My ears pricked up a couple of nights ago when I heard there was a new YouGov poll of GB-wide voting intentions out, because YouGov appear to structure and weight their Scottish subsamples correctly, and I thought it might be the first proper straw in the wind (leaving aside the Find Out Now poll) about how the fallout from the Supreme Court's ruling is affecting Scottish voting intentions. Frustratingly, though, it turned out that the fieldwork was conducted on 22nd and 23rd of November, which almost certainly means the bulk of responses were taken before anyone knew about the legal bombshell that the UK is not a voluntary union. However, the results are still of some interest -
Scottish subsample (YouGov, 22nd-23rd November 2022): SNP 42%, Labour 32%, Conservatives 16%, Greens 4%, Reform UK 4%, Liberal Democrats 2%
Obviously a 10-point gap between SNP and Labour is a lot narrower than we'd feel comfortable with. However, it can be regarded as not too bad in the context of an ongoing mammoth Britain-wide lead for Labour - a party that of course tended to do better in Scotland than elsewhere in Britain until very, very recently. It leaves open the possibility that the SNP lead might grow again if Labour start to slip back down south. And with a combined SNP / Green vote of 46%, a pro-indy majority in the popular vote at a plebiscite election remains within touching distance - although nobody should be under any illusions about what a tall order that will be in the 'away fixture' of a Westminster vote. (To repeat the obvious yet again, the SNP really should be looking at an early Holyrood election instead.)
I gather Kezia Dugdale has a column in The Times arguing that Keir Starmer is a "major threat to a reanimated Yes campaign", which has "a Labour problem". Well, a supplementary question from the YouGov poll points to the case for the defence, because it identifies one very obvious reason for suspecting Keir Starmer has both a "Yes problem" and a "Europe problem". Respondents were asked if they would support a Swiss-style deal between the UK and the EU, restoring freedom of movement, removing trade barriers, and reinstating many EU rules and regulations. A remarkable 54% of respondents across Britain were in favour, with only 24% opposed. Predictably the gap is even bigger among the Scottish subsample, with 56% in favour and only 18% opposed.
Keir Starmer has in recent days made clear that he opposes freedom of movement and therefore a Swiss-style deal will be ruled out under any Labour government. That means the SNP are much, much closer to the centre of gravity among Scottish public opinion on Europe than Labour are, which could be a secret weapon for them in marginal SNP-Labour seats at a general election used as a de facto independence referendum. Remember that Starmer has the excuse in England that he's just upholding the 2016 referendum result - he has no such alibi in Scotland, where voters opted to remain in the EU by the huge margin of 62% to 38%.
I gather the Governor of Our Precious Prison will be addressing us for our national day tomorrow. No chance of us being let out of solitary for a few hours - we simply can't be trusted not to make a run for it. But doubtless he'll have a few words of comfort for us.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) November 29, 2022
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