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Wings Over Scotland

A United Kingdom?

Posted on January 15, 2015 by

Keen students of politics can’t have failed to notice a fascinating situation coalescing in the last few months. On current polling, it looks very much like no two of the UK’s four constituent nations will vote for the same party at the forthcoming general election. The Tories are miles ahead in England, in Scotland the SNP lead by even more, Wales is still a Labour stronghold and Northern Ireland continues to do its own thing, split roughly half-and-half along, well, let’s call them “cultural” lines.

So when we decided to conduct another poll with our left-over fundraiser money (start saving now for 2015’s annual grand appeal next month, readers!), we thought it might be interesting to do something that we’re not sure has ever been done before.


We commissioned TWO full-sample polls, one of 1000 people in Scotland and one of 1000 people in the rest of the UK, and we asked them the same questions.

The results we got were fascinating – sometimes predictable, sometimes surprising, sometimes pleasing and sometimes dismaying. But we’re going to start off with one we really didn’t see coming at all.

Of the 31 propositions that we put to people – asking whether they broadly agreed or disagreed or didn’t know – there were only three where the Scottish and rUK majority views found themselves on opposite sides of the divide, and they weren’t necessarily the ones with the biggest differences of opinion.

The second-most divisive issue of all was one such case in point.



Agree: 43%
Disagree 49%
Net agreement: -6%


Agree: 25%
Disagree: 66%
Net agreement: -41%

Scotland/rUK gap: 35 points

Neither the Scottish nor the rUK public want to give 16- and 17-year-olds the vote, but in Scotland it’s a photo finish while the rest of the UK is MASSIVELY against. Lowering the voting age is a policy supported by all the major parties in Scotland and everyone except the Tories at Westminster, by civic groups and most if not all of the media, yet it isn’t backed by the public.

Interestingly, women strongly opposed the measure. Scottish men backed it, albeit by a narrow margin of +6 points (50-44), while women were against by -18 points (37-55). The better-off ABC1 demographic were also opposed by -16, whereas working-class C2DE voters were in favour by +3.

Holyrood 2011 SNP voters were almost solely responsible for the close result, being in favour by a whopping +31, with all the Unionist parties against: Lib Dems on -10, Labour supporters on -21 and Tories on -54.

In the rUK, the figures were Tories -73, Lib Dems a surprising -39 and Labour -24, with heavy opposition from UKIP voters (-30) in place of the SNP support in Scotland providing the final blow.

The disconnect between public opinion and what the electorate can actually vote for will, we’re going to find over the course of this poll, become a recurring theme.


*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.

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    1. 15 01 15 14:52

      A United Kingdom? | Politics Scotland |

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      A United Kingdom? - Speymouth

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      A United Kingdom? | Public Affairs |

    4. 17 01 15 12:44

      Interesting results

    5. 20 01 15 23:45

      The People’s Voice (Vox Populi Part II) | A Greater Stage

    94 to “A United Kingdom?”

    1. Callum says:

      Interesting. Perhaps shows a clear difference in the voters that the Lib Dems have (in the past) attracted North and South of the border. In the North Lib Dems often centre left but never had an affinity with Labour whereas in the South they attract the centre-right but not quite full on Tory vote…

    2. Jim Graham says:

      You can be a Father, married, earning a wage and paying taxes at 16 years of age, but you are too ‘inexperienced’ to vote? Ridiculous! Well done the ‘Men of Scotland’!

    3. Finnz says:

      I would say this difference in attitude is due to the education system in Scotland that gives a greater number of subjects that are taken in 5th and 6th year, thus a more informed 16 – 18 year old.

    4. No no no...Yes says:

      Interesting concept Rev. I reckon the rUK voters are against anything that may have any impact on their cosy little “I’m alright jack” bubbles.

    5. Grizzle McPuss says:

      It’s them damn ‘blue-rinse’ Morningside agitators at it again.

    6. jimnarlene says:

      You can leave school, hopefully find employment, have sex and get married at 16; so why the hell shouldn’t you be able to vote.

    7. Brian Powell says:

      Of course, in Scotland, examination of the issues increased among 16 year olds as the referendum vote came closer, and other voters recognised this.

      In rUK there has been no similar issues raising awareness among existing voters or 16+ years olds.

    8. Helena Brown says:

      Well as a woman of a certain age, and that is in the elderly bracket, I think all 16-17 year olds should have the vote. After all you can marry without permission, and as has been said be earning and paying taxes by age 16 and as far as I am concerned is good enough in anyone’s book. The Army used to be more than happy to have you go and die for the country as well at one time.

    9. Taranaich says:

      List of things you’re allowed to do in the UK as a 16 year old (from mumsnet):

      – Apply for legal aid
      – Receive a community sentence called a Youth Rehabilitation Order
      – Be detained in custody (but not in an adult jail) under a Detention and Training Order – the maximum term is two years but some of this will be served under supervision in the community
      – Have sex, gay or straight, as long as their partner is also 16+ (or 17+ in NI)
      – Move out of the family home (but if under 17, social services may apply for a care order)
      – Rent accomodation (but an adult guarantor is required)
      – Get married (with parental consent)
      – Give consent to medical, dental and surgical treatment
      – Choose their own doctor
      – Pay prescription charges – unless pregnant, on income support or in full-time education (law differs in Wales)
      – Get free full-time education (at school, sixth form college and city technology college)
      – Access school records
      – Claim benefits and get a National Insurance number (this should be sent automatically a few weeks before their 16th birthday)
      – Join the armed forces (with consent of parents or carers)
      – Work as a street trader and/or sell scrap metal
      – Earn the minimum wage
      – Claim child tax credit if responsible for at least one child
      – Invest in a cash ISA
      – Drink beer or cider with a meal in a pub or hotel (but can’t be the person buying it)
      – Do the football pools
      – Play the National Lottery
      – Buy Premium Bonds
      – Fly a glider
      – Order their own passport
      – Ride a moped with a maximum engine power of 50cc (and a provisional licence), drive an invalid vehicle (with a licence) and a mowing machine or small tractor.
      – Drive a car if receiving mobility allowance

      Yet apparently voting is beyond 16 and 17-year-olds.

      I have to ask what the percentages are by age: somehow I suspect the older you get, the more anti-young-voter you are (borne out by Tory & New Labour voters being more against it). I bet they’d sing a different tune if they introduced a maximum voting age of, say, 65?

    10. Lollysmum says:

      I can see why you said you never saw that one coming.

      1)16-17 year olds have proven to be social media savvy & worked wonders in politically educating each other during indyref.
      2)Political parties don’t want them to get the vote because they want the voters to continue being apathetic about politics so they can just get on with trashing everyone’s lives without being called out for the decisions they make. Wouldn’t do then to increase the numbers of people eligible to vote!
      3) Public don’t want them to vote because this shifts the older age groups of voters out of their comfort zone & will expect youngsters to demand change as they found out with indyref.

      Personally, I think it’s a brilliant idea that says we are investing & trusting in those who are the future of Scotland, to do the right thing for Scotland unlike their elders who are so disappointed in politicians that they can’t be bothered to vote.

    11. Dr Jim says:

      What are they afraid of?
      Makes you think how the vote will go in the Holyrood Elections
      Are they afraid they’re not smart enough or too smart?

    12. Alex Clark says:

      I left school age 15 and started work 3 days before my 16th birthday.

      I paid tax and NI on my meagre earnings, I should have been allowed to vote. No taxation without representation.

      Of course they should be able to vote.

    13. Morag says:

      Historically the basic age of majority in Scotland has always been 16. Hence Gretna Green and all that. It still is for a lot of things like inheritance and getting married without parental consent and so on. (I remember a cousin of mine being horrified when she realised that her 16-year-old granddaughter was now fully in control of her inheritance, no constraints whatsoever.)

      I wonder if that’s influencing opinion in Scotland to some extent.

    14. Roger Mexico says:

      For Scotland very little difference from when YouGov asked about votes at 16 in 2012. 49% were opposed then and 35% in favour. So the experience of the Referendum may have convinced some undecided voters of the benefits, but it hasn’t made a great difference.

    15. Roboscot says:

      The difference might be cultural: the age of majority being 16 in Scotland and 18 in England.

    16. Lollysmum says:

      Now who says Scotland hasn’t changed politically?

      The only reason for that difference between Scotland & rUK can only be that Scots were brave enough to try it out for indyref & what a huge difference their involvement made.

      That event was participation with a capital P.

    17. Morag says:

      Taranaich, I think that list is mainly for England and Wales. For example, no parental permission required to marry at 16 in Scotland. (Why do you think Gretna Green is a tourist attraction?) I think there’s a bunch of other stuff in there that has cavats that don’t apply in Scotland.

    18. Morag says:

      Caveats, even.

    19. Aqu Elu Elon says:

      women {mothers}>{control freaks} strongly opposed the measure.

      An interest in predictability, you think dictatorship spans from women in general.
      Guessed it does.

    20. The Man in the Jar says:

      Back in 1968 I joined the Army (boysoldier) at the tender age of fifteen and three weeks.

    21. Breastplate says:

      Lowering the age of voting to 16 should have happened ages ago. They can work and pay tax.
      There is no right and wrong way to vote just an expression of opinion.

    22. AuldA says:

      I must confess I am a bit skeptical about the 16-year vote.

      But Stu’, is there such a dearth of news that you have to slice the results of your polls into a series of articles to keep the thread alive?

    23. BrianW says:

      I too adhere to the fact that you can legally get married, start paying tax and national insurance, join the armed forces etc at 16, but yet you have no choice in the Government you deem responsible enough to use those resources as you see fit.

      In lowering the voting age it may (I’d hope) make them more politically aware of the impact their choice of political party in Government has in their lives (and those of others)

      I feel you only have to look at the engagement of 16 & 17 year olds in the recent referendum. They could maybe teach us a thing or two even. Who knows?

      I’m glad that they are being given a voice.

    24. Breastplate says:

      Also, if you needed to be informed to vote we would have to take back the voting rights of an awful lot of Nawbags.

    25. Neil Munro says:

      no taxation without representation

    26. fred blogger says:

      so it comes down to what people have got to lose by allowing more people to vote on issues that affect ‘their’ assets, and the shape of community/social justice outlook of a nation.
      reality; it might affect the value of my portfolio, if 16yr olds our allowed to vote, as they will have a different political outlook.
      purely selfish interests are @ play here.

    27. naebd says:

      “I would say this difference in attitude is due to the education system in Scotland”

      On the contrary – it looks like support is party-politically concentrated; the difference in Scotland is down to SNP voters, but not other party voters who also (mostly) make use of the same education system.

      I would guess that the idea is attractive to SNP voters because the SNP have pushed the idea. And 16yrolds voted in the referendum and were more likely to vote Yes, so SNP voters are more disposed to them continuing to vote.

    28. Johnny says:

      It hasn’t made a great desl of difference? Almost 10% more is a bit of a difference.

    29. Taranaich says:

      @Morag: Taranaich, I think that list is mainly for England and Wales. For example, no parental permission required to marry at 16 in Scotland. (Why do you think Gretna Green is a tourist attraction?) I think there’s a bunch of other stuff in there that has cavats that don’t apply in Scotland.

      That’s correct (the prescription charges one’s another clue). Yet this being a list of things 16-year-old English & Welsh can do just makes English/Welsh opposition to 16-year-old voters even more perplexing. The fact that you can get married at all, even with parental consent requirement, yet not vote is completely ridiculous.

    30. Perhaps we are more open-minded in Scotland. Perhaps the idea of going off to work at 16 resonates more here, whereas in England that’s the age where you go off to learn how to become ‘officer class’?

      Of course they should get the vote, for all the reasons outlined above. The future belongs to them. You can just imagine the Daily Mail demographic spitting out their breakfast: ‘Give hoodies the vote? Not on our watch!’. Just another part of the The Way We Were consensus, clinging on for dear life. When we could be diving for pearls.

    31. alec says:

      BTW – a minor factual error, but the Tories are not ‘miles ahead’ in England. Latest polling suggests that Labour are either slightly ahead, or that the Tories maintain an extremely tight lead.
      There has been a big swing from Con to Lab in England, which is being masked in the UK polls by Labour’s big loss of support in Scotland.
      Were Scotland to refrain from voting for the SNP in the numbers currently suggested by the polls, on the current numbers, Labour would be in relatively safe majority territory, based on what is currently quite a strong showing in England, and a good recovery in Wales.

      Lights blue touch paper and retreats…….

    32. Mark Coburn says:

      Could that be the sound of our unionist friends shrieking at the horror of young folk getting another crack at the whip? It might just be that they didn’t like how they voted.

      Depressing nevertheless. I hope this becomes legislation and we put it to bed once and for all.

    33. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      But Stu’, is there such a dearth of news that you have to slice the results of your polls into a series of articles to keep the thread alive?

      We asked 31 questions. If you want to read analysis of all of those in a single 20,000 word post, I suspect you’re in a very small minority.

      (We won’t be doing 31 separate posts, but some bear singling out.)

    34. Kev says:


      You can also become a director of a Company at 16. Interestingly, that law has always applied in Scotland but only since the Companies Act 2006 have companies in England and Wales been obliged to follow the rule unconditionally, until then shareholders had to provide the Registrar with written assurances that they believe that the persons could effectively execute the typical duties of a company director.

    35. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “There has been a big swing from Con to Lab in England”

      That’s complete cobblers. Labour’s lead has fallen over the last 18 months or so from around 10% to basically a dead heat, on the average of all polls. They may have lost ground to the SNP in Scotland but they’re still ahead of the Tories there, so it’s not Scotland that’s putting the Tories in front.

      The Tories have recently been a few points ahead in several UK polls, and considering they have basically no support in Scotland, Wales or NI, they must clearly be further ahead in England.

    36. AuldA says:

      @Stu –

      31 questions? That’s not a poll anymore! It’s a police interrogation! 😉

    37. Kenny says:

      Legally in scotland you are an adult at 16.. In England and Wales the age is 18.

    38. desimond says:

      All over the United nation, the Neil Sedaka remix plays

      “Shallallalalalalalalalaah Happy Birthday Sweet 16,
      Now get back in your box”

    39. Big Jock says:

      Could it simply be that we have more faith in our young people! Maybe those south of the border do not trust young people and want to control them. Are we a more progressive society?

    40. robertknight says:

      In terms of voter social profiles, your choice of image for this item speaks volumes Rev.

    41. Dr Jim says:

      They’re afraid if we getem early we’ll Radicalise em into Insturgeont Ultra Extremists and they might start thinking for themselves
      Can’t be having that Harrumph Harrumph, Baa Baa…

    42. Roger Mexico says:

      Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
      The Tories have recently been a few points ahead in several UK polls, and considering they have basically no support in Scotland, Wales or NI, they must clearly be further ahead in England

      Actually that’s fairly cobbleresque too. Partly because of the collapse (actually more a gradual deflation) of the Labour vote in Scotland, the two being tied in GB polls means that they’re not that far apart in England. The gap in Wales isn’t a big as you think either – the last poll in December had Lab 36%, Con 23%. It’s still a gap but not as great as in the past – Labour’s lost votes to UKIP there.

      So, for example, the just-published MORI poll has Lab and Con tied on 35% each in England, in a poll which only shows a one point Labour lead generally. Other polls have shown that the idea of the Conservatives as dominant in England, counterbalanced by the Celtic fringe, is simply untrue.

      Opinion polls taken across GB will tend to be pretty close to what the situation is in England as well – simply because the vast majority of voters live there. And that’s become even truer since the drop in Labour’s ratings in Scotland.

    43. Johnny says:

      It was mentioned above that one reason that SNP voters could be more in favour is that the SNP were the ones pushing it and I suppose I can see merit in that line of thinking. But is it also possible that the reason they are more in favour is that they are already more willing than those who support Westminster parties to consider many different ways of how we might arrange things differently? This is, after all, the sort of drive which leads many to fancy constitutional change and led them to vote Yes.

    44. mogabee says:

      You know, it’s not just the legal stuff which should mean 16/17 yr olds being allowed to vote. Just listening to how confidant and socially aware they are swings it for me!

    45. steveasaneilean says:

      I am sorry – but if we can allow our young people to join the Army at 16 (which we do)the least we can do in return is give 16 year olds the vote. It’s both logical and moral.
      Shame on all those who oppose it. On what grounds? Some bigoted asumption that 16 year old aren’t mature enough enough to make an informed decision about who they want to govern them. How does that create an atmosphere of respect? And how can you tar everyone with the same brush? If you are old enough to legally be a parent – perhaps the biggest responsibility that the majority of us will ever have – then you are certainly old enough to let your opinions be known in a plebiscite.

    46. Davy says:

      Our referendum proved that 16 – 17 year olds have the knowledge or are prepared to find the knowledge to vote responsibly, they were not forced to vote, it is still a voluntary excerise.

      Perhaps those who say NO to 16 – 17’s voting are the same type of people who said NO to Scotland being independent, and have the same lack of trust of their fellow citzens being able to make sound and competent judgements.

      OT, Nicola has yet again left “deputy Dugdale” looking like a skilpted earse at FM’s QT, and she trashed Jackie Ballie’s competence as shadow finance minster forever and a day, as she showed the world exactly how dumb Ballie and the rest of the red tories are at financal matters. (unless its their expenses).

    47. Doug Daniel says:

      I’d agree with näbd, this is down to politics rather than education. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s down to how you voted in the referendum, though – Scottish Tory voters are less resistant than those in England, and the same with Labour and Lib Dems voters. I think it’s simply down to the fact that we’ve had a referendum with 16 year olds voting, and it turned out they didn’t do anything daft. Or people may simply think “well we’ve given them a shot now, seems a shame to take it away from them again.”

      Incidentally, how depressing is it when you see a 16 year old say they’re against votes at 16? Some just have an over-inflated sense of themselves, claiming to be against it because of the abilities of their peers, but it breaks my heart when you hear one effectively say “I wouldn’t trust myself to vote because I’m too stupid.”

    48. Democracy Reborn says:

      As Roboscot alludes to, there has been a legal difference between Scotland and England for almost 25 years.

      In Scotland, persons 16 years and over have full legal capacity (Age of Legal Capacity (Scotland) Act 1991). In fact, under the Act persons over 12 years of age in Scotland also have capacity to undertake certain transactions such as making a will and instructing a lawyer.

      In England, a person generally attains legal capacity at age 18, although this contains certain caveats in relation to 16 &17 yrar olds alread noted in another post, such as consent to medical treatment.

    49. Mealer says:

      I wonder if some voters will have changed their opinion on an issue to fit in with how they voted in the referendum.Someone who has always been sympathetic to nuclear disarmament might now say they are in favour of Trident because that’s what is demanded of their NO vote.The same sort of thing might equally apply to Yes voters.

    50. merida says:

      Given the enthusiasm shown in the referendum it does seem a real shame that these young people can’t vote in all elections. Once they get the vote many have already become disillusioned and are lost to the system.

    51. Macart says:

      @ steveasaneilean

      Couldn’t agree more.

    52. Big Jock says:

      You often hear Labour folk saying. Well when I was young I was an idealist and I wanted independence. Now I realise we live in a shared nation blah blah. Really what they are saying is. They believed in something when they were young. This was bred out of them by the cynical life they have led and the people they associate with. They had principles and a sense of right and wrong.

      Guess what people. We are those young people who are now older but kept our principles, morals and idealism. That’s the difference between the Yes people and the no people. They live in fear and despair. We live in hope and ambition!

    53. Doug Morrison says:

      There ate two criteria to be borne in mind when considering age limits: mental maturity and physical maturity. The latter applies in cases such as alcohol consumption. The former applies to marriage, voting etc. (though marriage may have a physical component!) If people are judged mentally capable at 16 of fighting for their country, getting married etc. there can be no doubt they are mature enough to vote!

    54. alec says:

      @Rev Stu – “That’s complete cobblers.”

      It isn’t, and you are incorrect. However, I should have been more specific. There has been a big swing from Con to Lab in England since 2010 – this is the fact that matters, as we’re interested in the swing from the last election to the next.
      Cons were ahead in England by 11% I think in 2010, and from memory the latest England only results showed Lab up by 1, so yes, inconvenient as it may be for SNP supporters, Lab are actually doing better in England than the UK wide numbers might suggest.

      In terms of swing calculations, there has been a swing from Lab to Con in Scotland of around 8%, although this is a bit misleading, as Lab have fallen by 17% and the Tories by 1%. However, this does mean that the national poll figures will be kinder to Cons because of the relative changes between Lab and Con in Scotland.

      Of course the Tories score better in England than in Scotland, but that doesn’t affect my original point – that Cons are ‘miles ahead’ in England. You’re being willfully misleading, although no one knows what the final result might be at this point.

      The 17% loss of vote share from Lab in Scotland takes away around 1.5% of their UK wide vote, so their current UK wide lead would look a fair bit healthier if they were polling in Scotland as they did in 2010, and as I said, would give them a pretty decent working majority.

    55. Karmanaut says:

      To join the army as a regular soldier, you must be 16.
      But you can’t play “Call of Duty” on your playstation until you reach 18.

    56. Les Wilson says:

      I think that rUK after seeing just how involved this age group got during the referendum, scares the bejesus out of the UK parties. So they are in no hurry to encourage it.
      It could upset, their cosy wee world.

    57. Roger Hyam says:

      I first voted at the tender age of 18 in the 1983 general election and think I may have voted Tory!! Though I can’t actually remember and kid myself that I may have voted Lib-SDP.

      I can’t think of a better argument for raising the voting age to at least 21 but probably 30!

    58. Alex Clark says:


      If you are old enough to legally be a parent – perhaps the biggest responsibility that the majority of us will ever have – then you are certainly old enough to let your opinions be known in a plebiscite.

      Well said, certainly the best arguement there is for allowing 16/17 year olds the vote.

    59. Ally says:

      I read some posts with fascination about leaving school, starting families having sex ……

      Equally they cannot, go into the pub for a pint, own a firearm, drive a car unless supervised, I can’t get a tattoo or buy smokes to have with my pint in the pub that I cant have, can’t watch an 18 movie, Can’t stand for election as an MP, can’t buy a house or get a mortgage. You can’t legally leave home of your own accord! You can’t make a will or buy fireworks, so equally there are just as many rights suppressed due to your age!!!

      There is also the strong fact 95% of the world has a legal limit of 18 or above. That isn’t a mistake folks!

      To join the army at 16 you need parental consent and you are NOT permitted into theatre of war, I believe that is still 17.5. Hardly regular forces I am afraid. Only at 18 can you join without restrictions. You however CANNOT join as an officer until 18.

      I agree with the majority both north and south, bad idea. Sorry folks.

    60. william pollock says:

      I thought mothers looked after their childrens interests ? Seems its the dads who have more faith in their kids.

    61. Big Jock says:

      Roger I would take your vote off you altogether! Just kidding!

      I am very smug being an SNP member since the age of 16.

    62. Gaavster says:

      Fame at last…

      That’s me in the pic, on the right…

      Hope folk are glad to see the back of me 😉

    63. Alex Clark says:


      You mentioned a number of things that can’t be done until you are 18. What you failed to provide is an actual reason that 16 and 17 year olds should not be allowed to vote.

    64. Jimbo says:

      Some-one at 16 years of age can take the massive decision to, marry, make a home and have a child, which is considered acceptable – but they are somehow considered by some people unfit to make a decision on who should represent them in parliament?

    65. john king says:

      Im with Alex all the way on that one,
      If your old enough to pay tax you should have the right to decide who takes your money and what they do with it.
      END OF.

    66. Alex Clark says:


      Hahaha bet you never thought that could happen. Get the lottery on for Saturday.

      Lightening might strike twice 🙂

    67. robertknight says:

      No taxation without representation.


    68. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      A lot of the discourse here assumes that “adults” ie those at 18 and above know a lot more and have a well informed judgement. As if!

      I know lots of “adults” that shouldn’t be allowed out shopping

    69. terry says:

      While out doorknocking with RIC it was the older voters who often staggered me with their lack of knowledge or occasional rudeness. It was the young 16 and 17 year olds who impressed – even if they were undecided they were reasearching it (mostly on the net). The odd No voting young person was much more mannerly towards us yessers than the scary middle aged No voters. Overall I was impressed with the young uns. It was a good move by the Scottish govt and all the other points mentioned here are relevant. By the way adults with learning disabilities have the vote and it was one of the saddest things to hear how their care workers had told them that if they voted Yes then, “Alex Salmond wil take away my free prescriptions”. Never have I been so riled at the lies told during the ref than to these vulnerable adults. Maybe it happened on the Yes side but I never came across it. Funny that, eh?

    70. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Of course the Tories score better in England than in Scotland, but that doesn’t affect my original point – that Cons are ‘miles ahead’ in England. You’re being willfully misleading”

      Let’s put it another way – they’re comfortably the biggest party in Parliament, yet have nine out of 117 seats outside England.

      There hasn’t been a big Con-Lab swing even since 2010. Labour have picked up maybe three points, the Tories have lost maybe two. UKIP have been the big gainers, the Lib Dems the big losers.

      The Tories will win England, both by votes and seats. I’ll happily have 50 quid on that with you right now.

    71. Kenny says:

      Terry, I agree. Even young NO voters at least be able to formulate an argument, whereas the elderly were just greedy, blind or downright pig ignorant. I have heard 8-year-old kids calmly deconstruct New Labour and Ed Milliband… which is a lot more can be said for the likes of our so-called “professional politicians” on high salaries and expenses. The young are much more clued up than the elderly — and it is downright dangerous to give the elderly the vote without monitoring rigging in care homes, etc. So an elderly in their dotage can vote, but a twelve-year-old cannot? Insanity (pardon the pun)!

    72. HandandShrimp says:

      I suspect that another reason for Scotland being more in favour is because we have just tried it and the sky didn’t fall. Nothing calms peoples’ nerves like seeing the sky not falling.

      I imagine that Prof Curtice will be eying these stats up for his attitudes survey.

    73. Paula Rose says:

      I’ve tended to the view that voting should be compulsory – however the extending of the vote to young adults has caused me to question that.

      Many of that age group pondered whether their peer group were competent to vote, yet by asking the question showed themselves to be well up to the process.

      If anyone of any age finds it difficult to make a decision – they should not be vilified neither should their vote be regarded as ‘none of the above’.

      I think as usual we have much to learn from each other.

    74. Effijy says:

      I take it that we want everyone to have a keen interest in how we are governed and have everyone monitor the double speak and underhand actions of those in power.
      If so, as the saying goes “catch them young and you’ve got them life”.

      Treat young adults like adults, not kids.They are the future!

    75. Fred says:

      I agree with Paula, as always 🙂 there are folk aged 16 + 50 who are as daft as a brush.

    76. Paula Rose says:

      (Fred honey – keep it very quiet, but being over 50 (just) I must admit to knowing some aged daft brushes – many are well kent wingers xx)

    77. Davie says:


      I think you may be a ringer. If you are under 18 as you profess then I apologise; but it is deeply sad that you don’t consider yourself able. Either that or you just arrogantly don’t think your peers are.

      I’m actually pretty ambivalent about the issue. I have done a lot of work with young people’s decision making panels and they tend to be small c conservative and sometimes big C without much of a worldview to back it up; I guess reflective of the population at large. I know I was an ignorant, aggressive little tabloid driven shit at that age, a full supporter or Iraq mark 1, Trident etc. Then I matured.

    78. Patrick Roden says:

      I think a lot of people are forgetting it’s UK politics we are talking about here.

      So the question is:

      Are 16 year olds, mature enough, to be lied to by the Labour Party, and misled by the MSM?

      I think they are, but like some of us who read Wings, most of them have the wit and ability to see through the likes if C U Jimmy…

      … And that’s what scares them!!! 🙂

    79. Taranaich says:

      Equally they cannot, go into the pub for a pint, own a firearm, drive a car unless supervised, I can’t get a tattoo or buy smokes to have with my pint in the pub that I cant have, can’t watch an 18 movie, Can’t stand for election as an MP, can’t buy a house or get a mortgage. You can’t legally leave home of your own accord! You can’t make a will or buy fireworks, so equally there are just as many rights suppressed due to your age!!!

      So you are saying that it’s fine for 16-year-olds to have the responsibility of marriage, leaving school etc, but not the responsibility of voting, simply because they lack other rights? That’s like saying gay people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because they’re already not allowed to adopt children.

      There is also the strong fact 95% of the world has a legal limit of 18 or above. That isn’t a mistake folks!

      Yet not too long ago, the most common legal limit was 21. In the 1970s, a significant number of countries had already lowered their voting age to 18. Even after that, ten countries have already lowered their voting age to 16 since 1984.

      There has been a consistent lowering of the voting age over the past few decades. That isn’t a mistake either.

    80. Googled England only polls and the only one i found – from December – put the tories only a couple of points ahead of Labour. Other UK wide polls have put Labour a fair bit ahead i’m pretty sure, and since England has 80% plus of the population, that likely means Labour have been ahead in the polls in England at some points too.

      The 15% UKIP had in the poll in England in December is pretty worrying and if you added it to the tory vote would give a big majority for Conservative and further right policies. But under First Past the Post those votes won’t be added to the tory vote,but reduce it in many cases.

    81. hetty says:

      Of course 16 year olds should be allowed to vote, end of.

      It is a fact, that in Scotland, a 16 year old is legally classed as an adult, though they still cant legally watch 18 films etc. In England, under 18 year olds are still classed as children, legally, even though they can marry etc. So it is different in that way, regards where those age groups stand, legally.
      Oh and er, Scotland needs to seriously look at the age of criminal responsibility being 8, ridiculous, lower than most countries in the world!

    82. David Hynds says:

      Think this pattern is likely to be caused by security by women and a sense of superiority by Tories and the south’s main business (finance), fundamentally both fear related.
      In Torry and south terms they think it takes more time to be educated in a business corporate thinking whereas its easyer to be a SNP/Labour stance (old labour), rights of people, rights and fairness for the masses while nearer school age (hence folks aren’t educated enough to vote tory yet) not true, superiority without foundation, but given the tory stance on most things has built in assumed superiority as key.
      Women tend to be more risk averse in general, we seen that in the ref, only at the tail end did we see the women really coming over to Yes (proud of them), caution and resistance to change I think is therefore more likely.

    83. James Dow says:

      It’s obvious, Scottish sixteen year olds are smarter than English eighteen year olds.

    84. Fiona says:

      It seems to me that in Scotland one is fully adult at 16. However, because we are in the union a great deal of legislation reflects the fact that there one is fully adult at 18: they just don’t amend legislation to reflect the basic position in Scotland. That does not seem right to me.

      Incidentally, the claim that at 16

      You can’t legally leave home of your own accord!

      is not correct.

    85. I’m pretty sure the laws on age of consent, age you can join the army at and everything else are identical for Scotland and the rest of the UK Fiona.

    86. Fiona says:

      A great many things are identical, and I think that is because the law is UK law and it imports the english notion of age of adulthood by default. But it is not true that everything is the same: that is why gretna green is famous! It is still the case that you can marry in Scotland without parental consent at 16; but you cannot do so in England (or in Wales, I believe) until you are 18.

    87. Fiona says:


      Housing law is also different: you can apply for a tenancy in your own right in Scotland at 16, but not in england till you are 18, as I understand it.

      You can also buy or sell a house in Scotland at 16 without parental consent. You cannot do this in england until you are 18

    88. alec says:

      @Rev Stu – “There hasn’t been a big Con-Lab swing even since 2010.”

      Yes there has, especially in England, and you are simply completely incorrect. The England only swing is currently wobbling between 5 – 6%, and denying this makes no sense.

      Of course the Tories are currently comfortably ahead in term of English MPs, and it’s possible that they may yet squeak most votes and most seats in England in 2015 (most seats is going to be hard for them, but still possible) – but this isn’t why I pulled you up. You said the Tories are miles ahead in England – they’re not – if anything, they are behind.

      Sometimes it’s better to just say ‘OK, I got something wrong’, and go and clarify what you meant. No one minds that.

    89. Alan Mackintosh says:

      @ Ally,

      You are wrong about your claim of needing to be 18 for firearms. You can have a shotgun certificate and hold a shotgun at age 14. And 14year olds can hold a firearm, (ie rifle). They cannot purchase one as you said, but are able to receive one as a gift. You failed to point this out, as it made your point invalid. Having held both Firearms and shotgun licences since I was 14, I know the law. That you failed to mention it suggests that you didnt.

    90. mick d says:

      I agree with the rev stu, the tories will romp comfortably home down here in the may ge.

    91. James E says:

      Alec is right.

      Recent Polls show Labour and the Tories neck and neck in England, which is a swing (in England) of 5% from Con to Lab. It should also be borne in mind that Labour can win a majority of English seats while being behind the Tories in English votes: that is exactly what happened in the 2005 GE, with part of the reason being tactical voting between lab and Lib Dem voters.

    92. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Recent Polls show Labour and the Tories neck and neck in England, which is a swing (in England) of 5% from Con to Lab.”

      This is such a lot of shite, though. If you go back far enough it’s a 40% swing from Con to Lab since 1905, but elections aren’t won on swings, they’re won on votes and seats. Labour are behind in England now and the direction of movement has been one-way for the last two years, in addition to the fact that incumbents always gain as the vote nears.

      I notice that nobody’s taken up my bet.

    93. James E says:

      I say that the opinion polls show Labour and the Tories ‘neck and neck’ in England, and you claimed that the Tories are ‘miles ahead in England’.

      Clearly, one of us is badly wrong. I would be happy to accept a bet on the veracity of your claim, as evidenced by opinion polls so far this year.

      If you want to make bets on the Tories holding their current marginal seats in England, there are around 30-40 where the bookies make Labour favourites to win, so you could get better odds backing the Tories than you are offering to all and sundry here.

    94. James E says:

      A few examples: the Tories are second favourites in all of the following for May 2015:

      9/4 in Hastings (4% Con maj in 2010)
      6/4 in Halesowen (5% Can maj in 2010)
      13/8 in Bury N (5% Con Maj in 2010)
      7/4 in Cannock Chase (7% Con maj in 2010)

      And you can get identical odds of 11/10 on for Con and Lab in Dudley North – a seat with a Tory majority of just over 10%, so needing that 5% swing from the Tories to Labour.

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