The faltering campaign to keep Scotland

The Yes group is gaining ground in the Scottish independence referendum campaign. A survey by ICM Research reveals a decline in the No vote from 46% to 42% over the past month, says Tom Peterkin in The Scotsman.

Over the same period, the Yes vote has remained steady at 39%, with 19% undecided. When the latter group are excluded, the No vote stands at 52% with 48% in the Yes camp.

This is the highest level of Yes support yet recorded by an independently commissioned opinion poll.

The Better Together campaign this week made a “concerted” effort to revive its “faltering campaign”, say Laura Pitel and Hamish Macdonell in The Times.

Gordon Brown, the former prime minister, weighed in, warning that an independent Scotland faced a “pensions time bomb”, with an annual bill in the first year of separation estimated at three times the projected income from North Sea oil.

“The extreme negativity of the No campaign is proving a major turn-off for voters,” says Blair Jenkins, chief executive of Yes Scotland. Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, marked St George’s Day with a speech to an English audience promising that an independent Scotland would champion the north of England to balance the economic might of London, says Andrew Grice in The Independent.

He insists that an independent Scotland will still be the “closest” of friends with England, maintaining strong trade and transport links and sharing the same currency (even though all three main parties at Westminster have ruled this out).

The Scottish campaign has been rightly derided for its negativity, says Hugo Rifkind in The Times. Ultimately though, “Scottish nationalism is the far more negative creed”.
Scots are not oppressed. “Post-devolution, they are not even overlooked.” This is not a campaign to put right any great wrong, it is a campaign to stop talking, to “pull away”.

The sad thing is, regardless of who wins, the referendum has already “broken a consensus that was utterly and vitally British”. The centuries-old union gave us the multiculturalism that has forged our post-Empire identity. I hope the Yes campaign fails, but “from a British perspective, it’s a terrible failure that it ever began”.

  • EM99

    What Hugo Rifkind misses is that the referendum is about democracy. I don’t understand why this upsets so many people. The people of Scotland are being given the chance that, if taken, will mean that all the decisions that affect the people of Scotland will be taken by their representatives that they have voted for. What is wrong with that?