The commentators 10-09-14
...on the Scottish referendum
If Scotland becomes independent, it will be despite the efforts of almost the entire UK establishment. It will be because social media has defeated the corporate media. It will be a victory for citizens over the Westminster machine, for shoes over helicopters. It will show that a sufficiently inspiring idea can cut through bribes and blackmail, through threats and fear-mongering. That hope, marginalised at first, can spread across a nation, defying all attempts to suppress it. That you can be hated by the Daily Mail and still have a chance of winning.
- George Monbiot, The Guardian
This referendum has been a democratic disgrace from the outset. Not only were innumerable expatriate Scots in the rest of the Kingdom not allowed a vote on the Union that has benefited them all so practically, but the English — who subsidise Scotland to the tune of £17.6 billion a year according to the most recent Treasury figures — were not allowed a say either, as if the Union were about Scotland alone.
- Simon Heffer, Daily Mail
The United Kingdom is a precious and special country. That is what is at stake. So let no one in Scotland be in any doubt: we desperately want you to stay; we do not want this family of nations to be ripped apart. Across England, Northern Ireland and Wales, our fear over what we stand to lose is matched only by our passion for what can be achieved if we stay together.
- David Cameron, Daily Mail
In the Republic of Ireland, there is much unease in the corridors of power at the prospect of an independent Scotland destabilising Northern Ireland. Loyalists are already worked up because they reckon restrictions on flying the Union Flag and on Orange parades are an attack on their identity and their culture. What effect will it have on them when skilful Sinn Fein opportunists begin predicting that the break-up of the United Kingdom is nigh, and demanding an immediate referendum on a united Ireland?
- Ruth Dudley Edwards, Daily Telegraph
Britain is Great. From the lochs and glens of Scotland, to the valleys of Wales, to the peaks and gorges of England to the coastline of Northern Ireland. Each has its own unique beauty, and its own unique people. But collectively, we four small and proud nations — for all our differences — have achieved so much together as a United Kingdom. To splinter now, in such a turbulent and uncertain world, would be pure folly which is why, for all our sakes, I hope Scotland votes “no”.
- John Major, The Times
How much difference Gordon Brown's intervention will make is unguessable now, and may never be knowable. It might make none, and it might be the clincher. But if the Scots do vote to stay within the union, it will be styled as Gordon’s victory, and he will become not the Prime Minister who did horrendous damage to his country, but the former PM who saved it. That may be as misleading a legend as the one it replaced. But he will have his redemption, and it would be a petty, vindictive soul who begrudged him that.
- Matthew Norman, The Independent
I used to think that devo-max/plus would be unfair on the English, who would seem to get little in return except a constitutional headache. But they could also now debate a more federal system for the rest of the isles that would still allow them to remain a global power. It could reinvigorate both sides of the border. A “no” vote would no longer be seen as negative but as a positive, optimistic vision for a new, even greater Great Britain.
- Alice Thomson, The Times
The Financial Times has argued the case for Scotland staying in the union. Sadly, in both Edinburgh and London the pro-union campaign has been poorly managed from the start. It is difficult to overstate how weak Mr Cameron’s leadership and strategy have been throughout. He has never made a sustained argument for the continuation of the United Kingdom. What is now clear is that his decision in 2012 to veto a second question on the ballot paper asking Scots if they would accept further devolution was a strategic blunder.
Apart from the twelve referendum splashes of the past two days, the subject has made a front-page lead on only five occasions this year:Yes, it's been busy with Iraq, Gaza, Ukraine, the rise of Ukip, sex scandals, the hacking trial, Mr Cameron's holidays, floods and heatwaves. But one would still expect the potential break-up of the UK - or the liberation of Scotland, depending on your point of view - to be able to put up a better fight against the 30 house price splashes, the 25 on migrants and the 26 on Madeleine McCann. I stopped counting when I got to 60 soap opera and "reality TV" offerings.
- Wake us up before they go-go
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