The Scottish Daily Mail today leads with a screaming banner headline announcing in its trademark style that, according to a poll it commissioned with Survation, Scots are massively opposed to any income tax rises when Holyrood eventually gets power over the rates under the new Scotland Bill.
And the reason that’s weird is that we commissioned a poll on the very same thing just days before, and got a dramatically different answer.
Or at least, it was dramatically different in one respect.
Both polls – our Panelbase and the Mail’s one from Survation – found that roughly the same proportions of Scots (47% and 42% respectively) thought income tax should be kept the same. Both polls also found similar numbers in favour of reducing taxes – 29% from Panelbase, 26% from Survation.
The big divergence came about because the Survation poll offered people a “Don’t know” option. While the Panelbase sample came out 24% in favour of increasing taxes to pay for public services, Survation’s respondents split more than two-to-one (22% to 9%) in favour of fudging it.
We’re not exactly sure what that means. It’s perhaps worth noting that we specified an increase would be to fund public services, whereas (to the best of our knowledge, at least) Survation simply asked people if they wanted to pay more. It seems reasonable to surmise that that might partly explain the gulf in the responses.
But we couldn’t help wondering whether it was more to do with the fact that it’s simply increasingly unacceptable/unfashionable to espouse left-wing views in public at all any more. With an overwhelmingly right-wing media, and with Labour having almost entirely conceded the ideological agenda to the Tories, people are now embarrassed to take socialist positions even when, if forced to make a choice one way or the other, that’s what they’d want and support.
It’s something that’s concerned us for a while, and is probably Tony Blair’s true legacy to British politics. We’ll leave you to ponder that for a bit. We’ve hidden the knives.