Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Scottish independence referendum blame game has begun

The knives are being sharpened, the blame game has begun. Even before we know the result of Thursday’s independence referendum, politicians have started scrambling to get their excuses in first.

               Here are seven people being lined up as scapegoats for the split of the union
 
 Some Labour figures have summoned up the ghost of  Margarate Thatcher, claiming she created fertile territory for the Scottish National Party by allowing Scotland’s industries to die; imposing the poll tax a year earlier than in England and Wales and opposing devolution.

 Sir John Major last week pointed the finger of blame at Mr Tony Blair, saying his Government left “a deadly legacy” by creating the Scottish Parliament in 1999.

 But Mr Blair was no fan of devolution - he inherited a firm pledge to set up the Edinburgh parliament from John Smith, his predecessor as Labour leader, who died in 1994. Mr Blair sometimes raised doubts.

 Is David Cameron to blame for allowing Alex Salmond a referendum? With opinion polls suggesting that only about a third of Scots favoured independence, the prime minister judged that a straight choice between Yes and No would settle Scotland’s future for a generation. That gamble may not pay off. There is mounting evidence that Downing Street underestimated the prospect of a Yes vote until a poll put it ahead just 10 days ago, forcing the three main parties to rush out their “devo max” plan.

 Some Tory MPs blame George Osborne, the Chancellor, for this negative approach, saying his trump card of ruling out a currency union with an independent Scotland turned out to be nothing of the sort.

 Better Together, led by former chancellor Alistair Darling, has been hampered by infighting and personal feuds between the Labour figures who dominate it.
Until late in the day, Gordon Brown did his own thing rather than work with Better Together, which he judged badly run, lacking campaigning nous and too close to the Conservatives. “He loathes many of its leading lights – Alistair Darling, Douglas Alexander, Jim Murphy, John Reid,” one Labour source admitted.

 Lib Dem and Tory figures claim that Ed Miliband has failed to get over his message in a country where his left-of-centre pitch and belief in radical economic reforms should enjoy wide appeal. 

Scottish voters trust Ed Miliband less than David Cameron, according to YouGov data.

The poll asked Scottish people, between September 9 and 11, to rate how much they trusted several politicians. It found 24 per cent of all respondents said they trusted Miliband, compared to 25 per cent who said they trusted Cameron.
Both leaders were more trusted than Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservative party.
Alex Salmond, meanwhile, enjoys almost north Korean levels of trust from supporters of the Yes campaign.
Labour MP Willie Rennie was the least untrusted of the nine politicians surveyed, coming ahead of Gordon Brown, Ruth Davidson, Johann Lamont, Ed Miliband, David Cameron, Alex Salmond, Nicola Stugeon and Alistair Darling. Former prime minister Brown is the second most trusted, behind Salmond.

What about Scottish Independence?
The Scottish independence ‘Yes’ campaign are hoping low-income estates such as Dundee’s Mill O’Mains could hold the key in their bid to win Thursday’s referendum.
‘Yes’ campaigners have been focusing their efforts on neighbourhoods such as this, and they now believe it is paying off.
“The majority here will be voting Yes but you could say that about anywhere in Dundee,” said Mark Day, a 21-year-old social sciences student from the neighbouring Fintry estate.
‘Yes’ enjoys a 70:30 lead in Dundee - with huge ‘Yes’ signs erected on some of the city’s main thoroughfares, there is little visibility of the Better Together cause - so much so that the east coast town has been dubbed Yes City.
Dundee has registered the highest levels of new voters anywhere in Scotland, up 7.7 per cent compared to a national average of 4 per cent.
Some have argued that the true lead among Yes voters could be higher than polls show because young people and those on benefits do not have landlines and are excluded from telephone polling.

Source: i100.independent

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