A new poll suggests that Scotland would succeed in an attempt to leave the United Kingdom — and a brewing war on the British left would only help the cause.
For the first time since the last such election was held, a slim majority of Scots — 53 percent — said they would vote “yes” in a referendum on independence. The last referendum, in which the “no” question won with 55 percent, was held in September 2014.
Scotland today is heavily shaped by the Scottish National Party, which has made substantial gains over the traditional left-wing Labour Party in recent years. The SNP almost completely swept Labour from Scotland’s parliamentary seats in May’s British election. (RELATED: UK Election Stokes Rumors Of EU Withdrawal, Scottish Secession)
Since its upset in May, and the resignation of its leader Ed Miliband, Labour has seen heated competition to elect a new leader and restore its honor. But a firebrand has emerged at the forefront of the Labour race: a radical leftist named Jeremy Corbyn.
Corbyn backs the most socialist policies that Labour has seen in a generation. His criticism of Israel has been accused of verging on anti-Semitism, and he has occasionally expressed sympathy for violent Islamists. (RELATED: Leading British Politician Calls Bin Laden’s Death ‘A Tragedy’)
He unexpectedly became the frontrunner in the Labour election after several weeks of contentious debate, including robust discussion of what should constitute Labour’s governing ideology. Labour will announce the results of its weeks-long internal election on Sept. 12. Corbyn is currently expected to win. But his radical left-wing policies could push remaining SNP-Labour swing-voters into the SNP’s camp.
Scotland faces an election of its own next year, for members in the Scottish Parliament that was established in 1999. Wednesday’s poll predicted a landslide election for the SNP — and if Corbyn becomes Labour leader, the damage could be even worse.
A Scottish Labour representative told the BBC that the party would “put Labour’s values first” in the run-up to Scotland’s election. The statement echoes the soul-searching over “electability” and “Labour’s values” that many of the party’s own leaders have undergone in recent weeks.
Elsewhere in Wednesday’s results, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon enjoyed a 71 percent approval rating. By comparison, only 28 percent of polled Scots approved of Prime Minister David Cameron, who leads the Conservative Party.
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