‘No real shift’ in support for Scottish independence after Brexit vote... despite Glasgow march

Thousands of people take part in the 'All Under One Banner' march for Scottish independence through Glasgow city centre. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
Thousands of people take part in the 'All Under One Banner' march for Scottish independence through Glasgow city centre. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
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A new poll has found “no real shift” in opinion towards Scottish independence in the wake of the Brexit vote.

The YouGov poll found Scots would vote to remain in the UK by 53% to 47% if another referendum on the issue were held now.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The polling company said the results represent a move towards the independence option of just 1% since it last asked the question in early May.

Almost two-thirds (62%) of Scots who took part in last month’s referendum on European Union (EU) membership voted to Remain.

Despite that, the UK as a whole voted in favour of Leave, prompting SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to warn the result makes another vote on Scottish independence “highly likely”.

The report was released as thousands of Scottish independence supporters gathered for a march in Glasgow.

Police Scotland said an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 people had gathered in George Square at the end of the route, where they congregated and could look at stalls and listen to speeches.

For the latest research, YouGov polled 1,006 Scottish adults between July 20-25, roughly one month on from the referendum.

It concluded that a guarantee of an independent Scotland being able to remain in the EU does not move public opinion in favour of independence.

Some 46% of Scots said they would rather live in a Scotland that was still part of the UK after it has left the EU, against 37% who would rather live in an independent Scotland that remained in the EU. These numbers become 55% to 45% once “don’t knows” are removed.

Thousands of people take part in the 'All Under One Banner' march for Scottish independence through Glasgow city centre. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Thousands of people take part in the 'All Under One Banner' march for Scottish independence through Glasgow city centre. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

The percentage who said they would not vote or did not know increased from 12% to 14% in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, the poll found.

“One month after the UK’s shock decision to leave the EU, the latest YouGov research in Scotland shows no real shift towards independence,” YouGov’s Matthew Smith said on the company’s website.

But he said the situation was a “complicated” one and added: “While Scottish independence has been mooted in the wake of the vote to leave the EU, a new referendum is not currently on the table.

“However, a lot could still change on this front in the coming years. Article 50 has not yet been triggered and once details of the Brexit deal emerge it may alter the context of the independence debate.”

The findings follow another recent poll which found almost a third of voters want to wait until the UK’s deal with the EU is clear before deciding whether to hold another independence referendum.

The YouGov survey for the pro-union Scotland in Union campaign group found 32% of Scots think the country should wait for the Brexit deal before a repeat of the 2014 ballot while 25% do not want another vote on independence until at least 2030.

Responding to the most recent poll, the SNP hailed the increase in support for independence.

SNP business convener Derek Mackay MSP said: “This poll is the latest to demonstrate that many No voters are reconsidering their opposition to independence now that Scotland faces being dragged out of the EU against our will.

“In light of the overwhelming vote to remain in the EU, it is right that the Scottish Government explores every option to protect our relationship with and place in the EU - including the option of another independence referendum if that is what it takes.

“The UK that Scotland voted to remain part of in 2014 is changing fundamentally.”

UK Government minister Andrew Dunlop said that another “divisive constitutional debate” is not want the country wants.

He said: “The arguments for Scotland remaining a part of the UK are just as compelling as they were in 2014 - in or out of the EU.

“The Prime Minister has been very clear that we are going to make a success of Brexit, and the focus now needs to be on collaborative working with the Scottish Government as ‘Team UK’ to ensure the best possible deal for Scotland and the rest of the UK.”

Glasgow march

Saturday’s march began in the west end of Glasgow and followed a route through Charing Cross and Sauchiehall Street towards George Square.

Campaigners waved Saltire flags and banners aloft as they wound their way slowly towards the rally in the city’s heart. They were also joined by dozens of motorcyclists - described to the crowds as “Yes bikers” - who revved their engines at intervals in support of the march.

One of those who addressed the crowd was independence campaigner and blogger Paul Kavanagh.

He said: “An official independence referendum hasn’t been called yet and it’s some way down the line before it actually takes place.

“But it’s really important that we start campaigning now for independence because we have to be ready for it when it happens.

“The last independence referendum was described constantly as (former first minister) Alex Salmond’s referendum, the SNP’s referendum, but we can’t win an independence referendum on the basis of party politics. It has to be a national movement and that’s what we’re doing here today.

“There are people here from all sorts of different parties. What we’re trying to do is shape the next independence referendum so that it’s a referendum for the whole of the people of Scotland.”

Mr Kavanagh, who praised the turnout at Saturday’s event, said: “Scotland voted by a larger majority to remain a part of the EU than it did to remain part of the UK and yet that majority can be completely discounted.

“If we want democracy in this country, if we want a government that is actually representative of what the people of Scotland want, the only way to achieve that is with independence. We’ve been let down far too often by the British state.”

Bailie Eva Bolander, SNP councillor for Glasgow’s Anderston/City ward, was among those supporting the event.

She said: “I think the turnout is fantastic, it’s fabulous. I do believe Scotland’s best future is being independent.

“(The campaign) has of course got a new impetus after the EU referendum because Scotland is completely different from the rest of the UK.

“Scotland is welcoming EU residents like myself and wants to have the connection with the EU to continue, and have an input into the EU in respect of policies.”

Activist Jason Baird said the event was about getting ready for any future independence referendum campaign.

“We’re here because there’s a massive groundswell for independence in Scotland,” he said.

“The last time we started at 30% and we ended at 45%. The No campaign started at 70% and ended at 55%. There was only one winner in the last campaign and it was the Yes movement and the Yes movement will do exactly the same thing again.”

The event was organised via social media by campaign group All Under One Banner, which later described it as “our biggest and best independence march ever” in a Facebook