Talking of shifts of opinion, what’s happening in Scotland?

Even after several visits to Scotland to talk to political elites I confess I never quite twigged what the core appeal of Scottish independence actually was.  Now from reports like this  by Severin Carrell, I’m beginning  to get it. The Yes campaign would say all that wouldn’t they,  but all the same..

Margie Maxwell is no Scottish nationalist. But she is Glaswegian, and intensely loyal with it. It never occurred to her she would vote for independence. But then the threats were made, to shipyard jobs on the Clyde, to Scotland‘s right to keep the pound and to her country’s economy.

“I fully want independence now. They’ve had their chance,” she said

Finally, a new Yes Scotland campaign will be launched in late March: Generation Yes, known as Gen Yes, which will aim to capture that other independence-leaning demographic, the young voter. Its small group of founders are targeting some 800,000 voters under 30. Every Gen Yes member will be set five tasks, including a target to convert nine of their friends to the cause. Photogenic youth “ambassadors” will be sent out to win converts, spread the word.

Generation Yes has been modelled on an Irish campaign of the same name set up to campaign, successfully, for a yes vote in Ireland’s 2009 Lisbon treaty referendum.

As the voting guru John Curtice says, it’s the No campaign’s to lose. He explains just how intense the battle for the undecided is going to be

Most polls of referendum voting intention ask people how they would vote if the referendum were held tomorrow. On average they find that when asked that question no more than 15% of Scots are unclear what they would  do…

However, TNS BMRB ask their respondents how they intend to vote in the referendum in September. Around twice as many people say they don’t know in response to that question.

Meanwhile, the most recent Scottish Social Attitudes survey found that as many as 33% were undecided when they were asked what they would do in September.

At the same time, polls conducted by Ipsos MORI and ICM suggest that up to 20% of those who say they know how they would vote if the referendum were held tomorrow admit that they might change their mind between now and September.

Just when we thought it was really warming up the Herald runs a poll claiming the young aren’t turned on by it after all…

Those rating themselves very ­interested (7-10) stood at 37%, against 36% indicating a lack of interest (1-4) and 27% scoring in the middle.

For men, the interested/uninterested split was 40% to 27%, whereas for women it was reversed, at 30% to 43%.

Now both Labour and  the Conservatives have produced  plans for” devo more” which are practically identical but still vague . Iain McWhirter isn’t impressed.

It may seem surprising that so many Scots still support independence after being told, day after day, in the Scottish press that mortgages will rise, pensions fall apart, food prices rise, the banks will leave, the oil will run out and debt levels will soar as Scotland becomes a basket case thrown out of the European Union. Short of threatening to kill the first born, there’s not much more stick that the UK can apply. So, the ­thinking is now moving to carrot.

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