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Left behind: if Scotland votes for independence, London will lose its closest ideological cousin

Posted at 1:10 pm, September 18, 2014 in News
Scotland and London are friends - referendum independence

Just yesterday we argued that Scotland and London ought to form a union of their very own. Now we’ve been vindicated by some fascinating data analysis from US politics site FiveThirtyEight. (You might remember them as the guys that successfully predicted the entire US election in 2012.)

Carl Bialik compared opinions on topics including benefits, immigration, nuclear weapons and Europe in different regions of Great Britain. And the results show that, comparatively, London and Scotland are essentially best mates:

Greater London [is] the most Scottish part of Great Britain. The South lined up with Scotland on just two questions, and the Midlands on just six. The North agreed on 11, and the Welsh on 12 — just over half. But Greater London agreed on 21 of 23 questions.

[Opinions in] Scotland differed, on average, by about 8 percentage points from Greater London, 9 points from Northern England, 11 from Wales, 12 from the Midlands and 13 from the South…

Nearly every other region’s most distant ideological neighbour was Scotland. The gap was largest for the South, which was 13 percentage points apart from Scotland, on average, but placed within 9 points or fewer relative to every other region. The one exception was Greater London, which was closer to Scotland than to the South and the Midlands — the two regions that are closest to Greater London.

So despite Scotland being our most geographically distant region, it’s by far the closest in terms of political beliefs. That means an independent Scotland would be a real disaster for regular Londoners, who would lose an important ally in the UK’s political debate.

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