First Minister’s snappish response to Prime Minister betrays stress

First Minister Alex Salmond has sent perhaps a premature response to Prime Minister David Cameron’s refusal to enter the debate between Scottish residents on the future of Scotland.

Mr Salmond had asked the Prime Minister to take part in a head-to-head debate with himself – but as David Cameron correctly pointed out: ‘You want the independence debate to be an argument between you and me. the Scottish Government and UK Government, the SNP and Conservative Party – in fact anything except what it really is about.

‘Nor is your argument with the rest of the United Kingdom, it is with the people in Scotland.’

Mr Salmond fired off a narky response on Friday, which lacked consistency of argument and which had an immature tone of the street-corner scrap about it, telling the PM either to front up ‘or butt out of the debate for good’, going on to say that ‘the case for a head-to-head between us is unanswerable. You should reconsider.’

The sheer rattledness of this communication tells a tale of the First Minister’s state of mind. Like an ageing champion in cage fighting he wanted to pin the fate of the nation on a bare-fist show down with a high-profile but inappropriate opponent.

He then felt wrongfooted when the Prime Minister pointed out the inappropriateness of the proposal – and got snappy, in what has all the appearance of a missive sent when he had escaped from his minders.

This stunt would have been a tactical mistake in any case. The First Minister is nothing like as intellectually nimble as he once was. His substitute for mental agility these days is simply to up the volume and shout down the opposition.

We have not heard one single compelling argument for independence from the First Minister throughout this entire campaign – not one original touchstone that has set the campaign alight.

In his letter, Mr Salmond accuses the Prime Minister: ‘You continue to direct your government and its taxpayer-funded resources to make the case against an independent Scotland’. He chooses to remain blind to the fact that he is doing exactly the same from Holyrood in ‘directing his government and its taxpayer-funded resources’ for an independent Scotland.

Some time ago, For Argyll submitted a Freedom of Information request to both governments – which we published – asking for details and costs of the deployment of civil servants’ time and other resources to researching and reporting on aspects of independence from their separate perspectives.

Each – eventually [and the Scottish response was by far the slowest, beyond the legal limit] – refused to disclose the information on more or less similar grounds: that it would take too long to put the information together.

All that is certain is that the taxpayer is funding the whole shebang.

Success or failure, we will never know what this entire adventure has cost – but we will have to pay for it.

Try it the other way around

The best way to test the validity of the First Minister’s approach and response here is to imagine if things had happened the other way around.

Supposing Mr Cameron, as UK Prime Minister, was insisting on the right to debate with Mr Salmond on Scottish independencc – to be decided by the vote of those living in Scotland.

Imagine Mr Salmond’s response to that.

Yet this is actually what he has invited the UK Prime Minister to do.

This issue will not be decided in a cage fight to the death. It will be decided on whether, before they sign Scotland into a one way ticket out of the UK, every voter pauses to consider the sustainability, the affordablity of the prospectus before us.

We are not voting for independence on 18th September next year.

We are voting for or against this particular prospectus for independence.

If we are not doing that, what has been the point of the promises made?

These promises include but exceed keeping the Queen, using the pound, staying in NATO, kicking out Trident, using British Passports and Driving Licences, keeping all our universal benefits, taking the Royal Mail in Scotland into public ownership, reforming land ownership and spending on pensions we cannot afford to underwrite on the scale to which the Government has now committed?

Whatever our eventual aspirations, a responsible vote can only be for ‘Yes’ if this prospectus on offer can be shown to be viable – against robust scrutiny.

If someone asked you to walk out of your house for good and go and stand in a field to wait for a salesman to wrap a new house around you, at least as good if not better than the one you’ve got – would you walk? Would you throw away the keys? That would be some salesman.

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12 Responses to First Minister’s snappish response to Prime Minister betrays stress

  1. You are not voting against “this particular prospectus” – please listen: THERE IS NO OTHER PROSPECTUS- THERE WILL NOT BE ANY OTHER. Probably not in my lifetime anyway! Your statements only make sense if you are actually against independence. And stop harping on about Salmond. Salmond is not the SNP and he is not the anointed king of Scotland. Many others have put forward perfectly valid arguments for independence – try a bit of wider reading!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 21

    • Anyone would have to be daft to vote for something they knew could not work; voting for a government that had proved incapable of coming up with anything better in the 7 years they’ve had from 2007 to 2014 – and that would still be the government that prepared the country for an unachievable independence [that is nothing like independent] – WITHIN 18 MONTHS?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 23 Thumb down 13

    • You’re right. There wont be another prospectus, which is a real shame because this one is a complete disappointment. It’s being hailed as vote for independence yet the success of the YES campaign would see Scotland even less independent than it is now as it would be indoctrinated even deeper in the EU and have less of a say – (not more, as Salmond has repeatedly claimed). The population of member states in the EU gives that member a “voting weight” which is affects the power of each vote (it’s not as simple as 1 vote=1 vote). Scotland would have a voting weight of around 2% compared to the UK’s voting weight of 8.4%. Removing power from Westminster and handing it straight over to Brussels is NOT independence – it’s just a change of master. That basis alone is enough to win my “NO” vote next year.

      I think the problem is that everyone wants to hear what these politicians have to say in playground style “square-go” but all that does is leave the real questions unanswered. The information is out there for you to read. Don’t listen to anyone (including me). get out there and read the facts for yourself and then make an informed decision on the day and stop fannying about trying to get 1-up on the other team.

      Good luck to us all ;)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  2. On re-reading the article above I must add that I am appalled by the mixture of personal attacks and innuendo against Salmond and sheer prejudice and narrow-mindedness of newsie. This is trolling on a grand scale!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 29

  3. Who would vote to stay part of a state with capital borrowing levels akin to the Weimar republic before Adolf got his feet under the table?

    Read Moneyweek: the End of Britain.

    This all stems from a greedy neoliberal culture driven by Thatcher and continued by Blair and Brown.

    Just wait till interests rates start to climb.

    High loan to value mortgages in the south of England will be unsustainable and we’ll suffer big time.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 18

  4. You want it to be Uk vs Scotland ? Fine give the rest of us a vote. Hmmm then again that would guaranty Scottish independence or rather Scottish expulsions fromthe U.K

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6

  5. This blog has just been put on because LH does not like the way the Cameron Fearty blog has gone pear shape on her.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 13

    • Yes, it does look like that – maybe this one will go the same way – give it time!

      I think she’s been recruiting some clickers this time though!

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 11

  6. “He then felt wrongfooted when the Prime Minister pointed out the inappropriateness of the proposal”
    Our First Minister would have known fine and well Cameron would knock back his offer. Cameron seen this as the lesser of two evils, he and his cause stood more to gain by refusing to participate in the debate. It was a damage limitation exercise and probably the correct choice for him but does not reflect well.
    Had it been the other way around Salmond would have been pilloried, difference is Alex Salmond has Scotland’s interests at heart, can we say the same about this yellow bellied Prime Minister the Scottish electorate most certainly did not elect?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

  7. Newsie, you seriously think that the man who runs the UK should be replaced in televised debates by his Darling, a man who runs nothing?

    You have to be either kidding us or trolling us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

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