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Scotland and England poles apart on the EU

Attitudes to the EU are almost exactly opposite in England and Scotland, a groundbreaking study by the IPPR, University of Edinburgh and University of Cardiff has found.  Fully 50% of English voters would vote to leave the EU, with 33% voting to remain, with the figure in Scotland almost exactly inverted with 53 per cent of Scots would vote in a referendum to stay in the EU and 34 per cent to leave.

The study focuses on the growth of English identity, and some evidence of an increasing discontent with the way the UK is governed amongst English voters.

Alyn said:

"This study is fascinating, and there is a lot of it to chew over but some numbers just jump out at you.

"These figures are too stark to ignore, there is a clearly different attitude North and South of the border.  I have said for some time that attitudes to the EU will be a defining attribute to the European election campaign, itself the curtain raiser to the Independence vote.  It is my view that we are seeing more and more the emergence of two different political countries with two fundamentally different perceptions of themselves, their place in the world and how they want to interact with it.

"Before the re-establishment of our national Parliament in Scotland, those differences were submerged a UK policy apparatus that felt no need to articulate or deal with them, pretending instead that the views and interests coincided.  As the Holyrood political machinery makes different decisions in Scotland, then so those differences are becoming more apparent.

"I do not kid myself, the EU is not loved and I'm the first to campaign for EU reform.  But there is nothing wrong with Scotland's membership of the EU that will not be put right by being independent, setting our own priorities and articulating them for ourselves.

"The growth of English identity, to my mind, is something to welcome, but my own view is that people can feel as British, Scottish, European or combination of all three as they like, my inclusive view is that everyone in Scotland is Scottish and how they feel is none of my business.  But where those attitudes influence wider behaviour, especially with the very real prospect of an In/Out EU vote this study demonstrates just what is at stake in the coming months and years.