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Memo to Mr. Salmond: Don’t now throw it all away like Kinnock did in 1992

September 9th, 2014

Galvanising the NO vote is the biggest danger for YES

Suddenly a victory for YES looks possible. Two pollsters suggest that things have moved sharply in its direction and there are just 9 days left.

Yesterday in one of a series of radio and TV interviews I was repeatedly asked whether the polls themselves could impact on the result and could I think of an example. The one I chose was Neil Kinnock in 1992.

By election day the polls looked even with one showing a CON lead of just 0.5%. Yet when it came to the point of casting their votes electors shied away from Labour and John Major’s Tory government retained power after securing a 7% lead in the national vote.

What was significant about the result was that a record number of votes were cast in a British general election with the Tories chalking up the highest number ever by a party. The prospect of having Kinnock as PM appeared to be be a great vote driver.

There are similarities with Scotland at the moment. Things are pointing to record turnout levels but could the enormity of the decision being taken and the very prospect of change be the trigger for even the most marginal of NO supporters to actually vote?

With the polls neck and neck this could all come down to differential turnout. Salmond should do nothing that causes NO inclined voters to turnout.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble