I wrote on August 5th: ‘Could Scotland’s EU migrants swing the next referendum to Yes? Yes, but there are other factors too.’
The Herald has picked up on the idea today, using the same research from Scottish Centre on European Relations which triggered my thinking and wonders the same. I can only agree with an idea I had first but there was more to my thesis making my optimism greater than the Herald’s.
While 57% of EU migrants in Scotland voted No in 2014, much has changed since then. The First Minister’s strong support for their right to stay after Brexit compared with the UK Tories’ frankly nauseating desire to use them as a bargaining chip in negotiations seems likely to have shifted their views strongly based at least on self-interest. Theresa seems not to have remembered this.
A comment piece from the Scottish Centre on European Relations, on the 4th August 2017, offered convincing evidence that EU voters could swing the result in favour of Yes next time. Despite a fall in support for the SNP before the last general election, support for independence remains solid with the result too close to call. The last one from Survation puts Yes at 46%. The Centre estimates there will be around 250 000 eligible EU voters by 2020. For some reason, the Herald makes in only 180 000. The Centre points out that if they had all voted Yes even in 2014, that would have produced a 51% win for Yes.
Remember the gap was only 384 000 in 2014 so, in addition to the above, I added some other factors likely to add to the argument and make Yes even more likely in 2020.
- Around 200 000 additional new voters who had been too young in 2014. The young are heavily in favour of Yes.
- The deaths of a large number of older voters more likely to vote No.
- The damaging consequences of a Brexit deal which will not be kind to the UK.
- The growth in the Scottish economy evidenced in several of my earlier pieces.
- The recovery of oil and gas prices also reported here.
- The massive growth in renewable energy generation.
- Continued improvements in health indicators as the Scottish NHS increasingly outperforms its southern neighbour.
- The more balanced coverage offered by STV this time around as they continue to recognise it makes good business sense to do so.
- The continuing decline of BBC Scotland’s influence.
- The increased influence of Yes-oriented social media.
I might even put money on it if only Nicola will call one.