Nicola Sturgeon and Douglas Ross clash in election debate
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The comment was one of numerous critical remarks levelled against Mrs Sturgeon during a focus group undertaken by Hanbury Strategy, which is speaking to voters leading up to May 6’s crunch vote. Interviews conducted prior to Mrs Sturgeon’s censure by MPs over the Alex Salmond inquiry, and the launch of Mr Salmond’s Alba party, and formed the basis for the State of the Union report published by Onward last year.
One, a middle-aged council worker, who is planning to vote Tory, said: “Queen Nic, as we’ve dubbed her in our household, actually needs to wind her neck in and just deal with what’s going on at the moment.”
Meanwhile another middle-aged civil servant claimed Mrs Sturgeon had “a hidden agenda here and it’s a bit about her own ego and looking for independence”.
Even those who said they would vote Yes in a second Scottish independence referendnum voiced their doubts.
According to comments seen by Politico, a 45-year-old administrator, acknowledged talk of Scotland going it alone was risky in the midst of the ongoing pandemic.
She said: “I think Scotland needs to fix Scotland first, 100 percent.”
Others voiced specific concerns. Michael, whose name has been changed for privacy, who also likewise backed independence while acknowledging Scotland was in for a “bumpy” ride if it took such a path, said of public services: “They aren’t doing great at all.
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“I haven’t heard the education minister at all in the last three or four months.”
Another former SNP voter, who nevertheless voted No in 2014, was particularly worried about the price of beer.
He feared a Scotland breakaway would push the price of a pint up to the point where it was in line with Scandinavian countries – but without the high wages to compensate.
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However, Mrs Sturgeon was not without her supporters.
SNP supporter Allison said: “I’ve just got such admiration for her.
“She’s clear, she’s concise, she talks in simple terms, she doesn’t babble.”
Asked whether independence was a practical aspiration, she joked: “We’ve got Irn Bru!
“I don’t see why we would lose anything.”
The report, published on March 23, indicated that 35 percent of Scottish voters, and 58 percent of Yes voters, believed if the SNP wins a majority in the elections and the UK Government refuses a referendum outright they would be more likely to vote Yes, compared to 19 percent and eight percent respectively who said they would be less likely.
If Nicola Sturgeon was to resigned, 28 percent of 2014 Yes voters say they would be less likely to do so again, compared with 23 percent who said it would make them more likely.
When asked what benefits or features of the Union they would miss if Scotland did back independence, 57 percent of Scottish voters said they would miss “funding for public services like the NHS”, 40 percent would miss “the ability to travel and work freely around the United Kingdom” and 38 percent said they would miss a “shared British identity”, including 47 percent, 27 percent and 19 percent of Yes voters respectively.
Will Tanner, Director of Onward and co-author of the report, said: “The breakup of the United Kingdom is not a foregone conclusion.
“Headline support for Scottish independence may be worryingly high, but it is clear that Scots do not want a referendum until coronavirus has been eliminated and the economy recovered.
“In addition, the Alex Salmond trial appears to be sowing doubt in voters’ minds at exactly the moment the vaccine programme is proving the benefits of partnership within the Union.”
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