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The start of the No campaign came after a month-long trail of visceral criticisms of the Yes Scotland launch. With a gushing media presence at the ready the packed room was led by Alistair Darling. Enter a giant Panglossian Yes-No game. A world of make-believe in which Willie Rennie and Ruth Davidson are political giants, Darling a respected elder statesman, and Annabel Goldie a hilarious raconteur.
Whoever decided that it was a good idea to have David Cameron outline his pitiless attitude towards welfare just as Alistair Darling was advertising the benefits of Union had not exactly thought things through.
Regardless of the outcome of the referendum, Labour will still have to face the SNP threat at the next election, and indeed the Conservatives will still be hampered by their own unpopularity in Scotland. However, it seems safe to suppose that the referendum result will have a profound impact on the nature of Scotland’s contribution to that election.
Whilst everybody is enjoying the spectacle of the greatest Games on earth there is one group of people who are doing their level best to spoil it. If there was a gold medal for petty political nitpicking up there on the podium would be the anti-independence politicians and commentators.
It’s hard to tell what was more entertaining: the Olympic Ceremony itself, or the reactions. As the NHS was saved from an enormous mechanical Lord Voldemort by an army of Mary Poppinses and James Bond shared a parachute jump with a rich old lady, millions of tweets, facebook updates and baffled international reviews were frantically tapped out in response.
THE lack of a contingency plan for Britain's Trident nuclear arsenal if Scotland votes for independence is causing alarm within the UK Government, with one senior source decrying the gap in forward planning as nonsensical.
Margo MacDonald’s reassertion of the case for a single question independence referendum (Scotland on Sunday 8th July) offers the seductive prospect of a dramatic cliff-hanger in 2014. No ifs, buts or maybes. No halfway houses. No distractions. No cop outs. No hedged bets. Margo wants all the money, hope and effort of several campaigning SNP decades to go on just one square during just one roll of the dice. Independence or bust. I don’t know if Margo is a gambling woman – with such nerves of steel she’d easily break the bank.
Massive cuts to the benefits budget, coupled with the new Welfare Reform Act, will penalise some of the most vulnerable people in our society. I believe that any decent welfare system should support people into work and make work pay.
ONE of the UK’s most powerful business figures has warned that Scotland would have to increase taxes, slash spending or increase borrowing after independence, in a gloomy assessment of the country’s economic muscle.
And so, in a blaze of publicity and disappointing negativity, the “No” campaign is officially launched. Much ado about nothing in my view. Personally, these launches do little for me. The strange launch of Yes Scotland, since ridiculed as the Declaration of Cineworld, and problems with its campaigning website on which twitter followers were presented as supporters were uncharacteristically dismal by comparison with the SNP’s usually slick presentation. Given these difficulties, any intelligent person would have thought that the “No” campaign would have learned from these errors and would project a far more professional appearance. You might have also assumed that it might have something positive to say – or, failing that, at least something new.