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

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
F D R and Eleanor, both facing camera, in Warm Springs, Georgia in 1938  

Where are today's Roosevelts?

Rupert Cornwell
 

Now back to the big question: what's wrong with the eurozone?

Hamish McRae
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam