BY LUKE COPPEN AS MANY AS 21 per cent of Scottish Catholics consider themselves likely to vote for a single-issue, antiabortion party in the general election, according to an opinion poll commissioned by BBC Scotland's Frontline Programme and broadcast last week.
In a statement released the day after the programme, the ProLife Alliance welcomed the poll as "encouraging news" for their recently launched election campaign.
-Bruno Quintavalle, head
of the ProLife Alliance, stressed the importance of the poll, stating "it is is significant, given that there are over 600,000 Catholics in Scotland."
However he drew attention to the vague wording of the poll, which asked interviewees if they would be prepared to vote for a single issue, anti-abortion party. Quintavalle maintains that the ProLife Alliance campaigns on a variety of issues.
The Alliance is set to capitalise on the poll's findings. Eleven candidates have already been through the selection procedure in Scotland, with a further 15 awaiting nomination. When asked if the same high poll results could be replicated in other parts of the UK, Mr Quintavalle was hesitant, suggesting that they could be matched in strong Catholic areas such as Liverpool and Manchester.
"Where the Catholic vote is significant we will have three or four candidates standing. But we are looking for other votes outside these areas," he added.
The news of the Scottish pol irregular though many of these polls are will come as a great relief to the Alliance, which was recently informed that it would not be receiving any financial backing from Mohammed Al-Fayed, the Egyptian financier.
But the apparently strong support given to the Alliance in Scotland is not as surprising as it might initially appear.
As the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Winning has been a no-nonsense, high-profile critic of abortion.
Recently, he attacked Tony Blair MP for what he claims to be an equivocal stance on pro-life issues.