September 18th 2014 | Scotland

No's mad scramble

Written by Neil Evans on 10 September 2014
Welcome to Scotland

Usually a few days away from the office means arriving back at your desk out of touch with no idea what’s been going on.

Not so with the referendum, even south of the border. With the polls showing only a fag paper between Yes and No, every vote counts and News channels are seeing practically wall-to-wall coverage of the mad scramble by politicians to tip their side over the line.

In Berwick-upon-Tweed, a town not far from the Scots/English border the TV coverage was all about what was happening just two miles or so north. Even the regional news was asking “how will the referendum affect our area”.

The No side has finally been galvanised into action after Sunday’s poll – which now seems a lifetime away - showed Yes was winning.

The vague promises of guaranteed “new powers” after a No vote were to be beefed and despite the reputation for legislation turning notoriously slow, there was a pledge of a decision-making process so swift that a White Paper on giving greater control on finance, welfare and taxation to Scotland would be in place by Burns Night.

On Wednesday, with David Cameron ditching the weekly parliamentary highlight of Prime Minister’s Questions to fight for a No vote, he, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg were all heading to Scotland.

In a joint statement they said: “We want to be listening and talking to voters about the huge choices they face. Our message to the Scottish people will be simple: 'We want you to stay.”

Their supporters would doubtless claim otherwise, but it appears the panic button has been pressed and as voters make up their minds before polling day, they can expect an all-out assault in the campaign.

In England too, it appears many are just beginning to wake up to what the independence referendum means.  Some English friends have questioned why Scotland should be allowed more powers when they are the ones considering leaving the UK, others are fervently anti-independence because “it will be English taxes that have to pay for it”.

If they expect answers they will be unlikely to get them in time for the 18th September – unlike Scotland where the campaign has been a part of daily life for months-if not years – now there is just a matter of days.

Neil Evans