|What am I doing here? Tea and a Tunnocks Wafer?|
Where's the "Shipwrecked 1907 Heidseick" one normally has
around this time of night
I don't understand Cameron’s argument for not debating with Alex Salmond. (Aside: Please politicians, I’m sick of reading that Cameron refuses to debate Alex Salmond. You debate WITH someone. If you debate THEM, then THEY are the subject.)
Anyway…It doesn't matter that Cameron is English; it doesn't matter that he doesn't have a vote; it doesn't even matter that he’s not the head of the No campaign and he wants us to believe that Alex Salmond IS head of the Yes campaign, even if he is not.
If it was all about that, why didn't he send Alistair darling to sign the Edinburgh Agreement?
It doesn't matter that David Cameron is an important world leader (at least in his own eyes), who has slept in the president’s bed on Air Force One, and that Alex Salmond is a provincial leader of a country within the UK, who has never had the need to even meet the president never mind make use of his sheets, duvet and alarm clock.
It’s not about status or nationality or the right to vote in the referendum.
What matters is that, whichever way the referendum goes, at the very moment when the result is known, and for at least 7 months after that date (and likely much longer) David Cameron will be the head of the government which has to deal with that outcome. And his opposite number in this matter will be Alex Salmond.
It’s just that simple.
|Seriously, are you telling me that there is no vintage champagne?|
If Scots say yes, then Cameron is the man who will have to set up the British side of the negotiations for an amicable settlement between the two countries. It’s a massive job involving a vast number of issues. But Cameron will choose the negotiators and he will chair the Cabinet that advises the Queen on what she should pass into law. In the end, what the prime minister says, usually goes.
Alex Salmond is the man who will be overall in change of negotiations from the Scottish side. He will have exactly the same role in negotiations and he too will advise the Queen. Alex has indicated that he would want people from across the political spectrum to be involved (I’m sure Cameron will too), but THEY are the bosses.
If the answer is no, then Cameron will have the responsibility of negotiating (or not) some sort of settlement for post referendum Scotland, and Salmond, as the Scottish leader, is the man with whom he will have to deal.
I’m all for Salmond-Darling debates, or Salmond-Brown, Salmond-Alexander, Salmond-Reid… or whoever is running No at that moment. The more debates the better. The more that both sides are held to account, the more likely people will know what they are voting for or against. And the more likely that strengths will out and weaknesses, on either side, will be exposed.
But whichever of the above debates take place, the participants from the UK can make no promises for the future. At least none that will carry any weight.
It no use us thinking that a promise made by Darling or Alexander will be kept by a Tory government in the future. They are political enemies. Darling and Brown are opposition, back bench, part time MPs. The fact that once they held power means nothing. They have no authority. They are the opposition in an adversarial parliamentary system. That is not to put them down. It's simply the truth.
The so called Labour Big Beasts from the Lords are likewise part time aristocratic members of parliament from the opposition. The party which is OUT of power.
Alexander and Murphy are at least opposition shadow ministers. But still neither has any governmental authority.
Anything either of them says is just words.
Any of these people can promise Alex Salmond, live on tv, that extra funding will be given; powers will be devolved; that, for example, our deputy first minister will no longer have to beg an aristocratic, unelected minister in London, for permission to pay housing benefit at a level suitable to our needs... The government could later scoff and say: "WE did not promise any of this".
|Well, that's a mercy.|
Back in London, only slightly bruised by
a couple of days in Jockland.
I'll send Carmichael next time.
A debate at that level needs to lay out what the two big cheeses will allow after the referendum is over. No one but Cameron and Salmond can do that.
It has been suggested that Cameron thinks that it is beneath his dignity to debate with Salmond: that he would demean the status of his office to debate with the head of a regional government in Edinburgh.
I’m not sure if this is true, but if it is then he should appoint someone from his cabinet or ministerial team… and he should invest in him or her the authority to make promises at the same level as Mr Salmond can.
Someone who has a vote, someone who is Scottish, who can, on behalf of the prime minister, assure us, in a debate on tv, that what he promises will be government policy. That would seem to suggest either Danny Alexander or Alistair Carmichael from the Liberals, or Wee David Mundell from his own party.
To borrow a phrase from Wendy..."Bring it on".