Two reviews to examine arming of Scottish police

Police Scotland firearms officers Police Scotland asked the HM Inspectorate of Scotland to review its deployment of firearms officers

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Police Scotland's decision to allow a small number of its officers to carry handguns will be the subject of two reviews, it has been announced.

The Scottish Police Authority and HM Inspectorate of Scotland will, in parallel, scrutinise different areas.

The HMICS' review will include an examination of how the firearms officers are deployed on regular patrols and tasks.

The appearance of armed officers on routine tasks has sparked a row.

Some politicians have criticised the deployment of specialist firearms officers on regular patrols, particularly in the Highlands and Islands, an area with a low crime rate.

Highland Council has also raised concerns after officers carrying handguns were seen on routine patrols in Inverness.

Start Quote

SPA has acknowledged that the issue of armed policing is a contentious one”

End Quote Iain Whyte Scottish Police Authority

Police Scotland and the Scottish government said the deployment of firearms officers offered better protection to the public.

Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said the force welcomed the reviews.

The HMICS will hold what it calls an assurance review to independently assess the current practices for the issue and carrying of firearms by armed response vehicle crews.

It aims to provide assurance that Police Scotland's approach is compliant with guidance, procedures and recognised best practice.

Following discussions with the SPA, the inspectorate said it had agreed to broaden the terms of the review to include consideration of how armed officers are deployed on regular patrols and tasks.

The HMICS will also look at what impact this has on communities.

The SPA has announced that it is setting up a scrutiny inquiry to consider the public impact of Police Scotland's decision around firearms deployment.

The scrutiny inquiry team will be chaired by SPA member Iain Whyte.

'Scrutiny landscape'

Derek Penman, HM Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland, said: "This assurance role was requested by Police Scotland, but this will be an independent review with the remit and scope that we have assessed is necessary to fulfil our objective to add value and strengthen public confidence in policing.

"Engagement with the SPA has informed the scope of our work, and I am confident that our review will support the SPA in its wider scrutiny of armed policing."

Mr Penman added: "I believe this is a positive example of how different parts of the governance and scrutiny landscape in Scottish policing can work together in a complementary way with Police Scotland to improve outcomes for the public."

Mr Whyte said: "SPA has acknowledged that the issue of armed policing is a contentious one, and that we would keep this issue under review.

"One of the principles of good governance is that the public voice is appropriately heard within decision-making."

'Political pressure'

Senior officer Mr Livingstone said only trained officers were allowed to carry a sidearm and a Taser.

He said: "We welcome confirmation of the review by HMICS and the Scottish Police Authority following our request to the inspectorate for an independent assessment of the standing authority decision process.

"As part of this, HMICS will attend the next firearms monitoring group in September where the standing firearms authority will be reviewed."

He added: "Following this review and if a decision is made that the authority should remain in place, we will commission further work to consider alternative options for the carrying of weapons by armed officers.

"Police Scotland will also review the operational guidance provided to officers regarding the functions they perform when not engaged in firearms duties and consider how we may improve our engagement with communities."

Green MSP Patrick Harvie said the reviews were "a welcome response to the growing public and political pressure".

He added: "The police do need to deploy firearms in response to serious incidents, but the sight of armed police on our streets while carrying out routine duties has alarmed many Scots and we deserve to know why it happened and why our communities were not consulted."

The Scottish Liberal Democrats Alison McInnes said the decision was "a victory for local communities".

But Scottish Labour's Graeme Pearson the scrutiny had come "very late in the day".

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Referendum Live

  1.  
    10:58: The key voters

    Scottish actor Brian Cox told Morning Call he believed the people who had "slipped through the gaps" in society would be decisive in returning a Yes vote.

    He said: "The independence issue is going to be won in Wester Hailes, it is going to be won in Pilton, it is going to be won in Granton and in Lochee in Dundee."

     
  2.  
    10:50: Bremner on currency

    Asked if Scotland was an equal member of the union, comedian Rory Bremner told Morning Call: "Within the union we have a say, and if we left it we would have no say over currency for example.

    "If you are out of a currency union, you are out of a currency union. If you are in one, then you are going to have to listen to what the Bank of England has to say and you will have less power."

     
  3.  
    10:47:

    Adam Hood emails: The irony of Brian Cox castigating 'outsiders' for becoming involved in the independence debate is astonishing. Where exactly has he be been living recently? At least Cameron, Clegg and Miliband live in the UK! As a Scot and a Briton I have no doubt that it is right that our national leaders should be involved in trying to avert a historic catastrophe.

    Philip Walker from London emails: I have been losing sleep about this. Not just because I fear for Scotland, but a YES vote means a crisis of identity of millions of people. Who will we be? Still British? Not a United Kingdom anymore.

     
  4.  
    10:42:

    Some of Scotland's best-known musicians performed at the "A Night For Scotland" pro-independence concert at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh last night.

    Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai and Frightened Rabbit were joined by Amy Macdonald, Eddi Reader and Deacon Blue's Lorraine McIntosh and Ricky Ross.

    Artists perform at the "A Night For Scotland" pro-independence concert at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh
     
  5.  
    10:36: Scotland 'is just the start'

    Actor Brian Cox has insisted the independence debate is about the whole of the UK and not just Scotland.

    He told Morning Call: "I really do think it is about England as much as it is about Scotland. I believe that Scotland is the start. It is the beginning of something and I believe that no matter what happens, this is the beginning of a movement.

    "The north of England, the north east of England, Liverpool - these people have been depressed, they have been ignored for far too long."

     
  6.  
    10:31: Bremner wanted Devo Max

    Comedian Rory Bremner has said Prime Minister David Cameron lacked respect for the Scottish people by not having a Devo Max option on the ballot paper.

    He told BBC Radio Scotland's Morning Call that he took a long time to decide which way to vote before deciding he would vote No.

    Rory Bremner

    He said: "This is a question that we did not want to have to answer. We wanted more power for the Scottish Parliament but, as I would argue, within the union.

    "This (a Yes) vote will take Scotland out of the European Union and out of the United Kingdom and leave it with less power over currency than it has now."

     
  7.  
    10:24: Brailsford backs No

    Sir Dave Brailsford, head of the Team Sky cycling team, has backed a No vote in the Scottish referendum.

    He was performance director of British Cycling during the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games when Sir Chris Hoy won a haul of gold medals.

    dave brailsford

    He said: "Scotland has been a huge part of the success of British Cycling, and I hope the UK stays together for the benefit of all sport, but especially Olympic sports like ours.

    "UK sport is one of the best things this country has and it is all possible because we can share talent, resources and ideas."

     
  8.  
    10:18: Three Amigos

    Scottish actor Brian Cox told Morning Call he would still like to see Labour gain power in an independent Scotland but only if there is a radical rethink of party policy.

    He said: "No matter what happens, the political life of these islands has to be rethought.

    "The patronage and condescension of the Three Amigos coming up to Scotland to tell us what's what - like Martin Short, Steve Martin and Chevy Chase arriving with their sombreros and kilts. That incident alone, believe it or not, has turned Tory voters to Yes."

     
  9.  
    10:13: Actor Brian Cox blasts Labour

    Actor and Yes campaigner Brian Cox has accused Labour of "losing the plot" in the years leading up to the referendum.

    The Dundee-born star switched his backing to independence after decades as a Labour supporter.

    brian cox

    He told BBC Radio Scotland's Morning Call: "I have watched Labour disintegrate, in my opinion. I think they have lost the plot, I think they have lost touch.

    "I think the illegal act of the Iraq war was a massive sin of hubris on Tony Blair's part and I think it has traduced the party in the most incredible way. When it comes to Scotland, I am just ashamed of the way the party has behaved towards the people of Scotland."

     
  10.  
    10:09: Referendum round-up

    The Queen, bias protest, Darling and Salmond on Andrew Marr, the latest polls, and John Reid. Here is yesterday's Referendum round-up.

    Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling on the Andrew Marr show
     
  11.  
    10:04: Westwood says Yes

    While David Beckham has come out in support of the No campaign (08:20), fashion designer Vivienne Westwood has given her support to the Yes side.

    She told journalists at London Fashion Week said: "It would be absolutely great if there is a 'yes' vote...the future could be just amazing and Scotland would be very important and a influence on the world."

    Vivienne Westwood

    The fashion designer sent models down the catwalk of her show with Yes badges pinned to their clothes.

     
  12.  
    10:01: Federal state

    Anton Stapelkamp from Zeeland, The Netherlands emailed: There should be a big reconstruction of the British Constitution, whatever the result on Thursday. The UK has to be changed in a federal state with parliaments for all parts of it, Scotland, NI, Wales and England and a new federal Westminster Parliament. Quite a shock for a lot of people maybe, but unavoidable if you want a balanced Constitution and Society.

     
  13.  
    09:58: Yes or No?

    Andy emailed: "When Thursday comes I will make my mind up. The MPs we have at the moment are nothing but a bunch of frauds. Right now I can't believe a word any of them say. Looking back, we had John Smith and Donald Dewar. The present bunch have nothing on the two of them. Hopefully we will turn up in numbers on Thursday, and not let others make the decision for us. Yes, Yes, No, No? I give in."

     
  14.  
    09:54: Tax powers 'surprise'

    Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw has admitted he has been "surprised" by his party's timetable to give the Scottish Parliament extra powers.

    Mr Carlaw welcomed the move which could see more tax-raising powers devolved to Holyrood after a No vote.

    Jackson Carlaw

    He told BBC Radio Scotland's Morning Call: "We have a commitment from each of the political parties who believe in the United Kingdom that additional powers will come to Scotland. They vary in scale but they all involve the devolving of additional tax powers, the devolving of welfare powers, the devolving of powers that matter to the things that make sense for the people of Scotland.

    "Somewhat to our surprise, actually, this whole debate has made us as a party realise that there is a very real demand for additional power here in Scotland - particularly for fiscal power because up until now we have spent money without having to raise it. Now we will have to do both and I think that is a terrific development."

     
  15.  
    09:48: Morning Call BBC Radio Scotland

    Morning Call on BBC Radio Scotland now. Comedian Rory Bremner thinks Scots are equal members of UK. Your questions to him & actor Brian Cox. 0500 929500

    brian cox and rory bremner
     
  16.  
    09:45:

    The Survation poll suggests that English and Welsh residents feel Scotland gets a good deal out of the UK:

    • 61% do not think that North Sea oil justifies Scotland receiving more in public spending per head compared to 19% who do.
    • 74% think it is unfair that Scottish students do not pay tuition fees to Scottish universities while students from the rest of the UK do compared to only 13% who think it is fair.
    • This may explain why 40% of English & Welsh think Scotland would be worse off if it were independent compared to only 13% who think it would be better off.
     
  17.  
    09:42: Poll in rest of UK

    Polling organisation Survation tweets: Just 13% of English/Welsh voters want a Yes vote-62% preferring No- Only 12% say "happy" with a UK break up.

     
  18.  
    09:37: Glenn Campbell BBC Scotland news
  19.  
    09:32: Your Emails

    James from Edinburgh: "The No camp are clinging onto the idea of offering Scotland more powers. But look at the comments from MPs; No MP for any English, Welsh of N.Ireland constituency would vote to give more powers to Scotland which leaves their own constituencies without the same powers as Scotland. A no vote will be endless arguing in Westminster ending with Scotland getting nothing that is being promised now."

    Captain Eric Casson: "As stake holders of the UK, Northern Ireland, Wales, England & Scotland collectively make sacrifices for the common good. It is only by remaining a 'stake holder' of the UK that Scotland can help bring about the necessary changes for greater stability and prosperity for all of us. In making the sacrifice of remaining part of the UK and rejecting independence, it will avoid unnecessary instability & uncertainty, at a time that we can all ill afford it, either now or indeed at anytime in the future.

     
  20.  
    09:26: Queen's role questioned

    Yes campaigner Patrick Harvie has called for the role of the Queen in Scotland to be challenged after a Yes vote.

    patrick harvie

    The Green party's co-convener spoke after the Queen said she hopes "people will think very carefully about the future" ahead of the independence referendum.

    Mr Harvie told BBC Radio Scotland's Morning Call: "After a Yes vote, I'd be arguing for a head of state that has clearly defined functions, is democratically accountable to the people and is probably a great deal better value for money as well."

     
  21.  
    Send us your comments on 80295 09:21: Your Texts

    Gilles from Kintrye: "What needs to be remembered that a Yes vote will give a voice to the ordinary working people of Scotland."

    Andrew from Glasgow: "The real consequence of the vote is already kicking in. I have had to lay off seven men from a workforce of 12 due to orders being held back. The financial uncertainty is worrying the men with the money. The economy was recovering and now we are creating another crash for Scotland."

     
  22.  
    09:16: Last night's debate

    Last night in Stirling, the BBC's James Cook chaired a debate on the Scottish independence referendum.

    Stirling debate on 14 September

    On the panel in front of a studio audience were Douglas Alexander MP, Stewart Hosie MP, Ruth Davidson MSP and Elaine C Smith.

    You can watch it now on the BBC iPlayer.

     
  23.  
    09:12: West Lothian Question

    Former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Baker told Good Morning Scotland: "It will be totally unfair for them (Scottish MPs) to vote on domestic English issues when they can't vote on domestic issues in their own country. It is a bizarre relationship.

    "The West Lothian Question, named after that marvellous man Tam Dalyell, would have to be resolved. That is the inevitable consequence of when you start devolving power to constituent parts of the country."

     
  24.  
    09:07: Campaign 'fears'

    Labour MSP Anas Sarwar has criticised "negative" campaigning from the Yes team. He said: "We are talking to people about the importance of jobs and security. We are saying, don't allow fear and intimidation from the Yes campaign to prevent you from voting No."

     
  25.  
    09:01: Figurehead Queen

    Royal historian Kate Williams said the Queen's role in an independent Scotland would depend on the constitution which would be written after a Yes vote.

    "It is most likely she would be Queen of an independent Scotland in the same way as she is Queen of Australia or Canada. She is much more of a figurehead head of state."

     
  26.  
    08:53: Queen of Scots

    Royal historian Kate Williams told BBC Radio Four's Today programme the Queen is already the Queen of Scots and she has no rivals for the job.

    "She is descended from Mary, Queen of Scots and James I (VI of Scotland) and also Robert the Bruce, actually twice, through her father and her mother who was a very high Scots aristocrat. The Queen Mother, of course, always saw herself as Scottish throughout Elizabeth's early life."

    queen
     
  27.  
    08:48: Brown's 'federal solution'

    Lord Baker agreed with John Redwood (08:30) that devolution would be "lopsided".

    He added: "They (Scottish MPs) would be able to vote on English taxes if they stayed as members of the Westminster parliament. If I was still the member for Dorking, I would be very resentful that Scottish MPs who can't actually vote on their own tax in their own country would have the right to tax my constituents in Dorking.

    "Gordon Brown is right to talk of a federal solution. This is an unravelling of the United Kingdom, but it can be held together still with a federal solution."

     
  28.  
    08:45: Yes 'a disaster', No 'a nightmare'

    The former Conservative Home Secretary Lord Kenneth Baker has said a Yes would be a "disaster for Scotland" while a No "would be a nightmare for the rest of the country".

    Asked if Scotland would get more powers in the event of a No vote, Lord Baker told Good Morning Scotland: "They (Scotland) will certainly get more powers. My own view is that Yes would be a disaster for Scotland, No would be a nightmare for the rest of the country because it is quite clear that Alex Salmond is going to end up with more powers.

    "Each of the parties in Westminster have said they are prepared to give to the Scottish Parliament control over taxes - the Conservative Party says the whole of income tax, the Liberals go further with some other personal taxes and Labour wants income tax also to go.

    "So that body will determine the taxes paid by the Scots. This raises huge problems, because it will be determined by the Scottish Parliament so the Scottish MPs who sit in Westminster would have no say over the tax paid by their own constituents."

     
  29.  
    08:40: Plea to 'don't-knows'

    Former Foreign Secretary Lord Reid has said undecided voters could hold the key to the referendum result.

    lord reid

    He said: "Young people will feel the consequences of a Yes vote most keenly. And if you genuinely don't know, then vote No because the consequences to pensions and investment and the NHS from voting Yes are absolutely immense."

    Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also urged every single potential voter to have their say on Thursday.

    nicola sturgeon

    She said: "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. If in your heart and your head you want Scotland to be an independent country, then vote Yes because you may not get the chance again."

     
  30.  
    08:35: Cameron 'boost for Yes'

    Yes campaign chief executive Blair Jenkins has welcomed the return of prime minister David Cameron to the campaign trail. He said: "David Cameron being in Scotland can only be a good thing for the Yes campaign. It will help concentrate people's minds on why they need to vote Yes."

     
  31.  
    08:30: Redwood on more devolution

    John Redwood, the Conservative MP for Wokingham in Berkshire, is convinced there would have to be a "quid pro quo" before he would support giving further powers to the Scottish Parliament.

    john redwood

    He told Good Morning Scotland: "I think we have got lopsided devolution and it would be even more lopsided if we gave more powers to Scotland.

    "I think we want fair devolution, so I would say all the powers that are devolved to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh should be devolved to the English parliament in Westminster.

    "We are happy to do both jobs. It should be devolved to the Welsh Assembly in Wales. I don't think we should have first and second class devolution for Scotland and Wales and no devolution for England."

     
  32.  
    08:26: Morning Call BBC Radio Scotland

    REFERENDUM SPECIAL - 0850-1100 on BBC Radio Scotland

    Louise White puts your comments and questions on the Independence Referendum to Yes Scotland's Patrick Harvie and Better Together backer Jackson Carlaw. She will also discuss celebrity influence with actor Brian Cox and comedian Rory Bremner.

    Rory Bremner
     
  33.  
    08:20: Beckham says no

    Ex-England football star David Beckham has given his opinion on the Scottish independence referendum.

    Beckham has backed the "No" campaign, urging a vote to renew the UK's "historic bond".

    David Beckham

    He urged voters in Scotland not to ditch a union that was the "envy of the entire world".

    "What unites us is much greater than what divides us. Let's stay together," he said in an open letter released by the Better Together campaign.

     
  34.  
    08:14:

    The front pages of Scotland's newspapers on Monday

    bbc

    The Queen's comments on the independence referendum and the death of aid worker David Haines dominate Monday's newspaper front pages.

    The Herald, the Scottish Daily Mail and the Telegraph all focus on the monarch's remarks. She told a well-wisher near her Balmoral Estate in Aberdeenshire that she hopes "people will think very carefully about the future." The story also features in a number of other newspapers.

    With just days until Scotland goes to the polls, The Scotsman runs with comments made by First Minister Alex Salmond. He said the referendum was a "once in a lifetime opportunity" and that there would not be a second poll if Scots vote "No" on Thursday.

    The Daily Record focuses on the death of Mr Haines, with a tribute from his brother. The Scottish Sun challenges his killer, who has been referred to as Jihadi John, to reveal his identity.

     
  35.  
    08:09: Sillars on Brown's plan

    Reacting to Gordon Brown's plan for more devolved powers for Scotland in the event of a No vote, Yes Scotland's Jim Sillars is not convinced.

    He told Good Morning Scotland: "This would have to go through Westminster where the majority are in fact not Scots. Scotland cannot take more powers. They have to be given more powers.

    "The history shows you better take a count of what the English members of parliament think before you make any promises."

     
  36.  
    Text 80295 08:03: Referendum - Your Views

    Ross Auld, Edinburgh. David Cameron is a hypocrite. Tory cuts have ripped the soul out of Britain. With Labour and the Tories signed up to tens of billions of pounds more cuts in the next parliament, there will be little that's recognisably British left. Sovereign Scotland will put the decision-makers among us where we can hold them to account, giving us the tools to keep the institutions that are important to sovereign Scottish society.

    Alan Hook, Glasgow: I vote 'No' not just for Scotland's wealth and prosperity, but for that of her nearest neighbours - the remainder of the UK. How long do the foolish romantics who want independence think we'll prosper when our independence will lead to a lessening not just of our attractiveness in wealth and market terms but the rest of the UK's too?

    Stuart Humphreys: Whatever makes Scots believe their MPs will deliver? It's never ever happened before. Political men tell lies - it's what they do.

    Toby Bailey: The SNP keeps threatening not to take on Scotland's share of the UK debt if it does not get its way on the pound. But is that possible? I would have thought that the debt would be a subject for separation negotiations in the event of a Yes vote. And so the rest of the UK can simply insist on the debt being shared before agreeing to any separation.

     
  37.  
    07:54: Thoughts from Dumfries

    Good Morning Scotland is in Dumfries and Galloway today.

    It heard from two farmers on how they will vote.

    'Jock' Rome argued: "We are about to press the self-destruct button - not just for Scotland, but the UK. I say why? What problem are we trying to solve? Why are we trying to destruct the whole of the British Isles?"

    Meanwhile, Jim Walker said: "It is quite straight-forward. The best chance of making a success of a business, the best chance of making a success of a country, is if you run it yourself. There has been lots of scare tactics with the No campaign to suggest that couldn't be done but it is absolutely clear it could be done."

     
  38.  
    07:49: Salmond's business pitch Glenn Campbell BBC Scotland news

    First Minister Alex Salmond is going to spend time with business leaders, including Brian Souter, to try to reassure voters that a Yes vote would be a vote that leads to further prosperity. This is after a week where many businesses have come out to warn against a Yes vote and to suggest in some cases that they might move parts of their business to England if that's the way it goes.

     
  39.  
    07:44: Analysis Glenn Campbell BBC Scotland news

    It does appear to be a very close-run contest with the poll of polls from the recent half a dozen or so samples putting No on 51% and Yes on 49%.

    Both sides believe they can get over the winning line, both sides predicting victory. Yes - because they think their campaign has momentum. They talk about community affect, how workmates are persuading workmates. Friends persuading friends.

    On the No side, they argue there is a silent majority in Scotland who favour the country staying part of the United Kingdom and they think some of those who are leaning to Yes at this stage will go the polling booth and will pause and have second thoughts.

     
  40.  
    07:39: Poll surprise John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    This had looked like a subject on which, because Scotland had been arguing about it for 40 years, many people's views were fixed. Well apparently not so fixed as we thought.

     
  41.  
    07:35: No party loyalties John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    In all of this perhaps it is has been rather ignored that half of Scotland's population did not vote in the last Scottish Parliament election and the opinion polls are suggesting the vast majority of that group are going to vote this time.

    Therefore actually when the campaigns are thinking about how they appeal to voters in the last few days they need to bear in mind that probably the crucial audience does not consist of traditional Labour voters or people who have occasionally voted for the SNP but actually people who don't have very much in the way of party loyalties at all.

     
  42.  
    07:29: Devo Plus campaigner thinking Yes

    The head of a Devo Plus group has told the BBC the pro-Union parties need to do more to stop him voting Yes.

    Ben Thomson doesn't want a No vote to be mean no change. Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are all promising more powers in the event of a No vote.

    He told Good Morning Scotland: "What I want is something in the middle - a Devo Plus. That is what the public in Scotland, the majority, want. I've said whichever side gets closest to Devo Plus or proper federalism is where I will put my vote."

    Asked who he will vote for, he said he is thinking about voting Yes at the moment. "I'm waiting to see what will really happen, and if they (Better Together parties) can convince me they will deliver much greater powers after the referendum and a No vote," he added.

     
  43.  
    07:23: Poll analysis John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    If we look at the range of opinion polls that we have had during the course of the last week, and leave aside one opinion poll with a rather small sample size, the smallest Yes vote we have had is 46% - once you leave the undecideds to one side - the biggest is 51%. From which one concludes, it is close but the odds on the No side winning are better than the Yes side.

    But with a few days to go I don't think anybody would want to be putting too much money on the outcome, given the polls are suggesting it is not very far away from 50/50.

     
  44.  
    07:18: Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    They all publicly say they are confident of victory. I think the brutal truth is, they really, in their guts, do not know. We know it is going to be close.

    The only thing I would say is that those around Mr Cameron are clinging to the idea there are a lot of what they call "shy Nos". These are people who are not coming out at the moment and saying they are going to vote No but in the privacy of the booth will vote No.

    One of the things I found striking doing the Vox Pops in the streets is that the overwhelming majority of people that come up to us are Yes voters. It is very hard to get people to come out and say No. We know that cannot be the case because the vote is split half and half.

     
  45.  
    07:13: James Naughtie BBC News

    Let me give you a very interesting statistic. There are now 4,285,000 people registered to vote. The largest electorate ever in Scotland. In the last month 118,000 people got in just before the registration deadline.

    Why?

    This is not a referendum for the chattering classes. This is a referendum for the "swithering" classes.

    Swithering is a Scots word for an undecided state. It means to be uncertain or perplexed about what to do or choose.

     
  46.  
    07:08: Analysis from Dumfries and Galloway John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    This is the area which is closest to the border with England. This is the area which will be most affected. Unsurprisingly, this is an area with quite high links with England - quite high levels of people who have moved across the border.

    This is an area where quite a lot of people, relatively speaking, are inclined to regard themselves as British. This is an area where the SNP do tend to do relatively badly.

    We have had a couple of opinion polls, of the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway together done by ComRes. That has confirmed our expectations which is this is an area where the Yes vote looks relatively low - maybe it is going to be no more than around 30%.

    These are people for whom England is part of their daily lives. These are people whose concern about the border is going to be greatest. These are people for whom an independent Scotland has never had the kind of resonance even in the central belt.

    • Professor Curtice was speaking on Good Morning Scotland in a section of the programme looking at the intentions of voters in Dumfries and Galloway.
     
  47.  
    07:02: Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    There is little precious new to say in terms of new facts, new arguments, new policies, indeed what is striking as we enter the last few days is the symmetry between all the main players in this campaign in terms of the pitch they are making, which is to stress the finality, the irrevocable nature of this decision.

    So, Alex Salmond says "it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, seize it, it is not going to come around again", in the hope that will embolden Scots to grasp this moment.

    David Cameron, who will be in Scotland again today, will draw different conclusions. He will say "do not use this vote as protest", do not use it to protest against what he called the 'effing Tories', "do not use it to protest against austerity or the bedroom tax or whatever". "It is much more than this, this is forever, there is no going back", he will say.

     
  48.  
    06:57:

    First Minister Alex Salmond and Prime Minister David Cameron are due to hit the Scottish campaign trail ahead of Thursday's independence vote.

    Mr Salmond is to join business leaders to argue that a "Yes" vote would help to grow Scotland's economy.

    Mr Cameron will be in Scotland to give a speech arguing there are strong "head and heart" reasons to vote "No".

     
  49.  
    06:55: Steven Brocklehurst BBC Scotland news website

    Welcome to today's live coverage of the referendum. We will be trying to fit in all the things we see and hear from across Scotland throughout the day.

     

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