Fear not, we're nearing the end of my reflection posts on the Referendum next week.
A week further on and no further forward essentially. It is odd that the No campaign, with all their attributes as the known quantity, seem to have nothing concrete to offer or to be showcasing the benefits. It should have been easy for them to persuade voters towards a safe, comfortable union. Used properly they could have batted the upstart Alex Salmond off like an irritating midge. However, something went very wrong; their scaremongering went on too long and they badly mis-judged their understanding of, and connection with, Scottish voters.
This week's unseemly scramble north has smacked of panic. Their smoke and mirrors offer of a devo-max 'process' to identify some crumbs to sweep Scotland's way with a timetable of decisions, rather than actual powers, on notable dates on the Scottish calendar was nothing short of disgraceful. If the campaign really doesn't know how to engage Scottish voters without offending them then they've lost the plot. Pulling out the tartan and shortbread only works if you are actually Scottish and not just using it to try to appeal to the haggis-bashers!
What I find strangest is the lack of cohesion between the Westminster political parties. Each of them has made a great play of telling us simpletons to remember it is "not about a particular political party", "its not like a general election" and even Dave in his emotional speech told us not to use the vote to "give the 'effing' Tories a kicking". Yet, each of the political parties has campaigned entirely separately, in their own traditional party playgrounds and advanced their own political party's ethos. For a campaign aimed at demonstrating how the union is Better Together they might have clocked the fact that they should have been presenting a UNIFIED front. A fragmented unionist campaign doesn't really walk the talk!
I am worried by the financial implications and uncertainty of this vote. The panic from the no campaign seems genuine and I can't decide if it is as a result of suddenly realising they've misjudged the situation or whether an Independent Scotland is going to impact the UK financial stability far more than is being disclosed.
I am deeply suspicious of the banks and retail giants wading in with statements which appear to indicate they will either pack up and go south, or enact massive price hikes, as Scotland is really just an expensive loss leader for them. My suspicion centres on the rather unhealthy relationship between 'captains of industry' and their government chums so I imagine some puppetry going on here and some nice wee knighthoods being dangled. Although the shares market is demonstrating the effects of the uncertainty it seems only to be UK companies who are narcissistically lobbing their toys out of the pram and identifying themselves as only trading in Scotland under sufferance and subsidy. So can I really believe all businesses will pack up and leave during a recession when they are already established, have their supply chain in place and the change will be a transitional one?
It is more difficult to criticise the Yes campaign over their conduct this week. This doesn't mean they've made a good case, instead they've astutely let the No campaign hang themselves. Compared to the chaotic union campaign they are presenting themselves as a steady and consistent leadership; Wee Eck and Nicola have complementary skill sets and are coming across as a unified team. I've still no idea if this pair can deliver a prosperous and effective Independent Scotland as they really will be 'first time parents' of a new nation, and that is not ideal. However, compared to the fragmented union campaign which Nigel Farage has now joined, I need to question whether the status quo is really that attractive. The quality of incisive newspaper reporting is also very poor and they really are scraping the bottom of the barrel with non-stories alleging as both are childless they can't understand family values and Alex Salmond is only doing this because an English girlfriend once dumped him.
Where am I now? Still on the fence and Yes-ward leaning, but this is no certainty. My search for facts and evidence has been nigh on impossible and sadly the decision is being made on a balance of probabilities rather than on empirics. I feel rather lied to and manipulated by both sides and remain equally disparaging about the veracity of each of the sides offerings. As I suspected, my eventual decision will have to be very close to the wire.