‘Poll shows support for UK split has dropped,’ proclaims the Scotsman today . Looking at the actual poll , the headline may be over-reaching slightly: YouGov’s latest figures are within the margin of error of the ones from January, and anyway the question is worded differently. But it should certainly be worrying for Alex Salmond and the Yes campaign that they don’t appear to have made any headway at all.
Indeed, as Marcus Roberts of the Fabian Society (who commissioned the poll) says, Salmond’s halo seems to have slipped a little this year. The Spectator’s Politician of the Year in 2011 has struggled to shrug off the critics who say he’s fuzzy on what an independent Scotland would look like. John Lamont — Chief Whip of the Tories in Holyrood — quipped at the weekend that the SNP ‘have gone from making it up as they go along, to not even being able to do that’.
This year was always going to be a tough one in which to advance the independence cause, what with the Jubilee and the Olympics — and the abundance of union flags accompanying them — to contend with. And Salmond hasn’t handled the Olympics terribly well. First, he coined the term ‘Scolympians‘ when wishing good luck to the Scottish members of Team GB. Then it turned out that his government is spending £400,000 during the Games to use the Army and Navy Club rather than the Scotland Office’s Dover House.
The worry has long been that the No campaign would struggle to find a leader who could match Alex Salmond. That task is looking a little less tough these days.Tags: Alex Salmond, Scottish independence, SNP, UK politics