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PostScots Favor Independence: Polls (Timothy Ashby, Spain, 10/20/19 4:05 am)
John E asked, "What is the latest from Scotland? Tim, what are you hearing from Edinburgh?"
According to the latest polls (including one published today in The Sunday Times), support for "indyref2"--another independence referendum--has grown, largely because of Brexit. Scottish opposition to Brexit has also increased. 62% of Scots voted Remain in the 2016 UK-wide referendum. The latest poll shows Scots are opposed to Brexit by a margin of exactly two to one: 67% to 33%.
During the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, the Unionist vote won by 55% to 45%, closely in line with polls, which in the UK as elsewhere (e.g. the Trump victory in 2016) are often inaccurate. Several new polls suggest that 50% of Scots--across all demographic and political groups--favoured Scotland seceding. Significantly, more people than not supposed Scotland would be wealthier in the EU and outside the UK.
Ominously for Unionists, those in favour of Scottish independence are not just supporters of the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP). According to the poll published today, nearly two-thirds (63%) of those who backed the Labour Party in 2017 say an independence referendum should be held either during or on the conclusion of the Brexit negotiations. There has also been a marked increase in the proportion of Labour voters who think Scotland will become independent within the next five to 10 years. Last April just 31% of Labour voters thought Scottish independence would happen within that timescale. Now the figure stands at 44%. Almost two-thirds (65%) think independence is inevitable and no more than 10 to 15 years away. My friends in the Conservative Party seem resigned to losing to the SNP at least 10 of their 13 seats in the UK parliament, increasing the SNP's seats from 35 seats to 51.
I agree that there is an increasing likelihood that Scotland will be independent within 10 years, and Northern Ireland will unite with the Republic of Ireland within that time-frame. Unlike the situation in Catalonia, I can't envision Westminster using force to stymie either of these events--which would be achieved via official and legally binding referenda--although I predict that Protestant Unionists will relaunch sectarian warfare in Northern Ireland.
In 1583, Sir Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth I's principal secretary of state, told King James VI of Scotland that "England could live well enough without Scotland," and--like many in the English government--privately considered Scotland "savage, ungovernable and the old beggardly enemy," the people of which were known for "their aversion and natural alienation ... from the English." Considering the contempt for the Scots that I have heard from some people in England, little seems to have changed in nearly five centuries.
JE comments: Notably, more Scots believe secession is "inevitable" than actually favor it. This information is an eye-opener, Tim. I just checked, and was surprised to learn that the border between England and Scotland is significantly shorter than the line between N Ireland and the Republic--96 vs 310 miles. The former has fewer twists and turns.
How exactly would Scotland be richer in the EU and outside the UK? As a financial center? Ever notice how secessionists never argue that their new nation will become poorer?
Might "UK" soon mean England and Wales only? Pat Mears has recently visited the Emerald Isle. I hope he'll report on the latest.
An Upcoming Trip to Ireland
(Patrick Mears, Germany
10/20/19 4:26 PM)
A very informative post from Timothy Ashby (20 October). Thank you, Tim.
Responding to John E's final comment, I will be in Northern Ireland and Dublin with my wife from October 30th to November 5th but not beforehand. Since "Brexit Day" could still be October 31st, this could be a watershed time for us to be on the island, especially in the North. The primary purpose of the trip is to allow Connie to interview a number of people who live and work along the Irish border concerning the impact of Brexit on their daily lives. She currently has some of these people lined up for interviews and is working on some others.
While in the North, we will visit the following cites and towns:
(i) Derry (or "Londonderry"), which is perhaps the initial flashpoint of The Troubles with the "Battle of the Bogside" in August, 1969.
(ii) Strabane in County Tyrone, which is the birthplace of the celebrated and extraordinarily creative Irish journalist, Brian O'Nolan, who unfortunately had "a sort of the tippling way." Strabane was also the location of many gun battles between the Irish Republican Army and the British army/Royal Ulster Constabulary during the Troubles.
(iii) Lifford in County Donegal (Republic of Ireland), which is just across the River Foyle from Strabane;
(iii) Omagh also in County Tyrone, which contains what I call a "mini-Greenfield Village"--the magnificent Ulster American Folk Park. Omagh is also where on August 15, 1998, just four months after the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement was signed, the "Real Irish Republican Army" exploded a bomb in the town center, killing 29 people.
Our last few days will be spent in Dublin, where Connie should have the opportunity to interview some others on the impact of Brexit in the "Borderlands." I plan to compose some posts and send them to you, John, while we are traveling.
JE comments: Bon voyage, Pat! How is it I've never visited Ireland other than a stopover in Shannon many, many moons ago? We do live on Donegal Drive, though, here on bonnie (and "Irishy") Loch Erin, County Lenawee, Michigan.
The Ulster American Folk Park tells the story of the waves of Irish emigrants to America. It even features a full-scale ship replica. Sounds like a splendid example of "Skansenry":