Salmond quits stalling and finally launches independence campaign – as poll says ‘no’

A new poll today revealed only a third of Scots would vote yes to separation, against 57% sticking with the Union, as Alex Salmond launched the ‘yes’ campaign.

E-mail-sign-up Donate



As Alex Salmond finally launched his independence campaign – fully five years after becoming first minister – a new poll today revealed only a third of Scots would vote yes to separation, against 57 per cent sticking with the Union.

It also emerged today that the Archbishop of Canterbury is opposed to independence, which he says is no “magic bullet”.

Beyond the headline figures, today’s YouGov poll reveals further damning findings, as this morning’s Guardian reports:

The poll also suggested that only 58% of people who voted for the SNP in last May’s landslide victory for Salmond would back independence in a snap referendum, while 28% of SNP voters opposed it.

“Even after winning two Scottish general election victories, raising a war-chest of millions and deploying the full resources of the Scottish government, Alex Salmond has failed to convince Scots that they should leave the United Kingdom,” [Alistair] Darling said.

“The nationalists will go to great lengths to try to prove there is a groundswell towards leaving the UK but the truth is that their campaign is stalled. Independence is as unpopular as it has ever been.”

The polling results will not greatly surprise the “yes” campaign but Darling’s intervention marks the first head-on challenge for Salmond by the anti-independence coalition formed by the three main pro-UK parties of Labour, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats, which is expected to launch formally in June.


See also:

Galloway to square up to Salmond over independence 14 May 2012

MPs accuse SNP of “biased” independence question 8 May 2012

Salmond’s screeching u-turn over independence consultation 3 Apr 2012

Salmond courts Murdoch as pro-union dream team finally begins to emerge 28 Feb 2012

Polls apart? The news for the SNP might not be as good as it looks 6 Feb 2012


Salmond, meanwhile, sought to brush off the poll at his big Edinburgh launch, calling for a million Scots to sign a ‘yes’ declaration, with his deputy, Nicola Sturgeon, telling the Today Programme this morning that independence “puts powers over our economy, over our political life into the hands of the people of Scotland”.

The vote will take place in autumn 2014 – expect the claims and counter-claims to intensify.


Sign-up to our weekly email • Donate to Left Foot Forward

Like this article? Left Foot Forward relies on support from readers to sustain our progressive journalism. Can you become a supporter for £5 a month?

30 Responses to “Salmond quits stalling and finally launches independence campaign – as poll says ‘no’”

  1. Pulp Ark

    Salmond quits stalling and finally launches independence… #ABritainWeAllCallHome #AlexSalmond #muslim #tcot #sioa

  2. Martin Steel

    Salmond quits stalling and finally launches independence campaign – as poll says ‘no’: by @ShamikDas

  3. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – Salmond quits stalling and finally launches independence campaign – as poll…

  4. Political Planet

    Salmond quits stalling and finally launches independence campaign – as poll says ‘no’: A new poll today revealed…

  5. Shamik Das

    Salmond quits stalling and finally launches independence campaign – as poll says ‘no’: by @ShamikDas

  6. H. Brown

    Well of course Alistair Darling would say this! Quelle surprise! Any voter stupid enough to want to stick with the Nazi party from hell and their so-called opposition, deserves all he/she gets!

  7. Anonymous

    Right. So basically you’re comparing the Nazis with Labour?
    Lovely far right equivalence attack there.

  8. Roddy

    I genuinely still don’t understand how we’d get powers over our economy unless we had our own currency? If we keep the pound we’ll have even less independence than now because London will decide everything with zero reference to us and if we go into the Euro we have no power there either. Can anybody explain this or is it all as unplanned as I fear?

  9. Anonymous

    This is something which hasn’t been answered, no. Keeping a currency union (which Scotland would probably have to outright pay for) would reduce the benefits of independence, anything else risks as you say changes with zero reference to Scotland.

    At one time the answer was certainly “the Euro”, but that’s not going to happen now…

  10. Gus Jackson

    RT @leftfootfwd: Salmond quits stalling and finally launches independence campaign – as poll says ‘no’

  11. Mr. Sensible

    Lets hope this independence campaign stays furmly routed to the buffers.

  12. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: Salmond quits stalling and finally launches independence campaign – as poll says ‘no’

  13. Anonymous

    This Hitler bloke gets around he’s in Scotland now.

  14. cameronsfollys

    [With TWO yrs 2 change people's minds] Salmond quits stallg % finally launches independence campaign, as poll says ‘no’

  15. JC

    Let’s support the referendum. There’s no reason not to campaign against independence, but it’s difficult to argue that the question not be asked. If the people vote no, then that’s the end to it. If they vote yes, so be it. Is there an element of fear of asking ordinary people what they think?

  16. Chris

    Will there be a promise not to keep on holding votes on this once we vote No to giving fat Eck more power?
    Hopefully the question won’t be put again for at least 25 years, or does fat Eck think to repeat the vote ubtil he gets the answer he wants

  17. Anonymous

    Roddy – not a fan of independence, but the practical reality is that currency unions can be very successful and that as things stand there is no Scottish participation in the decision-making process anyway; governments (left or right) make their policy on the basis of what is good for the London area and don’t really give a damn about the West country, the Midlands or the North of England, let alone Wales or Scotland.. Northern Ireland gets a bit more atention becuause of the high-level of public interest in the US.
    JC is quite right. There’s nothing wrong with having a referendum – win or lose – but you have to wonder why every party is opposed to a referendum on the basis of what people actually want and what makes coherent political sense. Labour should adopt Full Fiscal Autonomy and that would scupper the gnats. Since Scotland would pay for what it spends there would be no issue in selling that to people in England.
    I still don’t think the ‘yes’ camp will win – though having Darling at the helm of the ‘no’ campaign does not inspire unbounded confidence for obvious reasons – but we should be ready for a close-run thing and probably a number surprises in the form of Labour and lib-dem figures (and maybe the odd centrist tory too) plumping for the ‘yes’ campaign. Major Labour (or ex-Labour) figures like Dennis Canavan have had quite an impact and will proably have more as time goes on.
    Polling is a bit suspect on the independence issue. It seems very probable that voters have a reluctance to tell pollsters that they favour independence in the same way as in the late 80s and early 90s they tended to deny that they would vore tory and in the late 90s and early 2000s tended to deny they would vore Labour. Eventually pollsters learend to take account of that and adjust their ‘weighting’ accordingly. I’m not at all sure how significant that factor is, but I am aware that the proportion of people I meet who will vore ‘yes’ is rather larger than the opinion polls would indicate, and this is in Shetland where – according to various tory and liberal peers – everybody ‘hates Scotland’ , also, you meet many fewer people now who are actively opposed to independence than was the case just three or four years ago.
    Finally, the referendum vore will not adhere to party lines. One of the reasons people voted SNP is that they wanted competent social democrat government which McConnel administration utterly failed to deliver, but Salmond & co have. Naturally a fair number of those SNP voters will vote ‘no’. Equally, there are many people who would never vote for the SNP – including a great many labour voters – who will vote ‘yes’. In that sense this is more like the EU referendum than the devolution referendum; we’re not going to see Labour MPs (well… maybe one MP from Edinburgh and one list MSP ) defecting to the gnats, but we should certainly expect to see a few MPs, MSPs, councillors and other prominent people deviating from the mainstream of the party for the duration of the campaign.
    On the up side….it’s much worse for the lib-dems. Probably a majority of lib-dem voters will defy their MPs and actvists and vote yes, so with any luck this’ll be the end of the lib-dems. How sad,

  18. Anonymous

    “there is no Scottish participation in the decision-making process anyway”

    There most certainly /are/ Scottish MP’s. Certainly most are not in government…but they have been and will again (one way or another). Perhaps you’d like to consider voting reform in the UK – PR – rather than independence, as a better alternative?

    “Full Fiscal Autonomy” is also a terrible option – it’s independence, with added bills. If you want that kind of option, then let’s have a proper federal structure with defined powers at each level (And an English Parliament).

  19. John Ruddy

    I was speaking to an SNP MSP the other week, and he made clear that they will “keep on having a referendum until we get the answer we want”.

  20. Anonymous

    As per Thatcher and Atlee…you’re not asking the ordinary people.

    But yes, it is happening. And I and others intend to watch the media like hawks on this, after the lies of the AV “No” campaign.

  21. Anonymous

    As long as economic policy is dictated by the needs of the City it won’t matter where MPs come from, they will have no real influence over things like interest rates. There is no sense in which FFA needs to mean higher bills, but thre are other isues. Suppose – like the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands – the Scottish parliament raised all taxes and then made a contribution to Westminster for defence. In the evetn of a war like Iraq, the Scottish government might choose to defer or even cancel it’s financial contribution in protest against the conflict. That would not be an insuperable obstacle in operational terms, but it would be a publicity disaster for the UK government.
    Of course I would like to see democratic reform, what fair-minded person would not?
    There are – of course – challeges in a PR system, but thre are challenges in the current arrangements and it cannpt really be argued that FPTP has led to competnet government. I think a federal structure has attractions, but there would still be the same centralist condition; England would still be run for the benefit of London and the rest of the country would n’t get a look-in. Maybe if federalism was combined with a massive decentralisation to take all major government departments out of London and distribute them to Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow etc we would be going in the rigtht direction.
    Scottish MPs in government? That rather depends on the outcome of the referendum of course, but after Brown and Darling it ‘ll be a long time before anyone is prepared to accept a Scottish person as chancellor. Also, assuming (and broadly I still do) that the ‘no’ campaign wins, it is unlikely that Labour in Scotland will continue to benefit from FPTP. If the gnats win in vote-share, it may be them that gets 70% of the seats for 40% (or less) of the vote, in which case Scottish Labour MPs will have a very much smaller voice in the PLP thatn they have had in the past. Ed may even have to depend on the support of the gnats at Westminster, which was largely the case for Callaghan in the late 70s.

  22. Ed's Talking Balls

    Get over it. The “Yes” campaign took a drubbing in the AV vote. Not the media’s fault it was a ‘miserable little compromise’. And to think, they would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those pesky voters.

  23. Anonymous

    Why should I “get over” media manipulation of a vote? Simply because you hate and fear democracy doesn’t mean I need to!

  24. Anonymous

    Um, no, adding a huge chunk of costs to the taxpayer by having ministers and staff constantly traveling isn’t the best of all ideas, then there’s coordination issues and so on.

    It still very much sounds to me like you’re trying for the positives of independence without the downsides.

    “after Brown and Darling it ‘ll be a long time before anyone is prepared to accept a Scottish person as chancellor”

    Er, what? The Cabinet’s appointed.
    See: Mandleson.

  25. Ed's Talking Balls

    The usual leftist response to defeat: the media pulled the wool over people’s eyes. Or it could, just could, be that the people understood all too well the deficiencies of AV and preferred FPTP.

  26. Anonymous

    Yes, right, you are out to destroy democracy. I get it. Move on.

  27. Look Left – Massacre in Syria, the horror of Azerbaijan and a deeper double-dip | Left Foot Forward

    […] Alex Salmond quit stalling and officially launched the ‘Yes’ campaign for Scottish independence, more than two years ahead of the referendum […]

  28. Anonymous

    Brown and Darling…a matter of political practicalities I think – not so much Paxman’s ‘Scottish raj’ comments(though that’s not insignificant) but simply the fact that they did a dreadful job. The current mess is not ‘all their fault’ by a long, long chalk, but they were instrumental in making things as bad as they are.
    Any extra costs from FFA would be trivial – it might actually be marginally cheaper in the medium to long term since one Scottish finance department could deal with everything from corpoation tax to water rates, but the real up side is that it would be politcally acceptable in England & Wales and do away with the old tory ‘subsidy junky’ bollocks. I’m not clear that there are massive advantages to independence or to the Union. I’ve asked a lot of politicians from all parties about it and I’ve yet to hear a really convincing arguemnt for either side, so I’m – broadly – inclined toward the status quo. OTH I’m well aware that the current set-up is not satisfactory to most people and that the proposals under the new Scotland Act are a decade behind the times. If this had been the basis of the initial Holyrood intiative it might well have been sufficient, but it was n’t and we have to move with the times. The thing abouit FFA is that it is comprehensible and is enough to preserve the Union; fiddling about at the margins just does n’t make much impression on the wider public. If the choice in 2014 is a question of the staus quo (as in the current Scotland Act proposals) and independence, a lot of people will vote ‘yes’ as the least bad of two not very good options.
    I still think the gnats are weak in particular areas and are therefore vulnerable – especially so in the area of personal liberty, which is really an area where labour should be able to blow every other party out of the water, but at the moment the statist element (‘You have the liberty to do as your damned well told’) is way too strong. We do have to think about the future. The gnats are n’t going away any time soon so just waiting for the electorae to drift back to Labour is not going to do the trick – there has to be a positive agenda that will actively attract the voters. As things stand there is a strong likelihood that Labour will win the next GE on the basis of English and Welsh constituencies, but take a lot of damage in Scotland – as the tories did in the 60s, 70s and 80s and as the Liberals did a generation before that. It’s not just L:abour though. Chances are the glib-dumbs are pretty much finished in Scotland. If they retain 2 Scottish MPs they ‘ll be lucky, but the seats they lose are going to go to the gnats, not to Labour or the tories…unless Labour can find an agenda and message that the public likes. I think it can be done, but it calls for a bit of imagination.

  29. Anonymous

    “Any extra costs from FFA would be trivial”

    Tens of billions, in projections I’ve seen. The disconnection in things like tax rates, which is a major business cost, the additional bureaucracy, etc.

    “it would be politcally acceptable in England & Wales”

    Why do you think that? It’s certainly not acceptable to the mainstream left, indeed it’s LESS acceptable than independence in many ways.

    It MOCKS the Union, without an English Parliament. The very minimum would be the exclusion of Scottish MP’s from votes on English matters, and it’s very likely indeed that the Tories would be able to deadlock Labour there.

    And Labour are paternalist centralists, why would they have any particular stake in civil liberties? If they refuse to engage with the left, and they are refusing, their GE success is far from assured.

    I’ll keep supporting a proper federal structure rather than a nebulous and damaging “FFA”. “Free For All”.

  30. Anonymous

    Can’t imagine where ‘tens of billions’ would come from; where did you see these projections?
    And there’s no problem with Scotish MPs not voting on England and Wales issues; the gnats don’t do it and I think some Labour and glib-dumb MPs refrain also – it does n’t really matter about the lone tory. If the tories were in the majority in England, why should they not have power over English affairs?
    FFA would be acceptable to English and Welsh voters because it would bring an end to the ‘subsidy’ issue. I can’t imagine why it would be less acceptable to the mainstream left since it would be a prety democratic solution.
    In what sense would ‘disconnection in tax rates be an issue? The principle was part of the original devolution settlement, but the parameters were so small as to be meaningless.
    If Labour and the left are opposed to individual liberty, then there is something seriously wrong about their understanding of socialism. Why should the left autoamtically be paternalist or centralist? Is there a rule that says the socialism has to be authoritarian?

Leave a Reply