s posts, it seems we can choose between coherent negativity, or incoherent positivity.”

    The best summation of the campaign so far!

    Negativity is underrated. The best and most generalisable reasons not to take up smoking are all negative reasons.

  21. @ Alec

    I’m not so sure that Salmond’s credibility is entirely linked to the success of the ‘Yes’ campaign. What happens afterwards is, as I have just said, vital. If, following the No vote, the Yes campaign is able to say within a couple of years ‘We told you so’ when Westminster doesn’t deliver – or worse, imposes yet more unpopular policies, (which is what I reckon is likely) then the whole thing is up and running again.

  22. Do we really have to have six whole months more of all this stuff about the Scottish Referendum? Not least do we have to have six months of the Government neglecting urgent issues in England and bribing the Scots with more and more initiatives in the hope they will vote “yes”?

    So far as I know, giveaways don’t work. They just encourge the recipients to ask for more and more – as has long since been evident in the case of Scotland.

    Most people in England, the South of England, are indifferent to Scottish independence. If they want it, good luck to them. But two things should be clearly understood. Firstly, if the Scots vote for independence, then that’s it. They will have to set out on their own resources. Secondly, if the Scots vote to stay in the United Kingdom, the present gross favouritism towards them will still have to stop, so that they are treated on an equitable basis with the English, Welsh and Northern Irish. If the Scots continue to discriminate against the English by demanding continued grossly favourable treatment, as a matter of fact there will sooner rather than later be a big backlash against them.

  23. @BillPatrick & Statgeek

    I’m not convinced that the Yes campaign and proposals are as incoherent as many claim. Mood matters. ‘Yes’ presents us with the picture of a Scotland in the EU with great natural resources and a good social policy, sharing the pound. The EU bit may not come immediately, but is certainly not impossible given a couple of years’ negotiation, especially if, in the meantime, England & co, vote to leave. The natural resources are a given – we just need the technology, which requires investment which at present Westminster isn’t putting in to the extent that it ought. Sharing the pound in one form or another is not impossible; for entry to the Euro a country needs to keep its books in order for a couple of years, something which is not beyond John Swinnie, as he has demonstrated over the past five years. As for social policy, there is no argument: Scots want a better system than the English seem to want for themselves.

    Are there no problems, then for the Yes side? Of course there are – and big ones. But the question we come back to is this: are the problems which are solved by being BT bigger or smaller than the problems which come with independence? The jury is still out on that one.

  24. Frederic Stansfield,

    Sometimes issues primarily relevant to one part of the country dominate the media. See the recent flood-obsession.

    Anyway,

    I was looking at the recent Panelbase poll, which asked about a lot of things apart from the referendum. Only 6% of Scots polled are willing to pay more income tax than currentlyand only 17% would like to see higher taxes and more public services. Since Scandinavian welfare systems require vastly higher taxes than our current tax system (especially on ordinary people via extremely high VAT) this suggests to me that an independent Scotland would not fulfill the hopes of many on the left, who would like us to become more akin to Sweden or Norway.

    In fact, in many ways (tuition fees, taxes, the nature of public services) it seems like Scotland will remain much as it did in 1997 at the end of the last Tory government, which was much as England was before New Labour. Majorism forever?

  25. John B,

    It doesn’t surprise me that you don’t think that the Yes campaign is incoherent.

    The evidence that Scottish and English attitudes on social policy are significantly divergent is weak at best and contradictory to the data at worst. The generalisations that people make are largely based on voting patterns (if Northern Ireland should tell us nothing else, it’s that people’s voting patterns are a bad guide to where they stand on the political spectrum) and the rigorous studies done by people like John Curtice using the SSA suggest that Scotland and England barely diverge on the big issues of social policy.

  26. @John B – “BT have goofed at several levels.”

    I would suggest a bit of caution here. I’m not sure how close the BT campaign are to the government. I would suggest the government have handed BT a poisoned chalice, rather more than BT have played a good hand badly.

    @Fred Stansfield – a very southern view, if I may say so.

    On balance, since the late 1970’s, it looks likely that Scotland has, in financial terms, given you (the English) slightly more than you have given them in return.

    Even if it were not the case, and Scotland was a permanent net recipient, you need to exercise caution. The currency debate, for example, is largely predicated on the need for currency unions to maintain fiscal unity, which means in part, capital flows and automatic stabilizers between areas of differential economic performance.

    It’s not good enough for the English to (quite correctly) claim that a currency union needs such financial flows, and therefore the SNP’s post independence vision is unworkable, while also then bemoaning the fact that such financial flows are working within the existing union, via a supposed net inflow of finance into Scotland.

    One or the other, but not both.

    I think it is also beholden on you to understand your country (the UK). As nationalists are keen to point out, quite correctly, Scotland retains certain rights and privileges which date back to the act of union in 1707 and have been held immutable by law ever since.

    The ‘favourable treatment’ you describe is more often a myth than a reality, with much of the perceived benefits felt north of the border actually stemming from the historic right of Scotland to pass their own legislation, now enshrined in the devolution settlement. If you don’t like this – that’s tough.

    This is what your county is, and how it was built. Not all parts of the UK are the same, which is, in my view, one of the great beauties of the UK – no one quite understands us, including ourselves.

  27. The trouble is that the Scots have got used to high social expenditure on low tax rates. This cannot continue for long without a backlash.

  28. @Frederick Stansfield

    That’s a good and useful intervention. I might ask “Which ‘urgent issues’ are being neglected in England?” – and it is hard to tell from north of the Border how much energy is being spent by government in the South on this debate to the perceived detriment of the rest of you.

    I agree, giveaways may have unintended consequences. It is arguable, for example, that the whole devolution settlement has blown up in Labour’s face. But you misunderstand Scotland if you think that Scots only want things like devolution for themselves. if the English could get their act together and start recognising that England is not the UK and behave appropriately through proposing a radically new constitutional pattern (Lib Dems have being proposing such a change for a generation) then we might get somewhere.

    Of course, you realise that the Yes campaign’s backstop position is that of forcing Devo-max to be delivered piecemeal. And to some extent it is working. But if people like you in the South really kick up a fuss and the Devolution project grinds to a halt, (or is even put into reverse!) then the Yes campaign are up and running again. And phrases such as ‘Gross favoritism’ don’t help matters. Could you give one example to help others understand what you are talking about?

  29. @Fred Stansfield

    “Most people in England, the South of England, are indifferent to Scottish independence. If they want it, good luck to them. But two things should be clearly understood. Firstly, if the Scots vote for independence, then that’s it. They will have to set out on their own resources. Secondly, if the Scots vote to stay in the United Kingdom, the present gross favouritism towards them will still have to stop, so that they are treated on an equitable basis with the English, Welsh and Northern Irish. If the Scots continue to discriminate against the English by demanding continued grossly favourable treatment, as a matter of fact there will sooner rather than later be a big backlash against them.”

    I don’t think most people in the South of England are indifferent. I’d say most people of my acquaintance rather lament that it might come to this: but it’s Scotland’s call and if they want to leave, we’ll be sorry to see them go and wish them well in their new enterprise.

    I can’t say that I’m eaten up by any ‘gross favouritism’ or even aware of any. My impression has always been that there is a certain amount of subsidy given to Scotland and I’ve been absolutely OK with that, it’s part of being a nation. I know that Yes campaigners argue the opposite is the case, that Scotland more than stands on its own feet economically. I’m very sceptical about that but frankly don’t have the information to confirm or deny it: there’s no doubt in my mind that spin will be in evidence on both sides, and in any case I don’t think anybody knows the true post -indy position until there has been a yes vote and subsequent negotiations.

    I believe, if there is a yes vote, rUK will negotiate hard with Scotland over any financial settlement and may use a bit of blackmail over EU membership etc. Within reason, I would expect nothing less – after all, Scotland will then be a foreign country.

    If there is a no vote, there will still be matters to address but I would be surprised if there’s the ‘backlash’ you predict. In that case, we’ll be the same country and motivated to do the best we can for all parts (and voters)

  30. @Fred

    “Not least do we have to have six months of the Government neglecting urgent issues in England and bribing the Scots with more and more initiatives in the hope they will vote “yes”?”

    Or do we sit for six months and thrash out the benefits of being in a ‘Union’ with a nation, many of whose people think that this six months is not important. Where’s the Union in that sense?

    Ok, so you and many others don’t think that some people being unhappy is important. I don’t think that many things in England are important to me, and I don’t spend any time thinking about them, never mind posting about them.

    If nothing else, these referendum debates / discussions are highlighting to many (including me) that the things we feel are important, are not important to others (that’s normal). What’s more important is that some feel that their issues are more important than our issues, because their country is the bigger/richer/mother country.

    And there you have it in a nutshell as to why many up this way want to discuss this whole thing. Six months of debate is little compared to eternity as a small independent nation or eternity as a region of a larger nation.

    It will be past before you know it.

  31. @Bill Patrick

    I disagree with the general thrust of yours of 12.38. few in Scotland have had the reality of the Scandinavian model explained to them. Most people only hear about the high taxation. But as was pointed out a couple of days ago (possibly on another site – for which read WoS) Scandinavians have higher incomes and in general this still leaves then at least as well off as we are, despite the high taxation.
    Scandinavians seem to have a much higher sense of responsibility towards the community than we seem to: if you lose your job you are expected to re-train; otherwise no financial support. But the government (by which a small country means ‘we, the community’) will provide you with that training.
    To ask folk about a model they barely know and then draw wide ranging conclusions about what they think and will vote for is hardly good polling. or am I being too positive about what counts as good polling?

  32. @Guy

    “I’m very sceptical about that but frankly don’t have the information to confirm or deny it”

    I applaud your honesty. Almost everyone else knows their version of the ‘truth’.

  33. “The trouble is that the Scots have got used to high social expenditure on low tax rates. This cannot continue for long without a backlash.”

    As far as I am aware, and with the exception on council taxes, on which I have no information, my understanding is that tax rates across the UK are equal. I see no basis to your implied claim that Scot’s benefit from low tax rates.

    Equally, as I understand it, welfare payments are established by Westminster, and are applicable throughout the UK – others may correct me, but again, I see no basis for our assertions.

    A number of areas are decided at Holyrood – prescription charges, tuition fees, care for the elderly etc. Scotland has opted for a different approach in these areas than elsewhere in the UK, as is there right. This is called ‘decentralizing of power’ and is generally held (by all UK parties, I think) to be a Good Thing.

    Scotland receives extra finance through the Barnett Formula. This is a problem, and isn’t based in any way on an assessment of needs, so here, you have a point – a really rather big one.

    But against that, Scots could argue that Barnett also doesn’t take account of taxes raised, and so here they may have an equally large counter argument. Barnett gifts Scotland around £7B pa, while oil revenues from Scottish waters gift Westminster between £5B and £10B pa.

    FWIW, my view is that the net balance when all things are considered is probably quite slender, with a marginal benefit towards Scotland. However, my best guess would be that if a proper and full analysis was conducted, we would find that the net financial inflow to Scotland, if indeed there is one, would not be as great as the net financial inflow to several English regions.

    This is, in my view, how countries should be run. Wealthier areas should support not so wealthy areas. Otherwise, what’s the point of having nations?

  34. John B, your endless revisionism and spin makes old at look like an Undecided.

    Being given a block grant and spending it all is *not* the same as “running a balanced budget”, as Salmond and Swinney are fond of claiming.

    Also “so when Westminster doesn’t deliver – or worse, imposes yet more unpopular policies, (which is what I reckon is likely) then the whole thing is up and running again.” is crass hypocrisy when you simultaneously accuse BT of running a ‘Project Fear’ campaign.

  35. @DAVID

    P&J poll quirky, or indicative? Good question. Hair raising for Yes campaign – I would agree.

    However, it may be confirmation of something I said a couple of days ago: the situation regarding the vote is more volatile than most people seem to think.

    Anyone got some more in-depth info on the P&J poll?

  36. @Frederick – one other point which English people really do need to grasp.

    Had England been a small country, blessed with a huge discovery of hydrocarbons in their territory in the 1970’s, and then witnessed the repatriation of all the tax revenues from them to a larger and more dominant federation, where it was effectively spent of mismanagement of the economy and a redistribution of wealth from poorer to richer via taxation ‘reforms’, I guess the English might feel a bit put out.

    Norway went into the oil boom as a very poor country, and managed the development sensibly, for the long term. There is evidence that Scotland, on it’s own, might have adopted a similar path (see the Shetland authorities insistence on setting up local funds for post oil readjustment).

    While I remain a unionist, I see no problems in appreciating that Scotland has been utterly p!ssed on by Westminster with regard to oil – as indeed have we all. The mismanagement of what should have been our greatest resource of the second half of the twentieth century is something that all governments from 1970 to the present day should be ashamed of.

    The fact that we are only now discussing establishing oil funds is a gross dereliction of duty by our leaders, and while it’s now too late, Scots should quite rightly point to this as an injustice.

  37. @Alec

    “FWIW, my view is that the net balance when all things are considered is probably quite slender, with a marginal benefit towards Scotland. However, my best guess would be that if a proper and full analysis was conducted, we would find that the net financial inflow to Scotland, if indeed there is one, would not be as great as the net financial inflow to several English regions.
    This is, in my view, how countries should be run. Wealthier areas should support not so wealthy areas. Otherwise, what’s the point of having nations?”

    Well said.

  38. John
    As AW will no doubt confirm Labour and of votes north of the border have rarely impacted on ge results and until the 1960s the Tories were the largest party in Scotland

  39. @John B

    Nothing of much use. When I lived in Aberdeen, the P&J was fairly Labour oriented, politically. It’s pretty much the sole source of local that most folk read for local stuff (or its sister PM version, the Evening Express).

    I remember in the late 90s when I got online that I dropped reading the two papers like a stone, as their take on things was very insular, and can be one-sided.

    An example:

    http://aberdeenvoice.com/2013/02/trump-exec-vp-weds-journals-ed-joining-the-dots/

  40. John B,

    I’m not aware of any polling involving asking Scots what they think about “the Scandinavian model”. The polling I cited involved more simple questions.

  41. @STEVE2

    What fear? I’m not trying to make anyone feel fear; I’m only trying to look at political realities. And when you write about my ‘revisionism’ what do you mean?

    Operating within strict financial limits is what Swinney has had to do, and it is that which is necessary in order to show the markets and Brussels that you can be relied on. All I’m saying is that there is at least some track record there – imposed from outside, yes, but the IMF would do no less.

    What I’m interested in knowing is at what stage of the referendum campaign – and at what point of polling – do the BT people come out with clear suggestions for a way forward?

    Of course, if the P&J poll is anything like indicative, then the whole Yes edifice is crumbling into a pile of dust. But I don’t buy that one, at least not until we have a few more like it.

    And then I would have to revise an awful lot of what I’ve said. But that’s probably not what you you mean by ‘revisionism’.

  42. @Bill Patrick & @John B – as ever, there’s a website we can go to – http://www.scandinavianmodels.se/

  43. On the P&J poll, it doesn’t look to be particularly noteworthy, as while it still may be a genuine poll (it does quote a sample size of 500, so sounds like there is a potential basis in proper polling methodology) it does appear only to relate to the highlands and islands.

    As such, it’s impact on the result may be regionally distorted, and the numbers would be fairly small. I would have thought though that if this was a genuine and reliable poll, someone from BT would have coughed up the 69p it costs to get the full story and passed on the results.

  44. @Alec

    Your first point at 12.50. Yes – poisoned chalice is a good way of putting it, perhaps. It’s hard to know who is running the BT campaign at the moment as the big boys from the south keep interfering…….

    Not that the official Yes leadership has been heard much lately either.

    Your other contributions have demonstrated that it’s not the evidence which always win but its interpretation. You are still a unionist whereas I, looking at the same evidence, am not.

    Signing off now. Other things to do…..

  45. The P&J poll can tell us something about the DISTRIBUTION of the Aye/Naw votes, but not their levels. So it is interesting to find that the Yes campaign has no steam in the SNP heartland, and thus it follows that they are doing very well in Labour’s heartland of the central belt.

    One interesting factor may be turnout. If the vote does tend to split on class lines, then the SNP will want to make sure that they encourage people unused to voting out into the polls, especially if things look bad for the Aye campaign in August/September.

    Less than 25% of the electorate turned out to vote SNP in 2011, and over 50% of the possible voters in September will have had no direct engagement with Scottish politics in recent years. So there’s a huge resource of voters with minimal party feeling for both campaigns to persuade.

  46. “Folk in the south often forget that this is not a debate which started last year. Scots have been mulling over the options now since the mid 1970s. A No vote will not stop the ongoing internal discussions.”

    ——–

    Dear God, but is it really the case we are unaware a No vote won’t put an end to it?? And surely many are aware it didn’t start last year… feels like it’s been going on like forever.

    Or especially since we found the oil. I remember hearing the “Scotsland’s oil” stuff down the pub in the eighties… and there’s the thing…

    Because the Better Apart case is predicated on having most the oil. Which with a population of around 4 million is one hell of a per capita boost that is hard for the No campaign to compete with in the positivity stakes…

  47. “The P&J poll can tell us something about the DISTRIBUTION of the Aye/Naw votes”

    Again, the P&J does not give any indication of who carried out the poll, any detail of how it was done, and crucially no indication of whether it was weighted or sampled in a way likely to produce a representative sample.

    Until and unless those things become available I would treat it with extreme caution – especially given the result appears somewhat unusual – and not draw any conclusions from it at all.

  48. They do seem to have form for this:

    http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/3197818

    Again no details and once you start portioning the 500 in the “North and North East” down to individual counties, your dealing with very small samples

  49. Anthony Wells,

    Good point. I did mean ‘can’ in the very hypothetical sense.

  50. Carfrew,

    It will carry on for as long as we keep on voting in the SNP without wanting independence. And then there’s Devo-Plus, Devo-Max etc. etc.

    As Orwell said in the classic ‘1984’: “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot kicking a human face while discussing the finer points of the Scottish constitution and currency arrangements, forever.”

    Or the Irish Question in ‘1066 and All That’, which was so hard to answer because everytime people thought they might have the answer, the Irish changed the question.

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