Opinions differ on whether Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson was wise to push her party to set out a clear position on Brexit – to cancel the whole project and revoke Article 50, if elected. Some fear it will only further polarise an already bitter rift in the national mood. Others suggest it could help the Lib Dems make serious inroads with remain supporting Labour voters confused by that party’s stance.

The Guardian

Andrew Rawnsley reminds Lib Dems supporters that David Steel told them to prepare for Government, and Vince Cable spoke of becoming prime minister. It never happened for those leaders, he warns. But he does concede a degree of momentum for Swinson as Tory defectors switch to join them. “It is the signal that it sends to the electorate that really matters. The defection of liberal Tories such as [Sam] Gyimah and Sarah Wollaston sends a message to moderate Conservative voters that they ought to be making the same journey to the Lib Dems,” he says.

Rawnsley is uncertain how voters will respond to the Article 50 commitment. “This sounds fantastical, anti-democratic and a gamble. There will be fervent Remainers who feel exceedingly queasy about overturning the 2016 referendum without holding another one.”

Swinson secured the leadership by a large margin but is still a ‘blank page’ for many voters, he adds. With the party’s poll standings healthy but not sensational much will depend on how she performs in the crucible of a general election campaign.

The Scotsman

Lesley Riddoch argues Swinson has a tough task to “ride two political horses at once.” South of the border she needs to convince Tory remainers to switch in the hope of blocking Brexit. But in Scotland, success depends partly on how many Brexit supporting Tories are willing to back the Lib Dems to help stave off a second independence referendum.

“”Will moderate Scots warm to a party captured by the ‘wet’ remnants of the English Tory and Labour parties?... will Brexit and Remain supporting unionists be able to sink their difference and find common cause with the Lib Dems?

“That may be one circle to many for even Swinson to square,” Riddoch concludes.

Other columnists focus on fours. Also in the Scotsman, Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine believes the Government’s Operation Yellowhammer papers will galvanise opinions towards remain. “Four syllables that used to conjure up heartwarming images of pretty birds or countryside have now taken on a more sinister, almost frightening connotation,” she says. She is confident a fresh referendum would see voters say ‘stop it now’.

“The best contingency planning? Don’t do it, Don’t put the country in harm’s way.”

The National

New columnist Ruth Wishart has a four letter word she thinks is missing from the Brexit debate: hope.

Unsurprisingly, she argues that Scottish independence can offer that factor. “Five years ago the Better Together coalition played very much on our fears rather than our hopes.”

In the US Barack Obama ran a hugely effective campaign based on hope and positivity, she points out. “The UK is at a dangerous tipping point. But that danger may persuade a critical mass of Scottish voters that they have the chance to jump of f the Boris bus before it takes them over the cliff edge.

“Just don’t tell them this time to hope for the best. Tell them that the best is yet to come.”

The Times

It is the four UK regions which concern Libby Purves who is damning about the BBC’s attempts to escape the metropolitan bubble.

“The BBC belongs to the whole nation, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland get their own headquarters,” she writes, “but for the corporation’s leaders there is justified guilt about that bit in the middle: England.”

Purves is scathing about the BBC’s efforts to get away from that country’s capital. “One of the most spiteful things you can call a producer is ‘Londoncentric’,” she claims.” Efforts to make more programming in Salford or cover news from Newcastle or Liverpool have been cack-handed, she adds. “Londoncentricity is not easy to cure, for all the Maxine Peakes, Alan Bennetts and cop show cameras drooling over picturesque moors.

“I do know the answer doesn’t like in sending London stars to Salford for a quiz, or plonking a Today presenter in Oldham, with London pulling the strings.”