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SNP are hitting the panic lever; Record View.

THE fight for the future of Scotland, everyone acknowledges, will be one for the wallet and the purse of the nation as well as its heart and soul.

Some Scots - 30 per cent of us according to the latest poll - are persuaded of the case for independence.

That's nine per cent fewer than at the beginning of the year.

Levels of support will rise and fall but faced with a Ben Nevis-sized poll finding yesterday - 58 per cent of Scots against independence - Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon reached for the panic lever.

They promised to their conference that every Scot would be PS500 better off under an "independence dividend" made up of the PS2.7billion surplus that Scotland contributes to the UK Treasury.

It sounded fanciful and it turns out to be a highly polished interpretation of the statistics, based on economics that ought to be left in the same bar room Salmond plucked his independence poem from.

It was desperate stuff because, coincidentally or not, PS500 is exactly the same figure that one poll found would be the amount required to persuade the majority of Scots to change their minds.

Now, taking the finding from a poll and making it into policy in order to lever a few more points is not the politics of principles - it's populist instinct gone mad.

The SNP have two years to present their case for independence so they had better start working hard on it, because this is not good enough.

After all, the party have had 80 years to turn the 19th century principle of nationhood into policy relevant for the modern age.

They have been in power for five years in Scotland - with all the machinery of government at their disposal - to work out what a new Caledonia would look like.

Yet little coherent has come out of that.

Their leader has known for at least two years when the referendum will be and how to strategise towards that - yet still nothing.

No killer facts, no persuasive arguments, just a clutch of easily disputed statistical claims and counterpunches from the UK parties that knock the stuffing out of separation.

If a piece of bar room doggerel and a fanciful interpretation of statistics is the best vaudeville that the Salmond and Sturgeon double act can come up with on the opening day of their showcase conference, heaven help us for the next two years.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 19, 2012
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