Why the Tories are constitutionally all at sea in Scotland

Alex Massie is Scotland’s man in the seried ranks of Tory thinkers in London. He’s not exactly unique, but there are few Unionist commentators who, like him, get a respectful hearing amongst the increasingly confident Scots nationalist blogosphere. In response to a well meaning, but inevitably London bound leader veiw from his own paper the Spectator, he notes:

Of course Alex Salmond is beatable and of course support for UN-member independence is a minority enthusiasm. This is one reason why a referendum seems to scare Scots less than it does politicians and pundits based in London. (Most of those pundits and politicians, incidentally, seem only to care about Scotland’s constitutional question; the actual governance of the country is, at best, most often an afterthought.)

He obviously finds the leader too too calculating by half. Instead he recommends Tory love bombing:

…it would be useful if Cameron flattered Scotland. For once, just for once, it would be pleasing to see senior Unionist politicians make a case for the Union that is based on something more than the benefits – many of them real – Scotland has enjoyed from its partnership with England. That is all very well and good but it is not good enough. Perhaps Cameron and other senior Tories could tell Scots why they are wanted, even needed, as part of the United Kingdom. “We Want You” is a more edifying slogan than “You Need Us”.

Quite so. It’s not as though the Scots need to be told they are loved by English conservatives (I doubt, post Thatcher many of them would believe it, and it’s likely anyway to remain largely unrequited). But if the union is to be saved, they need to hear a few arguments from their giant southern partner as why it still makes sense to keep close (if not too close).

The paradox is that the English Tory responses (cut off as they are from any serious electoral interest or intelligence north of the border), is milk and honey to those wanting to push for the maximum distance between themselves and the auld enemy:

Instead, Tories and other Unionists tend to assume the case for the Union is axiomatic. It is not. Suggesting that Scots should compile a cost-benefit analysis and then consider their choices is a tactic that, perhaps paradoxically, works better for nationalists than for Unionists. When Unionists talk in these terms they implicitly argue that Scotland must be unusually ill-suited to independence and from there it is but a short leap to suggesting Scotland should be grateful for English largesse, be happy with everything it’s got and cease chuntering for more powers when history suggests they’re scarcely capable of using those they already enjoy.

Frankly, however, that’s exactly how it sometimes seems as though a significant part of the Tory party actually does view Scotland. (This is too say nothing of the rabid online English nationalists who give their Cybernat counterparts a fair run for their money.)

And he’s not the only one. Politics on Toast:

Throughout this parliaments lifetime the Unionists failed to take up the fight. Given the narrow margins this was a mistake which may come back to haunt the anti-independence movement in Scotland.

Of greater concern for those of us who wish to preserve the union, is that this lack of fight lingers. Where is the unionist opposition coming from? In Scotland itself at last years election the Labour Party lacked direction and widely misspent, while at the 2010 general election the Conservative Party returned one MP, Edinburgh Zoo currently has more Giant Pandas. Consequently, the Prime Minister is in a difficult position. He, and his party have minimal sway with the Scottish electorate, and with the election of Ruth Davidson as leader of the Conservative & Unionist Party for Scotland, it seems unlikely that this endemic unpopularity will subside before a potential referendum before 2016.

The unionist parties in Britain have not conceived of themselves as that for most of the generations since the Republic left the union. The Scots nats are way more constitutionally literate than the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems (bless em) all put together.Something to do no doubt to do with that beautiful but often incommunicable unwritten Constitution they insist on having.

In a nutshell, Alex’s sage advice is don’t fight the last war, fight the next one!

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  • Into the west

    Tories couldn’t care less about scotlands people
    The only interest in preserving the union is because its looks good,
    and serves grandstanding on the world stage:

    “we’re very proud of the UK, GB, blah blah blah ”

    privately it costs english taxpayers a fortune to maintain
    but Tory MP’s and shire counties folk can afford it.

    the mentality is exactly the same as with India,
    the raj, colonialism, europhobia etc
    divide and rule as diane abbot says , oops PC brigade alert !

    These posh tory bastards must be defeated , but how ?

  • Mick Fealty

    Alex is Tory.

  • malairt

    I don’t think that’s quite right. In fact it’s derogatory rubbish. You’re conflating English and Tories as if they’re one and the same, which of course they’re not. 276 thousand Scots voted Conservative at the Assembly elections, nearly 12% of the vote.

    If you ask English peole why they would like the UK to continue, you’ll find that the main reason is that they’re conservative – they don’t like change. What we’ve got works so why change it. It’s the same reason the monarchy endures and why there’s no proper formal constitution – what we’ve got works. So Scotland can remain part of the UK for as long as the Scots want it to be: I sincerely doubt there’s any enthusiasm for ejecting Scotland from the Union. Money doesn’t come into it, otherwise you’d salami slice the UK until all that’s left is Wessex with maybe Mercia.

    I don’t understand your last line. Ignoring the offensive nature of the words used – defeated over what?

  • malairt

    Ah – I wasn’t quite fast enough I see. The above post was aimed @ Into the west 11:41

  • Graham

    Tory and Unionist he certainly is. But why does he get a respectful hearing? I think it’s because he can navigate the constitutional question in a relatively balanced and uncondescending fashion. I disagree with his Unionist stance but I get the feeling that I could coexist in an enclosed space without needing to have his eyes out.

    Showering us with kisses is an interesting idea but the best that could reasonably be expected in return at this stage in the proceedings would be a quick knee trembler for old time’s sake. We’ll still be moving on, we’ll both be better off and we can even be good friends.

    As Massie concedes, independence wins on a cost-benefit analysis. I’ve yet to hear a convincing case for the Union not based upon the exploitation of fear. The positive case for independence will continue to be made. Hope will win over fear.

  • Dec

    ‘I’ve yet to hear a convincing case for the Union not based upon the exploitation of fear. ‘

    Which makes you think, if one existed, we’d have heard it by now. (I noticed London-based Mr Massie failed to mention any.)

  • Mick Fealty

    To be fair (and I know you want be, really Dec), he’s promised to come back to the case for…

  • Graham

    It occurs to me that Cameron, even if he were so inclined, could find a charm offensive domestically difficult. Voters in England might not be best pleased, if they knew. Southerly debate is mostly spat venom, understandably.

  • Munsterview

    “….Perhaps Cameron and other senior Tories could tell Scots why they are wanted, even needed, as part of the United Kingdom. “We Want You” is a more edifying slogan than “You Need Us”……”

    Oh dear, no parallels for Northern Ireland then if this is to be the new Tory approach ?

  • Munsterview

    Mick, if that ‘black spot’ was awarded for the foregoing by ‘into the west’ in this thread, it most definately was not merited !

  • Ill give any TCD-man the benefit of the doubt, and Massie has been (in all his incarnations, on all his numerous platforms) readable and cogent. Non-believers should try his effort for 23 November (Up with the IRA and Down with the Pope of Rome) which debunks the SNP’s “so-called anti-sectarian legislation”. Improve on this, should you try:

    This bill’s apologists ask us to believe that across the West of Scotland men are stung to beat their wives by the songs they sang at the fitba earlier that day. Really? Do we suppose that arresting people for singing the wrong kind of songs will lessen the mutual antipathy enjoyed by the two halves of Glasgow? Really? For that matter, who really believes even lowlife think like this: I hate Tims so ah’m gonnae batter ma bird? Yet this is what we are asked to believe. Proscribing songs cannot reduce hatred. Nor can it persuade West of Scotland Man to drink less. Even a generously charitable view of these proposals leads one to notice that their goals outstrip their means.

    I’d like clarification on two points:

    1. The assumption that Massie is London-based. I thought he commuted cyberspatially from the Borders.

    2. That he is a “Tory”. Yes, he writes for the Spectator but, not having access to his wallet, I have no knowledge he carries a party-card. I suggest “centre-right” might be more suitable — a Con-symp at best? As further evidence there is his post today, putting the boot in on Peter Oborne, and arguing that we have a cross-party consensus on many matters political:
    Labour and the Tories are more alike than either like to admit. If there has been a failure of the elites it is a failure shared by both parties and this may be why so many people seem so enraged or disconnected from public life. If so then that too is a shared problem and responsibility.

    Massie, and indeed Fraser Nelson (see his piece dated 2 Jan) have been as sound as any on the Scottish problem (or as Salmond and others see it, the English problem). If that’s where the debate is, I’ll continue to lap up my neighbour’s discards from his Spectator subscription.

  • Zig70

    Would the Tories not greatly benefit from Scotland leaving the union? They would remain in power and have more money. There are some left wing nice English folk. It’s they who should be most alarmed at Scotland’s brave stance. Does it not match with the negiotations with the UU, creating a distance. If I was English I’d want shot of the lot of you, but keep the oil.

  • Jo

    I seem to recall another PM attempting to kill Home Rule with kindness.Hows that going then? Wasn’t tried for long enough?

  • Jo

    What’s a Black Spot, anyhow?

  • Zig70

    You get it for drinking and typing, Jo

  • Jo

    How can anyone decide who’s been drinking?

  • Zig70 (profile) 6 January 2012 at 6:55 pm:

    There’s a long answer to that which won’t fit in this dialogue box; and there’s short-hand, which reads:
    January 1906 General Election: 399 Liberals, 156 Unionists (both Conservative and Liberal), 83 Irish Home Rulers, 29 Labour, 3 others.

    In other words, without the Unionist issue, the Tory Party was wiped out. And could be again (though it won’t be the Libs next time).

    That should be taken in context with the contemporary shift of power and influence in the Tory Party — from the aristocratic élite to the industrial plutocrats. We have been witnessing, over the last quarter-century, a further take-over — the industrialists (who at least provided employment, and were on the receiving end of many a strike) have given way to the hedge-funders (who are the Masters of the Universe, until we topple them).

    There is nothing fixed for eternity in UK politics. Anyone who has been (as I have) on the door-knocker canvassing knows that an “anti” vote (what Daniel de Leon headlined, back in 1893, as “Kick the Rascals Out!”) is always far stronger, far more decided than the “pro”. Now consider the modern English Tory tabloids, and their persistent Two Minutes’ Hates. There’s a ploy that can be used in other ways.

    Yep: I’d give an all-English Tory-dominated Parliament less than a decade. Lamp-posts and nooses are optional extras.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Alex,could you do us all a great favour and hold your referendum ?
    I know the Polls have been/are/and will be/consistently in favour of the UK,but the amount of ladies on Slugger getting their knickers twisted over it is becoming tiresome.

    re; The Black Spot…..RL Stevenson/Treasure Island.
    A man,I am sure,who would vote to keep The Union intact. 😉

  • Jo

    Thank you for the good natured responses, gents. I was also struck by the differentiation/disparity between fervour on constitutional matters – and implicitly lacklustre competence in governance. Something that rings true about another regional Assembly, perhaps?

  • Barry the Blender

    Yep: I’d give an all-English Tory-dominated Parliament less than a decade. Lamp-posts and nooses are optional extras.

    Not unlike an all-Scottish Labour-dominated counterpart.

  • tuatha

    If the tory vote was 276K (of 3.99M) resulting in ONE MP I think that is aka ‘dead-in-the-water’ given the iniquitous FPtP elcoral system. Interesting that the recent AV+ referendum had its highest proportional (SIC!) vote in Scotland, followed by Wales. Only England was decidedly in favour of FPtP. Hooda thunk!
    Like NI, Scotland could sever the connection with the english Exchequer were it willing to forgo the massive subventions but, oh lokk, up it the sky, <Iporcus aviatrix!

  • Dewi

    Again all the “massive subvention” bullshit. Guess what – it ain’t true!

  • Graham

    The Spectator website has him currently garrisoned in the Scottish Borders, which he makes no secret of. I wouldn’t find it difficult to assume him London-based but I’d agree that his political bearings are of greater import than his grid reference or card-holdings.

    Yes, the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill is embarrassing.

  • Zig70

    From the newstatesman link above. “The fact that the Treasury cynically refuses to class those (oil) revenues as part of Scotland’s overall annual economic output inflates the level of public sector expenditure as a proportion of GDP relative to that of the private sector.”
     Might be wrong but I think the sea borders are drawn in such a way as that England would keep a chunk of the oil? The economics is seperate from anyone’s national perspective. Would England have rolled over to Germany in WWII for a bribe? Sounds ridiculous.

  • Master McGrath

    What is really worrying about the ‘will the UK survive?’ debate is the little attention that has been given to the supportive positive side of the Union, till now.
    As I have noted on previous posts the Unionist side has allowed the ball to be passed to the separatist side by either not accepting that there is a ‘question’ here to address or simply working on the notion that no-one would want to really cause the UK to dissolve as both a political system and entity.
    The ‘all change but everything stays the same argument ‘ that reassures and confuses at the same time.
    I live in Scotland and I know the nature of the argument at street level here about the issues involved as they are perceived by the plain people of Scotland, and it is not the most informed and well reasoned set of opinions that I have ever encountered.
    There is an ‘it’ll be all right on the night’ aspect to the reasoning and a belief that all the hard questions that might be already be articulated can be addressed either by painting them with white crosses on a blue background or by pretending that there will be no change, ever.
    The argument that we should make the case for the Union because we are stronger and better off with it that without it needs to be made. Why?
    Because it is true and has been for several hundred years but most especially because it is the BEST solution for these islands as we march further forward into the 21st Century.
    Has the UK failed as apolitical entity? No and that is why we shall be making the unionist case for its continuance.

  • Graham

    I share your frustration. I think the Scottish Government should be bolder but most voters seem content with its current course. It can deliberately evade and obfuscate with the best of them but what government doesn’t. It’s popular because, warts and all, it promotes the Scottish national interest, it’s been competent in office and offers a positive vision whilst the alternatives are completely uninspiring.

    Your argument appears to be that we are stronger and better/best off with the Union.

    I beg to differ. It’s undemocratic to be governed by a party for which the people of this country did not vote. And Scottish MPs shouldn’t vote on English-only legislation.

    I’d like to see a fully independent Scotland take control of all its own natural resources, including oil, sea bed and crown estate. I think Scotland should be responsible for generating and spending all of its own revenue. It should stand on its own two feet.

    I want nuclear weapons out of Scotland because they are dangerous and very expensive. I want my taxes used constructively at home, not financing obscene military adventures abroad. I believe that relationships between the peoples of these islands will improve when they determine their own futures.

  • galloglaigh

    “English MPs control all the money which Scotland receives – is that ‘fair’? England constitutes 85% of the UK’s population and 87% of its wealth. It was English MPs who agreed to devolve some powers to Scotland in a Westminster Act of Parliament; but year by year controls over public spending levels for all of the UK continue to be exercised by Westminster. And power devolved is power retained, not ceded.

    “While the current Tory cry of ‘English votes on English laws’ has a simplistic appeal, it is in reality unworkable, undesirable and dangerous. It would create a two-tier system of ‘ins and outs’ that would be so complex and confusing as to be unworkable.

    “How is it possible, for example, to distinguish between English ‘bits’ of legislation and UK ‘bits’? It isn’t. The territorial extent of the clause in a bill – or part of a clause – cannot be conclusive, as so many ‘England only’ decisions have plain implications for Scotland as well.

    “Hence, Vernon Bogdanor, perhaps the foremost constitutional expert in Britain, has claimed that the Tory proposals would “destroy the principle of collective responsibility, according to which government must stand or fall as a whole, commanding a majority on all the issues that come before Parliament, not just a selection. It is difficult to see how Britain could be effectively governed in such circumstances.”

    “Moreover, it is difficult to see how the UK could remain united. The outcome of a break-up of the union would be calamitous… Historically, England called the shots to achieve a union because the union was seen as a way, among others things, of amplifying England’s power worldwide.

    “And the reverse would certainly be true. A broken-up United Kingdom would not be in the interests of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, but especially not England.

    Our [England’s] voting power in the European Union would diminish. We’d slip down in the world league GDP tables. Our [England’s] case for staying in the G8 would diminish and there could easily be an assault on our permanent seat in the UN Security Council“.

    Is this the real reason why little England doesn’t want to see a free Scotland and a possible breakup of the Union? Do they need the rest of us for Bravado, more than we need them?

  • galloglaigh


    Here’s a wee link for you to read… Enjoy!

  • galloglaigh

    Oops, wrong thread!

  • Munsterview

    malairt : “…..If you ask English peole why they would like the UK to continue, you’ll find that the main reason is that they’re conservative – they don’t like change. What we’ve got works so why change it……..”

    ” What weve have got works…..” ?

    It most certainly do not ! I am involved in a historical society that have several meetings a year, some in Scotland which I attend. The general membership approxmately reflect the make up of these islands, not currently but as it proportionally would probably have been between the two world wars.

    The Engilsh core are in the main, Fabian inclined, comfertable, middle class liberals. This English element is pretty pissed off with the current state of society. They are also very far from the ‘Little Englander’ mentality and incidently we also usually have a few Unionists along !

    I have taken part in some very interesting late night discussions speculating on the future of ‘these islands’ and very few English voices for sustaining The Union. For a start most accept that ‘Ireland belongs to the Irish’ and that it is ‘unfinished Empire business that needs to be resolved’

    An all Ireland Republic would cause the average English person even less concern than the new intended Republic of Jamica will. If Unionists at the events that I attend are getting this message loud and clear, can the Unionist MP’s in the Commons be living in such a bubble that they are not aware of this ethos?

    Returning to Scotland, all I can say is when over there before Christmas, there was a more marked acceptance for Indapendence than the year before, the pro separation ethos is certainly gaining gound. My visit to Parliament was most informative and no one there were looking over their shoulders wondering ‘what London thought’

    Of course there is no detailed SNP view ‘on the street’ as to what will happen, they too have learned a thing or two from Ireland’s dealings with the Seassanachs. That is not however to say that there are no plans up on the hill and the SNP would be very foolish indeed to lay all their cards face up on the table at the start of this poker game.

    The real danger here for all Nationalists in these Islands is that while the break up will be eventually conceded by Britian, time is the only variable in that, plans are also probaby finalised for ‘A Union Of Island Peoples’ etc in Whitehall which are nothing more than a UK mark 2 with the name above the door changed and the same stale goods for sale in the shops.

    The first Acts Of Union for Scotland and Ireland were put in place with the use of colossal bribery, deception and fraud. There are plenty of wasters in political life in this Island, South and North who would jump at the oppertunity for some sort of ‘House of Lords for the Islands’ set up with all the pensions and perks rather than await the fate of Dermot Ahern !

    To now the SNP are winning the battle for ‘hearts and minds’, voices like Alex Massie are attempting to do a Paul Revere, to rouse the Tories and the message seems to be getting through.

    As to the Unionists leading, or playing a significant part in any organization ‘to save the Union’ I will seriously consider suscribing to that particular fund if it happenes!

    Slow and steady and do nothing to frighten the horses, the salmon of knowledge have played it just right so far!

  • Obelisk

    And he falls for the bait…


    Looks like the government is London is going to move to set the terms of the referendum themselves.

    It was always a win-win outcome for Salmond and the SNP, left to their own devices they could set the terms and question whatever way they liked.

    But they can, will and already are spinning this development as an English government that has no mandate in Scotland interposing itself directly into Scottish affairs.

    No matter how this story develops, each time it simply provides more opportunities for the Nationalists.

    And what are the consequences for Cameron if this move is played by the SNP to enrage the Scots, who with no option for Devo Max vote for independence? Far from being the hero of the veto, he’ll go down in history as the Conservative Prime Minister who provoked the dissolution of the UK.

  • JR

    I find Camerons choice of language in that interview interesting. He refer’s to Scottish indipendance as the breakup of the Union.

  • Barnshee

    “as the Conservative Prime Minister who provoked the dissolution of the UK.”

    or as the Conservative Prime Minister who saved the English taxpayer millions (less of course the millions needed to keep out the jocks etc out of England)

    The reasons for the Union are no more —the preservation of state and particularly crown sucession from change via Irish and Scottish support of interlopers are no more.

    Lifting the burden of areas, largely berefit of natural resources, where population levels tend to exceed the resources to support them would be welcome to the taxpayer. Would it work without measures to prevent any influx from these areas to ,particularly SE England?

  • Dewi

    “Largely bereft of natural resources”………Scotland !!!!???

  • malairt

    @ tuatha

    the 276k vote for the Tories that I referred to was for the 2011 Assembly elections, not the Westminster elections.

    As the turnout was only 50% (which is sad), 276k was a significant figure, nearly double the LD’s. Right of centre thinking is still alive and kicking in Scotland and not the exclusive preserve of England.

    @Barnshee – England won’t be able to keep the Jocks out as I assume that the First Minister will make sure Scotland is part of the EU before cutting ties with the UK.

    I don’t agree that the reasons for Union are gone – I fear though that one determined man with no hidden agenda is leading Scotland to a divorce that is in no-one’s interests. Regrettably, Unionist politicians of all parties appear to be unable to take Mr. Salmond on and put forward a coherent story about why he’s wrong. Fiddling about with the referendum is just that, fiddling about

  • galloglaigh


    who saved the English taxpayer millions

    It’s not just the English who live in England. You might also want to consider the companies who hav HQs in London, and whose profits are generated in the Celtic Fringe, as well as England. BP for example, who raises revenue across these islands, but whose tax contribution is to the benefit of London (and surrounding areas) only, interms of the Barnett Formula. Add to that all the other big shopping chains and companies HQ’d in London. Then you get the real picture of who is placing a burden on who!

  • What I am inclined to agree with is that talk of separation, rather than separation itself is potentially harmful to the economy. David Cameron’s recent suggestion that a referendum should be held in Scotland sooner, rather than later, to clear up the issue is the right way forward, imho.


    I dont think Cameron was reacting to what was written by Massiee but I note that this announcement is consistent with the suggestion in the Spectator that the Prime Minister should chose the timing to have the referendum. Perhaps the Tories are no so far out “at sea” after all.

  • Reader

    galloglaigh: BP for example, who raises revenue across these islands, but whose tax contribution is to the benefit of London (and surrounding areas) only, interms of the Barnett Formula.
    Well, the taxes are still going to be paid in London for many things, and a lot of the rest is properly accounted through fuel tax. However, Scotland, post independence, would get more of a share of oil exploration and exploitation fees. But if Scotland wants the corporation tax it’s going to have to undercut the UK corporation tax rate. But I’m not sure that the EU would be happy to allow that sort of bidding war.

  • drc0610

    It appears Cameron has stepped into Mr. Salmond’s (rather obvious) trap. While the Westminister village is all cock-a-hoop with Call Me Dave throwing his weight about and calling Salmond’s bluff. I don’t think he’s quite thought this through.

    A few points/ scenario’s

    1) Cameron has just effectively taken ownership of the No campaign. Given the existing distrust and disarray amongst the unionist parties I cant see any ambitious Labour or Lib Dem MPs or MSPs being too keen to stand shoulder to shoulder with Dave on the same platform.

    2) He’s made the first move and now doesn’t have anywhere else to go. Salmond has already set out his stall re the referendum and the scottish people understand this. All this talk of damaging the economy is pure bluster when considered against a) the current EU situation b) Treasury tax raids on North Sea Oil. So while the Mail and The telegraph get all excited nothing has actually changed on the ground.


    3) It’s still Salmond’s ball. Having set out his stall he can play it with a straight bat and either a) join in if it is favourable or b) keep playing with his ball.

    Imagine 18 months down the line and Cameron has to run a campaign to keep the Scotland in the UK? SNP simply make it clear that they do not recognise the legitimacy of the referendum and their supporters abstain. So who ends up voting considering the levels of apathy in scottish politics? A lacklustre campaign by the tories + labour? +lib dems? Scotland is kept in the UK on a voting turnout of what <20%. Cameron wins the vote but loses the arguement.

    Salmond holds his referendum when he wants to. Then what unionists parties dont campaign for the union?

    Salmond's a far smarter operator than Clegg that's for sure.

  • Greenflag

    Salmond’s a far smarter operator than Clegg that’s for sure.

    And way ahead of Cameron too by the looks of it ;)?

  • I spoke to a Pol Corr buddy this afternoon who had attended a Salmond event all morning.
    I asked my journo mate how the First Minister was presenting.
    the answer was, in the Scots vernacular, “very pleased with himself.”

  • Munsterview

    Cameron with a name like that must have some Scot blood in him? If so how can his act be so crass and Salmond’s so class where Scottish issues are concerned ?

    Skimmed through the UK newspaper accounts to day across the press, ( the same media as is generally available throughout Scotland), of course Mr Salmond is ‘very pleased with himself’, he has every reason to be. I do not know if he is a fan of Van Morrisson, but if he is, he probably went around all day humming ” My Mamma told me that there would be days like this etc ”

    Short of Mr Cameron disbanding the Scottish Regiments on the grounds of suspect loyalty or dispatching tanks northwards to remind the Scots as to who is really in charge, it do not get much better than this for the wily Mr Salmond.

    During the Irish War Of Independence a female cousin of Michael Collins was appointed the personal private secretary of the Chief Sectary of Ireland. She lost no time in seeking out Mick and informing him of this turn of events. Mick was not often at a loss for words, but this was one such occasion!

    After some moments of silence Mick turned to his stunned staff and asked ” Will somebody tell me how the F*** these people ever ended up with an Empire”?

    Watching Cameron de facto dole out yet another installment of Scottish Independence every time he attempts another distruption, retrenchment or opposition of the Scottish goal, the same question must surely arise ?

    One thing for sure when Salmond makes his inevitable victory speech, based on present form, one could almost imagine him saying saying something to the effect of ” First I must thank a true son of Scotland who worked for us deep behind enemy lines in the heart of Westminster, the man who made so much of all of this possible, would the ex British Prime Minister, our own David Cameron please join me on stage ? “