The commentators 17-09-14
...on the Scottish referendum
Despite the rise of social media, the established media continues to define the scope of representative politics in Britain, to shape political demands and to punish and erase those who resist. It is one chamber of the corrupt heart of Britain, pumping fear, misinformation and hatred around the body politic. That so many Scots, lambasted from all quarters as fools, frauds and ingrates, have refused to be bullied is itself a political triumph.
- George Monbiot, The Guardian
The present debate is demeaned by posturing and scaremongering on both sides. Scotland has prospered as part of a United Kingdom and could prosper as an independent country. Which course is more appropriate is a question of identity and values, not economics. And whatever outcome is declared on Friday morning, sensible people will work together to ensure that outcome produces the best possible economic result.
- John Kay, Financial Times
If Scotland files for divorce, the rest of us are going to need a lawyer. The whole thing will be very messy indeed. And they will hire Alex Salmond, who, you have to grant, is likely to be very good. Who will we get? Issues that we have hardly discussed will suddenly become central political questions, and highly controversial.
- Daniel Finkelstein, The Times
Whatever the result of tomorrow's referendum, we are going to be plunged into a constitutional crisis - and a complete mess. None of this has been thought through. No one - really, no one - has a clue what the UK will look like in a year's time, let alone a generation. What a farce.
- Stephen Pollard, Daily Express
Scotland will renounce weapons of mass destruction and then saunter into the Nato nuclear alliance. So eager will be the EU to fling open its doors that it will skip the formalities, and Edinburgh will pick and choose among the terms of membership. The world, in other words, cannot wait to welcome an independent Scotland into its warm embrace. So says Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National party, as the nation prepares to vote on separation. Things are not quite like that, of course.
- Philip Stephens, Financial Times
If the PM seizes the mood for change, he could conceivably redeem Tory fortunes and breathe life into the corpse of English political life. The same alchemy is available to Mr Miliband, but only if he dares to take his chance. “He must rise dramatically to the challenge,” says one Labour source. “This will not be a conference speech to play it safe.” The bullet train of devolution is pulling out, and there will be no catch-up service for any leader who fails to step aboard.
- Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph
If the UK is still in one piece on Friday, the biggest electoral coalition within it will be comprised of people who vote to avoid a Conservative government. It is the motive that unites young Scots who were born after Margaret Thatcher’s reign but blame her for industrial decline, and second-generation immigrants who were born after Enoch Powell but know about his “rivers of blood” speech. It links the habit of Old Labour allegiance in the north and the Midlands to ex-Lib Dem students who feel betrayed by Nick Clegg.
- Rafael Behr, The Guardian
Each man kills the thing he loves, wrote Oscar Wilde in the Ballad of Reading Gaol, and if David Cameron can find a moment to reflect on that from his cell on political death row, he will appreciate its truth. The only uncertainty for him a few hours before the Scots go to the polls, other than how they will vote, is which of the two things he tells us he loves he will decide to kill to save the other.
- Matthew Norman, The Independent
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
Please sign up for SubScribe updates
Nato and Isis
First World War centenary