THE BLOG

Too Little, Too Late - If Scotland Goes, Westminster Is to Blame

15/09/2014 12:15 BST | Updated 12/11/2014 10:59 GMT

In just under a week, historians of modern Britain may be licking their lips at the greatest geopolitical shake-up in recent UK history.

They'll probably start with the underlying, necessary causes. In other words, why do some Scots desire an end to over 300 years of unity with England? The usual reasons will be covered; taxation, limited freedoms, a feeling of misrepresentation and an inherent dislike of the Conservative party. Frankly, that might be the easy part.

If Scotland goes independent they'll wonder, what went wrong in Westminster? In other words how, within weeks of the referendum did 300 years of union and 3 years of political confidence become a sudden and desperate battleground between Team Scotland and Team Westminster?

In fairness, few would deny Cameron's efforts over the last few days to cling onto Scotland have been passionate. Speaking on Thursday, he appeared close to tears as he spoke about the "heartbreak" he would feel if Alex Salmond's independence campaign proved successful. Some would go further and suggest open Conservative support for the No campaign would only have given credence to Salmond's campaign, and his quiescence has been wise.

Yet, with only days to go, Scottish voters still haven't been given a clear plan of action for extra powers of devolution, should they vote no. I fear undecided voters will admire passionate rhetoric, but struggle to trust a political leadership that has still failed to make it's stance clear.

More importantly and of greatest surprise has been Labour's apathy towards independence, particularly with a general election closing in. It is one thing for the Tories not to care about the long lost battleground of Scotland, but for a party with 41 MPs from Scotland, Scottish independence would tear a hole so deep into Miliband's hopes of moving into Number 10, it may prove unrecoverable. Labour simply cannot afford for Scotland to go independent. It's all well and good Mr. Miliband grandly announcing he has cleared his diary for "nothing else (is) remotely of this importance." Yet, where has his voice been over the last three years to encourage Scottish labour supporters to vote No?

Why is it only now that Westminster is suddenly diverting it's full attention northwards? Mr. Salmond knows the answer- Team Westminster are panicking.

In the final chapter, historians may muse, what if? What if Labour got their act together early on and campaigned hard to keep the Union together? Would Westminster's elite still have been forced to scuttle up north to desperately remind us of British virtues and how we're all 'Better Together' in the United Kingdom? Or would Cameron and co have rested comfortably in the knowledge that they'd done plenty to ensure their leadership would not be remembered as that in which apathy broke up an important and historic union?

Mr Cameron, Mr. Clegg and Mr. Miliband do not be surprised if Scotland votes yes next week. There are two sides to every coin and you've forgotten tails for too long.