An in-depth poll conducted by Our Scottish Future over the election weekend has revealed that Scots back more cooperation between the UK and Scottish Governments – and do not want them to prioritize preparations for another referendum.
The poll – conducted as 48% of Scots voted SNP – found that a far higher number – 73 % – wanted better cooperation between Scotland and the rest of the UK.
Given 11 key priorities for action, such as the vaccination programme, NHS spending, and an education plan for young people, Scots ranked “preparing for a second referendum” in 8th place.
The most popular choice was “ensuring that NHS Scotland catches up with appointments and procedures that they were unable to do during COVID.”
The poll also showed that two-thirds of Scots agree that the best way to make the case for the Union is “to encourage better cooperation with Scottish institutions and be more inclusive of Scottish views.”
Trying to show how the UK Government was better than the Scottish Government was backed by fewer than a half, by contrast.
The findings come as former Prime Minister Gordon Brown today announces he is to lead a fresh campaign over the coming months to promote a “patriotic, progressive and principled case for Scotland’s future within the United Kingdom.”
New ‘Cooperation Commissions’ on health, the economy, child poverty, and the environment will be set up to examine how best the Union can provide ‘added value’ to the key challenges the country faces over the coming years.
Mr Brown also set out a fresh call for the UK Government to establish a Commission of Inquiry into the Union to examine the reforms needed to the UK to provide a better alternative to both the status quo and independence.
Mr Brown says today that Our Scottish Future will become a new campaign with the aim of putting “the patriotic, progressive and principled case for Scotland’s future within the UK.”
Writing in today’s Scotsman he says: “Today our think tank Scottish Future will transform itself into a campaigning movement and invite people to join us in putting the positive, progressive, and patriotic case for Scotland in Britain. Instead of focusing on powers the Parliament does not have we will focus on how we use the powers the Parliament does have to tackle poverty, unemployment, health inequalities, and climate change. Our Commissions on the economy, healthcare, climate change, and poverty will look at how cooperation can work to Scotland’s benefit by using all the resources of the UK. And we will argue for a reformed UK with a more inclusive centre, a forum that brings the leaders of the nations and regions together and for them to be local focal points of economic initiative.”
He adds: “And if the Prime Minister really is to be “minister for the union” rather than ‘minister for Unionists’ then he needs to do more than call a meeting with the leaders of Wales and Scotland. He can do so by making two big policy changes. He should order a constitutional review – Sir Keir Starmer has already done – of the whole future of the United Kingdom, specifically asking it to investigate alternatives to nationalism and the status quo. And he should concentrate on furthering cooperation in those areas where all the resources of the UK can be mobilized in support of the NHS, the fight for jobs, and the war on poverty and on climate change. He must now realise he has to change if the United Kingdom is to stay in being.”
Polling questions as follows:
To what extent do you agree with the following statements on the relationship between the UK and Scottish Governments?
The Scottish and UK Governments cooperate well today: Disagree 54%. Agree 23%
I want the UK and Scottish Governments to cooperate better in areas that affect my life: Disagree 7%. Agree 73%
A more productive and collaborative relationship between the Scottish and UK Governments would be good for Scotland: Disagree 9%. Agree 68%
There needs to be greater alignment of policy and messaging on key issues such as COVID between the two governments: Disagree 11%. Agree 66%
The best way for the UK Government to make a case for the Union would be to encourage better cooperation with Scottish institutions and be more inclusive of Scottish views: Disagree 11%. Agree 64%
The best way for the UK Government to make a case for the Union would be to demonstrate how it is better than the Scottish Government: Disagree 26%. Agree 46%
The poll also reveals overwhelming support for more cooperation between the UK and Scottish Governments on the economic recovery, the NHS, climate change, the drugs crisis, education, poverty, transport, and crime. Full details can be found here.