Scotland Decides 1) Its women swing against Salmond

Screen shot 2014-09-12 at 08.45.48“Only six days before Scotland’s referendum, a YouGov poll for The Times found that 52 per cent of voters wanted to remain a part of the UK, excluding “don’t knows” and non-voters, while 48 per cent said that they would choose independence. This is a reversal of a YouGov poll at the weekend, which found 51 per cent in favour of independence and 49 per cent against, triggering market turmoil and a panicked political fightback that led all three main party leaders to race north of the border.” – The Times (£)

  • “Salmond has been handbagged by Scottish women” – Peter Kellner, YouGov President, quoted in The Sun (£)
  • “The yes vote was ahead in only one age group, amongst 25-to-39-year-olds, while in all others no was ahead.” – The Guardian
  • Is Yes running out of Scots to persuade? – John McDermott, Financial Times

Scotland Decides 2) Conservative MPs ask: what about England?

“David Cameron last night faced a growing backlash from English Tories over his pledge of new powers for Scotland if it votes to stay in the UK. They insisted England’s cities and regions must have more control over their affairs if Scots are to be rewarded for voting against independence in their referendum next week. Senior Conservative William Hague sought to allay fears by agreeing English concerns must be taken into account while his colleague Eric Pickles today agrees there is “real scope” for more decentralisation in England.” – Daily Express

Scotland Decides 3) Brown threatens political comeback sensation

Brown Hands UP“I say this to Mr Salmond himself – until today I’m outside front-line politics – if he continues to peddle this deception that the Scottish Parliament under his leadership cannot do anything to improve the health service until he has a separate state, then I will want to join Johann Lamont in fighting him in securing the return of a Labour government as quickly as possible.” Three days ago Mr Brown spoke about his baby daughter’s death and his partial blindness as he vowed to “nail the lie” that Scotland’s health service is in peril.” – The Independent

  • How Labour would have lost in a Scotland-less UK in 1964, February 1974 and October 1974 – Daily Mail
  • Yes protesters denounce Labour MPs denounced as “traitors”, party activists as “Child killers!” and “Takers of English gold!”…and Miliband as a “Tory tosser” – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • The publication of John Cruddas’s One Nation document sets out a potential transformation in the way Britain does its politics – Neil Lawson, The Guardian

Scotland Decides 3) Danny Alexander – Trust Scotland’s quiet majority

“I strongly believe that independence may be Alex Salmond’s dream but it would be a nightmare for five million Scots. I’ve got a real sense that a quiet majority in Scotland realise the positive aspects of staying in the union because they’ve got the strength and deep pockets of the UK with a devolved Scottish parliament that gives more power back to the people. It’s important to me that the promises of more power are kept. But whatever the result is, it needs to be respected and we then need to move on.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Parents remove pupils over school’s packed lunch ban as Clegg hot dinners come in – Daily Mail

Scotland Decides 4) Farage says that his Scottish visit will help the No campaign

Nigel Farage“The leader of the anti-EU party insists his aim is to expose the referendum as a sham. He argues it is not about Scottish independence but, rather, separation from England because victory for Alex Salmond would lead to Scotland being run by Brussels. The former City of London trader claimed the SNP leader’s Achilles heel is his lack of a policy on currency. Mr Farage declared: “I know the banks aren’t ­bluffing. You cannot have a banking system or a financial services industry without a lender of last resort.” – Herald Scotland

Scotland Decides 5) Salmond takes a battering as it’s claimed that in an independent Scotland…

Scotland Decides 6) The SNP leader hits back, blames the Treasury and the BBC for dirty tricks

SALMOND on Marr “He accused the Treasury of being a major force in the no campaign: “They’ve now been caught red-handed as being part of a campaign of scaremongering.” There were now “Treasury fingerprints all over” a campaign of “intimidation and bullying which has served the no campaign so badly”. Speaking at a referendum press conference in Edinburgh, Salmond told the BBC’s political editor, Nick Robinson, that the corporation had an obligation to help the investigation.” – The Guardian

  • Pressure from Treasury on Scotland-based banks to speak out – Financial Times
  • Salmond, you’re no Nelson Mandela – Scotland is free already – Peter Hain, Daily Telegraph

Other Referendum News

Newsflash: Loch Ness Monster defects

Screen shot 2014-09-12 at 08.57.56“A photograph has emerged, purporting to show the Loch Ness Monster swimming in Lake Windermere – in the English Lake District. Scotland’s most famous monster was captured accidentally by a photographer who had set their tripod up at the beauty spot in Cumbria, some way south of the border. A creature appearing to resemble the reptilian ‘Nessie’, with her arched back and long neck, can be clearly seen in the distance. It was taken more than 300 miles from Nessie’s mythical, eponymous home.” – Daily Telegraph


Fraser Nelson: My fear of a Yes Vote as I campaign in Scotland

“The slick, professional and dedicated Yes campaign has done so brilliantly: next week’s vote is a contest between (as Salmond puts it) “Team Scotland” and “Team Westminster”. Voters are asked to think not about divorcing their countrymen, but a reviled group of MPs. Once, Scotland’s Labour voters were sold on the idea of cross-border solidarity. But over the years, these arguments stopped being made.” – Daily Telegraph

Other Comment

  • Could the Catholic vote swing it for Salmond? – Tom Devine, The Times (£)
  • Public finances expose weakness of Scottish economy – Chris Giles, Financial Times
  • Why I’m voting No – Rory Bremner, Daily Telegraph
  • The world is saying No to Scottish separation – Philip Stephens, Financial Times
  • A Yes win means the return of the Blairites – Philip Collins, The Times (£)

> Today: Columnist Iain Dale – Salmond will be grinning from here to Auchtermuchty

> Yesterday:

Could Wales go independent?

Screen shot 2014-09-12 at 09.04.24“In recent years Plaid Cymru’s strategy has been to speak of independence as a long-term aspiration. But as the yes campaign in Scotland has gained momentum, Plaid has become emboldened. Its leader, Leanne Wood, is calling for a constitution to be written by the people of Wales and says independence ought to be seen as normal rather than a pipe dream. Hywel Williams, one of the three Plaid Westminster MPs, said party workers felt “energised and inspired by the possibility of change.” – The Guardian

  • Welsh Government Cabinet reshuffle: Leighton Andrews returns to front line of Welsh politics – Wales Online
  • Orange Order accused of ‘cranking up tensions’ with north Belfast march bid – Belfast Telegraph

Uxbridge Selection News: It selects this evening. Will it be Boris?

“In a two horse race, the London Mayor faces a very strong challenge from local rising star David Simmonds. One of the capital boss’s backers told The Sun: “If Boris thinks he can just swan up on Friday night to be crowned, he’s got another thing coming. He’s still in front with our members, but only by 60/40.” Failing to win the Uxbridge nomination would be a deep humiliation for the mayor and would set back his hopes of being an MP again dramatically.” – The Sun

  • “Plaza de Margaret Thatcher” to be opened next week in Madrid. (There’s already a street named after John Major in Cancelada.) – Daily Mail

> Yesterday: MPsETC – The three other candidates competing with Boris in the Uxbridge selection

Clacton Selection News: It selected yesterday. Former Bread actor to take on Carswell for the Conservatives…

Screen shot 2014-09-12 at 09.06.05“Mr Watling, 61, still an actor and director who lives in the Frinton-on-Sea area of the constituency, has been a Tory councillor since 2007. His website says he has two small yachts. He was selected last night in a US-style ‘open primary’ at Clacton town hall in which 240 local residents turned out to vote, beating Sue Lissimore, also a Tory councillor in Colchester.” – Daily Mail

> Yesterday: MPsETC – Cllr Giles Watling selected to fight the Clacton by-election

…Gove says that left-of-centre voters may go tactical to keep UKIP out…

“Mr Gove said that he had heard from Lib Dem, Labour and Green voters who had promised to lend their support to the Conservatives to keep out Nigel Farage’s party…[He] said that every MP would be required to help out, as he led the first major Tory push in the seat. He had little sympathy for Tories who have voiced reluctance to campaign against a former colleague and friend.” – The Times (£)

…And plays hardball over the Liberal Democrats’ recall plans

michael-gove“Government sources said the Conservative chief whip will allow Tories a “free hand” to amend the Lib Dem chief’s proposals next month. A source told the Sun: “He’s in favour of a tougher approach.” Nick Clegg unveiled a draft ‘Recall’ bill yesterday. This would allow constituents to vote out their MPs, but only if they have first been suspended by their peers in the Commons for 21 days.” – The Sun (£)

Did Hammond reveal Downing Street concerns about Britain bombing Syria?

“Asked about plans for an open-ended bombing campaign, Mr Hammond said: ‘Let me be clear – Britain will not be taking part in any air strikes in Syria. We have already had that discussion in our parliament last year and we won’t be revisiting that position.’  But his comments provoked alarm at Number 10, which is anxious to present a united front on the US strategy unveiled by the President on Wednesday.” – Daily Mail

Fury of Rotherham abuse victim as she demands shamed police commissioner Shaun Wright quits his post

Boy Damaged“Miss Wilson’s younger sister, Laura, died in the UK’s first white honour killing carried out by an Asian boyfriend. She was 17 when she was stabbed and dumped in a canal by killer Ashtiaq Ashgar. From the public gallery at a meeting in Rotherham today Sarah Wilson, who has waived her right to anonymity, yelled at the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner: ‘You let my sister be murdered, you let us be groomed. You should be out or dead.’” – Daily Mail

> Yesterday: The Deep End – The underlying truth about the Rotherham abuse scandal

MPs’ expenses bill up

“The bill for MPs’ expenses reached record levels last year, as more politicians put spouses and children on the public payroll. MPs’ staff, travel and accommodation costs reached £103 million last year, up from £99 million the previous year and £95 million in 2009. After the expenses scandal in 2009, the Committee on Standards in Public Life called for employing relations in Parliament to be banned. But it was overruled after protests.” – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief

  • Parents release photo of daughter born at British abortion limit of 24 weeks as they call for change in law – Daily Mail
  • Campaign to ban all parking on pavements – The Times (£)France is the only country which wants Britain to leave the EU – Daily Express
  • Power plant construction programme ‘may prove expensive and unnecessary’, says Energy Select Committee – The Guardian
  • Six youths go on trial in Iran for “hurting public chastity” after posting YouTube video where they danced to Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’ song – Daily Mail
  • Prison suicides more than double in a year – The Independent
  • Superyacht spats sail into rougher legal waters – Financial Times
  • Sir Donald Sinden is dead – Daily Telegraph
  • Pistorius latest – The Independent
  • Northern Lights shining tonight – Daily Mail