The Union 1) Separatist Sillars promises “day of reckoning” for pro-Union businesses

Building shield“SNP grandee Jim Sillars lashed out after a host of banks, finance firms, supermarkets and retail giants warned of the dangers of independence, in the case of a ‘Yes’ vote on Thursday. Mr Sillars retaliated by saying that oil giant BP would be nationalised ‘in part or in whole’, while bankers and ‘scaremongering’ big business chiefs would be punished for ‘being in cahoots’ with the Tories.” – Daily Mail

  • You get the impression the nationalists think any opposition is subverting democracy – The Sun Says (£)
  • Investors dump £17bn amid fears over Union – The Times (£)
  • Tour firm warns of dearer holidays if Scotland goes it alone – Daily Express
  • Yes vote could see energy bills soar as subsidies end – The Sun (£)
  • Deutche Bank warns of Scottish “Great Depression” after ‘Yes’ vote – Daily Telegraph
  • Why I want Scotland to stay in the UK – Sir Richard Branson,
  • How our out-of-touch elites have boosted ‘Yes’ – Daily Mail editorial
  • Chaotic fightback stalls ‘Yes’ bandwagon – Financial Times
  • Big guns fail to halt independence bandwagon – The Guardian

The Union 2) Michael Gove: Don’t make my parents foreigners to my children

“Being British didn’t mean ignoring differences or belittling what is distinctive. Quite the opposite. The United Kingdom has allowed the distinct and cherishable qualities of its nations to flourish as never before — more people speak Welsh than for generations, Scotland’s education system is as robust and separate from England’s as ever, and both countries have benefited from devolution.” – Daily Mail

  • Give the UK a chance – The Guardian editorial
  • I’m as patriotic a Scot as any nationalist – Danny Alexander, Daily Telegraph
  • Do Scots really want to stop running Britain – William Dalrymple, Daily Telegraph
  • Childless SNP leaders have no understanding of the UK family – Daily Mail
  • A vote for separation will be forever – Danny Alexander, The Sun (£)
  • Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney invited to Monday’s rally for the Union – Daily Telegraph
  • How the SNP once kicked out ‘royal hating’ Salmond – Daily Mail
  • Plea to the “silent majority” who want the UK to stay together – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Andrew RT Davies on Comment: Wales and Scotland give balance to our United Kingdom

>Yesteday: Cameron Penny on Comment: In these last campaigning days, Scotland’s No campaign needs an appeal to heart as well as head

The Union 3) Naval chiefs predict Scottish independence will do immense damage to Forces

Armed Forces“A ‘Yes’ vote in the Scottish independence referendum would leave Scotland poorly defended and do “immense damage” to Britain’s Armed Forces, five former First Sea Lords have warned. The SNP’s defence plans are unachievable, will cost jobs and would leave an independent Scotland’s new military struggling for decades. The former Naval leaders also predict any independent Scottish armed forces will have difficulties recruiting and the split will be seen as “an act of destruction” by many in the military.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Criminal gangs could exploit the new border, police warn – The Independent

The Union 4) Seven in ten English voters want Scot to stay

“An overwhelming majority of English voters hope Scotland will remain part of the United Kingdom, a poll reveals today. But they say that regardless of the referendum result, Scottish MPs at Westminster should be stripped of the right to vote on issues which have been devolved to Holyrood. And if Scotland does vote for independence next Thursday, a clear majority of English people believe they should not be allowed to keep the pound – a slap in the face for Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond.” – Daily Mail

  • Stop Scottish MPs voting on English issues, say Tories – Daily Mail
  • Cameron faces backlash over ‘new powers’ pledge – Daily Express
  • Queen must speak out for the Union, claims Farage – The Independent

The Union 5) Matthew Parris: Whoever wins this vote, the Union is dead

UNION FLAG torn“To survive, Union had to be an affair of the heart, and the heartbeat started faltering decades ago, at devolution. The pulse failed last week when Gordon Brown carelessly, disgracefully promised “nothing less than a modern form of home rule” for Scotland; and the three panicking Westminster party leaders, whose nerve had failed, backed him. So it’s home rule for Scotland if the voters say “no” to independence. And it won’t be much more if they say “yes”. Devo-max and independence-min are converging. Either must lead to home rule for England. The logic is irresistible and the die is cast.” – The Times (£)

  • This is Scotland’s chance to evolve a new UK constitution – Gordon Brown, The Guardian
  • Miliband and Brown together in plea to save the Union – Daily Telegraph
  • If Britain pulls through, we have to do better than this – Hugo Rifkind, The Times (£)
  • Westminster did not fight for Scotland, and may now lose it – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph
  • A very civilised struggle – Mure Dickie, Financial Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Brown’s rash devolution pledge undermines both Labour and the Union

Simon Heffer: Paisley, the rabble-rouser who made peace with the enemy

“The sworn enemy of the IRA and their political wing Sinn Fein who spent more than six decades resisting any attempts at a united Ireland, he ended his career as First Minister of Northern Ireland working alongside former IRA commander Martin McGuinness as his deputy in 2007. A few years earlier, though, he had stated Sinn Fein would govern Northern Ireland ‘over my dead body’, adding: ‘I am not going to sit down with bloodthirsty monsters who have been killing and terrifying my people.’” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Watch: Ian Paisley – face to face with Mallie

Hammond scrambles to clear up confusion over air strikes

HAMMOND Philip white background“Philip Hammond ducked an embarrassing confrontation with MPs yesterday after No 10 overruled his assertion that Britain would not launch airstrikes on Islamic militants in Syria. The foreign secretary provoked accusations of chaos within the government after he said that Britain “will not be taking part in any airstrikes in Syria” to combat Islamic State extremists. The prime minister’s team immediately said that no measures had been ruled out.” – The Times (£)

Uxbridge selects Boris

“Denying that it was the first stage in a leadership bid, he said he wanted to win his seat and “get across the message of what the Conservatives have achieved in turning the economy round as we have over the past four years, and urging people not to throw it away by allowing Ed Miliband to get in”. He added, however: “This is Act I, Scene I, of a very long process and what I’ve got to do now is have a long conversation with people here in Uxbridge and South Ruislip.”” – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Boris selected for Uxbridge

Panicking Tories plot deal with UKIP…

UKIP-Tory pact headshot“With Ukip’s Douglas Carswell predicted to romp home in next month’s Clacton by-election – triggered by his bombshell defection from the Conservatives – rebel Tory Eurosceptics want a formal pact with Ukip which would offer both Mr Farage and Mr Carswell the chance of ministerial office.” – Daily Mail

…as MEP forced to apologise after accusing Umunna of racism for quote he never made

“Ukip was last night forced to apologise after branding Labour rising star Chuka Umunna a ‘racist’ – based on words he never used. The Shadow Business Secretary was shocked after Ukip Euro MP Jane Collins last week went on Twitter to accuse him of racism. She posted an image of Mr Umunna allegedly saying black people should be preferred to white people for top jobs to ‘spice things up a bit’, calling it an ‘extraordinary racist comment’.” – Daily Mail

May to relax UK transit visa regime

MAY Home Office big“Theresa May is to relax the UK’s transit visa regime to encourage more air passengers – particularly from China – to travel through the country. However, the home secretary’s move falls far short of measures demanded by airlines, airport operators and business lobby groups, who say Britain’s costly and complex visa regime deters Chinese visitors.” – Financial Times

Osborne launches competition to design the new £1 coin

“The winner will have come up with the best creative idea for the reverse side of the new “distinctly British” £1 coin, which enters circulation from 2017. As well as being able to take pride in seeing their work replicated in people’s hands and wallets for years to come, they will get a £10,000 fee for the right to use their design. Plans for the 12-sided coin – a similar shape to a pre-decimal threepenny bit – were unveiled in the Budget.” – Daily Express

Tory fury as new aid commitment becomes legally binding

aidgraphic“A law which would force future governments to increase Britain’s bloated aid budget was voted through last night in the face of furious opposition from backbench Tory MPs. Crucially, Conservative MPs were ordered to vote in favour of the proposed law, which would make the Government’s controversial policy of spending a minimum 0.7 per cent of national income on international aid a legal requirement.” – Daily Mail

Labour MP proposes ban on cars to boost public transport

“Owning a car should be ‘outlawed’ to force people on to public transport, a senior Labour MP has suggested. Motorists who want to drive should instead be forced to join communal ‘car clubs’ where the cars are shared by drivers and used only when needed.” – Daily Mail

Clegg unveils plan to soak the rich

Curse of Clegg 2“Nick Clegg yesterday unveiled plans to soak the rich with taxes on mansions, large pension pots and second homes. The Lib Dems propose investing in big projects such as building electric railways and 300,000 homes a year if they return to government after next May’s election. And Mr Clegg admitted these would have to be funded by higher taxes on the well-off.” – Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • Five Jihadi Brits who want to come home held in ‘punishment centre’ by ISIS – Daily Mail
  • Richard III director in goldfish row – Daily Telegraph
  • Doctors win right not to force-feed anorexic – The Times (£)
  • Daily medication could help eight million to conquer pain of migraines – Daily Express
  • Pistorius verdict causes uproar – The Guardian
  • Australian police in riot gear remove aboriginal children “at gunpoint” – The Independent
  • The uncertain future of Scottish nationalism – Financial Times
  • Government czar for older people suggests an alternative to retirement – Daily Mail