Will Sept 18 dawn bright and sunny?
By ADRIAN TAHOURDIN
What if the Scottish independence vote were suddenly thrown open to citizens of the rest of the UK, i.e. England, Wales and Northern Ireland? It would concentrate the minds of those of us who don't have the vote, wouldn’t it? It's conceivable, after all, that we haven't given the issue the mental space it demands.
I write as one who lives and works in the South-east of England and who is just back from Scotland (a last trip without a passport maybe). Superficial impressions from that trip would suggest a win for the “Yes” camp, in terms of the number of signs on display (the one shown above is on Mull), car stickers, flags, etc. In addition I saw a “Yes” convoy of cars on the outskirts of Edinburgh – there had been a rally apparently. Against that, I counted two “No thanks” signs. But then no thanks is not a great rallying cry, as has been frequently pointed out.
The staff at the “Yes” campaign headquarters in Dunfermline (above) we visited were confident of a win for their camp, which does appear to be gaining ground in the polls. And then there’s the matter of the second, slightly bad-tempered televised debate between Alex Salmond (“Salmond fishing for the yea men (and women)” as I think of it) and Alistair Darling last night, which the former is generally reckoned to have come off best from.
But what if, like me, you don’t truly understand the economic arguments, and are consequently easily swayed by both sides, as I find I am? Because, let’s face it, the debate has been mostly about economics and the pound, hasn’t it? What if, as a South of England-based Scottish friend of mine (who of course won’t be able to vote on the future of his country) suggested recently, the outcome could simply depend on how people feel on the day?
In which case, is it too fanciful to think that Alex Salmond will be praying that, rather than being a day of grey skies as above, September 18 will dawn bright and sunny?