Wednesday, 17 September 2014

You're the reason I'm leaving..

Choose your cliche: it's all to play for, down to the wire, on a knife edge and too close to call. Our poll with Opinium has the Union just ahead by 52% to 48% for separation. ICM have found the same in their poll for the Scotsman: "Poll has No in the lead by Yes closing the gap" is their splash. The Mail's Survation poll confirms the pattern: it's 52% to 48%. 
The overall trend still looks to be for separation - although with relatively few polls until these last weeks, it's difficult to say for certain. No one can know whether or not the higher-than-expected turnout will benefit one side disproportionately. My impression from the last few days is that those voters who usually stay at home will overwhelmingly opt for the exit - but that will be compensated for by a larger number of No voters than the polls are currently showing. 
Why do I think that there is a "shy No" effect in the polls? It's an important part of the background to yesterday's scenes in Edinburgh, where Ed Miliband was forced to abandon his walkabout after being mobbed by Yes campaigners.  I was also in Edinburgh yesterday, where every Yes voter I talked to had a sticker in their window - and just one No voter felt comfortable doing so. 
There isn't a "shy No" because Better Together has been too negative, or because of glamorous nationalists like Irvine Welsh and Sean Connery, who, his brother has revealed, will be not be using up one of his tax-free days in the UK to campaign for independence. It's because people are frightened of the Yes campaign. 
Now every campaign has its fringe elements - but it is curious that the fringe elements in the Yes campaign seem so well-informed as to the movements of No-supporting politicians. Small wonder, too, that the grassroots campaign talks of "cowards" and "traitors" when at the top of Yes Scotland and SNP they speak of "Team Scotland", of an England with values diametrically opposed to that found north of the border. (Don't forget, for all the talk of a different political culture, Scotland has voted for the government in three out of the last four elections and 12 out of 18 since the war.) 
In the Guardian today, George Monbiot and Billy Bragg are arguing that the Yes campaign represents the a type of touchy-feely style of nationalism. There's little historical evidence that that type of nationalism has ever existed - and not much here in present-day Scotland, either. 

THE BIEN-PENSANTS' REVOLTBack at the ranch, discontent is growing with Dave's efforts to keep Scotland in the Union. In the FT, Andrew Rosindell becomes the first Conservative MP to call openly for the PM's head if Scotland votes Yes tomorrow: "If it goes wrong, the Prime Minister will have to decide what the honourable thing it is to do.".  Meanwhile, even usually supportive voices are threatening  trouble for the PM unless a form of devolution for England takes place alongside the further powers promised to Scotland. The PM is in a bullish mood in his interview with the Times:"No regrets" is their splash(Our take is here).
Philip Hammond has been criticised by Lord Dannatt, the former head of the Army, for "showing our hand" to Isil by revealing that British intelligence agencies have "don't know where" Alan Hemming, the British hostage, is being held. "I am quite surprised by him saying that," Lord Dannatt said.
Generation Yes, a splinter group for young voters supporting independence, has produced a guideline to winning over the over-60s - the most Yes-resistant group in Scotland - through a series of one-to-one conversations between children and grandparents, modelled partially on the letters sent by young Democrats to retirees in Florida in the 2008 election.  
The Passport Office should reduce the amount of money it charges to issue passport in order to reduce its profits, MPs have said. At present, each passport nets HMG a £15 profit after everything is settled.  
The second volume of Alan Johnson's memoirs, Please Mr Postman, covering his journey from delivering the Mail to the Post Office, is out tomorrow. He's interviewed in today's Times. He reveals that the sorting office contained "more lovers of literature than I've ever worked among since", but that for all is love of books, he "can't stomach political biography. I'd rather be reading fiction." He rules out a return to the frontline in Opposition: "They are doing very well without me. I really enjoy writing and I couldn't combine being an MP with having a frontbench role and being a writer."
AL CAPTURES THE CASTLE "Salmond and the secret plans for £2m castle" is the Scots Mail's splash. Plans are being drawn up to move the First Minister's residence from Bute House to the rather grander surrounds of Governor's House, once Scotland's largest prison, Alan Roden reveals.
"Britain's Got Talent v The Ecks Factor" is the Scottish Sun's splash. "Tomorrow you will make the biggest political decision of your lives," their leader says, "One that will affect you, your family, your neighbours, your country. Forever. The Scottish Sun has faith in you to make the right choice."
The Morning Briefing is written by Stephen Bush, who tweets as @stephenkb. Our cartoon is the work of Christian Adams; you can see his cartoons on Instagram.

Conservatives 33% Labour 36% Liberal Democrats 8% Ukip 15% Others 9%
Poll of polls 10th to 17th September, Labour lead of four points (Ipsos Mori-Opinium-Populus-YouGov) 
YouGov: Con 34% Lab 37% LD 7% Ukip 12% 
@RafaelBehr: I have no evidence to support this but something tells me Alex Salmond would be quick to kneel before Zod. 
From the Telegraph
Steve Forbes - Scotland will never be a big player on the world stage
Mary Riddell - Does Labour have the nerve for devo-max?

From elsewhere 
Rafael Behr - Miliband's greatest strength? Anti-Toryism (Guardian)
Ewan Morrison - Why I Joined Yes - And Then Changed To No (Mail)
The Telegraph Festival of Business is taking place once again on the 11th November, at The Brewery, London. Confirmed speakers include: Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP Group, Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, Nigel Wilson,Chief Executive of Legal & General, Tim Steiner, CEO of Ocado and Roger Bootle, Founder of Capital Economics and former HM Treasury Advisor. To register for your free place at the event, click here.
Nope, still nothing. Hopefully it should be fixed tomorrow.