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A new poll shows Scotland on the brink of independence. Time for the ‘no’ side to panic

20 April 2014

11:05 AM

20 April 2014

11:05 AM

Politicians always manage to take some crumbs of comfort from opinion polls but, if you are Alistair Darling, it would be difficult to find anything positive in the dramatic new poll published by Scotland on Sunday this morning.

According to the poll, by ICM, the No camp’s lead has shrunk to either three or four percentage points – depending on whether the ‘don’t knows’ are counted. Ladbrokes has responded by cutting its odds on Scottish independence to 9/4, the shortest in its history.

The overall ICM/SoS figures are No 42 per cent (down four points on last month), Yes 39 per cent (unchanged on last month) and ‘don’t knows’ 19 per cent, up four on last month.

If the ‘don’t knows’ are discounted, the figures are Yes 48 per cent and No 52 per cent.


Either way, it is now hard to deny that the ‘No’ camp has lost the seemingly impregnable lead it held at the end of last year.


Mr Darling and his allies in Better Together have to wake up to the fact that they have managed to blow a 20-point lead in a few months and the gap between the two sides looks like it is now within the margin of error for polling companies.

Not only does the Yes camp have the momentum, it has the foot soldiers on the ground in numbers the No camp can only dream about.

Every independence-supporting activist is out knocking on doors, delivering leaflets, staffing high street stalls and persuading wavering voters to come along to public meetings and they are doing this in all weathers.

Because it is hard – indeed almost impossible – to motivate activists to go out and campaign for the status quo, the No camp has nothing like this sort of ground campaign.

Here is just one little example of the gulf between the campaigns at a local level.

A senior unionist politician is due to hold a public meeting in rural Scotland later this week and a few hardy No supporters have had to send out urgent messages to friends and colleagues to get them to turn up.

That is because they are worried that, unless they can get some No supporters along, the meeting will be overrun by Yes supporters who will do their best to intimidate and overwhelm that unionist politician and turn what should be a pro-No meeting into a disaster.

It was always assumed that the No camp represented the silent majority in Scotland.

This may well be the case but the trouble with a silent majority is that they don’t get out and campaign.

At the moment they still seem to have a majority but the vocal minority of Yes supporters are closing the gap by persuading more and more of the undecided to back their cause.

There either comes a point when the silent majority stops being silent and starts to speak out and campaign, or it will stop being a majority at all.

PS From Fraser Nelson. All this before Gordon Brown’s planned intervention – he is expected to weigh in next week, lending his own good luck charm. Remember, the history of most referenda show the ‘no’ side gaining ground in the campaign. Only one broke this trend: Quebec’s referendum. That one ended up 49.8% ‘no’. The future of Britain could be decided on a margin just as tight.

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Show comments
  • ArchiePonsonby

    Cameron’s crowning achievments: gay marriage and the break-up of the Union!

  • Jim M

    Ha Ha, “People like you deserve to be crushed underfoot by Europe.” ha ha, why do you care so much. I am well aware of who the traitorous king was and his cronies and they deserved everything they got. Like every country in the world, scotland was created out of warfare and people coming together. so don’t try and play that rubbish. I am talking about what the people of scotland wanted, not their rulers at the time nor now. I don’t give a crap who leads scotland to independence as long as we get it. Salmond, Cameron (as if) Lamont. i don’t care, I just want us to be in control of our own country and resources as it should have stayed all those years ago. As for your additional comment, The welsh weren’t consulted because they were basically owned by the english crown at that point as was most of ireland. (Now independent, apart from the north) The english people were also not consulted because it was the english nobles fawning over king james that wanted this union as well, they had lands in scotland just as the scottish nobles had ands in england. The people are never consulted, it is always the choice of the rulers. What the ruling clan or party want, they get or they take. This time the people are actually being consulted and given the choice for once.

  • Herman_U_Tick

    Here’s what is going to happen:

    turnout 80%

    55% vote to stay, 45% vote to leave.

    Salmond will shout and flail and claim victory.
    Salmond will make a list of demands in return for a promise
    not to make any more trouble.

    Cameron will hold a press conference at which he will give
    “assurances” that none of Salmond’s demands will be met.

    Cameron will give in to nearly all of Salmond’s demands.

    How can one dislike someone for doing something he hasn’t even got round to doing yet?

    • Gwangi

      Yes, and the poll seems merely an opinion poll on whether people north of the border like Alec Salmond. Without him, what is the SNP exactly? A couple of shrieking Bolshevik harridens and a drunken Glaswegian slurring abuse at the English?

      • ArchiePonsonby

        Drunken Glaswegian? Never! At least not until they play a London team away.

    • Doggie Roussel


      If Salmond loses… which he will… he will then demand the full Devomax… which will give him all that he has been demanding without the need to fund it or needing something like the Bank of England as the lender of last resort…

      All the Scotch subsidies and safety nets will be guaranteed, regardless.

      Odious fat pig, isn’t he ?

  • P_Cochrane

    I think that since 1979 and particularly since the internet allowed for alternative sources of opinion from the main stream establishment media, independence has been inevitable. When one considers MP’s expenses, corruption, poll tax and illegal wars, it is incredible that more English residents are not up in arms about the disgrace that Westminster has been revealed to be. For any politician to be able to buy a second home, take an interest only mortgage and then sell the property later for a massive profit after kitting it out with taxpayers money is shameful. God bless the Scots, at least they have a possible escape from the dissemblers by the Thames and I wish them well.

  • asalord
  • stevetierney

    If they want to go, let them go.

  • Jim M

    Just to put something right here. The creation of the UK or great britain was not concensual as many seem to think. The Scottish nobles voted it through on payment on money and lands in england among other things, against the will of the people of Scotland. You might want to check these facts before using them in an argument. The same nobles were hunted out of Edinburgh once the people discovered what had been done and civil war almost ensued because of their greed. Finally, this isn’t about Mr Salmond or the SNP. Its about the people of Scotland voting to retake control of their country from a “forced” union and a corrupt government in westminster.

    • Jonathan Burns

      Jim it was a Scottish King James VI who took over England and made his capital London becoming King James I of Great Britain. Where the English or Welsh people consulted?
      Usual nationalist rubbish. Likewise Scotland went bankrupt because of engaging in a incompetent bid to establish a colony and trigger a war with Spain. Trying to trade cold weather clothing in a tropical country.
      Was the creation of Scotland democratic? No and neither was Scotland nabbing the Shetlands and Orkneys.
      People like you deserve to be crushed underfoot by Europe.

      • asalord

        James VI was the archetypal Scottish unionist: as soon as he reached
        London he forgot all about Scotland. He boasted how he could rule the Scots by a stroke of the pen. A bit like Gordon Brown boasting about Scotland being his fiefdom.

        • Jonathan Burns

          Just like Bonnie Prince Charlie or Robert the Bruce.

          • asalord

            Charlie-boy was Italian and never reached London.

            • Jonathan Burns

              He wanted to take London.

        • mightymark

          Your post is the archetypal response from SNPers and cybernats whenever a Scot is seen in a UK wide role — just deny he is a Scot at all. Its as idiotic as those “radical wimmin” who used to say Margaret Thatcher wasn’t really a woman!

  • Jonathan Burns

    Why do the Nats always go on about the empire? Strange lots of descendents of slaves have Scottish surnames I wonder why?

  • Jonathan Burns

    Correct Fergus, I do sometimes wonder at the intelligence level of reporters.
    There has been no major change in polls carried out the old fashioned way.
    Online polls are the ones showing Yes gaining that are easily infiltrated by Cybernats like Daivdhf. The usual arrogance you get from a religious fanatic.

  • Fergus Pickering

    I read somewhere that these online polls are easy to fix and that they ARE fixed. The door-to-door polls show no change.

  • daivdhf

    The Union is dead and buried.

    Scotland will break away from Greater London, – sorry, England – be a very successful Independent Country and maybe, just maybe, some life will be then breathed into the totally moribund, unrepresentative, hopelessly partial, corrupt, London-centric mess which passes for rUK’s political system.

    Perhaps then, the people in the areas and regions outside London, will grow a set and demand far greater autonomy from the massive, bloated suction-pump of money, resources and talent, which that city has become.

    Maybe not, though.

    • john

      Right on! Britain is still a class-based society and the winners are mainly located in London and the losers everywhere else. The Scots can start to change this centuries old embarrassment.

      • daivdhf

        Amazing that the Unionists cannot accept this blindingly obvious fact!

        As I said previously, more to be pitied than scorned.

        • Jonathan Burns

          Don’t count your chickens till they are hatched.
          Be careful for what you wish for you may just get it.

    • Jonathan Burns

      Just imagine in a few years time Brussels will be your capital city and Salmond will be working for your European Masters. Pathetic just like your leader in WW2.

      • daivdhf

        Get a grip, son – I don’t need to imagine anything, I just have to look at your lot of kid-on dross in Westminster, to see exactly that, NOW.

        Ain’t you just ashamed that most of your Lords and Ladies, as well as a fair percentage of those at the very top of the Monarchy, supported wee Adolf and his merry men?

        Treason, I say, Treason!!!!!

    • Jonathan Burns

      Dear old Salmond is leading you to economic ruin and eventual absorption into the United States of Europe, you will use the Euro, your Passports will say European and you will bloody well do as you are told. Your fellow Europeans will not take any rubbish from such a tiny country.

  • john

    Let’s go Scotland! It’s tartan sans culottes versus London nabobs. The end of Empire is at hand, the monarchy is on its last legs. March South and free the enslaved masses of the grimy North.

    • Terry Field

      They do not know what to do with it; they do not deserve freedom. They would be unhappy out of their mental cages.

      • daivdhf

        Did you actually write this, or did one of your carers do it for you?

        Time to change your nappy, I think.

        Oh…………… and time to get out all the old, well-thumbed tomes about “The Empire” once again!

        • Terry Field

          No, reality is known to me and not to you. You exist in a socialist twilight world of entitlements and state power. It is all over. The individual is what matters; the state is a withered husk. As are the little grey cells between your ears.
          Go and see nanny and she will wipe our big botty. (Poor Nanny)

          • daivdhf

            Jeez – you have now stretched to four syllables in one word!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            Ghost-Writer perhaps?


  • Iain Hill

    If you cannot write with a modicum of detatchment, just go and put on your lifebelt. The no campaign is exclusively for fearties and pensioners of English corporatism. There are no more of them to come out!

    • HookesLaw

      it will be interesting to see how protestants in Scotland think about the kick starting the break up of the UK. A process that will lead to NI becoming part of the republic. it will be interesting to see how protestants in NI view the same process.
      It would sadly be interesting to see how sectarianism proceeds in an independent Scotland. lets hope it never happens.

      I presume that the main purpose of this article is to give all the anti scot nutjobs their moment in the sun to belch their venom. All of which will be meat and drink to Alex’s campaign.
      I can only presume the Spectator actively wants Scottish independence.

  • Jonathan Burns

    As I stated earlier old fashioned polls done face to face and door to door show little change.
    Yet polls done online show Yes making ganes. As this site shows the SNP have a well organised Cybernat group that immediately appear quoting official figures showing Scotland is super rich and being robbed by the evil English. Quotes are official figures massaged by Wings over Scotland, Business for Scotland etc.

    • starfish
    • HookesLaw

      Such an analysis is too complex for Spectator journos. Thank you for pointing it out.

    • daivdhf

      Au contraire, my friend.

      As a Scot, I can tell you that “on the ground”, The Yes Campaign are virtually running away with it, both on the doorsteps and at local meetings right across the Country.

      As for figures on who supports who, Scotland has always paid more in tax than it receives from Westminster, for at least the past 30 years.

      Post the Wings figures you quote, in contradiction of this fact.

      • Jonathan Burns

        What are you talking about?
        Lets see the Yes are running away with it at local meetings, as in local meetings of Yes supporters? How cute. If you were to bother looking up Scottish Government information from their own site Scotland has a deficit even after counting their share of oil. So spinning this myth about Scotland being robbed by England is a lie. A convenient lie to get a yes vote.

        • daivdhf

          Post the figures which disprove what I said then.

          Scotland’s tax revenues have outweighed it’s “subsidies” for the past 30 years.

          Of the two main partners in the Union, the bankrupt has always been England.

          We do not require lies to get our votes, unlike the blatant liars on the Unionist side, whose whoppers are now so gigantic they even blot out the size of Osborne’s cranium – and that is certainly no easy task.

          Open meetings, my son, where anyone can attend and where the only noticeable absence is Project Fear itself, as it quietly licks it’s wounds in a small, dark corner – even though it has had around 90% of all written Press and broadcast media in it’s back pocket, from the start.

          Independence is now pretty much a done-deal and there is really nothing much you can do about it – apart from upping your statin-dose.

          • Jonathan Burns

            As I have said go look up your own Scottish Government site and you will see Scotland spends more than it raises even when a geographical share of oil is included.
            If England is so bankrupt why do you want to still use the Pound?
            Surely it is illogical unless Scotland needs the English to bail you out.
            You don’t even have the courage to stand on your own two feet.

            • daivdhf

              Simplistic nonsense.

              If Scotland was the subsidy-junkie that Unionists keep bleating about, why would you want to keep us?

              If you really cannot figure that one out for yourself, you ain’t got much of the grey stuff between your ears.

              Lack of courage is certainly not something that reflects our character up here, nor yours down there either.

              Does you no favours to suggest otherwise. .

              • Jonathan Burns

                No country wants to lose 5 million of its population and only an idiot wants to lose 58 million of its population.

                • daivdhf

                  So, if the majority of Scots vote for Independence in September, by your logic they are idiots.

                  Good way to win hearts and minds, isn’t it.

                  As I have already said in this debate, the level of sheer ignorance displayed by some of our friends south of the Border, allied to the blatant condescension when Scots do not agree with their assessment of the pros and cons of the situation, is sometimes breathtaking.

                  You certainly qualify for the epithet used in the second line of your last Post, that is beyond question.

                • Jonathan Burns

                  One I am not English and do not live in England unlike the guy who runs Wings over Scotland and point two Yes voters are idiots.
                  We will know in a few months time if they are a majority or minority.
                  Believing Shetlands oil is a magic lamp and believing dodgy figures is idiotic.

                • daivdhf

                  The Unionist’s last chance saloon – “Shetland’s Oil”, eh?

                  Funny how it was never “Shetland’s Oil” when Westminster held the controls over the last 40 years, isn’t it.

                  Don’t remember Thatcher, Blair or Cameron ever using that description, do you?

                  Funny, don’t remember any of them encouraging or even mentioning Shetland going “independent” either.

                  What a load of absolute bollox this latest concocted non-story is – the last poll in the local area paper (winter 2013)showed around 80 odd percent wishing to stay within an independent Scotland, in any case.

                  As for being an idiot because you vote Yes – the obvious reply to that would be that only complete morons would vote No – but I see no need to stoop to that level of comment.

                  Suffice to say that Scottish People will vote which ever way they choose, based on the evidence they hold credible and the future they hold desirable.

                  On both counts, you are plainly on a loser.

                • Jonathan Burns

                  My dear fellow most gas in in English waters, kiss goodbye to it. Most Shalegas in in England, kiss goodbye to it. The leaves an Indy Scotland in a weak position, after all using your own argument why should oil around these islands be used to prop up Scottish pensions and benefits when the islanders could use the money themselves? They will be in a strong position to screw Salmond and don’t think they won’t. Nationalism once unleashed goes out of control.
                  Either way cuddles you lose, vote No you lose, vote Yes in 10 years time you will be either begging our English neighbours for help or kissing Brussels boots.

                • daivdhf

                  Not a true fact in sight, mate.

                  Scotland will keep the vast majority of oil (approx 93%), not the Shetlands or the other island groups, because 1 – apart from a tiny minority, they do not wish to leave iScotland anyway and 2. even if they did, their territorial waters would only extend to 12 miles offshore (enclave status) so would not remotely reach the oilfields.

                  Shalegas is in proprtionate amounts, per head of population in Scotland, as it is in rUK, so you have no case there either.

                  Your basically bankrupt financial state in rUK will be far harder hit by our departure, that we will ourselves and the likelihood of your departure from the EU will only compound that effect.

                  As for things getting out of control, we are now seeing more and more signs of the reality of just that, in your wee bit of turf.
                  Inequality and unequal division of both wealth and power is rife, with just about anyone outside London/SE left in the cold on both counts, more and more drift towards isolationism and insular beliefs under both the Tories and UKIP, hitting the poorest in society far harder, proportionately, than the City fat cats who almost destroyed you a few years back and almost getting involved in yet another foreign conflict, simply because America wanted it.

                  You are a completely busted flush, pet, and the saddest part of all, is that you really cannot see what is obvious outside your make-believe little world.

                  I really do pity you and your ilk, fluffkins.

  • LeoLeo

    “All this before Gordon Brown’s planned intervention”

    Might as well start putting up the border posts now.

    • telemachus

      The Scots respect Gordon as one of their own
      Done down by the English
      Daily on this blog

      • Tony_E

        Brown as the worst PM this country has ever had. All his ‘achievements’ as Chancellor were built on a mountain of debt, the Greenspan easy money tree and the accounting trick that he made of PFI (PPP was very different).

        It should have finished Socialism for good in the UK, but because he had trashed the currency, added hundreds of thousands to the public payroll, reduced real productivity and filled the gap with borrowed welfare payments, he kept his pliant voter base because they could not afford reality to appear.

        • Doggie Roussel

          Don’t forget the 40 billion he lost us in his giveaway of the UK gold reserves… Sold at approx US$ 250 an ounce… peaked a few years later at approx US$ 1800 an ounce… current price approx US$ 1250 an ounce…

          Now that’s one canny Scotch Chancellor of the Exchequer for you…

          Brown’s performance in Tudor times would have had him hanged, drawn and quartered…

    • asalord

      Brown is just another in the pathetic line of Scottish unionist politicians who love doing Westminster’s dirty work.
      They belittle Scotland in the hope of gaining a phony title and a seat in the house of lords.
      Brown cuts a sad figure these days. He still thinks he has influence in Scotland.
      Most people in Scotland view him with pity.

      • HookesLaw

        There is nothing pathetic about believing in the union. No one is belittling Scotland. Not those in politics. You may get a bunch of right wing loony nutjobs frothing at the mouth.
        But Scotland is a great place and better for being in the UK. Just as we in England are better for it being in the UK.
        Rational Scots recognise this, but since you are a scotty nutjob I do realise I am wasting my words.

        • asalord

          Hello HookesLaw. Here’s a wee quote from a loyal unionist, a Scot and leader of the “Scottish” Labour party:

          “Scots are not genetically programmed to make political decisions.” Johann Lamont

          • Jonathan Burns

            I see your avatar is a character who has poor eyesight. Fitting for a blind Nat.

        • daivdhf

          Interesting hypothesis – so, if a majority of Scots vote for Independence, then they are no longer “rational”.

          Doesn’t that sound, just a tad, stupid and condescending – or is it just me imagining it?

          • Jonathan Burns

            If you do get a Yes all those who supported you will get a nasty shock.

  • Tony_E

    The polls are clearly narrowing, but I would treat them with a little caution as to the actual numbers. The Scots nats are very prominent online, (see the huge number of comments under this story). It’s pretty easy to trick online pollsters with simple digital tricks. (in the same way that telegraph readers still don’t pay to read the online version).

    So I would only take any notice of polls with little or no online fieldwork. The Nats are (absolutely correctly) desperate to have that momentum that escaped them early in the campaign. Polls like this add to that, and help to raise an English reaction on which the Nats can stoke further division.

    • daivdhf

      You are completely correct, sir – the Polls do not reflect the true momentum on the ground, for the Yes Campaign.

      However, this will rectify itself in the next few weeks or so, when I fully expect them to show a Yes Lead for the first time.

  • Jonathan Burns

    SNP supporters genuinely believe they will have a Utopia and only believe information from Wings over Scotland run by a Scot living in Somerset and Business for Scotland composed of less than 1% of Scottish businesses.

    • HookesLaw

      Don’t forget Sean in Switzerland.

    • daivdhf

      No Utopia anticipated – merely leaving a decrepit arrangement which suits Scotland not at all.

      Utopia does not exist, as the present mess called “The Union” amply demonstrates.

      As for Wings – I think it has utterly decimated the viewing figures for Better Together’s site – pathetically so, in fact.

      Very well seen, who Scots believe is closer to the truth in this Debate – and it certainly ain’t the lying, scare-mongering Unionists.

      Getting really boring now, as they have already, not only forecast the end of Western Civilisation and World Peace following Independence, but also attacks from Space. as well.

      Their arsenals must now be completely empty and barrel-scraping must be about to start – ah, here comes Gordon Brown, right on cue!

      • Jonathan Burns

        Oh but you nats are closer to a religion than a political party and you will have a nasty shock when it is revealed the SNP have been fiddling the figures.

        • daivdhf

          Shock Horror – Politicians fiddling Figures!

          That could never happen in The Mother of Parliaments.

          Oops, just remembered……………………………………………………..