SNP revel in the success of their INDEPENDENCE CONSULTATION as 26,000 respond.
Responses to the SNP investigation into public opinion on Independence stood at 26,000 as the poll closed yesterday. Ministers say this figure is several thousand higher than their original estimations and is significantly more than the 11,900 responses gathered by April.
SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN IN THE FIGHT FOR INDEPENDENCE?
The success of the review will certainly be counted as something for the First Minister Alex Salmond to rub in the face of Prime Minister David Cameron, especially after the UK government spent much of the beginning of the year condemning the review after it’s originally rock start. (for more on this see here and here)
The number of responses to the review is not enough in itself to act as a significant blow in the fight for the separation of Scotland but it does look favorably on Salmonds abilities as an organised and passionate leader. It shows Westminster that the people of Scotland are interested in the discussion and do still want talks to proceed. But in a country of around 5 million residents one might wonder if merely 26,000 over a period of several months can really be counted as true public participation.
However, any boasting rights may evaporate as quickly as they arrived: it is not so much the number of results as the result itself that really matters. Salmond should get his digs in quick because the proverbial may well hit the fan if it transpires that opinion is not in his favour.
But hasn’t the discussion been limited recently?
At a time when the question of Independence has been put on ice to an extent, the review may serve as the fire to thaw it out once again.
Recently talks have calmed and concerns focused on more localised issues, a temporary truce apparently called for now, in what can only be assumed is a potential fond farewell to UK national pride: with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee having just passed and the London Olympic Games mere days away, the eyes of the world are upon us. It would be seen as somewhat unsporting, and indeed “unBritish” for the children to be bickering over who gets the biggest slice of the apple crumble. After all, their tea will get cold.
Even the ever ebullient Alex Salmond does not have the heart to take this rare moment of glory away from the UK and seems to be quite happy for Scotland to share this shining moment in British history under the national title and bask in the light from the Olympic Flame – even if just to give us a better chance of winning some medals!
But if Salmond hopes to create his own Scottish Olympic team, he will have a hard time winning over one big Scottish medal contender: Sir Chris Hoy. The cyclist has been quoted as saying a Scottish Olympic team would be “ridiculous”.
He may have captured the interest of the nation, but it seems the First Minister still has a long way to go if he is to win us all over.