Scottish independence: In Dundee, which is 70% yes, anticipation is running high

There is little visibility for Better Together

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The battle for Scotland’s independence could be won or lost in schemes such as Dundee’s Mill O’Mains. A labyrinth of low-rise pebble dash flats and houses, it is in low income estates such as this that Yes campaigners are focusing their efforts in the final days of campaigning.

They believe it is paying off: “The majority here will be voting Yes but you could say that about anywhere in Dundee, even in the more affluent areas,” said Mark Day, a 21-year-old social sciences student from the neighbouring Fintry estate.

Mr Day is a veteran of many dozens of leafleting and campaigning sorties on the streets of Dundee which has earned the label of Yes City for its allegedly rock-solid support for independence.

To drive down thoroughfares such as Balgowan Avenue in Kirkton it is easy to believe claims the campaign enjoys a 70:30 lead here. Huge Yes signs have been erected in gardens and - as at Mill O’Mains - there is little visibility of the Better Together cause.

Dundee has registered the highest levels of new voters anywhere in Scotland, up 7.7 per cent compared to a national average of four per cent. Once a labour stronghold it has become a bastion for the SNP in recent years returning a nationalist MP, two MSPs and running the council.

Emotional appeals by the British Prime Minister carry little weight. “David Cameron said it is not about liking him or about getting rid of the Tories – but it is. That is exactly what this is about for a lot of people,” said Mr Day.

Fellow leaflet deliverer Stella McCall, 22, a physiotherapy student from Carnoustie agrees. “You can’t tell people they are no good for years without expecting them to turn round and say `actually we are not’,” she said.

Dundee is a city in transformation from its heyday of jam, jute and journalism. Today it is better known as the home of Grand Theft Auto and a new £1bn waterfront development.

Passions have been running high during the debate. Labour’s Jim Murphy was heckled here in one of the more bad-tempered episodes in the campaign.

But the Yes Campaign Hub on St Andrew’s Street is buzzing. Organiser Mike Strachan, 45, who has given up his job to devote 14 hours a day to the independence cause, said: “It has been crazy with people wanting flags, stickers and badges. But whilst before they wanted to brandish something now they want to engage with canvassing and leafleting.

He added: “With the Yes movement people of all political parties and persuasions have worked for what we feel is the good of Scotland. A lot of friendships and working relationships have been built. I hope we can all work together for the good of Scotland in the future,” he added.

The reinvention of Dundee

Dundee in recent years is a city transformed. Rockstar, makers of the worldwide smash hit Grand Theft Auto, began life here, and the area is now seen as an international centre for computer game development. Equally, the college of life sciences at the University of Dundee is at the cutting edge of worldwide research. A £1 billion redevelopment of its waterfront is underway.

One of only six SNP MPs serves Dundee, while the two constituency MSPs are both SNP and the party also holds a majority on the city council.