Pollster John Curtice warns time is right for Nicola Sturgeon ‘Unionists in trouble’
John Curtice discusses ‘policy challenge’ for Indyref2
Professor John Curtice warned Union supporters should win their arguments on “substance” and highlight what the merits are of being part of the UK. The political academic believes public visits to Scotland made by Boris Johnson do little to change public opinion, but they may be part of a bigger scheme to bring Scotland and the Prime Minister into the forefront of political discussions. Professor Curtice concluded that for the SNP and many people in Scotland, the time for independence is now.
Speaking on Times Radio, presenter Matt Chorley asked the Strathclyde University lecturer: “If Boris Johnson doesn’t go to Scotland he’ll be accused of running scared, if he does go to Scotland he’ll be accused of panicking and breaking the rules.
“Do visits like this have any impact on public opinion?”
Professor Curtice replied: “Impact on public opinion, probably not, but it does have an impact on the media agenda, so you and I start holding conversations like this.
“But the Prime Minister made a visit back in July and that certainly didn’t change the numbers.
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“But let’s put it like this, the Unionists are in trouble, it looks as though the SNP are going to get an overall majority on their own and that will raise possibilities of a constitutional clash.
“And it looks as though, at the moment, that support for independence is ahead.
“There is, in my mind, no doubt that the Unionist side need to put together a clear and effective, and a crucial word here, united campaign and doubtless Prime Minister visits will be a part of that.
“But it will certainly be true that at the end of the day there’s been a lot of attempts on the Unionist side to say they shouldn’t have a referendum now because of the pandemic.
“A lot of focus is on the process.
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“The truth is, my reading of the polls in Scotland, is that what the Unionists actually have to do is win the argument on substance.
“A majority of people in Scotland are in favour of independence, those people are determined to vote for the SNP.
“If you’re going to stop the SNP from getting an overall majority in May you have to persuade the people of Scotland of the merits of the Union.
“(they should not) say that the time is not right because for the majority of people in Scotland the time is now right.
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SNP President Michael Russell put the blame entirely at Westminster’s feet for the divisions in the UK.
He believes it is right for the SNP to push for an independence referendum without the approval of Westminister.
Mr Russell said: “At some stage, people are going to ask how are we going to build back and who shall lead us in that task and I think the people of Scotland need to know that the offering is clear.
“Either you want Boris Johnson to lead Scotland back from the pandemic, which I don’t think people do, or you want the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon and that requires independence.
“In my view, that is the problem with the Westminster Government, not the Scottish Government.”
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