Yet, only Alex Salmond will profit from the polls, however result turns out. He will go on to capitalise on his success to bring Westminsters political leaders to their knees. Proud highlanders will have enjoyed the chance to send shivers down the spine of the ruling elites in London. They have taken revenge for humiliating past defeats at the hands of haughty English armies and contemptuous civil servants. The SNP will secure a solid majority in years to come.
By contrast, the Labour Party may be confined to the opposition benches for the next decade having lost what had previously been a Scottish stronghold. David Cameron now finds himself deprived of his authority amongst Conservatives. Many backbench MPs appear to be plotting his downfall. Ousting him from office may soon come to be the fashionable Tory trend. The Conservatives coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, may simply fade into oblivion.
Only Mr Salmond will reap the full benefits from others’ disarray. He has already secured the goal he campaigned for at the last Scottish election. Enhanced fiscal autonomy, plus a sizeable flow of funds channeled from London will enable him to turn a potential reverse into an overwhelming success. Money will sweeten the bitter pill of defeat.
He may also spare himself from a dawning reality: that independence, in fact, makes life miserable. Perhaps a Yes vote could turn to into a nightmare scenario for his government. After all, he intends to keep the Queen as head of State, the Sterling pound as common currency, and the British army and Navy firmly anchored in Scottish territory, to ensure that vital jobs are not put in jeopardy. Lying awake at night, there is every chance he shivers at the prospect of footing pensions and unemployment benefits out of the meagre coffers at his disposal. Most of his followers feel British even if they despise being governed from Westminster. Especially when Tories are in power!
The independence thrust has swollen out of widespread resentment for social cuts and poor job prospects. The 2008 global financial can be blamed for the growing disaffection towards the establishment. People either cast their votes towards the extreme right or left, or alternatively, push to sever links with central political power completely. They are swayed towards nationalism in the erroneous belief that grass is greener on the other side. With Salmond set to benefit from bountiful funds, regardless the election outcome, he will use this experience as a means to blackmail Westminster from a newly exalted vantage point. It would come as no surprise to find out that he secretly voted No.