After Holyrood votes to reject the triggering of Article 50, a new poll shows support for Scottish independence at 49 per cent
SUPPORT for Scottish independence has risen as the prospect of a hard exit from the European Union has become apparent.
BMG survey featured in the Herald showed support for independence had risen to 49 per cent with 51 per cent of Scots still opposed.
The poll results come after UK Prime Minster Theresa May made clear her intentions to have a clean break with the European Union even if it means leaving the European single market, and despite Scotland’s vote to remain.
“This poll, up three points since the last BMG poll, highlights the impact of Westminster’s refusal to seriously consider Scotland’s vote to stay in the EU.” Ross Greer MSP
In response to the new poll data, SNP business convener Derek Mackay MSP said: “The Tories now think they can do whatever they want to Scotland and get away with it – but this poll suggests their arrogance and complacent is badly misplaced. As Scotland is driven ever closer towards a hard Brexit cliff edge by a right-wing Tory government acting against our interests, this poll shows a virtual dead heat on the question of independence.”
A survey conducted last month showed support for independence at approximately the same level as at the time of independence referendum in 2014, with 45.5 per cent in favour of independence and 54.5 per cent against it.
However, the 49 per cent Yes and 51 per cent No figures exclude “don’t know” votes in the new poll.
Ross Greer MSP, the Scottish Greens’ external affairs spokesperson said the poll numbers were “remarkable” given that a campaign hadn’t even begun yet and that there had been “no official Yes campaign since 2014”.
He said: “Considering there’s been no official Yes campaign since 2014 and a relatively sustained campaign against, it’s remarkable that support for independence has held steady. However, this poll, up three points since the last BMG poll, highlights the impact of Westminster’s refusal to seriously consider Scotland’s vote to stay in the EU or any compromise proposals which has been presented to them.
“Time is quickly running out for unionist politicians to get behind an option which prevents Scotland from being dragged along with the angry, isolated Britain planned by Theresa May.”
56 per cent said they did not want a referendum before the UK left the EU and 44 per cent did want another referendum at this moment.
Yesterday (7 February) Holyrood voted overwhelmingly to reject May’s plan to exit the EU in a non-binding vote.
Pro-EU politicians including the Scottish Greens and Scottish Government said it was important to express the difference in opinion in Scotland compared with the Westminster vote. The Scottish Conservatives, who were the only party in the Scottish Parliament to not reject the UK Government’s brexit bill, refused to comment on the poll when contacted.
However, even with the BMG research showing a narrowing between the two sides in the independence question, the polling also found that most Scots oppose the holding of another referendum before the UK Government concludes Brexit.
Support for independence has risen to 49 per cent with 51 per cent of Scots still opposed
Fifty six per cent said they did not want a referendum before the UK left the EU and 44 per cent did not want another referendum at this moment. This was also a figure compiled with the “don’t know” voters removed.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government have attempted to be seen as the compromising force in the talks between the UK Government and the devolved administrations. It’s ‘Scotland in Europe’ document gained acclaim from European lawmakers such as Guy Verhofstadt, the EU parliament’s chief negotiator and the author of Article 50 (the instrument for countries to leave the EU) Lord Kerr.
The Scottish Government has argued that it is the only UK governing institution to have produced a detailed plan on how to address Brexit. Sturgeon herself has ruled out holding a referendum this year, but has maintained that another independence vote remains “on the table”.
“The Tories now think they can do whatever they want to Scotland and get away with it – but this poll suggests their arrogance and complacent is badly misplaced.” Derek Mackay MSP
Writer, activist and social commentator Pat Kane who helped organise and took part in the recent Scottish Independence Convention last year believes that the UK Government’s harsh handling of the devolved assemblies has created a renewed dynamic for a new campaign.
He said: “We know Scotland is evenly divided on the merits of Indy – a small fluctuation in favour isn’t overly significant. But those of us with long memories over a few decades recall how much Indy support surges when Westminster Tories are at their most implacable and dismissive.
“It really shouldn’t be rocket science for them – make even a half-hearted attempt to respect Scottish governance & consensus opinion, and that usually buys you a few years. But bumptious blowhards like Michael Fallon telling Scots to “forget it” about indyref2, while ignoring the majority Remain opinion in Scotland, is an action with an easily predictable reaction.”
Picture courtesy of Julien Carnot
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