Scottish independence: Referendum debate ‘tearing families apart’

Nearly half of households are divided on the nation’s future and many fear a rift will remain

The Scottish independence debate has become venomous and fraught that arguments about the outcome are pulling some families apart, new research suggests.

Nearly half (42 per cent) of all Scottish families are divided on whether the country should become independent, a new poll has revealed.

The ICM poll also found that 21 per cent admitted that discussions about how they should vote in the independence referendum had degenerated into rows with friends or relatives.

The poll, for the Scotland on Sunday newspaper, also exposed significant fears that Scotland would remain divided after September’s referendum.

Of the 1,003 people surveyed, 38 per cent thought that divisions would remain whatever the outcome of the referendum.

Some 36 per cent disagreed when asked if Scotland would be left “badly divided”.

The poll results came at the end of a week in which the independence debate seemed to have turned particularly vicious.

J K Rowling, the Harry Potter author, was subjected to online abuse for declaring her support for the Better Together campaign, and Clare Lally, a mother-of-two, who declared her opposition to independence, said she had been reduced to tears by insults on social media websites.

Campbell Gunn, the SNP leader Alex Salmond’s special adviser, also had to apologise to Ms Lally, after emailing a newspaper to challenge the description of her as “an ordinary mum”.

It has now been reported that police are to investigate some of the abuse directed at Ms Rowling, who in her blog explaining why she supported the Better Together campaign suggested some nationalists  obsessed with Scottishness were “death eaterish” – a reference to the villains in her novels.

Commenting on the results of the poll, the Better Together campaign director Blair McDougall said: “After the week of abuse directed at two inspirational women who happen to be voting No, it’s little surprise that Scots fear a divided nation.

“Our campaign offers people in Scotland something we can all unite around.

“We want Scotland to have the best of both worlds – an even stronger Scottish Parliament, with more powers for Scotland, backed up by the strength, security and stability of being part of the larger UK.”

Yes Scotland’s chief executive Blair Jenkins, however, denied that pro-independence campaigning had been divisive.

He said:  “We are committed to a positive, quality, respectful debate. Sixty-two per cent of people disagree with the idea of division or have no view – similar findings could, of course, be generated by an ordinary election campaign – and there is a consensus and determination right across the spectrum that we will come together as Scotland united after the referendum.”

The ICM poll also detected a slight increase in the number of people supporting independence, with those planning to vote in favour now standing at 36 per cent, up two percentage points on last month.

The proportion of people opposing independence fell by three percentage points to 43 per cent, while the undecided voter grew by one point to 21 per cent.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Langley James : Head of IT; e-commerce; Blackburn; up to £55k

£50000 - £55000 per annum: Langley James : Head of IT; e-commerce; Blackburn; ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you have experience of B2B s...

Citifocus Ltd: German Speaking Client Specialist

£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Prestigious asset management house seeks a...

Citifocus Ltd: Performance & Risk Oversight

£Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: This is a varied role focusing on the firm's mutua...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game