With a survey released last week by TNS-BMRB revealing that only 28% of Scots favour leaving the United Kingdom, in line with an Ipsos MORI poll at taken in late August, the evidence would appear to suggest that the outcome of the “one single question”, which David Cameron insisted on, is more or less certain. However, before reaching that conclusion, a closer look at what the nationalists gained for this “concession” might be advisable.The Scottish government “will set out the date of the referendum; the franchise; the wording of the question; rules on campaign financing; and other rules for the conduct of the referendum.”
The referendum will probably be held in the Autumn of 2014, by which time the memories of Scottish athletes, such as Andy Murray and Chris Hoy, draping themselves in the union flag will have been superseded by more immediate images of the Commonwealth Games and some of the very same athletes donning the saltire. Moreover, if Westminster is hoping that its “truly national commemoration” of the first world war will provide some sort of “Blighty Bonus”, it should be remembered that 2014 will also mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn and the commemoration of an event that holds particular emotional appeal to many Scots.
Indeed, that brings us to the second “concession” and with it being left to the Scottish Government to decide the extent of the fanchise it apears that the referendum will allow 16 and 17 year-olds to vote for the first time. Might it just be that this particular electorate is especially vulnerable to the emotive appeal of Scottish nationalism and, all the more so, at a time when they are living in a United Kingdom that cannot offer many of them anything better than a life on the dole.
Finally, there are external factors which are worthy of our consideration and with the Scottish people being allowed an opportunity to break away from the union, they might be looking at developments elsewhere. In doing so they might find not only some interesting parallels, but also some telling differences, with ‘The Guardian’s’ Luke Stobart stating that, with over one and a half million taking to the streets of Barcelona, “Catalans are ready for independence” but then asking the question, “are their leaders?”
Indeed, it might be appropriate for the Mr Salmond and the SNP to learn its own lesson there. For while he and his party are ready for independence, it would appear that the Scottish people might be lagging behind somewhat. It is time to bring the people onto the streets of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Scotland can gain its independence, but despite the government in London’s exceedingly poor negotiating skills, it is not going to be handed over on a plate.