I have maintained ever since the independence referendum date was announced, that the EU election results would boost Yes support into the lead. I am very confident that will prove a good prediction.
Today’s Sunday Times opinion poll on European election voting intentions gives:
New Lab 28
A win for UKIP will not only remind Scots that England remains in thrall to very right wing politics tinged with racism. It will also make plain to Scots that the only way to be sure to stay in the EU is to be part of an independent Scotland. No professional career diplomat seriously believes the EU would expel Scotland, even though a tiny minority of European politicians occasionally like to threaten it would, for their own domestic purposes.
A massively greater risk is the crazed Little Englanders dragging the UK into leaving the EU. UKIP are rampant. The Tories are terrified of them, and have a risible position that after the next election they will renegotiate Britain’s membership, then have an in-out referendum. In fact there really is no chance that all the other member states will unanimously agree to Cameron’s demand for changes in treaties that were excruciatingly difficult to gain unanimity for in the first place. In several instances EU states would be unable to agree without a referendum, a can of worms nobody wants to open. Cameron’s renegotiated settlement can never happen, so the Tories’ European figleaf only has a couple more years to go before expiry date. Then the English will want to leave. A majority of English voters already do want to leave.
The difference between English and Scottish voters on the EU is not a myth. Lord Ashcroft regularly commissions polling data for the Conservative party on a much greater scale than anything the newspapers do. Newspaper samples are typically around 1,000. Ashcroft’s are around 20,000. His first quarter survey in 2014
All things considered, do you think that the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Union? (Sample 20,058) (excluding don’t knows etc)
Wales England Northern Ireland (WENI)
That is a huge difference, and shows one clear reason why Scotland needs to be an independent state with its own foreign policy.
I trace this strong popular support for the EU in Scotland back to the early 1980’s. Thatcherism was devastating the economy, there was negative public investment from Westminster, and the only available jobs were on EU regional development funded projects like the A9 upgrade and Dundee City airport. I remember the big blue EU hoardings at those sites, and it was like a breath of sanity amidst the English Conservative wreaked havoc.
Scottish EU support is also part of our open, internationalist outlook. We have no desire to rebuild barriers between ourselves and the vast European cultural social and economic space. We are not fearful or resentful of those foreigners. We want the EU itself to be more outward looking and porous too.
New Labour are not going to win the next UK general election. In the last six UK general elections, the governing party has gained an average of 6.5 percentage points in the twelve months preceding the general election. New Labour are at their polling zenith – which is not at all high – and about to decline. The Tory/Clegg disaster is coming back to the UK in 2015.
Though when New Labour are committed to cut benefits more than the Tories, and given their record on bank bailouts, NHS privatization, academy schools, PFI, university tuition fees and the numerous other disasters New Labour visited upon us – not to mention Iraq, Afghanistan and extraordinary rendition – I cannot understand the brainless tribal loyalty that makes anybody believe New Labour would be any better anyway.