Alex Salmond warns of 'international action' for independence
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The SNP and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will ramp up their campaign for independence should the ruling political party win a majority in the country’s elections on May 6. Boris Johnson is refusing to grant the relevant powers to Holyrood for a second referendum on independence to take place, arguing the first vote in 2014 was a “once in a generation event”. A poll from Opinium for the Observer of 2,006 adults from April 8-9 found nearly six in ten (57 percent) thought it was “likely” Scotland would vote to leave the UK within the next five years, with just over a quarter (26 percent) believing it to be unlikely.
Adam Drummond, an associate director at Opinium, revealed while there is a strong chance the SNP will win a majority in the election and most people in each UK country believe Scottish independence could happen soon, the “we want you to stay” result from the rest of the Union is plummeting.
Before the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, nearly two-thirds of people in England and Wales told the pollster that wanted Scotland to remain part of the UK.
But in the most recent poll, just a third (33 percent) opposed Scotland becoming independent.
Mr Drummond said: “With our recent Scottish polling showing a strong chance of an SNP majority, most people in each country of the UK now think it likely Scotland will vote to become independent in the near future, but there has not been the strong ‘we want you to stay’ result from the rest of the UK.
“In September 2014, just before the referendum, 63 percent of people in England and Wales told Opinium they wanted Scotland to vote to stay part of the United Kingdom.
“In April 2021 only 33 percent said they opposed Scotland becoming independent (albeit in a slightly differently structured question), but this is an indicator of how the subject being high profile for over seven years has impacted views in the rest of the United Kingdom.”
A separate poll from Savanta ComRes for the Scotland on Sunday newspaper of 1,006 people over the age of 16 revealed support and opposition to Scottish independence was split almost 50/50.
The results from the poll suggest support for independence stands at 50 percent when “don’t know” responses are excluded – the same as support for Scotland remaining part of the United Kingdom.
More than half of those quizzed (53 percent) said there should be another independence referendum in the next five years, with just under a fifth (19 percent) of those believing it should take place within the next year.
But the poll also indicated Scots don’t believe independence is a priority at the moment.
Half of the respondents said the economy was one of the “most important issues facing Scotland” followed by health (45 percent) and employment and welfare (35 percent).
Education was one of the most important issued for just under a third (31 percent of people), with 25 percent opting for Brexit.
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But just 19 percent chose Scottish independence, which was at its lowest level in Scotland on Sunday’s recent series of polls.
The opinion poll suggested the SNP would win 64 seats – just short of the majority they are targeting to push ahead with their plans for independence,
It predicted 10 pro-independence Scottish Green MSPs would be elected but the Alba Party, led by former First Minister Alex Salmond, would poll just three percent of the regional list vote and miss out on gaining any seats.
An SNP majority at the election on May 6 was backed as the best mandate for second independence referendum by 27 percent of those polled, followed by an SNP and Scottish Green coalition on 14 percent.
Just nine percent believed a minority SNP government would be the best mandate for a referendum, seven percent said the SNP and Alba should team up and six percent believed the Greens being included would be the best mandate.
Writing for the What Scotland Thinks website, polling expert Sir John Curtice said: “In truth, it looks as though that not only were the opposition’s hopes of bringing the First Minister down over the Salmond affair not realised.
“But also that the row has done little if any damage to the popularity of the nationalist movement in general or that of its principal spokesperson in particular.
“It is perhaps not surprising that an issue that some thought might dominate the election campaign now seems to have fallen off the political agenda entirely.”
Sir John added early polls for Mr Salmond’s return to frontline politics after nearly seven years “have not been encouraging”.
He said: “At the moment, even if he does manage to secure election to Holyrood, the former first minister is at risk of finding himself a lone figure in the new chamber.”
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