Scottish independence more likely as Gordon Brown attacks Tory tactics

New poll shows over half of Scottish voters believe they will see independence in their lifetime


Almost half of voters in Scotland believe independence is now more likely as a result of the way the General Election has been fought.

With voters due to go to the polls two weeks today, the latest data compiled by Sky has found that 43 per cent of Scottish voters believe the way the campaign has been fought makes a divide in the Union more likely.

Meanwhile over half (55 per cent) predicted that Scotland would become an independent country within their lifetime.

The results will serve to vindicate those, such as the last Conservative Scottish secretary Lord Forsyth, who have warned that David Cameron’s efforts to play up the SNP threat to pander to English voters is playing a dangerous game.

The findings will also embolden those within the SNP who are hoping that the party’s manifesto for elections to Holyrood next year will contain a promise of another referendum on Scotland’s future.

Speaking to Sky News, SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon reiterated that she was ‘not planning a referendum’ and that ‘something material would have to change’ for another vote to take place.

She continued to explain that the General Election election would not provide a ‘mandate’ for a new vote as there was a ‘democratic lock’ on such a referendum. She said:

“Circumstances would have to change and then people would have to vote for it.”

The polling also contained yet more bad news for Labour, as both Nicola Sturgeon and David Cameron were clearly seen by respondents as the most capable leaders.

Over half (51 per cent) indicated that they thought Sturgeon most capable followed by 22 per cent who said David Cameron, 11 per cent for Ed Miliband and just one per cent stating Nick Clegg was the most capable leader.

Asked which leader they felt was best able to make tough decisions, 40 per cent said Nicola Sturgeon followed by 26 per cent for David Cameron, 13 per cent for Ed Miliband and two per cent for Nick Clegg.

The figures come after the former prime minister Gordon Brown last night accused the Conservatives of deliberately whipping up English nationalist sentiments against Scotland.

Speaking at a gathering in Fife he said of the Tories’ electoral strategy:

“The only way they can win is to build resentment in Scotland of the English and resentment in Scotland of the English.”

Arguing that the SNP ‘are not interested in a Labour government’, he said that only a Labour government would ‘immediately deal with food bank poverty, zero-hours poverty, inequality and the NHS’, and warned that large numbers of SNP MPs could mean ‘months of constitutional chaos’.

Brown continued:

“People are talking all the time about hung parliaments, negotiations, deals… We will talk about poverty, inequality, the health service.

But he acknowledged the desire for change north of the border:

“I’ve been going around Scotland and the one thing that is clear, was clear during the referendum campaign and is clear now, is that people want change, they feel insecure.

“But they don’t just want constitutional change.”

Launching into a stinging critique of the SNP for delaying action to tackle the rise in the number of food banks and the bedroom tax, Brown argued that the SNP ‘didn’t want to let Westminster off the hook – they simply don’t do it as there are political reasons’.

The SNP would, he argued, be in ‘exactly the same position as always’ if they make significant gains, namely as ‘a protest group, they will make a song and dance about it but can they make real change?’

Arguing that ‘it is Labour that will stand up for the values of sharing and solidarity’ Brown went on to address head on Alex Salmond’s joke yesterday that he would be writing the next Labour budget. Brown noted that ‘everybody knows, no one is going to ask him’.

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter

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49 Responses to “Scottish independence more likely as Gordon Brown attacks Tory tactics”

  1. Selohesra

    The only way there will ever be Scottish Independence is if the English are allowed a vote on it too – they wouldn’t bottle it in the face of ‘promises’ from Westminster

  2. Toque

    It’s a bit rich for Gordon Brown to accuse Cameron of stirring up English nationalism when Brown probably did more than anyone to foster English grievance. A Scottish PM by coronation who vetoed plans for state spending on St George’s Day for fear that it would upset the Scots; who banged on about Britishness constantly with never a thought for English identity; who could barely bring himself to utter the word ‘England’ even when discussing English-only policies, preferring instead to incorrectly use the word ‘Britain’ or nebulous terms like ‘this country’; who maintained Scottish spending at levels 20% above England; who imposed undemocratic regional ministers and committees on England using the votes of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs, and; who supported the creation of a Scottish parliament and government but vigorously opposed allowing England even a semblance of national autonomy.

    The man is a bigoted oaf.

  3. Gerschwin

    The Labour Party decided to devolve power to Scotland because it thought it could rig the system to ensure there’d always be a Labour power base in Edinburgh no matter the PM in No 10. It was a shameless and atypical act of left wing cynicism, undermining any concept of democracy in order to try and rig power bases elsewhere. It didn’t work out, Labour are about to be wiped out in Scotland, as a result they could well lose the election altogether – no sympathy.

  4. Gerschwin

    Spot on. The SNP has no answer to currency and EU questions, a referendum will always come down to those tow issues. England will determine the end of the Union not Scotland.




    England will not attempt to stop Scotland being independent. If Scotland leaves voluntarily then we are out of the EU. If RuK kicks Scotland out then Scotland will remain in the EU and ultimately be another sponging State like Greece, Portugal. Personnally I think it will be a nasty split with border controls.

  7. PokerKnave

    Why are you blaming GB for the rubbish that DC is doing? It is down to DC and his infamous ‘England to get the vote’ after the Scottish referendum that has brought the Scottish independence within touching distance.

    The only way out now is for UK unionist to vote for pro-union candidates to restrict the nationalist vote. Yes Tories and LibDems need to switch their vote to Labour.

  8. Gerschwin

    It will be nasty for sure.

  9. Toque

    No I’m not blaming Brown for what Cameron is doing. But it must be acknowledged that Cameron is operating in a political environment shaped by Gordon Brown. Brown set up a Britishness task force in Glasgow in the early years of Blair’s first term but he deliberately ignored the English Question, choosing instead to promote Britishness. That denial of an English political identity is what Cameron is playing on now.

    I hope that the Unionist parties do encourage their supporters to vote for unionist candidates from other parties, it would be the straw that finally broke the back of unionism in Scotland.

  10. PokerKnave

    My argument is David Cameron has created this monster by flagging up that he would undermine the pledges that Gordon Brown gave on his behalf.
    David Cameron has done more to break up the United Kingdom than Mrs T or Bonny Prince Charlie….

  11. PokerKnave

    I hope Ed Miliband does not settle for the position he is in now. He needs to get out there and give it some welly. He can still get an overall majority.

  12. Guest

    Of course you’re a bigot against him, as he’s a Scot.
    Your dislike of your country, Britain…

  13. Guest

    So you support favouring one region, as it’s yours.

  14. Guest

    You are the one opposing British democracy here, as you deny parliamentary sovereignty.

  15. Guest

    No surprise you agree with yourself that non-English people can’t have their self-determination.

  16. Guest

    You *are* nasty, not quite the same thing.

  17. Leon Wolfeson

    He did “get out there”, moving sharply right on benefits and probably losing the election for it.
    2 years minimum work for any benefits, denying i.e. people who are severely disabled from birth…

  18. Toque

    Actually I’d have preferred all ‘regions’ – nations I call them – to be treated equally instead of special favour being given to Gordon Brown’s region.

  19. Toque

    Cameron’s ‘English Votes on English Laws’ pledge may have rattled a few cages but I hardly think it’s responsible for people supporting the SNP. Various polls have shown that the Scots are broadly in favour of EVEL, they see that there’s a symmetry of sorts in it.

    As for him undermining Gordon Brown’s pledges – I’m not really sure what you think Cameron has undermined. But in any case Gordon Brown shouldn’t have been giving pledges that couldn’t and shouldn’t be kept?

  20. Toque

    I don’t dislike Britain.


    He will not lose over benefits. Even the SNP have shut up over foodbanks. The SNP areas as right wing as the Tories. Just watch out for an SNP Tory deal if Labour fail.


    That must be the most stupid idiotic statement I have read about the severely disabled.

  23. Leon Wolfeson

    Yes, well, it’s something which is absolutely true in law, based on the UK’s commitments.

  24. Leon Wolfeson

    Oh right, you want people to not talk about food banks. Right.

    Of course he’s going to lose by alienating even core tribal labour voters!

    (And yes, of course the SNP would deal with the Tories)


    Not many people talk about food banks. Do you?
    Do you mean core tribal Labour voters that go to food banks?


    Well you should quote the legislation that denies benefits entirely to the severely disabled from birth.

  27. Gerschwin

    Leon that just doesn’t make any sense, no one has self-determination, you can’t have it, only the right to it. None of these should be difficult to grasp.

  28. Gerschwin

    Whoo hah!

  29. Gerschwin

    Doesn’t make sense Leon. You can’t deny parliamentary sovereignty. It’s not possible. Like I’ve suspected before, English not your first language Leon?

  30. Leon Wolfeson

    …Try reading what I actually typed.

    It’s what Labour have *proposed* as a policy.

  31. Leon Wolfeson

    Ah yes, not many of your rich people talk about those icky food banks – indeed, most of their funding comes from the middle class and those among the poor who have temporary surpluses. Which is of course typical for ALL charity spending.

    The poor go to food banks, which you’re in denial about.

    As you don’t bother reading what I type, as usual.

  32. Guest

    Yes yes, of course you don’t think people are allowed it, right.
    No surprise there, Banker.

  33. Guest

    And you make up wild accusations again, as you did in fact deny it, and it’s of course perfectly possible to be wrong like you.

    And unlike you, once more, English is my first language, Lord Blagger.

  34. Guest

    Not what you just said.

  35. Guest

    Sure sure. I can read your post.

  36. Guest

    So you not only deny parliamentary sovereignty, you are pro-lying.

  37. Gerschwin

    Capital letter ‘B’ Leon, outstanding, nice to see little respect from you where it’s due. Good man.

  38. Toque

    Disliking the politics of Britain (asymmetric devolution, House of Lords, first past the post, etc) is not the same a disliking the country itself. As for hating Brown because he’s a Scot… No, I dislike him for who is is not what he is. I lived in Scotland for five years, I met my wife there, I have family there and many good friends.

  39. Toque

    I’m not ‘pro-lying’, I don’t think ‘The Vow’ should have been made. Only Parliament can make good those promises, not the three party leaders led by Gordon Brown.


    You should read it.


    Denial about what.

  42. Leon Wolfeson

    Yea, you’re doing the bot thing again.

  43. Guest

    You admit you’re a born-again Scottish nationalist, so don’t mind me while I note your posts and attitudes. You don’t even like your own chosen people if they are not in your faith of seperatism!

  44. Guest

    Right right, you oppose democracy in the first place, never mind.

    You keep attacking the existence of the parties you disprove of.

  45. Guest

    Respect? It’s showing that you’re a bitterly anti-British leech. That you think that it’s a good thing…shows your hate for this country!

  46. Toque

    A born again Scottish nationalist? No, I’m an English nationalist. That’s not the same as a separatist BTW. Separatism is very much a last resort but getting closer all the time as those opposed to constitutional reform fiddle while the Union burns.

  47. Toque

    There’s no inconsistency in what I said.

  48. Toque

    For the avoidance of doubt my preference would be a federal United Kingdom, with England having its own parliament and government. As none of the ‘parties of government’ support that I’m perfectly happy to see the Union broken up as I have no wish to live in a state in which England has no democratic form.

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