Scotland Is Not So Easily Broken

The Final Day Of Campaigning For The Scottish Referendum Ahead Of Tomorrow's Historic Vote

Whatever tomorrow’s result, Alex Massie anticipates that the Scots will make peace with the result:

There will be a deep sadness in many places if Scotland votes Yes and, in other parts, some raging disbelief if she votes No. How could it be otherwise? This may be a wee country but the matter of Scotland is nothing small. Some folk will leave if we vote Yes and that, I think, will be a great pity. Others will react poorly to a No vote but at least cling to the consolation that losing a battle is not the same as losing a war. The nationalists have known defeat before and coped; they can do so again. Their faith will remain. It will be harder, I think, for Unionists to accept the song is over.

But hatred? Real hatred? How can we really hate our opponents? We may think them sorely mistaken but we can also agree – if we try to remember to do so – that they are not motivated by baser motives than we are ourselves. They are our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters. Our neighbours too. To hate them is in some sense to deny a part of ourselves.

In that respect we really are all in it together. Today, tomorrow and Friday too. Come what may. Be not afraid. It is, probably, going to be fine. The little white rose of Scotland, so small and sharp and sweet, will still bloom.

Peyton Craighill interprets the polls:

The most recent poll using the most robust methodology will generally offer the best picture of where things will end up. In this case, that would be the phone poll from Survation completed Sept. 12 that showed 42 percent in favor of independence and 49 percent opposing, with 9 percent unsure. The survey reached respondents on both land lines and cellphones.

The 9 percent who are unsure in the Survation poll are a critical group. If they do turn out to vote on Thursday, their choices have the potential to sway the vote one way or another.

Tim Stanley would be unsurprised by a Yes victory. One reason why:

Historically, turnout in Scottish elections is low – in about the mid-sixties. But this time around some 97 per cent of Scots have registered. Now, why would someone go to the effort to register for the first time? To vote negatively (NO) or to vote positively (YES)? A local journalist put it to me that many of those new voters will be working-class Scots motivated by national passion. It’s unlikely that they’re fired up by David Cameron, Ed Miliband or the prospect of Devo-Max (which sounds like a reunited Eighties pop group).

Isabel Hardman visited both campaigns:

Which was the better operation, Labour No or the Yes camp? The two sessions I’ve attended in the past two days will not be entirely representative of their respective national campaigns, which unlike a stick of rock will vary depending where you cut. But the Labour lot seemed more organised, presumably because Labour is an experienced ground war party, while the Yes troops today were more enthusiastic and passionate. Even ‘No’ voters congratulated the two men on their impressive campaign.

Yes don’t have the media on their side – only one paper has come out in favour of independence – so their focus is so much more on grassroots support. Perhaps this makes them appear more sincere and energetic.

Peter Geoghegan is befuddled by Westminster’s mistakes:

The choice tomorrow didn’t have to be binary, but the third option – more powers for Holyrood without full independence – was left off the ballot paper. Then on Tuesday, just two days before the vote, Scotland woke to news that ‘devo max’ was back on if they voted No. The specifics of the additional powers seem both vague and unworkable, but the medium was more important than the message. The pledge, which could effectively usher in federalism across the UK, was delivered not after months of discussion, or even in person by the prime minister. Instead, ‘the vow’ was splashed across the Daily Record. If Westminster thinks that the front page of a tabloid is the best way to talk to Scotland in 2014 then it really has learned nothing from the referendum.

Ewan Morrison takes the Yes campaign down a notch:

In truth, the Yes camp is a ragged collection of factions all seeking power for themselves – a bigger slice of the political pie in a much smaller country. The unity and positivity behind the singular Yes has masked the divisions on the Yes side, between Greens who want no more drilling and the “it’s-our-oil” men; between steady state anti-capitalists and “business for Scotland”. There are even within the Yes camp factions of the old left that have long been pushed out of modern politics. The chanted “Yes”, it turns out, is as much about silencing the dissent among the ranks of Yes followers as it is about silencing opponents.

How will so many disparate and vying factions manage to create a better, more “positive” Scotland? We could have had an answer to this if months back the Yes factions had actually made concrete plans for the future and recognised their divisions, but instead they chanted the mantra of fantasised unity: Yes Yes Yes. This is why the word plastered all over our country has come to mean absolutely nothing. It’s an illusion of positivity. A hope about hope. A pure advert, selling us something we don’t need, something that does not even exist – a post-political dream of a new nation untroubled by the conflicts of the past or grim realities of the world beyond. Say it enough times and you start to believe it. Yes Yes Yes. Say it and see it too many times, and it vanishes into meaninglessness.

Clive Crook, who thinks Scotland could come to regret independence, nevertheless favors it:

It comes down to this: Scots are bound more tightly to each other — by history, culture and ethnicity – than they are to the rest of the U.K. In this sense, Scotland is, and for centuries has been, another country. Its desire for full nationhood has waxed and waned, but it certainly isn’t new. The union is hundreds of years old, but the things that make Scotland different haven’t been smoothed away, which tells you something.

What has changed in recent decades is that the U.K. has become both less hospitable to the Scots and less necessary.

And Paul Wells’ hunch is that “an independent Scotland would, in 30 years, be doing fine and maybe better than fine”:

And that the United Kingdom, whose history is rich in upheaval, could handle this one with little difficulty. There would be transition costs, and they would be borne disproportionately by people whose means are so modest they have a hard time handling any new cost, but a lot of them will vote Yes tomorrow anyway. That’s only irrational if you assume voters are, or should be, profit maximizers before all else.

All of the Dish’s Scotland coverage here.

(Photo: Ballot boxes are carried to a waiting van as ballot boxes that will be used in the Scottish independence referendum are collected from New Parliament House for delivery to Edinburgh’s 145 polling stations on September 17, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. By Matt Cardy/Getty Images)