By Mike Small
Increasingly desperate now, senior Unionist figures in Scotland are beginning to look like children on the beach digging a moat to stop the incoming tide. The older children know what’s happening, but the younger ones still believe if they dig fast enough and deep enough…
As people queue out the door to register to vote in Glasgow, and an eight per cent leap to Yes is accorded in just one month, the No campaign releases vans with signs suggesting that if you love your children you’ll vote No (“Scottish Independence: Vote ‘No’ If You Love Your Kids, Suggest Better Together Posters”). Not VERY sophisticated. They suggest that the Better Together team are on a slow learning curve after the carnage of Patronising BT Lady. But this is the problem with big corporate PR campaigns, it’s very difficult for them to respond quickly to a rapidly shifting ground. These are politicians with nothing to say and no way to say it.
Meanwhile realisation dawns amongst the vast Yes movement that it’s no longer ‘we can do this’, it’s ‘we are doing this’. That consciousness is infectious.
None of this should be happening at all.
As Peter Arnott notes: “Better Together is supported by every major media outlet in Scotland, print and broadcast as well as every newspaper and broadcaster in London.”
But against this backdrop, incredibly, it’s now within our grasp.
The outpouring of cultural revival continues. Two massive pro Yes concerts are coming up: the first ‘Songs for Scotland’ tomorrow at Oran Mor features Dick Gaughan, Shooglenifty, Loki, Lady Alba and a stellar line-up of trad and contemporary musicians; the second ‘A Night for Scotland’ #VoteYes Concert includes worldwide triple platinum Scots rockers Franz Ferdinand, titans of noise Mogwai, cult indie-rock band Frightened Rabbit, McIntoshRoss, a collaboration between Lorraine McIntosh and Ricky Ross, and folk icon Eddi Reader. On Friday Imagination: Scotland’s Festival of Ideas kicks off. This, like Commonweal, is mass WeThink. We are designing the future together.
So it’s a mixture of hard politics and a sea of cultural celebration. But also, one by one, the key myths of the campaign have been stood up to and argued down. The economic arguments have been won or been deemed insignificant, but other key myths have now melted away.
After repeated efforts from English celebrities to ‘lovebomb’ Scottish voters, English Scots for Yes’s open letter to England attempts to address the “distortions of the truth and fabrication” about Scotland and why people in Scotland are voting Yes. The full open letter can be read on the English Scots for Yes website here. It states that:
“As English people involved in the independence movement, we feel we are confident in saying that anti-English sentiment has been virtually non-existent in our movement. What people in Scotland want to escape is the Westminster regime, not the English people.’ On the economy, the open letter argues: “We are currently held back, just like the North of England is held back, by a UK economy and political system which supports international finance against all other industry sectors. In the UK we have the greatest regional inequality in Europe. That is a problem for Scotland and for the rest of the UK. We want independence to start addressing that problem.”
Now, here comes the Yes Train.
Women Voters are No Voters
Continuing a trend that’s been slow but clear for some time now the proportion of women voting for independence has also increased, from 37 percentage points a month ago to 42 points. Doubtless the terrible backlash of BT’s advert car-crash will accelerate this trend. The campaign’s insistence in defending the ad against overwhelming evidence added fuel to the flames.
They are not so much shooting themselves in the foot as actively sawing their own legs off.
Labour will Win the Day for the Union
Labour was supposed to be the frontline troops. But now the numbers don’t look good at all.
The pro-independence vote among Labour supporters has risen from 18 percentage points to 30 percentage points in a month. While the proportion of Liberal Democrat voters supporting independence has also increased – doubling to 24 points.
While the Liberals may not be statistically hugely important, they’ re a useful bellwether to middle Scotland. Rejecting the relentless negativity of No this week Denis Mollison wrote on Lib Dem Voice:
“How has our party got swept up into the negativity of Better Together, and how does one reconcile that negativity with the commitment of the Edinburgh agreement to negotiate in a cooperative way? The problem lies in a probably well-founded belief that discussing possible negotiations cooperatively in advance would lead to a realisation that they’re perfectly practicable, that Scotland could achieve political independence while maintaining close social and other ties to rUK. Hence the refusal to pre-negotiate, the refusal to investigate options – for example, to ask for an official EU position on continued membership for all present EU citizens – in favour of a simple scare story: if you vote Yes you will fall over a cliff. In contrast, much of the Yes campaign is genuinely grass-roots, and conducted imaginatively, intelligently and with a sense of humour. It is about self-determination, not nationalism.”
As a canary in the coal mine it couldn’t be sung sweeter.
The No campaign is moribund. They lack leadership. Alistair Darling is a busted flush. Jim Murphy is an aggressive Blairite. Douglas Alexander is a non-entity. George Galloway is unhinged. John McTernan is untrusted. Brian Wilson is un-muzzled. There are no strong women. Ruth Davidson is completely out of her depth. The ex-tabloid fluffers that hover around making noise are largely irrelevant.
On the radio this afternoon they said ‘both sides are encouraging voters to register to vote’. I think one side’s trying quite a bit harder than the other. The last thing that No wants is a massive turnout, and that’s where we’re heading.
The momentum’s irresistible. We are beginning to believe in ourselves.