Gordon Brown, writing in the Observer, is the latest in a long line of Remainiacs to try and blame a bad thing, in this case Scottish independence, on a WTO Brexit.
I can’t be certain if Gordon Brown simply does not understand what is going on in Scotland, or perhaps he is in denial, or is just stupid. Whichever it is, a reality check is now due.
The truth is, a key driver for Scots voting intentions is not Brexit, it is the Iraq war. Previously unpublished polling lays bare the impact of Labour’s disastrous war in Iraq on both the Scottish Labour and the British political establishment. The poll was conducted by BMG Research with a sample of 1,041 Scottish voters aged 16 plus, between 31st March and 5thApril 2017.
The poll asked the question: “Thinking about past elections since the war (i.e. since 2003), did the decision to take military action in Iraq influence how you have voted since. Are you more likely, or less likely, to vote for the Labour party because of the Iraq War?”
- Overall the poll shows that 32 percent of all Scottish voters said they were less likely to vote Labour because of the Iraq war, with 2 percent saying it made them more likely.
- 41 percent of respondents said that the war was not a factor in their decision on how to vote while 10 percent had not voted since and 14 percent were not sure if the war was a factor.
- For voters aged 16-24, 34 percent said they were less likely to vote Labour. Notably, just 21 percent said the war was not an important factor in deciding how to vote and 18 percent had not voted.
The data for younger voters, who would have been infants at the time, is particularly notable. It seems the war has had, and will continue to have, a significant impact on Scottish Labour for years and possibly even decades to come.
Blair & Brown – The SNP’s Chief Recruiting Officers
In the 2007 Scottish parliamentary elections, Scottish Labour lost to the SNP by just one seat. In the 2015 General Election (GE), Labour held just a single seat in Scotland.
The 2015 GE polling data highlights the scale of the impact:
- Almost 1 in 3 Scots, approx. 1,250,000, said they were less likely to vote Labour because of the war.
- 47 percent of SNP voters, approx. 680,000, said that the war made them less likely to vote Labour.
- Of those that did not vote, 24 percent said they were less likely to vote Labour because of the war. These are all big, big numbers.
The Iraqi war not only impacts which party Scots vote for, but also if voters stay at home. The Iraq war has been a disaster for Scottish Labour.
Iraq And Scottish Independence
The poll also looked at the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum. Overall, 44 percent of “Yes” voters said they were less likely to vote Labour compared with 28 percent of “No” voters who said they were less likely to vote Labour. This gives a spread of 16 percent between “Yes” and “No” voters, highlighting a bias of those unlikely to vote Labour because of the war to vote “Yes” – for Scottish independence. The Iraq war has boosted support for Scottish independence.
Iraq And Brexit
In the 2016 EU referendum, 37 percent of “remain” voters said they were less likely to vote Labour compared with 31 percent of “leave” voters, giving a spread of 6 percent. The EU/Independence referendum cross-breaks, however, provides the most significant data. A full 51 percent of “Yes”/”remain” voters are less likely to vote Labour because of the war. Of those Scots that want to break-away from the UK but remain in the EU (which did not take part in the initial invasion), 51 percent are less likely to vote Labour because of the Iraq war.
The View From The Door Step
From doorstep conversations going as far back as 2004, I knew many Scots were not only unhappy with the Labour party, and were less likely to vote Labour as a consequence, but they were also unhappy with the British political establishment. Voters will consider various factors, including Iraq, before casting their vote. This is why I commissioned the poll, to get a national picture and what a sad picture it is.
The Iraq war has caused voters to abandon Scottish Labour in droves in favour of the SNP. It has damaged our union, fuelled Scottish nationalism and increased support for the EU. How any politician could miss the “Iraq factor” in Scottish politics is beyond me. Yet, here we have a former Labour PM trying to blame it all on a WTO Brexit. Gordon Brown and Scottish Labour have been wandering the political wilderness for years. If this is their standard of debate, I would suggest that is the best place for them.
Regarding comments from former Prime Ministers Sir John Major and Theresa May, it is understandable to an extent that they are not au fait with the nuances of Scottish politics. The leader of the Scottish Tories, Ruth Davidson has also echoed these concerns. To explain how she is so out of touch is somewhat harder to explain away. Sadly, I feel they are nothing more than a cabal of pro-EU, anti-democracy extremists peddling a “project fear” message that the union is at risk in a do-or-die attempt to prevent a WTO Brexit.
Worst of all, I fear Tony Blair’s legacy will not be Iraq, but an independent Scotland because of Iraq.
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