Mike Vickers' Blog

February 14, 2014

A Union revisited – Thoughts following Ruth Davidson at the David Hume Institute

Filed under: DHI SPIF, Politics, Scotland, Scottish Independence — derryvickers @ 3:24 pm

As with Willie Rennie in the previous presentation to the DHI, I had not heard Ruth Davidson speak before, well at least for so long with a positive message.  She came over as someone relaxed, with a touch of humour and well in control of what she wanted to say.  More importantly she answered a set of probing questions fluently and ducking only slightly.

Looking back over the series of presentations by the five political parties in Scotland (and I could only maker 3 of them), we started with Nicola Sturgeon making the case for Scotland for the Scots and we finished with Ruth Davidson recalling the magnificent 300 years of Scots working within the Union.  Both cannot be right but that’s politics.

Davidson is Cameron’s Lady in Scotland.  Somewhat unfairly Cameron has been accused of not making his impassioned plea to the rest of the UK: England, Wales and Northern Ireland to woo the Scots to stay with us in the Union in London rather than Edinburgh; he was not wooing, at least at this time, for the Scots to stay in the Union directly – this may come.

It has been mooted that Salmond would have preferred to have renegotiated the relationship between Scotland and the Union, just as Davidson said last night that that’s what Cameron wants in his discussion with the EU.  It is also mooted that Cameron scuppered the first and clearly the rEurope are scuppering the second.  The case for remaining in Europe is certainly being attacked by UKip, but that did not come up at least directly last evening.

The bystanders claim that the Referendum is a distraction from the real issue of recovering from the financial crash: from Scotland’s point of view it is the reverse.  Some of the antagonism that is starting to boil up on both sides could have been avoided if the financial crash had not come in the way.  Davidson is right that Salmond failing to get a re-negotiation is trying to cherry pick the best of the Union for Scotland.  Osborne looks to be scuppering that too.

The situation as I see it is that a Devo-Max would have been the way forward and in this respect Davidson remembered the Scotland Act 2012 as a clear step in the right direction and which will come into law but unfortunately lost in the high blown rhetoric.

But from the Better Together’s point of view their real failing is that there is no statement of what Better Together means in practice – the three parties cannot come together to issue their ‘White Paper’.  Labour will announce its view in March, the LibDems with Campbell 2 in April and the Tories with Lord Strathclyde in May.  In September before the television cameras who will bring out the essence of the benefit of the Union before the wonderful words of Scotland for the Scots underpinned by Bannockburn by Alex Salmond.

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