Better Together’s Campaign Director, Blair McDougall, wrote something rather odd on their blog (thanks to Newsnet Scotland for the link):
[A narrow victory to Yes] would be the worst of all worlds: a legitimate but unconvincing mandate leaving behind a deeply divided Scotland. There is a better alternative to a divided Scotland, separate from the UK. An idea we can unite around as Scots. Distinctively and proudly Scottish with more decisions made in Scotland with the strength, security and stability of being part of the bigger United Kingdom.
Obviously a clear result is always preferable, but here he claims a narrow Yes would be worse than a narrow No. This is very odd. Sensible Unionists (like for instance Michael Moore) have always said that they’ll change sides after a Yes vote and will start working to achieve the best result for the independent Scotland state. That doesn’t sound like a divided country to me.
In fact, almost no newly independent countries have significant political forces advocating a recreation of the country they broke out of. People get used to independence, and after a few years nobody wants to go back.
It’s a narrow No victory that will leave behind a deeply divided country. A landslide No victory would perhaps have finished off the independence movement for a long time, but that’s simply not going to happen. If the No campaign manages to scare enough voters into reluctantly voting No that they narrowly win the referendum, does anybody think the massive grassroots movement that has sprung up in favour of a Yes will just wither away? Of course it won’t, so the demand for independence will just grow stronger and stronger.
Thinking that Scots could possibly unite around the idea of being “distinctively and proudly Scottish with more decisions made in Scotland with the strength, security and stability of being part of the bigger United Kingdom” is just ludicrous. Two years ago, I would have said Devo Max could have satisfied most people, but too many people have now realised it’s independence they want (and Devo Max isn’t on offer anyway).
I don’t know whether Blair McDougall really believes it himself. Surely he should also be able to recognise that only a Yes vote will bring closure.