In his cover story for the August issue of Prospect, published today, Andrew Marr revisits the question of Scottish independence, a subject he first wrote about in his book The Battle for Scotland, published in 1992. Marr argues that the Scottish independence referendum will be closer than conventional wisdom currently allows.
“The opinion polls have been quite strongly in favour of the Union, and the general assumption that a vote for the Scottish National Party in Holyrood is simply the latest wheeze to put pressure on London for financial favours is blandly repeated in bars and television studios. ‘They willnae.’ During the very late spring of 2013, as I have started to pay more attention, I have become less certain: next September, they micht.”
“We may be about to see a new country—indeed, two new countries—emerging on these islands. Half a lifetime ago, I sat down to write a book [about Scottish independence] as a work of history. It has become current affairs.”
Elsewhere in the issue, Peter Kellner, president of YouGov, reveals new polling on attitudes towards private schools. Most of us agree that private education confers advantages on pupils in terms of A-level results. There is less agreement, however, on what the source of the advantage is. Seventy-seven per cent think smaller class sizes and better facilities make all the difference, while 61% think the fact that classes in private schools are less frequently disrupted by bad behaviour is decisive. Fifty per cent think private school pupils are not “generally brighter than pupils in state schools”.
In an accompanying piece, David Willetts, the minister of state for universities and science, considers the implications of Kellner’s…