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A Few Words on Scotland

4 September 2014

The more observant amongst you may have noticed that Scotland is holding a referendum in two weeks’ time. Nothing major – just the simple matter of Scotland potentially becoming an independent country and ending the 307 year old British union.

The BBC asked me to do a couple of short pieces for their website on the potential consequences for Wales of the referendum. As the two pieces were only 500 words each, I could hardly go into details, but simply tried to outline a few areas in which the referendum might have an impact on Wales. One piece considered the potential implications of a Yes vote; the second looked at what might follow from a victory for No. (I might add that while I am responsible for the text of these pieces, I did not choose either the headlines or the accompanying pictures…)

I was also asked to write a piece linking Scottish and Welsh nationalisms by the BritPolitics website. I chose to consider the potential implications for Plaid Cymru, and its relationship with the SNP, of the referendum. The final version is now available here. As you’ll see, I’m not that sure that Plaid will get anything very much in return for its current support for the SNP and Yes Scotland.

I daresay I may have a few more things to say on Scotland over the next few weeks. But normal service on this Blog will be resumed next Monday, with the next installment of my State of the Parties series. (It’s Plaid Cymru’s turn).


  1. Jon Jones

    “There is no doubting the sincerity of such views, or that most in Plaid Cymru would heartily welcome a victory for the SNP and its allies in the referendum.”

    I don’t think that you have the evidence for this statement Roger. I look at the cross tabulations in the polls that have asked about support for Scottish independence amongst Plaid voters and I don’t recall this overwhelming support.

    One welcome addition to Yougov polling in Scotland has been weighting for “Born/not born in Scotland”. Polling in Wales is crying out for this innovation…it would add greatly to our understanding of attitudes and voting intentions, particularly with regard to further devolution.

    • Roger Scully

      Welcome back Jon – was starting to worry about you…

      On your first point – I was talking about Plaid leaders and active members rather than voters.

      On the second – when YouGov ran some checks after the Euro elections, country of birth was one of the things they checked out. Seemed to me of potential importance. But it didn’t seem to make a difference, once the other factors included in their weighting scheme had been accounted for. Still, it was worth checking.

      • Jon Jones

        No difference at all when you weight for “Not born in Wales” amongst adult voters??… that should be weighted to 31% not born in Wales. I can believe to a certain extent that the major parties in a normal election (GE or Assembly) might split in a similar way to, say, Yorkshire and Humberside but I have difficulty believing that Plaid receives the same support amongst “Not born in Wales” as from “Born in Wales”.

        What I was particularly curious about however was when Welsh devolution questions were asked. I assume that Yougov weighted for “Born/Not born in Scotland because Not born in Scotland were less likely to be amongst “Yes” supporters (?). I was curious whether Devo-scepticism was also more likely amongst not born in Wales.

        • Roger Scully

          Jon – Plaid do receive (generally) lower levels of support from those born outside Wales. Similarly, those born outside Wales tend to be, on average, less enthusiatic about devolution. And yes, in Scotland, those born in the rest of the UK consistently come out as more likely to vote No.

          The point about weighting, though, is that explicitly adding place of birth to the weighting scheme did not help with accuracy on top of the factors that are already accounted for, including Welsh-language status, social class, and party identity.

          YouGov have presumably – I haven’t discussed this with them – added in country of birth to their Scottish polls because the other factors they were explictly weighting for were still leaving their samples unbalanced with regard to this factor.

  2. Jon Jones

    Ah! I didn’t realise that YouGov were already weighting for Welsh Language ability…..that might well obviate the necessity to weight for birth place.

    You are familiar with my beef about sample balance with regard to devolution polling, it relates to ICM and Beaufort who carried out surveys for the Silk Commission. In a dialogue with ICM their representative said that they had no intention of weighting for Welsh Language ability over and above their normal weightings.

    Still, it would be interesting to see Yougov reporting against birth place, after all it’s a larger demographic than most party affiliations and, as you will have noted after the EU elections, nationalists become particularly agitated about the voting of in-migrants.

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