Countdown in Scotland

Scottish, British flags fly outside Scotland Office in London.

And then there was less than a week to go. The final weekend of campaigning in the Scottish independence referendum has come and gone, bringing with it too many events and gatherings, rallies and gigs to count. Both the official "Yes" and "No" camps would have us believe that spontaneous city-centre gatherings spoke of the strength of their respective positions, but the reality is that these were highly orchestrated, photogenic jamborees. Yet no city or town, highland village or island, it seems, went without some kind of event. The level of debate and discussion is unprecedented.

Opinion polls have, for some days, been too close to call. The respected psephologist, Prof.John Curtice of Strathclyde University in Glasgow, conducted a “poll of polls,” concluding that all the polls are now converging. "No" is ahead by a tiny fraction, while it has become clear that a large group—one commentator suggested almost a million voters—will make up their minds at the very last moment.

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And in a new development, Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie, a leading independence campaigner, called for the role of the Queen in Scotland to be challenged in the event of a "Yes" vote. On Sunday, the Queen herself said, in public at Balmoral Castle, that she wanted the people of Scotland to “think very carefully about the future” as they vote. Not much has been said on this matter since the Yes campaign made it official policy that an independent Scotland would seek to retain the monarch as Head of State. As with so much else in this fascinating and energetic camping, this too is a new issue, but is it a game-changer?

And as with so much else, we just don’t know; it makes this coming Thursday a truly momentous day in Scottish, and British history.

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