Friday, January 30, 2009

Bad news for separatists

In recent times it seems that the strategy of Scottish separatists wasn't so much to convince the Scots of the supposed benefits of an "independent" Scotland (let's leave the EU out of this for now) but to provoke the English into driving Scotland out.

So it's interesting to see the figures from the latest British Social Attitudes Report from the National Centre for Social Research. These figures can be spun both ways - see The Scotsman: Scots get too much cash, say rising number of English and Scottish Unionist: Nationalists fail to whip up English resentment for alternative spins. A Pint of Unionist Lite: All a question of presentation... notes the different ways of looking at this.

But here are some of the interesting figures:
• Nearly a third (32%) of people in England now feel that Scotland gets more than its fair share of government spending, up from 22% in 2003.
• Well over half (61%) agree that Scottish MPs should not vote on English legislation, though this figure was already almost as high (60%) in 2003.
• Only a minority oppose the devolution that is already in place. Fewer than one in five people in England (18%) oppose the idea of Scotland having its own Parliament, while only 20% oppose the Welsh Assembly.
• There has been no increase in the desire that Scotland should leave the UK; only one in five people in England (19%) want this, no more than felt that way in 1999 (21%).
• The majority (57%, the same figure as in 2001) think England should continue to be governed from Westminster rather than by an English Parliament (17% in favour) or regional assembles (14% in favour).
• Forced to choose, 47% of people in England say they are British while 39% say they are English.
• While the proportion saying they are British is down by 11 percentage points on 1996 (58%) it is up three points on 1999 (44%).
• More than half (55%) of people in England say that the creation of the Scottish Parliament has made no difference to how well Britain is governed.
• 50% trust the UK government to look after England’s interests either ‘just about always’ or ‘most of the time’.
The obvious conclusion is that the UK's current arrangements are broadly felt to work and it is only a couple of comparatively minor issues that still maintain resentment. And only a third were concerned about the Barnett Formula, a situation that should eventually correct itself. This is hardly the image of England in uproar and hatred towards Scotland that some like to play to.

So if the Scottish separatists were hoping on the English doing the job for them it seems they've totally misplaced their hopes. Maybe they should go back to explaining why they want Scotland to be like Iceland is now.

Oh it seems that even Iceland doesn't want to be like Iceland is now. (Christian Science Monitor: Will EU lifeline sink Iceland's fishing industry?)

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