A supporter of Scotland staying in the Union, I also want Britain to remain in Europe. Below are some of the lessons the 'In' campaign can learn from ...
The Scottish Parliament at night. Photo Rob Bruce Why is the SNP riding so high in the polls? The next Holyrood election is in May and on current fo...
The opportunity that befalls us on Thursday is one of an exceptional preciousness; one that has been campaigned for with positivity and creativity. It is an opportunity, at its simplest, to compare how Scotland is run to how Scotland could be run, and to find the faith in ourselves to make the decision that we can do better.
We left for the English Midlands when I was five so I certainly don't claim to understand the emotions of the Scottish people in this important moment, but I do feel a strong connection to the country. I would be saddened to see them vote for independence. But watching the Better Together campaign in action, I wouldn't blame them.
For years, questions were asked about Scotland's EU status if a Yes vote transpired. The European Commission repeatedly refused to answer the 'accession versus succession' issue, not wanting to deal in 'what if' situations or influence anyone's democratic decision. So succession was always a possibility because everything is technically a possible if there is no definite confirmation of its impossibility. Confirmation or not, there were still warnings about the hurdles and potential EU-related costs accompanying Scotland's separation from the UK.
Darling's assertions that Salmond's claims about revenues from the North Sea are bullish are true. The last few weeks have seen a bewildering range of claims not just by the politicians but by experts who seem to have been drawn into both sides of the debate.
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.