“Poll: Scotland on the brink of independence” Time to panic?

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For Scotland on Sunday to strike such a headline shows it’s time to panic says the Speccie.

“Mr Darling and his allies in Better Together have to wake up to the fact that they have managed to blow a 20-point lead in a few months and the gap between the two sides looks like it is now within the margin of error for polling companies.

Not only does the Yes camp have the momentum, it has the foot soldiers on the ground in numbers the No camp can only dream about.”

A landmark ICM survey for today’s Scotland on Sunday reveals a decline in the No vote from 46 per cent to 42 per cent over the past month. Over the same period, the Yes vote has remained steady at 39 per cent, resulting in a significant tightening of the gap between the two sides.

When the 19 per cent “don’t knows” are excluded from the equation, the No vote stands at 52 per cent, with 48 per cent in favour of Scotland going it alone. This is the highest level of Yes support to be recorded by an independently commissioned opinion poll.

Polling analyst John Curtice confirms the trend and gives it a gender twist

..the gender gap matters. If we ignore those who do not yet know how they will vote, then Yes Scotland appear within a hair’s breadth of persuading a majority of men to support independence – across recent opinion polls an average of 48% of men indicated they would vote Yes. But just 37% of women who have made up their minds say they plan to do the same. Women account for 52% of the Scottish population aged 16 and over, so it is clear from these figures that unless the Yes campaign can persuade women to change their views in substantial numbers, a majority yes vote is likely to remain out of reach.

However, and perhaps fortunately for Yes Scotland, what polling figures also show is that women are less likely to have made up their minds about how they will vote in September. On average across the most recent opinion polls around one in five women say they remain undecided, compared with around one in eight men.

Today the old lion king of Scottish politics joins the No campaign at last with a contribution about how the ageing population of Scots benefit greatly from sharing the cost burden of pension contributions with the English. Problem is , Gordon Brown’s is mainly another negative and it hardly makes the heart sing does it?

Scotland pays 8% of UK National Insurance but receives “upwards of 9%” of the benefits

the “extra benefit” Scotland receives in terms of pensions (the gap between contributions and returns) will rise from £425m to £700m per year over the next 20 years

the UK will “underwrite” Scotland’s estimated £100bn public sector pensions bill. He will say this is 10% of the UK total – while Scotland has just 8% of the UK population

it would cost about £1bn for Scotland to administer the first years of a separate pensions and benefits system once IT costs were included – which Mr Brown will say “makes no sense”

Mr Brown will say it is “fairer and better” for the UK’s “faster-rising” working-age population to cover the cost of the rising number of elderly people in Scotland.

So, do you follow all that?

Hugo Rifkind, the witty Times columnist and son of  wishful thinking Malcolm is the latest London based Scot to lament the rise and rise of nationalism (£) and the trend in the polls.

Scottish nationalism doesn’t make me angry. It only makes me sad. It will go on making me sad whether the “yes” vote turns out to be 40 per cent or 60 per cent. Because, as we all know really, an independent Scotland would be mostly fine. Poorer than now, perhaps, both culturally and economically, but no great disaster. But more damaging than its prospect, for all of us, is the fact that so many want it. Say the polls ossify roughly where they are now and independence loses by a 10 per cent margin. That’s still more than four out of every ten in Britain’s largest minority who wanted out. What sort of a victory is that?

Nationalism is a dangerous affair. It breaks things and they are things not easy to fix. What the referendum has broken already is a consensus that was utterly and vitally British. It was both a product of three centuries of union and its cause. It gave us the multiculturalism that has forged our post-Empire identity and is the faith on which the United Kingdom was built. It is the core idea that people who want different things can still get along.

In the end, obviously, I hope it fails. From a British perspective, it’s a terrible failure that it even began.

This  passive sentiment needs to turned into a positive appeal to Scottish hearts. Counting the beans doesn’t seem to be cutting it.

 

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  • megatron

    “In the end, obviously, I hope it fails. From a British perspective, it’s a terrible failure that it even began.”

    Exactly.

    I always thought once the referendum was granted independence was basically won – independence is just the freedom to make your own decisions and the Scots have won that right now and forever.

    It is hard to imagine a defeat for yes not resulting in another referendum inside 10 years…and another….and another.

    They just need to be lucky once.

  • Barnshee

    The tory party are quietly celebrating rid of ther labour voting jocks to stew in their own juice at their oum expense. 1 down -now N Ireland next

  • PaddyReilly

    The tory party are quietly celebrating rid of ther labour voting jocks to stew in their own juice at their oum expense.

    If they are it is very foolish of them, as the result will be a realignment of English politics to what it was at the beginning of the 20th Century: Conservatives on one side, Liberals backed by Labour on the other.

    Note how polls which have for years promised Unionist victory now start to turn the other way once the polling day nears.

  • grandimarkey

    Poorer than now, perhaps, both culturally and economically, but no great disaster.

    Ridiculous. Same old myths being trotted out. Too wee, too poor, too stupid.

    In the end, obviously, I hope it fails. From a British perspective, it’s a terrible failure that it even began.

    And who’s fault is that?

  • grandimarkey

    On pensions…

    Today’s Daily Express headlines are pretty telling…

    English Daily Express – “Pension Shock for Millions: New Warnings over a Massive Drop in Income”

    Scottish Daily Express – “Pensions Safer within the UK: Annual Bill would be Three Times Scots Oil Income, Says Brown”

    Those are the headlines for both regional papers on the same feckin’ day! They’re not even trying anymore.

    Of course Scotland should remain in the UK for the sake of their pensions, staying within the UK will mean Scots will have the lowest state pensions in Europe. Now who wouldn’t want that?

  • DC

    If Scotland were to actually vote for independence with a decent majority I would suggest that England should vote on leaving the EU if England were to leave the EU then next up it should strike out its signature on the European Convention on Human Rights :)

  • Neil

    Being a Unionist DC that would be typically wise. Obviously the best way to secure NI’s place in the Union would be to ensure that our immediate neighbours in every direction were in a seperate Union than us. Obviously it would be harder for businesses to make money but they wouldn’t mind, and that would have a knock on effect on unemployment but again the jobseekers would have plenty to do attempting to hold onto their benefits while the Tory government continues it’s drive to ensure the continued existence of food banks, so they wouldn’t mind either.

    Sheesh. Honestly if we were up against anyone other than Unionism I’d almost be worried.

  • Big Island Exile

    “If they are it is very foolish of them, as the result will be a realignment of English politics to what it was at the beginning of the 20th Century: Conservatives on one side, Liberals backed by Labour on the other.”

    The absence of Labour Scottish MPs wouldn’t have stopped the 3 Blair victories, but would have led to a Conservative victory in 2010. But you’re right that there would be a realignment of the parties within the rump UK after Scottish independence. Not only on the left, but also on the right. Independence would allow a lot of disgruntled Tory voters the opportunity to vote UKIP at a general election, safe in the knowledge that they wouldn’t be letting Labour back in.

  • Occasional Commentator

    “Poll: Scotland on the brink of independence” Time to panic?

    — Elizabeth Windsor *cackling* – ‘Send in the Irish conscriptions we’ll use them up first’.

    :D

  • Son of Strongbow

    ‘Send in the Irish conscripts’ surely?

    Oh and if a ‘Miss Windsor’ married a ‘Mr Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderberg-Glücksburg’, or perhaps a ‘Mr Mountbatten’, would she not be ‘Mrs Mountbatten’, or even a ‘Mrs Mountbatten-Windsor’ if she went the double-barrelled route?

  • Greenflag

    Perhaps if Scotland votes independent there will be an upsurge in national self confidence , an increase in the birth rate a reduced by percentage geriatric population and a major improvement in the country’s Rugby Union team (something must be done on that front ) and the Soccer team may even get to qualify for the World Cup .

    The above ‘wins’ have all been achieved by the Republic although it was no easy struggle and the then British Government were much more accommodating re the currency and pound issue than the present Tory /Liberal Westminster government is in relation to Scotland’s independence .

    Perhaps some of the Scots have cottoned on to the treatment the Irish Free State and later Republic got from Westminster as opposed to what the London Tories & Liberals are not offering Scotland in the event of a Yes vote .

    Shame on Gordon Brown . Appealing to the geriatric population when the world and his aunt know the future of a country will depend on it’s younger population .

  • Greenflag

    It was Saxe Coburg Gotha not Schleswig Holstein the latter being a breed of dairy cattle . The Gothas were a minor Hanoverian dynasty which got to Buckingham Palace by being 58th in line for the throne at a time when the line of succession ended without an heir . The usual effect of inbreeding over several centuries I imagine . The first 57 European contenders were excluded based on their failure to be of non Catholic persuasion .

    Plus ca change

  • Barnshee

    “If they are it is very foolish of them, as the result will be a realignment of English politics to what it was at the beginning of the 20th Century: Conservatives on one side, Liberals backed by Labour on the other.”

    The “liberals” are a busted flush
    Labour is reduced to irrelevance by the loss of Scotland -Tory rule– almost permanently– looms

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    If the Scots do vote for independence, what do people think the impact will be on N.I.? Would England and Wales decide to downsize?

  • Son of Strongbow

    Wrong (again) Greenflag.

    Saxe Coburg Gotha became the House of Windsor. I was making reference to the Duke of Edinburgh’s family – the Schleswig Holstein Sonderburg Glücksburg crowd, with the Battenburg connection.

    Do you know that Elizabeth of House Windsor married Philip of House Battenburg? I know it all sounds very Game of Thrones but it’s real and it happened some time ago (around the middle of the last century).

    You do know that Schleswig Holstein is a German state? In common with other German places it was chock-full of aristos (see Saxe Coburg Gotha’s home place in Bavaria as another example).

    The “breed of dairy cattle” is actually a Holstein Friesian named for being originally bred in the Netherlands and northern Germany.

    Life’s an education isn’t it?

  • Greenflag

    Life’s an education isn’t it?

    That depends on the life and it’s worth living but that will depend on the liver among other organs ;)

    I concede your expert knowledge on the nuances of Battenbergs /Holsteins or Gothas .

    Like the Irish Question there was and perhaps still is The Schleswig Holstein Question of which British statesman Lord Palmerston is reported to have said: “Only three people have ever really understood the Schleswig-Holstein business—the Prince Consort, who is dead—a German professor, who has gone mad—and I, who have forgotten all about it.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schleswig-Holstein_Question

    There was also a ‘retard ‘ Danish King Christian VII who also ruled Hamburg . His unfortunate wife was a younger sister of mad King George III of Great Britain and Ireland and is ‘married off ‘ to the insane Dane as part of some ‘strategic ‘ move . There ‘s a good movie on this arranged disaster called ‘The Royal Affair ‘ which alas is in Danish but has subtitles – released in 2012
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Royal_Affair.

    The main theme of the movie concerns itself with how the Enlightenment came to Denmark with the help of the German adviser to the mentally ill King Christian VII one Johann Friedricjh Struensee who together push through reforms in the teeth of opposition from Stormont / sorry the Danish Council . The Council plots it’s revenge and Streunsee’s affair with the unhappy Caroline results in him losing his head and Caroline being banished -dragged away from her children to some small castle in Germany to end out her days by dying suitably young etc . All the progressive reforms are abolished and the State of Denmark sinks into poverty , squalor and tyranny .

    Happily the successor King to the insane Christian -King Frederick VI restored all of the reforms previously abolished by the conservative/reactionary council and the Danes all lived happily ever after and even later voluntarily relinquished their imperial control over the Norwegians and Icelanders bringing peace and stability to that part of the world until it was rudely interrupted in the 1930′s by people probably related to mad King George III’s lot :(

    I did’nt think I would enjoy the movie -not my cup of tea but I heartily recommend it as long as the spoken Danish isn’t too much of an irritant and the subtitles don’t offend those of a purely Anglophone persuasion .

    Anyway what has this got to do with the Scottish Question ;)?

    To conclude

    ‘In common with other German places it was chock-full of aristos (see Saxe Coburg Gotha’s home place in Bavaria as another example).’

    Indeed . You may be unaware that the original robber barons were the underemployed impoverished German aristos who preyed on passing cargo ships on the Rhine for centuries to augment their finances .

    Thanks to Napoleon and later Bismarck these thugs and brigands were put an end to and modern Germany was enabled to have it’s trade and manufacturing based economy grow from the 1800′s on .

    heres the gen

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robber_baron

    That above link to the dark knights of the Rhine might be of interest to the current bunch at Stormont who are having difficulty in raising finance from the local economy .

    If you see DUP /SF/SDLP/UUP agents shaking you down at points of entry and exit from their new local government redoubts you’ll know where they found their inspiration ;)

  • Politico68

    I am a little sceptical of that most recent poll, I find it very hard to believe that the gap could have narrowed by so much in such a shot space of time. Could it be a rogue poll? We will find out son enough. However, there still is five months to go so even if the poll is accurate, could it also be a case that the Yes campaign may have peaked too soon? Don’t get me wrong here, I am an Irish Nationalist and despite the economic problems an Independent Scotland might bring to Ireland, I can’t help but hope the Yes side wins through on the day.

    I agree somewhat with the views of Rugo, even if the Yes campaign loses, if they get 40% plus of the Scottish vote it will be a shallow victory which could lead to further referenda in the future; a very destabilising prospect. Irish Unionist should pay heed here to the fact that the gap has narrowed so quickly (if it is accurate) it might tell them something about the possibilities of a future poll here.

  • Barnshee

    “Irish Unionist should pay heed here to the fact that the gap has narrowed so quickly (if it is accurate) it might tell them something about the possibilities of a future poll here.”

    Since the UI movement is based on the continued prospect of a component in society failing to keep zips up/knickers on t–he two are hardly comparable

    What about a” future poll” by which the prods voted for independence from a UI?

  • Greenflag

    Barnshee .

    ‘What about a” future poll” by which the prods voted for independence from a UI”

    Great idea .But where would such a referendum be held ?

    Carrickfergus or Newtownards or Bangor ? Would Catholics in those areas be permitted to vote or would it be just Prods allowed to vote ? Sounds a bit like pre apartheid South Africa voting .

    Would Prods in West Tyrone or Fermanagh get to have their vote counted so that they could be ‘exiled ‘ to the Republic ? Ditto for Armagh , Derry and South Down ?

    You may need to put on your thinking cap and take off the whatabout ‘Dunce ‘ cone .

    As to the zipper business I remind you of that old s*** house to the post closing time inebriates.

    ”No matter how much you wriggle and prance ‘
    The last three drops end up down your pants ‘

    I won’t commend you for peeing down your own pants rather I’ll commisserate , but your success in peeing on political unionism in revealing even more of it’s contradictions is a wonder to behold :)

    Good man -Keep it up – and I don’t mean the zipper ;)

  • Barnshee

    “No matter how much you wriggle and prance ‘
    The last three drops end up down your pants ‘”

    the local version is

    No matter how much you pull and squezze ‘
    The last three drops run down your knees ‘

    “Great idea .But where would such a referendum be held ?”

    Done by Postcode (you may not have those in the ROI) but the ultimate way to vote in a “democracy”

  • Politico68

    Barnshee, it would be impossible to create a new Protestant state in NE Ulster without the inclusion of around 30% Catholics. So, its a non-starter.

  • Greenflag

    Done by Postcode ,

    A province wide postal ballot ? Maybe an online vote where voters get encrypted ballot papers ? Of course this could be a problem for elderly voters who happen to be disproportionately unionist and just the right tool for they younger voters who are disproportionately nationalist/republican

    Still doesn’t resolve the ultimate question for the Unionists of Fermanagh,Derry , Tyrone , Armagh and South Down . Are they supposed to vote for repartition or against ? Would they not be tempted to vote alongside their more numerous Nationalist and Republican neighbours against repartition ?

    Are you suggesting that the unionist population of the above mentioned areas should be ‘exiled ‘ to the Republic just like their co religionists in Donegal , Cavan and Monaghan were ‘exiled to the Free State in 1920 ?

    Will they go for it .? Back to the drawing board Barnshee I’m afrid . You’re beginning to make Wily Coyote look like a rocket scientist but at least you try and that damn Acme Corporation are past masters at selling all kinds of crazy contraptions just to catch a road runner without building in safety features -shoddy stuff ;)

  • Greenflag

    @ grandimarkey ,

    That post of yours above @ 22 April 2014 at 12:51 pm re the Daily Express Scots version v English version reversed the flow of the cup of tea which was half way down my esophagus at the time of reading . I’ll have you know the local dry cleaner will increase his revenues as a result of your post .

    How to lie out of both sides of one’s mouth while stating one’s telling the truth is a statecraft skill which the Tories and LIberals perfected centuries ago .

    I was going to mention the Irish Home Rule contradictory promises to both sides in 1914 but it’s Scotland on the brink now not Ireland ;)?

  • Barnshee

    “Are you suggesting that the unionist population of the above mentioned areas should be ‘exiled ‘ to the Republic just like their co religionists in Donegal , Cavan and Monaghan were ‘exiled to the Free State in 1920 ”

    I am suggesting that each Postcode could indicate its preference contiguous Postcodes could “hang together” and adjustments by agreement settle the rest

  • Politico68

    Barnshee, genuine question here for you. I am studying the demographic breakdowns in the small ward areas of NI. in your postcode scenario where would u put an area that say was split 55/45 in favour of Unionists but where the under thirty age group was split 55/45 in favour of Nationalists? with a dying Unionist population but a growing Nationalist one?

  • Politico68

    How do i post a Map on here?

  • PaddyReilly

    You can’t. But if you can get the map as a twitpic or something, you can post a link to it.

  • Reader

    Politico68: Barnshee, genuine question here for you. I am studying the demographic breakdowns in the small ward areas of NI. in your postcode scenario where would u put an area that say was split 55/45 in favour of Unionists but where the under thirty age group was split 55/45 in favour of Nationalists? with a dying Unionist population but a growing Nationalist one?
    Are you suggesting that there should be extra votes for 18-30 year olds?
    Anyway, once you draw a new line on a map, people will cross it, both ways. Anyone who thought that the unionists would up-sticks to Scotland or England would have no problem expecting them to cross a new border across the 6 counties.
    So your hypothetical problem will probably solve itself.
    The alternative, which doesn’t depend on assumptions or predictions, is a rolling re-partition. So long as you accept it could roll either way.

  • Politico68

    Reader I have a map that will show you the significant problems associated with your ideas but i cant post it here cos i cant find the link but i could send u an image if u would like to provide an email address?

  • DC

    Put it on tinypic url – upload it there and it will give you a link.

  • Reader

    Politico68: Reader I have a map that will show you the significant problems associated with your ideas but i cant post it here cos i cant find the link but i could send u an image if u would like to provide an email address?
    I’ll monitor [email protected] for a couple of days, but it is usually, and otherwise, a spam trap. However, if the issues you want to raise only cover potential enclaves or sectarian headcounts you may as well just link to Bangordub’s page on repartition. That’s the most comprehensive treatment I have seen (albeit without immigrants and unicorns).

  • Politico68

    Reader, i have sent that map on to u there fella

  • Reader

    Politico98 – thanks, I received the map and it does indeed look remarkably like the sectarian headcount map on:
    http://bangordub.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/is-ulster-doomed/
    But if repartition ever does happen, it won’t be on the basis of a sectarian headcount (as even the article acknowledges, with numerous other maps)
    However, even supposing that the colouring-in goes as you suppose, I don’t regard enclaves as an issue in modern Europe. I have seen people talk about ‘corridors’ – that’s just crazy talk. There may be a little health tourism, and a little job tourism, and a bit of fuel smuggling, but there already is.
    My objection to re-partition has always been that the usual suspects will go nuts in tightly contested areas in the run-up to the poll.

  • Barnshee

    “Barnshee, it would be impossible to create a new Protestant state in NE Ulster without the inclusion of around 30% Catholics. So, its a non-starter.”

    It is impossible for Scotland to gain independence by voting say 60-40 for independence without the inclusion of 40% against -so its a a non starter?

  • George

    “It is impossible for Scotland to gain independence by voting say 60-40 for independence without the inclusion of 40% against -so its a a non starter?”

    Northern Ireland probably includes 40% who are against its existence but I assume you wouldn’t consider that as a reason for its non-continuance.

    In fact I’m sure you believe that in time this number can be reduced to more stable levels. Why can’t the same happen in a post-independence Scotland?

    independence is a non-starter even if it’s what the people of Scotland vote for in a democratic election? That’s an odd one.

  • Reader

    George: independence is a non-starter even if it’s what the people of Scotland vote for in a democratic election? That’s an odd one.
    The logic is borrowed from Politico68, and satirised. (note that Barnshee’s first paragraph is in quotes). So take the issue up with Politico68 instead.