Poll swings

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It WAS intriguing to note the claim in your editorial (Perspective, 27 July) that Alex Salmond’s assertion that he will come from behind and turn the tables on his opponents to win the independence referendum has “history against it”.

In the referendum on independence for Quebec in 1995, the motion to decide whether it should secede from Canada was defeated by a very narrow margin of 50.58 per cent “No” to 49.42 per cent “Yes”. Early polls however indicated that 67 per cent of Quebecers would vote “No” and yet the “Yes” side came within a whisker of claiming victory.

In the 1975 referendum on whether the UK should withdraw from the European Economic Community or stay in, those favouring withdrawal initially led by a margin of 2:1, with this situation reversed at the actual polls, with 67 per cent of the country voting to stay in the EEC.

And let us not forget that in March 2011, two months before the Scottish Parliamentary election, Labour held a double-digit lead over the SNP in the opinion polls – 44 per cent to 29 per cent. And yet the latter went on to win this historic election, delivering a majority SNP government, the first time in the Scottish Parliament where a party has commanded a parliamentary majority.

Those seeking independence for Scotland are in fact swimming with the tide of history and not against it.

Alex Orr

Leamington Terrace

Edinburgh

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