Catholics could sway Scotland independence vote outcome

Support from Catholics in Scotland could swing the upcoming referendum in favour of independence from Britain, a Scottish academic says.

Writing in The Times, Professor Sir Tom Devine of Edinburgh University noted that, historically, Catholics in Scotland have not favoured devolution.

This was because they were sceptical about the Presbyterian majority using devolution to gain greater influence.

This scepticism has, however, been declining since the 1980s.

Polls now suggest that the 30 per cent of Catholics support independence, compared with 26 per cent of those with no religion, and 17 per cent in the Church of Scotland.

The professor argued that with the decline of sectarianism and equalising educational and social opportunities, Scottish Catholics are more at peace with their national identity.

Add to this the fact that the Scottish National Party has developed relationships with Catholic Church leaders, while “Scotland’s Catholics were taken for granted by Labour for a generation”.

The referendum is on September 18.

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