2007 - 2021

Independence Rising

This Times/YouGov Scotland poll (right) is remarkable. The standout figure is the 49 per cent of Scots intending to vote for independence (the last survey for the Times, carried out June 2018, showed that Scotland was split 45/55%).

The poll comes as an instant rebuke for David Liddington.

The polling means that in the event of a second referendum we would be starting with nothing in it. With the propaganda and disinformation of 2014 broken and the case for the Union lying in disarray from the toxic Brexit process this is very positive news. The union is in deep peril at a time when its own political system is visibly failing.

There’s quite a lot to unpack from it.

  1. The Tories & Labour going nowhere (or backwards) despite much over-hyped cheerleading for Ruth Davidson and (early) optimism about Richard Leonard. Some are saying that Davidson could return and be protected by her absence. But she’d return to a new Tory landscape of far-right takeover, constitutional shambles and a party split and divided from top to bottom. An “it wasnae me” defence might work but would she have a party to stand for? The Leonard leadership has been a complete disaster.
  2. Support for independence is rising – but just as important is the 19 seat pro-independence majority projected for Scottish Parliament. Alliance-building and movement building remains essential in the months ahead.
  3. Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are neck and neck, in the worst possible way. 76% of people think May is doing badly, while 77% think Corbyn is.
  4. The polling for Holyrood is great news for the Scottish Greens. If translated into actual votes it would mean eleven green MSPs. You could be arguing “abut bloody time” and ask questions of Patrick Harvie’s effectiveness. But as climate consciousness becomes the defining issue of our world and enters the mainstream, we can expect the Greens to do better and better.
  5. Westminster doesn’t have any better news for the Conservatives and Labour. Scottish Westminster Voting Intention: SNP: 43% (+3) CON: 20% (-5) LAB: 17% (-4) LDM: 9% (+1). The Westminster vote is no longer a safe space for unionist parties.
  6. There’s a triple-level generation time bomb ticking underneath these figures. 76% of 16-24 year olds want Scotland to run itself. The generational gulf runs like a lifeline alongside similar surveys on austerity, Brexit and climate change.
  7. There are signs everywhere that the Conservatives are facing a near-death experience. The right are split and divided by money pouring into new parties and pacts with Change UK, the Brexit Party, UKIP all drawing votes away from the Conservative Party (north and south). Matthew Parris today writes: “It is highly likely that we shall have three prime ministers this year, and that by the end of it the Conservative Party as we’ve known it will have ceased to exist. It is also likely that by year’s-end we shall have either revoked our notification to leave the European Union or committed ourselves to a fresh referendum. None of these outcomes is certain but each is more likely than not.”
  8. The SNP are 26 points ahead of Labour in European voting intentions. Perhaps not surprising given the chaos of Labour policy presentation on Brexit.
  9. Scotland is poised to elect an MEP from Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party as voters abandon the Scottish Conservatives, according to a poll for The Times. Ruth Davidson’s party faces losing its only representative in the Strasbourg parliament, analysis of the research by YouGov found, as nearly 40 per cent of voters who backed the Scottish Tories two years ago switch to Mr Farage’s new group. If true this would represent a remarkable failure for Davidson.
  10. These polls need to be replicated to be taken seriously (don’t just accept the polls you agree with and discount the ones you don’t), but they come in the week when not one but two new professional campaign groups were launched: the SIC’s Voices for Scotland, and the SNP’s Yes Scot. The movement now has several assets it simply didn’t have in 2013/14. We have a media landscape that is more diverse than ever before. We have think-tanks and polling agencies that previously didn’t exist. We have a grassroots movement that has learnt (and is learning how to act effectively). There is a lot to be done and all of these groups need your support, but momentum is everything. We are on the brink of being able to force the hand on multiple fronts.

Despite political differences, or perhaps because we have a living breathing contentious movement alive with ideas, the indy movement is rising while the British political system descends into chaos.

Comments (14)

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  1. Alistair Taylor says:

    Absolutely spot on.
    Thank you.

  2. Me Bungo Pony says:

    As I appear to be a member of the “awkward squad” where Bella Caledonia is concerned, I must find something wrong with this article. Right …. ummm …. errr…. ah-ha …. it’s “neck AND neck” not “neck IN neck”! Phew! Reputation maintained. Other than that, and my belief Patrick Harvie has been an effective leader for the Greens, I agree with everything else.

  3. Elaine Fraser says:

    I absolutely do not agree that ‘ we can expect the Greens to do better and better’. Patrick Harvie is seriously mistaken if he thinks women voters are going to vote in droves for a party that does not allow women to debate an issue at conference and refuses to take their concerns seriously. He expects us to listen to the scientists when it comes to climate change but to ignore science when it comes to human biology. Tricky -I for one can’t wait to have that one explained to me on the doorstep. Also I certainly won’t be voting for a politician who retweets nasty slurs made about another MSP as he did last week. For me and many other women the Scottish Green Party ( and from what I understand The Greens in rUK) have seriously lost their way on a number of issues that have little to do with the environment. I know loads of women members who have left or are thinking about leaving.

    I don’t believe we need a Green Party to implement green policies . They are misguided and hugely overrated.

    1. Me Bungo Pony says:

      Sorry, I know nothing of this. At the risk of diverting the thread on to unrelated topics, can you expand on your issues?

      1. Elaine Fraser says:

        Me Bungo Pony

        Please look up forewoman.scot and Womans_Place UK websites for information.

      2. Anonymous says:

        I believe Elaine is referring to the following.

  4. prj says:

    If labour and Tory revert to tactical voting how would that affect the results?

  5. Monty says:

    Richard Leonard is quite the worse leader of a mainstream party since Iain Duncan Smith

  6. James Mills says:

    Very interesting statistics – but as you say , Mike , we need to see more of the same ( or better ! ).
    However , for the moment I will bask in the feelgood glow from this poll .
    Onwards and upwards !

  7. Willie says:

    Quite right Editor when you say that the 2014 propaganda and disinformation is broken.

    All the fear tactics about not being able to stay in Europe, strong and stable Union, and the vow of the most powerful devolved Parliament in the World have all been laid bare.

    Brexit chaos, Westminster chaos, a vicious continuing austerity agenda and with the unelected House of Lords now debating freezing old age pensions, removing the bus passes, removing winter heating allowances, removing free over 75 TV licences……..it’s clear what a great old Union we are in.

    Foreign wars, projecting Great Britain’s much taunted lethal force worldwide with a plane-less aircraft carrier whilst austerity continues and social protections disappear is what it’s all about.

    And then there’s NI and who cares if the Irish want to shoot each other. There’s around 3,600 dead folk who know about that one as Big Daddy Johnson promotes a Thatcherite hard line on the Irish question. A few dead Johnson’s or Gove’s might make the Conservatives reflect on that sentiment. Thankfully, the Irish may avoid that one though through the unexpected windfall of the Brexit chaos causing them to consider where their interests truly rely. But not because of the war mongerers like Stanley Johnstone, Gavin Williamson or Michael Gove.

    What not to like about our beloved union, Better Together, or time to now move to break the bad bond, and re-set our relationships. I know what I think, and I think the time is now. Independence can be won!

  8. David Allan says:

    Thanks for conveying the positivity generated by this Poll. Wouldn’t it be great to hear Nicola officially challenge May and Liddington on section 30 order remarks.

    Let the SNP nail the issue – Are you the Tory minority govt really going to deny Scotland a Second Referendum? Put Mundell under some pressure as well. He’s having a breeze at the moment.

    Time to show a bit of bottle and courage, stir it up a little. Or as happens at present are we just going to continue to absorb their contempt and disrespect. The perceived plodding passiveness of the SNP Leadership is becoming tiresome.

    The wider public who remain sceptical on Independence can be swayed if more publicity can be generated on this issue .

    1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

      Apart from The National, what mainstream media platforms can the SNP use to counter the mendacity being put out by these same platforms? BBC Scotland had no coverage of the recent SNP Conference, but we are getting a week of the re-emergence of Ms Davidson as she moves regally to the Scottish Conservative Conference at the weekend. I wonder if the BBc will cover it?

      1. Jo says:

        If BBC hysteria over her return on the evening news tonight is anything to go by, I think it’s safe to say they’ll be at the conference.

        Funny that Ruth only appeared again when Indyref2 was mentioned.

        1. David Allan says:


          I believe if a more positive challenging stance is adopted the media coverage will follow. For example FMQ provides a great opportunity and the FM needs to be more robust and her advisers more imaginative with opportunities to trash Rennie, Davidson/Jackson and Leonard , FMQ gets coverage and should be used more productively as a publicity opportunity.

          More temerity less timerity .

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