There is a good reason why Scotland’s other politicians fear Mr Salmond: he is more charismatic and cleverer than them. He is clever enough to realise his chances of getting his referendum are slim and of winning it slimmer; he may well be content to see his adversaries vote it down, furnishing just the sort of grievance that he thrives on. They should call the conjuror’s bluff.Indeed they should and details of a YouGov poll in this morning's Daily Telegraph give two pretty concrete reasons why:
A YouGov survey of voters' opinion north of the Border, published by this newspaper today, shows that support for independence has reduced – there is a healthy two-to-one majority against – and that most do not regard the question as a pressing matter for Scotland. Asked to rate a referendum on independence in a list of national priorities, only one voter in eight said it was the most important of seven options – well behind the 63 per cent who saw "reducing unemployment" as the top priority.Given those figures, would it then not be a worthwhile strategy for the Unionist parties to sit back, mouths shut, as Salmond prepares to publish his Bill on St Andrew's Day next week calling for a referendum on the break-up of the United Kingdom? Let him take the responsibility for making the running of a referendum that few want and on which, if it ever took place, he would be hammered anyway?
Only 29 per cent of voters back independence now, compared with 31 per cent last year, while 57 per cent are opposed – an increase of four per cent on 2008.