The most recent TNS poll confirms the YouGov poll result that “Yes” and “No” are now neck-and-neck, the 1-2% differences between the polls being statistically insignificant. Both sides are stepping up their grass-roots activities as the polls leave no room for complacency from either side.
The “Yes” camp seem to be carrying on “business as usual” while the supporters of “No” have been proposing uncoordinated last-minute counter-attacks. Former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown last night made public a “plan” to get new Devomax measures passed by Westminster, starting on 19th September immediately after a “No” vote (http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/09/brown-takes-charge-cameron-backs-his-plan-scottish-home-rule). According to The Huffington Post, he said:
“On September 19 we will start bringing into law the new, stronger Scottish Parliament, and to secure the change we want we will work with the other parties. The Scottish people will expect nothing less, not only because that is the right thing to do, but because we need an agreed timetable with deadlines for delivery and a roadmap to our goal.”
While Brown himself is emerging as the one leader who just might be able to deliver such a promise, his plan contains only proposals for a timetable but no substance on political measures. Voters will rightly ask themselves, if this is so important and such a good idea, why does he propose it with only 9 days to go to the vote? It will take more than just references to St. Andrews Day and Burns Night to convince the electorate that this is a genuine delivery of Devomax.
Right-wing MPs are now trying to drag the Royal family into the campaign. No matter what her private views may be, Royal aides and independent constitutional experts deny that the Queen would depart from her role of public political neutrality, (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scottish-independence/11083204/Scottish-independence-The-Queen-is-urged-to-intervene.html), a view also expressed by Alistair Darling.
The public announcement that the Duchess of Cambridge in England is pregnant again has also been touted as a straw to save the Union, which shows the desperation of some Better Together supporters (http://www.theweek.co.uk/uk-news/royal-baby/60317/royal-baby-the-perfect-plot-to-foil-scottish-independence). Alex Salmond’s twitter congratulations to the Dutchess of Strathearn, as Kate Middleton is known in Scotland, was scarcely better. Taking a broader view, there is no doubt that Her Majesty would be welcomed by most Scots as their Monarch but clearly her reign must be drawing to a close. The popularity of her successor could be an entirely different matter.