The earthquake may be about to happen. Over the weekend the first opinion poll putting the independence campaign ahead landed with a resounding thump.
That prompted the UK government to rush forward to this week plans to spell out what further devolved powers Edinburgh would get if the Scots vote to stay on Sept. 18.
With the caveat that the last two dramatic polls have both been from one group – YouGov – and others have suggested “No” remains ahead, it seems momentum is well and truly with Alex Salmond.
In response, sterling has fallen about 1 percent in Asian trade to its weakest level in nearly 10 months. The pound has now dropped the best part of three percent against the dollar this month. The banks and other business will now be seriously alarmed as well.
The latest polls show that if the union holds together it will be old people that will have delivered. Women and Labour supporters, previous “no” strongholds, are deserting fast if YouGov has it right.
The other question is whether there will be a “shy No” vote. In the 1980s many Britons wouldn’t admit publicly to voting for Margaret Thatcher but then did in the privacy of the ballot box, so her poll ratings often underplayed the reality. This time, the bold thing to do is vote Yes and the independence campaign has been robust to say the least. So it’s possible there are a voters who won’t admit to it but will put their cross by “No” a week on Thursday.
In the 1995 Quebec independence campaign, the “Yes” camp was well ahead with a week to go and lost by a whisker.