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Scottish independence: the Union is endangered by premature and misguided complacency

15 November 2013

15 November 2013

Somehow I managed to miss Iain Martin’s praise for the manner in which David Cameron has “handled” the referendum on Scottish independence. Happily, John Rentoul has prompted me to take a keek at Iain’s article which, somewhat uncharacteristically, concludes that the Prime Minister has “played a blinder”.

This, as Mr Rentoul cautions, is premature praise. We are asked to believe that Cameron has pursued a policy of masterly inactivity. It is also suggested that securing a single-question referendum was a masterstroke rather than, well, the obvious outcome of a negotiating process between Edinburgh and London that was much less dramatic, and much less important, than everyone agreed at the time to pretend it was.

Of course, many pundits have sometimes suggested that Alex Salmond has been forced – by his own startling electoral success – to hold a referendum that, actually, he’d have been quite happy to avoid. I dare say I’ve made that suggestion too. I’ve certainly thought it. The SNP’s victory in 2011 surprised the SNP themselves.

But it is, in the end, the kind of analysis that risks being too clever-by-half. It turns out that Alex Salmond is quite relaxed about having a referendum. So are his parliamentary colleagues. The reason for this is quite simple: they think they can win. (And a single question referendum is the only kind the nationalists can win.)

It is true that the opinion polls offer little encouragement to this view. But it is also true that almost no-one thinks the final result will be very much like the current opinion polls. The referendum is not being held tomorrow.

It may be – nay is! – in everyone’s interests to caution that the referendum will be much closer than the polls presently suggest. That does not alter the likelihood that it actually will be rather close. Few people expect the Unionists to win 65-35 and not many think it will be 60-40 either. At which point, the swing required for a Yes vote becomes something achievable.

The No campaign has two particular enemies: the nationalists and complacency. The latter is almost as formidable a foe as the former. Moreover, the Yes campaign enjoys an advantage in enthusiasm. That helps. So does the fact that it builds on the SNP’s own election campaign machine which, by common agreement, is the most formidable such apparatus in Scotland.

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The Scottish government’s White Paper on independence will be published later this month. It cannot answer all questions and Unionists, not altogether unreasonably, will continue to demand more detailed responses to their questions (not all of which are nit-picking).

Of course, the White Paper is not the last word on anything. It can only sketch one possible future. The detail of independence will still be a matter to be decided in future negotiations, the outcome of which is necessarily uncertain and, indeed, unknowable.

Nevertheless, as I say, we should expect the White Paper to be at least a plausibly plausible version of one possible future. It should give the Yes campaign a boost (if it doesn’t then something will have gone wrong).

Meanwhile, it is no secret that the No campaign worries about the Labour vote. I don’t suppose many people outside Glasgow could tell you very much about Sir Charles Gray. Nevertheless, the fact that the former Labour leader of Strathclyde Regional Council intends to vote Yes is a reminder that the Labour vote is not as solidly Unionist as No campaigners hope or, perhaps, even need it to be.

Just a straw in the wind? Perhaps. But it is not difficult to find other such straws; not difficult to find people at least open to the idea of independence. It is rather harder to discover people moving from Yes to Undecided to No.

That’s one reason why some smart nationalists are convinced the Unionist vote is soft. The referendum really is “there to be won” as one former nationalist parliamentarian not usually given to wishful thinking told me recently. Perhaps his certainty is ill-placed but it was striking nonetheless. Striking and worth taking seriously.

The polls, of course, still insist upon a different story. And polls are often more reliable than hunches. Nevertheless, hunches nag and nibble away at past certainties. And my hunch, right now, is that the game is far from over. It’s still the first-half.

Indeed, the middle third of the electorate remains undecided and there are many folk who have barely begun to think about the referendum.

In any case, there is something to be said for the idea that Alex Salmond has already won. All the opposition parties have committed themselves to looking at the case for the devolution of more responsibilities to Scotland even if voters reject independence. This includes David Cameron. Salmond didn’t need a second question on the ballot paper to get, implicitly, a commitment to legislate for further devolution.

Perhaps I spend too much time talking to or reading Yes voters. I’m hesitant to proclaim the battle won already and not just because, frankly, the independence referendum is good for freelance journalists whose own interests lie in it being a dead heat requiring a replay in 2017.

Be that as it may, something is afoot. If neither campaign has yet distinguished itself I still think the Yes campaign’s story is the easier one to tell. For that matter, I think it still has plenty of ammunition stockpiled for use next year. There are still new things for it to say. One danger for Unionists is that they may not be able to say the same. They have a more limited repertoire and we may have heard it all already. Several times in fact.

I don’t know. But I do know that people in London seem rather more certain of the outcome than people in Edinburgh. Perhaps distance brings clarity but I can’t help but think the picture more cloudy, complicated and uncertain than some people are suggesting.


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Show comments
  • Derek

    questions need answered,
    Will 800,000 European migrants be heading for the border, if its a yes vote as Scotland will no longer be party to the European policies.

    Who will pay my pension when i retire having never not worked for the British state and always paid my Taxes

    how will the defense of Britain really be achieved with the loss of bases, knowledge, personnel and the fiances of any Scottish raised taxes,
    will i be offered a place in the united kingdom if i feel i don’t want to be a part of and independent Scotland.

    just a few real questions
    .

  • Eric McLean

    “All the opposition parties have committed themselves to looking at the case for the devolution of more responsibilities to Scotland even if voters reject independence. This includes David Cameron. “

    Alex, your article is a good précis of the current situation, except for the above. There are no commitments, only hints of Jam Tomorrow. As you must know, as an experienced political commentator, Westminster politicians have a solid track record of lies, obfuscation and broken promises.

    I, for one, do not trust anyone who ‘hints’ at further powers. There is no honour in these people. Their only interest is to frustrate a YES vote. They will do and say anything to achieve that.

    Now, I do not believe that you believe it’s otherwise.

    Jam Tomorrow indeed!

  • Bill Cruickshank

    Here’s a wee story Alex. Last night I attended a party and met a fellow who I had not seen for years. Turns out this chap is an official in his union and a prospective parliamentary candidate for Labour. After a bit of chewing the fat, he admitted quite openly that many Labour activists he knew were going to vote YES and that the vote was wide open. Also canvas returns in some of Scotland’s poorest areas are showing 70% in favour of YES. Better Togther are getting the same information from their private polling, hence the panic mode utterances from Alisatair Carmichael etc. It is very much ‘game on’!

  • fg207

    Er, give English MPs similar “devolved” spending powers and bye bye the English Labour parliamentary majority, possibly forever (only Tony Blair’s 2007 landslide was supposedly enough), over the vast majority of English tax and spending (80%, I think I read). Is this what Cameron is really about in supporting further devolution in the north?

  • TheEndGame

    England is turning into an open sewer, run for your lives Scotland.

  • Charles Patrick O’Brien

    I have always wanted Scotland to be an independent country as far back as I can remember to the 60,s at any rate.Scotland can be an international country once more,I do think the Union that we are in with the rest of the UK has seen its best days gone,and only a decline is possible.With independence we can build from what we have,including the people,and thrive without any of the false beliefs of greatness and that of Westminster’s presumed superiority,it may of course be just my perception of Westminster that leads me to say so,but I have heard it said in other places also.Independence I think will bring about great changes in England as well,it should encourage the people to vote and get rid of the unelected top tier that is no more than a pension pot for the best “brown noses” pomp and ceremony were fine three hundred years ago but Westminster needs to become a more modern and open government and Scottish independence can be the catalyst that causes it.

  • Alan McPhail

    Independence for Scotland should not be about blind patriotism or anti English sentiment. It should be based on the facts and what is best for the Scottish people. Surely the past has taught us something about Westminster’s rule over Scotland.
    If we want to be ruled in perpetuity by whomever England votes for: you will vote No.
    If you want to see all our national wealth from oil and gas, and our fiscal surplus continue to flow to Westminster: you will vote No.
    if you want live with whatever taxes the Tories impose on us like the Bedroom Tax which hits the poorest in society: you will vote no.
    If you want to see the country spend billions fighting in foreign wars and spending more billions on nuclear weapons, when we have food banks throughout our own country: you will vote No.
    if you want to see Westminster spending even more billions improving transport for London and the South East where we have to contribute to the cost but receive no benefit: you will vote No.
    Those who still intend to vote no will deserve everything that comes their way.

    • Sanctimony

      If you vote yes, you will do us English a huge favour… please, please vote YES!

      • Charles Patrick O’Brien

        Oh aye many more of us will be voting yes if only to be rid of thinly disguised racism.Its not we Scots who will lose its those who think that they are somehow superior who will learn that not only are they NOT superior but been getting financed by us that will be the losers,sorry for you and all of my friends and relations in England but its the fault of Westminster and its gargantuan expenses that have no real benefit to society except for the misguided few self-proclaimed betters or elite if you prefer.Our independence may be the catalyst that England needs to bring itself 3 centuries forward and up to date.

        • Wessex Man

          Oh aye, is that a fact? when is racism not racism, when it’s expressed very very often here and when we English dare to stand up to it you suddenly become holier than thou and accuse us of racism, classic!

  • anyfool

    Scotland should get out now.
    The UK is doomed as a cohesive entity, there is too many different cultures trying to gain ascendency, these cultures are so diverse they cannot ever work together so as to live in some kind of harmony.

    Racial, religious and ideological differences will become the battleground which will tear England apart, I am not talking about Labour Tory spats, there is a incubus of religious ideology gestating in the major cities of this country that cannot help destroying anything else it comes in to contact with.
    Islamism has destroyed all other cultures around it as soon as it reaches ascendency, can you seriously look at the weak minded eunuchs in Westminster and say they have the strength to correct the disaster they have wrought on this country.

    • Wessex Man

      Pots Kettles black!

  • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

    Alex Massie identifies two “particular” enemies faced by the campaign to deny Scotland’s rightful constitutional status: complacency and the nationalists. By the latter he, of course, means the No campaign’s opponents. So, a bit of a tautology there. But the qualifying “particular” is interesting. It suggests that Mr Massie recognises other forces or factors working against Project Fear – or, as I’m sure he would prefer we called it, “Better Together”. And he’d be right.

    We can very easily point to two further problems besetting the anti-independence campaign: ineptitude and the total lack of any meaningful message. Examples of incompetence abound. There is hardly an initiative spawned by the less than fearsome intellect of Blair McDougall and his doom-mongering minions that hasn’t almost instantly become an object of derision and the subject of much mockery among those who are sincere when they acknowledge the sovereignty of Scotland’s people.

    If proof were needed that the No campaign has absolutely nothing meaningful to say to the people of Scotland then we need look no further than the blubbering bruiser himself, Alistair Carmichael. The British state’s new man in Scotland. The political gun-slinger who was supposed to be coming to town looking for a showdown with Sheriff Salmond and his deputies. The one who only a couple of weeks ago was being touted as the Yes campaign’s nemesis.

    What an anti-climax that was! Other than some petulant whining about supposedly having been called some names on Twitter – which itself is hardly original – what we’ve had from Carmichael looks less like a fresh onslaught in the battle to preserve the British state and more like a pathetically lackadaisical reprise of what has gone before. Like one of those compilation “clip shows” that TV sitcoms sometimes do, but with all the boring bits instead of all the best bits.

    We now hear that he’s telling his cabinet colleagues that the way to beat the positive message of the Yes campaign is to drown it out with yet more of the kind of banal, jingoistic, tacky Britfest claptrap that has been assaulting our senses and our aesthetic sensibilities for what seems like an age already. Oh! and if they could just re-run the London Olympics that would be good too!

    Carmichael’s contribution comes across more like an admission of defeat than a rallying cry. And articles such as this one from Alex Massie start to look like an attempt to prepare excuses for that defeat.

    • northern conscience

      The coalition have tried 2 Lib Dems as Scottish Secretary for London and they’ve been ridiculous. David Cameron should give lone Tory David Mundell a go in the job. That would be splendid entertainment.

      • Vote YES in Sept ’14

        Couldn’t agree more, bring on the Mundell.

    • Jambo25

      Carmichael, who was brought in to take the fight to the SNP, has made even less impact than his predecessor, Michael what’s his face and he made so little impact that I cannot even remember his surname.

      • Wessex Man

        well that’s a bit politically ignorant of you then.

        • Jambo25

          I seriously couldn’t remember his name until just now. It was Moore.

    • allymax bruce

      Mr Bell, you said, ” look no further than the blubbering bruiser himself, Alistair Carmichael. The British state’s new man in Scotland. The political
      gun-slinger who was supposed to be coming to town looking for a showdown with Sheriff Salmond and his deputies. The one who only a couple of weeks ago was being touted as the Yes campaign’s nemesis.What an anti-climax that was! Other than some petulant whining about supposedly having been called some names on Twitter – which itself is hardly original – ”
      You are being malicious; for no good reason. Attacking Ali Carmichael as such, is not an argument, & unworthy of debate.The Scottish Cringe is alive & well; mastered no better than cringing Scots themselves! Moreover, you go on to recognise what is mostly known in mature political debate; “Carmichael’s contribution comes across more like an admission of defeat than a rallying cry. And articles such as this one from Alex Massie start to look like an attempt to prepare excuses for that defeat.”
      This, is more the realpolitiks of it; the insistence of convincing oneself the need to defend negativity, is itself, negative!

      • rullko

        Whit?

  • Bob Waugh

    There is an aspect of the Better Together campaign that must be having an effect on narrowing the lead the No camp once had.

    In the early months of campaigning they were able to make an impact with a number of scare stories about Scotland not having a viable currency, being cut off by border checks, etc etc. Even if you discount the really embarrassingly over-the-top ones (like the “need” for the RAF to bomb Scottish airports to prevent the Russians getting them -that was actually a one-off by an aged Tory Peer who had not been taking his tablets) these care stories had a serious inbuilt fault.

    Their narrative was that should the Scots have the temerity to refuse to think and act as their Betters have prescribed, the result will be a Big Sulk by these peeved “Betters”.

    If this is so, many must be thinking, if this is the measure of those who rule in London, why do some people think that we can do no better than remain under that governance? Why do they so lack confidence in their own people? When that sort of thinking starts, all the spinning in the world will not stop it.

  • Fergus Pickering

    But why do people think the things you say they think, Alex?. Perhaps to make something boring into something exciting. Of course, as a Tory, I would be happy to see Scotland independent. By the way, what happens if Labour win power in 2015 with the aid of Scottish seats? Or will the Scottish seats all be swept away immediately? Do you know? Does anyone?

    • paul

      It makes no difference. The UK gets what England votes for.

      • griff84

        The UK gets what Southern England votes for.

    • Wessex Man

      does anybody really care Lab/Tory/Lib/dums they’re all the same!

  • ButcombeMan

    Is anyone else bored by the whole issue?

    I would prefer the Union to stay intact because I am concerned for Scotland outside the Union, but I am sick of the whingeing anti English racisim from Salmond and his followers.

    If it is anything like a 50/50 vote we should just eject the Scots. They are more trouble than they are worth.

    I would rather have the Poles, they work hard, they do not whine, they get on with life. They make more of a contribution to our society & I do not constantly get harrassed in the streets of London, by drunken Poles, asking for money “for a cup of tea”.

    • Jambo25

      Once again, please supply examples of “whingeing anti-English racism from Salmond and his followers”.

    • Maureen Luby

      Examples of “anti-English racism from Salmon” please!! I take it you don’t see the irony in calling Alex Salmond anti-English before going on your anti-Scottish rant! Quite a high level of numptiness displayed here!

    • Charles Patrick O’Brien

      I am a Scot that has no anti anybody except for racists like you,there is no racism in the SNP that I have ever came across,only in the tall tales of the pretend journalists.You will find that after Scotland chooses independence your austerity will last a very long time and you may regret wishing for this break,although I too wish independence as I know we Scots can do much better without Westminster pulling us down to their level.

      • Wessex Man

        The trouble is that someone like Butcombman writes here tongue in cheek and you with your chip on your shoulder as wide as the Clyde then accuse him of being racist, sad, so sad!

  • CraigStrachan

    If there’s a narrow loss next year, I wouldn’t count on a rerun in 2017. The Canadian experience suggests a decade, minimum.

    • Malanthus

      Actually Alex Salmond was asked to agree that it would be a once in a generation so min 30 years as Cameron wanted to ensure that the question didn’t continue to bog down politics.

      Speaking before a debate at the Scottish Parliament on Scotland’s future, First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Today marks one year to the biggest opportunity Scotland has ever had.

      “Referendums like this are a once-in-a-generation event which means the vote on September 18 next year will be the opportunity of a lifetime for many people in Scotland, as we get the chance to choose our country’s future.”

      • Malanthus
      • CraigStrachan

        Yes, once in a generation is about right. The 1995 Quebec sovereignty referendum was lost about as narrowly as possible – 50.5% to 49.5%. There has been no re-run, and no real prospect of one any time soon, despite the PQ’s return to government.

      • Charles Patrick O’Brien

        Yes he said that but I will not be tied to any agreement made by today’s politicians or my ancestors that involves me being linked to any other person or country.If as I suspect we do regain our independence all will be well with us,but if it is a narrow loss then the plans that the Tories have for us all will more than likely make many wish that they too had voted for independence.So another referendum could come in 5 years time,but I hope there is no need.

    • paul

      It’ll be when the people of Scotland want it. You know – democracy and all that.

  • JonBW

    The English expect a Scottish ‘No’ vote because we’re naturally pessimistic.

    However, I understand George Galloway is now in Scotland campaigning against independence, so perhaps there’s hope after all.

    Please can we just be separate, friendly, independent neighbours? Please can the English have a vote?

    • Andy

      You think Scotland will be a ‘friendly neighbour’ ? History suggests otherwise, as does the usual Scots Nat anti English bile.

      • Jambo25

        Details of “the usual Scots Nat anti-English bile.” please.

        • Wessex Man

          I would say to you just google ‘anti English sentiment in Scotland’ and go to what James MacMillan, Scottish Musician has to say about it, or Andrew Marr, Scottish Political Commentator and Journalist or Willie Rennie Scottish Politician all have to say about it. I have a feeling though you would just say that they were lying.

          • Maureen Luby

            Straw clutchery at its finest!

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              Because it doesn’t fit your chosen narrative.

          • Charles Patrick O’Brien

            These guys who dwell in London or out in the wilds with time for mischief making.

            • Wessex Man

              Mischief making? merely giving Jambo examples that he asked for then getting his propaganda back in reply as usual, oh dear.

            • griff84

              I don’t know why you all got on Marr’s back so much, he explicitly said he thought both sides of the debate were using toxic language.

          • Jambo25

            Assertion isn’t proof. MacMillan mainly complained about a post-independence Scotland being possibly anti-Catholic. Unfortunately he found few supporters and came out with his claims at about the time that sections of the Scottish hierarchy were going into a bit of a love-in with Salmond and the SNP. He did make claims that he detected an upsurge of anti-Englishness in Scotland. He produced no evidence of this other than he had heard a few English people in a bar, once, saying that people in Scotland had been rude.

            Marr claimed he was frightened of the possible rise of anti-Englishness yet he provided no proof. He hasn’t lived in Scotland for 32 years; has no recent inside experience of Scottish politics or society and is a known Labour sympathiser.

            The only one of the three who attempted to provide proof was Rennie and he screwed up big time. On 12/12/2012 the Scottish Government issued a report showing a rise in assaults and other crimes against ‘White British’. Willie Rennie then misinterpreted this information to issue a Lib Dem press release saying this showed a rise in anti-English crime. This was then used as the basis for an edition of ‘Call Kaye’; a discussion programme on BBC Scotland which quickly turned into an anti-SNP fest. The claim, put forward by Rennie has also acted for the basis of the factoid, churned out, over and over again, that there are SG figures showing a rise in anti-English crime.

            Only, it isn’t actually true. Complaints, by nationalist supporters, to the BBC about the Adams’ show drew a reply from the show’s producer which contained the following passage.

            “The claim that these figures reflected
            an anti-English sentiment came from
            Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie.”

            Rennie had, either deliberately or accidentally, put misleading information into circulation. This isn’t entirely surprising given that Rennie had to apologise to Salmond for releasing a racist cartoon on his (Rennie’s) web site back in 2011 portraying Salmond as a dark-skinned Arab and suggesting that a future independent Scotland would impose social conditions similar to those in the Mid-East.

      • paul

        What history are you talking about exactly? The history of England invading Scotland year after year and trying to subjegate the Scottish people? Not very neighbourly that us it?

        Would you prefer Scotland bombed English towns to gain independence like the Irish did? The Scottish independence movement is entirely peaceful – be nice to get some credit for that.

        • Wessex Man

          er the Batlle of Flodden Field, in which our reserves took on a massive invading Scottish Army and inflicted the biggest victory by one British Island Nation upon another ever but that would be petty to remind you of that so I won’t!

        • griff84

          ‘The English’- oh sorry, you mean Frenchman like Edward I. And I suppose we’ll ignore the various Scottish invasions of northern England. Maybe we could go even further back and talk about the Scottish invasion and subjugation of the native Picts and Britons of Northern Britain? Or we could just view history like a Mel Gibson film, you probably prefer that.

      • Charles Patrick O’Brien

        I think that the Brit-Nat bile would be more accurate.

  • allymax bruce

    More inane hyperbole; same old, same old.

  • ruralleader

    “This might secure the result in 2014 but in 2015 on when Westminster has to rein in borrowing, when the government does not need to hide the cuts coming to Scotland, then this because of the untruthful campaign will return with a vengeance and soon after their will be another vote.”

    The cuts have dramatically begun with the shocking decision on friday, by DEFRA’s Owen Paterson to hijack the €230million EU CAP Convergence Uplift money. Brussels aims to converge the CAP area payments across the EU by 2020. The UK only qualifies simply because Scotland is so far below the EU average and to help lift us nearer to the EU area average. A cross party letter was sent from Holyrood to ask that that money be passed direct to Scotland. Predictably Owen Paterson has seen fit to divide the money equally between the four nations leaving Scotland at even greater disadvantage on areas payments, with not just their British nation neighbours but their EU neighbours also. Scotland now languishes with the dubious honour of receiving the lowest amount for Pillar 2 Rural Development of any Nation in the EU.

  • northern conscience

    Napier University in Edinburgh held their referendum debate the other day. In the vote afterwards Yes got 80%. So much for the unionist media’s claims that young people aren’t supporting independence.

    • Deepthought

      Grasping at straws. This was a vote by a particular small audience in single room. An earlier survey of 569 Napier students found 70% voted “No” – only 29.6% of students supported independence. A mock referendum at Glasgow University saw 62% voting “No” and 37% of 2,589 students polled voting “Yes”. An independent ESRC sponsored survey of 1000 14 to 17 year olds found 60% would vote No

      • northern conscience

        Aren’t most debates held in a single room?
        If you know the size of the audience why haven’t you told us?

        • Deepthought

          A single room with a self-selected group and therefore vulnerable to the audience being stuffed with supporters of a particular position – and not at all representative of the wider student population. Inconvenient when people quote facts isn’t it?

          • northern conscience

            Of course. We know unionists never rig votes.

            • Deepthought

              Is there a reason you don’t want to talk about any of the previous much larger polls? Wouldn’t it be better to try and understand why people aren’t supporting your position?

              • northern conscience

                You didn’t mention the debate a few weeks ago at Abertay University where the vote went 51% Yes to 38% No. A well attended and well organised event that saw Yes Scotland’s Stewart Hosie MP debate with Better Together’s George Robertson. It certainly wasn’t some pretend event rigged by some student nats.
                I would find it hard to understand why students in Scotland would be enthusiastic about the tuition fees endorsing unionist parties that make up Better Together.

                • Deepthought

                  And once again not a large randomised poll. So why do you think students don’t support your position?

                • northern conscience

                  I think they do, as evidenced by the votes at Napier and Abertay, which are much more recent than the votes you mentioned.

                • Deepthought

                  Not according to almost all opinion polls. Just read them. But I am sure you will be anxious believe that all the many polls by multiple organisations showing large majorities voting No have been somehow mysteriously rigged. And therefore you have no need to try to understand the view of the majority that rejects your position.

                • northern conscience

                  I understand the views of council tenants who despise the unionist Bedroom Tax. Or the views of students who wish to avoid unionist imposed tuition fees. Or the views of the Scottish farming community who see EU money for Scottish agriculture being withheld by Westminster. Or the views of environmentalists and most of us who want a green energy Scotland free of unionist nuclear weapons and a new generation of Westminster imposed nuclear power stations.

                • Deepthought

                  So why don’t the people support your views?

                • paul

                  You appear to be placing great faith in opinion polls.

                  I’ll remind you that in the last Scottish elections all polls had Labour way ahead and the SNP ended up with a majority. The media was completely 100% anti SNP as well.

                • Deepthought

                  Can I remind that it is northern conscience quoting a poll held in a single room of students as evidence of wider support of independence. Desperate days for the independence campaign.

                • Jambo25

                  Prior to the debate those present voted ‘No’ but after it the vote switched to ‘Yes’. If your masochistic enough you can watch it on Youtube.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Abertay’s in Dundee, ever the most independence-friendly of Scottish cities.

                • northern conscience

                  Many of the students aren’t from Dundee.

                • CraigStrachan

                  But they’re there now, God help them.

                • Jambo25

                  Believe me there are a lot worse places than Dundee.

                • HookesLaw

                  250 people

                • Jambo25

                  Most of these votes are of small samples. They are the political equivalent of parlour games.

          • Charles Patrick O’Brien

            The BBC or as we say the EBC,tried a debate and by the end of the debate they found that a large % changed to YES,they did as usual load the room with unionists,but a lot of minds were changed that night.You just need to keep up with reality,or as they now say come on into THE REAL WORLD.

      • Maureen Luby

        Are you being deliberately obtuse? The difference is clearly the word ‘debate’. As with all the debates going on up and down the country the swing is always to YES!

  • stealingthunder

    I only wish you were right. Scottish independence is the only way to rid the world of the rogue interventionist state Blair turned the UK into, to get England to realise its place in the European family of nations, and to give the Scots back the nationality that was stolen from them, so that they too can hold their heads at least as high as Denmark and Finland and even the tiny Baltic states which at present count for more in the world than Edinburgh.

    • Dusty01

      Right from it’s birth the United Kingdom has been and always will be an “interventionist state” It’s the British way! NOT just a Blair invention.

      • stealingthunder

        You’re right, indeed goes back before the 1800 or 1707 (depending on your preference) acts to English colonialism. As Churchill in 1914 memorably described our ‘splendid possessions mainly acquired by violence and largely maintained by force’. Ah patriotism! Something to be proud of.

        • griff84

          The Scots weren’t colonialist were they? I mean they didn’t bankrupt themselves with a colonialist adventure in central America or anything like that.

  • asalord

    Mr Massie fails to address the influence of the media in the debate.We have witnessed constant bullying from the British nationalist media towards those who wish to see Scotland regain its independence.
    Sadly these kinds of tactics will only increase in the run-up to the referendum – to what effect?
    Because of the monopoly of British nationalist newspapers it will not be easy
    but the ugliness of British nationalism must be defeated if we are to
    live in a fairer society in an independent Scotland.

    • paul

      The media have been largely atrocious, partisan, one-sided, insulting and completely misrepresentative.

      But then they were like that before the devolution vote in 97 (an overwhelming victory for Yes) and the last Scottish government elections (an overwhelming SNP win).

      The takeaway from that is that Scottish voters make up their own minds and will do so in this case. The Yes campaign has an extremely good grassroots campaign going – one that is largely ignored by the MSM. It’s here and in pubs, workplaces and living rooms that the referendum will be won or lost. Not in newspapers with declining circulations and a BBC that is “British” in name only.

    • allymax bruce

      The media in Scotland is not ‘British’ Nationalist, it’s Zionist; owned by super-rich Zionists from outwith these ‘British’ Isles. The Conservative UK Westminster government are themselves ‘targeted’ by the Zionist MSM; BBC, C4, ITV, SKY, & all but 2 newspapers; Daily Mail, Telegraph. A ‘constitutional war’ is ongoing between the ‘One-World-Government Zionist conglomerate, (of which, own the MSM mediums mentioned, EU banks, Fed’, BoE, Labour Party, Republican Party etc), and conventional Democratic ‘representation’; as in Political Party representation.

      This is truly Scotland’s last chance to become ‘Independent’ again, (as we understand it), because that ‘convention of politics’ is fast being eradicated. It’s now, or never, for Scottish Independence.

  • Deepthought

    Frankly this article comes across as really weak journalism. It’s simple mate – report the facts, analyse the facts. Otherwise we might as well seek the uninformed opinions of random strangers met at bus stops. No-one is interested in your poorly written rhetoric. Your article puts huge weight on a few very brief chats with Nationalist politicians (who unsurprisingly are unwilling to say that most Scots are not supporting their arguments and there is no sign of momentum in their favour) where you show no sign of having probed or tested their thinking (eg “the referendum is there for the winning”. It would have so easy to ask the questions “How do you justify that? What is your plan for turning the polls around? Why don’t more Scots say they support you?) . You are supposed to be a journalist! Ask questions! You then go on to actively ignore or dismiss all evidence in the other direction with similarly poor quality thinking. Weak, weak journalism. But I’m not here to give you a lesson in how to do journalism. Try getting some more practice before coming back to serious national news.

    • paul

      It’s an opinion piece.

    • allymax bruce

      Thank you !
      100% correct.

  • anyfool

    In the last two years the no campaign has never once stated any benefit to a no vote for Scots to stay in the union that has not been cloaked in fearful threats as to what will happen if they are so ” stupid ” as to vote yes.
    This might secure the result in 2014 but in 2015 on when Westminster has to rein in borrowing, when the government does not need to hide the cuts coming to Scotland, then this because of the untruthful campaign will return with a vengeance and soon after their will be another vote.
    The people who are now using fear will be driven from office, Labour will join the Tories as a poisonous rump in public opinion.
    These cuts will happen because of one simple fact, the population in England has increased by many millions through immigration, forget the nonsense about them bringing benefits, all will get benefits of some kind, all require services, the pot of money is not growing as quick as the population so there is less money per head to share out, the percentage population increase it is probably around 20%, a mighty big slice of an empty pie.
    Scotland would be mad to stay in this Labour created nightmare.

  • Crefishgyn

    Here is West Wales I know no one who isn’t excited about Scottish independence. It will be the start of a new reality for the London-centric elite that have abandoned so many of us. Roll on a big Yes vote! Goodbye Britain, Hello Freedom!

    • anyfool

      And when you sit down to that plate of smug self satisfaction you might reflect on why there is an absence of meat.
      If Wales wants independence it will need a better programme than that, you will have to persuade people they can make a go of it, you will have to persuade them that the so called scraps from the Westminster table will be matched by scraps bought through hard work by the Welsh.
      You wont unlike the Scots have a ready made oil revenue stream it will be much harder, so get your thinking hat on.

      • Wessex Man

        Whilst agreeing with you 100% please, please don’t put him off!

    • Andy

      Freedom for ENGLAND !!

      • John Campbell

        your right and keep your own depts. ,your own bunch of political low life,s [scum] your paki,s your mouslins, lol get on with you keep the lot roll on alec William Wallace salmond

        • Wessex Man

          Classic, there speaks a fine Scottish intellect, I only guessing but you didn’t do well at school maybe?

        • Sanctimony

          Err… could we have that in Scottish, perhaps, Mr Campbell…

        • Maureen Luby

          ????????????????? Sincerely hoping you are not on the Yes side. This is just incoherent ramblings.

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            Said the sanctimonious and sententious rambler.

        • Sanctimony

          Hic…

      • paul

        Since when did 55 million people need freeing from 5 million? Doesn’t say much for the English does it :) Kind of embarrassing really.

    • Wessex Man

      How are you going to fund your freedom?

    • Deepthought

      Support for Welsh independence is running at a historically low level (less than 10% of voters in favour). That’s why no independence vote is taking place in Wales.

      • Fantastically wonderful in eve

        As Wales becomes the second home country for der Engerlish.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          Happy to lose Wales at a moment’s notice.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        What a pity.

    • Nicholas chuzzlewit

      Trust me, you will not be missed if you seek independence for Wales. Bring it on and let my taxes fall as a result. What do you plan to do for money by the way?

  • sunnydayrider

    Of course the Jocks may vote “No” just to piss-off the English.

    • Wessex Man

      at last an amusing comment in this sea of oh so boring point scoring!

    • paul

      Nah – that’s just a nice wee bonus. :)

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        Yet the moment an Englishman expresses a similar sentiment we are all treated to an ocean of sanctimonious and sententious comments as every Scot rushes to jump on his or her high horse. Hypocrite.

  • rtj1211

    The difference between the two campaigns is that the yes folks have been plotting and dreaming of this since at least 1986 (when I moved to Glasgow and detected unmistakeable since of pro-independence nationalists amongst the young professional classes), whereas the no folks have just jollied along throughout that time.

    As a result, the yes folks will have a slick machine. Maybe the no folks need to emulate that??

    I have heard nothing over the past 9 months to suggest that a field-marshall has plotted a campaign covering the next 12 months to retain the Union, there being the odd article which never addresses the substance of any argument which is likely to win.

  • Peter Thomson

    I never fail to find the Unionist frame of mind fascinating when looking at current poll trends. The NO vote’s margin has dropped from a 26% lead in Scottish polls in mid 2012 to only 8% in late 2013.

    After the mess Westminster has made of Grangemouth, Falkirk and now the BAE systems on the Clyde – not including Labour’s own goal this week on the bedroom tax debate at Westminster to lose by 26 votes when 47 of their MPs were on the skive.

    Cameron is a joke in Scotland as are the series of Tory ministers who have rushed up to Scotland and exited just as quickly – the Home Secretary does not seem to understand there is a separate legal system in Scotland over which she has no input.

    Now we have the Labour Party region in Scotland collapsing ever faster into the political black hole they have created with the continuing implosion of Falkirk.

    The figures in Scotland do not make happy reading for the No vote is a walk over camp. Currently if you add the vote share of all the Unionist parties in Scotland it is less than the SNP’s, the Scottish Greens have a bigger vote share than the Libdems, BBC Scotland is trusted as a news source by less than 40% of Scots and the Scotsman newspaper is on the verge of collapse announcing 40 more redundancies in the editorial staff today.

    In debates in Scotland when the position is properly argued, the attendees come out 2:1 in favour of independence. Here’s the big problem for the Unionist side, if all they have left is more shroud waving, scare stories and attempts to slap Scotland down – they are in trouble.

    Scots do not zip up the back and the first question is simply just how will staying in the Union preserve Scotland’s NHS from the ravages the NHS in England is now suffering? Where is the Westminster white paper on the future of Scottish devolution? Can the Unionists guarantee there will be no further Government or corporate raids on occupational pensions? How is the MoD protecting Scotland’s maritime areas given the paucity of RN surface vessels in Scotland and the complete lack of RAF maritime surveillance aircraft? Where does the £1.2 billion shortfall between what Scotland pays for its share of UK Defence and what it actually gets go? Just what is the point of George Osbourne? Why is Ian Duncan -Smith allowed to make stuff up when the DWP’s own figures indicate around 1000 UK citizens a month (FOI request) are dying as a direct impact of DWP sanctions?

    Come on Alex – where is the positive case for Scotland to stay part of this ever more fascist UK style of governance, how does a seriously minority party in Scotland represent the considered will of the people of Scotland in any shape or form? Labour in Scotland currently on 20% vote share in Westminster voting intentions with the SNP on 45%. Wake up Mr Massie, you are not fooling anyone but your Tory readership over what is actually happening in Scotland.

    • alabenn

      It is not a tory readership, it is a least worst option readership for now, except for a few like Telemachus and David Lindsey who are for the very worst option.

    • Wessex Man

      Your comment is very long and detailed but just who are you trying to convince here, most of we English posting on here seem to agree with you. So instead of spending so much time and effort with your comments wouldn’t it be more productive for you to get out on the streets of Scotland and drive home your message?

      • Jeanne Tomlin

        You are under the impression apparently that Scots don’t read newspapers or internet articles. Let me disabuse you of that notion.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          You do all seem very preoccupied with rubbing our English noses in it though. What seems to disappoint you most is that firstly we don’t care about you and second, we long for the day when England is an independent country again.

          • John Standley

            “What seems to disappoint you most is that firstly we don’t care about you ”

            Well said, NC – my sentiments exactly.

          • Jeanne Tomlin

            If you don’t care, why are you posting about it? Your assumption that Scottish independence is about ‘rubbing your English noses in it’ is mistaken. The entire world does not revolve around England. Scottish independence is about what is good for SCOTLAND.

            And if you are so eager to be an independent country again, why aren’t you campaigning for it like the Scots? Or are you convinced that it should just be handed to you?

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              Because why should I and any other Englishman for that matter just sit back and take your incessant rudeness and mean spiritedness. I visited Scotland with friends for a Rugby international a few years ago and the deluge of unprovoked filthy language and obscene behaviour that greeted us was shameful. I wasn’t wearing an England Rugby shirt or even a Barbour Jacket which I accept would be provacative in the extreme and verging on racism. Scottish independence affects all of us because, by definition, it means the break up of the United Kingdom but I am denied a say in that small matter. Finally, don’t you dare try and tell me when and where I can post a comment on any subject for which opinions are invited.

              • Jeanne Tomlin

                I wasn’t the one that said you didn’t care. You said “firstly we don’t care about you” and yet you post obsessively on the topic. That says to me that you are lying when you say you don’t care.

                As for “incessant rudeness and mean spiritedness”, I suggest looking at your own posts.

        • Wessex Man

          how rude of you! Where in the name of heaven, I did try another H but was censored, have I said you don’t read papers or internet articles? I said it would be more productive for you to get out on the streets of Scotland and drive home your message. Let me disabuse you of that notion!

          • Jeanne Tomlin

            That would be why except that Scots don’t read newspapers?

            Of course, being on the streets is also productive, perhaps more so which is why, if you were in Scotland, you will find Yes campaigners there. You might want to speak to the No campaigners though. They are very, very thin on the ground. Not that I’m complaining if they can’t be bothered, mind.

    • Deepthought

      So just to be clear – the independence campaign is over-joyed that it is trailing so far behind in the polls? Frankly I’m puzzled.

      • Maureen Luby

        How on earth do you conflate an 8% swing as ‘trailing so far behind’? Did you actually read the comment?

      • Jeanne Tomlin

        The Yes Campaign is overjoyed to see support for No falling month after month. Not difficult to understand.

      • Erik McLean

        Perhaps you should change your moniker? How about ‘just-about-skims-the-surfacethought’

        More apt.

  • DougDaniel

    “The reason for this is quite simple: they think they can win. (And a single question referendum is the only kind the nationalists can win.)”

    Indeed, which is why it absolutely baffles me that the likes of Iain Martin think the absence of a devo max option – the guaranteed winner of a three-option referendum – is anything other than an absolute boon for independence supporters.

    There was only one way to guarantee there would not be a devo max option on that ballot, and that was for Alex Salmond to want it there. He laid the ball in front of them in the penalty box, stood aside from his goal and said “go on, put it in the net”, and they predictably went “aaaah, that’s just what you’d WANT me to do, but you can’t fool me – I shall kick it into my own net instead!” Unionist politicians can be played like violins, although they tend to be extremely badly-tuned.

    Years from now, people will look at the day the Edinburgh Agreement was signed – taking away any chances of a mid-way option on the referendum to suck up all those fearty “I don’t like Westminster, but I’m nae sure if Scotland could be independent” votes – as the day Westminster practically handed independence to Scotland on a plate.

    (Although not entirely obviously, since we still have to win the thing first…)

    • Angus McLellan

      The Tar Baby theory? But people are rarely that clever. Me, I think the third option was a leftover from 2007-2011, when the SNP were trying to get the Lib Dems to agree to back a vote, any vote.

      • DougDaniel

        I think it’s a combination of the two. It certainly wasn’t intended as some cunning ruse when it was first mooted – it was simply to get the Lib Dems on board, as you say. But once it was part of the overall debate, it was a case of how best to deal with it. Since we all know unionists have no intention devolving anywhere near the amount of powers people want them to, it was a pretty safe bet that they wouldn’t want it on the referendum, since that would tie them to doing it. Combine that with their knee-jerk opposition to anything they think the SNP can present as a victory, and it became a fantastic tool to make sure the referendum question, timing and franchise would be decided by Holyrood, not Westminster.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Because, fallow, we, the English, don’t want you to have Devo-max. We want you to be independent or shut up. Is that OK?

      • paul

        Luckily you, the English, don’t run the UK government, or Scotland for that matter, and can’t tell us what we can and can’t do within it. That’s for the people of Scotland to decide. Is that OK?

        • Wessex Man

          no that’s not OK at all, you in Scotland have had referendums over the years, yet we English are contantly denied a voice, as we make up 84% we should democratically be allowed to express a view as to how our own country, England is governed. You sum up your attitude with “luckily you, the English, don’t run the UK government, or Scotland for that matter.” says it all!

          Although from a country that has a much smaller population than England, your Scottish devolution came about because the Labour Cabinet that pushed it through was dominated by Scots, with very few English members. don’t tell me that’s not so. Your unelected Lord Falconer, Tony’s crony famously told us ‘Read my lips there will never be an English Parliament!’ as he and the Welsh windbag Prescott tried unsuccessfully to push through Regional Assemblies on we English.

          • Vote YES in Sept ’14

            I don’t get it, do you want more regional representation as promoted by Lord Falconer & windbag Prescott or are you saying the English are denied a voice, those are mutually exclusive, regional votes or no voice. Those that pushed through Scottish Devo were perhaps that last ever Labour Party that did what they said they would. I can assure you they did not expect the arrangement to come back and bite them as it has now done. Well done Labour, but you didn’t see this coming, if you had you would have prevented it.

            • Wessex Man

              All in one then, first paul, We have campaigned for years for example I took part in a march in 2007 at Westminster, authorised by Mick Martin the Speaker and handed in a 30,000 petition to Downing Street for an English Parliament we had MM’s argeement march across the front of The houses of Parliament but the massive police ‘escort’ routed us away from that, on to the Embankment and kettled us on Martin’s order.

              Vote YES in Sept ’14, I course I don’t want my country divided and done away with as Windbag Prescott and Falconer wished to do to England and the people of the North East certainly showed they didn’t either. Why on earth should my country become regions, England no more, I can just see you accepting that in Scotland NOT!

              Paul 2, in reply to Nicholas chuzzlewit, Your Government has stated it wants to be part of the EU, which Australia, Canada and New Zealand never did. The EU has already told Alex Salmond that you would have to apply as a new member and as a new member would have to adopt the Euro as part of joining. Yuo might not like that but it is a stated fact by the EU.

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                Well said and to which answer came there none! Zeppelin are still better than the Stones though.

                • Wessex Man

                  We’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one.

          • paul

            You are not denied a voice. You just haven’t campaigned and voted for what Scotland has campaigned and voted for. We didm;t just get handed devolution then a referendum. Lots of people have spent literally decades campaigning and working for it. If England wants it, campaign and vote for it. We did. Stop moaning about what others get and expecting to get the same thing without the work involved.

            • Jeanne Tomlin

              Indeed.

        • Fergus Pickering

          You can SAY whaty ou like but you cannot DO what you like. You cannot devolve powers to yourselves without reference to the rest of the UK. In other words 5 million people cannot do as they like in these matters without the agreement of the other 60 million people in the UK. It’s called democracy. Got it?

          • paul

            The terms of the Union say Scotland can leave if it’s the will of the people. As for Devolution we already have that. If England wants it, campaign and vote for it. We did.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          And yet you plan to keep Sterling so tell me, what kind of Independence is that? Or do you believe that the Bank of England can be forced to work exclusively in the economic interests of Scotland even to the detriment of England?

          • paul

            Canada, New Zealand and Australia kept the royal family as we might. Ireland used sterling for some time after independence. Are they not independent?

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        No they are determined to rub our English noses in it as well.

  • Andrew Leslie

    Thing is, Alex, if you are out on the streets week after week, you pick up a sense of how people are shifting, thinking afresh, long before any opinion polls. The No campaign is doing itself no favours, and it has no boots on the ground. It has pummeled the Scottish people with negativity since the word go, and the worm is turning. As for the jam tomorrow argument – once I see one of the unionist parties at Westminster commit itself in public to devo max, I’ll believe it. But not before. We’ve been there in 1979, remember?

  • andagain

    From a Nationalist point of view, the worst possible result of holding an independence referendum is exactly the the same as as the certain result of NOT holding a referendum.

    So why should they be unhappy about having a referendum? It might give them everything they want, and cannot take anything they want from them.

    • Tom M

      What it will do is deny a return match for a very very long time if they loose.

      • andagain

        Only if they lose by a big margin. And if they do, that will suggest they could not have won a referendum in the near future anyway.

      • paul

        Dream on. This is not going away, The move towards independence for Scotland has been slowly gathering steam for decades – it’s just people in London didn’t notice. First we campaigned for devolution and got it at the second attempt. Then we voted in a majority party who would deliver a referendum at the second or third attempt – the SNP. Next it’s the referendum itself. It’s going to be close and there are only two possible outcomes – independence in 2014 or independence at the second referendum that WILL follow a close No vote, especially if Westminster continues the way it is going.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          That’s right, keep asking the question until the public gets the answer correct. You will be a perfect fit for the EU with that attitude.

  • MichtyMe

    The dependency campaign may take comfort from the polls but when questioned in detail a majority of those asked think that the Scots Parliament should collect all the taxes and take all major decisions. The majority is independently minded. They are Yes voters but just don’t know it yet.

    • Deepthought

      Actually the people are not stupid and most of them already know they are No voters. You just don’t want to hear it.

      • Jambo25

        You’re probably right this time but a Scotland where 80% of the population do not see themselves as primarily British (62% don’t see themselves as British at all.) won’t survive for long.

        • Wessex Man

          Is that all you do surprise me, I would bet that’s about the same here.

          • Jambo25

            I don’t know and don’t really care.

            • Wessex Man

              nice to chat with you as well, we’ll have to meet up after you’ve won your ‘independence’ for a proper chat.

              • Jambo25

                Sorry, but I really am ceasing to care much what happens down south unless it impinges upon my relatives and friends or my life up here.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  I think we were all rather hoping that any friends or relatives of yours would clear off to Scotland after independence they are not wanted here.

                • Jambo25

                  Since all my in-laws are English I doubt they’re moving up here too soon. If they did, however, not having to share the same piece of ground with unpleasant twats, like you, would, I am sure, be a major comfort.

                • Eric McLean

                  Sad and bitter comment. Like Jambo, all my relatives are in the South. Some are English or married to English.

                  Comments like yours are beneath contempt.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  And yet you have managed to summon up the monumental sanctimony to make a sententious and unoriginal comment of your own.

                • Eric McLean

                  Oh dear I rather liked my comment. It was a happy inclusive comment, unlike yours.

      • Maureen Luby

        Most of them! Really? Not keeping up then as No have been under 50% for months now and still falling.

      • Jeanne Tomlin

        Funny that the percentage of No voters falls with each successive poll then.

      • Erik McLean

        You are so out of touch.. I assume you live in England.

  • dougthedug

    A reasonable article Alex but you’ve got a blind spot of your own.

    “In any case, there is something to be said for the idea that Alex Salmond has already won. All the opposition parties have committed themselves to looking at the case for the devolution of more responsibilities to Scotland even if voters reject independence.

    If Scotland votes No then the chances of any significant powers being devolved to Scotland are nil, nada, zilch. “Looking at the case for more devolution”, means pretending to the Scottish electorate that it’s going to be jam tomorrow in the hope that will make them vote No. The first tranche of devolution was easy because all that had to be done was to hand control of an already separate education system, legal system and NHS service from the Scottish Office to a Scottish Parliament and fund it all with a block grant based on departmental funding for England.

    Any wider devolution of power will require the alteration, change or splitting of Whitehall departments that cover the UK and with the threat of independence gone Westminster will see no reason to spend an inordinate amount of time and money on servicing the needs of a loyal Scottish region when there are other regions of the UK with their own problems.

    The more probable scenario is that powers such as planning will be returned to Westminster so that the Scottish Parliament can’t block the creation of nuclear dumps or nuclear power stations.

    • Deepthought

      The politicians of all the main political parties are agreed that there should be more devolution. You appear to be worried that the people will believe in the prospect of greater devolution and prefer that option strongly to the vague and uncertain options being offered for independence. You are therefore trying to claim that this option does not exist at all and play on paranoia in an attempt to bolster support for a faltering independence campaign. Weak and transparent.

      • dougthedug

        The politicians of all the main political parties are agreed that there should be more devolution.
        Please point me to where Cameron, Miliband or Clegg have promised more devolution. (Promises of commissions and examinations don’t count)

        You appear to be worried that the people will believe in the prospect of greater devolution and prefer that option strongly to the vague and uncertain options being offered for independence.
        I am certainly worried that the Scots people will believe the false promise that more devolution will be on offer to Scotland after a No vote even though no Party has promised anything at all and certainly not laid out even in broad detail which powers they propose to devolve.

        You are therefore trying to claim that this option does not exist at all and play on paranoia in an attempt to bolster support for a faltering independence campaign. Weak and transparent.
        It doesn’t actually exist as an option. It’s not on the ballot paper even though it would have killed independence stone dead if it had been. Even when faced with an independence referendum neither Labour nor the Tories have produced anything which promises anything about devolution. It’s not an option because Scotland has already reached the limits of the power that Westminster is willing to devolve.

        • Deepthought

          Increased devolution is the most likely option to happen in the future – and it is the option the people and the politicians want. All parties (except the SNP) and the Electoral Commission wanted a single simple question on the ballot. That’s why we ended up with a single question on the ballot. The unfortunate effect for the SNP is that it concentrates media and electorate attention on the SNP’s thinking about independence – and increasingly the people see that the thinking is vague and poor quality. The SNP clearly hoped that shallow rhetoric and paranoia would win the day. Unfortunately for the SNP the people aren’t that stupid. That’s why the SNP are losing the campaign.

          • Vote YES in Sept ’14

            I really, really think you are wrong. The SNP only ever wanted a single question, to say otherwise is grossly misleading. It was left for others within Scottish society to speak up on the possibility of a third question, i.e. the advocates of devo max, whatever that was, but no one did so the idea died. The SNP policy/desire of a single question was then the outcome enshrined in the Edinburgh Agreement. There is no other reality which existed in relation to the two question issue. End of.

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              Yes the sincerity of the SNP is beyond dispute. Where is that legal opinion regarding Scottish membership of the EU by the way?

              • Jeanne Tomlin

                Since only Westminster can ask the EU for a legal opinion regarding Scottish membership in the EU, perhaps you should ask David Cameron.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  I am fully aware of that but it did not seem to prevent Salmond from claiming that he had such an opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for Scotland to join the EU. I, like many of my fellow Englishmen, simply want rid of you and whether or not you join the EU or enter into joint sovereignty with the Pitcairn Islands is a matter of supreme indifference to us.

                • Jeanne Tomlin

                  If you actually listen to that interview, he made no such claim.

                • Eric McLean

                  You are wasting your time Jeanne. This guy is one of the worst English bigots on these boards. Have a look at his posts. He delights in calling people names. Possibly some sort of inferiority complex.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  So speaks the master of sanctimony.

                • Eric McLean

                  No sanctimony here. I can cuss with the best. I don’t normally call people names. But for you, I will be happy to make an exception if not doing so makes you feel churlish and inferior.

                • Jeanne Tomlin

                  It’s hard to say with bigots the cause of the problem, but you are no doubt correct about the nature of his comments.

              • Eric McLean

                It matters not a jot.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  How very democratic of you what peerless integrity.

                • Eric McLean

                  Exactly so.
                  Although I prefer to think on it as dismissive ingenuity

          • Maureen Luby

            The SNP never wanted a 2nd question on the ballot. All they said was that if enough people wanted it (through the consultation paper) then they would put it in. There is no option for further devolution, just as the Scottish government wanted.

          • Erik McLean

            For someone called deepthought, your thinking is rather shallow, as is your intention with your comment.

          • Jeanne Tomlin

            Increased devolution? If Scots are foolish enough to vote No, the second the vote is over, THAT idea will be kicked firmly into the long grass never to be heard from again.

            You are right that people are not stupid, which is why the No campaign loses support with every succeeding poll. And speaking of vague and poor quality, that is exactly what the supposed “increaded devolution” proposals are. In effect, “If you vote No, we’ll give you something but we won’t put it on the ballot and we certainly won’t tell you what we’ll give you.”

            1979 redux.

            Edit: And considering the popularity of both the SNP and the SNP leaders, making this an anti-SNP campaign instead of a Pro-Westminster campaign was probably a foolish choice on the part of the No Scotland people. “Project Fear” does not look like a winning idea.

      • Jambo25

        Unfortunately, regardless of whether they are pro or anti independence, virtually nobody up here believes anything that the major party politicians say.

        • Wessex Man

          That is the view down here in England as well.

        • Maureen Luby

          Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon’s approval ratings are extremely high, almost unheard of after 6 years in office.

          • Jambo25

            Very true and I have noted that elsewhere. When I used the term “major party politicians” I was referring to those that would be termed as such down south. Labour, Tory and Lib Dem. Salmond, Sturgeon and a couple of other SNP pols have kept quite astonishing approval ratings.

      • Jeanne Tomlin

        Yeah, they say that NOW. How long after a No vote would it take them to kick even the idea into the long grass? Ten seconds perhaps.

      • Erik McLean

        Nonsense. Politicians will and do say anything without any fear of being held to account. Jam tomorrow is a common tactic. They know that further power for Scotland would cause dissension in England.

        Residents of Scotland would be stupid to believe politicians vague hints of jam tomorrow.

  • manonthebus

    I don’t believe for one minute that Alex Salmond thinks he will win the Independence Referendum. He may have thought that 5 years ago, but not today. His strategy is to use the result to claim devo-max is the way forward so that he can have a lot of the oil tax, lots of borrowing powers, more money from England and all under the safe umbrella of the Lender of Last Resort in Threadneedle Street.

    • DougDaniel

      “more money from England” – oh how quaint, people still believe Scotland is subsidised by England, rather than the other way around.

      9.9% of the UK’s revenues come from Scotland, while we only get 9.3% of the spending in return. For those who aren’t too hot at maths, that means the rest of the UK generates 90.1% of UK revenue, but gets 90.7% of the spending.

      Now 0.6% may not seem like a lot, but it shows we’re not receiving ANY money from England – and we’ll happily take it back if they don’t want it. After all, if 9.9% of UK revenues represents 100% of Scottish revenues, then that 0.6% discrepancy means Scotland is losing out on 6.1% of its revenues – not an amount to be sniffed at.

      As for Salmond not thinking “he” will win the referendum, I can assure you that optimism amongst independence supporters is higher now than it was just a year ago, never mind 5 years ago. I’ll give you a wee insight to the strategy, though. Win the referendum, and then we don’t need to bother with devo max, devo plus, devo minus, or whatever. Cunning, huh?

      • Ralph Malph

        Hi. Am fascinated by the 9.9% v 9.3% tax argument. I’m not too hot at maths, so can you possibly tell me how that breaks down in cash terms? Specifically, how much more money does Scotland send to London than it gets back? Thanks a lot.

        • rollo_tommasi

          according to GERS,
          9.9% of UK tax revenues is equivalent to £56.9 billion, while 9.3% of UK public spending equates to £64.5 billion

          • DougDaniel

            Which for rest of the UK figures means…
            90.1% of UK tax revenues = £517.85bn
            90.7% of UK public spending £629.05bn

            And just to be clear, that’s a difference of £-111.2 billion, whereas the Scottish figure is merely £-7.6 billion.

            • northern conscience

              And the Treasury figures for Scotland’s tax revenues don’t include the revenues from Scottish oil. Plus it’s Scottish exports of oil,whisky etc that keep the UK balance of payments deficit just about manageable. In no way,economic or otherwise,is Scotland dependent on London rule.

              • DougDaniel

                Actually in fairness, the GERS figures do have figures for a geographical share of oil. But what they DON’T have is a true reflection of VAT and corporation tax generated in Scotland – many companies (including the one I work for) pay their tax from an address in England, so none of that tax generated in Scotland is credited to us.

                Scotland is actually richer than anyone even knows. We won’t find out just how rich until we go ahead and do it.

                • paul

                  The answer though is “very rich”. The UK gov knows this which is why they’re trying so hard to hang on to us.

                • Wessex Man

                  why do you think the English are trying so hard to help you on your way?

                • Eric McLean

                  Tell it to Westminster.

      • ScorpioFax

        Doug, you are doing yourself no favours with that argument. What you should be explaining is that any deficit Scotland runs is funded by the borrowing the UK does on international markets, which is how countries fund their deficits, and is also how England funds its much larger deficit, and doesn’t come from English taxpayer’s pockets. So many people don’t understand how the UK is funded.

        • Eric McLean

          You are correct. But your explanation is not exactly clear either.

          Try again.

    • paul

      Scotland puts in more to Westminster’s coffers than it gets back. Glad I could clear that up for you.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        And this year’s creative accounting and delusional idiocy award goes to…………Paul.

        • Eric McLean

          You get the award for sarcasm, bitterness and being deliberately obtuse.

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            Better that than a sanctimonious, sententious hypocrite.

            • Eric McLean

              That is a matter of opinion (in more ways than one) :)

  • Jupiter

    You could not be more wrong, the No campaign will win easily.

    You sound like one of those Republicans who thought Romney was going to beat Barry last year despite the evidence of the opinion polls.

    • DougDaniel

      I think you might want to re-read one part of Alex’s article in particular. Here, I’ll quote it to you so you don’t have to try and find it:

      “The No campaign has two particular enemies: the nationalists and complacency. The latter is almost as formidable a foe as the former. Moreover, the Yes campaign enjoys an advantage in enthusiasm.”

      Anyone who thinks No will win easily is kidding themselves, or simply has no idea what people are actually saying in the pubs, workplaces and on the street. The Yes campaign has something to sell to people – a vision of a brighter future. What does the No campaign tell people? “We’re better together, because we, erm, well, we just are.” People who are suffering from the policies imposed by the Westminster government do not agree that the UK is “OK”, as the No campaign tell us.

      Worse than that, it’s very difficult to get people motivated to go out and campaign for it. The last time I was at a Yes stall, we had over a dozen people manning the stall at various times spanning about four hours. The No campaign turned up for 90 minutes, comprising entirely of three politicians, one of their assistants, and a couple of pensioners. Turn up, take a few pictures to put on Facebook, then pack up the second a couple of dark clouds appear. It’s laughable!

      Yes might not win – but if we do lose, it won’t be by much.

      • Jupiter

        I live in Scotland so I do know what people are saying in pubs. Most people are bored stiff of the referendum campaign & can’t wait to see that smug git Salmond have the smile wiped off his fat face when he loses.

        • Theuniondivvie

          You sound like one of those frothing Teapartiers who can’t believe that anyone would vote for Obama.

        • DougDaniel

          You just keep telling yourself that, mate. Meanwhile, I’ll just continue to stand back and allow people to come to me as soon as they see my Yes badge…

          • CraigStrachan

            Sounds pretty complacent to me.

            • DougDaniel

              Err, I’m not sure how spending Saturday afternoons standing at a Yes stall or going round doors delivering leaflets can be classed as “complacent”, but whatever floats your boat, min.

              • CraigStrachan

                Ah, so you are not in fact just standing back and letting people come to you as soon as they see your Yes badge, as magnetic a draw as it may be.

                • DougDaniel

                  I was referring to the many occasions outside of formal campaigning where people have spied my badge and decided to start talking to me about the referendum, thus showing that people are indeed interested in it, as opposed to Jupiter’s “most people are bored stiff” comment. At the pub, in the lift, even when queuing at the counter at John Lewis once.

                  Is that fair enough, or are you going to insist that “just” can only ever mean “exclusively”?

                • CraigStrachan

                  No, no, fair enough. (I used to get a lot of comments on my Womble badge and all.)

                • DougDaniel

                  Yes, I’m sure you had many conversations with people about whether the Wombles were viable and asking you why they should watch it…

                • CraigStrachan

                  Indeed. And where are they now?

                • northern conscience

                  The Wombles made good use of the things that they found.
                  Yes Scotland wants to make good use of the things Westminster filches.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Scotland wombling free, is it? But not on Wimbledon Common, I trust.

                • northern conscience

                  Scotland Trident free

                • CraigStrachan

                  Shipbuilding free and all

                • northern conscience

                  Tuition fee free

                • CraigStrachan

                  Still keeping the pound though. Oddly enough.

                • paul

                  Well it is our pound too.

                • CraigStrachan

                  It is now. Post-independence, it would be a foreign currency backed by a foreign central bank.

                • paul

                  You’re still not getting it mate. Scotland owns 8% or so of everything that was created and paid for by the UK government (i.e. by UK taxpayers including Scots) after the Union. That includes the Bank of England. Either we’ll take national debt share reduction, cash payment or do a deal.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Yes, it all seems a bit vague. The one thing that’s certain is that the SNP say they want to keep the pound. Seems to me the best deal we can hope for there, by your logic, would be 8% of the seats on the board of the Bank of England.

                  Which would leave 92% of the seats controlled by what would then be a foreign country.

                  And this is supposed to be independence?

                • paul

                  The thing is though – the referendum is not an election. We’re not voting on these things. We’re voting for the ability to vote on these things. The SNP, like the Greens, put forward possible scenarios of what they would like for an independent Scotland and then the Scottish electorate will decide in the first Scottish elections.

                  Obviously there needs to be some sort of transition period and using Sterling for a while at least seems very sensible. As I’ve said elsewhere, it’s what the Irish did.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Of course it would be the SNP government that would be negotiating independence, not the Greens. The terms would be all important, and I’m just not convinced they would get it right.

                  As for the Irish, they ultimately joined the Euro, which remains (as far as I can tell) the SNP’s plan. Because Euro membership has worked out so well for Ireland, hasn’t it?

                • paul

                  Are Ireland asking to be let back in the UK? Again, the point is that all of these things will be decided post-independence. We’re voting for the ability to decide these things for ourselves. Just as Ireland did. Maybe they made the wrong choice or voted in the wrong politicians. Who knows but it was their choice.

                  The SNP have done a great job so far for Scotland by the way. They have almost unheard of approval ratings after years in charge. They won a majority despite Scotland being a Labour stronghold for decades and despite 100% media opposition. In power, they’ve done very well for Scotland with limited powers so I’m sure they will do a good job of negotiating with the UK gov. They are a social democratic party and I’d have no worries if they won power at Scotland’s elections post-independence. I’d also be happy with a coalition gov with the Greens or some sort of new Scottish Labour party – one closer to Labour’s roots than the Westminster version.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Ireland has just spent years under the tutelage of international bankers – known in Ireland as “the Germans” – as a consequence of its membership of the Eurozone. Although, to be fair, they joined long before the crisis laid bare the systemic weakness of the Euro.

                  Post-crisis, knowing what we now know, I just don’t see how any political party that claims to be interested in independence can also be contemplating the massive loss of sovereignty, for zero gain, that joining the Euro would entail.

                • paul

                  Show me where the SNP is proposing Scotland join the Euro? How can they propose this when they don’t have the power to make it happen.

                  As I said, if they want to campaign on that they can and if Scotland joins the Euro it will be because people voted for it.

                  The next step after the referendum is Scottish elections. Parties can campaign on Europe and any number of platforms and people will vote for what they want.

                  This is much better than the current situation where policy is decided primarily according to the interests of the 55 people in England first (or more specifically the 15 million or so in London) – hence the possible Tory led referendum on Europe.

                  An independent Scotland can choose what partnerships it does or does not enter into. That’s the whole point of this referendum. The media – and people like you – is trying to make out that a Yes vote is a vote for Salmond and are trying to force Yes Scotland into putting forward concrete plans for after independence when it simply can’t do that.

                • CraigStrachan

                  It is SNP policy to join the EU. All new accession countries are required to commit to eventual Euro membership.

                  I do agree that Yes Scotland seems incapable of putting forward concrete plans.

                • paul

                  Joining the EU – yes (if we have to as we are already in the EU). Adopting the Euro – no. (This was a currency discussion). We will most likely automatically be in the EU as will the rest of the UK. If not, neither will the rest of the UK, which seems to be what they want anyhow.

                  Yes Scotland CANNOT put forward concrete plans anymore than Better Together can. It is a cross-party campaign group. Their ‘plan’ is that it is better for Scotland to make its own decisions and they are putting forward arguments in favour of that. The concrete policies will be put forward by parties before the first set of post-independence elections.

                  Also, the UK gov is refusing to discuss processes in the event of a Yes vote, despite the Yes campaign requesting this. So one partner in the discussions cannot say what will happen without the input of the other.

                • CraigStrachan

                  I think it’s pretty clear – the SNP’s non-existent legal advice on the matter notwithstanding – that an independent Scotland will not automatically be in the EU, and will have to enter into accession negotiations. New accession countries have to commit to “convergence” and eventual Euro membership.

                  If the independence negotiations are not properly handled, it will seriously restrict the ability of the parties to deliver anything much at all, post-independence.

                  Specifically, if the SNP negotiates a settlement that keeps the pound, that leaves the major levers of economic policy with the U.K Treasury and the Bank of England.

                • paul

                  Scotland is already in Europe as part of the UK and people in Scotland are not clamouring to get out. So obviously it’s SNP policy to stay in. It’s inconceivable that Scotland will not be in Europe after independence no matter what the UK media and Better Together would have us believe. If they want out, that will involve different referendums.

                  As for keeping the pound, Ireland did so. Scotland, by the way, doesn’t need to negotiate anything if it doesn’t want to. We can just adopt the pound.

                  By the way, the SNP has proven to be very competent, unlike the current and last UK governments. There is nothing that suggests they will be unable to handle negotiations. The opposite in fact.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Yes, Scotland could always just adopt the pound without negotiating. And in doing so cede total authority over interest rates and the money supply to London, which would have no obligation to take Scotland’s needs into account in exercising it.

                  What would be good about that?

                • Eric McLean

                  No different that what London does today. They don’t take our interests into account.

                  Scotland and England are not so far removed from each other that a London monetary policy would cause a problem.

                  There are many other economic levers that Scotland WOULD gain control of.

                  But in any case, it would be in rUK’s interest to have a currency Union.

                  http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/columnists/why-an-snp-plan-b-could-never-satisfy-unionist-critics.22699912

                  http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/columnists/currency-wars-playground-style.22716743

                • CraigStrachan

                  An “independent” Scotland inside a sterling currency union would have about the same control over economic policy as, say, Greece within the Euro.

                  Scotland with its own currency would be more like Norway. Or Iceland – the country that recovered fastest from the crisis, largely due to being a true sovereign with its own currency.

                  Why would you want Scotland to be less than Iceland?

                • Eric McLean

                  Did you actually read the articles I posted for you?

                • CraigStrachan

                  They were for me? How sweet.

                • Wessex Man

                  I did post a reply to this totally untrue comment earlier and it seems to have been taken down for some reason .

                  paul you are talking numpty talking!

                  Jose Manuel Barroso made it clear to Alex Salmond that if Scotland were to achieve Indepence, Scotland would have to apply to join the EU as a Seperate State and would have to accept the Euro as it’s currency.

                  I read an amusing description of “Cybernats” as he called them by a respected Scottish Columnist in a Scottish Sunday paper yesterday. His article began-

                  “Just 305 days to freedom-as the cerebrally challenged cybernats like to proclaim in their online messages. It is still the professed conviction of those who demostrate the alarming scale of the loopholes in the Mental health (Scotland) Act that the plebiscite due to be held on 15th September 2014, will result in a resounding repudiation of the United Kingdom. Recently however, a note of angry pessimism has been detectable in the separatists outpourings: perhaps they have been reading the opinion polls.”

                  Now I know you are all bright enough to find the column and paper with such a good lead given to you by someone who wants to see you win your referendum as much as you. It’s quite good for any English people who can be bothered to have a read of as well.

                • Eric McLean

                  “…Scotland would have to apply to join the EU as a Separate State and would have to accept the Euro as it’s currency…”

                  Complete nonsense. Links and evidence please.

                • Eric McLean

                  YES Scotland are not a political party. They represent all YES parties.

                • Eric McLean

                  Scotland cannot join the Euro

                • Eric McLean

                  “…which remains (as far as I can tell) the SNP’s ultimate plan…”

                  Says who? Evidence and links please.

                  Scotland CANNOT join the Euro today even if they wanted to.

                • Eric McLean

                  You demonstrate either ignorance of Independence, crass stupidity, or lack of conceptual ability… which is it?

                • CraigStrachan

                  I don’t see why I have to choose just the one, but if I do I’d definitely have to go with ignorance of independence. Over the years I’ve tried to follow SNP policy about what independence would look like, I really have, but I’m afraid I’m no further forward and remain utterly ignorant on the matter.

                  I mean, I remember when they used to tell us an independent Scotland would be like Norway, outside the EU, proudly sovereign,with it’s very own petro-currency.

                  Then we were going to be another Celtic Tiger like Ireland, inside the EU and the Euro, gorging on transfers.

                  Now it’s inside the EU, maybe not in the Euro until later, but inside a sterling union backstopped by the Bank of England?

                  What’s it going t be next?

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Yes it is but what kind of independence is that? Do you believe that the Bank of England can be forced to make every decision for the exclusive benefit of Scotland even if such decisions would fundamentally harm England? I think not.

                • paul

                  Ah but is it in what’s left of the UK’s interest for Scotland not to use Sterling at least for a while. For what it’s worth I’m ambivalent as Scotland may even decide to adopt the Euro – that’s the beauty of being an independent country; we can decide these things for ourselves.

                  As I said there is precedent – Ireland. They used Sterling then adopted the Euro later after having their own currency. Try telling them they’re not independent.

                  Another example – Iceland recently looked into adopting the Canadian dollar. Countries are allowed to do that. Mature nations investigate everything and go with what’s in their best interests, which is what an independent Scotland will do once the referendum is out of the way and we get around to electing a government who will decide such things.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  And I wish you well. It still does not alter the fact that in the interim which precedes Scotland adopting the euro, dollar or cowrie shells, Scottish monetary policy will be in the hands of the BOE which will not, I repeat not, allow the Scottish tail to wag the English Dog. I for one hope fervently that there is a yes vote and that my beloved country (yes you will be amazed to learn that we English are allowed to be patriotic as well) will no longer be under the baleful influence of the likes of Gordon Brown, Fred Goodwin etc etc.

                • Eric McLean

                  You conflate nationality with political strategy and competence.

                  And in fact your statement is nothing more than a form of racism.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Absolutely disgusting, the suggestion that my legitimate question regarding monetary policy should be construed as racism. You are allowed to be fervently pro-Scottish independence but I am not. Or are you suggesting that Goodwin and Brown were forces for good and economic prosperity?

                • Eric McLean

                  I am neither fervently pro-Scottish or suggesting that Gordon Brown was a force for good. :) But you know that, don’t you.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  You are entitled to hold whatever opinions you choose on the issues and personalities of the day including Scottish independence. You are not however entitled to make snide and unfounded insinuations of racism particularly when addressed to somebody who has spent his adult life opposing such despicable behaviour. A disgusting and shameful suggestion.

                • Eric McLean

                  You need to just examine your past behaviours on here than.. and analyse them in that context.

                  The moment you brought nationality into the argument about a politicians performance…. You lost.

                  It matters not a jot what Brown or Blair were.

                  Back to your drawing board Chuzzles old chum.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  I have never accused anybody of racism with or without evidence. It is the first refuge of a bully and a coward so I will not be taking lessons in morality from the likes of you.

                • Eric McLean

                  Oh dear old chap has ‘the likes of me’ offended your sensibilities? Where do you normally get your lessons in morality? I’d ask for a discount if I were you.

                • Wessex Man

                  Knowing a few Irish people, meeting up with some of them for Christmas in lanzarote, I know you are talking nonsense. They hate their government selling them out to the EU and wish they had never joined the Euro!

                • Eric McLean

                  I think I saw a Womble in Wimbledon common with a Craig Strachan Badge

                • CraigStrachan

                  I believe you think you saw a Womble. Stay calm, now.

                • paul

                  Google “Calton Hill vigil”. People in Scotland who believe we should manage our own affairs have been anything but complacent over the years.

        • Maureen Luby

          Have you seen Alex Salmond’s approval ratings? :)

          • CraigStrachan

            I’d like to see his approval ratings among people who’ve actually met him.

            • Jambo25

              Well I know Linlithgow where Salmond is still remembered and still shows up occasionally so a lot of people, there, have met him. He is generally reckoned to be good company.

              • CraigStrachan

                Are these people his blood relatives?

            • Maureen Luby

              Is that supposed to be an answer. From all accounts, people who have met him give very hgh approval ratings.

            • paul

              I’ve met him. I’d prefer Sturgeon as First Minister but Salmond is a very down to earth chap. Also an extremely shrewd operator.

        • TWFDUFC

          What a peice of drivel, hang your head in shame

          • Jupiter

            I see I have pissed off the cybernat numpties

            • Jambo25

              I think when you abandon common manners and simply refer to people you don’t agree with as “cybernat numpties” then you really have lost the plot.

            • Murdo Nuvolari

              Alex Salmond,this Alex Salmond that blah blah blah.

              He’s just an obese bus driver with destination ‘Referendum’ on the front of the bus. If he dies or retires someone else takes over as driver.

              If Independence = Salmond, the union = Cameron.

              Classic numptie behaviour.

              • paul

                Or he’s been voted politician of the year in the UK, has high popularity ratings as leader of the Scottish government, won a completely unexpected majority that was supposed to be impossible, and delivered on his promise to hold a referendum. He’s the only person standing up for Scotland’s needs within the UK. Having said that I think Nicola Sturgeon will be the first leader of a newly independent Scotland.

        • Jambo25

          Is that why “that smug git Salmond” is still the most popular politician in Scotland? I actually think the ‘No’ campaign will win next September but the pub I drink in appears to have a majority in favour of a ‘Yes’ vote. Different pubs, different opinions.

        • Eric McLean

          You must be talking to a few old dipso’s and ner’-do-wells.

    • Angus McLellan

      Or that the SNP would win in 2011. Labour were 12-1 on to be the largest party at the start of April 2011 and there were polls in March which showed them in the lead. YouGov even had the constituency vote neck and neck (35:32) the day before the real polls opened.

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