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Professor Sir Tom Devine warned failure to be open with the electorate would “fatally undermine any future campaign”. Professor Devine stressed lessons needed to be learnt from the last independence campaign making clear that economic arguments were a “sitting target” for attacks from the Union sides.
He added: “The economic and currency case advanced for independence was at best naive and at worst simply incredible, a sitting target for unionist and media attack on this most fundamental of issues where future livelihoods, employment, health, welfare and aspirations were all at stake.
“It is likely that the next referendum will be held in very straitened global financial circumstances for all the reasons we know about.”
It comes after a poll revealed nearly two-thirds of Scots believe a fresh “Scexit” vote should not be Nicola Sturgeon’s priority carried out by Scotland in Union.
Meanwhile, three-quarters of those polled also believe the Holyrood election debate should be “primarily focused” on the economy and public services over independence.
The Survation poll, conducted on behalf of pro-UK Scotland in Union, asked 1,008 people a series of questions between September 10 and 12.
In total, 28 percent of those polled said a second referendum is a priority at this time whilst 68 per cent saying it is not.
Nearly one in five voters – 18 percent – said the next Holyrood poll should be primarily focused on independence ahead of other major issues.
And 72 percent said it should be public services and jobs.
Half of those polled said a second referendum would make Scottish society more “divided” and 35 percent argued it would not.
Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said: “This poll shows that the SNP has the wrong priorities.
“Rather than obsessing about a divisive second independence referendum, most people in Scotland want their government to focus on what really matters: our NHS, jobs, and schools.
“When barely a quarter of people in Scotland believe another referendum is a priority, it’s time for Nicola Sturgeon to start listening.”
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Keith Brown MSP, deputy leader of the SNP, said: “The focus of the Scottish Government remains on tackling the coronavirus pandemic – but with a Tory Government increasing the threat of a no-deal Brexit and planning an unprecedented power grab on Holyrood, it’s no wonder people in Scotland are demanding the right to choose a better future.
“More and more people are realising that independence will give us the full economic powers we need to chart a proper recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and build a fairer, more prosperous Scotland.”
Professor Devine concluded: “Because of this gloomy background it is vital that those who advocate independence should treat the electorate with total respect and absolute honesty, not only with messages of hope and positive plans but also an acknowledgement of the real and undoubted challenges which lie ahead and how they might in time be overcome.
“Any alternative would fatally undermine any future campaign from the start.”
Additional reporting by Tom Martin, Scottish Political Editor
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