Clear majority of Scots favour remaining in the Single Market
Today the Herald used research by NatCen to make the claim that:
A MAJORITY of Scots want to leave the European single market and restrict immigration for EU citizens after Brexit
Which is weird because if you look at the actual report by NatCen, the first piece of information you are confronted with is the following.
That 63 percent of Scots would accept Free Trade in exchange for Free Movement. Or in other words, that 63 percent of Scots are in favour of remaining in the EU Single Market.
The headline claim on immigration from the Herald article is based on a response to the following question.
Following the decision to leave the European Union, the UK will have to
negotiate a new agreement with the EU. The next few questions are about
some things that could be included in that agreement.
First of all, requiring people from the EU who want to come to live here
to apply to do so in the same way as people from outside the EU? Would
you be in favour or against that being part of the agreement?
Any claim derived from that question is flawed for a few reasons.
Firstly, the wording of the immigration question is pretty bad in terms of clarity. The question mixes up two conflicting motives. That of making it harder for EU immigrants to come here and that of equality between EU immigrants and non-EU immigrants.
Also, the question does not frame ending free movement in an accurate way. It only talks about ending free movement in one direction. Obviously, making it hard for people to come to the UK from the EU would have consequences on people going in the other direction. A fact the question avoids for some reason.
Also, even if we accept most Scots would ideally like to halt free movement while keeping free trade with the EU, we know this is impossible. The EU has ruled out cherry picking on numerous occasions. Therefore, the question is completely hypothetical. In the real world there is no choice between free trade and free movement. There is only a choice between having a free trade-deal that includes free movement and not having a free trade deal at all.
Given that fact, the first finding as detailed in the report is far more relevant.
The one based on a realistic outcome of Brexit as opposed to irresponsible Tory and Labour wishful thinking. When asked a sensible question, based on a realistic outcome, Scots are two to one in favour of remaining in the Single Market. Not only that but Scots are 10 percentage points more in favour of doing so than the population of the UK as a whole.
Leaving the irresponsible Herald headline aside, here are some other interesting results found in the research.
The majority of Scots think that Brexit will make them worse off and that number has grown significantly.
A growing majority of Scots think that the UK government is making a terrible job of the Brexit negotiations.
The majority of Scots think Fishing and Farming should be devolved post-Brexit.
However, the majority would prefer Immigration and Trade rules to be the same for the whole of the UK.
And, there has been no major shift in the headline numbers in terms of support for independence since 2014.
Interestingly though, there has been a shift in the minds of voters as to whether they think they would be better off economically in an independent Scotland.
Most now either feel they would be better or no worse off. This is a clear shift from the previous survey. Maybe as people realise the consequences of Brexit they are beginning to feel that the UK isn’t as safe a bet as it once was?
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