Polling attention today will unavoidably be concentrated on the Scottish YouGov poll, but for the record the regular YouGov/Sunday Times GB poll is also out – results here. Topline figures are CON 33%, LAB 35%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 15%. That too had a large chunk of Scottish questions aimed at English and Welsh respondents.

English and Welsh people now oppose Scottish independence by 61% to 17%. In the event Scotland does vote YES, only 22% of people in England & Wales think David Cameron should resign, 54% think he should not. On one hand that makes Cameron’s position look safe, but my suspicion is that public opinion could be radically different if it actually happened – people are not always very good at predicting their response to hypothetical situations. YouGov also asked people what they think should happen to Scottish MPs during that interim period between voting YES and actually becoming independent – 56% of people in England & Wales think Scottish MPs should not be allowed to attend and vote in the Commons during that period, 62% think Scotland should not elect MPs in the 2015 election if they are becoming independent (the same questions were asked in the Scottish poll with, as you might imagine, somewhat different results – 55% think that Scottish MPs should continue to vote in the interim period, though the 2015 question is quite close – 47% think Scotland should return MPs, 41% think it shouldn’t).

Turning back to the headline Scottish poll showing YES ahead, the full tables are now up here. Peter Kellner also has a commentary here, which amongst other things highlights how the biggest shift in opinion over the last month has been amongst under 40s and Labour voters.

Looking at how some of the other tracker questions have changed, the Yes Scotland campaign continues to be seen as more positive than Better Together, but now it is also seen as more honest (back in June people thought YES was more positive than NO, but thought NO was being more honest. Now YES leads on both measures). There’s also been a narrowing in the economic questions – back in June 49% thought an independent Scotland would be worse off, 27% better off – now it’s finely balanced, 40% think Scotland would be better off independent, 42% worse off.

It remains quite strange that YouGov have shown this sharp narrowing in the race while Panelbase haven’t. The difference is not just an outlying poll – while one single poll could be a freak result, YouGov has shown a consistent narrowing in the face over three polls. It’s not down to any methodological change – this poll was conducted using exactly the same methodology as YouGov’s previous poll. The only recent change in methods was four polls ago, introducing weighting by place of birth, and both YouGov and Panelbase introduced that at about the same time. Things like a differential willingness to respond to polls (people who support a campaign on the up being more likely to click on the email) should affect both Panelbase and YouGov the same – they are both online companies using a panel based system. One possibility is simply that the different trends are down to the same reasons behind the previous differences between Panelbase and YouGov. Both use weighting by Holyrood recalled vote as a core weighting variable, but YouGov also break out a proportion of people who voted SNP in 2011 but Labour in 2010. Perhaps if those people – people’s whose loyalty at Holywood and Westminster is divided between the SNP and Labour – had previously been more NO, but have moved towards YES this month, and are more represented in YouGov’s sample? It’s a possible contributory factor, but such things are rarely so neatly explained. We shall have to wait and see what sort of trend TNS and Survation show in the week.

447 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times and more on that Scottish poll”

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  1. (That a Scottish pound would be an unpopular idea is irrelevant, of course. An Aye vote is not a vote on a particular settlement, but on giving the Scottish government a mandate to negotiate the terms of separation.)

  2. “Mind you, the idea of leaving behind all the BS that is inherent in the Duchess of Cambridge’s news …”

    Funnily enough I’ve just posted a comment on The Guardian politics blog stating more or less the exact opposite view and am just waiting for the CyberNat abuse to start rolling in!

  3. “Scotland’s position is not as advanced as Iceland because it does not have the legislation and institutions in place to apply EU law. For sure it has been applying EU law for decades as part of the UK, but the problem is this is all UK legislation and UK institutions.

    On leaving the UK, Scotland will have to reconstruct all that legislation, and the institutions to run them, mostly from scratch. This is going to take several years, just to get to the point where Iceland started negotiations. ”

    Scotland already has an independent judicial system. I would assume that that would just become the justice system of an independent Scotland. Also, I would imagine that they would largely just adopt the current system of Scots law (largely derived from UK law) wholesale, with some general amendments to eliminate references to non-Scottish citizens and redundant pieces that never applied inside of Scotland. It’s not like independence means they have to fire all of their judges, destroy all their courts, and start with no laws at all – presumably busying themselves for a few years passing ones against murder, theft, and fraud? No, just copy and paste your old laws, keep your old judges and courts in place. That would be the common sense thing to do. The difference with Iceland is that their starting point had never been in compliance with EU standards at all.

  4. @Hal 10.30

    You are obviously quite ignorant of the fact that Scotland has all the legal institutions it needs – and always has had thank you very much! EYU legislation is not enacted in Scotland via ‘UK’ institutions but by institutions upholding Scots law.

    @Tark again

    The currency thing really has to be seen in a wider context. Do you think the folk of the Slovak Republic were terrified about not having a currency before they split from the Czechs? Do you really think that it will be impossible to establish a Scottish currency?
    Of course there will be problems. But you can hardly claim that living with sterling has all been plane sailing over the past fifty years, can you?

  5. Lots of finger-pointing going on at the moment, which seems a little odd considering that not so long ago “Yes” were way behind. I do now wonder if they really were ever that far behind.

    It’s just that whilst “Clegg-mania” was at its height in the 2010 election campaign, there were polls (ironically) making him one of the most popular politicians of all time, and gave the LD’s nigh-on 30% of the vote. Once the TV debates were over, there was some drift downward and the LD vote at the GE, whilst large, wasn’t as much as some expected. Perhaps there will be some calm reflection before polling day.

    I don’t really expect anyone to resign. Politicians don’t readily do that these days.

  6. @John B

    No, the real problem does not escape me, it is just that you didn’t understand my point.

    I am well aware that they haven’t come up with a good joint offer, that indeed was my suggestion. My point was that joining forces made it difficult to do this in practice, regardless of playing politics, because of significant differences in approach, and difficulty in keeping their own voters happy.

    They tried to avoid playing politics by joining together, such that you didn’t have a Labour vs Tory battle. And indeed, for the most part we didn’t see such a battle. But maybe in hindsight…

  7. “But you can hardly claim that living with sterling has all been plane sailing over the past fifty years, can you?”

    Planes (even water-planes) aren’t very good for sailing.

  8. Yes I know Scotland has its own legal system but that is not the same thing as having all the laws (and institutions to run them) the EU require that apply to a separate Scottish state, rather than a part of the UK.

    At the very least, many laws and regulations will have to be redrafted to apply correctly and many new offices set up to run (for example) competition policy, economic and monetary policy, environment and external relations, taxation, foreign security and defence policy, etc. etc. I don’t think this is at all straightforward and can’t be done in a hurry by “cut and paste” of existing UK provisions.

  9. @Carfrew

    I don’t see why, if the Labour, LD and Tory parties were all supposedly together they could’n have come up with something. Perhaps they just assumed that they didn’t need to do any serious thinking because a No vote was inevitable; or perhaps the three parties have so many other problems (UKIP, for example) that Scotland just was not important enough.

    Oh well, if we’re not important enough, or if we’re just being taken for granted, perhaps we’d be better off on our own…… morally speaking anyway!

  10. @BP

    Yes. Apologies! Plainly got that wrong.

  11. @John B

    maybe I missed it but I don’t think Tark was saying Scotland would be unable to establish a currency. I think most would accept an independent Scotland is viable. Especially with the oil fields and deep sea technology for it the UK developed. The question is whether better off etc.

  12. Another interesting result of a “Yes” vote, and thus making a Labour victory rather less likely in future, is this: I’ve seen and heard many opinions in recent times declaring that voting UKIP is letting Labour in to power. With that possibility reduced, those voters might well be more tempted to vote UKIP. It also depends on whether the Conservatives veer to the right as a result of a “Yes” vote, which they could more comfortably do with Labour weakened.

  13. @ JohnKay

    I agree with your post. I’m not much bothered with the emotional line that Tark and others are saying. We will still live together, work together, play together. You may even have cross border marriages! You will get the same number of tourists visiting each respective country. I think that bond survives whether we have different governments or not.

    The fault line for me is bad blood over negotiations which are obviously going to be contentious- how much debt, how much North Sea Oil, what currency and so on. It is inevitable that one or both sides and the opposition on both sides will talk about having been shafted by the English or shafted by the Scots and that all future economic woes are down to this. If this takes a hold in mainstream public opinion then it might sour relations.

    I also worry about the two economies competing which inevitably means a race to the bottom on taxes and wages and a localised version of multinationalism with firms using the country with the best tax breaks and cheapest labour.

    My biggest worry though is I have always had a dream that one day I might get on a West Coast line train that arrives on time. With two separate countries possibly involved in the operation and probably in private hands I think independence kills off this dream forever!

  14. John B,

    I’m surprised you didn’t pick up on it. To me, it was as plane as day.

  15. @Hal

    All existing law will just continue to apply. I’m not a lawyer, but my guess would be something as follows:
    Many ‘UK’ laws are, in any case, drafted separately for Scots Law and English Law.
    The only legal institution which the two systems have in common is the Supreme Court – and that’s only been going a few years. Its will just be chopped out of the system and we’ll go straight to the European Court – proved Scotland signs up to the European (not EU) Court treaty.
    EU law is the same for everyone – in theory at least! – and will only be applicable to Scotland if and when the EU decides to let us in.

    The need for new institutions is, of course, very true. However, since many of the existing institutions have offices and staff in Scotland anyway, a new Scottish government will not be starting from scratch. And, of course, there may well be some UK institutions based in Scotland, so the rUK will have to do a bit of work as well.

  16. @John Kay

    “it’s surely inconceivable anyone would wish to have border control”

    Not if Scotland is obliged (or chooses) to be part of Schengen.

    I note that Czechoslovakia split without a referendum and that at the time public opinion on both sides is said to have been in favour of ‘better together’. A few years on, relations between the two sides are better than they were when they were one country – Czechs no longer moan about subsidy junkies and Slovaks no longer moan about Prague bullies. Sadly it seems to me the posturing around the referendum has exacerbated ill feeling between Scotland and rUK.

  17. @John B

    I am putting up for consideration the idea ilthat maybe it was more difficult to come up with a joint offer than you might think. Labour aren’t necessarily like the LDs who would just roll over. I myself am a bit cynical about the similarity of parties at times, but there are nonetheless significant differences: notably Austerity vs Labour’s post-crash stimulus, and not to mention Labour did actually provide devolution in the first place.

  18. Shevii,

    “I also worry about the two economies competing which inevitably means a race to the bottom on taxes and wages and a localised version of multinationalism with firms using the country with the best tax breaks and cheapest labour.”

    I know some centre-right people who are voting Aye specifically because it will force both countries to be more efficient and have lower taxes. The point about low wages is dubious though, because if anything it’s easier for labour (at least us young ‘uns) to move to the part of the UK with the best pay (like I did) than it is for multinational companies to move. I complain about moving into a new flat, but moving a multinational headquarters is a bit harder.

    (Yes, families can’t move, but then again there are a lots of firms that can’t move either. I don’t see Celtic moving to London, even if they can get a tax cut out of it.)

  19. * Actually, families CAN move, it’s just harder.

  20. @Shevii

    You mean, like Germany and Austria are in a race to the bottom? Or Denmark Sweden and Norway? Or….. etc.

    As for the West Coast main line, I think it probable that north of the border the trains will continue to run with commendable punctuality……. Can’t speak for what happens in more southern parts……

  21. @ John B

    “The currency thing really has to be seen in a wider context. Do you think the folk of the Slovak Republic were terrified about not having a currency before they split from the Czechs? Do you really think that it will be impossible to establish a Scottish currency?
    Of course there will be problems. But you can hardly claim that living with sterling has all been plane sailing over the past fifty years, can you?”

    A couple of things. The Czech/Slovak divorce happened over 20 years ago and is of limited relevance. An iScotland would be both far more exposed to global currents now than Slovakia was then, and has a far, far larger financial sector than either the Czechs or the Slovaks had then, or have now. That sector cannot be sustained without a central bank, which iScotland would not have. If Yes voters aren’t worried about the currency they should be. If the SNP has plans for a central bank, they need to come clean now.

    I’m suprised you think that sterling’s ups and downs are grounds for a Scottish currency considering we weren’t caught in the euro-mess precisely because we have our own currency.

  22. @Carfrew

    But that just proves my point, I think. The three big Westminster parties ought to have got together to come up with one plan for Scotland post No vote, a plan which would have the guarantee of all three parties that it would be implemented no matter who won the next GE.

    Instead they don’t trust each other enough to work together to save the union between Scotland and the rUK. And people think Scots are going to be impressed by this incompetence and mistrust?

  23. There’s a snapshot of the Czech/Slovak divorce in the Graun’s rolling indy ref news right now that expresses it far better than I could. Not good for Scotland.

    Plus I’m getting antsy about the various protestations that ‘it is inconceivable that …’

    It isn’t. Independence means things would change, even things we don’t expect to or have got used to, or are simply part of the furniture so to speak. The SNP has run a campaign of ‘things will change, except they won’t’, and ‘nothing will change, except what does’. It speaks poorly of BT that they missed those open goals.

  24. Excellent article in the New York Times from Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman on the prospect of Scottish Independence.

    “Be afraid, be very afraid” is his core message – that Scotland will end up being like Spain without the sunshine, only even worse off as at least Spain have a say in how the European Central Bank is run.

    He (accurately) states that an independent Scotland without its own currency would be a slave to the Treasury who will insist on setting borrowing and spending limits as part of any currency union deal. His message is: have the Scots learnt nothing from what has happened in the Eurozone since 2009?

    To have a currency union you require a political union. The Bank of England and the taxpayers in the rest of the UK won’t allow an independent Scotland to trash the currency. They will have less fiscal independence than they would under devo-max.

  25. @Tark

    I’m not saying that sterling’s ups and down are grounds for anything. What I’m saying is that all the claims of ‘uncertainty’ which have come from the No camp are equally applicable to sterling, the euro, the dollar, or any other currency.
    Would Scotland be in calmer waters with sterling? Quite probably. That’s why AS is pushing for Scotland to be in a CU – because, in his view, it is in Scotland’s best interests. Nothing wrong in a political leader working hard for his country’s best interests, surely?
    My guess is that the first ten years or so of an iScotland would require a lot of careful management of expectations and a strong message to the markets that a Scottish government is going to keep a tight hold on things.
    But judging from what we are being told of the UK’s current debt situation and future prospects with 60% of the cuts still to come, I can’t see there’s much difference! Uncertainty whichever way you look.

  26. @John B

    You keep trying to turn our exchange into an opportunity to have a pop at the parties on trust etc.

    Rather than engaging with my point about the difficulty of securing agreement. They differ fundamentally on economic policy and even on devolution in the first place!!

    The solution is for you to show us an offer that they could have agreed on that would have been sufficiently acceptable to Scots.

    At this point I feel I should point out that you recently posted that Salmond/SNP had not in your view come up with a suffiently compelling positive offer on Independence, and they didn’t have to negotiate with three different parties!!…

  27. I’ve just checked that all the banks I use are registered in England. Phew.

  28. Just imagine if Scottish Labour were spearheading the YES campaign, they would probably have us joining a currency union with Belarus and Uzbekistan and give Alexander Lukashenko freedom of the city of Glasgow.

  29. @DrMibbles

    Yes indeed! Personally I’ve always felt that, on balance, given the way the rUK is likely to react, Scotland would be better placed with its own currency.
    I suspect that part of the CU stuff from AS was always political games. “Look how they are treating us, as we make this very reasonable request! They tell us they love us, and then stick the boot in!”
    Unfortunately for BT, the government and its LD/Labour lackeys fell for it.

  30. @JOHN B

    “I’m not saying that sterling’s ups and down are grounds for anything. What I’m saying is that all the claims of ‘uncertainty’ which have come from the No camp are equally applicable to sterling, the euro, the dollar, or any other currency.”


    Of course there is uncertainty whatever. The issue is the EXTENT of the uncertainty and what levers and clout you have to deal with it.

  31. “I suspect that part of the CU stuff from AS was always political games.”

    Or even the whole of it?

  32. I’ve been thinking about this Independence issue a bit more seriously now that the referendum appears to be a much closer race than it had appeared to be for so long. It’s quite possible that I’ve been one of many lulled into semi-disinterest, not because it isn’t a very important issue, it manifestly is, but because the referendum appeared to be such a foregone conclusion. Accordingly, I thought that the issue would be more or less consigned to the dustbin of history after September 18th, but it appears I was both complacent and naive in that presumption.

    I’m one of those Brits living in England who think it would be a calamity if Scotland left the UK, not because of the party political implications for the Westminster Parliament, those petty concerns are for people who can’t see beyond the end of their tribal noses, but because of what it would mean for our sense of national identity. I travelled to Scotland for the first time for 40 years last May and had no sense whatsoever that I was visiting a foreign country. No language difference, no border controls, no unfamiliar laws, the same currency, same time zone; rather it felt like I was visiting a more northern area of an island that had formed part of the same country for over 300 years. I felt an empathy with the place, a love of the landscape, people and culture too. How could I feel anything else when my mother-in-law was Scottish and my father-in-law Welsh? My parents honeymooned in Skye and my wife was born in Aberdeen. Nothing unusual about all that considering we all shared the same nationality, or certainly did so until September 19th perhaps. My trip to Scotland was much more like travelling from one county to another in England. Accents and scenery changed, culture and heritage too, but you can say that about travelling from Lancashire to Yorkshire. There was nothing about my travelling from Cumbria to Dumfries and Galloway that gave me any slighest impression at all that I’d entered a different country.

    I’m not getting into the economic detail too much here because I don’t think that’s where the emotional impetus for independence is emanating from, and it may be that No has made the mistake of concentrating on those issue at the expense of extolling the virtues of keeping our nation intact. It seems to me that the SNP have skilfully incubated a lukewarm independence sentiment, convincing enough people that they now want and need something that for centuries didn’t really occur to them as very important. September 18th will tell us whether they’ve tipped that group over the 50% mark but, if they’ve managed to do so, they will have destroyed a nation of over 60 million people and 300 years of history on the back of a couple of million votes.

    If that scenario comes to pass, I can imagine Salmond waking up on the morning of September 19th and saying to himself, “My God, what I have done.” If he doesn’t, I certainly will and from the evidence of the YouGov Sunday Times poll, many millions of other fellow Brits will too.

  33. Anthony Wells

    If it is a YES vote then would UK polling report become rUK polling report?

  34. @Carfrew

    You mean what might ‘Devo Max’ look like?

    Total control of all internal matters for Scotland – including planning laws for defence sites. Idem for NI, Wales and England.

    Scotland’s government given an equal say in all economic and foreign policy and defence matters, along with England, Wales and NI,

    A parliament, or several regional parliaments, dealing with England only matters, quite separate from Westminster,

    Westminster, or the UK parliament, would remain only as a gathering of representatives from the four equally authoritative parts of the UK (possibly with a NI like set up where the majority parties of the differing communities have to form a government together….. to deal with overall financial matters, foreign affairs, defence and such like….

    A new constitutional situation in which these powers are no longer ‘devolved’ but made absolutely inviolable;

    that’s part of what it might mean…..

    Just off the top of my head that is ……….

    Look’s a bit different from the current options, doesn’t it!

  35. @John B

    But a CU with an iScotland is certainly not in rUK’s interests since it would be rUK underwriting Scotland at the time when Scotland is pulling further and further away from political union. A successful and stable CU requires political union (like what we have …). The dollar works because it is a single state with clear and smooth mechanisms for internal monetary transfers and a single, clear mechanism for running monetary and fiscal policy. The euro does not work because fiscal and monetary policies diverge, and when a problem happens … well, we’ve seen.

    Some uncertainty is one thing. Deliberately creating the conditions for that uncertainty without a Plan B as the Yes campaign have done is irresponsible. Salmond’s goose should have been cooked after that first debate.

    I can’t envisage the rUK’s Trasury making monetary and fiscal policy to suit iScotland that is setting itself up as a direct competitor.

  36. Robert Peston:

    As I have mentioned before, Royal Bank of Scotland would announce an intention to move its home to England as and when a yes vote is declared (and I have just had it re-confirmed that RBS has a contingency plan to emigrate south of the border).

    It would feel obliged to do that, because of the risk that those who lend to it would withdraw their funds over the many months of uncertainty about who would be its lender of last resort (or the provider of emergency finance in a crisis), about who would regulate it and about what impact Scotland’s choice of currency would have on the bank’s financial strength.

  37. @John B

    It does, but given Tories weren’t gung ho in the first place for devolution, why would they be keen on more of it?

    Also, you are focusing on constitutional and institutional arrangements etc. which, while they may be a big deal for hardcore adherents like yourself, might not be uppermost in the minds of many of the Scottish electorate, who may instead be prioritising more everyday, tangible concerns like NHS, bedroom tax, what currency, economic decisions etc.

    There is an elephant in the room anyway, in that the situation currently is that Scots can keep saying “give us more or we’ll leave and take the oil with us”. It might not be entirely a good thing to keep caving to this, hence they may not wish to cave up front and only do it if they absolutely have to. And when they do cave, there’s potential opprobrium of rUK voters feeling they are losing out. (Of course they might as you suggest do even more devolution to try and offset that, but that’s a whole lot more work to keep Scots happy. For all its virtues, devolution opens up cans of worms it seems…)


    “If it is a YES vote then would UK polling report become rUK polling report?”


    Wondered about this myself but in the end wondered if it was realistic to expect that our Scots friends might not keep popping up to poke fun/blame us for stuff, and we’ll probably have polling on whether Scots wanna rejoin and stuff…


    I enjoyed reading your post and yes your’re writing from the heart but for most people voting for independence is not about national identity.
    Of course you can drive from England into Scotland and not think you are in a foreign country.

    I was born in Berkshire along with my brother and sister , my father was born in Perth and my mother is Italian. We all have different opinions on Scotland’s future but my father who is Scottish is the only one who is adamant he is voting No because he feels we are better of within the union and I’m voting YES not because I feel more Scottish now but for a raft of other reasons.

    If it’s a YES then I will still be going down to England to visit cousins and my mates and as my father who is a no voter said, regardless of the outcome it’s for the politicians to sort it it out and that’s what they are paid for.

    So don’t cry if it’s a split, it will be amicable so everyone benefits.

    “If it is a YES vote then would UK polling report become rUK polling report?”
    Wondered about this myself but in the end wondered if it was realistic to expect that our Scots friends might not keep popping up to poke fun/blame us for stuff, and we’ll probably have polling on whether Scots wanna rejoin and stuff

    Oh I’m sure Mr Wells could put a travel ban on OLDNATS IP address lol ;-)

  41. @Tark 12.06

    You suggest that the UK as presently constituted is ‘successful and stable’. Why, then, are we having this debate? The point, surely, is that many people, both north and south of the border, believe that the present set up is anything but ‘successful’.

    @Carfrew 12.18

    But all the issues you cite as being ‘of interest’ are dealt with by institutions. The bedroom tax, for example, has been a disaster in some parts of Scotland because it was passed by a parliament which assumes that the SE of England is the bench mark, where you don’t have to travel 60 miles to find a house with a smaller number of bedrooms, as happened to one family in Skye last year.

  42. @ Crossbat

    That’s all very well and I agree with a lot of your sentiments, but what from your comments are you expecting to change if Scotland votes Yes?

    From your list it seems very little except possibly border controls and I find it a little difficult to believe that politicians on either side of the border are going to want to set up anything that involves a long queue unless the countries end up with different immigration policies for immigrants outside of the UK. I travelled Dublin to Belfast once by train and seeing as I don’t remember any hassle it can’t have been a big deal at the border.

    @ John B

    Can’t comment on your Glasgow to Edinburgh line (only travelled it once or twice) but I honestly don’t recall a train pulling into Wigan bound for Glasgow that was ever on time!!! Maybe they make up the time the minute they leave England :-)

  43. CB
    It’s ” My God what have I done” . Your version ” My God what I have done ” is just syntacticly sooo wrong !

    But I agree with what you are saying, I come from a similar Hiberno / Cymraic background as you do.

  44. “It’s ” My God what have I done” . Your version ” My God what I have done ” is just syntacticly sooo wrong ! ”

    English syntax is too complicated for me, I think.

  45. I don’t understand quite what it means for an English or Welsh person to say they support, or oppose, Scottish independence.

    I’m English myself. If I say that I support Scottish independence, does that mean (a) that I think it would be the best thing for Scotland, though I have no view as to whether it’s best for England, (b) that I think it would be best for everyone, (c) that I don’t like the Scots and want them out of the UK asap?

    If I say I oppose it, does that mean (a) that I respect their decision but would rather that they stayed with us, (b) that I think it’s a bad idea for them, even if it doesn’t matter either way for us, (c) that I think it’s bad for us, even if it’s good for them?

    Personally, I have come to the view that if I lived in Scotland, I’d vote “yes”… so it might be fair to say that I support Scottish independence. Yet I still hesitate to use a self-descriptor which would lump me together with those who might just want to see the back of the Scots, whereas I am happy for them to stay in the UK and I value their contribution – I just don’t think it’s in their best interests to remain.

  46. @John B

    Yes, I do think the UK is successful and stable. I am a political scientist by training and profession, and my expertise is in transition societies emerging from authoritarianism and/or conflict. Compared to my fieldwork, the issues the SNP is calling a referendum over are parochial and barely relevant. I would argue that if they think the UK is in crisis, they really need to get out more. The referendum seems to have boiled down to part of Scottish society not liking some of the election results over the last 30 years or so. I don’t agree with a lot that has been done by various governments, including this one. But I use my vote, I accept the result, and if I don’t like it, I have another vote in a few years. In the meantime, I donate money and time to further the issues I believe in.

  47. @JOHN B

    “But all the issues you cite as being ‘of interest’ are dealt with by institutions.”


    I know that John but the implications of changing arrangements isn’t necessarily readily apparent to all. Look at the difficulties over the currency arrangements…

  48. p.s. My comment is in the context of the statement that “English and Welsh people now oppose Scottish independence by 61% to 17%.” I just don’t know what opposition means in this context.

  49. I didn’t see it coming and I wonder whether (honestly, now!) others did as well: that sudden (to me) change of tack by the SNP to saying, ”Vote ‘Yes” and you need never get a Tory government again.” To me that feels like the ace of trumps, which Salmond has had up his sleeve all along and he’s certainly played it at the best possible time.

    Will it work? Will it swing the vote? Or will enough Scots have a ponder, before saying, ”Noo, laddie, that was nae a trump all along. You got your suits mixed up”?

    I wouldn’t dare to guess – but then I didn’t see the move coming either. The irony to me is that not many years ago it seemed there was never going to be another Tory government in the UK anyway. But that was until Tony B cosied up to George B, the banks brought the economy down, and Cleggy did a Faustian deal with the devil. The lesson for the Scots should be, perhaps, that you should never rely on right wing politics being dead in the water. It only ever gets concussed for a while.

  50. Bill P
    You’ve had long enough to get used to English, longer than the English, as it was the Scottish royal court that introduced it as the state language. England was still ‘parlez-voo’ ing for a century or so.

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