Hamish Macdonell

Alistair Darling needs football fans—not financiers—to save the union

Has the No camp got it wrong? This may seem an odd question to ask when the unionists are still leading in the referendum race but there is no doubt that the gap between the two sides of the independence debate has tightened.

According to a new YouGov poll in the Times today, when the don’t knows are discounted, the No camp is on 58 per cent (down three points) and the Yes camp is on 42 per cent (up three points). A gap of 16 points is still healthy with six months to go but this is a considerable distance from the polls a year ago which gave the No camp a consistent lead of 20 points or more.

So it is now undeniable that the Yes camp has closed the gap on the No camp and, if this trend continues, then we shall be looking at a very, very close result in September. Better Together has spent the last month or two concentrating on business and economics.

It all kicked off with George Osborne’s declaration that an independent Scotland would be barred from sharing sterling with the rest of the UK – his ‘sermon on the pound’ as Alex Salmond cleverly dubbed it. This was followed by a raft of businesses, big and small, all warning of the perils of independence and threatening to decamp to England if Scots voted to end the Union. It culminated this morning with the CBI’s scathing attack on independence with John Cridland, the CBI Director General, hard-hitting warning that the SNP’s sums ‘don’t add up’.

But the problem for the No camp is this – it doesn’t seem to be working.

Everyone in Scotland now knows that business doesn’t want independence. It is as clear as day that companies all over Scotland and across the UK fear the disruption, the costs and the extra regulation that independence would bring and most are fiercely opposed to it.

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