Alert readers will recall that earlier today we revealed the answers to the first 10 questions we asked the Scottish public about their views on various topics not directly related to the independence referendum, just because we were asking them about stuff anyway and it seemed like a good idea.
Here, in a surprise twist, are the other 10.
MEMBERSHIP OF NATO
In favour: 61
Don’t know: 28
Vindication for the SNP again in pushing through a policy change at its conference last year. Scots overwhelmingly support membership of the military alliance by almost six to one. Curiously, with the deed now done, SNP voters loyally backed the position by +43 in our poll (56-13), with the other parties lining up in increasing order of hawkishness at Labour +47, Lib Dems +48, Conservatives +88.
Men were more in favour than women (although by a margin a little smaller than we were expecting, with the net scores being +56 and +45 respectively), and those closest to the memory of war were the least likely to relax about the military threat, with backing rising steeply from the 25-34 age group (+36) up to the over-65s (+69).
THE DEATH PENALTY
In favour: 45
Don’t know: 17
Well, there’s a blast from the past. Polling consistently shows the UK public is still narrowly in favour of hanging criminals (and less narrowly depending on the specific crime), as we approach the 50-year mark since the last murderer took a long drop on a short rope. Unlike the rest of the country, Scots stop short of an absolute majority, but by an 8-point margin would still rather see the noose in use.
Men scored +12 against just +5 for women. The only age group of voters opposed to capital punishment were those between 35-44 (-9), with pensioners predictably the keenest at +22. Politically only the Lib Dems were against (-20), with SNP voters at +8, Labour at +4 and the Tories on +32.
THE COUNCIL TAX FREEZE
In favour: 82
Don’t know: 9
If you’ve been wondering why Scottish Labour have been rather quiet recently on the supposedly “regressive” nature of this SNP flagship policy and Labour’s plans to dump it, we may have the answer for you.
It appears to be the most universally popular policy adopted by any government since the Sierra Leone People’s Party administration of 1957 started giving everyone free lollipops, and even that one didn’t get such high poll ratings as the six-year-long council tax freeze, only partly because we’ve just made it up.
Labour’s own voters back the freeze by a +63 margin (75 to 12), and it’s also cherished by SNP supporters (+79), Lib Dems (+57) and Conservatives (+79). Women (+75) and men (+71) are united in their praise too. It’ll be a brave First Minister of any party who puts it up again, let alone by the whopping great amounts it grew by under the Labour/Lib Dem coalitions.
PRIVATISING THE ROYAL MAIL
In favour: 15
Don’t know: 19
Another Union dividend, readers. Scottish voters and MPs alike overwhelmingly rejected the sell-off of a profitable and largely beloved national asset, but their opinions counted for nothing. In fairness, nor did those of the public in the rest of the UK, but they’re the ones who elected the Tory-led coalition who did it so they’re just going to have to suck it up. We have a choice.
(Even Tory voters opposed the move by a small margin of -4, with SNP supporters recording the highest opposition at -63, Labour close behind at -61 and the guilty Lib Dems trailing in at a sheepish -42.)
BUILDING NEW NUCLEAR POWER STATIONS
In favour: 39
Don’t know: 28
Next out of our policy grab-bag was an issue attracting much less of a consensus. Perhaps because we left out the suffix “anywhere near MY house”, Scots were rather less antagonistic to the idea of nuclear power than is commonly asserted.
Perhaps unexpectedly, this was one of the issues with the biggest gap between the sexes, and easily the biggest of the ones not traditionally held to be gender-specific. Men (who are, of course, radiation-proof) were pretty gung-ho about the idea, recording a +21 rating that was fully 31 points adrift from the female -10.
People who voted Conservative in the 2011 Holyrood election were +59 pro, with SNP voters the only ones opposed (-2) and Labour and Lib Dems marginally in favour.
A WRITTEN CONSTITUTION
In favour: 57
Don’t know: 40
The attractiveness of a constitution, of course, rather depends on what’s in it. But still, Scots were massively behind the idea in principle, with a +50 net rating and hardly anyone actually opposed. SNP voters were the keenest by over 10 points (+64), with the others much of a muchness.
FORCING UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE TO WORK FOR BENEFITS
In favour: 56
Don’t know: 12
Erk. Can we pretend this didn’t happen, Scotland? We’re ashamed of you.
We gave you every possible chance. We used the rather leading word “forcing” at the start, and said “unemployed people”, rather than the de-personalised, slightly pejorative “the unemployed”, but despite our gentle nudging apparently more than half of you still subscribe to the idea of slave labour in 2013.
Keenest on a return to the days of the Victorian workhouse were of course the Tories (+77), with their Lib Dem flunkies trotting obediently behind on +47 and Labour voters clearly heeding the “sod the homeless” words of Tom Harris MP at +18.
Even SNP supporters, albeit by the lowest margin (+10), seemingly think it’s fine to treat their friends, families and neighbours like criminals on community punishment for beating up an old lady should they fall on hard times.
Women, the caring sex, backed compulsory work without pay for the poor, on pain of destitution and starvation, by +28 compared to men at +18. Heartwarming empathy.
We can clutch at straws, like the fact that Scotland’s attitude is still a fair bit more humane than that of the UK as a whole (+24 rather than +39), but frankly our heart’s not in it. Dear God, save us all from the monstrous, compassionless beasts that we seem hell-bent on becoming. Maybe we should all just vote Tory and at least get the whole ugly business over with quicker.
MINIMUM PRICING FOR ALCOHOL
In favour: 39
Don’t know: 14
But hey, at least we can still get pissed on the cheap to forget our descent into primitivism as we viciously tear at each other’s eyes for the spit-covered scraps from the Bullingdon Club’s table while they laugh and light cigars with £20 notes, right?
GENDER QUOTAS FOR 50/50 MALE AND FEMALE MSPS
In favour: 34
Don’t know: 26
All to play for in this category, and only recording +10 net support from women (with men on -25) is probably a quite disappointing result for advocates of the so-called “positive discrimination” approach to redressing the gender imbalance in politics.
Tories and (oddly) the Lib Dems are most opposed at -27 and -21 respectively, with Labour voters very narrowly for (+2) and SNP supporters very narrowly against (-4).
ANTI-SECTARIANISM FOOTBALL LAWS
In favour: 73
Don’t know: 14
The Offensive Behaviour (Football) Act doesn’t get the best press. Opposed by every non-SNP MSP at Holyrood, it enjoyed great support from the public before being enacted, but has subsequently been relentlessly attacked by just about all and sundry. Judges, solicitors, journalists, bloggers, and of course the two sets of fans it was primarily aimed at have all laid into it, often in the most hysterical of terms.
(Although curiously, despite the doom-laden language about fascism and victimisation and bigotry and whatnot, as both sides claim it’s picking on them alone, nobody’s yet managed to point us to a single actual living, breathing example of anyone who’s been done any notable injustice by the Act.)
Two years on, though, the public stubbornly persist in being right behind it. So pretty much as everyone expected, it looks like it’s fans of Celtic and The Rangers doing all the bawling and screaming over being asked to button it once and for all about ancient Irish history at Scottish football matches, while everybody else is delighted about getting a bit of peace at last and being able to call the referee a bastard without worrying about what school he went to.
Men support the OB(F)A by +53, women by +65, Tories by +44, Labour voters by +56, Lib Dems by +58, SNP by +69, homeowners by +60, social renters by +60, young women by +72, old men by +54, the wealthy by +54, the poor by +60.
We’re calling that as near to unanimous as laws ever get. Scotland’s message to Old Firm fans is unequivocal: shut up about Bobby sodding Sands and Derry’s frigging walls or we’ll sling you in the jail, because the rest of us are utterly sick of it.
Nice to end on a bit of unity, at least. Next up, back to independence.