Category Archives: Ed Miliband

Scottish referendum: poll suggests nation has voted against independence

Sterling reaches two-week high against US dollar, as YouGov survey shows pro-union side leading with 54% of the vote Live coverage of the Scottish referendum result Continue reading…
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Posted in Alex Salmond, Boris Johnson, Conservatives, David Cameron, Diane Abbott, Douglas Alexander, Dundee, Ed Miliband, Edinburgh, Jim Murphy, John Denham, Labour, Liam Fox, Politics, Scotland, Scottish independence, Scottish National party (SNP), The Queen, UK news, World news | Comments Off

Scottish independence referendum: Ed Miliband disrupted by yes campaigners – live

5.16pm BST

Will David Cameron have to resign if there is a yes vote? Almost a third of people think so, a new poll suggests. My colleague Frances Perraudin has the details.

The latest poll conducted by ComRes for ITV News has shown that nearly one third (30%) of Britons think that David Cameron should resign if Scotland becomes independent, compared to nearly half (48%) who think he shouldnt. Even if Scottish voters reject independence, 25% of those surveyed thought Cameron should resign if the vote is close.

The poll suggested that Ed Miliband would be held slightly less to blame, with one in four (24%) saying they think he should resign as leader of the Labour Party if Scotland becomes independent.

5.09pm BST

Heres a Scottish referendum reading list.

Pretty much all reporters I chatted to yesterday agreed that the level of abuse and even intimidation being meted out by some in the Yes campaign was making this referendum a rather unpleasant experience.

And whilst I am sure both sides have been guilty, the truth – uncomfortable as it is to say it is that most of the heckling and abuse does seem to be coming from the Nationalists.

All that said, what Ireland demonstrates is that a small English-speaking independent country, in the European time zone, with a highly educated population, a culture of hard work and a strong sense of patriotism is likely to prosper in the long term.

What Ireland cannot prove one way or another is whether the immediate economic tariff or price for that putative long term prosperity is worth paying.

Arguably that still meant that last week was a better one for No than for Yes. Stopping the Yes bandwagon while it still appeared to fall short of the 50% mark could be regarded as a damage limitation exercise well done. On the other hand, the apparent failure of the independence warnings from banks and business (not after all the most popular of institutions) to make any significant dent in Yes support means the No side can still hardly afford to rest on its laurels.

On moral and ethical questions, the regions seem to have divergent views. A majority of Scots polled (52%) think that British foreign policy should be based at least in part on ethical considerations, rather than simply pursuing the national interest at all times (33%). Londoners tend to agree (47% to 35%). But this is in marked contrast to the rest of the South, the Midlands and Wales and the North, in which national interest trumps ethics (most clearly in the North; 38% to 47%). Scots are less likely than others to think the UK should seek to be a Great Power, although even in Scotland a majority (53%) still support this view. In the South, that figure is 66%.

The late surge to Yes may have changed minds. But these migrants were notably pessimistic about an independent Scotland, with a 31/69 Yes/No split among those declaring for either side. (Ive extrapolated these figures as the authors didnt make it a top-line finding in their briefing.) Yet, as the SNP makes clear, an independent Scotland would seek to join the EU and welcome new migrants regardless of whether it succeeded. So why the hesitation? Why did the pro-Yes case made by a Poznan academic attract the comment (also in Polish): I havent read this much bullshit in a long time?

4.49pm BST

Here is some Twitter reaction to the Cameron/Miliband/Clegg vow. Some of the tweets are from commentators I recognise, and some arent.

If theyre all sceptical (or worse), thats because I could not find any positive ones.

‘The vow’ is also devoid of substance, so it’ll piss off Scots and the rest of the UK. Finally, then, we have unity again.

To assess the Devo Panic ‘vow’, just read the 3 autographs at the bottom – Cameron, Clegg and Miliband. Enough said. #VoteYes #letsdothis

These liars so committed to Devo Max they fought against having it on the ballot paper; Cameron, who hands NHS to Branson & Mr Tuition Clegg

“DOC! The signatures on the Record’s front page are disappearing!” #indyref #backtothefuture #TheVow

Making promises they can’t keep smacks of desperation #indyref #thevow

#TheVow 1) undefined powers 2) sharing resources equitably (not equally) 3) sticking to the existing Barnett allocation (fuck NHS) #voteYes

4.38pm BST

Heres more on Ed Miliband receiving what, in another context (Jim Murphy), was described as a warm yes welcome. Its from my colleague Severin Carrell.

Ed Miliband was forced to abandon a walk-about in Edinburgh after he became caught in a crush of media and pro-independence protesters, who drowned out his interviews with shouts of fucking liar and serial murder.

The Labour leader became the latest pro-politician to be abused and harangued as news of his unannounced visit to meet shop workers and voters at the St James Centre in central Edinburgh leaked in advance.

4.33pm BST

Sir Sean Connery, the SNPs most famous ex-pat supporter, wont be returning to Scotland for Thursdays vote, the Edinburgh Evening News reports. Not that anyone was expecting him back, I believe ….

Heres an extract from its story.

[Connerys brother] Neil Connery, himself a retired actor, said: I really dont believe he will be making an appearance this week in Scotland.

Asked about the whereabouts of his brother so close to the vote, he replied: Theres only a certain amount of days Sean can be in the country for tax reasons, so I know that he intends to use them wisely.

4.24pm BST

Yes Scotland is highlighting a report from Capital Economics saying independence could be good for the oil industry. An independent Scottish government would have a greater incentive to create a favourable policy environment for the sector, it says.

4.18pm BST

Here are some more tweets from the disrupted Ed Miliband visit. Theyre from journalists.

Well-judged campaign visit by Ed Miliband sees him pinned by mob against window of Claire’s Accessories, then hair salon called Supercuts

Ridiculously unsafe scrum at Ed Miliband’s press call in Edinburgh. Hard to see how this is helping anyone #indyref

Somewhere in the middle of this crowd is Ed Miliband, briefly experiencing what life’s like for Harry Styles #indyref

“Bow down to Miliband, your imperial master! Yes, yes, yes,” Yes crowds cry. Chaos as Lab leader tours Edinburgh shopping centre #indyref

So Yes activists greet Ed Miliband by screaming that he’s a “f***ing liar”. More positive tactics… #indyref

4.06pm BST

Ed Miliband is campaigning in Edinburgh. Yes campaigners were on hand to welcome him, and it all got a bit chaotic.

Scenes of mayhem as @Ed_Miliband mobbed by crush of cameras, abusive yes activists shouting “fucking liar” #indyref

.@Ed_Miliband forced to abandon #Edinburgh shopcentre walk-about in chaotic scenes: media, protesters & Labour crush

4.01pm BST

Gordon Brown was right about libraries only allowing children to take out a certain number of fiction books, and making them take out non-fiction too, in his youth. See here.

But it was not just in Scotland; readers tell me this was the practice in English libraries too.

That Gordon Brown point about Libraries rationing fiction – I cant speak for Scotland, but it was true in Hampshire in the late 1970s and 1980s when I was growing up. Rather than one swipe card, you were given, I think four fiction and four non fiction tickets, and had to stick to the different sections of the library with them. I suspect it was a common practice before computerisation of the catalogue and stock control in the late 80s.

@AndrewSparrow Not just Scotland. I remember it at Yardley library, B’ham in 1950s. Distinction between ‘knowledge’ & ‘enjoyment’

@AndrewSparrow Was true of my library in Glasgow in 70s …which is probably why I prefer non-fiction

@AndrewSparrow Not just Scottish kids, I lived in London. 3 fiction, 2 nonfiction. Read about wildlife,theatre,science. Enjoyed it, had fun

3.56pm BST

Frances Perraudin sends this vine of yes signs around Edinburgh.

3.51pm BST

Brian Binley, the Conservative MP for Northampton South, has used a post on his blog to protest about the commitment from David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg (or quasi-commitment quite what it means is not clear see here) to protect the Barnett formula. Binely wrote:

I resent that parliament has been ignored and subordinated in this debate: not that long ago, changes in government policy were explained first to parliament. And to top it all we are now told that the three leaders have promised to maintain a charitable situation wherein each Scottish citizen is rewarded with £1,300 per year more than their English counterpart for public expenditure, and that without a by-your-leave from parliament. On this and many other issues parliamentarians havent been able to question those making ever more elaborate announcements as party leaders and not as ministers. Many residents of Northampton thought that they had voted Gordon Brown out of office four years ago, only to find him swanning around making promises left, right and centre apparently with the authority of a government minister.

My support is for an arrangement similar to that explained by John Redwood, whereby English MPs spend some time at Westminster each week considering business that affects only those of us in England (much in the same way that the Scottish grand committee used to debate Scottish affairs). Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs would not be able to participate in these proceedings, but would concentrate on their own affairs. The United Kingdom parliament, meeting at Westminster, would consider matters of import to all parts of our country, at other times.

3.43pm BST

In support of the no campaign, Lazzaro Pietragnoli, the Italian-born mayor of Camden in London, has the Scottish flag flying atop his town hall.

3.32pm BST

In Dundee, Steven Morris has been speaking to Tony Cox, a yes campaigner who says the working class are winning it for his side in that city and across Scotland.

3.28pm BST

Much of what Gordon Brown said in his speech earlier he has said before, but there was one passage, on the distinctiveness of Scotland that I had not heard before. It is worth flagging up because its not just funny, but also rather revealing.

I know the distinctiveness of Scotland. Were sometimes too pessimistic. You know that minister who said: In the beginning there was nothing. And then things got worse. And you know its a good day, and people say, well, my mother used to say, its going to be rain tomorrow. And you know when I was a kid, going to my local library in Kirkcaldy, you were allowed to take out four books. But you could only take out two fiction books. You could not be allowed to have the fun of reading fiction. You had to take non-fiction books as well.

3.08pm BST

On Newsnight last night Inigo Mendez de Vigo, the Spanish minister for European affairs, said that it would take an independent Scotland about five years to join the EU and that it would have to apply from outside, not from inside.

It is crystal clear that any partner member state that leaves the member state is out of the European Union. If they want to apply again, they would have to follow the procedure of article 49 of the treaties. That means the status of candidates should be granted to the new candidates. This decision has to be taken unanimously. Then it has to go into a negotiation of the 35 chapters. At the end of this negotiation there is also a vote, by unanimity. Then, if again this is granted, it has to go to the European parliament, where a vote is taken by the absolute majority of its members. If at the end of the process, a new vote is granted, it has to go through ratification process of the 28 member states … It is a process that takes more or less five years.

2.59pm BST

My colleague Severin Carrell has obtained a copy of the leaked NHS document that has triggered the row between Labour and the SNP over the impact of a £450m shortfall in health spending (pdf).

2.23pm BST

Frances Perraudin has been out talking to people on Princes Street, Edinburghs main shopping street, about the vow on the front page of todays Daily Record that the three main parties will deliver change to Scotland in the event of a no vote. From the people she spoke to the general view seemed to be that the move was too little, too late.

Cat Thomson, a 20-year-old student, said that she was definitely voting no, so the vow made no difference to her. Maybe the undecided voters will be swayed by it though. I hope so.

2.23pm BST

It is the SNP who are perpetrating a lie about what the NHS can and cannot do in Scotland. Over these next few hours, you must remind the people in Scotland the NHS has the powers and the Scottish Parliament has the powers to fund the health service, to protect the health service, to stop any privatisation, and to keep the health service in public hands.

One female Tory MP said Mr Camerons promise, issued just two days before the polls open, was desperate.

There will be a bloodbath. Last night as I was listening to Cameron saying we are going to be providing all these additional benefits to Scotland, when we are struggling in so many areas of the UK.

The Westminster revolt against any more powers for Scotland is up and running, and exposes the utter deceit at the heart of the No campaign that additional powers would follow a No. Tory MPs are promising a bloodbath, and are itching to slash Scottish spending – which would do huge damage to our National Health Service.

We dont yet have government by decree in this country, we have a parliamentary democracy, so anything thats been said by the party leaders is obviously subject to the will of parliament. [What the party leaders wanted] didnt happen when the three party leaders agreed we had to reform the House of Lords: parliament spoke up. My constituents are saying hang on a minute, you cant have a devo max settlement for Scotland which were paying for without having a look at the balance of competences and powers within the United Kingdom as a whole.

Standard and Poors said that even without oil and gas, just the onshore economy, Scotland would qualify for their highest economic assessment. Moody has said that looking at all the possible outcomes, Scotland would be among the wealthiest sovereigns in the world. If youre a serious investor, and whether you are investing in business in Scotland or are looking to buy sovereign debt, you would see Scotland as an extremely attractive proposition indeed, precisely because of the underlying strength of the economy.

1.48pm BST

Among the negative predictions of the impact of Scottish independence, this must be one of the most extreme: a former Italian prime minister raising the spectre of the events that led to the first world war. My colleague John Hooper has sent me the details.

Italys former prime minister, Enrico Letta, a member of the centre-left Democratic party, on Tuesday likened the possible exit of Scotland from the UK to the event that sparked the first world war a hundred years ago.

In a letter to the daily newspaper Corriere della Sera, Letta wrote that to compare the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo with the possible consequences of Scottish independence as a result of Thursdays referendum may not be too far-fetched.

1.37pm BST

Whole forests will have died to produce the leaflets that are about to fall through Scottish letterboxes. My colleague Severin Carrell has sent some details.

Scottish voters will be deluged with leaflets and contact from yes and no activists in the closing 48 hours of the campaign, with Yes Scotland out in front with the sheer scale of their offensive.

The pro-independence campaign is promising to deliver 2.6m leaflets, a direct mail-out to 1.2 million pensioners, newspaper adverts and 300 billboard sites around the country.

1.24pm BST

This is what Charles Kennedy, the former Lib Dem leader, said at a Better Together event in Glasgow.

Together, our family of nations has achieved great things. In so many ways we have built the best. In the NHS we have the best health service in the world. We are the worlds second-largest aid donor, helping the planets poorest. And in the BBC we have the worlds best broadcaster, too. Weve built these things together. And I dont believe that we should walk away from them.

1.16pm BST

And this from Ben Quinn:

Im here today in Aberdeen talking to some of the referendums switherers a Scottish term meaning someone who is hesitating or vacillating from one position to another.

At this late stage, there seem to be plenty in Scotlands third most populous city, which is known as the granite city or, more recently on account of the economic boom emanating from beneath the seas to its east, Europes oil capital.

Callum Hogg, 20, IT worker
At the moment Im undecided because I just havent seen enough of the facts to push me one way or another to be honest, said Hogg, a first-time voter waiting beside a statue of Robert the Bruce before a job interview at Aberdeens council offices.
I have had some things through the mail but there has not been anything that has caught my eye. The currency issue probably worries me most. I think we would probably keep the pound but I dont know if we would have control over our own destiny even then.
[For] most of my friends who are leaning towards yes its not about nationalism. They just see it as an opportunity to create a better society. It will probably be some time tomorrow when I make up my mind. Ill go on to Google and see if I can look it up from both sides and try to avoid any bias.

1.13pm BST

Stephen Thompson, the Dundee United chairman, is backing yes, according to the BBC. He says:

A yes vote will allow Scotland to maximise its potential on the world stage.

One of our biggest exports and assets has been our people from all walks of life, social and political background and one of the greatest challenges we face is to grow job opportunities so more of our brightest youngsters stay and work here in Scotland.

1.09pm BST

Following are some brief interviews Steven Morris carried out with key people from the yes campaign at their hub in Dundee.

1.01pm BST

Alex Salmond has said if the rest of the UK refused to agree to a currency union, an independent Scotland could refuse to pay its share of UK debt. He says he does not favour that, but he has floated it as a last-resort option.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research has been looking at the idea. It concludes that continuing to use sterling without a currency union, and defaulting on debt in the way Salmond has suggested, would be a disaster. It has set out its thinking in this paper, Is this Plan B? (pdf)

If the Scottish government combines Sterlingisation with reneging on its fair share of UK debt, which judging from the first ministers comments may be Plan B, this would increase rather than reduce the fragility of the currency arrangement. The appeal of this option might be that it reduces the internal and external funding requirements. However, this would be a false economy. International investors are likely to see walking away from debt as opportunistic and either charge very high borrowing premiums or exclude Scotland from international markets. This would imply an immediate return to a fiscal surplus and therefore unprecedented austerity. Entry into the EU would be out of the UKs hands, even if it supported Scotlands case. This would raise doubts about the outlook for exports, particularly for financial services. Whether the citizens of Scotland would accept this policy simply to hold on to sterling would become a source of speculation with a low level of reserves as defence. We would expect the currency arrangement to fail and Scotland would be forced to introduce its own new currency within one year.

Introducing a new Scottish currency has always been the most sensible option. We would recommend this is carried out before losing £7bn of foreign exchange reserves rather than after.

12.53pm BST

Political editor Patrick Wintour reports:

Betfair Sportsbook say they are so confident of referendum outcome they are paying out on No bets 3 days early.

12.44pm BST

After Gordon Browns speech my colleague Libby Brooks spoke to two people in the audience, Labour councillor Kath Ryan and Duntocher tenants rep Phyllis Gillan. Gillan said that parts had her in tears.

12.41pm BST

Better Together and the SNP are going at it hammer and tongs over health.

Alistair Darling, the Better Together leader, renewed his attack on the Scottish government over the reported £450m black hole in its health budget. In a statement he said:

Today we learn that Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon have been deceiving us.

We find they are planning on cutting £450 million from Scotlands health budget, something over which they have total control yet they were going to keep this under wraps until after the referendum.

This is a spectacular own goal from Gordon Brown, who has inadvertently made the case for independence.

If Westminster parties say that there should be an increase in taxes, they must say now which taxes and by how much …

12.25pm BST

And heres a SoundCloud with an extract from Gordon Browns speech. Its Brown talking about the SNPs Dads Army defence policy.

My new sounds: Extract from Gordon Brown’s Clydebank speech – on SNP’s ‘Dad’s Army’ defence policy on #SoundCloud

12.16pm BST

My colleague Libby Brooks has sent me this from Gordon Browns speech.

Speaking to an audience of Labour supporters at Clydebank town hall, Gordon Brown is hammering home his message that the greatest threat to the NHS in Scotland is the SNP.

In a direct assault on the yes campaigns most popular message on the doorstep, that independence is the only way to protect the health service from Westminster cuts and privatisation, he said that the SNPs lies had been laid bare and that the Scottish government already had the necessary powers to improve the NHS.

12.06pm BST

Prudential is the UKs largest insurance company. It is not based in Scotland, but it employs 1,275 people in Stirling and its group chief executive, Tidjane Thiam, has just released this statement opposing independence.

The decision in this weeks referendum is absolutely one for the people of Scotland and whatever the outcome, Prudential will continue to honour its obligations to its customers and staff in Scotland, where we have a long and proud tradition.

From a business and economic perspective I believe it is in the long-term interests of Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom. Like many foreigners who have chosen to live and work here, I have seen how the diverse strands that make up the UK render the whole more than the sum of its parts.

11.35am BST

Gordon Brown is speaking in Clydebank now.

Brown says that Daily Record pledge was ‘thanks to prompting of Labour Party in Scotland’ #LabourNo #indyref

11.31am BST

You can read all the Guardians Scottish independence referendum coverage here.

As for the rest of the papers, Ive already mentioned the Daily Records key front page. Here are some other articles I found interesting.

Better Togethers proposed timetable for change, with legislation being brought forward by January, is desirable, but a superficial exercise in public consultation will only undermine the process. It will be the Heralds mission to harry the pro-UK parties every step of the way, to ensure they deliver the devolution Scotland wants and expects.

To them, we say this: the Herald backs Scotland staying within the UK at this stage. But fudge this process, stitch it up and fail to deliver far-reaching further devolution, and make no mistake: you will be guaranteeing another referendum one that you will lose, and deserve to lose.

Complacency, cockiness and cliquiness: senior Tories fear that the Scottish referendum campaign has exposed the underlying flaws in the Downing Street operation that will become ever more pronounced as the general election nears. They point to a trademark tendency to put tactics before strategy that will also be a huge issue for the country and the Conservative party if a renegotiation and referendum on Europe ever go ahead

Only in the past two weeks has Mr Cameron focused on Scotland after a poll showing the yes camp ahead made him realise that he might be about to become the prime minister who presided over the breakup of the United Kingdom. Once he understood quite how high the stakes had become, he panicked, cancelling prime ministers questions to rush north and talk about how heartbroken he would be by separation, while promising new powers if the Scots agreed to stay.

Not only has the union been tugged loose by this referendum, it will keep loosening the day after. All the main parties in Westminster have promised to divest more powers to Edinburgh, starting almost immediately. With all the authority of a man who scraped 29 per cent of the vote at the last general election, Gordon Brown, Mr Camerons predecessor, has promised nothing less than a modern form of Scottish home rule. The fact that he is in no official position to offer anything of the sort, and that neither the English nor the Welsh nor the Northern Irish nor parliament itself have been consulted, seems just a rumple to be ironed out in good time.

We chuckle at the French for their five attempts at a republic but this is constitutional improvisation at its most heedless. Irreversible promises to do with the governing arrangements of the UK are being thrown around as campaign bait by desperate men in the last ditch …

Moderate backbenchers inclined to loyalty towards the PM are usually a good bellwether. Among those I spoke to last night, the verdict was unanimous: if Scotland breaks away next week, the PMs number is up.

The whole thing has been a catastrophe, said one with a particularly apocalyptic view of the likely consequences of a yes vote. Another pondered whether the PM had been too busy watching DVD boxed sets to pay sufficient attention during negotiations with Scotlands first minister Alex Salmond over the detail of the referendum in October 2012.

10.47am BST

Douglas Alexander, the shadow foreign secretary and a leading figure in the Better Together campaign, was on BBC Breakfast this morning. He said it was wrong to think that independence would mean the Scots would always get the government they wanted.

First of all I have got two governments that I didnt voted for and didnt support. I have got a Scottish National party government in Edinburgh and Ive got a Conservative-Liberal government in Westminster. The only way that you ever get the government that you always vote for is in a one-party state and I dont think anybody is recommending that. A 16-year-old voting on Thursday for the first time here in Scotland will have lived her life, three-quarters of it under a UK Labour government so its simply nonsense to suggest that somehow everybody south of the Tweed is an austerity-loving Tory.

The fact is the Conservatives havent won a majority in Westminster for 20 years. The latest opinion polls suggest that prospects of a Labour government are increasing by the day. We have only got eight months left of this coalition governments mandate. Change is coming to Scotland, both constitutional change with the commitment that we gave this morning from the three party leaders, and I believe also the prospect of a Labour government in a few months time. That for my mind is the change that most of us here in Scotland want to see, rather that the breakup of the country.

10.42am BST

The CBI is a long-standing supporter of the union. Today it has issued a statement reaffirming that. This is from John Cridland, its director general.

While the referendum is a matter for Scottish voters, the message from our members, which employ half a million people in Scotland alone, is that we want Scotland to continue to play a strong role as part of this successful union.

We believe that Scotland staying within the UK is the best guarantee for creating jobs, driving growth and for raising living standards. We hope the people of Scotland vote to stay with us.

10.30am BST

We have more reporters joining our team around Scotland today and tomorrow, ahead of Thursdays vote. Steven Morris has sent this:

Dundee home of Desperate Dan and Minnie the Minx (or at least of Dandy and Beano publishers DC Thomson). The cartoon characters statues have been plastered with yes stickers, which have been half-heartedly ripped off.

10.27am BST

Crimson Hexagon, a social media analysis company, has been looking at the social media traffic relating to Scottish independence. It found 23,399 UK tweets on the subject of independence from the 15 August 2014 to date. According to a note it sent out, it also found that:

The yes vote dominates with 88% of the social media conversation as opposed to 12% on voting no

#Voteyes has been the most used hashtag, at over 16,000 times

10.21am BST

Ed Miliband is campaigning in Edinburgh later today. Overnight, Labour released some extracts from his speech. Heres one passage.

The will of the people of Scotland for economic and political change has been heard and we will deliver.

Change is coming with more powers on tax and welfare for the Scottish parliament.

10.03am BST

Scottish businesses are already moving their money into English bank accounts, my colleague Helen Pidd reports. Heres an extract from her story.

Eyebrow-raising numbers of Scottish businesses are moving their money across the border and into English bank accounts, according to the Cumbria Chamber of Commerce.

Rob Johnson, the chief executive, said he knew of significant numbers of firms transferring funds from banks registered in Scotland to those headquartered in England. We know its happening, but we cant give names, he said on Monday.

10.00am BST

My colleague Ben Quinn went along to hear the political theorist Tom Nairn speak last night in Edinburgh. He has sent me this.

While his name has not been as prominent as Alex Salmond and David Camerons during the debate about Scotland and the UKs future, the odds are that Tom Nairn will be familiar to anyone who has engaged in even the most cursory study of nationalism in Britain as a result of his highly influential (some would say prophetic) book the Break Up of Britain.

Decades later, many of the few hundred who crammed into a hall at New College in Edinburgh University on Monday for a rare public appearance by him were not even born when Nairns 1977 work was published but it is clear that his Marxist analysis has made him something of an icon for many young Scottish leftwingers placing their hopes in independence.

Tom Nairn: “We need rid of something I call Eton Oxbridge Home Counties” #indyref “If not a few years”

9.48am BST

The Daily Record has splashed on the Cameron/Miliband/Clegg vow. The Suns splash in Scotland is rather more eccentric.

The Scottish Sun, meanwhile, go with ‘Aye Cloud’, the oddest splash I’ve seen all #indyref. Or all year, at that:

9.41am BST

Here is one more line from Nicola Sturgeons BBC Breakfast interview this morning. (See earlier.)

Independence is not a magic wand, we dont wake up the morning after we become independent to find the streets paved with gold. But it is a matter of opportunity, to take control of our own resources and put our hands on the levers of decision making, allow us to make the decisions that shape the kind of country we are.

9.32am BST

Here are the key points from Scottish first minister Alex Salmonds BBC Radio Scotland interview.

This cut Alistair Darling is talking about is totally mythical, totally made up.

This last-minute, desperate offer of nothing is not going to dissuade people of Scotland from the huge opportunity of taking Scotlands future into Scotlands hands this coming Thursday.

Their [nationalist] forecasts are so implausible they really should be dismissed out of hand.

Many economic experts take the contrary view. Two examples: one would be Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel laureate, the most famous economist in the world, who wrote on Sunday that Scotland could look forward to a prosperous future, and it was ridiculous for anyone to argue that the land of Adam Smith could not run its own finances. So there are many international experts [who] take a different view.

9.31am BST

Here is todays engraving from the wall of the Scottish parliament.

Engraving from the wall of the Scottish parliament

8.49am BST

Salmond says the three party leaders have called this a vow because they cannot call it a pledge, in case that reminds voters of Nick Cleggs tuition fee promise.

It is an empty promise, he says.

8.47am BST

Q: Aviva has criticised your plans for independence. And Alan Greenspan, the former chair of the US Federal Reserve, has now come out and criticised your plans too.

Salmond says other economists, like Joseph Stiglitz, take a different view.

8.42am BST

Q: So why does the paper talk about a funding gap?

Salmond says there are 3.5% efficiencies that need to be achieved, just as 3% efficiencies have been achieve in recent years.

8.41am BST

Gary Robertson is interviewing Alex Salmond.

Q: What about the paper showing a £450 funding gap in the NHS?

8.34am BST

Scotlands first minister, Alex Salmond, is about to be interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland. Ill be covering it in detail.

8.31am BST

David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have signed a joint vow to Scotland. You can read the text here. The three leaders have also each written an individual piece for the Daily Record setting out what they are promising. And the Record has published its own interpetation of the vow, which goes into slightly more detail than the text.

Although it has not been signed by Gordon Brown, the whole thing is clearly inspired by him he first proposed these ideas in his book, My Scotland, Our Britain and he effectively announced them last night. (Brown is also a past master at using leaked documents to unsettle opponents, and the BBC/Herald leak has all the hallmarks of a Brown operation.) Here are the three main points, and a snap analysis.

Holyrood will be strengthened with extensive new powers, on a timetable beginning on 19 September, with legislation in 2015.

The Scottish parliament will be a permanent and irreversible part of the British constitution.

The guarantee that the modern purpose of the union is to ensure opportunity and security by pooling and sharing our resources equitably for our defence, prosperity and the social and economic welfare of every citizen, including through UK pensions and UK funding of healthcare.

The power to spend more on the NHS if that is Scottish peoples will.

The guarantee that with the continued Barnett allocation, based on need and with the power to raise its own funds, the final decisions on spending on public services in Scotland, including on the NHS, will be made by the Scottish Parliament.

8.04am BST

On BBC Breakfast Jim Murphy, the Labour former Scottish secretary, says the SNPs plans are shrouded in doubt.

Q: But Christopher Chope, a Conservative MP, said on Saturday that Tory MPs could block this plan.

7.50am BST

Alistair Darling, the leader of Better Together, says new evidence has emerged today showing that the SNP government is planning to cut £450m from the health service. He is referring to this story from the BBC and the Herald, which is based on the leak of confidential papers presented to a meeting of Scottish health board chief executives last month.

Heres an extract from the BBC story.

The papers were passed to the BBC and the Herald by a senior NHS whistleblower, who said they had become frustrated by the argument of the yes campaign that the biggest threat to the NHS comes from the UK government.

The documents state: The status quo and preservation of existing models of care are no longer an option given the pressing challenges we face. …

Despite Scotlands budget being slashed by 7.2% by George Osborne between 2010/11 and 2015/16, our increases in health spending means that the NHS is receiving record high funding, with a budget increase of over £1bn between 2010/11 and 2015/16.

To ensure we can continue to develop the NHS, its important that NHS boards regularly discuss their future plans to inform budget discussions with Scottish government officials, and to identify how we will continue to deliver quality care and treatment.

7.35am BST

It was a ploy that students of Northern Ireland politics will recognise: the signed pledge. In 1998, when Tony Blair needed to win more support ahead of the referendum on the Good Friday agreement, he produced one. And last night, only hours after David Camerons speech in Aberdeen, the Daily Record produced a signed pledge from Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg promising, well, various things, but specifically that the final say on how much is spent on the NHS in Scotland will be a matter for the Scottish parliament.

The Vow – Daily Record front page

Nick Clegg has made a ‘pledge’ to Scotland. Mmmm. #tuitionfees #indyref #voteyes

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Scottish independence: unionists’ big guns fail to halt yes bandwagon

Scottish referendum still too close to call, as ICM poll finds the yes vote just two percentage points behind no campaignThe 307-year-old union between Scotland and England hangs by a thread as a fresh Guardian/ICM poll put the yes vote in next week’s …
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