“Sod it”, we thought, “let’s compile a list after all“.
Clearly we’re not impartial judges of how the No campaign is being conducted. To assess its performance with any degree of fairness, we must instead take the widest possible sample of opinion from those on its own side. Here goes, then.
The ‘No’ Campaign Has Sunk Further Than the Jeremy Kyle Show
(Huffington Post, 16 April 2014)
“The ‘No’ campaign’s approach to discouraging Scottish independence is akin to an abusive bully threatening a fleeing partner. It has been so shamelessly threatening that at times I have wondered if it is part of a covert plot to drive Scotland away. As we have got closer to the September vote, the arguments against independence have got more desperate and apocalyptic.
It is highly insulting to Scotland, therefore, when politicians and others with a vested interest try to manipulate voters in a way that wouldn’t even work on drunk cartoon socialites in a ‘reality’ TV show.”
The SNP, UKIP and our disunited kingdom
(The New Statesman, 16 April 2014)
“Rather than making the positive case for the Union, Better Together has run a negative campaign characterised by dry and technocratic attacks on the SNP over the currency, North Sea oil and EU membership.
In so doing, it has only enhanced its opponents’ appeal as an optimistic, anti-establishment force. If the No campaign is to avoid defeat in September, it must respond to the clear and consistent desire in Scotland for greater autonomy by outlining concrete cross-party proposals for further devolution.”
It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
(The Independent, 15 April 2014)
“In the entire global history of the political campaign, has any been more misconceived, wretchedly executed and potentially self-defeating than the one designed to keep Scotland within the United Kingdom?
With every week that passes, the No campaign’s once lavish and seemingly impregnable lead evaporates. And as it dwindles, its scare stories continue to deluge the debate in the curious belief a) that Scotland, a proud and bellicose nation, is a wee, timorous beastie; and b) that if you double down on a tactic of transparently counterproductive idiocy for long enough, it will metamorphose into one of purest genius.”
The perils of pessimism
(The Economist, 12 April 2014)
“After the speeches were done, at a recent rally in Calderglen High School for “Better Together”—the cross-party campaign to keep Scotland British—there was time for questions. They were mostly the same.
The inquisitors, typically retired and articulate, asked the assembled politicians—including a Conservative cabinet minister and a serving and former Labour MP—to make a “positive case” for keeping the 307-year-old union intact. “Why are we better together?” said one.
This was awkward. It was bad enough that the venue, in East Kilbride, on the southern edge of Glasgow, was cavernous and the audience small. But what was most dismal was the lack of a good answer to the question.”
Lord Robertson has taken negative referendum campaigning a step too far
(Daily Record, 9 April 2014)
“It is widely believed the doom-laden message punted too often by the unionist campaign – that if you vote for independence the sky will fall on your head – is driving the don’t knows into the arms of Alex Salmond. But Robertson seems to have taken this negative campaigning one step further.
Lord Robertson is trying to bully Scots into voting no in the referendum
(The Guardian, 8 April 2014)
“As well as losing the pound, Scots are told they will be stripped of everything from the BBC to EU membership. It’s like a loveless relationship in which a partner is told that, if they walk out, they will have their clothes and DVDs taken away, lose all their friends, and be kicked out on the streets.
Darling’s rattled performance will increase No campaign anxieties
(The New Statesman, 6 April 2014)
“As a politician, Alistair Darling is renowned for his calm and reassuring manner (most famously during the financial crisis). But interviewed on The Andrew Marr Show this morning on Scottish independence, he appeared distinctly rattled.
Charles Kennedy brands Better Together campaign as “stupid”
(The Sunday Post, 30 March 2014)
The Better Together campaign was already reeling from a newspaper report quoting an unnamed UK Government minister claiming currency union with an independent Scotland would happen despite Treasury claims to the contrary.
Campaign to save the UK in crisis: Summit called by pro-Union chiefs after support for Scottish independence grows
(Daily Mail, 28 March 2014)
Now even David Bowie’s ganging up on the Scots. Is this how to stop independence?
(The Independent, 20 February 2014)
“The next part of Osborne’s plan is probably to announce that if Scotland becomes independent, it won’t be allowed to keep its zoos, so the day after the vote it’ll have to release tigers and bears and crocodiles into the streets of Edinburgh. But it won’t be able to ask for help because it won’t be allowed to use our language, or any of our letters, so they’ll have to communicate by barking.
Nor will Scotland be allowed to share our orbit round the sun, and Osborne has it on good authority that NASA won’t let it join another one so it’ll have to find a different solar system but if that’s what Scotland wants, it’s up to them.
At one point, for a change, the No campaign got bankers to tell the Scots they were being silly to think they could be independent as well, because there’s no one your average Glaswegian likes to please more than an English banker.
But the No campaign seems to think that the answer is to send more disliked people to be even ruder. Next week Eric Pickles will walk round Paisley naked with a tattoo of Edward II on each buttock, telling voters ‘you’ll get no more of this if you leave England you know’.“
With friends like these the Union has no need for enemies
(The Spectator, 6 February 2014)
“An argument that suggests, implicitly, that, sure, you could vote for independence but if you do you’re stupid is not an argument that is going to prevail. Insulting or threatening the electorate is a bold move and one that causes more trouble, really, than it is worth.
Tories fear Scots will break away
(The Times, 29 December 2013)
Crosby is understood to have suggested that the campaign is so feeble that the future of the UK is in doubt. In a surprising assessment, he is said to have warned that polls giving unionists a strong lead are wrong — and that victory for Salmond in September is not only possible but likely.”
No campaign is branded as ‘amateur’
(The Sunday Times, 8 December 2013)
“Senior Labour figures are demanding an urgent overhaul of the Better Together campaign to save the union, with some supporting Tory claims that its figurehead Alistair Darling is ‘comatose’ and branding its staff ‘amateurs’.
Some have also condemned Better Together’s strategy for securing victory. Although polls show support for a Yes vote trailing by at least nine points, Labour MPs have warned privately that voters are being turned off by the No campaign’s messages.”
The clock is ticking – Better Together needs a positive plan
(Left Foot Forward, 16 September 2013)
Scottish independence: Ditch No campaign – McLeish
(The Scotsman, 8 July 2013)
Mr McLeish said: ‘There are fear and scare stories such as that we’ll have passport controls at the Border and won’t have access to blood transfusion supplies. Next they’ll be saying there will be seven years of famine in an independent Scotland and that aliens will land here.'”
Better Together Campaign Must Up Its Game
(Huffington Post, 21 February 2013)
“When I think about it, I’ve yet to come across any real argument as to why people should vote ‘No’ come 2014. It seems to me as though every argument the Better Together campaign has put forward is simply to poke holes in what Yes Scotland say and do – but never setting out themselves why the Union is indeed better together.
Indy’s leap of faith is only issue
(Sunday Mail, 17 February 2013)
“The No campaign needs to start explaining why the Union can make Scotland better not why independence will be a terrible thing as Scots, mired in a swamp of endless negotiations, wander between our mud huts borrowing cups of woad.
In fairness to Blair McDougall and his chums, what the evidence above shows is that if there’s one thing you certainly can’t accuse them of it’s not giving Plan A a fair shake.
We’ll keep this updated, so do send in your own favourites.