By G.A.Ponsonby
They were supposed to be cruising to victory.  Their tactics were basic yet effective, keep posing questions and keep highlighting concerns.
Even the revelation that insiders had christened their own scare tactics ‘Project Fear’ appeared not to harm Better Together as they continued twenty points clear, plodding towards the finish line and certain victory.

But like the initial leader in the Grand National who romps off into a healthy lead, the No campaign is beginning to tire.  The Yes campaign is eating into its lead, and if the latest poll is to be believed, that lead is down to single digits.

The Yes campaign must be blinking in disbelief at it all.  Yes they started the year with momentum, but the shear scale of the disaster that has befallen the No camp is something they could not have expected.

Looking back, it’s clear what the No campaign strategy was.  Three set-piece events would stop the Yes momentum in its tracks.

Cameron’s love-bombing was to lull the Scottish Government into a false sense of security.  With Yes wrong-footed by the change in tack … BANG! Osborne would stun the nats with the currency grenade.  As the Yes campaign reeled, Labour and the Lib Dems would hit the indy flanks with their backing for Osborne.

The media would then join the rout with demands for a Plan B.

With Salmond and Swinney under pressure over currency, up would pop Jose Manuel Barroso with the EU trump card.

This was no clumsy attempt by Cameron to wrest control of the No campaign from the comatose Darling, for it was the Labour MP himself who coordinated the currency-threat troika that saw Ed Balls form his unholy alliance with Osborne and Alexander.

Looking back, it’s remarkable that the pro-Unionist alliance thought an Osborne visit to Edinburgh would work, but believe it they clearly did.

They hadn’t bargained for two things.  First was the backlash against Osborne, they appear to have been caught off guard by that.  Suggestions that Better Together ‘anticipated’ the initial backlash but believe long term they will benefit, can be taken with a pinch of salt, they have handed the Yes campaign a gift and if anything bolstered the momentum Yes had at the turn of the year.

The second blow was the extreme nature of Barroso’s comments when he first compared Scotland to Kosovo and then said it would be impossible for a newly independent Scotland to achieve EU membership.  The EC President’s comments have been ridiculed by academics and experts alike, some who don’t even back Yes.

Barroso has form when it comes to the independence referendum.  Despite refusing to engage the Scottish Government on the matter of EU membership, Barroso has bent over backwards to provide the House of Lords and the BBC with comments helpful to the Westminster Government.

But on this occasion his desire to help the anti-independence campaign got the better of him and he went too far.

And so we find ourselves here.  The Yes campaign is flying high in the polls and Salmond has turned the Osborne/Balls attack on its head.  People are now questioning why Labour allied themselves to the hated Tories who they view as bullies.

Yes is probably now well ahead of their own schedule as far as polling is concerned – and they haven’t had to lift a finger.

Labour in Scotland has been left exposed to the extent that Gordon Brown angrily stormed off of an STV interview when questioned about their currency alliance with the Tories.  It’s an uncomfortable alliance that Salmond will highlight at every opportunity.

The media was supposed to be taking pot-shots at a reeling Yes campaign but now finds itself relying on four words from an aging pop star in order to keep the anti-independence narrative going.

The Scottish Labour party conference in March now takes on greater significance.  Johann Lamont would have been hoping to announce a package of extra powers which would have consolidated the momentum gained by No.

Instead she finds herself having to come up with something that is credible enough to at least command the narrative and steer the debate away from the increasingly compelling Yes message.


2014-02-21 08:30

The yes campaign are benefiting from the gutter politics of Westminster, and we have more of that coming. However they have a problem, with all their lies despite major assistance from the MSM, who does Scots now trust?.
Well it is not the Unionists, it is the SG.

The love bombing goes on with the shameful Newsnight Scotland last night where the BBC keeps making big issue with David Bowie’s four words.

I do not think Scots will give a fig about anything involving celebrities, if you have watched TV quiz shows with celebrities, you will already know, they are a pretty dumb lot, the majority of them.Who cares? at least we can laugh at all their rubbish.
2014-02-21 08:33

While I have no objections to David Bowie having views on Independence whether or not they are informed views the reaction of the broadcast and print media in particular The BBC have been totally ludicrous.

If I had a fiver for every time The BBC showed the Bowie clip yesterday I could have a very nice holiday.

Apart from news bulletins it made up part of Scotland Tonight and the whole of Newsnight Scotland.

Naturally the media tried to counteract criticism of the coverage by showing clips of celebrities who support YES but historically the cumulative coverage of ALL their views has been a fraction of yesterday’s media Bowie Blitz.

Are Project Fear and their media lackeys so stupid as to believe that the Scottish Electorate will be influenced by the views of an ageing pop singer.

No doubt this ludicrous over the top coverage of a non-event was meant to diostract from the recent BT disasters.
2014-02-21 13:30

The media and politicians are completely out of touch on the Bowie comments. I am 40 year old who had never heard of him. I had to read Wikipaedia where I found he is another of the old wizened wrinklies which the Meeja in England seem to venerate.
Add to that the fact that most tweets I saw were taking the P from Bowie about his tweet. So his son came on Twitter to make an arse of himself by abusing AlexS, and would you believe, the SUN made it Front Page headline news. The Bowie story has now been shot.
Marga B
2014-02-21 14:55

Jamieson – so if there’s one good thing come out of this it’s that a 40-year-old learned who Bowie is. Just another of the “old wizened wrinklies”, eh?

You looked him up on wikipedia, did you take the chance to look on Youtube to get a taste of the man and his work? Highly recommended if you’re a real music fan.
2014-02-21 19:55

His political views have always been a bit dodgy to say the very least. He’s a self declared fascist. I don’t know if that changes anything about the Jean Genie or if it takes anything away from Life on Mars, but the bloke has used his voice now.. fortunately he doesnt have a vote.

2014-02-21 08:53

It was inevitable.

They counter anything proposed by the Scottish government. The currency proposal was a gift waiting to happen and all Westminster had to do was…

…act naturally.

They couldn’t wait to tear their mask off all by themselves. United in self interest.

Who knew? 🙂
2014-02-21 09:01

The more Scots see and hear of Osborne and Barroso the more they are likely to vote Yes.

The more Scots hear of people and business threaten to leave Scotland the more they are likely to vote Yes.

The more Scots are love-bombed by the likes of Cameron and Bowie the more they are likely to vote Yes.

The No campaign have mis-calculated badly.
Dundonian West
2014-02-21 11:07

Mac.Scottish Sun is reporting David Bowie’s son has Tweeted:–“FM ‘worse than Bin Laden'”.
David Bowie asks us “to stay” and his son insults the democratically elected government of Scotland and it’s people.
2014-02-22 03:19

Quoting Dundonian West:

Mac.Scottish Sun is reporting David Bowie’s son has Tweeted:–“FM ‘worse than Bin Laden'”.
David Bowie asks us “to stay” and his son insults the democratically elected government of Scotland and it’s people.

As in Duncan Jones….Moon director?


willie boy
2014-02-21 09:06

The report of Gordon Brown storming off in a strop because he was asked about his alliance with the Tories is insightful.

This confirms all too clearly that he knows that Labour’s alignment with the Tories is not supported by people in Scotland.

Blair, Brown, Mandellson, together with the current crop of Labour leaders are out of touch with traditional voters and it is no surprise that Labour party supporters in Scotland are moving to Labour for Independence in their droves.
2014-02-21 09:09

BetterTogether will fail. While YesScotland has varying views of how Scotland might evolve, they share a desire to allow that evolution.

By contrast BetTog have huge fault lines. A common pro-Union believe, but little else. The left find association with the Tories unpalatable. The Scottish Parliament branch of Labour appear to have particular difficulty in that association. There must be Scots in the No camp who do understand the psyche of the Scottish voter and must cringe at Cameron and Osbornes’ recent outings. It cannot have been lost on Tories that Brown was not the right man to talk about pensions!

BetTog have one strategy, saying no to everything. Most Scots want more powers, such as pensions, welfare and taxation. Any faction likely to win Westminster wouldn’t deliver.

We have YesScotland offering vision and a group of nae-sayer. BetTog could have been positive and visionary about Scotland’s future – that won’t happen now.
2014-02-21 09:19

Yes vote would have ‘no impact’ on North Sea industry, says ex-BP boss

Former BP boss Tony Hayward has dismissed his successor’s warnings about Scottish independence, insisting there would be no impact on North Sea oil and gas.
I thought this would have been a better story for Newsnight to cover instead of the Bowie farce but then again this is a good news story for the yes side.
2014-02-21 09:23

If the NO campaign was a Vaudville act, you’d expect to have seen the giant shepherd’s crook hauling their act off stage long before now.
Sadly, the stage belongs to the BBC, and you just know there’s no hook coming.

Nobody is laughing. Quick, send in the clowns.

Don’t bother they’re here.
2014-02-21 09:24

For those of you daft enough to be still paying a tax to be force-fed tripe from the BBC, SHAME ON YOU.
You only have yourselves to blame. The British Broadcasting Corporation only have 350 Million to loose if Scotland votes for independence.
Farewell State Propagandist your stalinist Pravda days are over.
Rise up and refuse to pay !. That’ll be 145 pounds saved by being independent right away then ?.
2014-02-21 09:26

O/T – Our Kingdom Interview: BBC bias, bullying, and the Scottish referendum
John Robertson and Oliver Huitson 21 February 2014…/…
2014-02-21 10:04

Excellent find X_Sticks.

Come on Mr Salmond, this academic will be left out in the cold unless his research and integrity is put to constructive use against the BBC and what they get up to behind closed doors.
2014-02-21 10:56

Rev Stu found it before I did Breeks – credit to him 🙂

2014-02-21 10:02

I wrote EU comm in Edinburgh regarding the conduct of Barosso on BBC.
This was their reply
I acknowledge your concern in this matter. I am unable to comment on the interview.
Kind Regards
Caroline Winchester
2014-02-21 12:40

EU ever so free with their negative and derogatory opinions of Scotland, but clam up when challenged.

Flower of Scotland
2014-02-21 10:45

I received a reply from my MSP , who wrote to Lord Patten about bias in the BBC . Lord Patten recognises the importance of impartial reporting of the referendum . He referred to new guidelines that will be published in March to assist reporters when handling matters relating to the referendum . There was a public consultation that was closed at the end of 2013 . My MSP hopes that the new guidelines will help ensure future coverage is impartial and balanced .
I bet it will be AFTER sept 18 th before it’s implemented !!
2014-02-21 10:57

How can the YES campaign be ‘flying high in the polls’ when they are at best 9 point behind? If this was an election it would be a landslide.
Leader of the Pack
2014-02-21 14:55

Its all relative. The relativity being the relationship between unionist commissioned polling and reality.
I had a really good laugh at the last effort by the Daily Mail where they managed to find over 1000 ordinary folk at random who not only understood what a currency union was but all the implications of having or not having one as well. Its that level of either Divine inspiration or Black Magic which makes me wonder how they manage to only produce this level of breath taking talent in producing polls while failing to display it in every other venture they involve themselves in.
Leader of the Pack
2014-02-21 17:19

There is another miraculous / Black Magic poll in the Herald today where somebody managed to locate over 1000 ordinary cross-sectional representative folk who not only watched the Barroso Marr interview but selectively noted the No campaigns selective view on a single sentence he uttered and were able to give an informed polling answer to their polled question.
It really is mindboggling field work. I wish these pollsters worked for me
I suspect mind reading or access to ET technology.
What could possibly be the alternative?

2014-02-21 11:06

Sorry O/T
Do labour voters really want to be aligned with Lamont? Watching her yesterday it came to me that I think just about everyone must be getting royally fed with her venomous rantings.

None stop malice, which degrades our Parliament.There is increasingly no room for her, and others like her.
Labour supporters are being turned off, just as I was.

With her half truths, bad behaviour, AND a real idea of toeing the line of her Tory comrades against benefits and real needs that some really do need, is just terrible.

I am sick to death of her rantings. We need people who stick up for Scots, and our dream of a socially just land, not this.
Leader of the Pack
2014-02-21 12:04

Sorry Mr Ponsonby but this article is way below your usual very high standards of analysis and is way off the mark.
Youre giving the no campaign far too much credit. They’ve never had a coordinated plan from day one their only tactic has been to lie deceive and scare while controlling the media presentation of it all. They’ve been tripping over themselves with glaring stupid self contradictions and inhouse civil war which has had to rely on the media manipulation to keep the exposure to a minimum. These contradictions and media censored mistakes have been successfully highlighted and exposed by online blogging and in direct online confrontation within online media sources. That coupled with the strong active ground work is whats turning the tide. Ive never believe in the level of support claimed by unionist commissioned polls because it came without verification from other ground level sources or physical presence.
2014-02-21 14:29

For a long time now I’ve thought that Better Together should have taken a lesson from history. Experience shows that Scots will unite (to a certain extent, don’t forget the Comyns) against an external threat, but left to our own devices, we love an argument.

If Darling, Cameron, Osborne et al had sat on their hands and said nothing, they’d be in a better position today.
2014-02-21 14:53

The anti-independence umbrella group do not have a strategy of their own.

That was admitted in an interview with Radio Scotland the day before (IIRC) the joint unionist currency announcement, when the spokesman said that BT did not have to have any policy on currency, it was instead up to the individual parties to state their own positions. Therefore BT don’t have policies on anything. They are divided and divided they shall fall.
2014-02-21 15:10

Eh, how can the BT not have a policy on currency? It’s the clearest policy possible. Continue to use sterling, continue to have a lender of last resort supporting Scottish banks, continue to have national debt supported by the BoE with an existing credit rating. Your comment makes no sense.
In contrast the YES campaign policy on currency is in tatters. Is it currency union (very unlikely unless Scotland is prepared to cede fiscal control to the central bank of another country), sterlingisation (operating without a lender of last resort, any input into interest rate policy or QE), a Scottish currency, the Euro? I think we should be told, rather than just hoping the rest of the UK will do what the Scots want.
Leader of the Pack
2014-02-21 17:02

But they didn’t make it clear that not having a currency union would immediately devalue the pound to the level of a chicken egg the day it lost the support of Scotlands GDP and GNP. Nor did they make their “currency policy” clear about the fact that it would cost business across the border billions not to mention the rUK treasury the extra UK debt burden they haven’t accounted for by taking all the assets including ownership of the BoE.
You were on safer ground arguing in favour of unionist commissioned Black Magic polling.
2014-02-25 10:01

Scotland’s GDP is only 10% of the rest of the UK. It wouldn’t make much difference either way.

Anyway BT’s currency policy relates to the relative benefits of continuing the union. What relevance are your comments about what would happen on independence and to the rest of the UK. That’s not what BT are campaigning for!

It’s VERY clear what BTs currency policy is. Retain the union, retain the benefit of a lender of last resort to Scotland’s financial services industry, retain the benefit of a central bank support for government debt.

Jo Bloggs
2014-02-21 23:09

I’m sorry, Stemis, but it’s YOUR comment that makes no sense. As an employee of a central bank within a currency union (the euro), I can assure you central banks have no role in regard to fiscal policy. That’s a matter for governments. The central bank’s role is restricted to monetary policy, inflation targeting, oversight of financial stability etc.

So the SG’s policy regarding the currency of an independent Scotland has NO implications for fiscal policy whatsoever.
Jo Bloggs
2014-02-26 14:50

Do you mean BT’s policy is the same as that of the Scottish Government? That’s what it looks like from your post. Excpet that ‘supporting’ the national debt has SFA to do with the central bank.

Leader of the Pack
2014-02-21 15:12

Exactly. Lets face it how stupid was it for them to brand themselves “Better Together” when they must have known that while fighting the cause of Independence “together” they would have to continue fighting each other within Westminster not to mention the fact that they had to deny membership of “Better Together” with the other unionist UK stalwarts such as UKIP BNP EDL SDL and the Orange Lodge.
That is just one of the glaringly stupid examples of self contradictions that have plagued them since day one.

2014-02-21 15:29

“And it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions…”
— Niccolo Machiavelli

And don’t we just know it! 🙂
2014-02-21 17:03

Forget aw they zeroes fit diz Rowland Rat say?
Marga B
2014-02-21 17:12

OT but some “Yes” news.…/…

Financial Times European Cities and Regions of the Future 2014-15

Scotland (that unstable economy plunged into political uncertainty) second to Nordrhein-Westfalen.

“Scotland performed well in the rankings, rising three places to rank second of all European regions. The region scored particularly well in the FDI Strategy category, thanks to a range of incentives offered, including funding and business growth services provided by the Scottish Investment Bank, its Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service and its range of research and development credits. The region also ranked fourth of all large regions in Business Friendliness and fifth of all large European regions in the Human Capital and Lifestyle category.”

Barcelona top city in Southern Europe, strangely!
2014-02-21 18:22

The polls all showed Lab with a larger lead going into last Holyrood elections with 7 months to go too. We all know how that turned out.
martin morrison
2014-02-23 08:44

Yeah. I also question the orthodoxy which runs that a vote for the SNP in 2011 couldn’t necessarily be assumed to be a vote for independence. It certainly couldn’t be assumed not to be. The prospect clearly couldn’t have been so terrifying; most would assume that support for what still essentially a single-issue party might just further said cause; it’s not as if they didn’t get the “nationalist” bit.

2014-02-21 19:50

Stephen Mccabe @kilmacolm1 Inverclyde. Council leader tells student @ScottPGillan on Twitter that Yesscotland website wont be unblocked on school systems for 7 months and laughs about it. All the while letting bettertogether website remain! disgraceful!
2014-02-21 20:12

Surprised no comment on Jackson Carlaw’s comments on Blether with Brian. He said if there was a Yes vote in September he would be manning the barricades with Bill Kidd, to keep the pound and Scotland’s place in the EU!
2014-02-21 21:31

Aye Rafiki – a classic case maybe of a unionist looking beyond a YES vote to his future political career post indy?
Expect more of this positioning in months to come particularly if polls keep going in YES direction.
2014-02-21 22:27

lets not worry about the NO campaign and just keep on telling the truth.

martin morrison
2014-02-22 12:07

If Unionists stage a rally at any time, would it be called a NO Pride march?
2014-02-23 13:31

The oil will set us free. Cameron’s Tory/ labour/libdem coalition, the whole lot of them apparently, are sneaking up to Aberdeen tomorrow to tell us we cant manage our oil.

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