I've read Eck's speech and it's a good speech.
Salmond is a good platform speaker but even his closest friends and allies would concede privately that, before today, his most recent efforts had given concern as to whether he was losing his mojo. Today he was back to top form. Credit where it is due.
It is worthy of more wider consideration however as to whether platform speeches, although regarded universally among the political class as an essential part of "the leader's" tool kit are really as important as we (all) think. The best two major Party leaders of recent times in delivering a platform speech (Kinnock and Hague) never won an election between them whereas the most electorally successful, Thatcher and Blair, never really spoke from the platform to the nation (as opposed to their Parties) in a way that was truly memorable.
I followed Eck's speech on twitter from the terraces at New Greenhill Road, where I suspect that I was the only person present more interested in that than in whether Rangers could really be losing at Brechin. Tomorrow, the 2% of the population really engaged day to day with political debate will pour over the analysis of the speech in the Sunday Herald and Scotland and Sunday but when the "don't knows" finally make up their mind ten months from now I doubt if a single person, for or against, will attribute their final choice to what Eck said today. It would have been an astonishing achievement for today's speech to have been a game changer and, good though it was, today's speech changed nothing . It simply confirmed the best argument that can be made for freedom/separation (delete to taste). And it confirmed, in a different way, that this argument is not enough.
The real reason that we are waiting three and a half years from the 2011 Scottish General Election until the referendum is that in their heart of hearts the Nationalists knew that they couldn't win without "something turning up". And, logically, the longer they waited, the more chance there was that this "something" might turn up. But, increasingly time is running out on that. The remaining hope is that the Tories might look like winning in May 2015, but I suspect that will be no more a possibility in September 2014 than it is today. Even then, I suspect that this has already been factored in by those who might vote Yes or No based on that potential outcome.
To be fair, I have met one solitary person who said that they might vote Yes if they were certain that the Tories would win the 2015 General Election but in September 2014 even the most optimistic Tory will not be certain of that. And even the one person who did express that opinion in Lefty/liberal company was more than outweighed by others weighing in to argue that they would rather have Thatcher, never mind Cameron, than Salmond. Sorry to disappoint any Nationalist readers but a very large number of people on the left really don't like your leader at all.
Yet the prospect of a Tory Government in 2015 remains the straw to which the Nationalists cling. For it is increasingly clear that they are incapable of changing the game by their own efforts. That was the real message from Eck today. "This is as good an argument as we can make". And yet, outwith the ranks of the faithful, it is patently not an argument that is sufficiently strong to convince.
My money remains on 28%.