Some interesting polling in Britain which shows that the centre-left Labour Party is still in the lead over the governing centre-right Conservatives and right-left Lib-Dems. However despite all the adverse publicity of recent weeks and concerted media criticism the right-wing England-centred UKIP movement under Nigel Farage is not just holding its own with potential voters but is actually making some gains. While predictions are still for a Labour administration in London come the next general election there is the possibility of a narrow majority Conservative-UKIP coalition supported by an axis of far right British Unionist parties in the north-east of Ireland (the DUP, UUP and TUV). Certainly the Tories think so or they would not be wooing Unionist leaders so assiduously and even UKIP has sought allies amongst the political fringes of the British Unionist community in this country, apparently little concerned by their militant credentials (or perhaps more likely impressed by them).
Meanwhile two new polls have shown a small shift in favour of the Yes vote in Scotland’s upcoming referendum on independence, just weeks away now. This is despite the so-so performance by Alex Salmond, the First Minister of the pro-sovereignty SNP government in Edinburgh, when debating the referendum live on air with his Unionist and traditionally lacklustre rival Alistair Darling of the Labour Party. The British media unsurprisingly claimed it as a victory for the latter and the post-debate polls were expected to prove that. Instead, despite some early excitement, voters seem to be still making up their minds. According to the Panelbase/Yes Scotland poll (with “undecideds” stripped out) the Yes vote stands at a very respectable 48% (+2%) while the No has dropped to a narrow 52% (-2%). On the other hand the ICM/Scotland (using the same criteria) has Yes at 45% (+2%) and No at 55% (-2%) a far more comfortable if still narrowing gap for the British nationalist campaign. While the surveys are good news for the pro-sovereignty movement led by the SNP, Green Party and numerous others it is still an upward battle as the anti-independence No vote backed by the Tories, Labour, Lib-Dems and UKIP (not to mention the DUP, UUP, TUV and Orange Order) holds onto its majority lead.
However one wonders what Scottish voters will make of the potential of being ruled from London by an alliance of the centre-right Tories, right-wing UKIP and far right DUP, UUP and TUV post the next general election on the island of Britain and whether limited autonomy in Edinburgh will shield them from the worse (or most embarrassing) effects of that arrangement?