Cameron meets Salmond – frustration or forward progress?
Alex Salmond says things “have moved on quite substantially” because more devolution is now on the table from the Coalition. He said David Cameron now needs to spell out his new devolution offer and he, Alex Salmond, got no clarity on it in the meeting. Alex Salmond appears convinced that the 1 or 2 questions issue is the only real substantive issue of difference left.
It was interesting to hear David Cameron earlier issue a clarion cry to Gordon Brown, John Reid and Alistair Darling to rally to the union jack and do their bit for the campaign. It’s an acknowledgement of his own political weakness in Scotland. But it also tells you something about what a pro-union campaign might look like. There would be a cross-party campaign of some kind but the heavy lifting might well be done by Labour. The template is not so much the European referendum or AV referendum where cross-party campaigns dominated. This time Labour is united and significantly bigger than the rival parties in Scotland, so the Labour “No” campaign would probably dominate the pro-union side in events and messages.
Although David Cameron says he is passionate about devolution and letting local forces decide, it’s probably worth pointing out that his recently elected Scottish Conservatives leader ran on a “no more devolution – we’re fine as we are thanks” ticket.
Word has it that Tories in London have been attracted by Reform Scotland’s proposals from last summer which included devolution of welfare, but we seem to be a long way from the PM’s team feeling ready to share their thoughts … in so far as they have formed.
Can’t resist sharing a snatched photo of the BBC’s coverage today which got the SNP very excited: quite apart from the caption, the time on screen – 13.14 – replicates the date of the Scottish triumph at the battle of Bannockburn.