Meanwhile, Alex Salmond’s journey is going depressingly well. The SNP conference starts in Inverness on Thursday and a ComRes poll today suggests 39 per cent are in favour of independence, against 38 per cent against the idea. Not a freak: a poll last
month by TNS-BMRB produced the same results. Hardly an overwhelming endorsement, but a reminder that the unionists are in trouble in Scotland.
The Scottish Tories are in so much trouble that one leadership candidate is suggesting the party renames itself because its official title strikes so many as oxymoronic. For all his Scottish lineage, David Cameron leaves Scots cold – as the general election demonstrated. The Labour MSPs are midway through a leadership race so dull that even the leader of Scottish Labour Party, Ed Miliband, could not name all three runners (watch here). The Scottish Lib Dems are down to about 6 per cent, roughly the proportion who think that Elvis is still alive.
Scotland does matter. Cameron has a majority in England; it was his failure to interest Scots that cost him the election. Salmond’s stunning poll turnaround this year shows the SNP are the most effective campaigners in Britain right now. There is a strong majority for an independence referendum, even amongst unionists. Alex Salmond and Sean Connery will be leading the “yes” side. Who will lead the “no” campaign? This is the question to put to anyone who dismisses the idea of Scotland breaking away – because no one can think of a good answer.