In a Scottish three way split the middle option is the likely winner….

In The Scotsman today, John Curtice notes that relying on anti English sentiment is providing Alex Salmond and the SNP with very limited agency in getting the ball the across the win line. In fact in some polls, Independence is scoring less than it did five years ago…

Above all, the First Minister and his colleagues reckon Westminster’s intervention has neatly served to remind Scots that, even under devolution, it remains the case that a UK government for which few of them voted can meddle in matters that are by rights ones that Scotland should be allowed to settle for itself.

“The more a Tory government tries to interfere in Scottish democracy, then I suspect the greater the support for independence will become,” Nicola Sturgeon told the Today programme when the row first broke out. A couple of days later, Mr Salmond himself said of David Cameron’s intervention: “I think it’s going to increase support for independence and the SNP”.

In practice, it has now become clear there has been no such public reaction at all. The outbreak of the referendum row was soon followed by four key polls of public opinion north of the Border, two by YouGov, one by ICM, and one by a relatively new polling company, Survation. They clearly show that the row has failed to deliver any immediate significant boost in support for leaving the UK at all.

Indeed, he argues that the Scottish people are split pretty evenly three ways, and that in that case it is the middle option which most likely to win the day:

In any event, the only reason why a Yes/No vote on devo-max appears potentially capable of securing majority support is that most of those who would really like independence are willing to back it in preference to a continuation of the status quo. According to YouGov, no less than three-quarters of those who would vote Yes to independence would also vote Yes to devo-max.

Devo-max looks like a potential winner not because it is clearly the most popular option, but rather because it is one around which those with very different views about the future of the Union might be willing to coalesce.


  • Thats the great thing about Modern Perfidity………… can be downloaded quickly.
    Did I mention the Australian Monarchy issue?.
    The one where a simple enough Yes/No becomes a complex issue.

    Somebody in the FCO is blowing the dust off those files and earning himself a knighthood…… we speak.

  • Mick Fealty

    You’re getting mischeivious again Mr F!

  • I think Im getting Right again. LOL

  • Reader

    The SNP, staring defeat in the face over the independence referendum in their manifesto, would like someone else to propose a compromise position to save their blushes.
    The obvious solution is for the other Scottish parties to put various enhanced devolution proposals in their 2015 manifestos. Drinks all round.

  • cynic2

    There is a wee problemette with enhanced devolution – it may become a political issue in England where the trade off may be a reduction in the subsidy. The English will not stand for them subsidising the Scots to outcompete them for jobs and inward investment

    So perhaps the SNP support for DEVOMAX is a rather clever part of the SNPs strategy to annoy the English into cutting Barnett thereby enraging the dependent Scots into revolt. Scottish perfidy!

  • Neil

    Or,,, additional options on the ballot can be dropped like a hot stone, especially given callme Dave’s interventions – it could be claimed as a sop to Westminster. If the numbers play right of course. I’m confident the wiley Salmond will have a team of number crunchers on hand for the next couple of years.

  • JPJ2

    Reader “The obvious solution is for the other Scottish parties to put various enhanced devolution proposals in their 2015 manifestos. Drinks all round.”

    I take it you are not from Scotland:-)

    Many Scots lived through the 1979 devolution referendum in which Sir Alec Douglas-Home promised Scotland a better deal on devolution if only they would vote no. Those who did not live through it will be told about it!

    Instead Margaret Thatcher refused any form of devolution to Scotland.

    Additionally, if any “Scottish” party.does support Devolution Max, how on earth will it get it through a UK parliament without a favourable result in a referendum (or even with a favourable result, which is another issue).

    So the unionists will be against the best mechanism for achieving their supposed ends.

    Salmond will make sure that the Scottish people get what they vote Be that devo max or independence) for and the unionist parties will end up opposing the will of Scots destroying themselves for a generation (assuming thay have not already done so..

  • Reader

    JPJ2: So the unionists will be against the best mechanism for achieving their supposed ends.
    Not if you assume that their main aim is to keep devo max off the 2014 ballot. And, since the 3 Scottish Unionist parties are embedded in potential UK coalition parties, they can each draft a devolution proposal in their manifesto with guaranteed central support. Lets call them ‘devo min’, ‘devo steady’ and ‘devo left’. The SNP can put whatever they wish into their next manifesto, since they failed to hedge their bets in the last one.
    The most likely outcome is that Scotland stays in the Union in 2014, and gets more devolution a couple of years later. Just in time for the next boom.

  • JPJ2

    Reader-If the unionists main aim is to keep devo max off the ballot paper they may well succeed.

    If they do, the electorate are unlikely to like it, meaning that the unionists are risking much more than they think in their rampant compacency-if such a thing can exist 🙂