Having found to our dismay that both Scots and the rest of the UK want to see people prosecuted for offensive but non-threatening comments on Twitter and Facebook, it seems a good time to reveal the rest of our findings on matters of law and justice.
We picked a random clutch of serious, not-so-serious, timeless and topical subjects for our propositions. (Please note that all the propositions in our poll were worded for clarity of language, not to represent this site’s own viewpoints.)
THE DEATH PENALTY SHOULD BE BROUGHT BACK FOR MURDER
Net agreement: 22
Net agreement: 13
Scotland/rUK gap: 9 points
It seems Scots are still rather more Old Testament when there’s been a murrdur than the rest of Britain, which is perhaps a slightly counter-intuitive finding, but the UK as a whole is still clearly in favour. Yet once again the majority has nobody it can vote for.
This was almost the only finding in our entire poll – you’ll find the other one later in this post – where SNP (+37) and UKIP (+38) voters were closely aligned, with both being the most likely in their respective countries to seek the return of the rope. Only Lib Dem supporters, on both sides of the border, were opposed to a revival of capital punishment, more than 50 years after the last British criminal took the drop.
PEOPLE CONVICTED OF ILLEGALLY DOWNLOADING MUSIC, FILMS OR VIDEOGAMES SHOULD BE IMPRISONED
Net agreement: -66
Net agreement: -64
Scotland/rUK gap: 2 points
A pretty overwhelming finding against – almost 7 to 1 on both sides of the border – but the trend in all parties, under relentless lobbying from music and movie companies, is to back ever more draconian crackdowns on crimes against “intellectual property”. Only the extremely-fringe Pirate Party offers a more pragmatic view.
THE SECURITY SERVICES SHOULD BE ABLE TO MONITOR ANYONE’S PHONE CALLS, EMAILS ETC AT WILL
Net agreement: -32
Net agreement: -18
Scotland/rUK gap: 14 points
A pretty substantial difference here, but still UK-wide opposition to greater snooping powers for MI5 and pals. Nevertheless, surveillance mushroomed under the last Labour government and the Conservatives plan still-greater intrusion, leaving only whatever tiny handful of Lib Dems will be left after the election standing in the way. In such a manner do centuries of hard-won civil liberties crumble to dust.
SNP, Labour, Lib Dem and UKIP voters were all strongly opposed (the SNP’s most emphatically at -39), with Scottish and rUK Conservative voters very slightly opposed and very slightly in favour respectively.
CHED EVANS SHOULD BE PERMITTED TO RESUME HIS FOOTBALL CAREER AFTER SERVING A PRISON TERM FOR RAPE
Net agreement: -25
Net agreement: -22
Scotland/rUK gap: 3 points
Men were split almost exactly down the middle on this one (39-41 Scotland, 40-40 rUK), with women unsurprisingly much less likely to agree (18-64 and 19-61). We’re still waiting for someone to produce the official list of professions which ARE deemed suitable for convicted rapists, but for now it seems “footballer” definitely isn’t on it.
(In their other main area of agreement in our poll, UKIP and SNP voters were the least in favour of letting Evans play again, with rUK Labour voters and Tory supporters in Scotland the most rehabilitation-minded.)
The Evans case doesn’t really have a political dimension, but in the other three the public continues to find itself short of parties it can vote for in order to enact the policies it wants. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing in each individual instance is a matter of personal opinion, but it surely can’t be a healthy state for a democracy. And we’re nowhere near finished finding it in these poll results yet. Stay tuned.
*Our poll sampled 1007 respondents in Scotland and 1031 across the rest of the UK. Fieldwork 9-14 Jan 2015. Full data tables will be available on the Panelbase website.