Thursday, November 3, 2022

A second poll suggests Sunak might be getting the Tories back into the fringes of contention

Until now, the only sliver of a suggestion that Rishi Sunak might have gained some meaningful traction since becoming leader came from a single poll conducted by Opinium, which stuck out like a sore thumb as an outlier, because it was flatly contradicted by several other polls from multiple firms.  But now Redfield & Wilton Strategies have published a poll with very similar numbers to Opinium, and indeed it's the first poll from any firm for over a month to have the Tories as high as 30%.

GB-wide voting intentions for the next general election (Redfield & Wilton Strategies, 2nd-3rd November 2022):

Labour 47% (-3) 
Conservatives 30% (+3) 
Liberal Democrats 12% (+3) 
Reform UK 4% (+1) 
SNP 3% (-1)
Greens 3% (-2) 

Scottish subsample: Labour 40%, SNP 30%, Conservatives 15%, Liberal Democrats 11%

I've included the Scottish subsample for information, but don't be overly alarmed by it - the sample is a tiny 77 respondents and is almost certainly not correctly weighted.  That said, it's unusual to see Labour ahead in any Scottish subsample, and this is therefore another timely warning of the dangers of playing silly buggers by even thinking of splitting the pro-independence vote in first-past-the-post Westminster elections.

This is actually the third Redfield & Wilton poll since Liz Truss departed, so the percentage changes listed above underestimate the scale of the swing back to the Tories, who have gained a full eleven percentage points since 19th October.  But what will alarm Labour far more is Keir Starmer's personal ratings.  Although his net satisfaction rating as an individual is slightly higher than Sunak's, he actually trails Sunak by 43%-37% on the head-to-head measure of who would make the best Prime Minister.  That question has in the past often proved a better predictor of election results than headline voting intentions.

There was a piece on Stormfront Lite the other day pointing out that the betting markets still give the Tories a remarkably decent percentage chance of winning the general election, at a time when the conventional wisdom is that a Labour government is near-inevitable.  When the betting markets are more favourable for the Tories than the conventional wisdom, I would normally say conventional wisdom is more likely to be right, because there have been plenty of past examples of distorted odds on the markets due to wishful thinking on behalf of punters who are disproportionately Tory.  But on this occasion, with Sunak leading Starmer as the favoured PM, and with Labour 'only' seventeen points ahead, and with up to two years still to go, I'm not sure anyone would be justified in saying with confidence that a Labour victory is certain or even close to certain.  Likely, yes, but that's a lesser word.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2022

A reply to Craig Murray: why the Alba Party must stay true to its exhilarating founding principles, and not mutate into something totally different

So just a quick recap for anyone coming to this discussion late.  Last night, Craig Murray published a blogpost arguing that if the next Westminster election is not a genuine plebiscite election (I'll have more to say later about how he's choosing to define "not a genuine plebiscite election"), the Alba Party should stand candidates against the SNP in every single Scottish constituency - even though he freely concedes that this would split the pro-independence vote in a first-past-the-post election and probably lead to unionist parties needlessly gaining seats from the SNP.  A few hours later, I wrote a blogpost of my own explaining why I thought Craig's proposal was crazy, and today Craig has written a reply to my reply.  This is my reply to his reply to my reply - and hopefully you'll indulge me for posting about the subject again, because Craig has asked me a number of specific questions which I think should receive an answer.

First of all, let me reciprocate the respect Craig extended to me in the opening remarks of his reply.  Craig is someone who gave up a glittering diplomatic career and ultimately even served several months in prison because he repeatedly refused to compromise on his principles.  That's something that must command tremendous admiration, and it's unlikely that most of us could honestly say we'd be similarly brave in the same circumstances.  He's also a lifelong proponent of independence for our country, and a fearless defender of human rights in all parts of the world.

Turning to the substance of his reply, I'm going to start with the seemingly bewildered observation he makes at the very end, because it's so wide of the mark that it made me laugh slightly - 

"I am genuinely perplexed as to why James left the SNP at all if he wished to campaign for them. I certainly will not myself remain in the Alba party if it sees itself as not a real alternative for Independence, but simply a bolt-on to the SNP for the Holyrood list vote elections."

I'm not sure Craig has thought this through, because presumably he and I both joined the Alba Party at roughly the same time, ie. shortly after its public launch in the spring of 2021.  In doing so, we were both joining a party that had in its mission statement from day one a commitment to campaign for SNP first-past-the-post candidates.  It fully honoured that commitment in the 2021 Holyrood election - the leaflets, the party election broadcast, the public statements from the party leadership were all crystal-clear that people should vote SNP in the first-past-the-post ballot.  Alba's intention was not to destroy the SNP or even to harm them, but instead to augment the pro-indy representation they were able to deliver on the constituency ballot, and to make it more pluricentric. 

So the real question is for Craig: if he doesn't want to be part of a party that behaves in that way, why did he join one?  Why didn't he instead join a party committed to campaigning against SNP first-past-the-post candidates, or at the very least a party that was neutral on whether people should vote SNP in the first-past-the-post ballot?  "Simply a bolt-on to the SNP for the Holyrood list vote elections" is a needlessly pejorative way of putting it, but yes, Alba launched as a strictly list-only party for Holyrood, following the example set by other parties that intended to stand only on the list, such as Action for Independence and Independence for Scotland.  That was absolutely fundamental to my rationale for joining, as it was for a great many others - I would have had no interest whatever in joining a different sort of party that was trying to burn the whole house down by splitting the pro-indy vote in the first-past-the-post ballot.

The only way Craig's comment might make some kind of sense would be if he's hinting that the list-only nature of Alba (designed to produce a pro-independence "supermajority", if you recall) was simply a ruse to get the party off the ground during the first few weeks, and that the true purpose of the party was always to try to harm the SNP, even if that meant a reduction in pro-independence representation at Westminster and Holyrood.  If that is what Craig is getting at, I simply cannot and do not accept that it's true.  The Alba leadership are people of tremendous integrity and I do not believe for a moment that they would have coaxed people into defecting from the SNP on a false prospectus.  They inspired us with a vision of a list-only party that would build on the SNP's electoral success rather than attempting to tear it down, and I'm sure that's exactly what they intended to deliver.  

Let's ensure that Alba stays true to those exhilarating founding principles, because make no mistake: what Craig and others are proposing is that the party should mutate into something radically different.  It's not only card-carrying Alba members like me who will feel they've been left stranded if that happens - a number of people who enthusiastically voted Alba on the list in 2021 have left comments on Scot Goes Pop over the last couple of weeks saying that they wouldn't vote for the party now, due to the alarming recent chatter (especially at the party conference last month) about potential vote-splitting interventions in first-past-the-post Westminster elections.  Given that Alba only received less than 2% of the list vote last year, it may be hard to imagine the party actually losing support, but if we follow Craig any further down the road he's suggesting, we could be in for a nasty shock.

Craig asks how, other than by standing against the SNP in first-past-the-post elections, Alba will ever "get a platform to point out the SNP are not a real Independence party".  I don't accept that is the current aim, but even if you think it should be, the answer to the question is pretty straightforward - you simply do what Alba was founded to do.  You stand and make your case in elections that are conducted by voting systems that don't punish a split pro-indy vote.  You sit out the elections where it would be extremely damaging to intervene.  Both the Holyrood list ballot and local government elections are conducted by proportional representation, and that's plenty enough for Alba to be getting on with.

I think it's actually extremely helpful and honest of Craig to set out the downsides of standing against the SNP in Westminster elections - he accepts that we'd be resigning ourselves to a very long process before we'd have any realistic chance of achieving the goal of independence, and that along the way we'd probably be gifting SNP-held seats to unionist parties such as Labour.  That usefully confronts people with the grim realities of vote-splitting under first-past-the-post.  I've had the impression that until now quite a lot of people have thought it's some sort of free lunch.

Craig asks me: "for how many decades is he prepared to assert that we should vote for SNP MPs, who will never make any move for Independence?"  Again, I think the real question here is for Craig: by prematurely giving up on any hope that the SNP leadership can be pressurised or shamed into genuine action, how many decades in the wilderness is he prepared to risk consigning the independence cause to?  Three?  Four?  Five?  More?  Because if we cross the Rubicon and decide the SNP should be destroyed, there's no going back.  We can't have buyer's remorse five years down the line just because we start wondering if maybe, just maybe, the massive advantage of having an SNP majority in the Scottish contingent at Westminster was something we didn't explore the full potential of.  Once it's gone, once we've helped to destroy it, it's gone for good.

Craig takes particular exception to my assessment that Alba would almost certainly be "humiliated" if it stood in a UK general election.  He points out that he has personally stood in two parliamentary by-elections, receiving 5% and 2.7% of the vote respectively, and didn't feel remotely humiliated, because he'd had the chance to air his views in a free democratic process.  I think this is an argument over semantics, because the point I was making was that the vote Alba can expect to receive would be extremely low - and in fact I think it would be much lower than 2.7%.  Whether that's "humiliating" or not is in the eye of the beholder, but that doesn't change the substance of the point - if you receive a derisory vote, then a) you're not achieving your objectives, and b) you're suffering a monumental psychological setback that in the worst case scenario might finish the party off.

I'm going to have to take issue with the way Craig characterises the basic difference between his views and mine.  He suggests that we only disagree about what should happen if the next Westminster election is not a genuine plebiscite election, and that we are fully in agreement that Alba should not stand against the SNP if a real plebiscite election occurs.  But the problem is that Craig's notion of what constitutes a real plebiscite election is much narrower than mine.  He seems to think the only thing that would qualify is an election in which the SNP promise in advance to declare UDI if they win a majority of seats.  Indeed, if I'm reading him correctly, he seems to suggest that anyone who doesn't support such a declaration shouldn't be considered a true independence supporter.  By that definition, even I would be excluded from the ranks of "real Yessers" because I think UDI would be wildly premature in those circumstances.  

What makes a genuine plebiscite election different from previous elections is that if you win a majority of the popular vote, you declare that you have a mandate for independence.  Not a mandate for a referendum but a mandate for independence itself.  You then demand that the UK government negotiate an independence settlement.  You certainly don't demand that they negotiate the terms of a referendum, because a referendum would no longer be required.  If they flatly refuse to negotiate or to acknowledge your mandate over a prolonged period, you might eventually start thinking about UDI as a potential tactic, but that would be a last resort, not the first recourse.

Craig chides me for setting up what he calls a straw man by implying that he thinks Alba could win seats or overtake the SNP at the next general election.  But in fact it wasn't a straw man, because the words I used were not "at the next general election" but "any time soon".  Craig makes clear that he thinks, based on the Irish precedent, that Alba could overtake the SNP within around twelve years - well, to me, that is very much covered by "any time soon".  I said to Yvonne Ridley earlier today that I thought a plausible timescale would be more like twenty or thirty years, and even after that length of time it would be a long shot.

Think about the mountain Alba would have to climb to overtake the SNP, even in the very long term.  The biggest issue is the success of the SNP and the mainstream media (especially the BBC) in thoroughly toxifying the Alba brand last year by cynically connecting it to memories of Alex Salmond's trial, and to an acquittal which they seemed to regard as a meaningless technicality.  That's not such a problem for as long as Alba's aim is to win a wedge of seats under proportional representation, because a significant minority of the public remain sympathetic to Mr Salmond.  But it becomes a huge problem as soon as you set yourself the far, far more ambitious target of becoming the majority party.  You'd need huge numbers of voters who at the moment hold Alba and its leader in complete disdain.  

OK, at the end of Craig's twelve year period, Alex Salmond might no longer be leader (he'd be 79 years old by then), but we shouldn't regard that as a magical solution, because a change of leader - inevitable though it is in the long run - may cause more problems than it solves.  If there's one thing more dangerous for a small party than getting negative publicity, it's being totally ignored by the media, and that could well happen as soon as Mr Salmond departs the scene.

An alternative scenario is that the SNP's supremacy could yet be seriously challenged by a much stronger "post-Alba force".  Perhaps there'll be a second wave of defectors from the SNP, but instead of going straight to Alba, they might set up a wholly new party to avoid any baggage.  Perhaps there would then be a merger with Alba to create a big tent party under a fresh name.  But that's all very speculative, because it may be that Alba's failure to achieve the instant success many expected will prove to be a deterrent in future, and that as a result disgruntled SNP parliamentarians may instead seek to achieve change from within.

Finally, on a point of semi-pedantry (I say 'semi' because it does make a touch of difference to the substance of the debate), Craig has given a false impression about the recent Panelbase poll.  It did not, in fact, suggest that Alba would take 4% of the Westminster vote - that was the Holyrood list vote.  Alba were actually shown to be on 2% of the Westminster vote, and even that has to be seen in the context that Panelbase have tended to produce better numbers for Alba than any other polling firm.

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Craig Murray is wrong - if Alba stands against the SNP "in every constituency" in the UK general election, it would make independence less likely and could finish off Alba as a party

Craig Murray has posted tonight to make two points, albeit one more volubly than the other.  Firstly, he very admirably says that the Alba Party (of which both Craig and I are members) must not split the pro-independence vote at a genuine plebiscite election by standing against the SNP.  But secondly, he says that if the next UK general election is not a genuine plebiscite election, Alba should challenge the SNP in every single constituency, in order to bring Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP downWith all due respect to Craig, that would be absolutely nuts, for about seven billion different reasons - 

* It assumes we have the luxury of throwing away pro-indy seats to the unionist parties because we can somehow easily get them back when we've finished tearing ourselves apart as a movement.  That's highly questionable. Westminster elections are away fixtures for pro-indy parties and we've been defying gravity by winning a majority of seats in the last three general elections.  If Labour get their former heartland seats back, due in part to a split pro-indy vote, the likelihood is they'll keep them indefinitely.  That alone could make the difference between winning independence and not winning it.

* It would send a message to the independence movement, which believe me would be heard loud and clear, that Alba's "supermajority" messaging in the 2021 Holyrood election was nothing more than a confidence trick.  That 2021 campaign would be seen in retrospect as all about Alba's self-interest rather than about boosting pro-indy representation - because if you actually care about the latter, you obviously don't launch a destructive campaign in a first-past-the-post election only two or three years later that you know can only have the effect (as Craig freely admits) of reducing pro-indy representation at Westminster.  That blatant contradiction would be remembered all too well when the 2026 Holyrood election comes around, and would make it infinitely harder for Alba to win list seats - any remaining goodwill from SNP voters would by then be long gone.  The SNP would be able to point to the specific Westminster seats where Alba helped a unionist candidate to win, and would quite understandably never let us forget it.  (Put it this way: Ralph Nader's vote share plummeted between 2000 and 2004 for one very simple reason.)

* Alba would almost certainly be humiliated at a UK general election.  It's hard enough to get a look-in at a Holyrood election, but at Westminster it would be impossible.  The vote share could end up being so derisory that many activists might subsequently lose all heart and throw in the towel.  That could literally spell the end for the Alba Party.  Much more sensible to choose your battles, and it's under proportional representation systems (ie. local council elections and the Holyrood list) that Alba actually has a chance of prospering and gaining some psychological momentum.

* For the above reason, an Alba intervention at the general election would not actually succeed in bringing Nicola Sturgeon down.  She might even be strengthened.  The mood music suggests she might resign voluntarily within a few years, but the process would not be hurried along in any way.

* Even if a small party thinks it can reasonably harbour hopes of avoiding humiliation at a general election, it certainly wouldn't go about attempting the trick by standing in dozens of constituencies and thus spreading its limited resources too thinly.  It would do the total opposite and concentrate its fire in the most promising seats (which in Alba's case would mean the two where it has the incumbent MPs).

* Craig uses the example of Sinn Féin supplanting the Irish Parliamentary Party in 1918 to suggest that Alba replacing the SNP as the majority Scottish party at Westminster is perfectly possible.  Frankly, I don't know whether to laugh or cry.  We are just so many light-years from the circumstances that made that freakish event possible - where would I even start?  We haven't just had a world war, or military conscription against the popular will, or an armed insurrection at home, or executions of pro-independence leaders by the British state, or a mass expansion of the electoral franchise.  In addition, the Alba party leader is far less popular with the public than the current SNP leader - wholly unjustly, as it happens, but we have to live with that reality all the same.  It's not an insurmountable hurdle in a proportional representation election, but it absolutely is an insurmountable hurdle in a first-past-the-post election.  No, Alba will not be replacing the SNP as the largest party any time soon.  We will not even be getting close to doing that.  The reality is that Alba are still battling just for survival into the medium-term, and that battle will not be won with self-destructive pipe-dreams.

In a perverse way, Craig has done us a favour by going public on this, because I know only too well that some people have for months (or longer) been privately gagging to embark on a suicide mission to destroy the SNP at the next general election, no matter what the cost to independence or to the movement or to Alba itself.  It's about time we had an open debate about that, rather than sleepwalking into catastrophe.  Some Alba people will justify the idea of splitting the vote in a first-past-the-post election by saying they themselves would vote Tory rather than SNP if there was no Alba candidate.  To some extent that's because of the erosion of women's sex-based rights under the SNP, and although I can sympathise with the reasons for their strength of feeling, it certainly isn't suggestive of independence as the number one priority - which it absolutely must be, both in word and deed, if we're ever to gain any traction with a significant proportion of Yes supporters.

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Monday, October 31, 2022

Just one poll since Sunak became PM has shown him truly slashing the Labour lead

The good news for Rishi Sunak is that there's been one poll since he became Prime Minister showing the Tories making significant headway on Labour.  It was an Opinium poll and it was published on Saturday evening.

GB-wide voting intentions for next general election (Opinium, 26th-28th October 2022):

Labour 44% (-6)
Conservatives 28% (+5)
Liberal Democrats 10% (+1)
Greens 5% (-1)
SNP 4% (+1)

Scottish subsample: SNP 44%, Labour 25%, Conservatives 17%, Liberal Democrats 6%, Greens 4%

The bad news for Rishi Sunak is that it sticks out like a sore thumb as an outlier.  Every other poll since he became leader - including two with more recent fieldwork than Opinium's - have Labour in a range between 49% and 55%.  Opinium also have a higher Tory vote than any other pollster, although on that score the gulf isn't so huge - both Survation and Redfield & Wilton are reporting a Tory share of 27%.  But on the other hand, PeoplePolling (admittedly a wholly untested firm) have the Tories as low as 20%.

One thing that intrigues me is the respectable vote share Reform UK (formerly the Brexit Party) are getting in most polls these days.  Opinium don't seem to offer them as an option, but they've been as high as 6% or 7% with other firms over the last week.  I thought they'd made a terrible strategic mistake by adopting a bland and non-specific name in place of their former successful branding - OK, having "Brexit" in the name might have ended up seeming anachronistic but that's the case for many established party names.  (How long has it been since the Labour party truly represented organised labour?)  However, somehow or other it seems that many poll respondents are still very familiar with Reform UK.  Would they really get 6% or 7% in a general election, though?  Ah hae ma doots.  And if they didn't, where would those votes go?  I think we know, and that might offer some very limited grounds for Sunak to feel optimistic.

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Sunday, October 30, 2022

The Scottish Social Attitudes Survey also suggests the prospect of full EU membership could be key to building a pro-independence majority

So just a postscript to my piece earlier today about the YouGov poll suggesting that the prospect of full EU membership for an independent Scotland could be the key to building a Yes majority.  It's worth pointing out that the EU factor could similarly be the explanation (or part of the explanation) for why the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey published a few weeks ago was mysteriously more favourable for independence than most conventional polling has been.

Generally the results of the Social Attitudes Survey are presented as if respondents were asked to choose between three options - independence, devolution, or no Scottish Parliament at all.  However, this is a simplification to make the results more digestible.  In fact, there are five options - two of which specifically mention the EU. That in itself makes it radically different from conventional polling, which simply asks "Should Scotland be an independent country?" and leaves respondents to make their own inferences about the implications for EU membership.

The five options are as follows...

Independent, separate from the UK and EU

Independent, separate from the UK but in EU

Part of the UK, with elected Parliament with some taxation powers

Part of the UK, with elected Parliament with no taxation powers

Part of the UK without its own elected Parliament

This is obviously a pretty antiquated format, but the reason it's used is to maintain consistency with the question that has been asked since the late 1990s.  The assumption that seemed to be made back then was that separatism was an exclusively Jock lark and that departure from the EU could be seen as the extreme end of a Jock separatism scale.  It never seemed to occur to the devisers of the survey that the UK itself might leave the EU and that people might then seek Scottish independence specifically because they wish to be less 'separatist', in other words to rejoin the EU.  (Maybe the reason the word "Scexit" hasn't really stuck is that "Scre-entry" would obviously be far more apt.)

Brexit has thus subverted the meaning of most of the survey's options.  In 1999 it would have been taken as implicit in the "part of the UK" options that this also meant "part of the EU", but in fact now there is just one option out of five that offers membership of the EU.  Looked at in that way, it's little wonder that backing for "independent, separate from the UK but in EU" has shot into the stratosphere in recent years, way out of proportion to any increase for the Yes vote in standard polls. 62% of the Scottish public voted Remain, after all.

In the most recent Social Attitudes Survey, 45% of the entire sample selected "independent, out of UK but in EU" - a massive increase from 26% in the last survey prior to the 2016 Brexit referendum.  This strongly suggests that explicitly tying independence to EU membership increases support radically, and that this factor is the main driver of the startlingly high overall 52% pro-independence figure in the latest survey.

The snag, of course, is that a small but significant percentage chose the "independent, separate from the UK and EU" option, and without those people there would be no pro-independence majority.  Does that mean it's impossible to square the circle?  That we can't get a majority by emphasising EU membership because we'd lose the "Brexiteer Yessers" along the way?  That's where the new YouGov polling is so encouraging.  It suggests that more than four-fifths of Yes-supporting Leave voters would stick with Yes even if it meant rejoining the EU.  

This, perhaps, shouldn't be a major surprise.  The Farage mob have long claimed that what the SNP are offering isn't "real" independence because it would entail "Brussels rule". But even the minority of independence supporters who view the issue through that prism are likely to realise that you certainly can't have "real" independence without bringing an end to London rule, and that may well be their first priority.

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YouGov polling suggests the prospect of full EU membership for Scotland is our passport to a pro-independence majority: 56% would vote Yes

Just over a week ago, YouGov released results from polling that showed how the Scottish public would vote in an independence referendum in a variety of hypothetical scenarios.  The specifics of these results should be taken with a huge dose of salt, because hypothetical polling is notoriously unreliable.  For example, we had polls a few years ago suggesting that Brexit, or a Hard Brexit, or Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, would all propel Yes into a strong lead.  But when all of those events came to pass one by one, there was actually no sudden or dramatic change in independence polling.  People often think they'll feel totally different in a hypothetical scenario, but ultimately the change is quickly 'normalised' - however unwelcome it is - and thus there isn't always the anticipated knock-on change in their attitudes to other matters.

That said, although we should be suspicious about the extent of the changes indicated by the hypothetical polling, it can give a useful pointer about the likely direction of travel.  Of most interest to us is that Yes is shown as having a substantial majority if "independence offered a route to re-joining the EU".  In that scenario, the results are: Yes 49%, No 39%.  There are no figures with Don't Knows excluded, but a rough recalculation suggest they would be: Yes 56%, No 44%.  The point here is that even if the potential swing is being overstated, it would only take the tiniest of swings to put Yes into a slight lead.  So as long as YouGov are right about the general direction of travel, it does look as if the enticement of EU membership could be enough to produce a pro-independence majority.  

I know some people in the independence movement think we need to be really cautious about being too strong on a return to the EU, because we might throw away the crucial minority of voters who support both independence and Brexit.  But this polling suggests that could be an unwarranted concern.  If independence would lead to EU membership, the percentage of Leave voters from 2016 who would vote Yes only drops from 33% to 27%, whereas the Yes support among Remain voters (who are much stronger in numbers, remember) jumps from 46% to 57%.  It may be that tying ourselves up in knots trying to hold on to the Brexiteer Yes vote is actually quite foolish, because in doing so we're not fully capitalising on the huge potential for Remain voters to be won over to the independence cause.

The flipside of this is a separate finding that suggests support for independence would sharply drop if border checks were imposed between Scotland and England.  This is essentially a contradiction in the polling, because it may well be that you can't have EU membership without border checks of some type, notwithstanding the existence of the Common Travel Area across these islands.  So how do the SNP leadership square the circle?  It's not easy, but they could perhaps emphasise the trade-off between very minimal border checks at the English border and much smoother travel to the continent after a return to the EU.  Or they could stress that there would be no border checks immediately after independence (unless the London government insists on imposing them, in which case that wouldn't be Scotland's responsibility), and that any change following a return to the EU is purely speculative and a good few years off.

Similarly, there's a finding that suggests independence support would fall if "Scotland was unable to continue using the pound".  I think this is one of those occasions where you just have to be strong enough to go against poll findings, because we know from the 2014 experience that the practical steps required to cater to the public's emotional attachment to "the pound" create far more problems than they solve - and unfortunately the SNP leadership are currently repeating that mistake with their sterlingisation plans.  I'd suggest instead making it clear that an independent Scottish currency would continue to be called "the pound" and would build on the concept of a "Scottish pound" that voters are already familiar with in the form of banknotes.

There's an absolutely atrociously-worded question asking how people would vote on independence if "Scotland was no longer represented in the G7, NATO and the global trade division at the UN".  The whole point about the G7 is that it's an exclusive club of the largest industrialised nations - meaning that an independent Scotland, just like the vast majority of European countries, would not even be eligible to join.  By contrast, it would be perfectly realistic for Scotland to join most other international organisations, including NATO.  So tacking on a specific reference to the G7 to a question about international representation seems to be a cynical attempt to artificially produce a poll result that can be used to give the false impression that Scotland would vote against independence unless something utterly impossible occurs with the securing of G7 membership.

Bad show, YouGov.  Very bad show.   

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