With less than 100 days to go before Scotland votes on whether to leave the UK, former prime minister Gordon Brown has made a dramatic intervention into the debate over Scottish independence.
In an article for The Guardian, he claims that, “neither the government nor the British elites are communicating a compelling vision of Britain’s future”.
He also attacked government ministers for “using the language of threats and ultimatums”. By doing so, he suggests that the No campaign is overlooking the fact that “the voters’ starting point is not the greatness of Britain or the longevity of the Union, but their own needs and aspirations as Scots”.
These comments “will go down badly” with the No camp, says The Daily Telegraph’s James Kirkup, although it “probably won’t directly affect public opinion in Scotland”.
However, it is likely to “raise morale in the Yes campaign and bring disorder and tension to what has previously been a (relatively) united and harmonious No campaign”. His colleague Benedict Brogan goes even further, seeing it as an act of “sabotage”.
However, regardless of how welcome his message is among his fellow ‘No’ campaigners, Brown is “surely right” to warn that the Yes camp could win, says the Daily Mail.
Since Scots are “well aware” of the risks of leaving, supporters of the UK should drop the “patronising tone and relentless negativity” they’ve used so far. Instead, they should “start celebrating the wonders our nations have achieved in our 300-year partnership” as well as the “huge benefits” of sticking together.
Meanwhile, as Martin Vander Weyer notes in The Spectator, the No campaign is being boosted by an unexpected source – younger voters. Far from being persuaded “by the romantic nationalism and anti-English fire of the Yes campaign”, polls suggests that they are opposed to independence.
At the same time, “some 50 school and college debates from Annan to Aboyne” have “produced emphatic No results, among them two large polls of university students in Glasgow”. “For once I salute the wisdom of youth”, writes Vander Weyer.