It’s been an interesting weekend with one poll saying the gap between YES and NO is very very slim and another today saying that the gap remains pretty high for the NO side, but do they really tell the ordinary person anything. Scot Goes Pop is the go to place for poll analysis and I tend to go there for my poll info.
However, from an ordinary Joe blogs point of view I just don’t really know. The lack of balance in the media, or the lies as most of us know, doesn’t allow anyone to actually have a real stab at the current state of affairs. I do believe that the YES campaign is the only real campaign out there, yes No Thanks or whatever they are called this week get very high-profile press coverage of boots on the ground, their newest launch or their government funded publicity on the fly. But the simple reality is that they are just not out there at all. They rely on paid staff, politicians from the unionist parties, a very small set of volunteers, and shipped in followers from down south. They are a top down led campaign, all be it with huge media and back door government backing. With all their unofficial support which keeps the fear in the public eye they should be walking it but they are not. I suspect that they are sweating a lot due to what is a real grass-roots YES campaign that has taken on a momentum of it’s own, whether this will be enough we won’t know until the 19th September, but it has been impressive.
My own opinion for what it’s worth, based only on discussions and feelings, so not anything John Curtice would accept is that it is close. I suspect No might just be in the lead but not by very much at all and that the last six weeks or so of the campaign will be vital and will shift some people. I suspect that not many people in the don’t knows will shift to the no side, I just don’t see that being the way people will shift but I don’t know if enough will move to yes. I think some people will remain undecided and therefore will not vote at all.
YES did have an own goal with the whole Clare Lally email rubbish, a total non issue but enough to take the pressure off of Better Together and Clare herself mis-representing her and giving Johann Lamont another opportunity to shift the focus away from the fear and the lack of a positive narrative to the non issue. This just did not need to happen, and while I understand that the misrepresentation needed to be highlighted it didn’t need to be by a special advisor as Wings Over Scotland etc were already doing a fantastic job in pointing these things out.
I suspect that a lot will be made out of things like the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup, Armed Forces Day in Stirling,700 years since Bannockburn and the absolutely DISGUSTING celebrations of World War One in Glasgow but again I don’t think these will have a huge impact on the vote. I hope the YES side don’t try to use these events as the No side and the Unionists won’t be able to resist getting the Union Flags out and there are few sights more disgusting for a lot of people than the symbol of the empire.
I also think the never-ending list of foreign leaders from all over the world coming out against independence is a huge own goal for the No side. Leaders from democracies, although not China, coming out and telling Scots they should vote against their own nation hood and democracy is not going to work. I am a committed Yes voter but I find it really annoying that these people, at the request of the British Government, are getting involved in our affairs and I actually don’t agree that they have a right to at all.
So, where are we right now. I feel that the vote is a hell of a lot closer than the No side, the Unionist parties, the media and Westminster will ever admit. I suspect that the polling information that Westminster won’t release is telling them that. If the No side had the huge lead that the media would have you believe then the results would have been ‘leaked’ to the public. The fact that they haven’t tells you all you need to know about how close this vote is.
One of the aces in the hole if you like is Alex Salmond. Like him or loath him he hasn’t really started campaigning yet but I suspect we will see that in the last six weeks or so of the campaign. If I was the YES side I would be hammering the polling info that Labour and Miliband will not win in next years General Election, I would be hammering home that we will have a Conservative Government next year and I would hammer home to Labour followers in Scotland that Ed Miliband is more hated down south than even Nick Clegg and thats among Labour Voters. Right now I am optimistic that it will be a slim Yes, wouldn’t be surprised but fear a slim No. Basically it’s all to play for so we need to keep banging the Yes drum. Let me know what you think, I am really interested in your gut feelings on this.