Poll: Fewer than half of Scots believe Scottish Parliament has served them well

The Scottish Parliament building in EdinburghThe Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh
The Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh
But research by The Diffley Partnership found positivity about devolution outweighs negativity

Fewer than half of Scots believe the Scottish Parliament has served them well over the years, according to new polling to mark the 25th anniversary of devolution.

Research by The Diffley Partnership, which was carried out on behalf of the Holyrood Sources podcast, found 40 per cent of respondents said the parliament had served them well, compared to 32 per cent who disagreed. The remainder either said neither was the case (24 per cent) or they did not know.

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When asked to rank whether devolution had been positive or negative on a scale of zero to 10, 56 per cent said positive and 26 per cent said negative.

Meanwhile, 43 per cent said having a parliament made them feel more proud to be Scottish.

Mark Diffley, founder and director of The Diffley Partnership, said: “As we mark 25 years of devolution, our poll breaks new ground in understanding the public view of its impact. In a time of significant distrust of the political class, it is notable that positivity about devolution outweighs negativity by more than two to one and that only one in five of us want to reverse the devolution process.

“However, decision-makers and politicians must note the more negative findings from the poll, including significant numbers who do not consider Holyrood or MSPs to be serving them well, and use this evidence to consider how better to connect devolution to the public.”

The poll of 1,046 adults in Scotland, which was carried out from March 11 to 15, found 37 per cent believe their MSP serves their area well, with 42 per cent believing they generally do a good job of representing citizens.

Asked what should happen in the next 10 years, just 20 per cent backed the constitutional status quo, while 22 per cent backed more powers for the Scottish Parliament. A further 38 per cent backed independence, while 20 per cent said devolution should be reversed and Holyrood should not exist.

Holyrood Sources will record a live podcast this Thursday at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, with guests including former first ministers Henry McLeish, Jack McConnell and Alex Salmond, as well as other politicians and commentators.

Geoff Aberdein, the podcast’s co-host, who is also a managing partner of the consultancy firm True North, said: “It is welcome that a majority of Scots have a positive view of the Scottish Parliament but clearly many of our fellow citizens are yet to be convinced of the benefits it provides."

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Fellow host Andy Maciver, the founder and director of communications company Message Matters, added: “This polling should be a wake-up call for all 129 MSPs, and the political parties. Devolution is tolerated, but it is not loved.

“Those who believe in the concept of devolution need to accept that Holyrood has not delivered in the way people hoped it would. This 25 year anniversary is a good time to hit the reset button so that, when devolution reaches 50, it can be the institution we all hoped it would.”

The Scottish Parliament was “reconvened” in 1999, two years after an overwhelming majority backed devolution in a referendum.



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