Significant numbers of Scottish voters are turning away from the Labour party as represented in Westminster. Many now see an independent Scotland as the only chance for a traditional Labour party, founded on traditional Labour values. Your comments on Monday evening will only have convinced many more that this is the case
A few days have now passed since Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling faced each other to debate one of the biggest issues facing the future of the United Kingdom - Scottish independence. Over these few days I have been thinking over the rhetorical styles that both have used to make their arguments.
There was also a noticeable lack of vision for the future of Scotland from either side and merely a rehearsal of old arguments which have been done to death over the recent months. We need something new and missionary especially in the area of the economy. Mr Darling even failed to say precisely what would be done in terms of further devolution in the event of a no vote, while Mr Salmond didn't set the heather alight with any engaging vision either.
A movement needs to bring a wide range of people and expectations together. It also needs to fire up citizens who have no real interest in politics. Here are four people I've been speaking to recently who exemplify what I'm talking about...
If you've never heard of, or don't understand, words like GDP, quantitative easing or even corporation tax, then I have a suggestion: the next time Alex Salmond or Alistair Darling try to persuade you to vote one way or the other with neat sound bites, scaremongering or wild assumptions, turn them off and do a bit of research on economics instead.
After decades of pensions and savings policy being the 'Cinderella' of Treasury priorities - George Osborne today unleashed reforms for the thrifty that are bound to capture the imagination of the very voters on which he now pins his hopes.
Over and over again we hear from anti-independence campaigers (especially failed former Chancellor Alastair Darling) that an independent Scotland could not have afforded to bail out the Scottish banks. After all, Alastair knows best! He was in charge when they collapsed! His argument relies on the assertion that banks are bailed out by the taxpayers of the country in which the institution is headquartered. This simply isn't true.
There is one clear message from today's thoughtful speech by Mark Carney the Governor of the Bank of England - that the failings of the Eurozone show that to have a successful monetary union you require fiscal and political union. This is a detailed speech but make no mistake, the Governor's judgement on currency unions is devastating for Alex Salmond's currency plans.
Currency is fundamental to the nationalists' economic case for breaking up the UK, insofar as one even exists. Whether it's pensions, renewable subsidies, mortgage rates or savings, Alex Salmond's plans hinge on Scotland and the rest of the UK entering into a binding agreement to veto one another's budget, tax rates and borrowing levels. If a currency union isn't possible the rest of the SNP's already threadbare economic case collapses like a house of cards. It would appear that the idea of a currency union is now off the table. Alex Salmond can only bury his head in the sand for so long before he has to tell the people of Scotland what his Plan B on currency is. Would we join the Euro? Or would we set up our own currency?
The choice we face is clear - believe Alex Salmond or believe the experts and the facts. As part of the UK, we are better placed to tackle the long term challenge of sustainable public finances. Things are difficult just now, but the IFS report makes clear that they would get much worse if we separated from the UK. That is a risk that we really don't need to take. Coming little more than a week before the publication of the SNP's crucial White Paper, the IFS report poses a significant challenge for Alex Salmond. The White Paper must face up to the consequences of independence, including the need for big spending cuts and tax rises. If it doesn't, then it won't be worth the paper it is written on.
There was a historic shift in the independence debate this week - but you might not have noticed it. The row of the last few days has focused on the gap between what the SNP Government says in public about the affordability of an oil fund and what their economic advisers told them in private. As important as the issues of trust raised by this affair were, the really significant consequence of this week's debate is the SNP's admission that all oil taxes are used to fund current spending.
Oil has always been central to the nationalist case for independence. It has been used by the SNP to make all sorts of expensive promises about what would happen after independence. The inconvenient truth which the SNP have always struggled to deal with is that all the revenues from the North Sea currently go towards spending on public services, pensions and benefits in Scotland.
It is increasingly clear that Alex Salmond will say and do anything to get us to vote for independence. For months we have heard him say that there is £1.5trillion worth of reserves remaining in the North Sea. Yet this week it emerged that this is based on dodgy figures which show a fundamental misunderstanding of the sector. This is a blatant attempt to cook the books in order to fool the Scottish people.
As public and parliamentary support for HS2 falls, surely it is only a matter of time before one of the parties changes their position. At the rate things are going, the debate may well descend into a race to see who will be the one to push the plans well and truly off the rails.
Salmond thinks that suggesting a debt free start is good politics, but people understand there are consequences. If you declare yourself bankrupt you don't start anew with a fresh slate, your bad credit history follows you around for the rest of your life. The consequences for borrowing, business and mortgages would be dire.
A couple of months ago, while promoting his new book, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, let slip to the BBC that during the 2008 crisis he had become so exasperated with the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, that he sought advice from the Treasury on whether he could over-rule the Bank.