Are Scottish voters hearing confusing messages over EU vote?

Nicola Sturgeon Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Nicola Sturgeon put the case for Remain at a Buzzfeed event last week

This week the remain campaign is focusing on Labour voters - politicians who want to stay in the EU are worried many them have not been persuaded of the merits of EU membership.

Maybe they should be thinking a bit more about SNP supporters too - many of whom are far from convinced about the EU.

Polls are indicating that up to a third of SNP supporters could vote to leave. And as about half of the Scottish electorate are now SNP voters, that is a sizeable chunk of votes.

Recent messages from the UK wide Remain camp suggest they have not properly considered how their arguments will sound in Scotland.

When George Osborne claims that if there is a vote to remain that will take Scottish independence "off the table" for a generation does he not understand that he is practically daring voters who support independence to vote to leave?

Nicola Sturgeon has said that if the UK votes to leave, but a majority of Scottish voters want to remain, that could provoke a second referendum on Scottish independence.

But she is now playing down that possibility, telling voters this referendum is not about Scotland's position within the UK and urging them to vote remain.

As she is trying to focus her supporters' minds on the question on the ballot - membership of the EU - she is not helped by English politicians repeatedly bringing up the question of Scotland's future.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image copyright Getty Images

Last week John Major said a vote to exit the European Union could "tear apart the UK", and could make pressure for a second vote on Scottish independence "politically irresistible".

He said he hoped voters would hear yet one more reason to stay in the EU. But if your primary political goal is achieving an independent Scotland it sounds more like an invite to vote to leave.

This referendum is already very confusing for many Scottish nationalists.

Their party's leadership and all its elected politicians are urging a vote remain. Yet some of the arguments for leaving are remarkably similar to their own reasons for wanting Scottish independence.

Use of language

And they hear the remain camp issuing dire warnings about the consequences of separation that are almost exactly the same as the arguments that were deployed against Scottish independence just 20 months ago.

One young SNP Remain campaigner told me "the hardest place to be in politics right now is a nationalist supporting remain".

That may explain why we haven't seen much of Ms Sturgeon out on the stump making the case for a vote to remain.

The SNP have been remarkably low key during this referendum.

But if other remain campaigners from south of the border hope to rally the SNP vote to their side they might want to think more carefully about the language they use.