Scotland

Scottish independence: Campaigns gather for final push

Yes and No balloons Image copyright EPA
Image caption Campaigners made their final pitch to voters on Wednesday

On the final day of campaigning before the independence referendum, Yes Scotland and Better Together were out in force to deliver their respective messages.

After two years, this was the last chance to argue that their vision was the better one for Scotland. A final plea to the electorate.

First up was the pro-independence campaign, who chose the steps of Glasgow Royal Concert Hall to gather with their final day's slogan: Let's do this.

"Yes" has prided itself on being a broad coalition, more than just the SNP, and that was something the campaign wanted to get across.

Yes Scotland chairman Dennis Canavan called the movement "the biggest grassroots campaign Scotland has ever seen." In the crowd, joining the former Labour MP, were SNP members, Green activists, socialists, Liberal Democrats, comedians and musicians.

Many of the diverse faces we have seen throughout this campaign were here - Elaine C Smith, Deacon Blue's Ricky Ross, Green co-leader Patrick Harvie.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Yes campaigners gathered in central Glasgow

To wild cheers, Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins said he was "very confident we are going to get a Yes majority tomorrow." But there would be no complacency: campaigners would be "working hard for every vote between now and the closing of the polling stations tomorrow", he added.

If anyone was feeling weary after the longest political campaign Scotland has ever seen, they were not showing it. This was an energetic crowd, out to convey their message on the eve of the big day, with chants of 'Aye we will' and 'Yes we can'. The only thing that threatened to drown them out, ironically, was the music of a nearby bagpiper.

A few miles down the road, there was an equally boisterous crowd gathering in Maryhill for Better Together's final rally.

The big guns were all there - Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling, the leaders of the three main opposition parties at Holyrood. The crowd was dotted with key figures from the "No" side, from Labour MP Jim Murphy to Better Together's campaign director, Blair McDougall. And they had their own celebrity glamour in the form of comedian Eddie Izzard, who told the assembled crowd that he agreed with Bob Geldof: "No can be a positive word".

Image copyright AP
Image caption Gordon Brown spoke passionately about Scotland's future

Speech after speech was met with standing ovation. A shipyard worker spoke passionately about the future of the industry on the Clyde, a pensioner about his pension, a first-time voter about "confidently voting No". When Mr Darling spoke, a member of the audience shouted out "we love you".

But it was for former Prime Minister Gordon Brown that the packed crowd saved their biggest cheers. He worked supporters into a frenzy as he spoke of his vision of social justice within the United Kingdom and listed the risks "unaddressed by the SNP". Fired up, passionate, almost evangelical in his delivery, this could be Mr Brown's most powerful speech on the campaign trail so far.

After all the words, it will come down to the simple act of putting a cross in a box for millions of Scots on Thursday.

But if the excitement of the two campaigns on Wednesday is anything to go by, voters will make their choice with a spring in their step.