Cameron on the back foot on independence referendum choices

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, was said today (19th February) now to realise that he cannot busk the Scottish independence referendum with vague promises of more powers to a devolved Scotland-  if it first chooses to stay in the UK. The failure to understand that the status quo will not do, even as an interim option, demonstrates an abnormally narrow information base and a lack of strategic intelligence. We have said that if the UK was seriously determined to maintain a uion, it could have preempted the matter at any time since the SNP came to power in Scotland in 2007 – not by messing around with Calman Commissions and Scotland Bills but by calling a constitutional conference of the four home nations. This would have gone against the British preference for reacting rather than for being proactive – born of the conviction that if you do nothing problems often just go away. But seizing the initiative to create change, to admit that the old arrangement isn’t fit for post colonial self-confidence and, post-Internet, a far more informed and expressive electorate would, if genuine, have been exciting. This would have created a counter static crackle to the buzz coming off the independence debate, whether or not people eventually vote for it. But it’s a long way too late for such a large initiative now – one that would have brought the home nations together in the strength of a collective reinvention of an old relationship. Elvis has left the building. All the Prime Minister can do now that he has belatedly realised he really has a fight on his hands, is some sort of a make-do-and-mend fudge that is itself intrinsically British. Think of the way we ‘reformed’ the House of Lords. We have long said that if the union is seen as valuable then it has to be seen as worth fighting for. The notion of independence brings frissons of excitement and of terror in equal measure – and that thrill is electrifying the country. Exercising choice – informed choice – is a more complex and interesting business than saying either yay or nay to a single proposition. But where is the choice? And does the current Government have the imagination and the inspiration to make it an exciting choice? The body language over the past week has been very interesting – in the meetings first between Alex Salmond, the First Minister and Michael Moore, the Scottish Secretary and then between the First Minister and the Prime Minister, David Cameron. Michael Moore was clearly relaxed, interested, engaged – appreciative of the First Minister’s manoeuvering capacity. Cameron was defensive, stiff, conscious mainly of trying to appear authoritative and instead seeming uncomfortable and unreal. Moore has been becoming an interesting politician, easy in his role and with a mind of his own – as when he said in an interview that he was not a unionist but a federalist. Naturally the infant spinners in Downing Street got busy and the Scottish Secretary had to ease the sheets on that tack – but from then on, everyone knew where he was. It would be interesting to know what Moore would do to open up a federal alternative to the present paternalist union. We are unlikely to find out.

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15 Responses to Cameron on the back foot on independence referendum choices

  1. Can you please reformat the text if this article. It’s one huge paragraph which does nothing to show case it’s contents.


    Incidentally thought the FM was thrown onto the political back foot this week. Sandwiched between Donald trumps dislike of windmill, the devo max card and his inability to answer such basic questions as taxation, defence and the oil fund.

    Incidentally which Norway has achieved through some of the highest taxation levels in the world. Welcome to the democratic socialist world – £8 for a beer.

    I welcome informed comment.

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    • If your man in Oslo is really there he cannot fail to be aware that although Norwegians live in a country with a very high cost of living they also enjoy a very high standard of living and, generally speaking, are content with their lot. The gap between rich and poor is far less extreme than in the UK and the standard of social and medical services is well in advance of anything that we may aspire to. Roads,ferries and other transport infrastructure-bridges and tunnels – is of a very high standard although they have much more severe weather patterns and terrain to contend with.They manage to protect their fishing and rural communities and have an adequate but not excessive defence budget.
      Alcohol is taxed highly as a social priority and drunkeness is rarely encountered.If the price of beer is really your priority perhaps you would not like it!

      Incidentally, with their careful management of their Oil Fund the Norwegians have a fair bit of money in the bank for rainy days as well.

      They certainly have fewer windfarms than neighbouring Sweden and Denmark but their hydro electric capacity is so well exploited that they are able to export most of their North Sea Gas to others, including the UK.

      The crucial factor is, however, that Norway – a small nation of around 5 million people on the edge of Europe is independent and recently celebrated 100 years of self determination.

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  2. “Can you please reformat the text if this article. It’s one huge paragraph which does nothing to show case it’s contents.

    Thank you”


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  3. Basically it looks as if ,yet again,a Tory has tried that old jam tomorrow trick.

    It worked in 1979 but more fool us if we believe it now.

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    ALSO, if you want to be kept up to date with details about the March and Rally, who is speaking/performing etc – then please click the link below also.

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  5. Indeed the cost of living is exceptionally high. It cost me 160 nok the other night for 8 litres of milk and a loaf of bread. In today’s exchange rates that about £18!!!!!

    Healthcare child care and education for children is second to none, The Norwegian government run protectionist policies for it’s agricultural industries. Remember the butter shortage in Oslo at Christmas. In short high taxation allows the Norwegians to develop and maintain their oil fund. If an independent Scotland were to develop it’s own oil fund then the additional £1 billion per year saved would have to be raised in tax.

    Incidentally alchol is exceptional highly priced that’s why Norwegians tend to have forspiel before they go outie get tanked up at home then go out and finish up. Public drunkenness is not that socially unacceptable in fact a saturady night in Oslo is not too different to a saturadays night in Aberdeen or Glasgow.

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    • I thought the Huff Post had pretentions to credibility? – and it has offers from Waitrose (dirt cheap by Nog standards) in pride of place, so – recommending this stuff to us – you’d better be careful if you venture anywhere near the centre of Helensburgh.

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  6. I’ll be back in Helensburgh middle of March

    Recommend I did nothing of the sort though I must admit the close trade relations with china are a boon for Scottish seafood.

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