Scottish Independence: Salmond has momentum – we may have a new PM

How could David Cameron look Her Majesty in the eye if he's just lost Scotland?

Share

Momentum - "The Big Mo", as American pollsters call it - is the biggest single factor going into an election, and it looks as if those campaigning for a "Yes" vote in the Scottish independence referendum have the wind in their sails. For much of the campaign, the "No" vote has held a healthy lead, but the gap between the two sides has narrowed over recent weeks and the latest YouGov poll showed that, with less than two weeks to go before polling day, support for independence is now at 47 per cent, only 6 per cent behind the "No" vote.

Given that Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister, has something of a record in turning defeat into victory - he came from a long way behind to win power in the Scottish elections - there is little surprise that this turn of events is causing some serious concern in Westminster and beyond.

I was speaking to a very eminent Scottish businessman the other day, someone whose heart is behind independence but whose head is less enthusiastic, and he posited a startling thought that I hadn't considered previously. "Of course, if Scotland votes yes," he said, "David Cameron will have to resign". It seemed like a dramatic proposition, but it was the fact that he saw this as a perfectly logical consequence which struck me most. "As the man who presided over the break-up of the United Kingdom, how could his position be tenable?" he added.

While we are accustomed to Cabinet members because of all sorts of scandal and dishonour, we only occasionally get one falling on his or her sword on a point of principle. But when you think about it, it's obvious. How could David Cameron look Her Majesty in the eye if he's just lost Scotland for her? This hasn't really been part of the debate while the "No" vote had a seemingly insuperable lead, but current events look like forcing it on the agenda.

Read more:
The No campaign has a classic advertising problem: they need to turn a negative into a positive
Scottish referendum: RMT declares itself in favour of independence  

So what has caused Big Alex to get the Big Mo? It's difficult to imagine that the head-to-head debates with Alistair Darling had moved the needle much (the two-match series ending as a score-draw), but Mr Salmond (who I've had the fortune of seeing perform at close quarters recently) is an extremely wily operator, who has a very easy way with people (think Boris Johnson without the Latin) and is adept at connecting with all kinds of audiences, from Edinburgh bankers to Glaswegian bus drivers.

He also has a good sense of humour. I was at a lunch recently in the City of London at which Mr Salmond was addressing a group of serious figures from the financial world. After the lunch, at which he confidently batted back all the doom-laden assertions about independence, he gave everyone a copy of his 649-page prospectus for independence, called "Scotland's Future". I asked him if could sign it for a friend of mine, who is one of the leading lights of the "Let's Stay Together" campaign. I thought it would be ironic. Quick as a flash, Mr Salmond got his pen out. "Thanks for all your help," he wrote. If the momentum keeps going his way, he may yet have the last laugh.   

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Polish minister Rafal Trazaskowski (second from right)  

Poland is open to dialogue but EU benefits restrictions are illegal and unfair

Rafal Trzaskowski
The report will embarrass the Home Secretary, Theresa May  

Surprise, surprise: tens of thousands of illegal immigrants have 'dropped off' the Home Office’s radar

Nigel Farage
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas