Referendum on Scottish independence ruled out – for now

So the SNP’s bid to hold a 2010 referendum on Scottish independence is off. No surprise there, with a 60% majority in the Parliament in favour of the Union. Gordon Brown is blasting the SNP’s “obsession” with independence at the SLP conference in Dundee today, but as the Guardian points out, Alex Salmond may be in for a longer haul than Brown.

Privately, Salmond will be disappointed but not surprised. He did not expect to win next year’s proposed referendum. His core “gradualist” strategy is to build up the SNP’s reputation in government, by winning the next Holyrood elections in 2011, and strengthening popular support over independence over the next five to eight years.

David Cameron is making vague noises about better coordination with the devolved governments, but would these survive swingeing Tory public spending cuts?

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

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