As the campaign over Scottish independence draws to an acrimonious close, relative calm has returned to the polls after the shock waves caused by the YouGov poll for the Sunday Times earlier in the month, which showed Yes marginally ahead for the first time in many months.
Would the Conservative party benefit from Scottish independence? Would Labour never form a majority government again? As the referendum draws closer, and the polls tighten between the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ camps, a common refrain is that by depriving Labour of its Scottish MPs, a Yes vote would seriously impair its ability to garner a majority in Parliament, and make the formation of Conservative majorities easier.
Last Tuesday YouGov, hitherto a company that had painted a pessimistic picture of the Yes side’s prospects of winning on September 18, generated considerable excitement by publishing a poll that showed an eight point swing from No to Yes in just a month. Yesterday they went one better by being the first company in the referendum campaign to put the Yes side ahead in an independently commissioned poll.
The decline in Britain’s ‘two-party’ political system is well-documented. In the 1951 general election, the total Conservative-plus-Labour vote was 97%, yet in 2010 it had declined to 65%. The Liberal Democrats (and their predecessor parties, the Liberals and Social Democrats) had, until the 2010 election, been the main beneficiaries of this decline.
While those within the Westminster bubble obsess about the gender, age and Eurosceptic balance of David Cameron’s re-shuffled cabinet, a serious change to UK surveillance law is being rushed through parliament with little or no scrutiny.