UK & World News

  • 10 June 2014, 3:35

Scots Referendum: Jitters In Rival Camps

The pro-UK Better Together campaign has unveiled a new slogan - "No, thanks" - which it borrowed from the anti-separatist movement in Quebec.

Its main purpose is to prompt people how to vote on September 18 when faced with the referendum question: "Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?".

The Yes campaign has long had its name on the tin, now Better Together wants "No" in the headlines as well.

With just 100 days to go until the referendum, jitters on both sides are understandable.

Breaking up the Union after more than 300 years would indeed be momentous and nobody can be sure which way the vote will go.

The No campaign has been consistently ahead in the opinion polls - mostly by a comfortable gap of around 10%.

But that lead is narrowing and the two sides are expected to be even closer by referendum day.

Supporters of independence are predicting an unprecedented high turnout of more than 80%, enough unknown voters, they predict to win the day.

First Minister Alex Salmond has certainly confounded predictions before.

The devolved Scottish Parliament's PR electoral system was designed so no single party would ever win an overall majority. But that is precisely what the SNP managed in the last Holyrood elections.

Since an independent Scotland is hypothetical, both sides are free to make up their arguments about the future.

Nationalists promise a smaller, richer, fairer independent Scotland, keeping the Queen, the pound sterling and EU membership.

Unionists say it wouldn't work as easily as that and that on its own Scotland would struggle to pay its existing welfare obligations to its people.

There is also the broader emotional question - can you be a proud, patriotic Scot and vote against independence?

Without officially posing the question that crudely, the Yes campaign argues it's time to break the link with the rest of the UK - and the frequent Tory governments which Scots don't vote for.

Better Together wants voters to say "no, thanks" politely, reassuring them that it is possible to be proud to be Scottish and proud to be British.

We'll know which argument has prevailed in 102 days' time.

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