It was all going so well! There they were, sitting on that double digit lead, ahead in almost every demographic group, basking in the warm glow that the Scottish people were experiencing the ‘uncertainty’ that had been so effectively and strategically placed. It was only a matter of ‘bayoneting the wounded’ and getting down to the bookies to place the bet on just how huge the No win would be. What could possibly go wrong? Well, erm, quite a lot actually.
The complacency that has characterised, the No high command has been truly extraordinary. It’s as if they inhabit a self-constructed cocoon in which they feast on a diet of all the ‘positives’ from a compliant Scottish press and spend all day basking in opinion polls that bear so little relationship with what is actually happening on the ground.
Then something happened. Those opinion polls started to contract a little. Were they just those famous ‘wavy lines’ or was this something more significant? Best to take no chances, get the Howitzer up to the front, just in case. Then BOOM! The ‘three chancellors’ telling the Scottish people that the pound they thought they shared wasn’t theirs. There would be no currency union, and they must mean it, because there was Tory with Liberal and Labour. Let’s unleash Barosso too, just for good measure. And it’s reporting season, so big business will do what it has always done when it comes to constitutional uncertainty. All this together in one grand assault will get us back on track and the Scottish people will fall back into fearful line.
But what’s that? This isn’t supposed to happen! The Scottish people are supposed to feel cowed- not angry and agitated. And those polls, they’re supposed to be widening again not continuing to contract! This Scottish general response is best summed up in David Greig’s fantastic ‘Yes No’ Twitter play, when the No supporting male character says to his Yes supporting female partner ‘it’s better we’re telt’ only to find her, defiantly, responding under her breath ‘I’ll no be telt’. That is how Scotland has felt in the past few weeks. We will not be telt.
The Nos have seriously misjudged the mood of the Scottish people and it is now too late to row it back in and do something different. The positive case has now gone. There will be no substantial ‘more powers’ offer, and they are stuck with a dismal, dreary negative agenda that can only intensify and become even more extraordinary in its attempts to try and scare the Scottish people out of voting for independence.
The thing is that there is a positive case for the union if they just went looking for it. Where it most definitely is not found is in the dysfunctional ‘Better Together’ campaign. If they had agreed even a limited ‘white paper’ on what a No vote would mean, just even to humour the many Scots looking for answers. If they could have put forward a positive, passionate case about the future of their union, instead of sentimentally looking back all the time. And what are they thinking about having all these Tories coming to Scotland for the day to tell us we can’t do stuff with those Westminster ‘analysis papers’? It is an absolute presentational disaster in a nation that still loathes the Tories to the bottom of our ballot boxes.
It doesn’t matter now, the Nos are stuck with their negative campaign and they would just look stupid and panicked if they changed tack. The Nos might still win. They still lead the opinion polls and remain the bookies favourite. But if they do, it will have absolutely nothing do to with the chaotic, insulting, dreadful campaign