Archive for the 'Scotland' Category


Suddenly independence starts to look a much scarier prospect to the Scots. BREXIT could be keeping the union together

Monday, September 19th, 2016

It’s not only the oil prices but so much more appears undercertain

Survation’s latest Scottish poll, like some other similar surveys, have found that the mood is moving away from independence.

The normal response is to blame the oil price but I wonder if it goes deeper than that. BREXIT has added so many new uncertainties that the idea of adding independence into the mixture just seems too much at this time.

The widespread assumption pre-June 23rd was that UK voting LEAVE but Scotland going REMAIN would increase the pressure for independence. In fact the opposite appears to be the case.

Could it be that BREXIT is actually holding the UK together?

Mike Smithson


YouGov poll finds the SNP regaining their majority at Holyrood but Scots don’t want a second indyref or to leave the UK

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

A good poll for the SNP but not for Scottish Independence

This morning The Times published a poll conducted by YouGov, the good news for the SNP, as YouGov notes

The survey also looks at Holyrood voting intention for the first time since the Scottish Parliament elections in May, which provides better news for the SNP. At 52%, the party can boast a five point improvement on the 2016 Holyrood elections. The Conservative party has firmly secured its position as the second place party in Scotland, now standing five points ahead of the Labour party. Labour has suffered a seven point decline on its vote share in the 2016 elections, polling at just 16%, whilst the Conservatives are down one point at 21%. (These figures refer to the constituency vote.)

When you put the figures through the seat predictors, the SNP would regain the majority they lost in May’s elections, as evidenced in the tweet atop this thread, so far so good for the SNP, however when it comes to the SNP’s raison d’être, YouGov finds

The appetite for a second referendum will disappoint the SNP, however, with YouGov’s latest Scotland survey finding just 37% of Scots backing a second independence referendum and 50% opposed. Should they be successful in forcing another vote, the results would be almost identical to last time, with 54% of Scots voting against independence and 46% in favour.

With The Times reporting

Damningly, 49 per cent of all voters think that Scotland benefits economically from being part of the UK, while only 23 per cent think it is harmed. An analysis of the results shows that not even a majority of those who voted “yes” in 2014 believe that Scotland is hurt financially by the Union, while 18 per cent think it benefits.

Whilst these figures are poor for the SNP, they may change if oil revenues increase and/or depending on the Brexit deal Mrs May and her government achieves. My own view is that that Nicola Sturgeon and her fellow grand fromages at the SNP will only call a second independence referendum if they are confident of winning it, they know losing a second independence referendum in a short period really will settle it for a generation. I think calling a referendum that is vetoed by Westminster might be the best option for the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon in the short if the figures remain like this.

Probably the most interesting/amusing/alarming thing from this poll, depending on your viewpoint, is the leadership figures, Ruth Davidson is the best performing Scottish leader, although her lead over the First Minister is just 1%.

But for Labour, where to start, Theresa May has a positive rating, and is better performing by 55% and 30% (yes fifty five percent and thirty percent) than Jeremy Corbyn and Kezia Dugdale, leaders of the Labour Party and the Scottish Labour Party respectively.

Whilst there are a couple of caveats to these figures, the first one is that we’re at the apotheosis of Theresa May’s honeymoon, and there’s a high don’t know figure, these scores are staggering considering the state of the Scottish Tories and the dominance of Labour in Scotland a few years ago, these figures make a mockery of Jeremy Corbyn’s plans from last year to make a Scottish recovery the top of his priorities.

The full YouGov data is available is here.



Today’s 2nd terrible poll for Corbyn: YouGov ratings from its latest Scotland survey

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

Just 19% of Scots LAB GE2015 voters say Corbyn doing well, 66% badly

Remember in those by-gone days in September 2015 when Mr. Corbyn pulled off his sensational leadership victory? Remember what he said would be his biggest initial priority? That was going to be Scotland where five months earlier Labour had slumped from 40 seats in the general election to just one – the same as the LD and CON.

This was absolutely awful for the party and raised serious doubts over whether at Westminster they could ever be a party of government again. Corbyn, quite rightly I’d suggest, said Scotland would be a major early priority.

Well LAB got hammered in the May 2016 Holyrood elections and now we have a YouGov Scotland poll which focuses almost entirety on leader ratings.

There are some reasonable numbers for Sturgeon, May and Ruth Davidson but the finding over the UK LAB leader, Mr. Corbyn are appalling, particularly amongst those who voted for the party at GE2015.

I don’t recall ever seeing as bad ratings figures for a party leader from party supporters.

All this will add to the pressure as he strives to hold onto his job.

Mike Smithson


A proxy bet for a Leave victory

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016


Brexit might kill Scottish nationalism stone dead the same way devolution did.

Sometimes when you think the value on a particular bet has gone, and you have to look for a proxy bet elsewhere, with with the best price on Leave winning at 13/5 perhaps the backing the 5/1 on the next Scottish independence referendum happening before 2020 could be a good proxy bet.

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon have been saying on several occasions, “Scottish independence would happen within two years if Scotland was at risk of being ‘dragged’ out of the EU.” My position in the past has been Scotland won’t vote for independence whilst the price of oil is substantially lower than the Scottish Government forecast it would be, however Brexit might ameliorate the risk of independence for Scots. As most Brexiteers seem to acknowledge a short term hit in the event of Brexit, thus Scottish independence would seem less riskier to Scots than it normally would.

Whilst I’m no fan of The SNP’s raison d’être, I do admire the abilities and talents of many atop The SNP, I can see Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon exploiting any political sclerosis at Westminster in the event of Brexit to further the cause of Scottish independence.

I’m going to back the 5/1 Ladbrokes are offering, but I’m still debating the 10/1 on Scotland becoming independent by 2020, I’d probably need longer odds, but some PBers might see value in it.



Following the SNPs loss of its Holyrood majority last week ex-party boss Salmond says the voting system unfair

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

This from a party that got 56 of Scotland 59 Westminster seats last year on 50% of the vote


Elections update as LAB looks set to move to third in Scotland but did better than expected elsewhere

Friday, May 6th, 2016

In London the Tory aftermath starts even before any results are in


Election night 2016: The news continues to roll in

Friday, May 6th, 2016


For the election night thread a special family picture

Thursday, May 5th, 2016


I love this election picture from Nelson in Lancashire in the 1920s. The man on the left in the wagon is my grand-father, Charles Smithson, who went onto to become the town’s mayor.

Tonight we should be getting part of the English local results as well as many of the Scottish and Welsh parliament results.

The balance of the local elections will come tomorrow along with the PCC elections in England and, last of all, the London results on which most of the betting has been focused.

Have a good night.

Mike Smithson