Friday, November 03, 2006

The majority of Scots favour breaking away from the rest of Britain and embracing an independent Scotland

Angus Macleod:

The ICM poll showed support for Scottish independence running at 51 per cent, the first time since 1998, the year before devolution, that support for separation has passed the 50 per cent mark. Only 39 per cent of Scots are for the status quo, and 10 per cent said that they did not know whether they wanted independence, according to the poll of 1,000 voters north of the Border.

The survey for The Scotsman newspaper, six months before Scottish Parliament elections, will make Scottish Labour nervous, especially since it confirms recent polls showing the Scottish Nationalists making gains from Labour. If the Nationalists win power, they say that they will hold a referendum on independence within four years.

Next May also marks the 300th anniversary of the Act of Union. A pair of Acts of Parliament, passed in 1706 and 1707 and taking effect on May 1, 1707, created Great Britain. The sovereign parliaments were dissolved, with a new Parliament of Great Britain set up and based in Westminster.

Scottish voters will have two votes — one for a first-past-the-post constituency MSP and a second for the party they favour on a proportional representation list system. On the first the poll shows a resurgent SNP enjoying 32 per cent support to Labour’s 30 per cent. On the second both parties are level on 28 per cent.

This would not give the SNP an outright majority, but it would open the door to a ruling coalition of SNP and Lib Dems (already in power with Labour), supported by a handful of Green MSPs. The question then would be whether the Lib Dems would agree to the independence referendum proposed by the SNP and the Greens.

Privately, senior Labour figures in Scotland say that Tony Blair’s apparent intention to remain as Prime Minister until after the Scottish election is hurting the party north of the Border. “A lot of people in the party just want the change-over to Brown to happen sooner rather than when it’s too late to have an impact up here,” a Labour MSP said.

Majority in Scotland wants independence, says poll

Poll: Majority in Scotland want independence from Britain


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