• Both sides in the referendum campaign have urged Scottish residents to ensure that they submit their registration forms to vote in the independence referendum as the deadline for registration looms. Would-be voters have until midnight on Tuesday to register.
• Scottish first minister Alex Salmond has put out a call for the so-called “missing million” who are not registered to vote to get out and harness “Scotland’s immense wealth”. The first minister said it was now an accepted fact that an independent Scotland would start off as one of the richest nations on earth.
• Alastair Darling, the Better Together leader, has said the best way to change Scotland was to remain in the United Kingdom, but for Holyrood to get new powers to redistribute wealth from the richest to the poorest. He spoke out as the pro-UK campaign launched a new series of billboard adverts aimed at undecided voters.
• Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender supporters of Scottish independence have published their Rainbow Paper, which sets out several ways in which equal rights could be progressed in an independent Scotland. The paper says independence will allow equality to be enshrined in a written constitution
Back to the question now of the so-called “missing million” – a term coined by Alex Salmond but which has also recently been used by the no side.
A new blog post on the What Scotland Thinks blog by John Curtice (for it is he) says that the yes side appears to be putting its faith in those which the ‘million’ term refers to (ie… those who are eligible to vote but are not on the electoral register and sometimes to those on the register who do not usually vote).
But just how good are the polls at securing responses from those who are not regular voters but may well vote on the 18th September?
Also, is there any reason to believe that support from irregular voters could deliver victory to the yes side on 18 September?
Curtice, professor of Politics at Strathclyde University and research consultant to ScotCen, writes:
In short, in so far as some polls at least may have too few of the ‘missing million’ in their sample, the effect may be to lead them to over- rather than under-estimate Yes support.
There is, he adds though, a possible caveat:
Perhaps those people who abstained in 2011 who are successfully contacted by the pollsters are not representative of all those who are potential members of the ‘missing million’.
Perhaps there is a certain kind of non-voter that none of the polls succeed in contacting who is more inclined to vote Yes.
And on that note I’m going to wrap things up for today. Thanks for tuning in and apologies for any teething problems, undiscovered howlers, typos etc.
Before I stick up a summary though, I just wanted to come back on the ‘missing million’ term.
It seems I may have been wrong in suggesting that it was Alex Salmond who coined the term. Could it have been Gerry Hassan?
Here’s another one of those takes on what’s happening in Scotland in a broader European context.
What we’re witnessing in Scotland and across the continent is nothing less than the establishment of a new European regional order, characterised by the presence of city-regional small nations as new key players.
That’s according Dr Igor Calzada, a lecturer and research fellow at the University of Oxford who contrasts the experiences of the Scots with those of the Basques and (in the pic below) Catalans.
Of Scotland, he says in a piece posted on Open Democracy Net:
… due to its substantial citizen engagement and the way in which the independence referendum has been managed democratically by both sides, this case demonstrates very good practices—efficient governance, social media usage and a rationalised dialectic.
The outcome is not yet clear although there is an increasing trend pointing towards a YES option.
Gordon Brown will weigh in this evening in on the battle for undecided voters, saying it is Labour’s arguments on social justice that can win them over.
In a speech at Coatbridge High School in North Lanarkshire, the former prime minister will say there is “no hiding place” in the international community for a country that defaults on its debt – an attempt to inflict damage damage on a threat by Scottish ministers to renege on UK debt if a currency union cannot be secured.
Brown will say:
Nationalists forget that once Scotland ends the system of sharing – through which the whole of the UK contributes to Scottish jobs, pensions, health care and costs of living – there is no way back.
Yet their argument that there is an easy option in going it alone looks thinner and thinner every day. When pressured by Alistair Darling on the currency, Mr Salmond and Mr Swinney have now made the most dangerous statement of all: that they would default on Scotland’s debts.
On Sunday, Salmond told BBC Sunday Politics Scotland:
You can’t have a default when we already know as a matter of fact that there is no default, because the contractual legal liability lies with the UK Government.
Brown’s appearance tonight is part of a new series of rallies targeting undecided voters in traditional Labour areas in Midlothian, Glasgow, Clydebank, Edinburgh, Kirkcaldy and in Coatbridge.
You don’t necessarily have to agree with the political message to appreciate the style or beauty of a good poster.
Here’s what resulted after we asked illustration students at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in Dundee to come up with their own alternative Scottish independence referendum posters.
(Right, back again after a small hog roast pit stop)
The yes campaign is now reaching voters previously inclined to vote no, Alex Salmond has said.
The SNP have just sent out an email of comments made by the first minister today in Dundee, where he said it was now an accepted fact that an independent Scotland will start off as one of the richest nations on earth.
Scotland is one of the richest countries in the world, wealthier per head than France, the UK and Japan.
Because the facts are now out there, more and more people are waking up to the opportunity of a lifetime from a Yes vote because we’ll have the security of Scotland’s wealth and vast resources plus control of economic policy that puts job-creation in Scotland first.
Just taking a break to go and grab something to eat guys. No lunch today.
…4.23pm update – tweet from Alex Salmond:
A manifesto published today by the Conservative Home website says all of the UK’s ‘home nations’ should have devo max.
The relevant section in the manifesto of the site, which aims to represent UK grassroots Tory opinion, states:
Whatever the result of the Scottish referendum, is is clear that the existing relationship between Westminster and the four home nations cannot be sustained.
We propose devolved national governments for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland – each with its own First Minister. The English Government and First Minister would be chosen by MPs for English constituencies.
Nicola Sturgeon’s been campaigning in the Western Isles today.
On a visit to Stornaway, the deputy first minister put forward what she said would be five key gains for islanders as a result of a yes vote – improvements in the minimum wage, a jobs policy for Scotland, a better deal for pensioners, transformational childcare and safeguarding the NHS.
Additionally, we have laid out how the islands can gain from a Yes vote including the opportunity for the communities to benefit from 100 per cent of the Crown Estate revenue from their surrounding seabeds.
The no side was also taking aim on another front earlier today – defence – with shadow defence secretary Vernon Coaker insisted that Scottish independence would cost jobs in that sector.
The MP visited Rosyth shipyard to meet staff working on the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers, where he said:
The jobs of thousands of Scots in our defence industry are secured by being part of the UK. They play a critical role in supporting our armed forces and helping to keep us all safe and secure.
One thing we know beyond doubt is that leaving the UK would cost defence jobs.
The UK Government has never awarded a contract for complex warships outside of the UK. The idea that somehow everything would carry on as it is just because Alex Salmond says so simply isn’t credible.
Alastair Darling has been launching a new Better Together van advert campaign. Take a look at the images tweeted by Niall Paterson from Sky News
Darling’s speech had a strong Labour-ish tint to it, seeking to appeal to undecideds with an emphasis on re-distribution and attempting to put clear blue water between himself and the SNP on tax.
What I think is wrong about Scotland is how that wealth is distributed.
That is why I want Scotland to change.
That is why I want the Scottish Parliament to be stronger.
That is why the Scottish Parliament will have the power to re-distribute wealth from rich to poor.
I support the restoration of the 50 pence tax rate for the wealthiest which the SNP oppose.
We can change Scotland for the better, without throwing away the advantages we gain from being part of the UK.
At least three people were injured when independence campaigners were attacked outside Tynecastle on Saturday, according to a report in the Edinburgh Evening News (which has also posted some footage online taken outside the football ground.)
The report quotes a local SNP official as saying that Hearts Supporters for Independence were campaigning outside the stadium during a match there when the incident occurred.
A Police Scotland spokesman sent me this statement:
Police Scotland can confirm that officers are investigating an allegation of assault following an incident in MacLeod Street on Saturday afternoon.
Enquiries are ongoing and anyone with information that can assist us with our investigation is asked to come forward.
My colleague Libby Brooks has been this morning’s #AllYes press conference at Glasgow’s CCA, where Jonathan Shafi of the Radical Independence Campaign discussed voter registration.
Referring to the “missing million”, he clarified that many of these people are actually registered to vote but haven’t done so habitually: “These are people who are not apathetic but are alienated from the political process”.
At RIC’s Glasgow Takeover this weekend, he said that 300 people had been registered to vote within the space of 3 hours.
Just to be clear: folk fill out a physical form at the street stall, then RIC activists post on the pile to the appropriate council.
Shafi says that he can’t be certain all the people registering are not already on the voters’ roll, but says that activists ask questions about whether the person has already received a polling card or voted in the past few years to check.
RIC say it’s also impossible to know exactly how many new voters they have registered across their campaign, but estimated that some 1500 have been signed up across Scotland in the past week alone. “Everyone we sign up is voting yes”, says Shafi.
So there are a fair number of known unknowns here – and will they really vote yes on the day? How do you get them to the polling booth? – but what Shafi says is important about these estimates is that they “give an indication of how deeply the referendum has penetrated into people’s lives”.
He adds: “This is all taking place under the radar of the polls and of the political parties”, confidently predicting a victory for yes on September 18th.
Referring to the Herald’s front page story this morning about fears of “carnage” on polling day, he said that Better Together were trying to alienate voters: “The only thing they have left is to smear the entire debate.”
Getting a taxi this evening in Glasgow? The Independent has a amusing piece on a cabbie in the city who is apparently waging his own one-man war against the Better Together campaign.
In a city with a fleet of 900 black cabs – the largest in Scotland – some colleagues of the unnamed driver have suggested that he believes that he is the secret weapon of Alex Salmond and the yes campaign.
A driver told the Indy’s Jim Cusick:
We think the man’s Yes arguments begin as soon as he knows his customer’s leanings.
One customer was shouted at on his way home after saying he was likely to support the Better Together pro-union side: ‘What? Are you daft? Are you a Tory or what? There’s no future in leaving stuff the way it is. You know that, don’t you? If you don’t, you should.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender supporters of Scottish independence have today published their Rainbow Paper, which sets out several ways in which equal rights could be progressed in an independent Scotland.
The Yes LGBT group, which launched their paper at the Yes Scotland HQ in Glasgow, says that Westminster control is “holding back” and could reverse progress on LGBT rights.
The paper says independence will allow equality to be enshrined in a written constitution, secure the power to protect and improve equality law, secure the power to protect spending on LGBT equality measures in public services, provide the chance to create an “asylum system that offers protection to those facing persecution” and give full control over foreign policy and international development, enabling Scotland to “actively promote LGBT rights around the world”.
Here’s a quote from Kirsty MacAlpine, co-convener of Yes LGBT:
Independence offers Scotland a unique opportunity to secure the powers and resources we need to ensure full equality for LGBT people here and to play our role in promoting human rights around the world.
Over the past 15 years of the Scottish Parliament, Scotland has consistently taken a more progressive approach to LGBT equality than Westminster, with world-leading laws and leadership in the areas where we have control.
That “missing million” phrase is used also today by Scottish Labour, whose leader Johann Lamont has urged unregistered Scots to make sure that they have their say on September 18.
In a statement put out today, she said:
Everyone should take their opportunity to have their say as this decision could have a big impact on all our lives. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and there will be no going back if we get it wrong.
We all know that Scotland faces deep cuts if Alex Salmond gets his Yes vote and my fear is that many of those who don’t vote will pay the price if he has got his sums wrong.
The people least likely to vote are possibly those in most need of the good jobs that will be risked, the schools and hospitals that will be cut back and the state pensions which would be uncertain.
Speaking ahead of a visit today to Dundee, where he will campaign between Dundee’s Dens Park and Dundee United’s neighbouring Tannadice stadium, Alex Salmond has put out a call to the so-called “missing million” voters who have yet to register to have their say in the referendum.
Scotland’s first minister said:
With just 17 days of campaigning left, people who want to vote but aren’t yet on the electoral roll have just 24 hours left to sign up to take part in Scotland’s date with destiny.
The truth about Scotland’s immense wealth is reaching people and communities across the country, who are waking up to the huge wealth of opportunity offered by a yes vote.
Hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom have never voted in their lives, are now engaged in the most exciting, participative and powerful debate in Scottish political history.
It’s shaping up to be busy-looking day today already, with Scottish first minister Alex Salmond and Better Together chairman Alistair Darling fighting for votes opposite ends of the country.
I’ll come to a few of the scheduled events – and also breaking stories – shortly but before then here’s a quick paper round-up of some highlights from this morning’s referendum-related press coverage.
• The Times splashes today on a referendum story, headlined “Salmond is accused of failing to halt ‘mob’ ” which says that the first minister was at the centre of a row over campaigning bullying when he was criticised for failing to take a hard line on the “mob” of Yes Scotland supporters who harass their opponents.
• The front of the Telegraph has a story headlined “SNP ‘duplicity’ as NHS contract goes to US slimming firm” which reports that Ale Salmond has been accused of “rank hypocrisy” over his campaign on the NHS after it emerged that the health service in Glasgow has awarded a major contract to a private slimming company.
• The front of the Guardian has Severin Carrell’s report on how Scotland’s top universities are bracing themselves for a brain drain of their most talented scientists if there is a yes vote for independence, with some academics already prepared to relocate.
• The Scotsman, which splashes on a security story about British jihadis, has an inside page lead on Alex Salmond describing the independence referendum campaign as “the most empowering story in European history. It also reports that he said that Alastair Darling has “withdrawn from the campaign” by not taking part in any further television debates following what was widely seen as a defeat for the former chancellor in a televised BBC clash last week.
• The Scottish Daily Mail has a front page panel leading to a story inside which says that police “have launched a major investigation into the organised rape and sexual abuse of children in Scotland”. The headline is “Police probe ‘Scotland’s Rotherham’.”
• The Scottish Sun has an interview with David Cameron, reporting that the prime mnister “today guarantees Scottish Sun readers he will deliver new powers to Holyrood if Scots reject indy”.
• The Herald splashes on “Warning of polling station clashes as tensions rise”. It reports that “fears of ‘absolute carnage’ outside polling stations on Referendum Day amid a growing atmosphere of intimidation have been raised by the No camp”.
Hello and welcome to today’s live blog. Scotland’s month of destiny has arrived, with the independence referendum just 18 days away.
Residents have until midnight on Tuesday to make sure that they can take part, and both sides in the referendum have renewed calls for people to register to vote.
After arriving on the Caledonian Sleeper (first time on it … and would recommend), I’m going to be live blogging with other colleagues on a daily basis (at least Monday to Friday), based mainly in Edinburgh though hopefully also from other locations where logistically possible, as well as tweeting from @BenQuinn75 (@severincarrell and @libby_brooks are there also ).
Feedback is very welcome as always. I’ll try to keep on top of that along with covering developments in the referendum campaign during the day.