Opening skirmish in Independence campaign

On the day, the YouGov poll commissioned by Alistair Darling was quite an effective spoiler to the launch of Alex Salmond’s Independence campaign, at least for the largely pro-Union press.

The YouGov poll of 1,004 people found that only 33% of Scots would opt for independence, while 57% would reject it, findings which are close to several recent surveys but show lower support for independence than others

But it’s a long haul to 2014.The treatment of small countries like Greece and Ireland in eurozone may frighten many Scots out of taking the independence leap. Small wonder that Alex Salmond is clinging to the skirts of sterling in the meantime. On the other hand the British economy may be in such an almighty shambles that the delights of going it alone might seem ever more attractive. Whatever the situation, Alex will make a brave fist of exploiting it  with a formula of soft independence that an old school Sinn Feiner would  scorn.

Even on the day Scotland was lucky to get its modest due of the coverage, what with mounting anxiety over the fate of the eurozone and all our economies and the Leveson inquiry breathing down the neck of David Cameron.

The fervently Unionist Daily Telegraph was alone is raising the flag.

  Let battle for the Union commence

The Scottish broadsheets treat the occasion calmly

The Scotsman

The referendum will be won and lost by people balancing gain and risk, optimism and negativity

The Herald

With this poll, the No campaign, still in embryonic form although big political names including Gordon Brown, Charles Kennedy and possibly Tony Blair are increasingly mentioned, provides a timely reminder of the extent of polarised opinion and how much there is to play for. Regardless of which celebrities are unveiled today to add sparkle to the politics of the independence campaign, the measure of how much pace it gathers over the next 27 months will be the conversion rate of the undecided and those currently minded to vote no, and whether a majority believe independence will provide tangible economic benefits down to household level.

The Times’ main story  (£) is downright bizarre,  as if to belittle the whole theme.  A dangerous tactic?

Alex Salmond’s Yes to Independence campaign, which will be launched this morning, is to share an office complex with the controversial religious group the Moonies, The Times has learnt.

Or waiting for Alex to create some decent copy?



Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London