Two Weeks until Scotland’s Date with Destiny

It’s an immensely exciting time to live in Scotland at the moment, with just two weeks to go until we vote on our independence.  The public broadcasts are out in force, signs are up everywhere and hardly a conversation goes by without some passing mention.  It’s amazing to see so many people actively engaging in politics.

What’s even more exciting is the fact that the Yes vote is soaring.

YouGov, a perennially No-inclined pollster, gave the Yes campaign a massive four-point boost on Monday to take Yes to a record high of 47% compared to the No campaign’s 53%.  If that swing continues, according to these results, Scotland will vote for independence on the 18th.  And the most exciting thing about this poll is that all 5 other major pollsters have consistently ranked the Yes support higher, so when they report their recent findings – as I’m sure they will before the vote – they might even show the Yes vote getting ahead.  There has been rumours (unsubstantiated as of yet) that the Yes campaign have commissioned a poll from Panelbase, who have shown a higher support of independence, that actually shows Yes in the lead.  It’s beginning to look more than just possible that it could happen.

It’s brilliant to see such support for the Yes campaign, and I’m delighted that more people are coming around to the idea.  Given the state of the two campaigns, I’m hardly surprised that as more people begin to make their mind up they are choosing Yes (with YouGov reporting that undecided voters are choosing Yes twice as often as No).  The No campaign has completely derailed as it fumbles around trying to make a cohesive argument.  All it can muster at the moment is personal attacks on figures in the Yes campaign and to make as much hay out of Jim Murphy being egged.  The Yes campaign is doing nothing of the sort, even though one of its’ offices in Glasgow was fire-bombed over the weekend, a pro-Union campaigner kicked a pregnant Yes supporter in the stomach and prominent figures such as Jim Sillars and Alex Salmond have been threatened.  The reason is that these acts, from people on both sides of the debate, are coming from a small minority that are not representative of either campaign.  Choosing to focus on these isolated incidents is neglecting the desires of a significant number of Scots still looking to be persuaded to vote Yes or No.  Thankfully, the Yes campaign is doing its best to engage with them through arguments for independence, and it seems to be having a positive effect.  The latest piece of pro-independence news is an industry report that suggests there could be up to 42 billion barrels of oil to be extracted from the seas off the West coast, potentially TREBLING our resources and bringing trillions of pounds into our economy.  As the campaign goes on, there are more and more reasons to vote Yes.

Another fine example of how the campaigns are faring is their political broadcasts that went out last week.  The Yes broadcast was full of optimism and showed how the spirit of the Scottish people will see us succeed and flourish if we became independent, as well as including salient economic and democratic arguments at the same time.  No’s broadcast has been universally derided for being sexist, as it shows a woman talking to the camera and considering her position before plumping for No and popping off to do the dishes.  To insult 52% of the population, with many still undecided and looking for guidance from these broadcasts, is ludicrous.  Much of the No campaign is at the moment though.

The No campaign has no more arguments to entice people to vote No, while the Yes campaign is continuing to drive home its’ message that Scotland can and should be a successful independent country.  They have rattled on about the EU and currency for weeks on end, only to either be told or tell us that Scotland can have both if we want to when we become independent.  On the contrary, we still don’t have a definitive answer as to why the UK wants to keep us rather than a few wishy-washy statements saying that we’re part of something bigger.  It’s because Scotland is a successful part of the country, and the rest of the UK knows it.  The scare tactics are not working and the proof is in the polls.  Hopefully it will be reflected in the final one too.

So, in two weeks, Scotland will face a national confidence test as much as anything.  When the “arguments” against independence are solely driven by fear and negativity, and the arguments for independence are based on democratic, economic and social reasons for us being better off governing ourselves – then hopefully the current swing to Yes will continue and take us over the line.  Many people are likely to vote No because they think it is the “default” thing to do, or the safer thing to do.  However, voting No is voting for uncertainty as to what new powers Scotland would get, whereas voting Yes is voting certainly for all powers being handed over.  Scotland’s budget may well be cut in the next parliament if Scotland votes No and the Barnett formula which decides how much pocket money we’re given is scrapped, but voting Yes ensures we’ll keep all the money we generate in taxes.

It’s really too close to call in the referendum campaign just now, and if things stay the same with no real revelations in the fourteen days until the country goes to the polls then it will be a nerve-jangling election night like no other.  But with the movement in the polls, and the general feeling in the air around the country at the moment, I genuinely think that Yes could win on the day, and I sincerely hope it does.

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