Saturday, September 6, 2014

Scotland poised to vote YES for Independence ? Sunday Times poll ( September 7 , 2014 ) indicates YES poll receiving surge as we sprint toward the September 18 , 2014 vote.....

Latest Scotland Poll Closes Gap Further: 49% Would Vote For Independence, 51% Against; Cable Wobbles

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Yesterday's YouGov poll, which saw the "No" camp regain the lead with 52% of the vote, was said by some to be the end of the "Yes"momentum observed last weekend when the Yes posted its first majority since polling began, Then moments ago, the momentum in the momentum changed once again, with the Guardian releasing the latest Scottish referendum poll by ICM which took place between September 9-11 polling a "a representative sample of 1,000 people", and where the vote was said to be "too close to call", as the margin collapsed once again, this time shifting the momentum in favor of the Yes vote, which received 49% of the vote, and No getting 51%, however 17% of the voters are "yet to make up their minds."
From the Guardian:
Despite a week of intense political campaigning by pro-union politicians and repeated warnings from business about the dangers of independence, the poll finds support for no on 51% and yes on 49% once don’t knows were excluded.

The Guardian/ICM poll is based on telephone interviews conducted between Tuesday and Thursday, the first such survey ICM has conducted during the campaign. Previous polls suggesting that the race for Scotland could go to a photo-finish have been based on internet-based surveys.

The period of the survey not only witnessed the three UK party leaders absenting themselves from prime minister’s questions to campaign in Scotland, but also a growing rumble of news stories about the economic risks of independence: Mark Carney of the Bank of England gave new warnings over the currency, some financial institutions such as RBS signalled readiness to move their headquarters out of Edinburgh, and there have been warnings about a mortgage drought.

Despite all of this, and the most recent suggestions that supermarket prices could have to rise, everything remains to play for in the final days of the campaign, because 17% of voters in the overall sample say they have yet to make up their mind. Including them in mix, the rounded figures leave yes on 40%, and no on 42%.

The unprecedented political engagement generated by the campaign shines through in the poll, which finds 87% of respondents describing themselves as “absolutely certain to vote”, far more than the 55% who said the same thing about the next Westminster election in the most recent UK-wide Guardian/ICM poll.
And some curious breakdown by age group:
  • young people are almost as engaged as their elders, with 82% of 16- to 24-year-olds and 87% of 25-34s insisting that they are 10 out of 10 sure that they will cast a vote; many will have already done so through postal voting.
  • The 25-34s in particular are heavily inclined to back independence – leaning yes, by 57% to 43%.
  • Respondents aged 65+ are staunch unionists, being inclined to vote no by 61% to 39%.
Commenting on the age contrast, Martin Boon, director of ICM explains – “the generational divide a crucial dividing line in Scottish politics right now: each campaign’s success in motivating the particular cohorts that favour them looks crucial to the outcome”.
And then there is gender:
  • Scottish women remain loyal to the UK, by 55% to 45%, while Scottish men by contrast are, by 52% to 48%, in favour of independence.
Some final observations:
Friday’s poll also interrogates what is motivating supporters of the two camps – asking respondents to choose the two or three issues that incline them to vote as they intend. Among no supporters, feelings towards the UK are the single most important factor – named by 53%, followed by 37% who suggest that continuation of the union would be better for Scottish pensions and public services. Economic fears of separation, the principal focus of Better Together campaign over most of the course of the year, rank as less important, nominated by just 33% of nos.

On the yes side, the single most important factor are feelings about Westminster’s politics, which is named by 51%, while 40% express the hopes that independence would deliver a more prosperous future. Despite a recent emphasis on the risks of English-inspired NHS privatisation, among yes supporters feelings about public services and pensions are less important – identified as especially important in determining their decision by just 24%.

Asked “how risky” they think independence is, little more than a quarter of Scots (26%) say it represents “a huge risk”, considerably more than the mere 13% who believe that it is “no risk at all”, but less than 56% who rank the dangers as somewhere in between the two. Sticking with the UK is, not surprisingly, seen as a safer option – only 19% regard that as “a huge risk”, as against 32% who rate it as “no risk at all”. The difference between the two propositions as measured by the average scores on the five point riskiness scale (where 5 represents a huge risk) is substantial, but not perhaps as large as might be expected. The mean score for sticking within the union is 2.7, compared with 3.2 for going it alone.
Cable has wobbled on the news, although it is largely unchanged from before last night's YouGov poll was released:

Knock on effects.....

Geo-located tweets of yesterday's march for self-determination in

1.8 Million, or 25% of 's Population, Took to Streets Yesterday to Ask for Self-Determination Vote. (h/t )

Scotland independence referendum: the view from Catalonia

RT : Scotland is not alone. Here is the (rather long) list of al those who claim independence --->

Zero Hedge

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Sterling Volatility Spikes To 3-Year High As Scottish Independence Nears

The dramatic rise in support for Scottish independence is nowhere more evident than inGBPUSD implied volatility, which has soared to 3-year highs as The Guardian reports a further poll showing next week's referendum is on a knife-edge with a gap of just 1 percentage point between yes and no. As one 'Yes Scotland' representative noted, "This new Scotland could be less than a fortnight away. But we must not be complacent. The scaremongering, dissembling and misrepresentation of the no campaign will be ramped up as we approach polling day." Of course, Scotland is not the only EU nation seeking separation, as we illustrate below, and as Goldman Sachs notes, there could be a broader impact on the risk premium across Europe as Scottish independence leads to other calls for more regional autonomy.

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Spain Bond Yields Spike Most In Over A Decade As "Referendum Risk" Spreads

As we warned earlier, there is the potential for broad risk premium re-pricing across European nations on the back of Scotland's independence referendum decision; and nowhere is that more evident in the last 2 days than in Spanish bonds.So-called "referendum risk" - in this case related to Catalan independence - has sent Spanish bond yields up over 17bps(over 8.1% - the biggest single day jump since before the EU was formed) and risk spreads are 12-15bps wider as the UK experience (with growing support for UKIP alongside faster economic growth) raises the issue that economic recovery alone may not be enough to reverse the rise in anti-elite, anti-establishment sentiment across Europe.


Britain faces storm as giant global investors awaken to break-up dangers Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph. What fun for all those global rich who hoovered up London properties. Of course, the fence-sitters may see a cheaper pound as a new buying opportunity.

"You Can Take Your Scottish Freedom... But You'll Never Take Our Gold"

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We can see it now, a wine-stained David Cameron staggers slowly towards Hadrian's Wall eying the hordes of Scottish gentlefolk staring at him; he glances back at his supporters (who cheer somewhat begrudgingly) before rapidly returning his eyes to the Scots and proclaiming... "you can take your freedom; but you'll never take our... Gold." As Reuters reports, an independent Scotland could lay claim to a part of the United Kingdom's 310-tonne gold reserves if votes go in favour of the "Yes" campaign this month, with ownership of Britain's bullion hoard up for negotiation along with other assets.

The "high-risk" event is increasingly likely - as evident in the FX markets - but the full consequences appear far from clear (as Reuters reports),
An independent Scotland could lay claim to a part of the United Kingdom's 310-tonne gold reserves if votes go in favour of the "Yes" campaign this month, with ownership of Britain's bullion hoard up for negotiation along with other assets.

"The distribution of the UK's assets in the event of Scottish independence would be subject to negotiation between an independent Scottish Government and the continuing UK government," a spokesman for the United Kingdom Treasury said on Monday.

The United Kingdom, whose reserves are worth 7.84 billion pounds ($12.6 billion) at today's prices, is currently the world's 18th largest official sector gold holder.

A decision to break away from the United Kingdom when Scotland's voters go to the polls on Sept. 18 would be followed by negotiations with London over a raft of assets, including the pound and North Sea oil.
Of course, Britain's Gordon Brown (who returned to frontline politics this year to campaign for the preservation of Scotland's 307-year old union with England) is infamous for the 'worst trade ever'...
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has faced persistent criticism for disposing of almost 400 tonnes of the United Kingdom's gold via a series of auctions between 1999 and 2002, when prices were at their lowest in around 20 years.

Gold prices surged over the following decade, topping out in September 2011 at $1,920.30 an ounce, nearly five times their end 2002 level.
*  *  *

British Pound Collapses To 10-Month Lows

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We warned here that the "Yes" vote for Scottish Independence was a "high risk" event, and as we noted earlier, with polls indicating its a high probability and 'English' leadership in full panic mode, it is perhaps not surprising that the British Pound opened down 160pips at 10-month lows... (a 500 pip drop in 3 days)... But, didn't the clever people on TV tell us 'it was priced in'?

Chart: Bloomberg
*  *  *
Some Possible Implications Of a “Yes” Vote
In our view, a “yes” vote would have several key implications:
Bad for UK growth. Uncertainties over the economic prospects, policies and currency arrangements of an independent Scotland probably would hit growth in both Scotland and the rest of the UK (rUK), raising the incentive for firms to “wait and see” or to expand elsewhere. Exports to Scotland account for roughly 4% of GDP for the rUK and Scotland would immediately be the rUK’s second biggest trading partner, slightly behind the US and slightly above Germany. Moreover, many banks and businesses have sizeable cross-border exposures between Scotland and rUK, and some firms may seek to limit such exposure as a hedge against the possible breakup of sterlingisation (if that is the policy adopted).

Bad for mainstream UK political parties, good for the anti-EU vote. Once independence happens, Scottish MPs would no longer attend or vote at the Westminster parliament. This would disproportionately hurt both Labour and the Lib Dems: Scotland accounts for 9% of seats at the Westminster parliament (59 out of 650 seats in 2010), but accounts for 16% of Labour seats, and 19% of Lib Dem seats. Conversely, only one out of the 306 Conservative MPs elected in 2010 is from a Scottish seat. However, although the maths of a postindependence Parliament would favour the Conservatives, we believe a “yes” vote would also badly hurt the personal position of PM Cameron, by making him the PM “who lost the UK”. The key winner in UK political terms would probably be UKIP: this reflects the damage to the three main Westminster parties, the evidence that voters are prepared to reject the establishment and vote for radical change, and also the extent to which the themes in the Scottish referendum debate — a choice between membership of a larger bloc or independence — are likely to have echoes in any future EU referendum. A secondary winner might be London Mayor Boris Johnson, who seems to be positioning himself as the radical outsider as candidate to succeed Cameron as Conservative party leader.

Uncertainties are likely to drag on for a while. The Scottish government has said that in the event of a “yes” vote, it would aim to complete negotiations quickly and for Scotland to become independent in March 201611, ahead of the Scottish parliament elections scheduled for May 2016. In practice, the process might well take longer, especially given the interruption of the UK general election in May 2015 and possibility that the election might change the UK government. Indeed, given that Labour has now moved slightly ahead of the SNP in voting intentions for the Scottish parliament in recent YouGov polls, one can imagine scenarios under which negotiations on Scottish independence have to be completed after May 2016 under a Labour-led Scottish government (which opposed independence), a Labour-led rUK government and with a Johnson-led Conservative party in opposition that is moving towards advocating EU exit.

BoE on the alert: BoE Governor Carney noted in his Inflation Report press conference that the BoE would be ready to act if Scotland-related uncertainties escalate: “we also have responsibilities, as you know, for financial stability in the United Kingdom and we will continue to discharge those responsibilities until they change... Uncertainty about the currency arrangements could raise financial stability issues. We will, as you would expect us to have contingency plans for various possibilities”.
*  *  *
With a “no” vote, the UK would still face rising political uncertainties. The UK political landscape is in a state of extreme flux, with the enduring Scottish independence movement, the rise of UKIP as a political force and resultant change in UK party political dynamics, the moderate-to-high probability of a change of government in the 2015 elections and uncertainties over post-election fiscal policy, plus the non-negligible risk of a referendum on UK exit from the EU in 2017-18 or so. Even if the “no” camp prevails in September, we do not foresee a return to the pre-referendum political status quo in the UK. In our view, the outlook for UK political risks will remain elevated well beyond the referendum, and we suspect these UK political risks are underpriced in markets.
More broadly, "Referendum Risk" is one of the more powerful manifestations of what we have termed Vox Populi risk, the Crimea being a particularly powerful, if extreme, example. In particular, what happens in Scotland will be particularly closely watched in Spain, which is facing a referendum on Catalan independence. Latent independence movements elsewhere, such as Belgium, could also be influenced by the outcome in Scotland. We regard the revival of local/national concerns, from Scotland to Spain and beyond, as part of continuing anti-establishment sentiment and a backlash against globalisation.And the UK experience (with growing support for UKIP alongside faster economic growth) raises the issue that economic recovery alone may not be enough to reverse the rise in anti-elite, anti-establishment sentiment.

UK In "Full Panic Mode", Rains Brimstone, Bribes On Scotland As "Yes" To Independence Poll Crosses 50%

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All pundits who over the past few months have been saying the possibility of Scottish independence as a result of the September 18 ballot, is at best a pipe dream got a rude wake up call overnight, when Scottish YouGov poll for the Sunday Times put the "Yes" (for independence campaign) on top for the first time since polling began, with No below the majority cutoff line for the first time, at 49, when undecided voters are excluded, and even when including undecideds "Yes" is still ahead by two points at 47-45. As the Spectator reports, "in the space of four weeks, "No" has blown a 22-point lead."
According to Bloomberg, "the shift to an outright lead for supporters of independence may further roil financial markets after the pound weakened last week when the pro-U.K side’s support narrowed to six percentage points." Granted, today's news may be GBP-negative, but Bloomberg seems to still operate under Old Normal assumptions whereby any news, bad or gad, is anything but great for stocks. Expect the S&P to hit new all time highs on this latest development which will be promptly "priced in" and spun as pent-up reunification.
The usual commentariat, which until recently was swearing the Yes vote has zero chance, is stunned :
“For a positive message to catch up so much in a month is totally unprecedented,” said Matt Qvortrup, a senior researcher at Cranfield University in England and author of “Referendums and Ethnic Conflict.” “This is pretty revolutionary stuff in referendum terms. We’re ringside to history.”  The Sept. 18 ballot on Scottish independence is dominating the U.K. after door-to-door campaigning on both sides intensified last week and as traders and investors no longer rule out a dramatic victory for nationalist leader Alex Salmond."

Scottish poll reflects world-wide disillusion with political leaders and old establishments leaving openings for libertarians and far left.

UK scrambles to promise more powers if Scots reject independence

LONDON Sun Sep 7, 2014 8:26am EDT
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne arrives for a meeting at Number 10 Downing Street in London September 1, 2014.  REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne arrives for a meeting at Number 10 Downing Street in London September 1, 2014.


Photos of the week

Our top photos from the past week.  Slideshow 
(Reuters) - The British government is scrambling to respond to a lurch in the opinion polls toward a vote for Scottish independence this month by promising a range of new powers for Scotland if it chooses to stay within the United Kingdom.
British finance minister George Osborne said on Sunday that plans would be set out in the coming days to give Scotland more autonomy on tax, spending and welfare if Scots vote against independence in a historic referendum on Sept. 18.
Prime Minister David Cameron had, ironically, vetoed a third ballot option for greater devolution, betting that the stark choice of yes or no to independence would deliver a clear victory for the status quo as cautious voters turned away from an uncertain future.
That looked like a precarious calculation after a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times showed supporters of independence had taken their first opinion poll lead since the referendum campaign began.
With less than two weeks to go before the vote, the poll put the "Yes" to independence campaign on 51 percent and the "No" camp on 49 percent, overturning a 22-point lead for the unionist position in just a month.
"You will see in the next few days a plan of action to give more powers to Scotland ... Then Scotland will have the best of both worlds. They will both avoid the risks of separation but have more control over their own destiny, which is where I think many Scots want to be," Osborne told the BBC.
"More tax-raising powers, much greater fiscal autonomy ... more control over public expenditure, more control over welfare rates and a host of other changes."
Osborne said the changes, being agreed by all three major parties in the British parliament, would be put into effect the moment there was a 'no' vote in the referendum.

His comments echo those of former British Prime Minister and opposition Labour party lawmaker Gordon Brown, who said on Friday he would spearhead a push for Scotland to gain more powers if it voted against independence.


Supporters of Scottish independence claim they have the "big momentum" with less than two weeks to go before the referendum vote.
Some 51% of those who have made up their mind and intend to vote back an independent Scotland while 49% plan to vote no, the YouGov poll suggests.
The Better Together campaign's Alistair Darling called it a "wake-up call".
The poll of 1,084 people, carried out between 2 and 5 September, is the first and only serious study to put the Yes campaign ahead, and suggests the pro-Union camp has lost its lead - once regularly in the double-digits.

Start Quote

It will go down to the wire”
Alistair DarlingBetter Together
On 18 September voters will be asked the Yes/No question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"
The headline poll results exclude undecided voters or those who plan not to vote.
When they are included, 47% backed Yes while 45% said they would opt to stay in the UK.


Alex Salmond in Inverness
Alex Salmond in Inverness on Saturday. The yes side believes opinion has made a ‘significant shift’ its way. Photograph: Allan Milligan
The people of Scotland are to be offered a historic opportunity to devise a federal future for their country before next year's general election, it emerged on Saturday night, as a shock new poll gave the campaign for independence a narrow lead for the first time.
Amid signs of panic and recrimination among unionist ranks about the prospects of a yes vote on 18 September, the Observer has learned that a devolution announcement designed to halt the nationalist bandwagon is due to be made within days by the anti-independence camp.
The plan, in the event of a no vote, is that people from all parts of Scottish society – rather than just politicians – would be invited to take part in a Scottish conference or convention that would decide on further large-scale transfers of power from London to Holyrood.
A poll by YouGov for the Sunday Times sent shockwaves through the political establishment north and south of the border as it showed the yes camp had 51% to 49% for no, excluding the don't knows. Better Together leader Alistair Darling said: "These polls can and must now serve as a wake-up call to anyone who thought the referendum was a foregone conclusion."
David Cameron was at Balmoral on Saturday night on his annual visit, where growing support for a yes vote was likely to have been raised with the Queen.
With momentum now strongly behind Alex Salmond's push for full-blown independence, the no campaign is desperately searching for ways to seize back the initiative in the last 11 days of campaigning. A win for the yes campaign would represent a stunning turnaround, and unleash the biggest constitutional crisis in the union's 300-year history: it was 14 points behind in polls taken less than a month ago.


Undecided targeted in race to poll

CAMPAIGN big- hitters Nicola Sturgeon and Johann Lamont targeted each other's party supporters as they bid to persuade undecided voters.

Sturgeon and Lamont on campaign trail
Sturgeon and Lamont on campaign trail
The Labour leader went campaigning in Govan and made it known she was in Ms Sturgeon's constituency.
The Deputy First Minister, meanwhile, continued her pitch to Labour supporters, urging them to vote Yes, then vote for whoever they like in independent Scottish elections.
After months of the SNP appealing to Labour voters to "vote Yes and reclaim their party", Labour is now targeting people who voted SNP in 2011 Scottish elections.
After speaking to voters in Govan in Ms Sturgeon's Glasgow Southside constit-uency, Ms Lamont said: "We know that Alex Salmond's win in 2011 was achieved despite their policy of indepen-dence and the voters who gave the SNP their support for the first time in that election are key to this referendum.
"In Nicola Stur-geon's constituency, we are speaking to Labour and SNP supporters and finding two No voters for every Yes voter."
She said the latest poll showed there were more people who voted SNP planning to vote against independence, than Labour voters planning to vote yes.
A YouGov poll showed 180,583 SNP voters backing No and 176,529 Labour voters backing Yes. However, as a percentage it is in favour of Yes with 28% of the 630,461 Labour voters backing Yes and 20% of the 902,915 SNP voters backing No.
Ms Sturgeon said the backing of rail union the RMT was further evidence of traditional Labour supports backing independence.
She said: "Coming on the same day as Ed Miliband's latest visit to Scotland, it demol-ishes his claims to be the authentic voice of working class, Labour-minded voters across Scotland.
"Labour voters are already moving to a Yes vote in their hun-dreds of thousands, and it is endorsements like this which will persuade even more of them to back independence, as we look to securing a majority of Labour supporters voting Yes."
While Ms Lamont was in Govan, Ms Sturgeon visited Glasgow Central Mosque and told people independence was about everyone in Scotland regardless of party affiliation or ethnic origin.
She said: "This debate is not about where we have come from or what party we belong to, it is about the people of Scotland, all of us, taking our future into our own hands.
Across all of Scotland's communities people are waking up to the opportunity of independence to build a fairer society."


Holyrood would get further powers "soon" if there is a "No" vote to independence, David Cameron has said.
Mr Cameron said more devolution would allow MSPs to make "further decisions to help growth and jobs".
The prime minister said voting to stay in the UK was "the right choice" for Scotland's businesses and its people.
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond challenged Mr Cameron to name a single job-creating power certain to come after a "No" vote.
Mr Cameron later delivered an address to the CBI annual dinner in Glasgow as the referendum campaign entered its final weeks.
BBC political editor Nick Robinson asked Mr Cameron if he would guarantee more powers in the event of a "No" vote and, if so, when.
The prime minister replied: "Yes and soon is the very short answer to that."



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Remarkable YouGov Scotland Independence poll. If this plays out at the ballot box Cameron finished:

There's only one way now to stop the independence bandwagon. Westminster must offer a fully federal Britain

Oh man. Scottish nationalists leading for first time in latest YouGov poll: 11 days until the referendum.