Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Oh, about Scotland

While I'm here, there is one thing about the Scottish referendum that has been properly bugging me. Rachel Sylvester's article in the Times today is more or less a perfect illustration of it, while Polly Toynbee gives another cracking example. That thing is the idea that, if Scotland votes Yes to independence on Thursday, this will be all David Cameron's fault. For extra points, Sylvester accuses Cameron of arrogantly ignoring the wisdom of women:
The prime minister’s naive short-termism and arrogant refusal to listen to women will come back to haunt him

This is because he didn't listen to complaints that the No campaign sounds "like a man whose wife is leaving him, but instead of trying to win her back by talking about all the wonderful things they have done together, and telling her how much he loves her, he is shouting about how she won’t get any money or see the children if they get divorced.” Well, here's the thing. David Cameron doesn't run the No campaign. He doesn't run it because it was agreed by all Unionist players that an English Tory Prime Minister wasn't the best choice to persuade a country that returned one Tory MP in 2010 that independence was a bad idea.
Equally, the idea that:
Although Labour must share some of the responsibility, it is the prime minister who should shoulder most of the blame. It was he who caved in to the SNP leader over the date of the referendum, giving the independence cause time to build momentum, and it was he who refused to include a third compromise option on the ballot paper, offering the “devo-max” option that he has now been forced to concede.
Is mostly nonsense too. After the SNP won a majority in 2011, a referendum was inevitable. The timing of it was fairly irrelevant - as demonstrated by the fact that the polls only started to move as the actual date approached. ANd the idea that there ought to have been 3 options on the paper is ridiculous - what would have happened if the results had been 35% Yes, 34% No, and 31% Devo Max? Independence?

And why should the Prime Minister shoulder the blame for the conduct of a campaign led by Labour? The principal faces of the No campaign (Darling, Murphy, Brown) are Labour, the grassroots campaigners were supposed to be recruited by Labour - the party with the most to lose from independence is Labour. Cameron has done his bit (and his speeches are among the few memorable ones from the No camp) but ultimately he has had to take a back seat in this. Blaming him for this now is a smokescreen to hide the real culprits.

This is rubbish too:

Even if there’s a ‘no’ vote, Cameron has ended up giving away the keys to the kingdom on the basis of one opinion poll,” says a senior backbencher. “That is just wrong. The whole attitude has been ‘let’s get through today and worry about the details later’.”
I'm guessing this "senior backbencher" hasn't bothered reading the Strathclyde Commission Report, or realised that the Tories pledged precisely the further devolution that is being decried as last-minute and panicky back in June following the Report's publication. Fiscal devolution is a quintessentially Conservative position, and was already part of manifesto plans.

Christ, but the childish lack of discipline from the Tory back benches annoys me.


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