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Monday, September 11, 2006

What Scottish Voters Want

There'll be a welcome in the hillsides...
Scotland welcomes Blair and Brown
As if we hadn't had enough trouble from the leek-sniffers last week, now the bloody haggis-munchers have started up.

Last week's YouGov poll of Scottish voters didn't really tell us anything we didn't already know about their opinions on Labour leadership.

But it was far worse that we thought - broadly that more Scots now want their country to become independent than the number who want to stay within the United Kingdom.

Writing in "The Scotsman" this morning, Nicola Sturgeon MSP said: "These are dramatic and detailed findings which will increase the panic in Scottish Labour. They show Labour is suffering not just because of the Blair-Brown bloodletting but also because of their failures in Scotland."

A total of 44% of Scots now back independence, with 42% supporting the status quo and 15% per cent undecided. This is a massive change on the 30% or so who supported the idea of independence through the 1990s and an astonishing turnaround in the fortunes of Nationalists, who could only muster 23% support for independence six years ago.

The opinion poll, conducted for The Sunday Times, is a kick in the teeth for Tony Blair, who was born in Edinburgh, as well as for Gordon Brown who was brough up in Kirkaldy the son of a Church of Scotland minister. Scottish voters want Blair to go fairly quickly and would like Brown to disappear just as quickly. The poll also found that voters would like to see Alex Salmond, the SNP leader, as First Minister. He is seen as more honest, competent and likeable and less conceited than Jack McConnell, the Scottish Labour leader, who is regarded as out of touch.

These results should be studied carefully by everyone in the Labour Party. Brown's people can be reassured that they have no need to publicly resolve where Brown sits in terms of the slightly schizoid nature of his support base, balancing support from Progress and Compass. The poll will help Brown realise that there are a decreasing number of votes for New Labour in Scotland whichever end of the Party he spins from - my end or the left.

Key stats, with no cherry picking:

  • 44% back independence for Scotland.
  • the SNP are on 29% for the first-past-the-post vote and the same level of support for the second, proportional representation vote.
  • Labour support on the same basis is 30% and 27% respectively. On this showing, the Nationalists would win 38 of Holyrood's 129 seats, enough to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, Labour's current governing partners, and the Greens.
  • 64% of voters favour at least enhanced powers for the parliament while only 19% favour the status quo.
  • Despite the First Minister's high-profile crusade to tackle antisocial behaviour, 58% of Scots believe the problem has got worse since the last Holyrood election.
  • 39% of Scots think the NHS has got worse.
  • 22% of Scots believe standards in schools have deteriorated.
I get the feeling that Linda, Augustus and I will not be spending our Xmas holidays in Scotland. If they can't stand Blair and Brown, I dread to think what they'd make of us.

1 comment:

Jock McGregor said...

Come past Berwick and I'll be waiting for 'e.