17 February, 2012
Scotland the brave
Nevertheless, it seems that that is what a lot of them want. My belief is that they should be allowed to have it.
In the meantime we are witness to the worst of the dark arts of politics. Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party and leader of the Scottish Parliament, is as canny a political operator as the world has seen since Talleyrand. Yesterday David Cameron said that if the Scots voted 'no' in the proposed referendum they might be allowed a further measure of self-governance, known as 'devo-max'. Strangely enough, devo-max, a sort of independence-lite, would, being a changing of the rules of the UK, be voted on by everyone in the UK, whereas independence would just be voted on by the Scots.
Mr Salmond likened this to an offer by Sir Alex Douglas Home in the 1979 referendum, that they would somehow get more independence if they didn't vote for it. He demands details of what they would get. Salmond is calling Cameron's bluff: he seems to win at every turn.
Or does he? Is Mr Cameron playing an even darker game? If Scotland became independent, the Labour Party, easily the biggest rival to Cameron's Conservatives, would be finished in the UK, since it depends on Scotland for its support. Cameron's party would be what Harold Wilson said of Labour in the 1970s: 'the natural party of government'.
Is Cameron looking as if he is doing his best in an heroic battle to keep the UK together, only to lose it in the final struggle and be in power for the rest of his life? Is that what's going on?
Unfortunately only a couple of hundred people in the UK really care about the answer to this question, and I am not one of them.