16 Feb 2012

Cameron meets Salmond – frustration or forward progress?

David Cameron’s on his way home and his aides are describing his 40 minute meeting with Alex Salmond as “frustrating” and producing “no 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.

Tweets by @garygibbonblog

8 reader comments

  1. CWH says:

    Mr Cameron has said he would ‘consider’ more powers IF the NO vote wins in the Independence referendum.

    Three points:
    1. He has not said what the powers are likely to be
    2. ‘Consider’ does not a definite offer of more powers.
    3. Will he [Cameron] be in power when the referendum takes place? The projected date for the referendum is in autumn 2014 but the UK General Elction is in May 2014.

    As far as Labour, LibDems and Tories are concerned they have answered the calls for more powers for the Scottish Parliament and that answer took the form of the Calman Commission and the Scotland Bill that is loosely based on the report of that commission.

    Given the torrid time the Bill is having getting through Westminster it is unlikely that a Bill offering more powers would actually get through even if ‘considering’ more powers actually reached the point of deciding what those powers would be devolved.

  2. Mac says:

    Gary caught Gibbering once more, “a pirate and illegal referendum”. All referenda are consultative and the SCottish government has the powers to call as many consultative referenda as they want.

  3. Alan Henderson says:

    David Cameron obviously thought up this offer to think about more devolution on the hoof – his leader in Scotland has been saying ”this far and no further” on devolution for weeks. It is designed to make just enough gullible people decide to stick with Westminster. It will have little real impact; most Scots do not trust the Tories – who needs to predict their future actions when we know their track record?
    Devolution is all about transferring as little power as possible from Westminster; autonomy is all about taking responsibility and standing on your own two feet; Scots just might be brave and visionary enough to grab the latter.

  4. Russell Bruce says:

    “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.”

    I think you need a Scottish correspondent with a little bit of knowledge of Scotland and Scottish politics. The Labour party are all over the place. They might still be the largest of the Unionist parties but their support is leaching and membership sliding not to mention that fact that they are broke.

    They face an SNP with a £2million+ war chest, the most sophisticated campaign software of any UK party and whose membership is rising faster than the sum of its opponents decline.

    1. Chris says:

      Thank you thats what I have been saying!!! Get Brian Taylor to represent Scotland! It is like having a discussion about say China and having people who know nothing or very little about the country shouting all odds! Clearly there are unfortunately greater differences between Scotland and England than I could ever Imagine. If you look at our taught history through school though its all centred around battles with the English, the Romans and the Germans, then it moves onto the Victorian era and the great inventors and explorers. I cannot Imagine that English history would be centred around the same ideas, or even include very little if anything about Scotland in their history and so this may explain gross generalisations or even looking down at our nation.
      Unforunately I love great Britain but having seen the debate open up over the past year, I have to ask the question ‘are we really all that similar?’ do we all strive for Great Britain or just England and Scotland
      Also why do we allow for such a gross political mistake to continue, such as the West Lothian Question where Scotland can vote on ‘only’ England’s issues but this is not the case in Scotland. Where does the…

  5. Jon Wood says:

    Cameron has somewhat belatedly recognised that (according to polls) a majority of Scots want greater autonomy. Having initially ruled out devo max (powers that could be offered without any referendum), he’s now maybe offering it if he’s rewarded by a no vote to full independence. Could he be any more patronising? How about splitting the difference – question 1 is “Do you want greater autonomy? and question 2 is “If yes, devo max or full independence?
    I’m intrigued by Cameron stating “my argument is, we are better off, we are stronger together, we’re fairer together, we’re richer together”. Does he have a similar view for the national football teams?

  6. Chris says:

    DEAR Mr Gary Gibbon

    I have left various comments in the past, over anger in respect of people commenting ‘facts’ then implying or even stating that they are fact, and also not really giving much to the debate itself, but only recycling the same rubbish thats being passed about by word of mouth, although some additions to the debate are useful.
    However, I would like to give you this link to an academic debate if you are indeed interested in the politics of Scotland and its future, this has various opinions both Student and university academics have added to the discussion:
    http://scottishreferendumexperience.wordpress.com/
    although if you do not care for it you can choose to ignore.

  7. Chris says:

    I’m sorry to say Gary but let me give you an insight into Scottish politics at the present moment we have never been a one party country! Until the Thatcher era and the breakdown of our nation by the Torie Government. We were very much a two party country for almost 300 years we voted whig (liberal) until the rise of the labour party in the early 1900’s and voted even Concervatives or back then ‘Tory’ yes thats right we havent always been so socialist. But lets face it times do change and in the past 7 years we have become more nationalist than ever anticipated this is due to our distrust in not only the conservatives but labour. Most people I know either don’t know politics or don’t care for it, the rest used to vote labour but HAVE BEEN SEVERELY LET DOWN BY THEM, and so Do Not Vote anymore. The rest are pro SNP or some vote labour. But to narrow it down everyone is unsure about leaving as we do love our Great country as difficult as it is sometimes, but people are bored with the current arrangement and so if there is anymore debate on the issue cracks from the opposition of the SNP will inevitably lead to an SNP & Independence majority in 2014 & the oil is inevitably ours…

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