We are under a week away from the Scottish Independence vote on September 18th, but many questions are still left unanswered. The fact that all three main party leaders skipped Prime Minister's Questions and travelled from Westminster to Scotland is a real sign that the No campaign has lost its momentum; as clearly represented in a poll conducted over the last weekend, showing the Yes campaign ahead for the first time.
I personally don't think that the presence of the Westminster establishment in Scotland has helped the No cause at all. In a rather awkward interview with Faisal Islam, the Prime Minister admitted that he wouldn't debate with Alex Salmond about the issue of independence. For me, why the Prime Minister is refusing to debate the First Minister of Scotland is questionable; does he secretly believe the case for Yes is inherently superior?
What we mustn't forget is that Mr Cameron has been reluctant to step onto the pedestal and debate live on television. Cast your mind back to the European Elections when the Prime Minister wouldn't debate UKIP leader Nigel Farage about the EU. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg instead took on Mr Farage, and we all know how that turned out.
Let me be clear; Salmond and the Yes campaign’s vision for Scotland is flawed. In the case of a Yes vote, Scotland plans to leave the UK and join the EU, where the newly independent country would be subject to same kind of power devolution they bemoan Westminster for enforcing. 15 to 50% of British law is currently passed in the institutions of Brussels. For Scotland to leave the UK and join the EU would leave them in almost exactly the same boat as they are currently.
Also, because of the Free Movement of People legislation currently in place, Scotland would not be able to control and restrict their borders. Salmond and the SNP want to an open border with England despite Theresa May stating that this wouldn't be possible.
The final major concern and talking point is currency. The Yes campaign has repeatedly stated that if Scotland was to achieve independence, the country would continue to use the pound. This has been repeatedly rebuffed during both televised debates between Salmond and Alistair Darling. Most clear however were Chancellor George Osborne’s comments "no ifs, no buts, no pound for Scotland".
With just under a week to go, many commentators claim that Yes has stolen the advantage. For the independence campaign to stay ahead they are going to need to convince undecided voters on the major issues. The way this debate has escalated seems to have captured the spirit of Scotland. It is a flawed vision, but a passionate vision nonetheless. And the repercussions for the Westminster establishment could be devastating.
By Sean Mallis