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Supporters Of The Union Need to Find Their Heart

19/02/2014 17:25 GMT | Updated 21/04/2014 10:59 BST

The last two weeks of the debate about Scotland's future remind me of Celtic FC's season. Until recently it was quite one sided - they are undefeated in the domestic league, successfully qualified for the Champions League and were on a good run in the Scottish Cup. Politically speaking, it's been similar for the Better Together campaign - every poll so far has shown the No vote healthily ahead of the Yes camp, and they haven't had to stretch themselves that much to keep well in front.

Two weeks ago, Scots up and down the length and breadth of the UK sat stunned in their seats as they watched Neil Lennon's side sunk in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup by Aberdeen. It may yet be a turning point in their season.

Turning to the #IndyRef, it took on a whole new tone at the same time; first the Prime Minister made his an emotional appeal (in London) in favour of the Union. Then the Chancellor, and his Labour and Lib Dems rivals, said they wouldn't sign up to currency union with an independent Scotland. This week the First Minister Alex Salmond hit back with his response.

Like Celtic's defeat, this is a real test of character for the Better Together campaign. Most commentary has centred on the blows being dealt to Yes Scotland (the Yes campaign). Many go on to say that the English Establishment is tearing apart the economic case for independence.

This may be true, but it only partially captures the state of the debate. The SNP shocked the political world in 2011 when they came back from a massive poll-deficit to claim an overall majority in a system designed to stop overall majorities. They offered change from a tired, discredited and frankly complacent Labour Party. Most of all, Salmond knows what it takes to win and what sort of gambles need to be made in order to stand a chance of turning the tide.

The danger for those who support the Union is this - whilst Salmond may no longer represent change, the promise of independence still does. It is a romantic vision - and one clearly vulnerable to economic dissection - but far more inspiring to hear than the endless stream of negativity from the No side. Most Scots will probably vote with their wallets on September 18th, but many will vote with their hearts. Only the Yes side is currently going after these voters.

The challenge for Better Together is to start articulating the positive reasons for the Union. They aren't difficult to find. In the recent past, the UK has fought and won the fight for liberty and freedom in two world wars. It has promoted democracy around the world, and continues to do so. It is a cultural and artistic magnet with some of the world's most stunning landscapes and people. Indeed, as the Prime Minister said, the UK is "the most extraordinary country in history."

There are also plenty Scots like me who live in London, or other parts of the UK. We don't get to vote on September 18th (which I'm less than pleased with). We love the fact we can live and work outside Scotland but still feel largely at home. I don't want that to change. For Scottish supporters of the Union, whether they live in Scotland or not, we better hope that the No campaign discovers some heart and starts taking a positive message to the voting public in Scotland.

Otherwise they are essentially saying vote No as it'll cost you that new iPad. Perhaps this is appropriate for the land of Adam Smith but it is hardly a rallying cry to match Mel Gibson's one of "Freedom!"