The surge in support for an independent Scotland is causing political turmoil in Westminster. As cross-party support for increased devolved powers to Scotland has been announced with less than two weeks to go until this month’s referendum, all sorts of horror is unfolding for both the No campaign and the government, which many have described as looking increasingly desperate.
The commotion reached a crescendo this week after two polls showed that the Yes campaign has closed the gap, with a YouGov poll even showing that the Yes campaign had taken the lead for the first time in two years of campaigning.
It has been suggested that the Queen may have the influence required to swing undecided voters back into the No camp. Senior MPs are piling the pressure on David Cameron to ask for Royal intervention in support of the Union. According to the Telegraph, one senior figure in the government said: “The referendum looks extremely close and her intervention could make all the difference.”
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond is perfectly happy with the status quo however, and today said it was “proper” that she made no public statement. He added: “I think Her Majesty the Queen, who has seen so many events in the course of her long reign, will be proud to be Queen of Scots as indeed we indeed have been proud to have her as the monarch.”
Involvement from the Queen remains unlikely. The Telegraph, quotes a “royal source”, who said: “to suggest the Queen might speak up for one side or the other is to misunderstand her constitutional role. The Queen has always remained neutral and she simply could not intervene on one side or the other.”
Meanwhile, Gordon Brown is the man currently tasked with saving the Union, with the support of Downing Street. Why Brown? The Tories are too unpopular in Scotland and fear causing a greater backlash if they were to lead the charge, while the Labour leader Ed Miliband is reputedly equally unpopular. Commenting on Miliband, Norman Smith, the BBC’s assistant political editor said there are “worries that he has failed to shore up the Labour vote and made little impact in its Scottish heartlands.”
But will Brown’s offering of greater devolved powers, including greater powers over income tax be enough?
Speaking to the BBC on behalf of Yes Scotland, former Scottish Labour Party chairman and Labour for Independence campaigner Bob Thomson said: “This smacks of utter panic and desperation by the No campaign as they lose their lead in the polls.
“Gordon Brown is in no position to offer anything – he is a backbench MP, and the Tories are in power at Westminster.”
Should Scots vote for independence next week, might Cameron’s position become untenable? That is what top Tories are suggesting. According to one senior figure quoted by Christopher Hope in the Telegraph, Cameron is “in a right hole”, with an “amateur, schoolboy” team, and “will go down in history” as the prime minister that lost the Union.