As I write there is still one council to declare, but the maths mean that the overall result is going to be Yes 45%, No 55%. So, how did the polls do?

The final pre-election polls had all tightly converged around the same figures – Yes 48%, No 52%, with every company was within one point of this. In fact the level of No support was three points higher than this. For a single poll a three point error would be within the margin of error, but every poll being off in the same direction suggests some systemic error.

A possibility is the shy noes/enthusiastic yesses we discussed before the referendum, but on the face of it a simpler explanation is just late swing. The YouGov recontact survey on the day, going back to the same people they interviewed in their final survey found enough movement between final survey to actually voting to take the figures to YES 46%, NO 54%, one point from the actual result and enough to explain the apparent divergence. From that it looks as though no was going to win anyway, but there was a further movement from yes to no when people actually got to the polling station.

838 Responses to “Scottish referendum post-mortem”

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  1. ’twas Gordy Brown wot dun it, I tell ya

  2. How long to the next one? 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? Never?

  3. I have to say that as PM he was a disaster but his last big ‘No’ speech was almost Churchillian – it was brilliant. By contrast Miliband was almost pathetic – apparently even the Scots don’t rate him.

  4. Oh, it wont be long, my guess it’s already in the pipeline.

  5. No 55.3%

    Yes 44.7%.

  6. Just woke up to the news (although I went to bed after the YG poll and Clackmannan so I was already confident it was a No).

    Not that what I think matters a jot, but I feel rather vindicated in relation to my complaints about the purely practical/financial agenda of the No campaign. I always thought that this wasn’t really about money, but about emotions. It seems that when Unionists really gave voice to their sense of Britishness, shared identity, common interest and entwined destiny (and Brown deserves most of the plaudits, but I think Cameron, and also Miliband, Clegg and others). Other than Brown, I think the most apposite statement came from the TV presenter Neil Oliver, who made the simple point that the fishermen of Cornwall and the fishermen of the Scottish highlands have more in common with each other than either has with townsfolk in the Midlands.

  7. NickP

    I must agree with you. Having seen all over the place it was the speech of the campaign I watched it last night while waiting on the results. Simple arguments put with obvious passion and conviction – I remember Gordon Brown before he felt he had to smile all the time like Tony Blair.

    It seems so rare that politicians are given time to make a proper speech as the media seek sound bites. A great speech, perhaps listened to in full because the great interest in the referendum was driven by the people rather than the media for once.

  8. There’s no doubt that Brown has been a revelation in the last couple of weeks – he’s obviously found his long lost mojo. Where does he go from here?

  9. Neil A,

    The level of passion the Noes (and Yesses) injected into the campaign in its last days was exhilarating. The turnout goes to show that when people must decide upon the fundamentals of what kind of society they wish to build, they are engaged by politics.

    I can only hope some of it carries across to the rest of the UK – we’ll be in for a brilliant election campaign.

  10. @AW

    In reality, is there a way to reliably build-in a formula for the kind of late surge that happened yesterday? Polls are a snapshot – although many people use them as a predictive tool, they’re not, not really. A poll on Wednesday tells how they will vote on Wednesday, can strongly suggest how they will vote on Thursday, but can’t be fully accurate. I’m happy to be persuaded that it was 52-48 until very, very late.

    Martin Kettle on the Guardain website has written the kind of sloppy article that has made the news mood – ‘neck and neck’, ‘by a whisker’ … no it wasn’t …

  11. Good morning all…..

    Went to bed at 2.15, knowing that No had won, and it looked like 60-40. R&D even raised a collective glass to my admission of defeat, for which “many thanks”.

    Switch on radio at 7.15 to hear that only Dundee, (only?!!!) Glasgow, North Lanark and West Dumbarton had voted Yes but that the %s had improved dramatically.

    If three months ago someone had said to me:

    “Yes will get c. 45% and Westminster will have given a cast iron guarantee that really major powers will be devolved, possibly within a complete overhaul of the whole system, and in scenes of utter chaos and incoherence on their part”

    I would have been really chuffed. So after the initial downbeat feeling, I declare that I am reasonably satisfied. 44.7% in favour of Independence after all that has been thrown at us (by that, I include the great speeches from Gordon Brown) over the past six months – not bad, given the situation three years ago……….

    SNP now shifts for a while to maximise devolution powers. There are authoritative SNP voices referring to this as ‘a dry run’: and so it was. If Westminster fails to deliver then we will be back here within ten years – maybe within five if the Cameron project collapses.

    Labour have to deliver – and Lamont may well have the cards she needs to force that and it would be good to see her ride the storm and emerge the stronger – but if there is any hint from E&W Labour backbenchers that they intend to slow down the process this will only give more strength to the SNP.

    Now it is up to Cameron et al to deliver. We in Scotland (both sides!!!) await with interest what will happen now.

    Enjoy ruminating today. Polls back to normal after the weekend?

  12. Best 2 out of 3???

    Where does the SNP go from here? Their stated main desire since their founding has been Scottish Independence, have they given that up? Do they just want to go for as much Devo as possible?

  13. “We in Scotland”

    Apologies – bad vibes come from that phrase.

    Please replace it with
    “I am sure that the entire Scottish population…..”

  14. and therefore “awaits”, rather than “await”.

    Have a good day, all.

  15. A relief in many ways I think, especially given the slightly sinister nature of the SNP campaign in the latter stages and the attendant ugly atmosphere. Unfortunately I doubt the divisions the SNP has created will soon fade.

    Looking ahead to the likely European referendums I think EU opponents can take heart from this result. Despite an economic case for independence that was more or less pure b*llsh*t, 45% of people still voted for it.

    The economic case for EU exit is much stronger so the chances of the voters being cowed into supporting continued membership by various dire threats about living standards is perhaps rather less than EU supporters assume.

  16. @John B

    “There are authoritative SNP voices referring to this as ‘a dry run’: and so it was.”

    Just a few days ago Alex Salmond claimed that the independence referendum was “a once in a generation opportunity”.

    Now he is talking only about “at this stage”.

    IMO he’s not someone who you should take at his word, and this only confirms it.

  17. So the conclusion is that while there was a large, genuine swing to Yes through the campaign, the polls were in fact inadvertently biased towards Yes all along?

  18. @Phil Haines

    I was not referring to AS but to others who are as authoritative as he when it comes to internal discussions. After all, unlike some other parties, the SNP actually encourages debate within its ranks – or so I am led to believe.

    AS has been quite clear and as far as he is concerned this was the chance. But what AS or anyone else cannot predict is the mood in Scotland should Westminster fail to deliver. It is upon that basis that the talk is of ‘a dry run’.

  19. And in any case, it was always ‘at this stage’ for the nationalist (small n) cause. Same for the No side. No political decision is ‘for ever’!

  20. I have to say that as PM he was a disaster but his last big ‘No’ speech was almost Churchillian – it was brilliant. By contrast Miliband was almost pathetic – apparently even the Scots don’t rate him.

    The funniest thing I heard all night (well, the funniest political thing – two callers were asked as a tiebreak question on TalkSport what day Christmas fell on in 1993, and the first one answered “the 21st?”), was about Miliband doing an event in Scotland. According to one of the reporters on Five Live, a TV news reporter (ITV I think) commented to someone behind the scenes in Better Together that Miliband was doing an event too late for it to be covered on the evening news, to which the person in question allegedly replied “ah… you noticed that?”

  21. Well some You Win some You Lose,

    Aptly from my sides perspective the final vote ratio was 9:11!


  22. @CH

    And what do you mean ”even” the Scots don’t rate him? He is far more likely to appeal to Middle England than to folk north of the border.

  23. Despite being perfectly happy with a ‘No’ vote I can’t but feel a bit despondent this morning.

    Mainly because I think the exercise in democracy already looks like being replaced by a load of wheeler dealering between the political parties that probably won’t have much to do with what the public in either Scotland or England really want.

    Because the referendum was a Yes/No option I’m not sure we got any closer to knowing exactly what the majority of Scottish voters really want and maybe there isn’t even a clear consensus on that anyway. They clearly want “more powers” and came very close to voting for would have been a very uncertain and potentially economically damaging future. I’m just not sure that Scotland is really in any sort of agreement about what “more powers” should be.

    It seems like Scotland’s future system of government will be decided by a handful of people on both sides on the house of commons with their eye on what their backbenchers will tolerate rather than any reaching out to the Scottish people and working out what exactly it is they want. I guess that’s politics.

    Can’t help thinking there will be more tiers of government with not much in the way of a return for the increased costs. Personally I think local councils have become a waste of time- effectively emasculated by Westminster. They cannot set their own rates, they are losing powers over education, almost no room in their budgets for optional spending as budgets are only sufficient for core services (if that) so I’m not sure how it would work any better with regional authorities.

  24. The increased intervention of Brown helped swing it back decisively to the No camp. As a Scot fine: he resonates with the Scots. The problem as PM for the other 50+UK residents is that he,and the people around him,didn’t reflect their attitudes. I hope Brown now becomes an established figure at Holyrood.

    But for goodness sake let the rest get more devolved powers of their own and less of the double vote ability of Scottish Westminster politicians.

  25. Champagne all around in Brussels.

    Scotland has proven that like Ireland, if you intimidate it enough you can get it to give the result you want.

    UK now keeps one of the most Pro Eu areas and in the unlikely event we do get a referendum in 2017, Juncker can rest assured that talk of economic collapse, and all other sort of nasty scenarios will work on many to get them to be good boys and girls and stay in line.

  26. @Peter

    I think historians may well conclude that the Scottish people won hands down. This has been a good experience for the vast majority of us – yes a few idiots, but nothing that caused any real problems, unlike the ‘political debate’ in the London suburbs a couple of years ago.

    The SNP have gained the promise of major concessions of power. almost 45% of those voting were in favour of independence even despite that promise. Listening to John Swinney this morning I venture to suggest that he was not entirely downhearted by the outcome.

    All that has happened is that one chapter has closed. Now the next chapter opens. Successors of Tam Devine will spend much time and energy exploring what was happening in Scotland over the past couple of years and just as much (I suspect) on what is going to happen in the next two to three.

    The professional poker player didn’t always play his cards as he might have done, but he’s come out of it making the other players look like amateurs – bar one or two, of course. Gordon Brown and, I think, Jim Murphy have emerged well. Lamont looks to be strengthened regarding internal party ;power – perhaps.

    DC, EM and NC have been made to look utter fools, IMO.

    Game on!

  27. With the polls predicting an average 4% margin, and YouGov picking up a 4% change to an 8% predicted margin from its polling on actual voting, that still leaves a 3% overestimate of the gap that can’t be explained by late swing in order to reach the actual gap of 11%.

    No a disasterous performance by the pollsters, but still indicative of some unexplained systematic errors.

    One explanation lies in a differential in the quality of electoral registration between working class and middle class areas, given that working class people were apparently just as motivated as the rest this time but turnout still varied markedly (e.g. only(!) 79% in Glasgow compared to up to 90% or thereabouts elsewhere). Yes the names on the register amounted to an estimated 97% of the eligible population, but were they always the right names in the right place? It’s far more difficult to maintain a good register in areas with more transient populations, particularly where private renting is significant. Turnout questions didn’t properly filter for this, perhaps because some people only discovered that they weren’t properly registered at the polling station.

    I hope that I’m wrong, but if not that points to a more widespread problem likely to be manifest in general election polling too. US polling takes more account of whether people are registered.

    Incidently I think the increased barriers to registration (e.g. disclosing NI numbers) with the advent of Individual Electoral Registration is only going to make this problem worse.

  28. It’s not just intimidation that got the No result: it was maybe also the promises of more devolution. And that should have been noticed in all the other nations and regions of the UK: cause trouble and/or threaten to leave if you want concessions. If you’ve got oil or something else the Westminster government wants or needs, that helps.

    This is going to get very interesting. And then there’s our position with the EU. Looking forward even more to manifestos and what constitutional commitments are there within.

  29. @Phil Haines

    I think the “systematic error” could just be the difference between the hypothetical and actual situation, and it’s hard to know what polling companies could ever do about that.

  30. In fairness to Salmond I don’t think “once in a generation” and “at this stage” are necessarily contradictory. If the SNP actively pushes for another referendum to be held in the 2020s (barring an unquestionably strong reason to do so such as UK withdrawal from the EU), then it would be reasonable to say that they can’t be trusted. The inevitable consensus among nationalists that the Westminster parties’ offer does not enough would not be sufficient to do so IMO, unless those parties renege on implementing things that all three of them agreed to do before the poll.

    The SNP does have the potential to consolidate its support in the face of this result. That will be based on the extent to which the No voters that could have been tempted to vote the other way – and indeed the Yes voters who could still return to Labour – feel that the SNP itself is acting in Scotland’s interests on the basis of accepting this result. If by contrast they are perceived (accurately or not) as willing to try ANYTHING to get away with calling a second referendum, even if the effect of those things are to make life worse in the short term, then they could be in real trouble.

  31. If that 9:11 reference above stands I’m leaving the site. Utterly, utterly disgraceful.

  32. Just hit report comment

  33. @CH – 9:11

    Come off it!

    As for yours of 9.57, you fail to realise (IMO) how strongly people on both sides feel about the Vow. If there is any hint that Westminster is failing to deliver, then that would be sufficient reason to hold another referendum inside five years.

    Failure to come up with the goods would undermine Gordon Brown’s Unionist position; Labour in Scotland would disintegrate. If DC and EM were frightened a couple of weeks back, then that is nothing as compared with how frightened they need to be now!

  34. I think the SNP does have the potential to consolidate support, but there are big opportunities for Labour here too, surely, to regain control of the narrative and agenda on Scots constitutional reform. Giving the SNP tax powers and requiring them to use them could well spell the beginning of the end for the current SNP coalition as well. The SNP right would be undoubtedly pushing for lower taxes for business, the SNP left for higher ones; maintaining unity and purpose will be far harder without their raison d’etre and once new powers come in they will no longer be able to throw their hands in the air and claim powerlessness as they have done with their current tax varying powers.

    Whilst I may be wrong, and I think he has a lot more left in the tank yet, I’d venture to predict that the last fortnight may have seen the zenith of Salmond’s political career (and perhaps, ironically, Brown’s as well).

  35. Ok, so how and when will parliament limit the involvement of Scottish and Welsh MPs in deciding issues related solely to England? I suppose there must be such issues.

    Does this mean a separate England parliament?

    What does this mean for PM for the UK and a PM for England?

    Will demand for electoral reform in England become irresistible now?

  36. I think the role for Brown is now to badger and bully Westminster to deliver. SLAB need to think long and hard about how to maximise their damaged support in Scotland in time for May 2015 – establishing an ‘off shore’ perception in the negotiations could be very helpful.

    I’d go one step further and decisively split Labour MPs into English, Welsh and Scottish parties, with separate leaderships. They would sit within Westminster as a coalition, negotiating agreed UK wide policies, government posts etc. In the referendum, SLAB were easily painted as Westminster – they need to adapt to the realities of devolution and create a obviously more federal system within their own party.

    For my money, the ball is in Labour’s court now. Cameron holds the cards as regards constitutional change in England, which he will try to use to his advantage. Labour need to do what they failed to do when in power – be bold.

    Agreeing powers for Scotland should be easy, as should resisting Cameron’s demands for a quick fix (pre May 2015) for the West Lothian Question. Labour need to go into that election having delivered new powers to Scotland and with a radical and bold plan to decentralize and revitalise English democracy, outflanking Tory efforts.

    Labour’s biggest enemy has always been timidity, but these are special times, and rapid and fundamental change is possible.

  37. I enjoyed Cameron’s speech this morning. He is going to take away the power of Wales, NI and Scotland to vote on English matters. How many Tory MP’s in Wales, NI and Scotland you may ask?

    And he has got Labour to commit to a timeline that ensures this is all settled in this parliament so his MP’s can pretty much write the rules. And no referendum for us, all done behind closed doors.

    Labour have been played. I wonder if he knew it was No all along, and used the ‘yes poll crisis’ to drive this through, or if this really just accidently all happened.

    “if voting could really change anything it would be illegal”

    Well I suppose the good news is that it is now clear we will remain in the EU – they seem to be able to govern better than our lot, hopefully they get more powers.

  38. @Mike N – those are the big issues. Tories want the minimal change in voting rights for non English MPs. This misses the point that devolution has always been accompanied by voting reform – NI, Wales, Scotland, London.

    Regionalism is the next buttress against Tory domination Labour need to grasp. If directly elected police commissioners are a good thing, why is it not a good thing for regional NHS management.

    What we really need is lots of post code lotteries – local people deciding for themselves what they want. This actually fits perfectly with Tory philosophy – empowering communities and introducing a type of competition of ideas into public services.

    They will resist it, as their power base is now pretty well restricted to Westminster, but regionalism is coming I feel.

  39. SHEVII
    ” I think the exercise in democracy already looks like being replaced by a load of wheeler dealering between the political parties that probably won’t have much to do with what the public in either Scotland or England really want.

    My sense of the post-poll debate on a rejection of “Westminste government” and the need therefore for regional devolution is that there is an understanding among Westminster polliticians themselves, rather than the public, that reform demands some form or regionalism or federalism.
    In the 1992 debate on the supposed need for regional assemblies, in which the South West was seen as a top candidate, it was the sheer size and dissimilarities of the counties – from Hampshire and Worcester to Cornwall – which made it seem unrealistic – Cornish fishermen having more in common with those of the Shetlands etc. And regional authorities appeared overwhelmed with handling EU strucfural fund projiects rather than participating in any form of regional government. More realistically, greater powers to city governments, where there is a critical mass of resources, interests and politics and real linkages between economics and social services makes sense and already has the necessary structures perhaps as hubs for regional government.

  40. If the Tories are doing EV4EL for partisan advantage, then the problem they have is that even if they won in England, but only got a plurality in the rest of the UK (as in 2010), they would have control of the NHS and education but no ability to pass a budget.

    The rest of the UK could just force a vote of no confidence to block anything they don’t like.

    So it doesn’t even work for partisan advantage.

  41. Common sense prevailed, as I predicted it would, but all the rhetoric around Gordon Brown’s performance makes me smile. The Scottish tendency to confuse the gifted orator with the posturing, loquacious, firebrand, Jimmy Reid, Tommy Sheridan, spring to mind, and now the old fashioned preacher Gordon Brown, reminds me of the other loveable old windbag, Neil Kinnock, is it possible that Gordon’s speech was a, ‘ Sheffield ‘ moment, perhaps the nae vote would have been higher without the great man’s intervention. :-)
    As far as the yes movement is concerned, it’s time for mature reflection, learn not to let your heart rule your head, it generally ends in tears.

  42. While the exact percentage was different to the final polls, I was impressed with the polling overall during the campaign. Like many people outside Scotland, I paid little attention for most of the 2 year campaign as I thought No was a foregone conclusion. But the polls all picked up the very real Yes surge, and equally, all of the polls picked up that the Yes momentum was halted before it could cross the line, and No was going to win it. The media kept calling it too close to call, even hours into their election night coverage, but those of us who follow polls knew that it wasn’t, and I thought Peter Kellner was right to be confident enough to announce that No had won at 10:30pm.

    From day one, I believed that when literally standing there with a pencil, no matter how excited people might have been during the campaign, the permanence of what a Yes vote would mean, and the uncertainty of what the impact could be, would lead to a last second swing to No. It’s just human nature. Changing the status quo is not easy. And I predict now the same will happen with an EU poll if it takes place. The vote might be to leave, but there will be a meaningful last minute shift to staying in.

    As a final point regarding when the next vote could happen, I heard a lot of No spokespeople saying it was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for change, to try and prevent anyone from voting No while thinking they can always have another go later. That’s as much of a commitment as the Westminster “Vow”. Unless whatever further devolution is granted is so derisory that everyone, Yes or No, can agree they’ve been betrayed, I think the SNP will need to stick to what they promised or face an even heavier defeat.

  43. @ALEC
    The last time anyone put the regional government question to the public, it was soundly rejected – by which I mean crushed and stamped on. People don’t want another layer of politicians, they just want things to work properly. I fear that if Labour get the chance, Regional Government will be imposed without a vote. More powers to parish and town councils would be a better idea. An English grand committee would solve the parliamentary problem.

  44. Good Cameron Speech.

    Two elements – cross-UK

    The English Question needs to be addressed quickly. Barnett must go as part of larger reforms because it is simply untenable; if Scotland is as wealthy as alleged then more subsidies cannot be justified.

    I think that all 4 devolved Parliaments need very similar powers, and we need a net decrease in politicians – not necessarily the Lords who are good value but need tidying up.

    For me the English Parliament should use English MPs as existing, meeting for 2 days a week, Scottish, Welsh and NI Westminster MPs should be abolished as now and the UK Parliament (perhaps with PR) should be made up of the devolved assemblies.

    UK HoL on US “2 per county” style (?), and a UK wide boundary commission to prevent Rotten Counties.

    I am not sure how to keep Eminent People in the system, which seems quite important to impose sanity on politicians.

    And Scotland

    There is already a big package of devolved reforms coming in in the next 2 years. What is the relation of what will be done to that which is already done?

    How do we make devolved Parliaments work well, and what checks and balances do we introduce to keep Unicameral chambers stable? eg Salmond has managed to politicised his Civil Service, Northern Ireland was set up to reflect a particular situation, the WAG seems to me to be quite disfunctional (eg education, health).

    Is the SNP going to move beyond wallowing in anti-English narratives from the 14th and 18th centuries, and become a modern political operation?

    How do we draw the bile from Scottish politics injected by this campaign? Over on Wings Over Scotland they are clutching at conspiracy theories and talking about revenge. Should note that of course the other nations have our own fringe elements, but they don’t get much of the vote.

    And all those lies told by Salmond and his friends are still out there.

  45. Keeping the status quo would be a stich-up in favour of Labour (and politically unacceptable to England), having EV4EL without an English Executive would be a stitch-up in favour of the Tories (and would result in gridlock unless a party had a majority in England the UK).

    I think if either option is pushed by the respective parties, they would be deservedly punished.

  46. Amber might disagree but apart from Donald Dewar no Scottish Labour big hitters have chose a Holyrood career.
    In my view this has produced a quality gap with the SNP, other than sending a couple to the HoC, being able to deploy the most appealing policians to Scotland (rightly so).

    Viewed from England, having Nicola Sturgeoen and Kenny McCaskill as spokespeople for example is a major advantage over Labour.

    Also, Labour does not take Holyrood seriously all their best people go south is an obvious and legitimate line of attack for the SNP.

    Perhaps Jim Murphy (sidelined by EM) or someone else with stature will do a Dewar and switch to Holyrood and hopefully more young Scottish Labour talent will stay in Edingburgh rather than becoming SPADs in London.

  47. @ Alec,

    Regionalism is the next buttress against Tory domination Labour need to grasp

    Agreed. Plus the Lib Dems are probably more or less on board already, and they might get Ukip behind it too- it must be immediately obvious to Farage that he might eventually run East Anglia but he will never govern in Westminster. Standing in isolation as the one anti-regionalist party would not be a good look for the Tories.

    The big problems are:

    1) the mechanism by which to do it is not obvious- you can devolve power to the cities or Cornwall, but what do you do about the places that belong to no clear geographic unit?

    2) Labour is centralising on a deep, ideological level- solidarity means you don’t permit post code lotteries, because you’re not willing to let some people suffer because of an accident of location. Andy Burnham’s rhetoric on the NHS and Ed Miliband’s rhetoric on devolution are fundamentally contradictory.

  48. @RMJ1

    “The last time anyone put the regional government question to the public, it was soundly rejected”

    It was a bit of a sham, though. More consolidating existing local powers than devolving any powers from Westminster. And I’m not sure you need actual regional assemblies; returning to local level the responsibilities Whitehall has absorbed over the last hundred years or so would be a start.

  49. @CH – 9:11

    Come off it!

    That one nationalist will trivialise 9/11, and defend another defend the comments because they came from a nationalist, pretty much sums this referendum campaign up. Strongly and openly condemning idiots would not have cost the Yes campaign a single vote. They refused to do it because those idiots happened to be on their side.

    As for yours of 9.57, you fail to realise (IMO) how strongly people on both sides feel about the Vow. If there is any hint that Westminster is failing to deliver, then that would be sufficient reason to hold another referendum inside five years.

    No chance. Absolutely no chance, even if Westminster does “fail to deliver”. I don’t say that from a unionist position, but because I do not think Salmond or Sturgeon think that is a feasible timeframe

    But from a unionist position, it’s difficult to see what would count as delivering on that vow for the third or so of voters who would have voted for independence even if the No campaign had absolutely walked over the Yes (which it clearly didn’t given the swing towards Yes in recent weeks). And even if from a nationalist perspective Westminster does make a pig’s ear of implementing the vow, it’s difficult to see how they could fall so far short that even an SNP landslide could get away with calling round two in the next Holyrood parliament.

    If DC and EM were frightened a couple of weeks back, then that is nothing as compared with how frightened they need to be now!

    They should be, but given the unlikelihood of either being leader of their respective party in four or five years’ time, far more likely that they will try to do what they said they’d do, and if they mess up someone else will be the one worrying about it.

  50. @Jim Jam,

    A devolution settlement for England would probably create the impetus you desire.

    Shorn of the ability to influence policy over most of the UK, Labour’s Scottish politicians would face a choice between specialising only in Federal (foreign affairs, defence etc) matters or migrating back to Scotland to continue exercising power over home policy.

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