Well, only two days to go. Mike Smithson wisely is throwing the polls off to one side:
My reading is that Thursday could produce a YES victory or a NO win by up to a 10% lead. Hedging my bets? You bet.
Yep. It could be squeaking it, and it might not. We don’t feckin know. We do know that the Yes campaign however has been an outstanding success having wrought from Westminster all manner of time sensitive promises for reform.
In a sense winning the poll would be icing on the cake, the wily old gent has taught three English ingenues a lesson in old fashioned full fired, full in the face aggressive politics. And the ball has been dropped over and over.
At the London end of Camp No this last minute loading of the base with as much Devo as they can promise, is provoking some scepticism at how it will be managed:
"Extensive new powers for the Scottish parliament will be delivered to the timetable agreed." GOT THAT, BACKBENCHERS?
— Simon Nixon (@Simon_Nixon) September 15, 2014
As noted a few days ago there’s no consensus at what broad constitutional renewal might mean, which is all good for Salmond.
What’s eating Cameron and Miliband is that if it goes to a Yes (I’m warming a little, but still sceptical), it will likely cost them both their jobs, Cameron for losing the Realm, Miliband for losing to borrow a phrase from the Welsh, the Scottish Marches.
Meanwhile Salmond is making cunning use of what Faisal Islam accurately describes as the Hovercraft stratagem…
…a political trick deployed by cunning politicians who think they can game out a complicated debate. The hovercraft speeds over the top of the seas, and doesn’t need to engage with the more complicated contours of the waves below.
In political terms it means that a complicated argument, say an economically complex one, can essentially be shooed away. The politico can presume that the journalist, certainly his or her editorial boss, and definitively his or her audience or readership, will not be able to handle or even understand an argument of this complexity. Gordon Brown was rather good at this, and I would say it contributed to the run-up to the financial crisis. Bankers deployed it with their regulators.
Alex Salmond is the current master of this as regards his plans for an independent Scotland’s currency. You may have seen in a previous post, my entirely legitimate attempt to ask Mr Salmond a fortnight ago, how on earth Scotland expected to retain a large banking sector with no central bank (he had said sterlingisation was his plan B in his debate victory the night before). He suggested I was biased, impersonating the No campaign, and would not answer the question four times. Perhaps he should have.
The SNP MP Stewart Hosie with a grand big smile on his face smuggled out the currency question stuffed right up his geanasai in full view past a hapless Kirsty Wark on Newsnight (actively being heckled through the interviews) in a BBC now completely besieged with false and multiplying, filibustering charges of bias against them…
As an aside, I loved the chutzpah of the representative of Academics for Yes saying his report complete with figures proving that Scottish universities will not suffer in any separation period would be ready just before the poll (ie, sometime after the broadcast and at a time when it won’t make a difference)…
It’s not pretty, it’s not fair, and it may not even – at least in the pristine Athenian sense – be democratic. But it seems to be having some considerable effect, largely in making the NO side look foolish and permanently on the defence.
The Yes team are increasingly looking like the Saxon King Æthelred the Unready (or unræd, the ill advised), the kingly weak link in the Saxon domain prior to the Norman invasion, who ended up having to pay tribute to the Danes. That’s not far off the deal currency deal that Salmond wants at least for any eventual transition into the Euro.
He clearly doesn’t want anyone, north or south of the border, politician or journalist discussing it in public before the polls open on Thursday…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty