Yet another poll has found support for independence in the lead, the 22nd in a row no less. However, it should also serve as a wake-up call for the independence movement because it’s not all good news.
Is Scotland on track to hold indeyref2?
Yes, undoubtedly. The carbon copy SNP majority mandate from 2011’s Scottish elections is hard to argue against and the SNP, who have made it clear that they intend to hold a referendum in the early years of the next Parliament, will have a manifesto pledge to do just that.
The new poll, by Ipsos MORI, puts support for the SNP at 52%, on track to win 72 of the 129 seats in Holyrood - an increase of 9 and a healthy majority of 15. The Scottish Greens will add another nine MSPs to the Yes majority.
Support for the SNP at 52% in the constituency vote is down 3% on the previous poll by the same company, and also leaves it static at 47% in the list. Independence leads in the most recent poll by 52% to 48%, a reduction of 4% for Yes and an increase of 4% for No – that is bad news and it’s not negative to point that out because that is the reality we are dealing with. Yes is still in the lead, it still has the better case … but momentum towards independence has stalled and new/soft Yes voters have moved away.
The poll shows 56% believe an SNP majority in May’s election should result in a second referendum but even that’s down eight points from the previous poll. Nicola Sturgeon’s satisfaction levels are still sky high compared to other leaders but her approval rating has slumped by 8% from 72% to 64% in just three months.
The unionist parties will be deliriously happy at the progress they have made when only a few months ago it was getting close to game-over for their chances of both stopping a Yes majority in Holyrood and defending their broken union.
So why is this drop happening?
Well, the poll found that 36% of the population – including 21% SNP voters – felt ‘’less favourably’’ towards the party as a result of the current hostilities between the former and current SNP First Ministers.
The way to counter this is with a strong and functioning non-party political Yes movement. Other than one or two organisations and one or two prominent Yes blogs the movement seems mired in negativity. Only Believe in Scotland is currently delivering any major initiatives, (such as our national billboard campaign or the Yes Challenge) or indeed campaigning at all. This is what happens when there is division in movement, it becomes ineffective.
The longer-term prospects for independence
It’s not just this single poll but a series of polls that are pointing to a fall in independence support and a lessening of the certainty of a Yes majority and a resultant referendum. This should worry all independence supporters. The infighting not just between the former leaders but over certain SNP policies and the setting up of pop up parties to try to game the list vote has meant the Yes movement has taken its eyes off the prize. It’s hard to hear for so many but in your blog or on social media your opinion on the Salmond/Sturgeon argument won’t change a thing all you can do is amplify the damage being done.
Let’s be 100% clear: if independence isn’t delivered in the next term of the Scottish Parliament it might never be. These distractions from achieving independence are coming close to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Business for Scotland doesn’t offer any opinion on the SNP or its policies or its internal strife. We are not connected to the SNP in any way and don’t have any ability to drive any outcome other than the one that will happen naturally – nor do any of the indy bloggers within the Yes movement who are at war with the SNP, and nor do you. We have banned all internal politics, conspiracy theories and policy fights from our Believe in Scotland Facebook groups and it is growing at more than 2,000 members a month as a result.
We have called in the past for a government of national unity after independence and we believe that any government of any colour running Scotland for the benefit of the people of Scotland would be better than any government of any colour running Scotland for the benefit of its donors in the City of London.
In a few weeks, the Holyrood inquiry will be over. It is unlikely to find that the FM broke the Ministerial Code but will be critical of her evidence. Although the unionist MSPs will probably go to the press to disagree with the inquiry’s verdict that is just run of the mill partisanship.
The obvious candidate for the chop is the head of the civil service Leslie Evans, who seems to be the only person against whom an accusation of wrongdoing can be proven, and she is likely to go in a bid to draw a line under the affair.
If that works and the SNP can agree to wash its dirty laundry in private – just as all the other parties are currently managing to do – then the positive case for independence will prevail. If not then history will judge harshly those on both sides of the divide who lost sight of the big picture just as independence was in reach. A plague on all their houses.
The Yes movement needs to raise its game and campaign, to either focus on the prize or get used to living in a half-nation vassal state in a broken, corrupt Britain.