How the argument for Yes and UK intransigence are changing minds

Disillusionment with the UK and the disastrous effects of Brexit are driving a series of high-profile expressions of support for Scotland’s independence. Here are just five voices who believe pro-Union parties are failing to make their case.

1:  Jon Worth, a journalist and visiting professor at the College of Europe

Mr Worth,  an expert on EU affairs, said yesterday that Scots should “save themselves” from the Union, describing the UK as “irrevocably politically f*****”.

His comment was sparked by the Labour Party’s failure at its recent conference to support a proportionally representative voting system for general elections. He used social media to express his frustration with Labour, which he described as a “pile of such moribund hopelessness I now don’t know what the hell to do to save it”.

Really, Scotland, go. Save yourselves because you can

Mr Worth added: “Really, Scotland, go. Save yourselves because you can. And eventually Wales too. And Northern Ireland too, providing it doesn't end in bloodshed. The UK is so irrevocably politically f**ked & Labour is no answer to Tory malevolence, and Greens and LibDems can't be under [First Past the Post].”

2: Former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish

During a podcast by the Herald newspaper Mr McLeish told the host, former BBC Scotland political editor Brian Taylor: “Yes, I would support independence”. He said he was now “sceptical” about the Union being able to reform itself, adding: “I’m not an optimist about the possibilities of the Union changing.’  He said:  ‘If it’s only economic fears that are binding us within the Union, that’s a pretty poor state of affairs. I believe that Scotland could be independent tomorrow.’

3: Professor Ciaran Martin, the former constitution director at the Westminster Cabinet Office

Professor Martin was all over the media last month when he told the Edinburgh International Book Festival that he expected the Scottish governmentwould lose any court case over a right to hold a referendum.

But he clarified his position recently to The National newspaper, saying he had been “quite surprised” to see the focus of those headlines had not reflected the main thrust of his argument.

He stressed that even if Boris Johnson won the court case it would still help the Yes case. “The theatre and substance of a court wrangle may work in their favour,” he explained.

“The UK government will have to make very awkward arguments, such as that Scotland’s not really a nation with a right to self-determination. Something I heard time and again from convinced Unionists in Scotland is that they would vote passionately and campaign passionately to stay in the Union, but if anyone ever told them in all seriousness that Scotland had no right to leave, then that would be a different matter.”

4: Rock band Texas

Sharleen Spiteri, singer with one of Scotland's biggest bands, was among the high-profile names backing the Union in 2014. She said at the time. "I think it’s very important to have a Scottish government who make decisions for Scotland but I can’t understand how Scotland would survive independently. ‘

Now she has changed her mind.  The Express newspaper recently wrote an article based on Spiteri's 2013 comment headlined: "Sharleen Spiteri: Independent Scotland 'can’t survive' as 'we don’t have the resources'"

After Brexit, Sharleen and the rest of Texas now support Scottish Independence

In response, the band's official Twitter account issued a short post saying: "This is not true. After Brexit, Sharleen and the rest of the band now support Scottish Independence."

That's triggered a massive response, racking up more than 6000 likes and in excess of 150 comments.

5: Professor AC Grayling, author and philosopher

Professor Grayling  was one of the 200 signatories of the so-called love bomb letter begging Scots to vote No in 2014. He has dramatically changed his mind.

He said recently: “I have now come to the view that it is unconscionable that Scotland, which voted to be in the EU, should be dragged out by England which pays so little attention, has so little interest and care really for Scotland, other than as a useful appendage.”

Independence Live will broadcast an interview with Professor Grayling by John Drummond at 7pm on Wednesday, October 6.

By Richard Walker