When Alex Salmond criticises David Cameron for interfering in Scottish affairs, he fails to understand the English nation and our legislative procedures. We English have a long, proud history of interfering in the affairs of countries over whom we have no mandate. That's how we've always done things.
Salmond is messing with the big boys now. There's no tougher negotiator to beat than our Prime Minister, as Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy will tell you, as soon as they've taken their fists from their mouths.
In May 2010, when David Cameron failed to win the election yet managed to utterly outmanoeuvre the far better-placed Nick Clegg, we marvelled at the Prime Minister's political negotiating skills. It was only as events unfolded that we discovered Nick Clegg is easier to outmanouevre than a hedgehog shouting 'you want some?' while beckoning to three lanes of M4 motorway.
This week at Prime Minister's Question Time we had to endure the pitiful sight of Cameron, hours before instructing British film makers to appeal to a majority (something of which he has no knowledge), attempting to win back all momentum lost in his battle to keep the union, by trying stand-up comedy.
Regarding Alex Salmond's not outrageous demand to hold a referendum a few months later than Cameron's preferred date, he had this to say: "I wonder if Alex Salmond doesn't want so much to hold a REFerendum, as a NEVerendum!" (My capitals denote his intonation.)
Someone in Tory HQ who is either very deluded or a closet Lib Dem is advising Cameron that what works really well at Prime Minister's Question Time is a kind of comic shtick like you might see from one of the nation's top jesters during an episode of 'Mock The Week.' "Of course David, you need to answer the question, but a spot of ad libbed banter on the way to the punchline, I mean the answer, will make the people love you like Russell Howard and Andy Parsons."
(And while we're on the subject, Scottish Secretary Michael Moore, Defence Secretary Phil Hammond: why is the coalition so choc full of campaigning leftish comedians? Who will be the new Deputy Prime Minister, Mark Thomas?)
There's not an awful lot wrong with Salmond's seemingly preferred option of 'Devo Max', apart from, of course, the name 'Devo Max', evoking as it does nightmarishly robotic animation featuring Max Headroom singing 'Whip It'. The Tories were dead set against something not dissimilar which became the London Assembly, right up to the point that it delivered Boris Johnson as Mayor.
And what now for Labour, dear sweet Labour, who pushed for devolution all those years ago when they had unbeatable majorities in Scotland? See that's the trouble with campaigning for a country's self-governance. They won't thank you for it. There's no guarantee that once you have done everything you can to remove the unelected tyrant, whether it's Thatcher, Gaddafi or Simon Cowell, those stupid people won't come along themselves and use your lovely democratic procedures to blimmin' well go and vote for someone you have no control over.
The Tories really have no idea what to do about Scotland, apart from visit its countryside every August to blow away chunks of its wildfowl. Cameron has been looking into ways of making the Conservatives less unpopular in Scotland, for instance by renaming them The Paedophile Party. And I understand they're investigating the idea of a Unionist minority country within Scotland, a sort of Northern Scotland, with its own unbreakable links to the English, based on the model that worked so well in Ireland.
But for now the Tories are opting for 'Yes or no? ANSWER! NOW!', that delightful nuanced approach which has delivered such plentiful returns in Europe, and is guaranteed to drive most Scots to vote 'yes' out of revenge for the Poll Tax.
I can envisage a situation whereby England pulls out of the EU but a newly independent Scotland stays in. And all those poor people subsidies that the EU squander on creating jobs and infrastructures will pay for high speed rail links between Musselburgh and Glencoe.
Initially, cheap English labour will be welcomed across the border, to build new houses for English labour coming across the border. Then, to build a new border, King Alex's Wall if you like, and finally, to patrol it. The Scots, for their part, will have to learn to stop being the underdogs, and find someone new to blame next time they fail to qualify for the World Cup.
I think Cameron's missing a trick here, he should offer the Scots 100% devolution - yes Alex, you can have independence whichever way you want it, providing you take back your very own Royal Bank of Scotland, debts and all. Not so "CLEV"erendum now eh Alex?
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