SCOTLAND has far more committed left wingers than England, new analysis has revealed amid speculation that thousands of Scots were radicalised during the independence referendum.

A detailed breakdown of political attitudes north and south of the border shows more than one in seven Scots fall in to the most radical segment of the left-right political spectrum.

That compares with fewer than one in 10 in England, despite the two countries being broadly similar across the rest of the political divide.

The numbers were calculated by political scientist Craig McAngus from raw figures in the British Election Survey, a giant poll carried out after May's vote.

Tens of thousands of people took part in the survey, making it one of the most reliable sources of underlying politic trends of its kind.

Dr McAngus, a research fellow at the Centre on Constitutional Change and the University of Stirling, plotted Scottish and English voters across the political spectrum using a series of simple questions posted in the survey about attitudes to issues like welfare and wealth redistribution.

Most people in both countries fell in to the left half of the scale with Scots, overall, marginally more left-wing than the English. This repeats other such findings.

However, Dr McAngus found that 9.8 per cent of English respondents and 14.5 per cent of Scots fell in to the most left category.

He also discovered that nearly one in four SNP voters ranked in this group of most committed leftists, suggesting strong connections between radical progressive views and nationalism.

The Herald:

Left independence campaigners believe they helped to radicalise this group of people.

Jonathon Shafi, who campaigned for a Yes vote with the Radical Independence Campaign, said: "The referendum opened up a political space which was outside the formal parameters of mainstream politics and people genuinely felt empowered by that.

"As someone on the radical left, the basis of my world view is that the more empowered people become, the most ambitious they become about their lives and their society."

Mr Shafi, however, stressed he also agreed with the findings that Scotland and England were - perhaps like other northern European countries - broadly similar in their left-right split.

He said: "I have never thought Scotland is drastically more left wing than England. But we saw the referendum as a chance to bring a rupture in to the neoliberal consensus."

Labour supporters of radical leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn believe Dr McAngus's findings suggest that there is a radical left vote worth chasing in Scotland.

Vince Mills, of the Campaign for Socialism, said: "There is a real basis for the politics that Jeremy Corbyn is arguing for in these figures.

"If Labour party uses this opportunity, it will be able to grow its membership and be able to win elections again.

"It is still fairly clear the party is quite conservative, which you can see in the election results between Neil Findlay and Jim Murphy.

"The membership was two to one in favour of Mr Murphy. With Mr Corbyn showing there is another way we can approach politics, a lot more radical people will come back to Labour."

Dr McAngus's findings, however, also showed substantial numbers of both Scottish and English voters coalesced around a centre-left position.

Analysis: Craig McAngus

The assumption that Scotland is a left-wing country and, perhaps more importantly, more left-wing than England is one that pervades much discussion of Scottish politics.

Of course, Scottish politics has been dominated by the parties of the left since the 1980s.

And this country's elite political discourse is arguably to the left of England's, particularly on welfare reform and immigration.

Yet hard analysis of public opinion has consistently found there to be very little difference between Scotland and England when it comes to the left-right spectrum.

Indeed, some research has shown that, if anything, attitudes have converged over time.

However, the independence referendum has shaken Scottish politics up quite substantially.

There was certainly a left-wing flavour to the pro-independence movement and those who voted Yes were more substantially more likely to be on the left than on the right.

Has the legacy of the referendum led to a shift to the Scottish public becoming more left-wing than their neighbours to the south?

Well, by using very recent data from the British Election Study it is possible to find out.

By combining answers to a range of questions on topics such as ‘redistribution of wealth’ and ‘fair share for ordinary people’, a left-right spectrum can be constructed that can be used to compare Scotland and England.

The first thing to note is that the overall pattern of both lines roughly correspond to one another, and that both lines are skewed to the left. The accusation that England is a right-wing country just does not stand up to the evidence here.

But there is one aspect that does differentiate Scotland and England.

That is the gap between those furthest to the left: 14.5 per cent of the Scottish public are on the most left-wing point of the scale compared with 9.8 per cent in England.

This left-right scale is constructed using a number of questions that, when combined, can place a respondent on the left-right spectrum. When the mean (or average) score on each of these individual questions is compared between the two countries, Scotland is slightly more left-wing than England on all measures, but the difference is very small. Interestingly, the area where both countries are the least left-wing is on whether or not the state ought to redistribute income from the rich to the poor.

This analysis has shown that attitudes in Scotland and England are not only very similar, but that they are both skewed towards the left on these measurements.

However, some caution is advised. The questions used here help us to construct a very important dimension of political ideology, but divisions between left and right consist of more aspects than these.

Debates between left and right also encompass important and salient issues such as immigration and security that will undoubtedly shape ideological worldviews. Nevertheless, on these measurements we see that people in Scotland and England are broadly similar to one another and that both lean to the left.

Dr McAngus is a research fellow at the Centre on Constitutional Change and the University of Stirling