Scotland vote on knife edge as poll shows No side lead

Figures suggest ‘Yes’ campaign trails by six percentage points in final week

Campaigning for a ‘Yes’ vote: Dennis Canavan (left) with first minister Alex Salmond, deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon and former deputy leader of the Scottish National Party Jim Sillars seeking support yesterday in Edinburgh. Photograph: Jeff Mitchell/Getty Images

Campaigning for a ‘Yes’ vote: Dennis Canavan (left) with first minister Alex Salmond, deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon and former deputy leader of the Scottish National Party Jim Sillars seeking support yesterday in Edinburgh. Photograph: Jeff Mitchell/Getty Images

 
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with an opinion poll reporting that it still leads by six points.

The latest eagerly awaited figures came after prime minister David Cameron, Labour leader Ed Miliband and Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg had travelled to Scotland to make individual pleas for a No vote. In Edinburgh, an emotional Mr Cameron said he would do all he could to help an independent Scotland thrive, even though it “would break my heart” to see it quit.

Last night, the Glasgow-based Daily Record newspaper published a Survation poll, which showed the Yes side at 42 percentage points and No side at 48 points. Compared with an August 28th Survation poll, Yes is one point up and No is unchanged. The undecideds are at 10 percentage points, down one point after a frenetic fortnight’s campaigning.

Excluding undecideds, Yes is placed by Survation on 47 percentage points, while No is 53 percentage points for a referendum that will be decided next Thursday.

The latest numbers came on a day when Edinburgh-based insurer Standard Life announced that it could move operations south of the border if “there is a need to do so” after a Yes vote.

Meanwhile, Bank of England governor Mark Carney said Scottish banks and deposits will continue to be protected by the Bank of England after next week’s vote.

However, an independent Scotland will need tens of billions worth of reserves if it decides to use sterling without a currency deal with the rest of the UK.

Oil receipts

The visit by Mr Cameron, Mr Clegg and Mr Miliband provoked ridicule in Scotland yesterday – even among No voters, with most believing it illustrated London’s panic.

Fully conscious of Scottish attitudes, Mr Cameron chose to display humility and some genuine distress in a bid to persuade voters to give him a hearing.

“People tend to assume it’s just like a general election, where, you know, if you’re fed up of the effing Tories give them a kick and then you can maybe get someone else.

“This is totally different. It’s not a decision about the next five years, it’s about the next century,” said Mr Cameron, saying that Scotland would “irreversibly” separate.

The decision to use language like “effing” was carefully considered, but he believed that it might help to get through to some Scots scornful of any Conservative. “I care more about my country than I care about my part,” he said, adding that he would not resign if Scotland quitScottish .

Mr Cameron said Scots would face higher taxes or lower spending if it leaves, but added: “Please don’t think that the rest of the UK is indifferent, or doesn’t mind.”