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Salmond: No campaign is in serial blunder mode

The No campaign is in "serial blunder mode" as momentum continues to build for a Yes vote, according to the First Minister.

Alex Salmond said support for independence was "gaining ground every day" on a visit to Dundee, where he met voters outside the grounds of the city's rival football clubs.

Campaigning between Dundee's Dens Park and Dundee United's neighbouring Tannadice stadium, Mr Salmond said the Yes side was winning the hearts and minds of Scots.

He hit out at Better Together's latest series of adverts, which bear slogans such as ''I love my family, I'm saying no thanks''.

The First Minister said: "The No campaign are in a serial blunder mode after that incredible, astonishing, patronising broadcast last week.

"Whether they are No supporters, Yes supporters - everybody loves their family, regardless of politics.

"You shouldn't suggest, or mean to suggest, that people either love or don't love their family for a political view. That's just daft.

"It sounds like another major gaffe from the No campaign."

Mr Salmond condemned any bad behaviour in the debate but called on Labour MP Jim Murphy to withdraw his claims of organised intimidation by Yes supporters, dismissing them as "ridiculous".

He said: "I think if Jim Murphy comes bawling and shouting in a street corner near you, keep on with your shopping and the rest of us will get on with this carnival atmosphere that everybody's enjoying.

"Today I met hundreds, probably thousands of people, and not a cross word was spoken, it was absolutely fantastic. This is the atmosphere that we're conducting the campaign in.

"This is an amazing thing that's happening. We're heading to an 80% poll. I've been at two places today looking at queues of people registering to vote. I've never experienced anything like this, it's wonderful."

He added: "I believe we have the momentum and I think that momentum will continue."

Commenting on Prime Minister David Cameron's admission that he is "nervous" about the vote, Mr Salmond said: "He's right to be nervous because the Yes campaign is gaining ground. It's gaining ground every day.

"I think a lot of people in Scotland will get a fair deal of satisfaction from the nervous position of the UK Prime Minister.

"I'm not nervous because I'm in the hands of the people of Scotland, and who better to be in the hands of?

"I think David Cameron's anxiety comes from being in the hands of the people of Scotland, from his perspective that's not the most comfortable position he's ever been in."

Mr Salmond is to hold a series of public meetings and campaigning events across Scotland this week.

He added: "Scotland is one of the richest countries in the world, wealthier per head than France, the UK and Japan.

"Because the facts are now out there, more and more people are waking up to the opportunity of a lifetime from a Yes vote because we'll have the security of Scotland's wealth and vast resources plus control of economic policy that puts job-creation in Scotland first.

"As people find their questions are being answered and realise the opportunities that will be available in an independent Scotland, we know undecided voters are coming over to Yes in big numbers.

"But, in addition, increasing numbers of people who had previously said they would be voting No are now saying Yes.

"This campaign is about winning the hearts and minds of people across Scotland - and it is the Yes campaign which is succeeding in doing that."

Meanwhile, former chancellor Alistair Darling has insisted the independence referendum is not a test of Scottishness, but a test of common sense.

The Better Together leader claimed the best way to change Scotland was to remain in the United Kingdom, but for Holyrood to get new powers to redistribute wealth from the richest to the poorest.

He spoke out as the pro-UK campaign launched a new series of billboard adverts aimed at urging undecided voters to reject independence on September 18.

The posters have slogans such as "I love my family, I'm saying no thanks" and "I love Scotland, I'm saying no thanks".

Mr Darling spoke of his love for his country, saying that was why he wanted "Scotland to be strong".

He insisted: "This poll is not a test of our Scottishness - it is a test of common sense.

"If you vote Yes on September 18 and Yes wins, you won't be any more Scottish on September 19. None of us will be. But you will have made Scotland that bit poorer."

Mr Darling, addressing an audience in Greenock, Inverclyde, said being in the UK had been "no barrier at all to Scotland becoming wealthy and prosperous".

But he said: "What I think is wrong about Scotland is how that wealth is distributed.

"That is why I want Scotland to change. That is why I want the Scottish Parliament to be stronger. That is why the Scottish Parliament will have the power to redistribute wealth from rich to poor."

He stressed his support for the restoration of the 50p income tax band for the country's highest earners but said the SNP opposed this, adding: "We can change Scotland for the better, without throwing away the advantages we gain from being part of the UK."

Mr Darling said Scotland should be a "land of opportunity and prosperity, a land of fairness and equality".

He continued: "That is why this referendum isn't a test of patriotism. It is a test of judgment. What is best for Scotland?

"These adverts today speak of the decision all of us are making. We all love our country. We want what is best for our children. We want what is best for our family.

"Our case to those who are undecided is that we believe the best future, for the love of our families, for the love of our children, for the love of our country, is as a proud and prosperous part of the United Kingdom."

He said: "I don't believe that breaking away from the UK is in the best interests of Scots and Scotland."

The former chancellor said one million jobs in Scotland relied on the links with the rest of the UK, adding: "I want a million more opportunities like those for Scotland, not to put those jobs at risk.

"I want to change Scotland - but for the better. And I don't think you do that taking away all the security and opportunity we have by being in the United Kingdom.

"You don't start solving Scotland's problems by creating a new, enormous, fundamental series of economic problems we wouldn't be able to solve as well as we can today.

"Every journey might start with a single step. But I don't want the next step in Scotland's journey to be a giant leap backwards from which we wouldn't recover. And I know that the majority of Scots agree with me."

He called on the "quiet majority" of voters to take pride in rejecting independence, saying: "By voting No they are voting for Scotland. By voting No we are voting for a better way to change Scotland than the nationalists' offer."

But the posters were criticised by one man at the event, who said they would not convince voters in poorer parts of the country to vote for the UK.

The man said: "These new posters will not do the trick. I say that because the battle, the outcome of this referendum, will depend on getting undecided voters in council estates."

Mr Darling told him: "There are a number of people at the moment who have still got to make their minds up and I'm saying 'by voting No you are doing the right thing by Scotland'."

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