What is the real significance of Lord Ashcroft’s recent poll findings on voting intentions in this May’s general election?
Bill Jamieson waded through what appears to be a statistical quagmire (Perspective, 5 February). The huge SNP lead certainly does not look good for either Labour’s prospects or Ed Miliband’s future. But what might it say about the voters’ attitude to independence nearly four months after the historic referendum?
It probably reflects a shrewdness in the electorate about where their economic interests lie. What Mr Jamieson revealed about the findings on the views of the over-60s is very striking.
Even at 42 per cent support in that age group for the Nationalists, that is still not enough to support the case for independence. Many lower income pensioners last September heeded the words of former prime minister Gordon Brown and felt even those incomes would be more secure with the status quo.
Those pensioners with savings and investments may have felt that that a change would lead to much instability (as some large financial concerns were warning).
That same age group may now feel that the SNP, holding the balance of power in the House of Commons, will exert enough influence to look after their interests; it does not mean they will support a renewed case for autonomy.
Similarly, relatively affluent people in all age groups may feel a strong SNP presence is the best way to thwart Conservative backbench opposition to an extension of powers for Holyrood.
It is canniness, but canniness for a distinct purpose. It is interesting because it shows how discriminating voters north of the Border can be deciding on their own and their country’s future.
The recent opinion polls carried out by Lord Ashcroft suggest widespread success for the SNP in the general election in May.
What must frustrate the Nationalists, however, is that in the only poll that counts towards their ultimate goal, their very raison d’etre, the break-up of the UK, they failed.
It would seem that the people of Scotland can distinguish very clearly between not liking any of the mainstream parties or their leaders and electing to separate their country from the rest of Britain.
The Ashcroft poll would indicate that the people seem happy enough to elect SNP representatives for Westminster simply because they are not part of the establishment.
That negativity has happened in the past and it will not last forever. A good shake-up of politics in Scotland is required and this may bring it about.
When the chips were down last year, a natural and clear majority of the people of this country chose to remain part of the UK. That will not change.
New Cut Rigg