A No majority appears the most likely response on 18th September, and a very high turnout. Those are neutral facts.
Alex Salmond won last night’s debate – he was more skilled rhetorically, and has only one weak point that Alastair Darling can use. As Darling had used that weak point well in the previous debate, Salmond had evidently taken counsel with his speechwriters and devised several excellent rhetorical responses to Darling’s factual and accurate criticisms of the SNP’s plans. They both bellowed at each other a lot and I doubt if their shouting-across-each-other attitude convinced anyone. That’s my opinion.
As the audience interrogation exposed, Labour’s failure to oppose the Tory/LibDem destruction of the welfare system and privatisation of the NHS, was their worst weakness in trying to campaign for Better Together.
Why I’m voting No:
I just took the Official Practice Citizenship Test and got 11 out of 24, which would in real life be a fail, another £50, and my passport taken off me til I passed. (I did better in the Guardian’s mock version of it. What that says about me….) For what it’s worth, I would probably fail Fleet Street Fox‘s citizenship test: too many sports questions, though the correct answer to (5) is actually either a, b, or c so long as you take tea seriously.
5. An American offers to make you tea. Do you –
a) explain why the water needs to be boiling, not tepid; why the bag is added first, not last; and how long your personal preferences require the tea to be stewed
b) accept and politely hope for the best
c) refuse on the grounds they haven’t a hope
Plus there’s the larger citizenship question: to dunk or not to dunk. That ought to be the thousand-words-or-less essay question instead of some nonsense about Wimbledon.
That the Better Together campaign was launched the same day David Cameron announced a new anti-welfare policy, is not their fault: Cameron was simply not concerned about how this would play in Scotland.
That Alastair Darling is the Labour lead is… a plan so cunning, you could stick a tail on it and call it a weasel?
Before September 2005, Alastair Darling rented a room in a flat owned by a Labour peer, Lewis Moonie. This was his main home. His home in Edinburgh was his second home, though he has been an elected representative in Edinburgh since 1982 when he won a seat on Lothian Regional Council. That meant he could claim £1145 per month towards his Edinburgh mortgage, plus £284 towards his council tax, plus £300 a month for food.
In September 2005, Alastair Darling
told the fees office that Edinburgh was now his first home and transferred his “second home” allowance to London. He bought a flat near the Oval cricket ground for £226,000.
Taxpayers paid the stamp duty of £2,260 and a further £1,238 for legal fees. In his first month at the Oval flat, Mr Darling claimed £2,074 for furniture, including £765 from Ikea and a £768 bed from Marks and Spencer. Carpeting the flat in “magnolia” cost the public finances a further £2,339.
He attempted to claim a hotel bill while the flat was being renovated. However, the fees office refused to pay the £146 bill in September, because he was claiming his “second home” was in London.