Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Salmond eyes the indy referendum prize

What's happening in Scotland, all my Westminster lobby colleagues are asking me as the polls show the SNP pulling ahead of Labour for Holyrood.

These days Scottish politics only ignites interest in Westminster when it looks like independence is back on the agenda.

The latest poll of polls put through the Weber Shandwick calculator, shows that is just what could happen.

The poll calculator puts the SNP on 60 MSPs, 13 more than in 2007. Labour would take 43 (- 3), Conservatives 12 (- 5), Lib Dems 8 (-8), the Greens 5 (+3) and Margo Macdonald would also retain her seat.

If these results were replicated on election day the SNP with the pro-independence Green and Margo Macdonald would have a majority, 66 MSPs, in favour of independence, allowing a referendum to take place in the next five years.

The usual riders apply to this poll as any other. Labour are still confident that their vote is holding solid and that they have the advantage in the all the battleground seats they have targeted.

But the SNP see a trend of Lib Dem votes splitting two to one in their favour with the remainder going Green.

That pattern of voting would take Alex Salmond back into Bute House, the First Minister's Edinburgh residence, in just over a week's time.

A independence referendum with a Tory government in Westminster and the wind in the SNP's sails is as good as it could get for Salmond, even though polls consistently show a majority of Scots against the idea of independence.

An early referendum bill would be a dream come true for the SNP. It would also help distract from the squeeze on public services that the Holyrood government, of whatever hue, is going to have to enact.

1 comment:

  1. Torcuil, this is far too reasonable from you. Have you not read John MacTernan in today's Scotsman?

    Labour voters are breaking to the SNP just as Libs are breaking to Labour. Too simplistic to say Labour vote is holding up - it's not. Campaign across Scotland feels like a by-election (Glasgow East, not Glenrothes).