A few months ago, a little-noticed poll by Wings over Scotland caught my attention. The headline result of the poll was that there was a 50-50 split in support for the question ‘Should Scotland be an independent country’. In fact, the results were:
Yes: 46% No: 46% Don’t Know 8%
While I’m sure many of you will take issue with the question wording, the fun starts when the following question is asked:
Please consider the following hypothetical scenario: the SNP issue a legally-binding commitment that in the event of a YES vote for Scottish independence, they will permanently disband the party and step down from government as soon as independence negotiations are concluded. In that event, how do you think you would vote in an independence referendum?
In other words, if ‘independence’ would guarantee the end of the SNP, how would you vote for independence. The result for voters of any party was:
Yes: 36% No: 40% Don’t Know 24%
Support for independence drops by 14 percentage points if the SNP would disband. Excluding Don’t Knows, No leads by 53% to 47%. And note that Don’t Knows have risen from 8% to 24%.
Now, let’s concentrate on SNP voters only. When they were asked ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ the results were high, as expected:
Yes: 82% No: 9% Don’t Know: 8%
But, when asked if their vote would guarantee the end of the SNP, their enthusiasm for independence wanes:
Yes: 59% No: 15% Don’t Know: 27%
As Wings confirms, ‘The number of SNP voters who’d be willing to sacrifice the party’s own power in the name of independence drops 23 percentage points, from 82% to just 59%.’
What does this mean?
As we all know, the SNP is primarily a massive anti-Tory protest vote. Hardcore Nationalists want to live in a fantasy country that has no Tories in it. A country where every child’s scary bedtime story is Maggie Thatcher the Milk Snatcher. Being ‘a Toarie’ is the very worst thing a Nationalist can imagine. They even labelled Labour voters as Red Tories as the ultimate insult (and to mask their own fake socialism, but more on that in a later article).
But, in an independent country, this cannot last.
An independent Scotland has a choice: a one-party state or a two-party system. Certainly, given the centralisation and anti-democratic instinct of Nationalist parties worldwide, and here in Scotland, the former is a possibility. And if you want to present that to the voters, feel free to give it a try.
But, let’s be generous and say that a two-party system would develop. With the independence issue resolved, political gravity will resume, protesters will return to their rightful homes, and balance will inevitably return to ‘normal’ party politics, with left-wing voters against right-wing voters.
And sometimes the right wing will win.
It’s a myth to think of Scotland as a left-wing country. Up to the 1960s, Scotland voted for Tory governments. Indeed, in the 2019 General Election, just under 700,000 Scots voted for the Conservatives (one in four voters), and anti-Nationalist parties took 54% of votes cast, a majority of voters in Scotland.
Social attitude studies consistently show that attitudes to immigration and a host of other political issues — the ones that people actually care about — other than independence, are little different between Scotland and the rest of the UK.
This means that, inevitably, the Tories or, more likely, a rebranded party of the right, would come to power in Scotland, and control all of the elements of power that the SNP currently have full control over through devolution:
A health service controlled by Tories. Social services run by Tories. Education run by Tories. The economy run by Tories. A police force run by Tories.
Well, they voted for it!
Nationalists like to say that they don’t care who is in power after independence. ‘We will be free to make our own mistakes’. But, what if that mistake means years of right-wing governments they abhor?
The Wings’ poll makes it clear: When confronted with the reality of losing power, support for independence dwindles. Nationalists would rather stay in power in the current system, than have the possibility of their opposition take power in an independent Scotland.
The irony is that Nationalists ARE currently getting the government they voted for. Scotland has had 13 YEARS of SNP government, an inept bunch of charlatans who deflect from their consistent failures and retain power simply by holding out a golden carrot of independence that blinds gullible voters.
As Wings says:
If that’s how prevalent that attitude is among the SNP’s voters, who have no direct vested interest in the party being in power, we invite readers to contemplate how common it’s likely to be among the party’s elected representatives and payroll, whose very livelihoods depend on it.
One thing that is true of all politicians: they seek to retain their power. So, why would any politician want to risk their comfortable salaries and power now, for a referendum and independence that gives up both? Why would Nicola Sturgeon give up power now, for a dream?
The short answer is: she won’t. She’ll keep on dangling that shiny golden carrot.
Wings and other Separatists are already waking up to the reality that their dreams are being used. It’s only a matter of time before the masses join them.
Mark Devlin is the publisher of The Majority
Questions for Nationalists
- Why are you voting for independence when it will inevitably lead to a Tory government?
- If you don’t think it will lead to a Tory or right-wing government, why are you advocating a one-party state?
- What is it about your Nationalism that makes you think Tories have no place in Scotland?
- If you seriously want a Tory-free Scotland, what do you intend to do with the hundreds of thousands of people who voted Tory in recent elections?
- Why do you think anyone, including Sturgeon, would risk giving up power for your dreams?
- Would you still vote for independence if the SNP broke up and stepped down from government?
- You keep saying you don’t get the government you want, but haven’t the SNP been in power in Scotland for 13 Years?
- How does the wording ‘Should Scotland separate from the UK?’ make you feel?
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