Monday, July 4, 2011

ComRes poll : signs that many English voters do not "get it" about self-determination

Stuart Dickson has alerted me to the details of a new poll.  It's difficult not to raise a smile at the fact that in the wake of the SNP triumph, the first survey that the BBC decided to commission on the subject of Scottish independence was among English voters only.  Have they employed David Aaronovitch as their polling consultant?!  Here are some of the key findings -

A referendum is planned to be held in Scotland asking people if they support Scotland becoming an independent country. Do you think that Scotland should become a fully independent country, separate from the rest of the United Kingdom, or not?

(NB. Note the embarrassingly neutral inclusion of the word "separate" in the question - Alan Cochrane must be so proud.)

Yes - 36%
No - 48%

Nothing hugely of interest here, given that it's a decision voters in Scotland will take on their own. However, perhaps there are a few signs that the unionists' "Britishness is the new Englishness" propaganda campaign is starting to bear fruit south of the border. They ought to be careful what they wish for, though - at this rate they won't be able to taunt us with the line "Scottish independence is less popular in Scotland than in England" for much longer!

If Scotland was to become independent, do you think England would be better off or worse off, or would it make no difference?

Better off - 19%
No difference - 51%
Worse off - 21%

A surprisingly encouraging finding - if we can take it at face value, perhaps the myth of Scotland being "subsidised" by the fabled hard-pressed English taxpayer isn't as deeply embedded in the popular consciousness as we sometimes imagine.

Do you think a referendum should be held in the rest of the United Kingdom before Scotland is allowed to become an independent country, or not?

Yes - 45%
No - 47%

Commenting on this finding in the BBC report, Andrew Hawkins of ComRes is brazen enough to say this -

"That almost half of the English feel that they would like a say over Scotland's future suggests that the Union should be England's as well as Scotland's to determine."

No, it doesn't, Andrew, it suggests that almost half of English voters simply do not "get it" about self-determination.  I dare say the overwhelming majority of Argentinian voters think the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands should be a matter for them to determine, but that doesn't mean they have a point.

Newsnight will apparently be discussing the poll this evening.  I've no idea if Jeremy Paxman will be in harness for this one, but if so I dare say we all know what to expect...


  1. This from a Tory whose chain I'm yanking on Facebook:

    "I can't really be bothered with this "Scotland's future will be decided by Scots" rhetoric. It's just bunkum. I advocate democracy and I think it would be wholy [sic] undemocratic and perverse to deny the vast majority of the population of a sovereign state the opportunity to decide on what happens to their country."

    Earlier he was referring to the UK as a nation but changed it when I pointed out the England was a nation as was Scotland but that the UK was a state.

  2. I wonder if he can be bothered with this rhetoric of "the UK can leave the EU without asking Germany's permission"? Sounds like perverse undemocratic bunkum to me...