Scottish Independence: Westminster at panic stations

Gordon Brown At WEF

After the recent YouGov poll put the Yes camp marginally ahead, Gordon Brown and the forces in Westminster proposed a huge giveaway to attract voters.

George Osborne announced on Sunday that if Scotland voted No on the 18th of September, that they would receive more powers from Westminster. The timing of his announcement came almost immediately after YouGov had released their poll suggesting the Yes camp were marginally in the lead for the first time since campaigning began. His promises were laughed off by Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond, who was quick to point out the timing of the promises and how the panic in Westminster.

Osborne was adamant that although the government was happy to devolve some powers away, the one thing there was no room for negotiation on was the use of the pound. Today markets reacted badly to the fears of Scottish independence and the pound fell over 1% to the dollar, reaching its lowest level in 10 months.

Fears that the Scots will vote for independence has led to new measures from Westminster in an attempt to entice voters. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown released the details of how powers would be devolved. It is likely devolution will start soon after the referendum and within five months a draft bill will be readied. The exact nature of what exactly will be devolved will be released over the coming days. 

Brown stated that Labour was ‘taking the initiative’ and that ‘A No vote on September 18 will not be an end point but the starting gun for action on September 19, when straight away we will kick off a plan to deliver the enhanced devolution that we want.’

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont has praised the proposals put forward by Brown: "The people of Scotland want certainty on September 18th and thanks to Gordon's plan we will be able to give them certainty that a new plan for devolution will start the day after a No vote in the referendum.

"While the nationalists ask us to take a leap of faith on currency, pensions and funding of our NHS, Scottish Labour will use the strength of the United Kingdom to make Scotland stronger."

The pro-union Better Together campaign has strenuously denied that the measures show they are being forced into panic measures and have dismissed claims that the promises of devolution are just a "bribe" with just 10 days to go till the vote.

It seems one thing is certain, the closeness of the referendum means that Holyrood is in a win win position. Irrespective of the outcome Scotland will gain something, they will either become an independent nation, or will get more powers through the huge giveaway announced today. The big question is, are the new plans from Westminster enough to save the union, or in 10 days time will Cameron be wondering what went so horribly wrong?