The once in a generation vote on Scottish Independence in 2014 sought to put the matter to bed with the Union “stronger together”. However, recent polls have tracked a resurgence in support for the SNP’s ultimate goal – and we have an inkling that Covid might have helped give things a boost. By Michael Delaney.
A new poll conducted by the Times in Scotland found that 54% of respondents would be in favour of an independent Scotland.
One of the pollsters commented that the union had “never looked so weak”. Figures also revealed equally strong support behind the Scottish National Party in general.
With polling like this, it’s difficult to see anything other than strong support for Nicola Sturgeon’s party. With Scottish elections coming up next year, there is a strong possibility that the SNP will have a strong mandate from the people to fulfil their ultimate aim.
Whitehall has led the central government’s response to the pandemic, most notably with the financial packages to businesses and individuals, including the furlough scheme. But it has been left to the devolved governments to decide upon and enforce their own lockdown restrictions.
As a result, Sturgeon has appeared every day on the TV news briefings to update the country about Covid and steer Scotland through the crisis.
When compared with Boris Johnson’s infrequent (and often blithering) appearances over the course of the crisis, it is no wonder that Sturgeon has enjoyed a 60 point rise in her approval rating, while Boris has seen a 39 point dip.
Most importantly, Scotland is perceived to have dealt with the crisis better than England on the whole, with clearer lockdown rules and a more gradual easing of regulations.
We can’t forget the B word either.
Following the Brexit referendum, the SNP were quick to point out that Scotland’s promotion of the vote had indicated their desire to remain part of Europe.
Yet their ties with the Union will see them dragged kicking and screaming from the EU, with or without a deal.
And despite the pandemic, the Brexiteers have forgone the possible option of an extension and are keen to plough ahead with a potential no-deal conclusion.
If the prospect of a second peak wasn’t enough for Scotland to want to distance itself from the UK, the economic cliff-edge approaching might…
So we’ve had Covid, Brexit. Lastly, and quite fittingly giving us the initials CBA, we have apathy.
The narrow win in 2014 was campaigned on the back of the message ‘Stronger Together’ – the all but subtle hint that if Scotland dared to leave, they’d be in trouble.
Out of the 3.6 million that voted, 55.30% voted ‘No’ – a slender majority by all accounts.
How would you vote in a second Scottish Independence Referendum?