US Democrats should learn the lessons of Scotland's Independence Referendum

If the Democrats win the US election convincingly, they should learn the lessons of the Scottish Independence Referendum of 2014.

It seems to me now, looking back, that the Brexit campaign was lost on the morning of September 19, 2014. That was when victory was declared for the side which fought to keep Scotland within the UK. It was the morning when triumphant Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and his Chancellor George Osborne walked onto the steps of Downing Street - and stabbed the Labour Party who had fought alongside them in the back.

The ‘No’ campaign was fought and won largely by the Labour Party. The Tories, who had little support in Scotland, largely stayed out of it. The party political speech that Cameron gave that morning with an eye on the next General Election was the start of the unravelling of the coalition that could have swung the ‘Remain’ vote.

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Has England Lost Its Way?



'Yon shadow mile o' spire and vane'. Edinburgh, photo Rob Bruce.

“I do not know much about gods, but I think that the river is a strong, brown god.” I always think of TS Eliot’s line about the Thames whenever I cross it.

The surface of the water is calm. You get no sense from looking at it of the political earthquake that is shaking the UK. That’s the difference between a political earthquake and a real one. You can’t see it, but that doesn't mean it isn’t happening or that its effects are unimportant.

After some time away, I am back in the UK, making the familiar journey from London to Edinburgh by train, the morning after a party.

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US Election: Some Hard Lessons from Brexit for the Democrats.

Brexit continues to lie untouched in the dog’s breakfast bowl, no more appetising in the cold light of day than it was when things started to smell bad on the night of June 23. Hard Brexit, soft Brexit, Brexit over easy on rye, nobody's quite sure what they ordered. The Scots aren’t planning to shut up and eat what someone else requested on their behalf, that’s clear. Alex Salmond said recently there will be a new independence referendum in 2018.

The US is facing a similar binary choice with one indigestible option on the menu: here are some lessons from a still-suffering Remain supporter.

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The Real Reason Trump Didn't Attack Bill Clinton

Hillary Clinton referenced “my husband’ in the first debate the other night - this was unusual, and a critic quoted in the New York Times said it was a remark that "put women back years" but it could be a good move. Although most commentators felt she won the debate hands down; the polling in the swing states is still close. If what people like about Donald Trump is that he’s a real person and they see her as a patronising know-all, then her long marriage to Bill shows Hill in a different light.

The political class have never forgiven Bill. You can see them having flashbacks when his name is mentioned. The crudity of the sex scandal that engulfed the White House during his presidency is all too vivid in their memories. The embarrassment, the humiliation that they felt as the world’s media swarmed into Washington, holding their hands over their mouths to mask their giggles, still surfaces easily.

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Turn out will be high in the US election, predicts senior political journalist Emily Rooney

“Turnout will be huge. It will be what it was the first time Obama was elected,” political journalist Emily Rooney predicted at  a women’s forum in Boston’s Beacon Hill this week. But the former political director at Fox News would not be drawn who will win the increasingly close race.

Fellow media commentator Margery Eagan said she is concerned by the possibility of a Trump win: “I don’t want to be hiding under my desk the way I was when I was five years old, worrying about a nuclear war.”

Clinton, Eagan said “knows everything”. But she “described Trump as a “magnetic’ figure, whose comments constantly “disrupt the news cycle”.

“Honestly, during the primaries if you were in your kitchen and Trump came on and made a speech you might stand there and listen, because he’s magnetic, he’s mesmerising, he says outrageous things and that’s part of what has taken him where he is today.”

She said “People forget that the media is a business and Trump has  been a bonanza for the cable channels”.

Read more: Turn out will be high in the US election, predicts senior political journalist Emily Rooney