With a Scottish referendum on secession from the United Kingdom just eight months away, the nationalists may be gaining significant ground. A new poll shows those in favor of independence have increased by five points, putting those opposed to secession just seven points ahead. The FT reports:
The sharp narrowing of the pro-union lead was “extremely encouraging”, said Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s deputy first minister.“With eight months to go, this poll shows that our positive message is making significant progress, and a swing of just over 3 per cent will put Yes ahead,” she said.The Scotland on Sunday, which commissioned the poll and is generally unsympathetic to the nationalist cause, said the result was a “landmark moment” that made independence “look like a practical possibility”.
This is not just a UK story: nearly every country in the world with an organized, secessionist-minded minority is paying attention should the nationalists win the referendum. Canada, Spain, Russia and China don’t want Quebec, the Catalans, Basques, Chechens or Tibetans getting any bright ideas. The Scottish nationalists seem to think that independence wouldn’t put Scotland’s economy and international political standing (not to mention its place in the EU) in a lot of unnecessary trouble. But international organizations naturally disposed to opposing such disruptive change could make an independent Scotland’s life pretty miserable.Interestingly enough, it might be what’s left of the UK that would spend the least amount of time wringing its hands over the breakup of Dear Old Blighty:
In a sign that voters in the rest of the UK remain relatively unconcerned by the possible implications of the looming referendum, Sky News said a poll for it by YouGov found 57 per cent of respondents “wouldn’t mind” or “would be delighted” to wake up tomorrow and find Scotland was an independent country.