Published On: Mon, Mar 16th, 2015 at 12:09am

The inevitability of independence according to the University of Edinburgh

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New research from the University of Edinburgh suggests that most people in the UK now believe Scotland will become an independent country and eventually leave the UK.

The findings are taken from a survey of more than 7,000 voters across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland which asked people about a range of constitutional issues.

The majority of people across the four nations believe that Scotland will eventually leave the UK – 69 per cent in Scotland; 59 per cent in England; 54 per cent in Wales; and 59 per cent in Northern Ireland.

200px-John_SwinneyDeputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“The Scottish Government continues to believe independence is the best option for Scotland, and the survey finds most Scots think this is where the constitutional journey will take us.

“We also believe strongly that Scotland being taken out of the EU in a referendum in circumstances, where a majority of Scots had voted to stay in, would be massively damaging economically and have major constitutional implications.

“The referendum on independence was a wonderful experience of democratic engagement, bringing people into politics who in some cases had not been involved in decades, if at all.

“I therefore welcome the findings that political engagement in Scotland is higher than in the rest of the UK, particularly among young people and that there remains a strong appetite for debate over the constitution. Scots are significantly more likely to say that they will vote in the 2015 Westminster election.”

Last September the result of the Scottish Independence Referendum was a 55% vote for the status quo. There was a record turnout of 84% of the electorate.  The leaders of the main political parties in the No campaign had promised further devolution powers in ‘The Vow’ which was published a few days ahead of the referendum vote and the Prime Minister promised this again in the speech which he made the morning after the votes were cast. (You can see this in full below)

On 19 September 2014 David Cameron said: “Political leaders on all sides of the debate now bear a heavy responsibility to come together and work constructively to advance the interests of people in Scotland, as well as those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, for each and every citizen of our United Kingdom.

“To those in Scotland sceptical of the constitutional promises made, let me say this we have delivered on devolution under this government, and we will do so again in the next Parliament.”

The Smith Commission followed and was charged with recommending extra powers to be devolved to Scotland. The draft legislation put forward in January this year included these recommendations:

  •   The Parliament will be given the power to set income tax rates and bands on earned incomeand will retain all of the income tax raised in Scotland. A share of VAT will be assigned to the

    Parliament and Air Passenger Duty will be fully devolved.

  •   The Parliament will be made permanent in UK legislation and given powers over how it iselected and run including the power to allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote.
  •   The Parliament will be given powers to create new benefits in devolved areas and makediscretionary payments in any area of welfare. Also a range of other benefits that support older people, carers, disabled people and those who are ill will be fully devolved.

The draft legislation will be included in a bill to be debated by the UK government when it reconvenes after the General Election.

This is the speech which David Cameron made on the morning after the referendum vote:


About the Author

- Founding Editor of The Edinburgh Reporter. Edinburgh-born multimedia journalist, and always available for freelance work. A keen iPhoneographer!

Displaying 6 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Bill McLean says:

    Do you really believe they will keep their promises? Haven’t we learned enough about Britnat unionism already throughout the referendum campaign to know that they operate on dishonesty at every level?

  2. Caroline says:

    The phirric victory obtained by threats, lies and insult was doomed to reinforce the acceptance among the Scots that Independence is the only way to preserve ourselves and future generations from ill masked jockophobia. It’s appalling that at all levels it’s now common jargon abusing the Scots with no consequences.

  3. It is a “nice” thought, acknowledging the possibility of potentially successfull media discusions on the practicality of Scottish Home Rule; it is a concept that would likely have been denied publication during all the 60 years I’ve been in exile from Scotland.

    People didn’t want to know about nationalist activists, I was told; I refused to believe it. But after I left Scotland and found refuge in America I quickly learned about how such opinions are spread using news management and the threat of censorship (I then wrote the 1977 memoir RUNNING A MESSAGE PARLOR). But the truth also proved unpopular in the US and I landed up in New Zealand (where I have remained). I became a journalist there and started to nurture the hope that I could document my devotion to Scottish freedom and attempt to influence Scots everywhere to accept independence as a legitimate objective. I wrote about what had happened to me in 1952 and 1953, when the National Secretary of the Scottish National Party, Robert Curran, became a friend and involved me and others in various projects including the raiding of the Johnstone Army Cadets’ armoury. The guns we got from the heist were to be destroyed, since we believed they might be used against Scottish demonstrators. However, although we got the guns, the law was on our tail; Robert escaped to New York, and I to California.

    But just before we escaped one member of our group was arrested and jailed. That was when I first learned of the media’s involvement in suppressing news they didn’t consider “nice.” The only public notice of these events avoided any reference to our political motives. There was a brief item in the Herald about our captured colleague, Bill Brown being convicted of burglary!

    Robert (who had not physically participated in the raid) was able to sneak back to Scotland after a couple of years and quietly take a lesser post with the SNP, but I was advised I might be arrested if I returned. Of course I flattered myself that one day I might go home and have my initiatives acknowledged. However, I found that neither the media (excepting an Indian movie maker) nor the SNP wanted to know! So I wrote another memoir, RETIRED TERRORIST, and sought a publisher. But – despite my successfull publishing history) no one wanted to publish a story about a Scottish activist’s activities: nationalists must avoid being seen as “not nice!” When I arranged for the private publication of my memoir in America in 2011, no Scottish reviewer could be found; the book still suffers from severe lack publicity.

    And so I find it “nice” to discover that a large number of Britishers now consider it reasonable to anticipate a future in which Scots may confdently anticipate a political future apart from the union. And it is also good to be able to anticipate that our “nice” political media may eventually think that activists might make “good press.” I don’t anticipate immediate fame and fortune, but who nows, some day I may be considered part of Scottish history!

  4. Caroline says:

    @Gordon McShean
    I think you’re missing the point that the BritNats and press are ferociously against SNP and pro independence Scots. Where you’re writing now is one of the handful independent new reporters.
    We use Social Media, Blogs, 2 friendly Scottish papers and grassroots against the Establishment hostility.

  5. according to @Bill – yes, i believe they will keep promises because i dont know why you think they don’t care? Just give them a chance!

  6. Caroline says:

    @Taxi From Edinburgh Airport
    They’ve had their chance to keep their promise. What we’ve had delivered to date and on going is offense so vile if revolged to others would be pursued penaly.
    Democracy is fine for others and so independence. Apparently not for Scot and not for me born in Kenya, Italian now Scottish.
    My Great Grandfather lived under British colonialism, was in a concentration camp, dragged to fight both World Wars for the colonilists. He died without recognition, medal nor gratitude and hated what Britain had put him through until his dying day.
    Today Britain is doing the same to Scotland and twist of fate, I am Scottish. Today my Italian son has to bear racial abuse because half black, of pro independence mother and Nazi salute in class because half Italian.
    Why on earth should I trust the word of such vile people?

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