11 Sep 2014

Salmond snaps back at ‘Black Wednesday’ scares

In Edinburgh for Alex Salmond’s press conference for international media. Judging by the applause and yes badges it’s not just media in the audience.

Alex Salmond dismissed yesterday’s news that RBS had contingency plans to relocate the address of its head office. He said it was merely a “technical” matter and had been wildly misreported.

He laid into scare-mongering. Call it “scare-mongering” or business opinion, the no campaign is determined to try to¬† blitz the screens, airwaves and newspapers with tons of the stuff in the days ahead.

Given his attacks on the prejudice and idiocy of ‘Team Westminster’ and particularly the Tories, I asked him how he could be so sure that these same people would back his currency union plan the day after a ‘yes’ vote.

He said he had more faith in the English than some people did, presumably that’ll be the English people who vote in the bulk of ‘Team Westminster’.

He also said he had “ample evidence” that the ruling out of a single currency deal with Scotland was a London bluff – a reference to The Guardian quote attributed to an un-named cabinet minister earlier in the year (No. 10 firmly thinks the minister in question was reshuffled out of the cabinet in July).

‘Drop in on granny’

So how many undecided voters or “switherers” are being addressed in these last days of the campaign?

A senior SNP strategist told me the yes campaign polling experts believe that there are 600,000 people who will make their mind up on independence a week today, on polling day itself.

That’s significantly above the highest estimate of recent opinion polls but sounds quite realistic to me based on anecdotal evidence.

People have been putting off a decision until they absolutely have to take it. In a different context, Obama’s campaign man David Axelrod recently told the Labour leadership never under-estimate how much effort people make trying to push politics out of their lives.

The yes campaign’s grassroots campaign will be trying to make sure that the last contact, the last voice, tweet or text a wavering voter hears before getting to the polling station will be a yes advocate.

That “ambassadors” programme, making sure yes supporters know how to convert and what arguments to deploy, will be focused this weekend on a “drop in on granny this Sunday” project.

According to the last YouGov poll (the next one is tomorrow) the yes campaign has a lead in every age cohort except the over-60s. A ‘Better Together’ source acknowledged, if they lost that lead, they’d be stuffed.

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