Scottish politics in the grip of a fact-denial epidemic – These Islands

A survey commissioned by These Islands has revealed widespread fact denial within the Scottish electorate and deep confusion over the SNP’s independence plans, particularly with respect to currency. Survation surveyed 1,047 people aged 16+ living in Scotland. Fieldwork was conducted 21st – 23rd April 2021.

Fact Denial

  • 57% of Scottish independence supporters agree with the statement “The figures used to calculate Scotland’s deficit (the GERS figures) are made up by Westminster to hide Scotland’s true wealth” and 90% of those considered the statement to be “important” or “very important” to their opinion on Scottish independence.

The reality of Scotland’s deficit position is shown in the Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures published by the Scottish Government. These figures qualify as National Statistics and are compiled by the Scottish Government’s own statisticians and economists. It should be deeply shocking that most independence supporters agree with the statement above – the figures are demonstrably not “made up by Westminster” and it is fantastical to believe that an SNP Government would choose to publish figures which “hide Scotland’s true wealth”. The First Minister is a gifted communicator, but is strangely reluctant to nail this corrosive myth.

The survey also found that most independence supporters agreed with other demonstrably false statements relating to official Scottish Government figures (myths which are widely shared on social media):

  • 54% of independence supporters agree “Scottish tax revenues are understated because of Scottish exports leaving via English ports”1
  • 66% of independence supporters agree “Scottish tax revenues are understated because taxes generated by the whisky industry are not properly allocated to Scotland”2
  • 55% of independence supporters agree “Scotland is only seen to be running a deficit because some costs outside of Scotland, like HS2 and infrastructure spending in the South East, are charged to Scotland”3
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