With just a week to go in the Scottish Referendum campaign, most commentators are declaring that the outcome is too close to call. It’s a remarkable situation when you consider the clear lead in the polls which the No camp had just a few short months ago.
As I have said before in these blog posts, the Better Together campaign has suffered badly from a combination of complacency and of badly misjudging the mood of the electorate. Rather than constantly talking down the Nationalist argument, they would have had more effect if they had proactively sold the benefits of the Union.
The hastily arranged visit to Scotland this week of Cameron, Clegg and Milliband to promise various forms of Devo Max smells of panic. Given that the outcome of the referendum will probably be decided by the votes of traditional working class Labour supporters, I find it quite bizarre that David Cameron chose the Daily Mail in which to make his plea to undecided electors for a No vote. The Daily Mail is certainly well read in the Home Counties, but it’s not a newspaper which circulates widely in the council housing estates of Glasgow.
Of course, the great irony of all this is that the outcome of the vote next Thursday will almost certainly be a No victory, though quite possibly by a waver thin margin. However it’s worth noting that the Scottish edition of The Sun has come out in favour of Independence and Rupert Murdoch, whatever you may think of him, does have an uncanny knack of backing winners.
Whatever happens, I can’t help thinking that in years to come media studies courses will highlight the Better Together campaign as a classic example of how not to get it right. In the meantime we might all do well to remember the old Chinese proverb “may you be cursed to live in interesting times”.