A NEW opinion poll has found that support for independence enjoys a 2% lead over opposition to it, with support for independence on 44% and opposition to it on 42%.

This produces a hypothetical result of 51.2% Yes once don't knows are removed.

The poll, carried out by Redfield and Wilson, marks the first time that this polling company has recorded a majority for Yes since November 2022.

This polling company has a track record of reporting higher support for the Labour Party in Scotland than other polling companies, and this poll is no exception, reporting a Labour lead of 1% over the SNP in Westminster voting intention with Labour on 33% and the SNP on 32%.

This poll certainly shows that support for independence is continuing to hold up well despite the travails of the SNP and the media onslaught which the party has endured in recent months.

This demonstrates clearly that support for independence is independent of support for the SNP, and that the British nationalist strategy of attacking the SNP has failed and will continue to fail in its objective of reducing support for Scottish independence.

Irrespective of the electoral fortunes of the SNP, the question of Scottish independence is not going to go away, and the Labour and Conservative parties are merely storing up problems for themselves in the medium to longer-term if they believe that they can continue to ignore the issue and continue their attempts to restrict or bypass the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

The National: Rishi Sunak

It is noteworthy that this same poll also shows that support for the Conservatives in Scotland is continuing to hold up, despite the widespread unpopularity of the Tories reported in other polls, then the majority that this poll shows for Scottish independence becomes even more significant.

The true level of support for independence could in fact be even higher.

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The broader picture remains bleak for the future of Westminster rule in Scotland.

All polling companies consistently show that the only age cohort amongst which there is consistent majority opposition to independence is the oldest, and that majority support for independence becomes progressively higher the younger the age cohort.

Amongst younger voters, majority support for independence is overwhelming.

There is no evidence to suggest that younger people cease to support independence the older they get, so Westminster rule in Scotland is on borrowed time, resting on support from an older generation whose views were formed when a sense of a British identity was all-pervading and when the Scottish cringe was seen as common sense and not as the national psychological disease that it truly is.

As time passes, support for independence is only going to increase. It is not going to be affected by the level of support for the SNP and Labour and the Conservatives ignore it at their peril.

Elsewhere, The National is urging readers to lend their support to a petition calling on the Westminster Parliament to debate a UK family visa scheme for Palestinians displaced by the destruction and man-made famine which is being wrought on Gaza by Israel.

The National: Gaza

The campaign is calling on the UK Government to create a scheme like that already in place for Ukrainians which would allow Palestinians affected by the crisis in Gaza to seek refuge and reunite with their families in the UK. 

By way of comparison, although Ukraine is massive in comparison to the tiny territory of Gaza, over 33,000 Palestinians, the great majority of whom are non-combatants, have been killed in Gaza since Israel's assault on the territory began, while an estimated 10,500 Ukrainian civilians have been killed since the Russians invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

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Proportionately the scale of destruction in Gaza has been far greater, with a majority of houses in the north of the territory reported damaged or destroyed, Gaza's civilian infrastructure in ruins and the great majority of the population forced to flee, often multiple times.

Although of course there is very real need amongst Ukrainians and it is right that the British Government responded with a special visa scheme to allow Ukrainians affected by the war to seek refuge in Britain, it is hard to escape the conclusion that similar consideration is not being extended to Palestinians because they are not white Europeans from a traditionally Christian country.

The petition urges the government to take action and create a visa scheme that allows Palestinian individuals affected by war to be allowed into the UK, just like it did for Ukraine.

The Conservative Government currently has no plans to introduce a special visa scheme for Palestinians, saying those wishing to come to the UK who currently have no visa can apply under one of the existing visa routes.

These routes are exceptionally restrictive and require paperwork and resources not available to people whose homes have been destroyed and who are eking out a miserable existence in a tent encampment.

The Home Office has also repeatedly refused to waive fingerprint rules meaning that many resort, if possible, to making the dangerous and expensive journey over the border to Egypt to a UK visa centre in Cairo.

A spokesperson for the campaign said: “People in Gaza face insurmountable obstacles when trying to evacuate to Egypt and have received minimal - if any - support from the UK Government to do so.”

First Minister Humza Yousaf has also backed the campaign saying last month that for those who do wish to leave Gaza, Scotland “is open and stands ready to welcome them”.

Once the petition reaches 100,000 signatories the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.

You can sign the petition here: petition.parliament.uk/petitions/648577

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