Whilst ‘No’ channels Æthelred, is ‘Yes’ filibustering the media up till polling day?

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:

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…

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  • dougthedug

    “having wrought from Westminster all manner of time sensitive promises for reform.”

    That’s odd. I can’t find anything promised apart from the promise to keep Barnett as the funding formula for Scotland in the meaningless vow made in the Daily Record today. In essence condemning Scotland to further austerity cuts. What have you seen?

    “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…”

    It’s been discussed to death. Mark Carney the Governor of the Bank of England has made speeches about it and it’s been the Better Together topic of the day for weeks now.

    Why would it be seen as a transition to the Euro and if Scotland can switch seamlessly from the pound to the euro in the future why just not do it now? I thought it had to be done via a currency entering ERM II.

  • kensei

    I think you are over analysing it Mick. There are two days to the vote, the time for complex discussion is past. We are onto the point where there are October surprises, repetition or filibustering. I also think it’s naive to believe the SNP doesn’t have a statement / promise on currency and a preferred B option. It’s political inexpedient to do it now.

    The playbook is very much from the US: focus on a few key ideas, stay positive and stay united. Don’t get caught in political bunfights or say anything stupid – it won’t engage most voters. It can be a worry if there really isn’t anything there a la US Republicans, but the SNP has governed competently for its two terms.

    Going for 40% yes: old voters matter and the extraordinary negative push will shave a bit. I’d give yes maybe a 20% chance of doing it. I think that’s much more than I’d have said a month ago.

    The thing with it though, is it clearly demonstrate s people engage with politics if there is a real choice, if they feel it affects them, and if they think it really matters. Why can’t it be like this all the time?

  • Scots Anorak

    I’m afraid that there are huge numbers of people who disagree with you on the reality of BBC bias. To give three examples: the ridiculous emphasis accorded to an egg lobbed at Jim Murphy on the very day that someone was convicted of threatening to murder Alex Salmond; Nick Robinson editing out the First Minister’s response to his question, quite possibly because it showed the journalist up as an incompetent chube and perhaps because it drew unwelcome attention to his involvement in an alleged crime; and the failure to mention that the recent march in Edinburgh was organised by the Orange Order or to broadcast any pictures of the event, with the result that viewers were left thinking that the official No campaign was in a position to bring thousands of supporters to the streets. The actual largest event of the official No campaign in Scotland was apparently hosted by Muslims Friends of Labour, with 800 or so in attendance.


    I also see that when the broadcaster Lesley Riddoch — a Belfast lass, no less — complained at what she saw as BBC bias this week, rather than consider her complaint the producer simply cancelled her forthcoming appearances. She has now been reduced to blogging on a Nationalist website.


    And what about the report by John Robertson of the University of the West of Scotland? Was he imagining the bias — or the bullying and intimidation that he suffered afterwards?


    If this image that I saw on a pro-independence blog is genuine, the BBC has even been photoshopping pictures to add No campaigners. If you look closely, you can see the Yes underneath.


  • Scots Anorak
  • Zeno1

    I think the No Vote will win comfortably. The main reasons being (1) that it is more “fashionable” to be in the Yes Camp and people are telling fibs to the Polling Companies as the Poll approaches and (2) a natural fear of change. Especially when the situation you are in is not exactly unbearable. I’d be surprised if many more than 35% of the electorate vote Yes. (3) The electorate in Scotland is around 4.5 million. The SNP got less that half a million votes in the last election.

  • Particularly like the @FarmersforYes, who have not responded to the question of how, day after independence and outside the EU (otherwise the Euro would loom), farmers would cope with no EU farming subsidy. Guess Alex Salmond will have this covered in his great big oil bonanza.

    The contradictions of it all well covered here http://wakeupscotland.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/ewan-morrison-yes-why-i-joined-yes-and-why-i-changed-to-no/

    “The answer is that the factions within the Yes camp are all dreaming that they will have more power in the new Scotland ‘after the referendum.’ Bigger fish in the smaller pond. The Greens will have more power than they ever could in the UK. Business leaders will have more influence over Scottish government. The hard left will finally realise its dream of seizing power and creating a perfect socialist nation. Each group is dreaming of this fresh new country (as clean as a white sheet, as unsullied as a newborn) in which they themselves dominate and hold control. Clearly these groups can’t all have more power and the banner they share is a fantasy of a unity that is not actually there.”