Monday, 26 March 2012

Straws in the wind

In the last couple of months I have noticed a small trend: a number of people he been approaching me, unprompted and  unasked, to question the drift toward "independence". Typically they say "This independence stuff. Surely it's not going to happen, is it? What do you think?".

To which I respond: not if I can help it, but what are you doing about it?

From a local clergymen to my hairdresser, these acquaintances express disbelief that we could ever be silly enough to break up the UK. They are generally not politically active but they have noticed the recent activity stemming from David Cameron's offer to facilitate the legality of the SNP's much delayed referendum. It has made them stop and think, and what they think is: it can't be happening. Are we mad?

One of them even told me he had voted SNP last year, but remarked that he had no intention of voting for "independence" in the referendum.

A number of them also bring up their dislike of Alex Salmond. There is quite an active dislike of Mr Salmond from many who oppose "independence" or who are not politically engaged. He may be popular among supporters of "independence" but for others he's a bumptious blob of pomposity.

Does this mean that SNP support is falling? Not if you look at the opinion polls.

But, if you look at it the way some people sense economic indicators before they show up in statistics, i.e. the town centre or shoping mall suddenly looks deserted, you can get a parking space or a queue-less checkout in your favourite supermarket, then it could be an early indicator of a changing situation.

Last year the SNP swept up public opinion in a surge of support at the Scottish Elections. They did it by keeping "independence" off the agenda.

Now "independence" is back, and it may just be turning the tide in the other direction.


  1. If you'd been asked in 1994 or 1995, when Labour raked in nearly 45% of the votes, you'd surely have said that less than 30% and second in seats was unthinkable. And yet we know that's what happened in 2007. If you'd been asked in 1999 or 2003 whether an SNP majority government was likely by 2012 you'd have laughed - and so would I - but that's what happened last year.

    This predicting the future stuff, it's not easy at all.

  2. which is a good reason not to tie "independence" to a single vote reflecting a snapshot of the voters' mood that could and probably would evaporate in a few weeks or months.

  3. Braveheart, now I have found your blog, I will be a regular visitor I suspect. I clicked through via Labour Hame. I agree with some of your points but suspect you lose some credibility by using words like 'the much delayed referendum'. This shows a willingness to play fast and loose with accuracy. the rreferendums as never been delayed, it is still scheduled for the date that was originally specified.

    1. I suppose it depends what you mean by "much delayed".

      Before the 2007 election the Nationalists said they would "legislate for a referendum within 100 days of coming to power".

      They came to power and clarified...not "a referendum within 100 days", they really meant "legislate within 100 days" to have a referendum at a later time.

      In 2009 they published a timetable to have a referendum in 2010, but they didn't have it.

      Now, when they have an absolute majority but, for some unexplained reason, it is delayed for a further three years.

      And BTW, the 2011 SNP Manifesto did not say the referendum would be in 2014 or "second half of Parliament". It merely said that, if elected,they would have a referendum.

      So. If they can arrange in a year in 2009/2010, it seems strange that it is now taking over 3 years....

      I think I could call that "much delayed" and not be wrong...