Having woken up to the very real possibility of Scotland going it alone, the leaders of Britain’s main parties have scrapped their parliamentary business and headed north to campaign in what amounts to a huge gamble.
The “No” campaign has been criticized for many things – being too negative (though no is negative by definition), being too aloof, failing to address the hole’s in Alex Salmond’s manifesto. The question is whether it is too late to do anything about it. It is risky to deploy Prime Minister David Cameron who, by his own admission, is not catnip to the Scots.
Labour leader Ed Miliband is anything but a clear vote-winner either. The years when the Labour party ruled Britain with a raft of Scots in senior positions is gone. The party front bench now looks very English.
Both Miliband and the leader of the Scottish Conservatives have tried to defuse the idea of voting for independence as the way of ridding Scotland of Conservative government.
It will be fascinating to see what tone Cameron, Miliband and Nick Clegg adopt … and what reaction they face! It is pretty clear that the threats from London such as stopping Scotland from having the pound have not been successful campaigning gambits.
The leaders will fan out separately but offer the same plea to keep the union together. In a joint statement they said: “There is a lot that divides us – but there’s one thing on which we agree passionately: the United Kingdom is better together.”