Since the Scottish referendum we’ve had Scottish polls from MORI, Panelbase, YouGov and Survation and they’ve been consistent in showing large leads for the SNP over Labour in Westminster voting intentions. ICM now have a new Scottish poll out and it shows the same as other companies – topline Westminster voting intentions are CON 13%, LAB 26%, LDEM 6%, SNP 43%, UKIP 7%, GRN 4%.

The 17 point SNP lead is smaller than the 24 point lead that Survation recorded at the start of the week (and without tables yet we can’t really speculate why) but would still produce a landslide win for the SNP if repeated in the general election next year. In the Guardian write up they mention some analysis by John Curtice suggesting that Labour may do even worse than uniform swing suggests – looking at responses from areas where Labour was over 25% ahead of the SNP in 2010 shows the Labour vote dropping more there than average. I’d be wary of reading too much into sub-samples of voting intention in a poll that’s only 1000 people to begin with, but nevertheless this seems perfectly plausible for the reasons I mentioned here – when there is a huge drop in support for a political party a uniform swing does start to become untenable due to a floor effect… there are simply too many seats where a party doesn’t have enough support to begin with to lose that much, so they have to lose more votes in places they had more votes.

UPDATE: Full tabs are here, and reallocation of don’t knows did happen and did help Labour – it would have been a nineteen point lead otherwise.

453 Responses to “ICM Scottish poll gives SNP 17 point lead”

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  1. Scotlass
    Visceral rage was I think your phrase and sits uneasily with an assertion of “acting perfectly rationally”, in particular it would be interesting to know what your argument would be with the Guardian writer on Labour being more re-distibutionist. What are the re-distributionist policies of the SNP? In the lead up to the reeferendum they guaranteed no tax rises and a reductionion in Corporation Tax? Isn’t that so?
    As a Labour politician in Scotland I am regularly on the end of the visceral rage but rarely get the perfect rationality.

  2. @ Roger Mexico

    Just to get the figures straight, there were 3 ICM polls in September

    Anthony missed one. And it’s not much better than the others – it doesn’t really change the September average either.

  3. @ Scotslass

    …while the quite devastating (for unionists) leadership ratings show that Amber and Barney’s dim view of Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon is not widely shared among the Scottish people.

    Can you provide the date & time of an adverse comment which I’ve posted about Nicola Sturgeon or Alex Salmond? Because either you’ve misunderstood what I wrote or you’re just making stuff up.

  4. @Scotslass

    We’ve been over this before.

    If you believe Labour is being/will be punished for believing what they have always believed in – I.e. UK unionism, then that is a very odd thing to be punished for, particularly by their previous supporters.

    If Scots cannot see how illogical it is to punish a party for this then there is very little Labour can do about it.

    I’m not saying Independence is illogical – far from it; nor the desire to free one’s nation from the shackes of English colonialism (if that’s the way Independence supporters see it). But for previous Labour supporters to punish Labour for an aspect of their policy that has never changed is at the very least odd.

    It’s a bit like criticising the SNP for negotiating with the Tories over the referendum date and question, rather than declaring UDI, when the SNP have always believed in independence through referendum.

    That the SNP have (apparently successfully) marketed Labour as selling their soul to the Tories over Independence, should not detract from the fact that that claim on this issue is bunk.

  5. Bit too much sappy Christmas spirit on here for me.

  6. Alec

    I said as much a few days ago, when I mused that Jim M might yet be seen as a hero for losing a few seats, while the SNP views as ‘the loser’ despite significant gains. All very interesting.

    Normally, big poll movements have a tendency to unwind to a degree, suggesting that the above scenario is likely. There are other possible reasons also. With the SNP the runaway leader now, it’s extremely hard to return to their default psychological position as the underdog – Labour has firmly bagged that tag now, and the SNP is now the Scottish establishment.

    The problem with that scenario though is that Labour are currently fighting a campaign based entirely around the fact that only they can stop the Conservatives because they are the main Party in Scotland. It was practically the first thing that Murphy said on election[1]:

    “I am confident that we will hold all [the Westminster seats] that we have. Any seat that the SNP tries to win from Labour increases the chance of David Cameron having an overall majority and I’m determined that won’t happen. We’ve had one referendum and we’re going to have another referendum in May, and it’s on whether Scotland genuinely wants rid of David Cameron.”

    But you can’t claim to be the pack leader and the underdog at the same time, If the SNP are ahead then logically voting for them is the ‘only way’ to stop the Tories. In reality the Conservatives are irrelevant in all but a handful of seats in Scotland and voting Labour or SNP will be just as effective (or not) in ‘stopping’ them.

    There’s a hint that Labour realise this too in one of the articles commenting on the poll[2]:

    […] but you have only one party that you can replace the Tories with, and that’s Labour,” Murphy said. He has to tread carefully, however. In recent Labour focus groups, voters reacted angrily, if Labour was seen to imply they were too stupid to realise that.

    This doesn’t make much sense unless the voters are actually getting irate at the ‘only Labour can stop the Tories’ line and the suggestion that voting SNP would somehow prevent that. They may also be reacting against the sense of entitlement that seems to be implied in the formulation, and maybe even an implied threat that if Labour aren’t given exclusive power, they might just sulk and let the Conservatives get on with it.

    It all suggests that Labour will have to come up with a more convincing campaign line than that plus more boozing at football matches.

    And of course the Guardian editorial was condescending. It’s a Guardian editorial FFS! They’re condescending about everything outside their tiny little world. I just don’t see why the Scots should expect special treatment.

    [1] ht tp://www.theg***

    [2] ht tp://www.theg***
    Incidentally it also contains a lot of downplaying of the SNP’s prospects by their own spinners “getting 11 or 12 seats ‘should be seen as a major breakthrough'” and so on.

  7. Amber Star

    “One other factor, not discussed much, may simply be that No voters were less willing to respond to surveys”.

    If that’s correct, doesn’t it follows that YeSNP supporters are ‘too’ willing to answer polls & the sample population doesn’t accurately represent the actual electorate?

    Indeed and I think YouGov should also weight by referendum vote as well. Their latest sample was
    Yes 47.1% after all other weighting, rather than 44.7%. It’s not an enormous difference and wouldn’t shift VI much, but it does affect some things on the margin like whether Scots would vote Yes now. As I pointed out at the time, YouGov suggests they would (just) whereas it would still be No (just).

    But other pollsters (Survation, Panelbase) do weight for Yes/No while ICM shows a similar sort of small skew (Yes 46.4%). So it’s not going to have a major effect given the consistency of the polls and some already cater for it.

    As to how accurate the polls were, you have to compare like with like. Those ICM polls were equivalent to Yes 47.6%, Yes 53.8% and Yes 48.8%. The STel one is clearly out, the others like most from that time, some points too high (though it’s silly using the lead of straight Y/N because you just doubling every discrepancy) but that was expected.

    Thanks to Anthony (and Tom Clark) for the tables by the way. The fieldwork was 16-18 Dec, which suggests they did sit on them a bit, presumably so they could pre-write the coverage for filling up on a Bank Holiday evening.

  8. Barney

    I take it from your post you are THE Barney Crockett of Aberdeen Council. In which case the recent “visceral rage” which impacted on you was from your own Labour colleagues when they removed you as Council leader.

    As they used to say your enemies are always behind you. The other lot are just your opponents!

    In my previous posts I pointed out that ALL parties who have allied themselves with the Conservatives for the last century in Scottish politics have suffered severe and lasting damage.

    The same thing is happening now to Labour in Scotland which is why the swing is so much greater in the former Labour areas according to the detail of the poll.

    The “visceral rage” is not mine but the view of many of the people.

  9. I think Robert Burns was spot on:

    “O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us!”

  10. I’m not a Green or SSP member & I have my criticisms of both those parties but why were ICM only prompting on the Greens for Scottish Parliament and the SSP not at all? Especially as they were prompting for UKIP…

  11. @ Scotslass

    In my previous posts I pointed out that ALL parties who have allied themselves with the Conservatives for the last century in Scottish politics have suffered severe and lasting damage.

    “ALL” is actually one Party in living memory – the SNP.

  12. Anybody know why Ladbrokes have suspended betting in their ‘post election government’ on a Labour/SNP coalition? For reference the favorite is a Cons/Lib dem coalition at 4-1. A cons/UKIP coalition is way down at 16-1!

  13. @Amber and others.

    I don’t think it’s reasonable to criticise Polling companies for not applying a 2-3% last minute swing to status quo model to their referendum polling.

    It’s been a widely observed phenomenon at other constitutional referenda but not universal so it was entirely possible the Scottish referendum would follow a different pattern.

    However after the event we can see clearly that it DID happen as predicted (by many on here and elsewhere).

    That means in terms of polling accuracy we should view September polls of around 53-47 as being “Correct” in that they were accurately reflecting public opinion at the time.

    That of course doesn’t the ICM/Sunday Telegraph one any more accurate but the other 2 were not far off where they should be.

  14. Scotslass

    As I understand it, some of the SNP vote don’t want independence. If they vote for a pro-independence party they are being perplexingly naive if they are not irrational.

  15. @Oldnat – you’re thought processes can be remarkably slow at times. If you read my actual comments, you will see that my concatenation of anti Tory/blame Westminster was written specifically in context to Scottish politics, so reference to English anti Tories on here by yourself is a fundamental error of reading. @Scotslass helpfully confirms the validity of my assertions on this.

    And no, I’ve never campaigned on behalf of the British state. I suggested Scots would do better remaining within the Union, and made it plain that I believe the Union needs radical overhaul, but I was defining myself as a Scot, not in relation o the British state.

    You’ve completely missed the point of my posts, which is precisely the point of my posts.

  16. @Lurker

    At Holyrood elections there has traditionally been a fairly large proportion of SNP voters who don’t want independence but do want the SNP to be running the country.

    This is neither naive nor irrational because SNP policy has been to
    achieve independence via a referendum so Unionist SNP voters had the reassurance of a vote being required.

    These voters are likely to remain with the SNP for as long as they are seen as the most competent governing force at Holyrood. This won’t be forever but could easily be another couple of elections yet, especially with a new SNP leader. Having voted for SNP when they knew that would lead to a referendum whose outcome they opposed (although not necessarily opposed to the referendum process itself) they are hardly going to be worried now their SNP vote cannot lead to another referendum in future.

    Indeed for voters who favour a Federal/Devo Max/Home
    Rule option which party is best placed to deliver that? Labour and Conservatives are fully behind Smith proposals and no more. Lib Dems in theory support a federal system but in practice are propping up the Tories and the Greens are unlikely to be a major force at Westminster.

    So for a No voter who wants more Devolution than Smith offers – voting SNP is the only realistic option (If Constitutional issues are the most important voting determinant, which they may not be for many No voters).

  17. @Lurker

    As I understand it, some of the SNP vote don’t want independence. If they vote for a pro-independence party they are being perplexingly naive if they are not irrational.

    In addition, I think the SNP in Holyrood have delivered some policies that have broad appeal (tuition fees and prescriptions charges for example) and overall they have seemingly governed quite well.

    So far perhaps they can quite reasonably have gained support from voters who have no strong independence thoughts or partisan tendencies, but like a competent party in power.

  18. @NorthumbrianScot

    We were typing at the same time!

  19. Amber Star

    Didn’t I go through a list of parties in a previous post. I thought it was the post where I reminded you of a YouGov poll which you hadn’t seen?.

    At any rate. Parties which have associated themselves with the Tories in Scotland – National Liberals – disappeared, SNP in 1979 setback for 10 years, Liberal Democrats in 2010 about to disappear, Labour in 2014 about to be setback for many years.

    The greater the association the greater the damage. The Better Together campaign was a profound association and Mr Murphy one of its leading lights.

    Thus this is a very real problem for Labour and why Mr Murphy may be part of that problem rather than part of the answer.

  20. @ Northumbrian Scot, Catmanjeff

    Wasn’t Lurker referring to Westminster elections rather than Holyrood though?

  21. @ Scotslass

    National Liberals
    I had to Wiki this to find out what Party you were talking about. They never got above 4% in a GE so hardly a force to be reckoned with in 20th century politics.

    Liberal Democrats, in 2010 about to disappear
    That’s what current polling is showing for 2015; however one election is hardly “severe and lasting damage”.

    Labour in 2014 about to be setback for many years
    That’s what current polling is showing for 2015; however one election is hardly “severe and lasting damage”.

    As I wrote, the SNP is the only Party to have actually “suffered severe and lasting damage” in Scotland for siding with the Tories. And that was partly because they sided with the Tories against the Labour Party.

  22. So, the May election is increasingly likely to leave us with a coalition government with a powerful role to be played by the Scottish Nationalists. A clear majority of the UK wanted Scotland to remain part of this united kingdom and it should therefore follow that they should be part of a UK government (at least sometimes). Labour support in England may give them sufficient support to be the lead party but they must be the biggest party to sustain credibility for a full parliament. The price for a Lab-SN coalition? Alex Salmond as Chancellor?

  23. Do the Scots not do Xmas or summat?…

  24. @ Carfrew


  25. I take it from your post you are THE Barney Crockett of Aberdeen Council.

    Some top whataboutery, there. And getting personal as well!

  26. Carfrew
    As I said earlier, no Christmas truce in Scotland it appears!
    So what are those re-distributionist policies of the SNP then? And when did Amber make those attacks on A Salmond and N Sturgeon or do you just make them up?

  27. @Amber Star

    If voters are happy that the SNP are doing a good job in Holyrood, why would they about turn for Westminster? Surely the good karma earned spills over to Westminister?

    Given how tight the GE looks, perhaps voters see that a strong SNP block could wield some real influence in a minority/hung parliament.

    I think it perhaps demonstrates that what really matters is the domestic agenda, and in reality the independence really runs second to the NHS, education etc.

  28. To clarify, I was talking specifically about Westminster elections.

  29. Candy

    “Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.” – Albert Einstein”

    I regularly respond to this comment by accurately pointing out that Einstein supported the creation of the State of Israel.

    Unsurprisingly I don’t doubt that he opposed imperialistic “nationalism” such as that of Hitler’s Germany-but he clearly supported the “nationalism” that is for self determination and opposed to imperialism.

  30. If this thread is a reflection of GE campaign to come in Scotland, it looks like it will be a very dirty and personal fight.

    I know this is the civilised end of the debate, and I am not accusing anyone here. I just have a sinking feeling that a load of muck-spreading lay under a thin veneer in Scotland.

  31. Surely we know the SNP support at GE 22015 will be 45%?

    The answer now is always 45%. It was for Holyrood, it was for Yes.

    Only the make-up of the 45% differs :-)

  32. @ CatmanJeff

    If voters are happy that the SNP are doing a good job in Holyrood, why would they about turn for Westminster?
    Because the SNP can’t form a government in Westminster.

    Surely the good karma earned spills over to Westminister?
    It didn’t in 2010.

  33. @ JeremyTwyman

    The price for a Lab-SN coalition? Alex Salmond as Chancellor?

    Minister for Scotland would surely be the job that any SNP leader in Westminster would want (assuming all the other hurdles are cleared).

  34. @Amber Star

    We will be in 2015 though.

    Scotland (and the whole of the UK) seems to have changed in how it views the regions, and the role of the national parties.

    I think new rules now apply – ones that are still being written.

  35. @ CatmanJeff

    Scotland (and the whole of the UK) seems to have changed in how it views the regions, and the role of the national parties.

    And much of the UK’s attitudes to the EU, immigration, wars, globalism, the economy, nationalisation of key utilities/industries etc. also seems to have changed. i.e. Any Party which doesn’t have a ‘past’ has an opportunity to claim that they ‘wouldn’t start from here’ as the saying goes…

  36. The ‘visceral fury for a century’ thesis falls down somewhat when we recall that the Unionist Party (forerunner to the Conservative and Unionist party) won 50.1% of the vote in Scotland in 2015 and had the most seats.

    Thatcher won 22 seats in 1979. Tories are on around 20 ish% in some Holyrood polls, within a 4 party system. They remain part of the landscape.

  37. Dirty and personal?
    It will be difficult to match the vileness of the referendum campaign and J Murphy for sure will be trying to be the oil on troubled waters but the realisation may spread that we are speaking about the political big time, not a regional spat. P Krugman wrote recently and in the aftermath of the referendum (I can’t find it now) that Scottish separatism was one of three giant threats to the world economy, far over-shadowing less significant things like the prospect of the far left taking over the government of Greece.
    It would be for example a mite difficult to have as Chancellor someone who not only didn’t think the current UK should exist but whose expressed economic views include that there is no need for any austerity in government spending, that RBS was brought down purely by the “spivs and speculators in London” and that HBOS was a healthy company which should have refused to be taken over by Lloyds.
    More broadly he has also said that he would see to it that the Commons would be hung from a Scottish rope and that he would make Parliament dance to a Scottish jig.
    The most likely outcome for the next UK parliament remains a small Labour majority and the next most likely is without doubt a Labour minority without any deals with anyone. For most purposes non-Conservative parties are going to think once twice and many times about bringing down Labour and the Conservatives are are also going to be cautious. The SNP experience in their first Scottish term proves this is sustainable and popular with voters

  38. ‘If voters are happy that the SNP are doing a good job in Holyrood, why would they about turn for Westminster?
    Because the SNP can’t form a government in Westminster.’

    That only matters for the Unionist voters. For nationalist voters you vote for the political party best representing your country – the SNP.

    Check the 19th century Irish Home rule party resluts…

  39. @jeremytwyford

    “…Alec salmond as Chancellor… “

    Shoot me now…:-)

  40. Barney

    So you ARE the Crockett unceremoniously removed by your own colleagues in Aberdeen Council and I am beginning to understand why that unfortunate incident may have occurred.

    THE SNP are well able to speak for themselves but they might start with the living wage for the public sector, the educational maintenance allowance for poorer students and the recent property transactions tax are all sound and fair policies which might help explain some of the current sky high popularity of Salmond and Sturgeon.


    Sorry to perplex you with the National Liberals but I cannot agree they were insignificant in Scottish politics . They held for example, not just MPs but Cabinet posts including a Secretary of State for Scotland in the 1950s. Try Wicki again to find out who!

  41. 1. How much of the Scottish population are hardcore Unionists or Nationalists, as opposed to seeing Independence or Union as different possible vehicles or tools get what they want and avoid what they fear?

    To me it seems quite possible people many could have voted No without believing Independence would be the inevitable disaster the most passionate of Unionists think it, instead just seeing the Union as still currently the better vehicle. Likewise it is quite possible for people voted Yes, believing that Independence would be the better vehicle, and still not think of the Union as inevitable ruination for Scotland or as being potentially reformable in a way that the most passionate of Nationalists believe impossible. Do we have any polling on how well people think Scotland will do in the Union, or would do as Independent ideally on some sort of scale? How does that differ between yes and no voters?

    2. It is only irrational to Vote No to Independence, and yet despise Labour for teaming up with the Tories to campaign against it, for someone who considers Independence/Union to be a more important issue than ‘Toriness’ (whatever ‘Toriness’ is). What is the polling on the actual salience of Independence/Union in Scotland, is it the top of the list? I presume nobody has polled on the salience of ‘Toriness’ :)

    3. Down in the comments of the Lallands Peat Worrier post a few people have linked to previously, I discovered an Irish term I had not previously encountered: ‘Gombeen man’. Here’s a wikipedia link:

    A wacky hypothesis: The Tories in Scotland are now so elementally toxic, and locally political irrelevant (yet still feared at the level of the Union) that in Scotland the word ‘Tory’ has pretty much now evolved into a generic term meaning something much similar to the Irish ‘Gombeen man’, with little relation to the actual Conservative and Unionist Party beyond the their being assumed by most Scots to be a party made up of Gombeen men. ‘The problem with the feckin’ Tories is that they’re a feckin’ bunch of feckin’ Tories’ so to speak.

    Therefore when stuff like ‘Tartan Tories’ and ‘Red Tories’ is thrown about, its not really about left-right distinction, its actually about who are the Gombeen men, and whether they can be pushed or kept out. Maybe that’s actually the most important question in Scottish Politics, and degrees of hypothetical Leftness and Independence/Union act merely as proxies :)

  42. Being from the west coast of Scotland, these are my thoughts:

    Outside of the 15% core they have hovered around for decades now, the Conservatives are still seen as anti-Scottish, cruel and associated with religious bigotry in some parts of west/central Scotland. They still have a very bad image problem. Older people who were alive during the Thatcher era still hate them. Younger people hear about Thatcher from their parents and don’t see a reason to vote Tory anyway.

  43. Well it looks like my temporary holiday from ukpollingreport might star early this election.

    Things tend to go a bit crazy as elections come near, lots of new partisan posters and the partisan posters getting far worse.

    It’s not even 2015 yet and already the rational here are being shouted down.

    For what it’s worth and the little it will be listened to;

    Criticising this ICM poll because of the 12th September one is pathetic.

    ICM have a first class reputation but as Anthony repeatedly reminds us every seven or eight polls you can expect a rouge result through random sample error. To pick out one rouge poll from four months ago to question one that is in line with current trends is just shooting the messenger!

    My perception is that there is actually little hatred after the referendum. It does show itself amongst political activists but not amongst the general public.

    For whatever reason the referendum has galvanised interest in politics and I think the current narrative in Scotland is time for change and not just the usual get rid of the Tories.

    Scots seem to have liked being the centre of attention and having been showered with promises when they looked like leaving may well feel that they can get more from London by playing the SNP card than going with a Unionist party.

    In this respect I think what the politicians including the SNP might be missing as they fight each other is that the people are taking the lead and using the Parties to get what they want, more for Scotland.

    We really did let the genie out of the bottle in September and now we’re all struggling to keep up with a people that has decided they want to be in charge.

    May we live in interesting times.



    Barney Crockett despite being a serving politician of some seniority, is brave enough to post here under his own name. Peter Cairns did likewise when he was a councillor.

    I deplore it when other posters hiding under the cloak of anonymity try to launch cheap shots based on (usually their own perculiar spin of) what they know of the public background of someone posting here, not that your last post really answered that of Barney at 12.09 at all.

  45. @ Scotslass

    Sorry to perplex you with the National Liberals but I cannot agree they were insignificant in Scottish politics . They held for example, not just MPs but Cabinet posts including a Secretary of State for Scotland in the 1950s. Try Wicki again to find out who!

    Irrelevant; the National Liberals were not a force in Scottish politics therefore there was no opportunity for the Scottish electorate to inflict “severe & lasting damage” to them for forming an alliance with the Tories. You are clutching at straws; & we are boring the @ss off everybody who is still bothering to read this [email protected]

    Anybody who gives a jot can read Wiki & decide for themselves.

  46. Posting from London……………..on Scotland, but please don’t call me condescending (which seems to be bandied about quite a lot).
    From my (distant) understanding, one of Labour’s problems in Scotland seems to have been a (fairly) moribund party – especially in the safe seats. Amber, am I right?
    It is not surprising that the polls are where they are………… but as Ashcroft always says – polls are a snap shot and not a prediction. If Murphy can activate the Scottish Labs, get them out and doing what they should be (ie making the case, on the doorstep), the polls might shift. In time? Not sure. They are certainly going to have to work very hard.

  47. What I find most depressing about the ‘visceral fury’, and indeed the entire campaign to identify differences between Scottish and rUK attitudes, is the manufactured myths it seems to create. This is pretty much always found with nationalism, as it depends entirely on believing in social, cultural and political differences.

    The British Social Attitudes survey data provides a welcome counter point, with findings that rather undermine the notion that people in Scotland and rUK have markedly different mindsets.

    So for example, we find that while Scotland has lower than average self reported incidents of racism, London is lower, and most regions are clustered quite close together, suggesting no real difference in Scotland. Perhaps if immigration was closer to the UK average in Scotland, we might see more reports of racism?

    After all, 40% of Scots think immigration undermines their culture, whereas it’s barely higher at 44% in England (off the scale at 68% in Wales, oddly) so Scots views on immigration don’t seem too different to the generally very well integrated England.

    Attitudes on Trident are again broadly similar. Fewer Scots are strongly in favour of nukes than in E&W (13% to 18%) and more are strongly opposed (28% to 20%) but the proportion somewhat in favour, somewhat against and neither one nor t’other are virtually identical. The overall result is not one of great divergence, especially when we find Scots marginally in favour of retaining Trident is they went independent (41/37).

    The BSAS reported similar findings on welfare, although I can’t find the figures for these. Scots were marginally less hostile to welfare than in E&W, but again, the differences were slight.

    The one area where the study finds a big gap, and again apologies as this was from a radio discussion and I can’t trace the detail, comes when you ask Scots and English how left wing/progressive they are.

    While on all the specific measures and areas discussed, the actual differences in views are slight, Scots actually think they are much more progressive than the English. This myth is significant, and seems deeply embedded within the Scottish collective consciousness.

    I suspect this lies at the heart of much of the failure to comprehend the whole debate, north and south, as one side is intent on asserting a sense of difference whereas the other sees a broadly similar population across the border, with shared experiences, shared values and near identical attitudes.

    Very often, the narcissism of small differences creates a difficult atmosphere, and I suspect that is what we have hear. Scottish nationalists mustn’t ever admit we are almost identical, as this cuts away much of their logic, so need to manufacture conflict elsewhere.


    Interesting Gombeen hypothesis:

    ‘Maybe that’s actually the most important question in Scottish Politics, and degrees of hypothetical Leftness and Independence/Union act merely as proxies :)’

    You may be right because little of the debate makes sense to me as a southerner. I really can’t see why the LiS has become as ‘bad’ as the Tories just because they were in BT… but having said that I was astonished (and disapproving) that Labour didn’t have a separate campaign. There were bound to be uncomfortable contradictions in collaborating with the coalition parties but it was a c*ck-up rather than a conspiracy, surely?

    When Scotlass reels off her hopes for the SNP, they just sound like ordinary Labour policies… EMA, Living wage etc. But then, I’ve never been able understand how an ex-banker/oil economist was likely to be leading a more left wing party than the Blairite LP.

    Finally, I also don’t really understand the Nationalism. I suppose that it is a useful tool (albeit a dangerous one) in throwing off the yoke of imperialism… but if I recall correctly, the 13 years of New Labour gov’t was completely dominated by Scottish politicians.

    I agree with Catmanjeff:

    ‘what really matters is the domestic agenda, and in reality the independence really runs second to the NHS, education etc.’

  49. So, to summarise.

    * Labour won’t win because their Scottish base is dead.
    * Conservative won’t win because Ukip will sap their vote in the south east, and labour will win in the north
    * Liberals are dead because obvious
    *:Ukip won’t win cos of FPTP

    I realise this post is just stating the obvious…:-(

  50. @ Chatterclass

    From my (distant) understanding, one of Labour’s problems in Scotland seems to have been a (fairly) moribund party – especially in the safe seats. Amber, am I right?

    2012 was a busy & constructive year; LiS took a lot more council seats than was expected, given the 2011 Holyrood result. And during 2013 LiS won almost all of the by-elections in Scotland. So everything was going pretty well for LiS until Better Together.

    The tactics for B2G were short-term & not enough work was done on the ground, until United With Labour got into gear. UWL pretty much took over B2G in the later part of the campaign when it was almost too late. But they got the job done.

    If anything, it was post B2G which caused the problems that LiS is facing now. Because the immediate aftermath strategy was that LiS would reach out to the people who voted Yes. So whilst Yes activists joined together to console each other, the LiS B2G teams got 5 minutes to be proud of their efforts; then they were expected to simmer down, go their separate ways and reach out to Yes voters.

    Most of the LiS activists could have told Johann Lamont’s team that the Yes voters didn’t want to be reached out to at that moment in time.

    What LiS should’ve been doing was hanging out with each other & cementing the bonds which had been made with all the previously non-political activists who’d joined LiS’s teams during the campaign. LiS should’ve been energising their teams by having some events etc,

    Instead, everything came to a complete standstill. There was “tumbleweed rolling through Bath Street” [LiS’s Glasgow HQ] when LiS should’ve been consolidating & building teams for the future.

    So, no, LiS was not moribund before or during much of the referendum campaign. But mistakes were made at key points during 2014. What seemed like small errors at the time, have (with hindsight) turned out to be whoppers!

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