David Cameron and love bombing the Scots

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The tempo is picking up at last with maybe just a hint of panic?  The BBC, the Times£, the FT, even the Sun are splashing David Cameron’s defence of the Union in the patriotic venue of the Olympic Park.

 The future of the United Kingdom is up in the air, David Cameron will warn today as he urges every Briton with a friend or family member in Scotland to persuade them to vote against independence..

My argument is that though only four million people can vote in this referendum, all 63 million of us are profoundly affected [by the vote on 18 September]”.And those 63 million could “wake up on 19 September in a different country with a different future ahead of it”, he will say… There can be no complacency about the result of this referendum,” he will say.

“So to everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, everyone, like me, who cares about the United Kingdom, I want to say this: you don’t have a vote but you do have a voice.

The SNP predictably jeer that Cameron is frit to debate head to head with Salmond in Scotland. But Cameron is right to duck that one. His low reason is that a direct confrontation between the English toff  whose party has but one seat in Scotland would be a gift to the wily First Minister. The lofty reason is that it would diminish the status of the UK Prime Minister to debate on equal terms with a leader of lesser status . Anyway shouldn’t the debate be between those who have a vote, as between Salmond and Alastair Darling the leader of Better Together?

All the same, there’s a big uneasy feeling that there’s a lot missing from the No campaign.  For one thing, the SNP is a compact single force facing a row of other parties divided among themselves and in some cases inside themselves, over the rival attraction of how much extra devolution to offer the Scots  if they  vote to remain. And something even more fundamental, a clear vision of the modern Union is lacking. Both gaps were showing in a Lords debate last week when the ranks  of retired Scottish politicians cried doom at the prospect of separation and wrung their hands but little else.

Former Scottish secretary Ian Lang raised the issue :

“We need to refresh our understanding of what the United Kingdom is, its strengths and its core values. We need renewal. In short, what we need is a new unionism—a unionism that unites us, binds us and brings us together again and brings constitutional stability to the whole United Kingdom.”

He and others spoke of more devolution after the referendum (which begs the question) rather like the old Home Rule all round.   But more  devolution hardly makes the heart sing compared to crying freedom. And anyway, should  “more devo”  not be on the agenda now?

Peter Hennessy trilled:

“I have always had “a certain idea” of Scotland… If we are still together, it will be necessary to sing a song of the benefits of union. The union quite simply is a 300 year-old international success story. It has done great things for our people and for the world in peace and war. It can still do more, much more.

Why wait until we know if we are” still together?“ Doesn’t that leave it too late?

Here surely is the intellectual deficiency. What is the contemporary British “certain idea? “ What is the song of a “new Union” that will impress the massed ranks of floaters and waverers among Scottish voters? What is the “much, much more?”  The post-imperial absence of a British patriotic idea aside from conflict has yet to addressed.   It has to be about more than the battered NHS and the BBC.

The final missing link is in the question, does the rest of the UK, meaning mainly the English really care?   Cameron is trying to stir up a positive response.   My colleague Alan Trench has spotted a whole new idea. What about love bombing the Scots to stick with us?

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  • FuturePhysicist

    Salmond must like this, David Cameron must know he is pushing some people the other way every time he does this. Doesn’t he know that there are some voices in England, Wales and especially Northern Ireland that will put the Scottish off the Union?

  • sherdy

    Cameron bemoans the fact that only the Scots have a vote on the question of their independence. Could he not rearrange matters so that everyone in the UK has a vote.
    Then I don’t think there would be any doubt about the future of an independent Scotland.
    And then maybe Ian Og’s intervention in the Westminster debate might help. The gist of his contribution is that the Scots should vote against independence just to annoy the hell out of Republicans in NI.
    Aren’t we so fortunate to have such cerebral representatives? I’m sure the Scots will be really influenced by him.

  • Greenflag

    I spoke to two Scots both in their mid thirties a couple of weeks back and I asked them about how they would vote . They were from the Mull of Kintyre -Campbelltown a place somewhat remote from the Clyde Valley.

    They were both solidly for independence . I questioned them on the economic aspects , history , family ties etc . They were not anti English -they just felt and believed that Scotland could do better for itself . From what I could deduce it was a matter of self respect for an ancient nation .

    I must admit I was somewhat surprised by their enthusiasm for their cause . If panic has set in among the No side it’s perhaps not without justification .

  • Neil

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/feb/07/cameron-scots-stay-brilliant-country-brand-britain

    Check out the comments. Great stuff. Polls are narrowing and the yes campaign’s still biding it’s time. The posh boy dictating from London, literally on this occasion, is not going down well, as any Oxbridge educated person would expect. Cameron wants to lose.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    It’s astonishing that Cameron didn’t make this speech in Scotland. Just astonishing. Maybe he didn’t think he could fill a room with supporters north of the border.

    I have only spoken to two Scots about the referendum, and was surprised, and rather charmed by their reasons for voting yes.

    They both said they reckoned the economics were questionable and the inevitable uncertainty it would bring was worrying.

    But they both said they’d be voting yes because they didn’t believe they could look themselves in the mirror, nor could Scotland as a nation, if they voted not to have independence.

    It strikes me that all the talk of the dangers of independence have overlooked just how psychologically catastrophic a No vote might be for the Scottish people. If the Scots vote Yes, they probably won’t be motivated principally by a strong nationalism, much less anti-Englishness, but rather simply out of self-respect.

    Who would wish to go on record as NOT wanting to be master in their own house?

  • jagmaster

    I watched Wee Ian speaking about this subject at Stormont earlier on and I thought he was going to start crying at one point. Unionists are clearly rattled at all this and many will face long sleepless nights and squeaky bums until the outcome of the voting is known.

  • Son of Strongbow

    You’ve got to give it to nationalists (of the Irish variety that is), after all God does so love a trier.

    It seems the possibility of Scottish independence is the latest catalyst conjured in their minds to bring about the End of Unionism (the NI type) Apocalypse.

    We’ve had the BCH flag protests (a UI by April 2013), Camp Twaddel, the schisms in the DUP etc (surprisingly the potential flooding in East Belfast recently was not cited as the Wrath of the Irish Gods descending on the pesky Prods).

    All amusing stuff.

    There’s a part of me that would like to see the Scottish ‘yes’ camp win. Scotland gaining its independence (or semi-independence as they want to retain so much of the UK infrastructure; before rushing off to hand over their sovereignty to the EU) without a shot fired may cause Irish nationalists some pause for reflection on their 20th century past. Although I very much doubt that it would.

  • FuturePhysicist

    You’ve got to give it to nationalists (of the Irish variety that is), after all God does so love a trier.

    It seems the possibility of Scottish independence is the latest catalyst conjured in their minds to bring about the End of Unionism (the NI type) Apocalypse.

    We’ve had the BCH flag protests (a UI by April 2013), Camp Twaddel, the schisms in the DUP etc (surprisingly the potential flooding in East Belfast recently was not cited as the Wrath of the Irish Gods descending on the pesky Prods).

    All amusing stuff.

    There’s a part of me that would like to see the Scottish ‘yes’ camp win. Scotland gaining its independence (or semi-independence as they want to retain so much of the UK infrastructure; before rushing off to hand over their sovereignty to the EU) without a shot fired may cause Irish nationalists some pause for reflection on their 20th century past. Although I very much doubt that it would.

    Of course it doesn’t end the union between Northern Ireland and Britain, unlike the former Yugoslavia, Scotland didn’t break away when part of its Union, Ireland (by majority) wanted to. The principle of consent did not exist between Ireland and Britian, it was a colony until 1800 where its parliament rather than its people created a forced marriage union which struggled to survive the 19th century. Unlike Scotland and Northern Ireland there was no Principle of Consent. Indeed there was no concent for nationalist to leave or for unionists to stay in, so both took up arms, as the British State had prepared to do against them.

    Self-Determination for those outside of itself, became the in thing in Britian when their enemies in Germany fought against it, and their enemies in the majority of their colonies fought for it. The Gaelic Irish national revival may’ve freed part of Ireland but the Ulster-Scots revival had freed what became the United States. The suffragette freed British women from their despotism in the 19th Centuary as well. So this spirit of liberty does transcend cultures but even so there are sinners in every one of them.

    A big difference between Scotland and Ireland’s nationalism is that Scotland looks for independence within the United Kingdom and the vast majority of Irish nationalism doesn’t, but then again why should that surprise, there wasn’t any monarchs or even pretenders of first, second or even third generation of people who were Irish born to claim the United Kingdom throne.

  • http://www.e-consultation.org/ davenewman

    The Yes campaign is not a single force, as claimed. It includes the Scottish Green Party and others, as well as the SNP. Several Greens I know are going to spend the summer campaigning north of the border.

  • Congal Claen

    Scotland just won’t vote for independence. 18th September will prove that. However, Scotland could have obtained independence had it been a UK vote as the English would’ve voted them out. That was Salmond’s mistake. Which makes you wonder whether he would be that great of a leader when he’s messed up the one decision that he should’ve known most about.
    Good to see tho’ that Irish Nationalists now recognise that it’s perfectly reasonable to have an island split into 2 jurisdictions.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Congal Claen

    ‘Good to see tho’ that Irish Nationalists now recognise…’

    Which Irish nationalists are these? I’d have thought Irish nationalism generally has been pretty scrupulous about staying out of this debate.

    For the record, lest my earlier post be misconstrued, this particular Irish nationalist is conflicted on the issue of Scottish independence. Being an Irish nationalist does not make one automatically a Scottish nationalist, nor vice versa. (I’ll bet, for example, that the SNP gets as many votes from Ibrox as Parkhead.)

    There are two things I am definitive about.

    1) The English-Scottish union, and the British-Irish union, are completely different unions with completely different histories, and there is absolutely no contradiction in holding different views about each of them.

    2) The decision on Scottish independence is a matter for the Scots and no-one else, and while those of us on this side of the Irish Sea will watch with interest, we have no business trying to intervene in the debate there.

    All of which being said, I just have a inkling the Scots might vote Yes in September. Nothing so strong as a prediction, mind you, and certainly not a broad assertion of what will happen, such as Congal’s (above); just a sneaking feeling.

    This should not be confused with a desire. As I said, if I were a Scottish voter, I’d presently be undecided, though leaning towards Yes. An inkling is not a desire – this particular inkling, for example, appears to be shared by David Cameron.

    I also have an inkling that Chelsea are going to win the league. And that Armagh are going to be relegated in the NFL. I ardently hope that both these inklings are wrong.

  • Greenflag

    @ BP ,

    ‘Who would wish to go on record as NOT wanting to be master in their own house?’

    It did’nt bother Robbie Burn’s ‘Parcel of Rogues ‘ who represented Scotland’s destitute monied interests after the Great Darien Ponzi scheme disaster and who sold out Scotland’s Parliament for the then London bailout .Thus was the Union born .

    Neither did it bother most of the so called Irish Parliament who voted to abolish their Parliament in 1800 in return for bribes , titles , promotions etc etc and also as a form of insurance that their priviliged positions then would not be washed away with the even then foreseen advances of the Irish majority .

    So theres at least two examples . To be fair one could say they gave up mastery in their own houses so that they could pursue mastery and profit in the new and bigger more opportunistic houses then being exploited across the globe .

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    Billy Pilgrim[12.02]The ‘looking in the mirror on the 19th’ could be a factor in the diminishing margin seen in latest poll, and the motivation to go to the polls on Sept.18th, is likely to be negative for those putting their cross on NO [and not all those agreeing with staying with England may go to the station at all], while it’s hard to see those scots favouring leaving, being apathetic enough to stay at home. Scots aren’t going to see unionists here telling them to vote no, as having concerns for Scotland’s future, so if the parties here sit out the ref, we’ll know that they know how much a liability they are to their own cause.

  • Greenflag

    @ Congal Claen ,

    ‘However, Scotland could have obtained independence had it been a UK vote as the English would’ve voted them out.’

    Just as well English voters were’nt given that option in the GFA then isn’t it ? I can imagine the NI referendum result

    For a UI : 40 million

    Against : 500,000

    Figures approx ;)

  • grandimarkey

    Congal Claen:

    “Scotland just won’t vote for independence. 18th September will prove that.”

    Indeed. Even though the last 7 opinion polls have shown a continued increase in support for independence.

    In fact there have been 3 in January 2014 which have shown a remarkable increase, the first two, by ICM for Scotland on Sunday and TNS, show support for independence up 5 points since September.

    The latest (Ipsos-Mori) poll shows the most recent rise takes Yes support to 47 per cent against 53 per cent for No once the “don’t knows” are added to the numbers when asked what they are ‘most likely to do’. 47%-53% and you are comfortable stating that the Yes vote is already dead in the water? That’s some astute political analysis.

    So here we have a continual increase over the last 5 months. All the Yes side have to do is continue this trend over the next 5 months and we’re in for a winner.

    And why won’t they? Cameron harps away down in London (something which has gone down really badly up here), a heap of Corporate-David Brent sounding nonsense about ‘Brand Britain’ (which is the most patronising nonsense) and why? Why talk about the brand? Cause there’s no substance.

    He refuses to debate Salmond because he would lose. The Yes side can set out what they hope to achieve post-independence. What can Cameron outline? The Status-Quo? That’s going down well.

    The No side have shown no vision whatsoever on what will happen post-September 2014. Why? Because they have none. More of the same. More unelected Tory governments ruling Scotland. More nuclear-weapons. More illegal wars. More using Scotland’s oil in places other than Scotland. They have nothing to say. Nothing different, nothing fresh.

    The Union is a load of bollocks for Scotland and more and more Scots know it.

  • Congal Claen

    Regardless of the outcome, shall we pencil in the 19th September as Humble Pie Day?

  • grandimarkey

    @Congal Claen

    You’re on. Although I probably won’t be on Slugger that day, I’ll be out celebrating ;-)

  • Congal Claen

    If it’s a yes, I could be out drinking myself!

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    grandimarkey[2.08] ‘What can Cameron outline?’
    He could start by explaining to the Scots why should be part of such a great union whose flag UJ ignores one of it’s fellow members on that flag, namely the Welsh. There’s the scene in trainspotting film on the hillside with Renton explaining what’s it’s like ‘being Scottish’ under the flag.

  • IrelandNorth

    Why perpetuate the political mythology that a constitutional monarchy is the only form of political organistation available to Great Britain between N Ireland, Scotland, Wales and/or England. If greater honesty and lesser control and manipulation had been to the fore, Scottish nationalists may never have exited the union. The United States of America (USA) experiment in federal unionism is a case in point, which could, to good effect be trasplanted to the British and/or Irish Isles, in a United States of Great Britain and Ireland. Just like their Irish equivalents, Scottish nationalists could well find themselves amenable to a more devolved or autonomism and less incestuous or clausterpobic political union.

  • Greenflag

    @ IrelandNorth ,

    “Scottish nationalists may never have exited the union”

    They haven’t exited -not yet anyway .

    The UK Chancellor -George Osborne may have nudged them more towards the exit with his ‘Love Bombing ‘ reported headlines in today’s media .

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2014/0213/504065-scotland-independence-referendum/

    If that does’nt sound like love bombing then what does it sound like ?

    It would seem Mr Osborne has not been listening to Mr Cameron on the Scotland issue other than via mental telepathy and we know how that works eh ;)

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Daniel,

    “He could start by explaining to the Scots why should be part of such a great union whose flag UJ ignores one of it’s fellow members on that flag, namely the Welsh.”

    If you know what the Welsh flag stands for it’s doubtful it could be incorporated into a flag designed to show a union.

  • Red Lion

    Salmond on the one hand says Scotland can stand on its own and yet a minute later says ‘ah but we shall need to keep the currency of the country we are leaving behind!”

    This is simply not independence, keeping the pound undermines the argument for ‘independence’ and is one of Salmond’s biggest mistakes. It makes an utter mess of his argument for independence.

    His other big mistake was to go for ‘independence’ in the first place. If he had gone solely for ‘devo max’ he would have got it, quite easily.

    Westminster could deliver a knockout blow to Salmond by declaring a Royal Commission into UK governance, and hint broadly at federalism in so doing.

  • grandimarkey

    @ Red Lion

    “This is simply not independence”

    Well, it is. I mean, Westminster not having a say in an iScotland’s defence, taxation, education etc is independence.

    Spain and France are in a currency Union. By your logic they are not independent. Which is untrue.

    keeping the pound undermines the argument for ‘independence’

    The argument for independence is that Scotland would be better looking after her own affairs rather than being ruled by London which has a poor record of looking after Scotland’s interests. Keeping the pound does not undermine this principle at all.

    Westminster could deliver a knockout blow to Salmond by declaring a Royal Commission into UK governance, and hint broadly at federalism in so doing.

    Good luck.

  • Red Lion

    GM

    “”Well, it is. I mean, Westminster not having a say in an iScotland’s defence, taxation, education etc is independence.””

    But its not independence if you don’t control your own monetary policy. ‘Devolution Max’ is a more accurate term to describe the situation that Salmond now wants, its a move away from the notion of independence.

    “”Spain and France are in a currency Union. By your logic they are not independent. Which is untrue””

    If Scotland wants to join the euro and be ‘independent’ then Salmond can sell that one.

    “”The argument for independence is that Scotland would be better looking after her own affairs rather than being ruled by London which has a poor record of looking after Scotland’s interests. Keeping the pound does not undermine this principle at all””

    The argument for the union is Scotland is well placed to look after most of its own affairs through devolved government while being involved in Westminster government on issues which are best worked out on all UK basis, like defence and currency with monetary policy. Staying in the pound promotes the union substantially.

    “”Good luck””

    Thank you very much

  • grandimarkey

    “But its not independence if you don’t control your own monetary policy.

    So by that logic Spain and France are not independent countries?

    ‘Devolution Max’ is a more accurate term to describe the situation that Salmond now wants

    No it isn’t. Devo Max would still have Westminster dictating large amounts of Scottish policy. The independence referendum would give Scotland complete political independence.

    If Scotland wants to join the euro and be ‘independent’ then Salmond can sell that one.

    No one has suggested that.

    The argument for the union is Scotland is well placed to look after most of its own affairs through devolved government while being involved in Westminster government on issues which are best worked out on all UK basis, like defence and currency with monetary policy.

    I’m afraid we’ll have to disagree on that one. Westminster governance is mis-governance when it comes to Scotland. The indifference is shocking. And why would Scotland want London determining the defence policy? More nuclear weapons on Scotland’s soil? More illegal wars? That’s not what Scotland wants, as poll after poll has shown. It’s time for Scotland to look after herself.

    I appreciate your desire for a federal kingdom, but that ship has sailed. London would never do it and in Scotland the independence genie is out of the bottle and it won’t go back in, no matter what happens in September.