Brexit has not given Scottish separatists any boost yet at all

Morning View
Morning View

The official campaign against Brexit was dubbed Project Fear by supporters of Brexit.

The main scare tactics related to the financial consequences of a British departure from the European Union.

Article 50 has not yet been triggered so it is early days but there does not even appear to be much sign of economic problems. Confidence in the United Kingdom, the world’s sixth largest economy, is clearly still strong.

But another major warning that was issued prior to the referendum was that Brexit would as good as inevitably lead to Scottish independence.

This was a prospect that alarmed some wavering voters in parts of the UK where the Union is always known to be at risk, most obviously here in Northern Ireland.

Again, it is early days but something can already be said with certainty. There has been no immediate surge in support for independence.

Indeed, backing for separatism has actually declined to just below the 45% level that it was at the time of the September 2014 independence referendum, according to YouGov new survey for The Times. The results are in line with other polls since Brexit. And the number of people who want the Scottish National Party government to campaign for independence is even smaller, at 31% of those surveyed.

These are devastating figures for the SNP, which has been so shrill and so self-righteous for so long. Its rhetoric antagonised Middle England and may have boosted the Tories sufficiently to get an overall majority last year. But far from the tail wagging the dog, the SNP has been unable to convince even a third of Scots that an aggressive separatist campaign is appropriate now, not even after the Brexit vote.

The Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who has overseen a minor Tory revival north of the border, is right to ask Ms Sturgeon to “stop disrespecting the majority of the people of Scotland” by pushing for another referendum.