Thursday, November 02, 2006

Scotsman poll puts unionists in a flap

Yesterday's Scotsman poll showing 51% support for Independence and the SNP ahead of Labour for next May's election, seems to have really put the cat amongst the Holyrood pigeons.

The Labour response, delivered by David Cairns MP in today's paper, is right up there with the (probably) apocryphal Pravda headline of 'Good news, Comrades! The bread ration has been reduced again!'. For rather than admitting that the poll demonstrates some progress for the SNP and Independence, Cairns invites us to believe that gap between those supporting Independence and those voting SNP means that the party is 'unattractive' to voters.

As Sir Humphrey would have said, as explanations go, that one's a consignment of geriatric shoe-makers - a load of old cobblers.

Whatever people's views of the SNP might be, Scotland is a multi-party democracy where Independence has considerable cross-party support, even amongst those parties which are officially opposed to the policy. For that reason, Labour might be better to reflect on why, if Independence is such a rotten idea, do 45% of their own voters say that they would like it to happen?

We're going to have all sorts of promises of constitutional beads and knives from the unionist parties in the run-up to next May's election to try and shore up their support. A wee change here, a little tweak there, commissions, conventions - anything to give the impression that Scottish concerns are being taken seriously, without actually having to do too much about them.

All of which goes to show that a referendum, where people are freed from party political loyalties, is the best way to decide Scotland's future. However, if recent Scottish political history tells us anything, it should be that a strong SNP presence is the only language which Westminster understands. In the 'noughties', just as in the sixties, seventies, eighties and nineties, if Scotland is to make progress, it will only happen off the back of SNP successes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Please, please vote for independence. You'll be free..
and so will we the English. With all the Scottish MP's back in Scotland and not at Westminster, passing laws that only apply in England. There will almost certainly never be a Labour Party in power again in England. You can have Blair, Brown, Reid and all your pals back. Goodbye and good riddance.....