In a phone call to each of Scotland’s 4.29 million registered voters today, Better Together leader, Alistair Darling, has announced that tomorrow’s planned referendum vote on Scottish independence has been called off.
Speaking directly to every single one of those eligible to vote in tomorrow’s historic election, Mr Darling blamed a number of factors for the last minute cancellation, including technical difficulties with counting machines, staff illness and – in one instance – “a big fire”.
“I literally got a text from your local polling station staff a minute ago, saying they can’t come in tomorrow because they’ve got the flu,” Mr Darling told one would-be-voter. “It’s a real shame, but what can you do, right?”
Although disappointed by the news, many remain philosophical about the dramatic development in what what has been a passionately fought campaign.
“Yes, I was looking forward to using my vote,” one Glasgow resident told us, “but apparently the whole polling station went up in flames earlier in the day, so that’s that, I suppose.”
She continued, “On the upside, Alistair has offered to personally go and get my messages for me in the morning, so I wouldn’t have to go into town and see the damage for myself, which was very nice of him I thought.”
One young first-time voter was less impressed by Darling’s call, though. “It was a bit weird,” he told us. “He just kept crying all the time and saying he was sorry over and over again. He sounded really tired or something.”
According to some reports, when pressed for a revised date for the vote, Mr Darling replied, “Sorry, there’s someone at the door,” before hanging up.
Mr Darling’s phone bill – which is expected to run into the hundreds of thousands of pounds – is being funded thanks to a generous donation from Harry Potter author, JK Rowling, and a conglomerate of English-based Scottish landowners.
We called Mr Darling for a comment earlier, but it was engaged.