Scottish Referendum – The Liveblog

18th September, 2014 8:36 am

LIVEBLOG CLOSED

17.18: The Union stands, Alex Salmond has resigned – and a new constitutional settlement for Scotland (and the UK as a whole) behind to take shape. That seems as good a time as any to end our liveblog. After two weeks of posts – including calling the referendum result right before the first ballots were counted – we’ve followed the twists and turns of the final weeks of the campaign. Thanks to everyone who has read, taken part and contributed.

And goodnight.

16.16: Alex Salmond resigns as First Minister of Scotland and leader of the SNP.

Almost ten hours after he gave his concession speech, Salmond has announced he will stand down at the SNP Conference in November:

“For me right now , therefore there is a decision as to who is best placed to lead this process forward politically.

“I believe that in this new exciting situation, redolent with possibility, Party, Parliament and country would benefit from new leadership.

“Therefore I have told the National Secretary of the SNP that I will not accept nomination to be a candidate for leader at the Annual Conference in Perth on 13th-15th November.

“After the membership ballot I will stand down as First Minister to allow the new leader to be elected by due Parliamentary process.

“Until then I will continue to serve as First Minister. After that I will continue to offer to serve as Member of the Scottish Parliament for Aberdeenshire East.”

09.37: Ed Miliband has just spoken, responding to the result of the Scottish referendum. He began by saying “this was a vote for solidarity and social justice, this was a vote for our NHS, this was a vote for our NHS”

Alongside promising to deliver on his and other parties’ commitment to giving further powers to Scottish Parliament, he went on to speak directly to people who had voted YES, saying: ‘this Labour party is determine to show over the coming years that we can be the vehicle for your hopes, your dreams, your aspirations, a better life for you, a better life or Scotland, a better life for the whole of the United Kingdom”

He also stressed that this was the beginning of massive change across the UK: “this was a vote for change. Change doesn’t end today. Change begins today,” explaining, “devolution is not just a good idea for Scotland and Wales, it is a good idea for England and indeed Northern Ireland as it already is too.”

Noting that it is only 8 months until the general election, Miliband said that he realised there are significant power imbalances in the UK: “our country only works for a tiny elite few at the top, and this Labour Party knows that must change. And we will change it”

08.15: FINAL RESULT: Highlands votes No by a margin of 53% to 47%, on an 87% turnout. That means the final No result reaches over 2 million people. So altogether, the result is:

NO 2,001,926 votes (55%) – YES 1,617,989 (45%)

07.36: William Hague has said he will be working on Cameron’s suggestion of English laws for English people – to the same timetable as Scottish Devolution.

07.29: Ed Miliband has welcomed the outcome of the referendum:

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 07.27.16 copy

07.20: In case you missed, here’s Alistair Darling’s speech from earlier this morning:

07.17: Cameron has just given his speech, confirming the 3 main pro-Unionist parties’ commitment to devolution “The people of scotland have spoken, it is a clear result, they have kept our country of four nations together and as millions of other people, I am delighted…Now it is time for our United kingdom to come together and move forward. A vital part of that is a balanced settlement”

He said: to all those who voted for Independence,“we hear you…we have a chance to change the way Britain is governed and change it for the better.”

He announced that Lord Robert Smith of Kelvin (who chaired the committee for the Commonwealth Games) has agreed to oversee the devolution changes. But Cameron didn’t just focus on devolving powers to Scotland, he also promised to secure English laws for English people – hinting at English devolution and perhaps the potential of an English Parliament…

06.55: Ahead of David Cameron’s speech, a reminder of the results. NO have won with 1.9 million votes to 1.5 million- 55% to 45%. So far, in 4 of the 32 council areas (Glasgow, Dundee, West Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire) YES was a majority.

There is still one result to come in but this won’t change the outcome. In terms of voter turnout, across the council areas, the average is estimated to be 86% – a historic record.

Now the questions begin, Scotland remains, but in terms of devolution of powers, what will the United Kingdom look like now? We’re now waiting to hear from David Cameron, who might give us some idea…

06.48: Alistair Darling gives his speech, saying “We have chosen unity over division, a positive change over needless separation. Today is a momentous result for Scotland and also for the United kingdom as a whole…we have reaffirmed all we have in common and the bonds we have together, let them never be broken.”

But he also stresses that though NO has won, the Scottish Parliament must use its powers to address peoples’ concerns: “Let us also listen, more than 85% of people have voted, while they have voted for the constitution, that was perhaps not the only major issue that took them to the polls. Every political party must listen to their cry for change.” He commits to make sure that promises for change are transformed into action. He finishes by saying “Come on Scotland, let’s get on with this together.”

06.40: With the YES campaign ahead in only four areas (although one council area still to be declared) and the vote looking like it’s NO 55%, YES 45%, Salmond said he clearly accepted defeat: “It is important to say our referendum was an agreed and consented process…on behalf of the Scottish government, I accept the result.”

Meanwhile, David Cameron has congratulated Alistair Darling, head of the Better Together campaign. The Prime Minister will speak in the next hour.

06.28: Alex Salmond has just given his concession speech. With all but one council area declaring their results, he confirms that it looks like NO: 55%, YES: 45% .

06.07: GORDON BROWN’S FIFE SAYS NO. IT’S OFFICIAL – SCOTLAND REJECTS SEPARATION. THE UNION STANDS.

6.01: Aberdeenshire is a big win too – Salmond’s back yard.

6.00: No wins comfortably in Argyll and Bute. So close to the finishing line now.

05.54: Edinburgh says No, decisively. A win by 70,000 votes. We’re nearly there.

05.15: Both BBC and Sky have called it for No now, as if there was any doubt. We’re staying up until it’s official though…

04.54: Biggest success of the night by far for Yes – they take Glasgow by 7 points and 35,000 votes. But it’s not enough for them. Worrying for a Glasgow-centric Scottish Labour Party though. Leader, Deputy Leader, Shadow Scottish Secretary – all represent Glasgow. This result (for Labour) is a real concern.

04.45: North Lanarkshire votes Yes, by 5,000

04.34: No doing well in areas with high turnout. That wasn’t the conventional wisdom 24 hours ago…

04.32: East Renfrewshire, a 17,000 vote win for NO. The big wins just keep on coming.

04.30: HUGE win for No in Dumfries and Galloway. But another HUGE result for NO in Aberdeen. NO wins Salmond country by 35,000 votes.

04.28: Angus goes to No by 10,000 votes – it has an SNP MP.

04.20: Falkirk says No – by 8,000 votes

04.17: East Lothian goes 62% No. No also won Stirling by 12,000 votes too.

04.15: Stop saying it’s close, or it’s “tightening up”. It isn’t. No will win Edinburgh and Aberdeen by far more than Yes can possibly win Glasgow

04.10: Midlothian goes to NO by 7,000 votes

04.07: Yes wins West Dunbartonshire

03.57: Renfrewshire says NO – 53% to 47%.

03.52: After at least three fire alarms, Dundee has officially announced. As expected, it’s a Yes win with 57% of the vote. A pretty big win for Yes there – that’s their first morale boost of the night.

03.35: There is (quite rightly) no triumphalism from Labour activists I’ve spoken to tonight. They’re exhausted after 2 years of campaigning, but they know the challenge ahead is a steep one too.

03.34: The Yes campaign thought they might at least get a win in Inverclyde – but they lost by a smidge under 80 votes.

03.20: Looks like Yes have won Dundee by 55% to 45% as the fire alarm goes off AGAIN. They’ll call Dundee “Independence City” tonight, but it won’t do enough to get Yes over the line.

03.15: Anyone got a sweepstake going on how many times the fire alarm will go off in Dundee? At least twice so far…

03.02: The Western Isles votes No. That sound you can hear is any chance of a Yes victory evaporating.

02.50: Looks like a No vote of nearly 60% in Aberdeenshire – that’s Salmond country…

02.43: Shetland goes 64% NO.

02.41: It seems like Douglas Alexander *has* said there must be devolution to English regions though. I’d agree with that. But it must be transparent and democratic…

02.30: Supposedly Douglas Alexander is pouring cold water on English regional Assemblies in STV interview. If so, premature – just like the Prime Minister rushing headlong towards English votes for English MPs – and wrong. No-one should be making hard and fast constitutional decisions tonight.

02.12: Labour insider tells me they think a big win for No is possible, butI worry it masks the horror of what happened on the estates”. That’s true – many traditional Labour voters have voted Yes today, the Scottish Labour Party has a tough fight ahead to speak to those people after the dust settles.

02.02: A predictable but big win in Orkney for No – 10,000 to 4,000

01.53: Turnout in Glasgow is around 75% – so that’s lower than expected. Yes will have wanted a high turnout and to do well there. Lower turnouts in Glasgow and Dundee than stronger No areas like East Renfrewshire will hurt Yes.

01.45: Apologies for the slight intermission there – not a great time for the internet to come out. So it’s a win for No in Clackmannanshire, Dundee’s count is delayed due to a fire alarm (dubious sounding much?) and Jim Murphy says it’s a big win for No in East Renfrewshire on a 90% turnout.

01.19: So making a prediction or a projection is dangerous – but we’re going to do it anyway. After dozens of calls to Labour activists across the country, and strong sources who’ve scanned the likely numbers across the board, LabourList’s projection is that No will win between 55 and 57% of the vote. Egg on our faces in a few hours? Perhaps. But with 60% of the vote likely to be No in Edinburgh (for example), something in that region looks probable.

01.05: Dundee’s turnout is less than 80%. That’s the big SNP area they wanted a big result in. Could No prevail in Dundee?

00.45: Latest rumours are that Dundee and North Lanarkshire are trending towards Yes. But if No are still close in Dundee, that’s still no bad result.

00.42: Labour Party have just sent out an email confirming details for Labour conference. Not sure if the timing means anything, but there we are

00.38: Sky are reporting allegations of “electoral fraud” in Glasgow which are being investigated.

00.30: Lots of talk about Cameron rushing out a new constitutional settlement in the morning. if he does that without consulting the people of the whole UK, that’s an epic mistake which shows he’s learned nothing from this campaign. Lets hope common sense prevails, but lets hope first that the result is a No…

00.23: Salmond was expected to appear at his local count. But he won’t be there – does this mean anything? I’m not going to lie, this is like reading tea leaves at this point…

00.20: Turnout in Dundee is 90%. Watch that one – one way or another we’ll learn something there.

00.17: 88.6% turnout in Clackmannanshire.

00.14: Before the results come in – let me say this. Scotland is a completely remarkable place. The Scottish people are completely remarkable people. And this has been a remarkable exercise in democracy. It was also hard. It was ugly at times. And I’m not sure I’d ever want to go through such a thing again. It had a nasty side. But I know I’m more passionate about Britain, Scotland and what we share than I was when this started – I’ll never forget that, and I hope tonight I won’t be forced to lose that.

00.09: Orkney turnout 83.7%

23.54: The postal vote turnout in West Lothian is 93.9%. That’s not a typo. Incredible.

23.53: Remember the AV referendum debate over the cost of electronic voting machines? Can we buy them anyway please? We’re all tired…

23.45: And what of Glasgow? It’s proving a tough area for No as an area where Labour votwers have slipped towards Yes in recent weeks. yet early suggestions are that No is winning there on postal votes…

23.38: Rumours that North Lanarkshire is 60% NO on postal votes, in what could be one of the first regions to announce. It’s Central Scotland and a traditional Labour area. If that’s borne out, No will feel confident.

23.32: It’s not just Scottish voters who politicians must reach out to though – it’s English voters too. Scotland has a new settlement whatever the result here, and John Denham has already been calling for greater powers for England. An English Parliament or Regional assemblies? That is now the English debate.

23.27: Already I have started to see tweets from Yes supporters claiming that if No loses, democracy has been “subverted”. The blame game will surely start, and I do fear where that ends – especially when it’s added to the already febrile atmosphere. Whatever the result, the people of Scotland will need to come together and accept the result. If it is a No – and it’s still very much as if – then British politicians of all stripes must avoid any celebrations and immediately begin the work of reaching out to those who voted Yes, as well as those who voted No.

23.12: The Newcastle Journal has quite an eye catching front page tomorrow. Could regional assemblies for England nudge their way back onto the agenda?

Journal front page

23.10: Do the bookies and the gamblers know something that the rest of us don’t? The odds have swung massively towards NO in the last hour since polls closed with both ladbrokes and Betfair. If you think Yes has won, you can make an absolute killing…

23.06: Evening all – Mark here to take you through the final result (although I sense that Conor and Maya who have done fantastic work updating this liveblog throughout the last hours, days and weeks will be up regardless!). So what do we know? Well there won’t be many results to look at in the next 3 hours, but what I’m hearing is that No could be quite close in Dundee. If No are indeed close there (in what has been dubbed “Independence City”) that might be an early indicator that No is doing well across Scotland. But that result is 5 hours away.

23.03: John Curtice highlighting on the BBC that early indicators suggest “we do indeed have a very high turnout, it might surpass the 81% turnout”.

22.45: Speaking to campaigners from across Scotland, and judging by the polls, it seems that the No vote has held strong in the final days. There’s no last minute collapse. So the only question is turnout. That said, the consensus is that No will win. But all we can do is wait.

22.41: Well-known pollster Peter Kellner thinks NO will triumph…

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 22.38.36

22.34: YouGov poll predicts NO: 54%, YES: 46%

22.29: Rumours are Salmond isn’t going to show up until the final result is announced – as Mark says that seems to suggest he isn’t so confident about a YES vote…

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 22.24.50 copy

22.22: No campaign’s Blair McDougall has been on Sky news. He looks pretty relaxed, and is predicting a NO vote.

22.00: The polls have just closed. Now counting can commence. We’ll be bringing you the results as and when they come throughout the night. In the meantime, why not take a look to see what LabourList readers think the result will be…

21.25: No results are expected until 2am, but here, exclusively on LabourList, we can bring you some results at 10pm on the dot.

We’ll be posting the results of our weekly survey, where we asked readers what they thought the result of the referendum would be, as soon as polls close.

20.26: As we approach the close of polls, it’s all gone very quiet – but No are confident, according to the Mirror’s Kevin Maguire:

Kevin Maguire

Disagree? You’ve still got half an hour to vote in our survey.

19.01: Just after noon yesterday, Gordon Brown gave a speech that lasted a little over ten minutes. A little over an hour after it finished, we’d uploaded it to YouTube and posted it here on LabourList. At the time of writing, less than 30 hours after we published it, it has been viewed over 200,000 times.

If you’ve not watched it yet, believe us, it is as good as the hype. Watch it now.

18.07: Some great stories about turnout today. 85% turnout in some polling stations (the person I spoke to is in Kirkcaldy), while one ward in Glasgow apparently had 65% turnout by 1pm, which is just incredible.

Don’t pay attention to stories claiming that any polling stations have closed because of 100% turnout (not even in Falkirk). That would rely on no one being sick or away, and some of the recently deceased somehow still making it down to cast their ballot. Polling stations have to stay open until 10pm anyway, in case anyone who didn’t send their postal ballot off in time wants to drop it off.

But that doesn’t make this anything less than the most engaged electorate we have seen in this country in living history.

“We’ll never see an election like this again,” says my man in Kirkcaldy.

17.09: Interesting tidbit from John Rentoul on Tuesday, suggesting that the Yes campaign isn’t as confident as it is letting on:

“On this, I bring further hopeful news from someone who has seen the Yes campaign’s canvass returns up to Thursday last week: that Yes does not have a lead in any of its target areas. Despite throwing everything into the campaign, the Yes campaign itself reckons that it is well behind and that to get anywhere near the figures suggested by opinion polls would be a remarkable achievement.”

Canvass returns, as any seasoned campaigner will know, can be very unreliable – but usually it overstates that sides chances of winning. If this is true, it is hard to see how Yes can win tonight.

16.14: Need some cheering up after all these stories of intimidation? This is good: selfies, speeches, leaflets and memes – it’s Labour No’s campaign wall.

15.41: In Newarthill, Labour NEC member Johanna Baxter tells us that one man refused a poster today because the guy who was putting up No codex boards in his area last night got attacked.

15.04: More graffiti on same polling station as earlier (see 12.51 update). All of it has now been painted over.

no voters will be shot

14.39: Update from Mark:

“After campaigning in Leith this afternoon, I popped over to the Better Together office there to speak to campaigners and grab a cup of tea. After a few minutes I stepped outside to check some messages and make some phone calls.

And that was when someone spat at me.

He missed, fortunately, but this is indicative of the febrile mood here. My only “crime” was to be stood outside the Better Together office. I wasn’t wearing a badge, holding a leaflet or even campaigning (not that any of these activities would have justified being spat at either).

This is the kind of intimidation and vile aggression that’s on show from some people today.”

14.30: We’ve heard that a 44 year old man has been arrested on charges of alleged assault outside a polling station.

Lots and lots of reports of very tense scenes at polling stations, with people (particularly from the Yes side) campaigning both inside and outside.

14.12: With suggestions that bad weather could deter voters, and that in remote areas it could hold up the receipt from ballot boxes,  Mark has reported that in Edinburgh, at least, the rain might be about to set in…

13.44: Word is that by 10am today, turnout was 18.5%. That is huge.

With so many people voting, it will be hard to predict the outcome. But if you think you have an idea, let us know in our survey. Results will be out when polls close tonight.

13.24: Two reports of hesitance for No support on the doorstep in Edinburgh. Mark says:

“On the doorstep in Edinburgh this morning, the No vote felt incredibly solid – but it’s muted. People quietly tell you that they’re No voters, whilst Yes supporters (who I suspect are still in the minority) are far more vocal.”

While Marcus Roberts, Deputy General Secretary of the Fabian Society, says:

“When I knock on doors too many voters whisper their “No” back to me and hurry to close the door. Too many voters say they’d like the NHS leaflet please but don’t want to be seen with it. There’s too much noise from Yes and too much fear amongst No voters.”

Someone gets in touch to report that over in Glasgow, meanwhile, there are rumours to say many polling stations have reached their usual polling day turnout before lunchtime. Incredible.

12.51: Mark gets in touch to say there are rumours of polling stations sprayed with graffiti that says “Vote Yes or else” and this photo has been doing the rounds on Twitter, apparently showing just that in Jamestown:

Vote yes or else intimidation scottish referendum

Mark also says: “I’ve also been told there’s been some voter intimidation in the borders, with a couple dozen Yes voters being bussed in to what is a solid No area. Why would they do that? To suppress the No vote perhaps.”

12.30: The final poll for the Scottish referendum shows the ‘No’ vote with a six point lead. Conducted by Ipsos MORI, for the Evening Standard, this final poll has – once the ‘don’t knows’ were removed – No 53% , Yes 47% . This is a slightly bigger lead for the No campaign than shown in polls yesterday – two of which put No on 52% and Yes on 48%, although Ipsos MORI had the margin even closer at No 51% ,Yes 49%.

This latest polling is promising for the No campaign, but this by no means suggests that the outcome of today is a foregone conclusion.

Thursday, 18th September, 8.30: Today is the day: polls opened an hour and a half ago, and will remain so until 22.00, for people across the Scotland to decide whether they want to remain part of the Union or become an independent country.

97% of the electorate (4,285,323 people) are registered to vote – the highest number the country has ever known for an election or referendum. Of these, 789,024 are postal vote applications, the largest number ever recorded in Scotland.

People will be voting across 2,608 polling places, in 32 local authority areas. Once counted, the result from each of the 32 authorities will then be sent to the chief counting officer Mary Pitcaithly in Edinburgh. It’s expected the majority of results from local authorities will come in between 3.00am and 6.00am Friday morning – we’ll be giving you the latest throughout the night.

According to Elections Scotland, the results should be in between 6.30 and 7.30 tomorrow morning but we’ll be keeping you up-to-date with what’s going on in Scotland throughout the day.

23.22: Final YouGov poll for The Sun/The Times has No 52%, Yes 48%.

18.48: Mark writes: “Today I was in what the Nationalists want you to think of as “Independence City” (AKA Dundee). Don’t you believe it. Out campaigning I saw a strong No vote there, and it’s holding up. The campaigning done locally (including by the brilliant MSP Jennie Mara) may mean that the Yes vote is far lower than the separatists expect. What was concerning though was that there clearly is a climate of intimidation. Activists told me about No posters being put up, and then taken down only hours later after Yes campaigners pressured homeowners. Similarly, there were numerous reports of Yes campaigners pressuring shop owners in the town to display Yes posters. On the way in and out of Dundee, it was impossible to ignore the smashed No placards by the side of the road – and whilst on the doorstep, it was clear many No voters were nervous about being seen talking to No canvassers.

Dundee may be divided, but it’s not going to be a walkover (the result Yes are banking on) there.

17.52: YouGov polling for Buzzfeed on how Scots feel about the impact the referendum has had on society makes for some pretty depressing reading.

Almost half of No voters have felt personally threatened by the Yes campaign. 85% of No voters felt the referendum has made the country more divided. Half of No voters feel they have not been able to speak freely about their views.

This morning, Conor Pope wrote about the culture of intimidation the Yes campaign have allowed to flourish.

17.22: The Ipsos-MORI poll has arrived early (shocking stuff, I know). No 49%, Yes 47%, don’t know 5%. Excluding undecideds, that’s No 51%, Yes 49%. Knife edge.

15.25: New Panelbase poll puts the race at No 52%, Yes 48%. That’s the fourth poll in less than 24 hours to have that.

Including don’t knows, it stands at No 50%, Yes 45%, don’t know 5%. We’re expecting two more polls tonight: Ipsos-MORI (expected 6pm) and YouGov (expected 10pm). But remember, very few polls have managed to last until their official embargo times.

13.46 You can now watch Gordon Brown’s speech here. And it might be even better than the Citizens UK one.

12.33: By all accounts, Gordon Brown’s speech this lunchtime has been one of his best ever. There are even comparisons to his Citizens UK speech days before the 2010 election, which was so good it has become part of Labour folklore.

09.35: Mark says: “I heard yesterday from more than one person that phones might be banned from some of the counts on Thursday night/Friday morning – presumably in an attempt to keep the results under wraps until they’re officially confirmed. With market volatility in the event of a Yes vote a legitimate concern, I can see why someone may have thought about that. But surely in the days of social media – and with blanket media coverage of the referendum – it’s going to be somewhere between impossible and pointless to enforce. And it’s not very open or democratic either…”

08.30: Meanwhile in Glasgow, Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown will be holding a Better Together eve of poll rally in Glasgow this morning. It has felt like Brown, rather than Darling, is in control of this campaign in the final weeks. It will be interesting to see who takes the lead in Glasgow this morning.

Wednesday, 17 September, 08.27: Mark Ferguson sends this in this morning: “After yesterday’s intimidation and aggression on the streets of Edinburgh, I spent the evening campaigning in Leith. On the doorstep the atmosphere was far different. The No voters I spoke to seemed by and large to be solid in their support, and although there are plenty of Yes street stalls, I’ve yet to personally see Yes campaigners knocking on doors.

Today I’m heading to Dundee, which Independence campaigners would like to think of as “Yes City”. Several No campaigners have given me chapter and verse on what the atmosphere is like for No voters there – and this report from Sky gives a glimpse into the vitriol hurled at those who speak up for Britain there (http://news.sky.com/story/1337090/wearing-a-no-t-shirt-in-scotlands-yes-city).
I’ll update the liveblog with my Dundee experiences later today.”

22.05: Third poll of the evening, Survation, gives exactly the same result. No 52%, Yes 48%.

21.28: The latest Opinium poll for The Telegraph also puts it at No 52%, Yes 48%.

21.02: Latest ICM poll for The Scotsman has Yes at 41%, No at 45% and don’t know at 14%. Excluding don’t knows, that means No 52%, Yes 48%.

16.06: Things are getting nasty at an Ed Miliband event in Edinburgh as the Labour leader is met by Yes supporting protesters. Our editor Mark Ferguson reported first:

Yes campaign scottish referendum

yes campaigners bully boy

The (Scottish) Deputy General Secretary of the Fabian Society, Marcus Roberts, is also there:

Yes campaigners pushing

A political reporter from Bloomberg is also reporting from the scene:

Bloomberg reports on Yes campaign

How much of this will have to happen before the official Yes Campaign stops it?

13.52: As well as the NEC and Shadow Cabinet members (see 12.15 update), there are lots of Labour MPs, staffers and researchers heading to Scotland from the rest of the UK this week. A number of Westminster bag carriers have formulated a plan to catch a sleeper coach (yes, coach – not a train) from London to Edinburgh overnight on Wednesday evening, campaign all day, and then get a sleeper coach back overnight on the Thursday, hoping to arrive back in the capital in time to see the result come in on the news early Friday morning.

13.37: Scottish Labour leader has responded to the leaked documents that show the Scottish NHS faces up to £450 million worth of cuts, as LabourList reported this morning.

Lamont said:

“First Alex Salmond lied when he said the Tories could privatise the NHS in Scotland. They can’t.

“Then he lied when he said he couldn’t protect NHS funding. He can.

“Now we find out he is secretly planning to cut nearly half a billion pounds out of our health service.

“Salmond failed to make the case for independence so he started scaremongering about the NHS.

“Now we discover the greatest threat to the NHS in Scotland is Salmond’s secret cuts. As Scots prepare to vote we must all ask ourselves – what else is Alex Salmond hiding from us?

“Salmond truly is the Old Pretender. He can’t be trusted with our NHS.”

12.29: Mark Ferguson is in the Scottish borders today, he’s just sent this in: “Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Scottish Borders are solid No country. As I drove over the border and into Scotland last night, one of the first sights was a series of No signs. Indeed No signs are dotted throughout the Border villages – the intimidation that has stopped people displaying such posters and signs elsewhere isn’t on display here. I’ve currently only seen one Yes sign – which seems to be reflective of the shout support for the union from this region.”

12.15: Labour’s NEC are meeting in Glasgow today. Unsurprisingly, we’ve heard there’s a desire to keep the meeting short and get NEC members out on the doorstep. Several members of the Shadow Cabinet are already based in Glasgow for the final week of the campaign, with more MPs arriving each day for the final push.

10.12: A reported 10,000 people turned up for the Let’s Stay Together rally in Trafalgar Square last night – not bad for something arranged at three days’ notice, with only social media advertising. With speakers including June Sarpong, Dan Snow, Eddie Izzard and Bob Geldof, the message sent out was: “The choice is yours – but we want you to stay.”

Let's Stay Together Scottish Referendum independence better together

Tuesday, September 16th, 9.00: Today, Ed Miliband will continue campaigning in Scotland ahead of the referendum on Thursday.

On a campaigning visit in the Central Belt, he will once again stress that if there is a No vote that further powers will be devolved to Scotland. He will say,  “change is coming with more powers on tax and welfare for the Scottish Parliament”, while also commit to changing the way the British state works, including changes to “the House of Lords and the way we work together across our nations”.

Read the full text of his speech here:

In the next 48 hours Scotland faces a historic decision which will shape its future and the whole of the UK’s future for centuries to come.

Down one path by rejecting separatism and voting NO there is the promise of change. Change for a stronger Scotland and a better Britain.

The will of the people of Scotland for economic and political change has been heard and we will deliver.

Change is coming with more powers on tax and welfare for the Scottish Parliament.

We will change the British state too, the House of Lords and the way we work together across our nations.

I ask the people of Scotland to lead that change of our whole British constitution.

And I also ask them to help deliver economic change too with a Labour government in May 2015 – a government that is within our reach and just months away.‎

The great achievements of Britain over three hundred years from workers rights to the NHS will be matched as we tackle the great injustices of today.

Injustices we can better surmount together.

Together tackling poverty pay.

Together realising full employment

Together taking on the vested interests from the banks to the energy companies

Together replacing insecurity with security at work.

Together tackling the huge gap between rich and poor.

These are the great causes of our time.

Together we will deliver.

And together we will build a stronger Scotland and a better Britain.

On the other path of YES is a future of separation and risk.

An irreversible decision.

A risk to jobs, the economy and the NHS, as we abandon the shared resources and redistribution of our United Kingdom.

With a no vote, things will not go back to the way things were after Thursday.

Scotland has shown why we must and why we will change our whole country.

Scotland can lead that change across Britain.

A vote for no is a vote for change.

Let’s take our chance to change our country together.

16.40: At 6pm tonight, a rally will take place in London’s Trafalgar Square to show support for Scotland remaining in the UK. Organised at short notice by Let’s Stay Together, the organisation showing support for Better Together from around the UK, the event is intended to be an informal celebratory show of solidarity, rather than your usual speakers-and-banners political rally. You can find out more about it here.

Monday, September 15th, 13.45: Today,  John Reid, Johann Lamont, Margaret Curran and Anas Sarwar met with workers at BAE Systems in Scotstoun to talk about the risk independence poses to jobs in Scotland.

While there, they were also given a letter written by 20 young shipbuilders to Alex Salmond –  Johann Lamont said she would pass it onto the SNP leader, if he continues to refuse to meet with them. Here’s an extract of what they said:

“Dear Mr Salmond

We are young shipbuilders at the outset of our careers.  We are proud to work in an industry with such a long and illustrious history in Scotland.

We are gravely concerned about the future of shipbuilding in Scotland under Alex Salmond’s plans for independence.

We know that, as part of the UK, the future of shipbuilding in Scotland is secure. The UK will invest over £4 Billion to procure 13 vessels in the class; a workload that would provide a stable underpinning for the industry in Glasgow until at least the mid-2030s. Few industries in Scotland have the benefit of such long-term orders.

The scale of this proposed investment is unprecedented, and marks the most significant development in Clyde shipbuilding since the first shipyards were established on the River Clyde over a century ago.

Based on the most recent SNP forecasts of likely defence spending and naval procurement in an independent Scotland, there would be an insufficient domestic demand for naval vessels to sustain anywhere near the current shipbuilding capacity on the Clyde. There has been no credible industrial strategy presented for the continuation of the Scottish shipbuilding industry post-independence by the Scottish Government.

The assertion made that current Scottish shipbuilding capacity could be sustained in the absence of UK naval contracts by diversifying into commercial alternatives is considered by us to be extraordinarily simplistic and fanciful in its assessment of the commercial market.

Despite our concerns, you have refused to meet us, or any of our colleagues, to discuss these concerns. You are proposing independence for Scotland and it is you who should be prepared to meet with us to discuss our concerns about our jobs.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

  • Alastair Semple, Project Management
  • Bryce Glenn, Engineering
  • Daniel Bell, Engineering
  • Deryn Lindsay, Marketing
  • George Howard, Project Management
  • George Kirkland, Manufacturing & Production Operations
  • Gillian Keenan, Supply Chain
  • Graham Boag, Engineering
  • James Burke, Engineering
  • John Hunter, Quality Assurance
  • John Noble, Engineering
  • Martin Maliska, Health & Safety
  • Matt Reilly, Engineering
  • Niall Carney, Manufacturing & Production Operations
  • Paul Sweeney, Manufacturing & Production Operations
  • Ralph Kirkwood, Supply Chain
  • Sable de Oliveira, Manufacturing & Production Operations
  • Scott Affleck, Information Technology
  • Scott Brownlie, Engineering
  • Steven Arthur, Engineering”

18.00: October 16th. In the event of a No vote, that’s when the Commons will set in motion plans for Devo Max, according to Gordon Brown. Here’s the full text of his comments today – including a further slap down for Salmond on the NHS:

“Last Monday I proposed a timetable for new powers for a stronger Scottish Parliament within the UK, which all the pro-devolution parties in Westminster and Holyrood agreed with.

“I have now been allocated an adjournment debate in the House of Commons for Thursday, 16th October 2014, which will set in motion our promise of delivering new powers to the Scottish Parliament.

“It is now clear that a No vote means faster, better and safer change for a stronger Scotland, rather than huge risks to our NHS with a Yes vote.

“Meeting after meeting, morning, afternoon and evening, I will be stating clearly what I know is the truth: that because of the continuation of the Barnett allocation for resources and the powers of the Scottish Parliament to raise revenue, the final power to decide on how much is spent on the NHS every year rests with the Scottish Parliament.

“Under the Scotland Act 1998, the SNP already had the power to raise an extra £1,000million in tax to help pay for the NHS in Scotland.  Had they wanted to use it, the SNP could have raised the Scottish healthcare budget from £12billion to £13 billion.

“Under the Scotland Act 2012 – already passed by the UK Parliament – they could add £2billion to the Scottish NHS budget from 2016, increasing it from £12billion to £14 billion.

“And what they will not tell you is that as a result of my proposals this week for a timetable for further devolution, the Scottish Parliament would be given new powers to increase funding for the NHS by even more.

“The SNP must admit that they are wrong to say the Scottish Parliament is powerless to prevent the NHS being underfunded and admit that in future, without leaving the UK, the Scottish Parliament has all the powers it needs to fund the NHS in Scotland.

“If the SNP really cared about funding the NHS, they would make sure that the £1billion extra Scotland receives from being part of the UK was safeguarded by rejecting independence”

“And let no-one be in any doubt that the decision to keep the NHS in public hands and prevent privatisation also lies with the Scottish Parliament, which has full control over our health service.

“The Scottish Parliament can keep the NHS in public hands and increase the funding of the NHS if it chooses to do so.  With the powers it has, the Scottish Parliament can guarantee that the NHS remains universal, free at the point of need, publicly owned and properly funded.

“And if the nationalists are not prepared to guarantee this they should make way for Labour who will.

“It comes down to who you believe: the Labour Party, which created the NHS, built the NHS, saved the NHS, raised taxes to pay for the NHS; or the SNP, who have never raised a penny in revenue to fund the NHS even when they have the power to do so.

“The truth is that the SNP don’t wake up in the morning with a plan to save the NHS.  The SNP wake up in the morning with a plan to use the NHS. Use it as a battering ram to achieve the real ambition of a separate state.

12.35: This afternoon Alistair Darling is hosting a round table discussion with financial services workers in Edinburgh, following up on his appearance on Andrew Marr. In the other TV interviews this morning, Douglas Alexander told Sky News that the Yes campaign had been hit by “an avalanche of fact” and John Reid told John Pienaar that “If you genuinely don’t know, vote No.”

In other campaigning news – Johann Lamont and Anas Sarwar will campaign with activists in Central Glasgow this afternoon.

12.15: Are people under 16 being registered to vote in the referendum? The Telegraph reports that Labour Party has made a formal complaint.

Sunday, September 14th, 10am: Last night was the biggest night of polling in the Scottish Independence Referendum campaign so far, with four polls showing widely varying results. So where do the campaigns go from here? Darling and Salmond were both on Marr this morning, but whilst there was much heat, there was precious little new light. We are not going to get any more from Salmond in terms of answers than we’ve gotten already (in other words, very little). The rest of the Sunday shows feature a spread of voices from either side of the campaign – we’ll update the liveblog with anything particularly noteworthy.

Meanwhile, Ed Miliband has written for the Observer on the need for devolution across the UK. Regardless of Thursday’s result, expect that to be a crucial part of the debate in the rest of the UK come Friday morning…

21.30: the polls really are all saying different things. The final one tonight – Panelbase for the Sunday Times – is as close as possible.

Yes 49 No 50

That means 3 polls today suggest a No win and 1 a yes win. But it’s still incredibly close with just days of campaigning left.

20.00: The first poll today (15.00) had Survation putting No in the lead by 8 points. Tonight’s ICM poll tells a completely different story – in fact it says the precise opposite:

Yes: 54% No: 46%

Polling guru Professor John Curtice has sounded a note of warning about the poll, as it has an unusually small sample size, but ICM are often considered the “gold standard” of pollsters…

There’s still two more poll (at least) this evening, by Panelbase and Opinium.

17.35: Dennis Skinner – who was vocal in his opposition to dividing the UK this week – is in Scotland today. He was visiting the National Miners Museum and speaking to ex-Miners.

IMG_8651

Unfortunately, some nationalist protesters turned up and camped at the perimeter to try and make a spectacle of themselves, with eye witnesses reporting them chanting “Cheerio cheerio” as Skinner toured the museum.

IMG_4684

Stay classy…

15.30: Gordon Brown talked about his pride in Scotland today in Kirkcaldy:

“I yield to no one in my patriotism and my pride in Scotland. None of us here should allow it to be said that anybody who votes no is less patriotic and less proud of our country.”

“We are patriotic Scots. We’ve got a patriotic vision for the future. We’re proud of our institutions. We’re patriotic, we’re proud of Scotland. We’re proud of our distinctive education system. We’re proud of our legal system that is different and distinctive. We’re proud of our churches of all denominations because they have distinctive Scottish heritage. We’re proud that we the Labour Party – not the SNP – created the Scottish Parliament. We’re proud also that we are giving more powers to the Scottish Parliament. We are proud to that we share and cooperate as part of the United Kingdom.”

15.00: Another day, another poll – but this one shows the biggest lead for No that we’ve seen for a while – is the momentum now with the unionists? The telephone poll for Survation (produced for Better Together) puts No on 54% to 46% for Yes. That lead of 8 points is far higher than the 2 point lead for No with ICM earlier this week, and the 6 point lead that Survation’s online poll earlier this week produced.

We’re expecting more polls tonight – will this show a concerted move towards the No campaign after a week of frenetic activity?

Saturday, September 13th, 10.30am: It’s the final weekend of the referendum campaign, and it’s a day of landmarks. Anas Sarwar is marking 100 days of his referendum battle bus by visiting Dundee with party activists. Meanwhile in Glasgow, Jim Murphy is doing the last of his 100 streets in 100 days visits. We’re sure the Yes campaigners will miss their opportunity to interfere with Murphy’s campaigning… For his final event, Murphy is joined by the equally combative Lord John Reid (who is also the Chairman of Celtic these days). Expect some fireworks.

The resurgence of Gordon Brown continues, as he campaigns on his home turf of Kirkcaldy with Margaret Curran, where he will presumably note that Deutsche Bank (who have no axe to grind expect accuracy for their investors) have stated “the economic and financial arguments against independence are overwhelming”. Brown will say that “a “Yes” vote for Scottish independence on Thursday would go down in history as one of the biggest political and economic mistakes in a century”.

13.34: A few things to note about today’s ICM and yesterday’s YouGov polls.

The don’t knows. YouGov puts don’t knows at just 4% – meaning that if Yes managed to win over everyone who hasn’t made their mind up yet, they still wouldn’t have enough votes to win the referendum. ICM, on the other hand, has don’t knows at 17% – a remarkable inconsistency between the two, and one that changes the task for Yes Scotland dramatically.

The generational divide. Those in their twenties and thirties are most likely to support independence, with a 60%/40% split towards Yes in YouGov for 25-39 year olds, and a 57%/43% in ICM for 25-34 year olds. The over-65s are the age group most staunchly in favour of the Union. ICM puts them at 61% to 39% in favour of remaining in the UK, while YouGov has 64% to 36% leaning the same way. With over-65s traditionally the most likely to vote, this could be what keeps the Union together.

Gender. Men are from Scotland, women are from the UK. Men will vote Yes by a margin of 54% to 46% according to YouGov, and a margin of 52% to 58% according to ICM. Women will vote No, by a margin of 58% to 42% (YouGov) or 55% to 45% (ICM).

Turnout. Turnout is set to be phenomenal. 90% told YouGov they were certain to vote or had used their postal vote already, while 87% said the same to ICM. The result now may not depend on who can win over voters in the final week, but who can make sure their supporters go to the polling station.

Friday, September 12th, 12.30pm: Latest ICM/Guardian poll results: N0 51%, Yes 49%.

In the final week before the 2011 AV referendum, ICM polled the final result correct to within 0.1%. After a couple of good polls for Better Together, this one will be a little closer than they would have felt comfortable with – especially as 17% have still to make up their mind.

22.00: YouGov’s poll at the weekend set alight to the referendum contest by putting Yes ahead for the first time. Now they’ve got their latest poll out tonight – and it’ll send similar shockwaves throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK, as it shows No back in the lead again:

YES – 48% NO – 52%

We’re expecting the polls to come thick and fast now (there’s an ICM one for the Guardian on the way), but this certainly suggests the Yes momentum may be receding somewhat.

15.06: A fifth bank has said it would move its head office out of Scotland and into England should the referendum result be in favour of independence. Tesco Bank joins RBS, Lloyds, Clydesdale and pensions giant Standard Life, who have all said they would move their services south if a Yes vote wins. The chair of John Lewis warned that it was “most probable” retailers would raise process if Scotland voted for independence, while the chief executive of BP said that the North Sea oil industry would be harmed by a split.

On the other hand, despotic communist regime North Korea have come out in favour of Scottish independence.

14.34: Ed Miliband spoke to the crowd gathered by the Donald Dewar statue in Glasgow earlier. Like Gordon Brown, he focussed on the NHS:

“Because of the devolution that Donald Dewar made possible, the NHS in Scotland is run in Scotland. So don’t believes the lies and scaremongering of the SNP. There is only one person that can privatise the NHS and that’s Alex Salmond.

“Labour founded the NHS. Labour cherishes the NHS. Vote no for a stronger NHS.

“We’re proud to say No. We’re proud of our solidarity.”

Scottish Labour Leader Johann Lamont warned that the NHS could be at risk in an independent Scotland because of the level of cuts they would have to make: “Today, we have heard Mark Carney warn that an independent Scotland would need to raise taxes or cut spending by £21 billion to continue using the Pound without a currency union. This is also twice Scotland’s annual £12 NHS budget, and lays bare the price of Alex Salmond’s unanswered questions on currency.”

13.05: 97% of adults in Scotland are registered to vote in the referendum next week, according to the Managing Director of the IPSOS-Mori polling company, Steven Hope.

Steven Hope tweet

12.52pm: The Labour Party campaign machine has kicked into action for the last week of the referendum, with over 100 Labour MPs expected to visit Scotland before polls close. Around 60 of them, including around half the Shadow Cabinet, were on one train heading into Glasgow Central last night.

Labour No have assembled around the statue of former Scotland First Minister Donald Dewar in Glasgow for a rally, and judging by the photo MP Mike Gapes tweeted, there’s a big turnout:

Scottish referendum Donald Dewar statue

Always nice to see behind the scenes of a campaign.

11.30: The Scotsman has also backed a No vote today, citing worries over currency, the EU and defence that Salmond has not done anything to assuage. Their leader on the subject concludes “that Scotland’s best interests lie not in creating division but in continuing in the Union and using its strengths to help us continue in our success. That is not a view taken because of fear, or lack of confidence, or lack of patriotism. It is the very opposite.”

For Salmond, it is another black mark against his strategy of dismissing any warnings raised by Better Together campaigners as “bluff and bluster”. His failure to answer these questions seems to have left many people unable to support independence. As Gordon Brown said this morning: “I’ve got to say to Mr. Salmond, you can dismiss some of the warnings some of the time, but you can’t dismiss all of the warning all of the time.”

11.20: Having now seen the full Brown speech in Kilmarnock, it seems the quote about standing for the Scottish Parliament was either an off-the-cuff remark or a response to a question, as it does not appear here. He does, however, go in strong on the “nationalist lie” about the NHS:

“Today the SNP must admit that they are wrong to say the Scottish Parliament is powerless to prevent the NHS being underfunded and admit that in future, without leaving the UK, the Scottish Parliament has all the powers it needs to fund the NHS in Scotland.

“It is time to nail the nationalist lie.

“The Scottish Parliament can keep the NHS in public hands and increase the funding of the NHS if it chooses to do so. With the powers it has the Scottish Parliament can guarantee that the NHS remains universal, free at the point of need, publicly owned and properly funded.

“And if the nationalists are not prepared to guarantee this they should make way for Labour who will.”

11.10: Gordon Brown has said he will stand for Scottish Parliament if Alex Salmond continues to “peddle lies” about the NHS.

Thursday, September 11th, 10.30am: The Guardian (“Banks: We’ll leave if vote is yes”), The Times (“Financial turmoil hits Scotland”) and The Telegraph (“Economic fears put stop to Salmond bandwagon”) front pages all lead with variations on the economic uncertainty that would hang over an independent Scotland, using last night’s poll lead for No as proof that people are worried about the country’s finances.

In further pain for the economic credibility of the Yes campaign, The Financial Times have come out to formally back Better Together, and are damning in their dismissal of the economic arguments for independence: “The case for union is overwhelming. The path of separation is a fool’s errand”.

Meanwhile, the latest stop on Gordon Brown’s speaking tour is at a rally in Kilmarcock this morning, where he is speaking alongside Shadow Pensions minister Gregg McClymont and Cathy Jamieson, the local MP. Guardian journalist Nick Watt says his performance is “vintage Gordon Brown at his best. No notes, speaking from the heart but raining stats down on SNP”.

6.30pm: The Daily Record have released tonight’s poll almost five hours earlier than promised – and it’s good news for Better Together. The case for the Union has a six point lead: No 53%, Yes 47%.

One in ten of those polled have yet to decide how they will cast their vote next week. When these undecideds are factored in, the results are No 47.6%, Yes 42.4%, leaving Better Together looking in very good shape after a series of very close polls over the past week.

This will come as a big blow to the Yes campaign: with this poll having been released early, it is likely to lead the evening news tonight and feature on several front pages tomorrow. However, the poll does still fall within the margin of error, meaning it could be neck and neck. Taking on board an average of all recent polls though, and it seems that a No to independence is edging it slightly as we go into the final week.

2.20pm: Ed Miliband has just made his speech in Cumbernauld in support of the Union. Over the past weeks, concerns have been raised that the Better Together campaign have failed to connect to voters on an emotional level, and Miliband’s speech seems to attempt to address those shortcomings, by making a three-pronged argument from the “head, heart, and soul”:

“Head: because I believe we can better create a more equal, a more socially just society together than we can alone.

Heart: because of the ties that bind us together and would be irreversibly broken by separation.

And soul: because it is solidarity that built the great institutions like our National Health Service and can tackle the great injustices of our time.”

With Labour supporters considered the all-important swing voters in this election, Miliband seemed to deliver this squarely at the Party’s core vote, claiming a vote against independence is a vote for social justice: “Independence doesn’t drive you towards social justice, it drives you away from social justice.”

10.18am: Only two English papers don’t lead with the referendum today: the Mirror and the Daily Express.

The Daily Mail and Telegraph front pages both go with David Cameron’s “passionate” (Mail) and “desperate” (Telegraph) plea to Scottish voters. The Prime Minister has an op-ed in the Mail describing the Union as “precious”.

Former PM Sir John Major, a man who stood down as Conservative leader after relieving his party of all Scottish MPs in the 1997 election, says it will be Labour’s fault if Scotland votes for independence. Why? By supporting devolution, “demonising the Conservatives and, by implication, the English” (£). Labour MP Jamie Reed managed to rubbish this claim on LabourList yesterday, before Major had even made it.

The Times front page, meanwhile, reports the Queen’s reluctance to be dragged into the referendum debate (£), and the Guardian goes with the story that Milband, Cameron and Clegg will eschew PMQs today in order to campaign – although this blog on the key referendum battlegrounds is fascinating.

Wednesday, September 10th, 9am: It’s another big day in the referendum campaign (aren’t they all). With only just over a week remaining, both sides will we keenly watching the results of the Survation poll that’s out tonight. Does Yes still have momentum? Or is the fightback in defence of the Union reaping dividends?

Ed Miliband is speaking in Cumbernauld this afternoon, as the three main party leaders head to Scotland to repeat and reinforce the message that Scotland will get wide ranging new powers after a No vote – and quickly. And for fans of John Prescott on a battlebus (and who isn’t a fan of that), the former Deputy PM will be joining Anas Sarwar on his “IndyRefExpress” today.

Meanwhile, Jim Murphy continues his 100 streets campaign, with events in Dumfries, Stranraer and Wigtown.

17.20: Better Together have a new referendum broadcast out tonight. If previous efforts have been criticised as negative, this one is far more positive in tone. In fact, Labour supporters might see it as a partner piece for the “Fighters and Believers” Labour PPB of 2009/10 – certainly it’s meant to appeal to Labour voters, featuring Donald Dewar, John Smith and Gordon Brown. It’s called “A Proud Nation”:

1.19pm Ouch. This morning Alex Salmond said “the Governor of the Bank of England is in charge”. The Governor of the Bank of England says “currency union is incompatible with sovereignty” for Scotland.

1.00pm: It looks like Ed Miliband is now setting the tone for the referendum argument in Westminster politics: after his plea this morning that towns across the country fly the Saltire, the Government now confirm that Downing Street and Whitehall departments will have the Scottish flag raised from today until after the referendum. This comes after the announcement this lunchtime that Cameron, Miliband and Clegg will all be in Scotland tomorrow and so will miss PMQs.

Back at the TUC, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney tells the unions that a “currency union is incompatible with sovereignty”. This is a fairly major intervention, and could shift the focus of the campaign back onto Salmond’s Plan B.

10.40am: The leaders of the three Scottish parties backing the Union, including Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, are at a joint event this morning to set out the implementation of further powers to the Scottish Parliament following a No vote. The First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones will shortly be making a speech in Edinburgh about the benefits of devolution in the UK, and this afternoon Jim Murphy will make the latest stops on his 100 Streets in 100 Days tour, calling at Falkirk and Stirling.

Meanwhile, Ed Miliband is today calling for “cities, towns and villages” across the country to fly the flag of St Andrew as a message to Scotland to “stay with us.”

Miliband is in Liverpool, where he spoke to the Trades Union Congress (TUC) yesterday, and met with Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson earlier to raise the Saltire from the Town Hall:

Miliband said: “People across this country care about inequality wherever we find it. They care about ending child poverty in Glasgow and Liverpool. They care about getting people back to work in Motherwell and Newcastle. They care about social justice in Dundee and Carlisle.

“In the final days of this referendum we will campaign night and day to preserve the United Kingdom and we will do that with a message from all parts of the United Kingdom – that we are better together.”

Tuesday, September 9th, 8.50am: The latest TNS poll for the Guardian today shows the Better Together campaign have a one-point lead: 39% to 38%. This is better news for the Union than the two-point lead YouGov showed for independence at the weekend, but still shows a big drop (of six points) for the No campaign, while Yes have made a similar surge.

Who can save the UK now? It’s time for Gordon Brown, according to the Guardian, The Independent, The Times (£), The Sun (£) and the Daily Mail (yes, you read all of that right). But only an intervention from the Queen can save us now, believes The Telegraph’s front page (£).

Perhaps one reason why so much faith is being rested in Brown is his devotion to policy detail, in the hope it will strike a contrast with Alex Salmond’s vague plans for an independent Scotland. We reported yesterday how the former PM had set out a specific timeline for further devolution legislation in the event of a No vote, which has received cross-party support.

The Sun also has polling (£) to say that 30% of people believe that Cameron should resign if Scotland votes for independence, while 31% think Miliband should go if there is a Yes vote next week.

10.30am: What about the major Labour/No campaign activity today? Alistair Darling is campaigning in Edinburgh this morning, whilst Anas Sarwar’s #indyrefexpress is in Ayrshire. Johann Lamont and Gordon Brown will be speaking at the latest Labour No rally this evening.

Ed Balls joins Margaret Curran in Aberdeen today to talk about the economic arguments around the referendum. He’s also written a piece for the Daily Record today, that says:

“voting for independence is not a protest vote. It’s a permanent and deeply risky decision to leave the UK.

And let me be clear – a no vote is not a vote for no change. It is a vote for more powers for the Scottish Parliament.”

Monday, September 8th, 9am: With ten days until polling day, the Scottish referendum has a monopoly on the front pages today after yesterday’s YouGov poll showed a two point lead for Yes – the first lead for them since August last year.

The Telegraph says David Cameron and Gordon Brown are launching a “last-ditch effort to stop Scottish independence” (£), while The Times says David Cameron and Ed Miliband are uniting in “a last-ditch attempt to save the Union” (£). Spot a theme?

Gordon Brown’s attempts involve a six-day speaking tour, where he will argue that voting No is a “patriotic” act. With Better Together convinced that Labour voters are the key constituency to win over, Brown’s speeches are likely to focus on busting the myth of the SNP as a progressive party. His first event will be at 10am today.

The Guardian report that it’s not just newspaper editors spooked by the prospect of a vote for independence: the possibility of a breaking of the Union has seen the value of the pound slump.

Here on LabourList, Stefan Stern asks: “Why lets facts spoil the Scottish independence party?” Expect our stock photos of Saltires and Union Jacks to be exhausted over the next ten days.

23:00: Tomorrow Ed Miliband will give a speech in which he will praise the trade unions that have backed the No Vote and stress once again that voting No in the referendum means voting for more devolution. He’s what he’ll say:

“The Labour movement was founded on the principle of solidarity. You know that unity is strength. You know that we achieve more together than we can do alone. You know that what working people have in common matters more than any division of creed, race or region. Or even nation.

“And that is why trade unions, trade unionists and the Labour movement are playing such an important role in keeping Scotland and the United Kingdom together. From USDAW to the NUM, from the GMB to ASLEF, from Community to the CWU, trade unions are fighting for the right kind of change in Scotland – and the whole of the United Kingdom.

“At the weekend, the Scottish and UK leaders of all these trade unions signed a joint statement declaring that our strength comes from staying together and that separation would damage the rights and conditions of working people because it would lead to a race to the bottom. These trade unions are saying that the choice which is true to Labour’s traditions, to trade union traditions, is to say “no”. They are saying that the choice for solidarity and social justice is to say “no”. They are campaigning with their members to fight for unity, not division. That’s why all of them are asking the people of Scotland to say “no thanks” in the referendum on September 18.

“And our campaigning will not stop then. We are just eight months from a General Election. A general election where we campaign to elect a Labour government  across the UK. A Labour government with a positive vision.A Labour government that knows the battle against low wages, for equal pay, and to end the abuse of zero hours contracts is one for the UK as a whole. A Labour government that cares about fairness and the future of our public services whether you live in Doncaster or Dundee.

“Indeed, it is the Labour Party and the Labour Movement that says the choice in this referendum is not change with yes or no change with no. It is what kind of change will come to Scotland. By working together for a Labour government across the UK, we can freeze energy bills, raise the minimum wage, introduce fairer taxes, and put our young people back to work. Compare this with what the SNP is offering. As well as huge unanswered question from currency to jobs, they propose cuts in corporation tax, no energy price freeze, no commitment to the 50p tax rate and the end to the social justice in the UK.

“Saying “No Thanks” to separation is also about saying yes to more devolution. With more decisions being made in Scotland, by Scots. With a stronger Scottish Parliament. With more powers guaranteed. I say we should get the process of further devolution underway right after the referendum.

“Trade unions and the Labour Party are showing the way to secure a better Scotland.A Labour government offering security and working for social justice across the United Kingdom. In the final days of this referendum, we will campaign together, work together and fight together – to show that we are better together.”

Sunday September 7th, 15.00:  Trade Unions back ‘no’ vote. Earlier today 12 Scottish and UK trade union leaders – from GMB, USDAW, CWU, Community, ASLEF and the NUM –  signed a joined statement, in which they said, “separating Scotland would damage the rights and conditions of working people across the country, and would lead to a damaging race to the bottom.” They go on to say that, in the spirit of trade unionism, they have “always believed that our strength comes from working together and organising ordinary working people across the country; building unity, not division.”

In response, Margaret Curran MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland has welcome trade union support”

“These trade union leaders couldn’t be clearer – the best future for Scottish workers is remaining inside the United Kingdom. They know what’s in the best interests of the people they represent and the best way to fight and win better pay and better rights for their members across Scotland.

“If we separate it means entering into a race to the bottom with other parts of the UK – competing on pay and conditions. It is working people who will lose out, and the only people who will benefit are those at the top. Working across the UK means we will be able to continue improving conditions across the board, just as we have always done.”

14.00: In a joint statement, Jim Leighton, Alan Hansen, Denis Law, Bertie Auld and Ally McCoist have encouraged Scots to vote ‘No’ in the referendum:

“We are proud Scots who have been proud to represent our country around the world. When Scotland calls, we answer. We are proud that Scotland has always stood on its own two feet, but we also believe that Scotland stands taller because we are part of the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom is a country Scotland helped to build. We urge every patriotic Scot to help maintain Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom which has served Scotland so well.”

In response, Anas Sarwar MP has said: “It is great to have the support of some of Scotland’s most legendary footballers. Every one of them was proud to play for Scotland and they know the real patriotic choice on polling day is to Vote No.”

Saturday September 6th, 12pm: Although it’s the weekend, campaigners for the Scottish Referendum, which is only 12 days away, haven’t taken a break.  Tomorrow, Scotland play Germany in a Euro 2016 qualifying match. Ahead of this, today Anas Sarwar, Deputy Leader of Scottish Labour, will be joined by Lisbon Lion Bertie Auld, Rangers legend Ian Durrant and commentator Archie McPherson to welcome 18 Scottish Football legends and urge people in Scotland to vote ‘No’.

4.21pm: Conor Pope has covered the Gordon Brown speech in Westminster this morning, where he attacked the SNP for “supporting the fatcats, backed by the Cybernats”. We’re hearing he could be taking a more prominent role in the run-up to polling day.

Meanwhile, the decision of so many Scottish Labour MPs to travel to Westminster paid off, as a vote against the Bedroom Tax passed. More than half of SNP MPs didn’t bother, preferring to stay and campaign for independence. Needless to say, Labour haven’t taken to it kindly.

Ed Miliband cited the SNP’s failure to turn up as proof that Alex Salmond was trying to con the Scottish public:

“Alex Salmond tries to con people into thinking he stands up for social justice. What happened today is that the majority of his MPs did not even turn up. They could not be bothered to turn up to abolish the Bedroom Tax. It says it all about how Alex Salmond is trying to con people.

Friday September 5th, 2pm: Another busy day in Scottish politics today – they’re all going to be busy for the next two weeks. Gordon Brown was speaking on the importance of the union in Westminster today as he joined Labour MPs opposing the Bedroom Tax in the Commons.

Meanwhile, Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont was out on the doorstep in SNP Deputy Leader Nicola Sturgeon’s constituency. Scottish Labour have confirmed that they’re actively targetting SNP voters in the final weeks of the campaign, with 1/5 2011 SNP voters saying they won’t vote for independence. Lamont said “We are confident that the majority of Scots – whether they support the SNP or Labour – will proudly vote No because they agree with us that it in in the best interests of our country.”

Next week sees many high profile visits in Scotland from high profile Labour figures (including Ed Balls and John Prescott) culminating in a rally a week today. More details of that here.

4.54pm: The GMB trade union (one of Labour’s biggest affiliated unions) has launched a campaign for a No vote today, called GMB Vote No. Harry Donaldson, the Regional Secretary of GMB Scotland, says that “after listening to members, GMB are voting for a No vote… As part of the United Kingdom, we are better able to protect jobs, our public services and our future as a nation.”

Meanwhile, Better Together are pushing “an inconvenient truth for Salmond” today: that more SNP supporters are voting No than Labour supporters voting Yes. With much being made of the recent spike for independence among Labour voters, this could be an effective attempt to change the narrative.

Better Together SNP voters

3.38pm: Mark Ferguson has been tweeting from Glasgow today about the unpleasant atmosphere of intimidation being spread by independence supporters: at one point he witnessed Margaret Curran being told it was “disgusting you’re a Scot”, simply for being pro-Union.

This is followed by an incredible scoop this afternoon – Salmond’s aide(!) Joan McAlpine has been caught sharing a message on the internet calling for Yes campaigners to roll up and disrupt a Jim Murphy street event. Murphy’s open-air meetings have been disrupted by nationalists for weeks on end now, to an extent where the police had to get involved last week. Now it seems the Yes campaign is behind it.

1.25pm: There are rumours that tomorrow’s Daily Record will carry a poll showing a Yes lead. If true, this would be the first poll lead for independence since August last year.

Tomorrow’s Record is being guest edited by Alex Salmond (today’s is edited by Alistair Darling), which would explain why the polling is being held off until then. This polling, we hear, is being carried out by Panelbase, who have consistently shown the most positive results for independence, and is being carried out on behalf of the Yes campaign.

However, don’t let that deliver too much comfort. This has been a little while coming now, and any poll showing a Yes lead with under two weeks to go should only serve to focus minds in the Better Together camp to up their game until polling day.

10am: In reaction to the YouGov polling earlier in the week (which showed the yes vote making gains) PoliticalBetting  said “money on the £3m Betfair markets [began] to edge more towards YES”. However, today things are beginning to shift as this “has now started to recede with NO moving back upwards.”

Thursday September 4th, 9am: In two weeks, Scotland’s fate will be decided. To go it alone, or to keep the union together – postal votes are already out, and the end of the race is hoving into view. Finally, the rest of the UK is beginning to realise what those in Scotland have known for years – this is going to be a close race, and the future of the union still hangs in the balance. With that in mind, we’ll now be liveblogging the Scottish independence campaign in this crucial final days, bringing you the key points each day between now and September 18th.

Ed Miliband is in Scotland today, speaking just outside Glasgow. He’ll be campaigning with Labour activists and alongside senior Scottish Labour figures, and as we reported earlier – he’ll say a Labour government is just months away. LabourList Editor Mark Ferguson will be heading down to hear Miliband speak and take the temperature of the campaign after Miliband’s latest intervention.

Jim Murphy will continue his “100 streets” campaign today, with two events – and he’s written about the tour in The Mirror today. The first will be in Kirkintilloch, and the second will be in the centre of Glasgow. Mark will be at the second, trying to get a flavour of the event, the mood and whether the opponents of the union are still mobilising to disrupt Murphy. Mark’s take on it will be up on LabourList later – and Jim’s weekly column will return tomorrow.

Stay tuned for more updates today, and in the weeks ahead…

Scottish_and_British_flags

Value our free and unique service?

LabourList has more readers than ever before - but we need your support. Our dedicated coverage of Labour's policies and personalities, internal debates, selections and elections relies on donations from our readers.

If you can support LabourList’s unique and free service then please click here.

To report anything from the comment section, please e-mail [email protected]
x

LabourList Daily Email

Everything Labour. Every weekday morning

Share with your friends










Submit