Seems a long time ago now, 18th September, doesn’t it? The day Scotland said No. It’s not a day I’ll forget.
But it’s been a fast-moving environment since then. We’ll have a new First Minister in a week or two. The outgoing Alex Salmond is relishing his last few weeks in office, and his final FMQs this coming Thursday will be one not to miss, if this week’s warm up is anything to go by. On a whimper he will not be going out. Then we’ll have Salmond Unleashed; unshackled from the chains of office. That could be fun.
Meantime The Vow is coming under scrutiny, with the Daily Record on the defensive, (you could read the previous posts on Wings on the same subject too), and watching sales plummet. The Smith Commission are holding meetings, and presumably sifting through 14,000 submissions. Those submissions will range from simple emails of a few paragraphs, like mine, to a superb document from Common Weal and others, to name just a few, from the Scottish Police Federation and Yes Clydesdale.
But my expectations are low. Whatever Smith proposes is perhaps unlikely to reach the statute book, requiring as it does a government to be elected in the first instance, and then approval from both their houses. Remote.
Meanwhile Labour are imploding. As I type there is pressure on Miliband it seems. And locally the Scottish scene has been lurching to the left. JoLa’s left; Darlings’s left; Sarwar’s left; in fact there’s nothing left, as was said elsewhere. And they’re trying to elect new leaders. Murphy has benefited from enormous publicity, having had his Westminster career put on hold. But the unions aren’t happy at his right wing leanings, and lust for war and weaponry.
I’ll leave comment on Labour’s Scottish ills to Robin McAlpine, he of the Common Weal, and an excellent summary piece in Bella Caledonia. But it might change again, if the Westminster leader goes too.
Our media has been organising. New on my daily reading list is the Scottish Statesman. Here’s a fine recent article, originally for Danish press, which gives you the flavour of the changes in recent weeks. And I see the Statesman is going to produce a monthly magazine, an addition to the web-based paper. I’ll be very interested in seeing how that develops.
There’s been more polling too, you may have noticed. It’s all about to change. Westminster voting intentions are shifting, significantly. No longer will Scotland send red-rosetted lobby-fodder south, at least not in the quantity of past years. The signs for Labour are very ominous indeed, no matter what Murphy, Miliband or whoever yanks the strings might like to say. Those days are well and truly gone.
And so the possible shape of the new Westminster government is something for intense speculation. How many seats will UKIP take, and who from? And many will the SNP occupy, possibly to coalesce with no one, and vote on an issue by issue basis? Speculation, speculation.
There’s another poll about to announce. You can’t keep Stu Campbell down; he’s now teasing us with releasing findings from his latest Panelbase poll. Wings Over Scotland is still the number one online source for the growing Yes movement. And it is growing. Polls suggest if the vote were held again today the result would be different. I’m hearing the same in discussions with a variety of people. In short Cameron’s statement on the morning of the 19th shifted the goalposts.
So the losers battle on; and the winners collapse. The media are under real pressure – the Daily Record from spiralling sales; the BBC from realisations. When the time comes again, as it will, we will all be older, and a good bit wiser. Interesting times. And then there’s Europe…