14 Sep 2014

Scottish vote too close to call - polls

3:19 pm on 14 September 2014

Tens of thousands of supporters of both sides in the Scottish referendum debate have taken to the streets on the final weekend before Thursday's vote.

Opinion polls suggest the race between the pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign and the Better Together campaign is too close to call.

The No campaign, which is for the status quo, is now ahead by only the slimmest of margins, the BBC reports.

A new poll suggests the separatist campaign is pulling ahead, although others still show a slight lead for supporters of Scotland remaining in the UK.

Three polls have the No campaign with a lead of between two and eight points while an ICM poll conducted over the internet showed supporters of independence in the lead with 54 percent and unionists on 46 percent.

But the Yes campaign predicted Saturday would be the "biggest day of national campaigning" Scotland has ever seen.

Supporters of both sides argue that the momentum is with them.

Scotland's Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said: "The 'Yes' campaign has been carried along by a flourishing of self-confidence among people in Scotland.

"That momentum is still growing and will soon become unstoppable, as people reject the Downing Street-orchestrated campaign to talk Scotland down.

The latest poll of polls, which collates the six most recent surveys, puts the No campaign on 51 percent and the Yes campaign on 49 percent. And a new Sunday Times poll puts the No campaign on 50.6 percent and the Yes campaign on 49.4 percent.

Last weekend, the paper's poll showed a No campaign lead of 52 percent to 48 percent.

Businesses have intervened in the debate, raising concerns about independence, which "Yes" campaigners claimed was "orchestrated" by the UK government.

Orange Order marches to stay with UK

Thousands of members of the Protestant Orange Order marched through Edinburgh in a show of strength against Scottish independence in the final weekend before the referendum.

A member of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland prepares to march in Edinburgh.

A member of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland prepares to march in Edinburgh. Photo: AFP

Organisers claimed up to 15,000 people attended the march to show support for the United Kingdom, among them members from Northern Irish and English branches of the conservative organisation.

The official campaign against independence had distanced itself from the protest amid fears it would fuel sectarian tensions just a few days before Thursday's vote, but it passed off peacefully.

Henry Dunbar, Grand Master of the order's Grand Lodge of Scotland, told the rally they are proud to be part of Great Britain and passionate about the union.

Scotland fine to go alone - NZ's Tim Martin

A New Zealander who runs one of Britain's big hotel chains has accused business and political leaders there of talking nonsense over Scottish independence.

Tim Martin, the founder of the J D Wetherspoon chain, said an independent Scotland is viable.

He said one reason for saying Scotland could do very well on its own, was that New Zealand has a comparable population and succeeds in international trade.

Mr Martin's pubs employ 34,000 people - 10 percent of them in Scotland - and this year made a pre-tax profit of $159 million.

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