Monday, December 13, 2010

Only a minority of Scots now support union according to new poll

Another piece I did for Newsnet Scotland:

by Alex Porter

A new opinion poll conducted by TNS shows that less than half of Scots now support Scotland remaining inside the union.

The poll, conducted over St Andrews Day and surveying a large sample of almost 1000 people, shows that only 44% of those questioned are against the Scottish Parliament "having the powers and responsibilities to enable independence".

Whilst those in favour of Scotland taking the path to independence was still slightly behind at 40% the poll showed that the gap had narrowed significantly as the recent trend towards independence continues.

The most worrying aspect of the poll for supporters of the union is that a full 16 percent of respondents "didn't know" and suggests that a clear majority of the population are now either in favour of independence or are prepared to consider the option.

The poll, conducted for the SNP, follows findings by the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey which shows that support for Scottish independence rises to almost half (45 per cent) if taxes were to go down by £500 – with 62 per cent also saying that the Scottish Parliament should take the most important decisions about welfare benefits, while 57 per cent say the same about taxes.

Together with this survey the TNS poll shows the unionist case that Scots view the constitution as irrelevant to the UK economic crisis is not convincing the electorate. Recent calls by business leaders and world-renowned economists such as Andrew Hughes-Hallet (Prof. of Economics: George Mason University, Washington DC) for economic independence are resonating with the Scottish electorate which faces austerity cuts at a time when the Scottish national accounts (GERS) show a surplus.

Mounting pressure on the unionist parties' stance came this week from the publication of Scotland's prestigious Council of Economic Advisors's (CEA) third annual report. It concludes that the Calman Commission, set up by a unionist party coalition of Labour, Tory and LibDems which forms the basis of Westminster's Scotland Bill "does not go nearly far enough" and that the Scottish parliament needs "full financial responsibility" with "control of the major tax levers" which represents Scotland's "best chance" to maximise its economic potential.

With the Holyrood campaign now a mere few months off, party strategist will vie over the key issue of economic competence. While Labour are still blamed for the parlous state of the UK's public finances, the SNP have successfully established their policy of economic independence for Scotland in the minds of the electorate.

With the Calman Commission proposals facing increasing forensic criticism, accused of being "dangerously flawed" and "unworkable" by economic experts and business leaders, Labour and their Calman coalition allies will be under pressure to explain why they want to deny the significantly increased powers to the Scottish parliament voters believe will improve the economic prospects of the nation.


The TNS poll findings also will fuel further calls for a referendum on independence to be held. In poll after poll a large majority of Scots have been shown to favour holding a referendum on independence whether they are for the proposal or against it. However a unionist party coalition of Labour, Tory and LibDems has manoeuvred to deny this democratic right to Scots. They have opposed attempts in the Scottish Parliament at bringing forward legislation to hold such a referendum - one of the SNP government's key manifesto pledges.

Adding insult to injury the UK government has decided to hold a referendum on the Alternative Vote (AV) system which, furthermore, is to be held on the day of the Scottish and Welsh parliamentary elections. The system is not proportional and the plebiscite will distract attention away from the election campaigns for Scots and Welsh voters to decide which parties they want to form their next respective governments.

This curious situation where a widely sought referendum on independence is denied to Scots whereas a referendum on the AV system, which few support, is held will raise questions over the democratic conduct and legitimacy of the UK government. Only a small minority of the Scottish electorate voted for the Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties who at the UK general election were ranked third and fourth place in Scotland behind Labour and the SNP.

Indeed, this democratic inconsistency has lead to the campaign by the Bella Caledonia outlet which calls on Scots to spoil their AV referendum ballot paper by writing the word 'Independence' across it. Scottish and indeed English citizens have never been consulted on whether they endorsed the suspension of their independent parliaments, leading some on both sides of the border to describe the union as a "forced marriage". The denial of a referendum on independence will only harden that perspective.


Mr. Mxyzptlk said...

another piece i did for newsnet Scotland

Worry whats to worry about Alex with all your spin can you explain.
why the snp have zero or as good as representation at westminster.
i mean with this Tsunami of voters heading towards Independence it would seem logical the SNP should be the major party at Westminster voted for by the scottish people...Er not!

44% of this 62% of that add another 1000 with a dash 16% stir it all up and bob yours uncle

You get an snp fantasy cake

soon very soon the people will decide in an election and the result aint gonna be in the snps

Bella Caledonia

Independence by Grafiti FFS how inspiring is that at least the Students know how to show they want something to change.

Or is perhaps the Scottish people do not want the change you would like them to?

May 2011 scotlands date with destiny........cant wait

Alex from know on call yerself!

Newsnet Alex

Key bored warrior. said...

Another ***** post Alex. Just a pity about the comments from the President of Still I don't suppose their are many trucks moving just now.

Scotland moved on in May 2007, to a much better place, next May will see us take another step on that journey to independence, it is now inevitable. People like you are at the forefront of the new generation of internet savyy Scots who find the truth, and do not accept the status quo as force fed to their forefathers for centuries. Thanks for all your efforts, this cybernat appreciates them, as do thousands of others across the globe, you have much to be proud of. More power to your keyboard. Keep it coming.

cynicalHighlander said...

What Niko can't understand is that the SNP aren't troughers looking to get on the gravy train wishing for some ermine to wrap around their necks like Labour.

Alex Porter said...

Mr. Mxyzptik,

Any chance of a logical analysis of my piece? Your rant sounds desperate - almost like you sense a threat..

Alex Porter said...

@ KB Warrior,

Thanks. No worries about my pet unionist (nationalist in denial like Michael Fry methinks) - everyone should have one. He's a good barometer and keeps me entertained ;)

Mr. Mxyzptlk said...


Bella Caledonia

Independence by Grafiti

Thats a good one though go on admit it?

Calgacus said...

Mr M

yes a good one

Quinie frae Angus said...

Keep up the excellent work, Alex. Your detractors may mock but the intelligent content, and highly motivating and confidence-boosting tone of your articles have inspired me to finally write something up for Newsnet. We must all do what we can as individuals in order to create the groundswell we have talked about.

I will submit it for consideration when it's ready but I may email you first for a bit of advice if you don't mind?

Alex Porter said...


Be my guest. I can put your article up. I'm looking forward to it. I always thought your comments were wasted when combining them could produce publishable material.

And I agree that our chains are only in our minds!

Mr. Mxyzptlk, yes - independence by graffitti and union by grift.

How do you like that one?

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