Scottish independence: Final day of campaigning

RIVALS on both sides of Scotland’s referendum debate will take to the streets today for one final day of campaigning before the historic ballot.

Yes and No supporters clash at an event in Glasgow. Picture: PA
Yes and No supporters clash at an event in Glasgow. Picture: PA

Voters north of the border go to the polls tomorrow to decide whether or not Scotland should remain part of the United Kingdom.

With the future of the UK hanging in the balance, pro and anti independence campaigners will both be out in force in a bid to win over those who are still undecided.

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The final push for support comes as polls continue to suggest the outcome of the referendum is too close to call.

Three surveys last night - by Opinium for the Daily Telegraph, ICM for The Scotsman and Survation for the Scottish Daily Mail - all gave No a slender lead of 52 per cent to 48 per cent.

As the vote draws near claims of bullying have emerged, with a series of emails between First Minister Alex Salmond’s special adviser and the principal of St Andrews University in Fife published in the Daily Telegraph.

The correspondence, dated March last year, shows the adviser offering a prepared statement for principal Louise Richardson to speak of her confidence in the Scottish government’s ability to maintain research council funding for universities.

It came after an interview Ms Richardson gave to The Times newspaper in which she expressed concern and described as “catastrophic” the consequences if those funds were no longer available in the event of independence.

A spokesman for Mr Salmond told the Telegraph the emails were part of “routine dialogue” and said all discussions were “cordial”.

In an interview with The Times Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “disturbed” by allegations of intimidation.

Yesterday Labour leader Ed Miliband claimed the campaign for independence has an “ugly side” following chaotic scenes when he was mobbed during a visit to Edinburgh.

Yes Scotland has previously said it condemns all forms of abusive, dangerous and offensive behaviour.

Mr Salmond will deliver his final message to the people of Scotland ahead of the referendum at a rally in Perth tonight.

Alistair Darling, who as leader of Better Together has been spearheading the campaign to keep the UK together, will also speak out at a special “Love Scotland Vote No” event.

Mr Darling, who was chancellor in the last Labour government, will be joined there by former prime minister Gordon Brown, with the two men to argue that staying in the UK will bring “faster, better, safer change” to Scotland

Better Together has pledged to campaign all day and throughout the night as it continues its efforts to secure a No vote on Thursday.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont and her deputy Anas Sarwar will speak to night shift workers at a newspaper plant in the early hours of this morning, stressing their pledge to devolve more powers to Scotland in the event of a No vote.

Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander will team up with Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson on a visit to a warehouse, while activists will be at railway stations across Scotland handing out leaflets to early morning commuters

Blair McDougall, campaign director of Better Together, said: “Unlike Alex Salmond who is on a helicopter victory tour, Better Together is campaigning through the night for a No vote.

“Better Together campaigners are working tirelessly to spread the message that there will be better, faster, safer change with a No vote for a stronger Scotland, while Alex Salmond’s political project for separation risks jobs, pensions and the NHS.”

The First Minister, however, has urged Scots to consider how they could feel the morning after the referendum when casting their vote, saying they could “wake up on Friday morning to the first day of a better country”.

He told people across the country: “’This vote isn’t about me, it isn’t about the SNP, the Labour Party or the Tories. It’s about you. Your family. Your hopes. Your ambitions. It’s about taking your country’s future into your hands.

‘’Don’t let this opportunity slip through our fingers. Don’t let them tell us we can’t. Let’s do this.’’

Mr Salmond and his Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will be campaigning in different parts of Scotland, highlighting the opportunities they say independence could bring.

Ms Sturgeon will tell children and parents in Glasgow that a Yes vote could “put Scotland’s future into Scotland’s hands for generations to come” while the First Minister will address the potential for jobs and the food and drink industry.