Alex Salmond has pledged not to bring back another referendum if Scotland votes this week to remain in the UK, describing the poll as a “once in a generation” opportunity.
In response to the question of whether or not a narrow victory for the Union would simply result in another referendum being called “in a few years’ time”, Mr Salmond disagreed, telling the BBC’s Andrew Marr show that Thursday’s vote may be “perhaps even a once in a lifetime opportunity for Scotland”.
With polls suggesting the Yes and Better Together campaigns now stand neck and neck with just four days to go, both sides are targeting an estimated 500,000 undecided voters.
Also appearing on the Andrew Marr show today, the Better Together leader Alistair Darling said “there is no way back” from a vote for independence.
He said that he had always felt “this race would go to the wire” and added that large numbers of voters were “yet to make their minds up because it's that critical”.
Asked today if he could pledge that “Alex Salmond will not bring another referendum if you don’t win this one”, the First Minister said: “That’s my view. In my view this is a once in a generation, perhaps even once in a lifetime opportunity for Scotland.”
He added: “Harold Wilson famously (said) one vote is enough in a referendum but we're not aiming to win by one vote, we're aiming to achieve a substantial majority if we can.
“If you remember that previous constitutional referendum in Scotland - there was one in 1979 and then the next one was 1997. That's what I mean by a political generation.
“In my opinion, and it is just my opinion, this is a once in a generation opportunity for Scotland.”
Scotland's bragging rights
Scotland's bragging rights
1/19 Baby scans
Ian Donald, a Scottish physician, invented ultrasound while at the University of Glasgow in the 1950s which, of course, is of the utmost importance for baby scans
2/19 iPhone 6
Alexander Graham Bell was educated in Edinburgh, but left Scotland when he was 15. He made his way to Boston - via London and Canada - and in 1876 invented the telephone at the age of just 29. No Bell, no iPhone 6.
3/19 Dolly the sheep
The first animal was cloned at the Roslin Institute in Scotland. Dolly the Sheep lived there from her birth in 1996 to her death in 2003. Her stuffed remains are housed at Edinburgh's Royal Museum
4/19 The bicycle
The first pedal cycle was the work of a blacksmith's son from Dumfriesshire. Kirkpatrick Macmillan was quite unconcerned by the fuss his invention created - and didn't even bother to try and patent it
Sir Alexander Fleming was born in Lochfield in Ayrshire in 1881. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest ever Scots after his interest in natural bacterial action and viruses led to the discovery of penicillin
6/19 The BBC
Though few would say they see the BBC as a Scottish institution, its founder John Reith actually came from Glasgow. He was its first general manager when it was set up as a private company in 1922, and later its first director general when it was made public in 1927
7/19 The wheel
Yes, Scotland invented the wheel. Well, not quite the wheel - the pneumatic tyre. John Boyd Dunlop made the first practical tyre containing air in 1887
8/19 The US Navy (and the SAS)
The US Navy was created largely by John Paul Jones, who was born in Kirkcudbrightshire, while Sir David Stirling founded the SAS
Sir Robert Watson-Watt was born in Brechin and educated in Dundee. He worked for the Air Ministry on 'The Detection of Aircraft by Radio Methods', and by the outbreak of WWII had established radar stations along the east and southern coasts of England
10/19 The adhesive postage stamp
James Chalmers invented the adhesive postage stamp in 1838. He was from Arbroath
11/19 Peter Pan
Peter Pan first appeared as a character in The Little White Bird, a 1902 novel by J M Barrie. Barrie was born in Kirriemuir, Angus
12/19 Aussie Rules football
The first game of Aussie Rules was played in 1858, when it was set up to bridge the gap between different forms of the game played in England and Scotland
13/19 Golf (of course)
Golf was first recorded in Scotland in the 15th century, and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is the world governing body. Scotland is widely promoted as 'The Home of Golf'
14/19 Pie charts (and line charts and bar charts)
The Scottish engineer William Playfair was the founder of the first statistical graphics between 1786 and 1801, in what has become known as a 'milestone' in data visualisation
15/19 The dugout
The dugout was invented by Aberdeen FC coach Donald Colmanin in the 1920s (presumably because he was bored of being rained on)
James Braid, a surgeon and amateur scientist born in 1795 in Kinross-shire, is regarded as the Father of Hypnotism
17/19 Lime cordial
Lauchlan Rose patented the method used to preserve lime cordial without alcohol in 1867, and the first factory producing Rose's was set up in Leith in 1868
18/19 The Bank of England
Despite the name, the Bank of England was actually devised by a Scot. Born in Dumfries and Galloway in 1658, Sir William Paterson tried unsuccessfully to found a separate Scottish Empire but spent his last years in Westminster. He died an advocate of Union
19/19 The toaster
Alan MacMasters was a Scottish scientist, born in Edinburgh, who is credited with creating the first electric bread toaster
Several new polls show a slim lead for the No camp, with one suggesting the pro-independence side had a lead of eight points - the reverse of the picture in a poll commissioned by Better Together.
No leads by 50.6 per cent to 49.4 per cent, according to Panelbase for the Sunday Times and - with “don’t knows” taken out - by 53 per cent to 47 per cent in research by Opinium for the Observer.
An ICM poll for the Sunday Telegraph put the Yes camp in front by 54 per cent to 46 per cent, although it had a smaller than usual sample size of 705.
And a Survation poll commissioned by Better Together found that 54 per cent plan to vote No while 46 per cent intend to say Yes, factoring out undecided voters.Reuse content