UK & World News

  • 26 January 2014, 20:58

Scottish Independence: 46% 'Don't Mind'

An exclusive poll for Sky News suggests almost half of people living outside Scotland "wouldn't mind" waking up to discover the country was independent from the rest of the UK.

YouGov questioned more than 2,500 people across Scotland, Wales and England.

Some 46% of those outside of Scotland asked to imagine waking up and finding the country independent from the rest of the UK said they "wouldn't mind", while 34% said they would be dismayed and 11% said they would be delighted.

When adults in Scotland were asked the same question, there was more evidence of the task facing Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish National Party, and the Yes campaign - with 46% saying they would be dismayed and just a quarter saying they would be delighted.

Speaking to Sky News for a special programme on Scottish independence, Mr Salmond, told Dermot Murnaghan he was confident people will vote in favour of Independence in the September 18 referendum.

He said the move would bring potential benefits and opportunities for people living in the north of England and Wales - referring to northern English councils' proposals to collaborate far more closely with their Scottish neighbours, as part of the Borderlands initiative.

"It is not for me to intervene in English affairs, but if you want a commentary, if I were a politician in the north of England, I would be campaigning avidly for more economic and political powers for that area.

"There are many people in Wales for example cheering Scotland on, because the tendency over the last generation has been that as Scotland has had increased power Wales has followed that. Therefore, it has been a good thing for other areas of the country."

The Yes campaign is a long way behind the polls. But the First Minister, who believes independence will benefit the Scottish economy, also believes he can turn the situation around.

"Opinion polls tens to ask people how are you going to vote tomorrow, and people will answer on that basis.

"The referendum is not tomorrow. This referendum is in September, and therefore the campaign you will fight to win this referendum is one that engages people ... and that engagement is going to culminate in September - that's the point to be in front."

He also re-emphasised the proposal for a Scottish Broadcasting Corporation with "dedicated Scottish channels" which would look at Scottish, international and UK news from a Scottish perspective.

Mr Salmond said: "Scotland is not a county, or a district, or a region - Scotland's a country, it's a nation.

"That nation exists in friendship with other nations, and after Scottish independence, England will be our best pals, our closest neighbours, our best pals in the world. That's as it should be.

"That doesn't nullify or attack our case for Scottish independence - on the contrary, inter-dependence in the modern world strengthens the case."

Asked what he would do if he woke up on September 19 and found that he had lost the referendum, he replied: "I intend to win."

Former chancellor Alistair Darling, who is chairman of the Better Together campaign, said the UK was "more than the sum of four parts".

He told the Murnaghan show: "The advantage for us, the opportunities that come from being part of something bigger, in terms of jobs because we have got a bigger economy, in terms of the clout we have in the European Union and other international organisations, and the bonds between the four countries - I think you have to think long and hard before throwing that away."

He said he believed the referendum was "going to be closer than people think", adding: "It is all to play for."

Scottish actor Brian Cox told the programme the UK had a "broken political system" in which "England gets the tap end of the bath", while London had always been a "separate principality".

"One of the best things that could have happened to the English parliament is that it moves to somewhere like Wolverhampton," he suggested.

"It seems to me the logical step is that we do have our own nation, we deserve it, and it has been a long time coming."

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