Good morning. The PM’s final plea to Scotland dominates today’s papers. “PM begs Scots not to leave the UK” is our splash. “Sob Tory” chuckles the Sun. “Cameron’s parting plea to Scots” says the Guardian’s. “Heartbroken if you leave” is the the Herald’s take. Today it’s Ed Miliband who is next up to bat, who will tell Scots that change is coming, both to Scotland in the form of further powers in the event of a No vote, and to England in the shape of a Labour government in May.
Is it already too late? “Cameron in final pitch to Scots as blame game begins” is the FT’s headline. “Unionists outgunned in final push of campaign” says the Times page 1 lead, reporting that it is Yes Scotland, for all Better Together’s fundraising advantage, with more money left in the bank for leaflets and billboards in the campaign’s dying days.
In Glasgow yesterday I spoke to people who will, for the most part, have nodded along when David Cameron told them that he could be kicked out. The problem is they don’t – at the moment – believe that Ed Miliband can be the agent of the change they require. Proving them wrong is the task ahead for the Labour leader today.
COALITION OF THE WILLING
“We haven’t got a clue where he is” is the Mail’s take on Philip Hammond’s omission that British hostage Alan Hemming is currently beyond the reach of Britain’s armed forces. At Westminster, a cross-party consensus appears to emerging on tackling Isil. Ed Miliband’s party could “very possibly” back airstrikes against Isil, Owen Smith tells the Times.
THE EARLY DAYS OF A BETTER NATION?
Sir Peter Housden, Scotland’s senior mandarin, put businesses under pressure to “keep out” of the independence debate, a Telegraph investigation has revealed. The mood of intimidation appears to have extended to the ground campaign. “Remind me to tell you what Mussolini did to collaborators,” is the line reported from the campaign trail and “Don’t Be Bullied Out Of Saving Britain” is the Scots Mail’s splash. Alistair Carmichael, the Scottish Secretary, has told his fellow Scots to stand firm against intimidation and threats in the campaign’s last days.
DIAL G FOR GRANDPA
Generation Yes, a splinter group for young voters supporting independence, has produced a guideline to winning over the over-60s – the most Yes-resistant group in Scotland – through a series of one-to-one conversations between children and grandparents, modelled partially on the letters sent by young Democrats to retirees in Florida in the 2008 election.
PASSPORT TO PENURY
The Passport Office should reduce the amount of money it charges to issue passport in order to reduce its profits, MPs have said. At present, each passport nets HMG a £15 profit after everything is settled.
I VOW TO THEE, MY COUNTRY
“The Vow” is the Daily Record’s splash. Dave, Ed and Nick have all signed a joint pledge to Scottish voters pledging permanence for the Scottish Parliament, devolution of powers to an agreed timetable, and a continuation of the Barnett formula in perpetuity. It appears to raise more questions than it answers – it’s not clear what a permanent Parliament means, absent a written constitution. It’s also decreasing the disquiet in Westminster that a new constitutional settlement is being drawn up, without the consent of fifty-five million British people in response to narrowing polls.
Eric Pickles is heading for a legal battle with local councils over his request to scale back production of free newsletters, which have been described as “taxpayer-funded propaganda”, and, it’s said, deprive local government of advertising revenue. Labour say that it’s a partisan attack as those Conservative councils who have also exceeded Mr Pickles’ “four times a year” limit have not been targeted.
“Aye Cloud” is the Scottish Sun’s splash. A cloud has appeared in the skies, appearing to show Scotland floating away from England. “A Sign for Eck and Cam?” is the Sun’s question. Meanwhile, in the UK edition, the Sun’s Cabbie – who’s interviewed Messrs Cameron, Clegg and Miliband – has been left hanging by the First Minister. He’s not best pleased, and the First Minister comes in for a bashing in the Sun’s leader.