Commentary- William Collier – The debate on Scottish Independence (held on August 25, 2014) did not go well for the British faction. The argument against Independence stood, and perhaps fell, on a threat that an independent Scotland would lose the British Pound Sterling and would not be able to stand up an alternative.
Telling the Scotts “we don’t want independence or the British Exchequer will squeeze us” is not really a “rallying call.” The pro British side should have pushed the values of Scotland within the union in a positive way, not making threats of the UK punishing Scotland its centerpiece.
The Scotts could certainly make the UK suffer in return, consider the North Sea oil and the very important UK naval bases, including a specialized based for British nuclear subs, located in Scotland. Moreover, independent or not, Scotland remaining in a currency union would be better for both sides. Interestingly, while the pro Independence guy (Salmond) won the debate with the best zingers, he really failed to make these points. It may be, however, that he is thinking that if the vote goes his way it would be impolitic to make such brazen overt threats against the UK as a negotiating tactic.
Polls allege the pro Union side gets 51% of the vote while the pro Independence side gets 38%: but anyone over 16 can vote and turnout models have no clue which demographics will, well, turn out! In social media and, according to many reports I have read, the pro Independence narrative is the “cool” thing for young people. “Cool” is that undefinable factor that makes hash of the pollster’s best predictions.
I would predict…the unpredictable. This vote will be a surprise. But if the vote against independence is not a strong majority, 8% or more, the issue is not over, no matter what anyone else says. A close vote for independence will be followed with a rise in support, the “coolness” factor will take over. What would be troubling for all is a vote in which the margin is less than 2% and there is doubt about the veracity of the results.
The Independence crowd has won this debate, but will they win the vote?