A Reason Why I think it’s still NO

Some people have asked, myself included, why has the election of a Conservative majority government at Westminster, and the decision by England and Wales to drag Scotland and Northern Ireland out of the European Union against its will not resulted in an increase in support for independence? A Yougov poll in November 2016 had support for independence at 44%, What Scotland Thinks had support for independence down to as low as 38% in November 2016.


There are many reasons for this of course, and it’s complex overall, but from chatting to people who voted no, and would still vote no, one thing that stands out is that many people just see themselves as much Scottish as British. The Social Attitudes Survey in 2014 found that 23% of people asked said they saw themselves as British, as recently as August 2016 29% of respondents felt equally British and Scottish.


Now while Yougov found that only 6% saw themselves as British the simple fact remains that many many people still relate to being or feeling British. A YES vote would not make someone less British as it’s about democracy and decision making in my opinion but for many it is not, it’s about being and feeling British. Feeling a part of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, having family from all over the UK born in different parts of it, 300 hundred years of Union will do that.

When Scotland joined the Union in 1707 it was against the will of the Scottish people, the English Parliament threatened to ban Scottish exports entering England therefore potentially bankrupting the Scots powerbrokers as England was their largest and most lucrative market. Many Scots, who had no vote, believed that England had effectively blackmailed Scotland into signing the Act or be made bankrupt. Therefore, the Act of Union was signed but was not well received from the start. History tells us that there were riots in many Scottish towns and cities once news of the signing of the Act of Union became public, but those days are passed now and for many the history is either no longer relevant or sadly many people just don’t know their history and how the Union came about.

The next independence referendum campaign, and there will be one, is going to have to find a way around this and show people that they can still feel passionate about these islands but make their own decisions while being great neighbours and not junior non existent partners. 

The Unionists are already telling us that we will be poor if we leave the UK even though we are also out of the EU.


Fear and the Great British comfort blanket will be the strategy they will use the next time as they did in 1706 and 2014. We will need to find a way around the economic argument but also the bonds that many still feel, it won’t be easy and is a reason to not go to indy2 too early but also we can’t afford to leave it too late. 

I don’t envy the First Minister at all. 



    • grumpyscottishman


      I was kinda thinking that as well but when you look at the social attitudes survey for 2015 on immigration the percentages are not that much different from England, I’m not so sure it will make enough of a difference to be honest.

      Thanks for commenting.


  1. Alan

    That may figure into the big picture somehow, but I reckon it’s more to do with Yes-Leave voters being less certain about Indy if we’d end up back in the devil grasp of Brussels. Also No-Remain voters clearly are more attached to the UK than the EU.


    Plus some of the polls are playing games. Asking about referendums “… tomorrow? In 2017?” “Leave/Remain in UK?”, using samples with large chunks of respondents outside scotland, excluding 16/17 year olds and so on. We all know 2018 is far more likely and it might end up in early 2019 if Westminister drags its feet with the section 30 order etc.

    • trispw

      I think it is a mark of how scared they are this time that they are fiddling the figures by asking questions like: Do you think there should be a referendum in 2017?, (to which even I would reply NO), and then interpreting that answer as a negative for independence.

      I also think that unless Mrs May, Mr Fox and Mr Davis can carry off a coup when it comes to negotiating a withdrawal with many many benefits, which seems to be not just unlikely, but positively ridiculously impossible, then as BSJAlba points out, things will change.

      For most people in Scotland, nothing much has come over them regarding Brexit. Yes, if they went abroad last year they will have found that they got a lot less for their £, but inflation hasn’t yet started to bite. It will.

      Then there are the rushed trade deals to come, which will favour the USA and Australia because UK has no trained negotiators, and the massive expense of setting up regulatory authorities to oversee the immense amount of work that has been done in Brussels on our behalf.

      If you go to the bog Terry Entoure, and read about the number of organisations that we will need to establish, and staff with experts, it will scare the pants off you. The alternative to doing that is that we either accept deregulation in matters like who drives out trains to what medicines can be sold here to how we transport hazardous waste, and hundreds of other things (and god help us if we do) or we set up bodies full of knowledgeable people to oversee them.

      http://terryentoure.blogspot.co.uk/ It’s a seriously good blog to read iff you are interested in what kind of trials and tribulations lie ahead.

      Which ever one we chose, it will either mean a serious drop in standards of everything (as Fox and Rees -Mogg have proposed), or immense expense.

      The weekly £350 million that the English Heath Service was about to get (although it never was, because that figure neither took account of the rebate that UK got for being poor, nor the wodges of cash that came our way through various and sundry grants) will pale into insignificance by comparison. I note that already it is being proposed that taxes will have to increase to keep the English Health Service fed with money.

      No, I think that things will get a lot worse. And at that point, next year or the year after, I think that w will see a change.

      To be honest, regardless of her politics, I trust Nicola to make the right decisions. I’m sure she is not always right, not by a long way, but I’d challenge anyone to come up with a more competent leader from any of the parties.

      • grumpyscottishman

        I’ll check out the blog as I am no expert on the EU, I expect things to get worse but I still have a bit of a wait and see attitude given the elections coming up in the EU and how the dynamics might change. The USA, Australia etc would shaft anyone to get a good deal, just look at TTIP, as soon the Americans saw that they were not getting their own way they pretty much dropped it but it wasn’t France, Germany etc who stopped it or delayed it as it could come back it was the voters and the smaller nations. I don’t know how much the polls will shift as a result of Brexit, I suspect it would have to be very bad to be honest to shift many, the argument will have to be about a lot more than the EU for us (Yes) to win but I agree that Nicola S can be trusted to show common sense and I would expect her to play it right and not rush.

        Thanks for commenting.


    • grumpyscottishman


      I think you are correct about yes voters as many, myself included, voted to leave the EU but my vote had nothing to do with immigration issues and everything to do with democracy. I will vote YES again in the next referendum but would still have to be convinced in any future EU referendum but to be honest I would lean a lot more to join as Scotland would be reporesenting it’self and not the bloody Tories representing the South of England, which is what we have had for too long. I don’t know why the pollsters have asked about 2017 as there has never been any question of their being a referendum this year, it would not be physically possible anyway as it would have to be legislated for etc then at least a 12 month campaign, going too soon would only result in a defeat anyway. 2019 would be my guess but YES can’t afford to leave it too long.

      Thanks for commenting.


  2. Gary F

    To be honest a lot of the rhetoric surrounding these social attitude surveys is drivel. I am by birth 100% Scottish, 100% British and 100% European.

    I am not surprised one jot by the fact the level of support for independence is falling while the SNP positions itself as anti-Brit union and pro-Europe union. For me, trying to run another independence referendum before the UK (and Scotland) leaves the EU is doomed to failure.

    The EU may not survive in it’s current form by the end of this year and even if it does the Euro is doomed to failure without political and fiscal union across the Eurozone which is not going to happen. I have my popcorn ready for the upcoming political and financial events about to hit the EU in the coming year – it’s going to get interesting.

    Economics and currency are the big reason why most Scots will vote No. In my humble opinion not enough has been done or improved to change the next result.

    • Anonymous

      All the surveys tackle things from a different angle and like the polls they are what they are. I think independence is roughly 45% to be honest, maybe a little less or a little more, certainly not 38% that John Curtice is saying.

      I think in the event of Scottish independence any decision to join the EU has to be by referendum and while I suspect join would win I think it would be closer than people think and I would certainly not advise the SNP or YES side to go into a second Indyref with an independence in Europe slogan but no one is suggesting that I don’t think.

      I agree with you that the EU is in trouble and Brexit I think puts a lot more pressure on it, everyone is talking tough right now but when it comes to sitting around the table the large companies in the EU, who sell a lot to the UK, will put influence on the make up of any deal so a lot of things might happen yet in my opinion and it is just my opinion. I’m not convinced it will be that hard Brexit that many are predicting once EU companies like BMW start to put pressure on and they already are allegedly. But I hold by my view that the EU must reform or it will collapse, nothing I have seen or heard changes that and if anything the protectionism of Trump and China might just hasten it as countries scramble to look after their own, not saying that would be a good thing but it is starting to feel that the world is shifting that way now.

      I totally agree with you on the currency, the SNP need to come out for a Scottish currency asap and start explaining how that will work within the economy, they also have to start to put forward an economic vision that may have to involve high spending at the start to get the economy moving and make vital improvements to infrastructure all over Scotland. It won’t be popular in some areas but it will be vital if Scotland is to compete, I’m not sure how they will combat the England won’t trade with Scotland see 1706 rhetoric, that will be used all of the time and will generate a lot of fear.

      Interesting times.

      Thanks for commenting.


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