By Paul T Kavanagh
In an article published in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph, Davie Cameron, the guy who got his job on merit because he just happened to be the best old Etonian available, has had an astounding change of heart on the topic of referendums. Davie tells us he doesn’t agree with those who say they want the referendum to be as early as possible, people shouldn’t be rushed on important decisions.
He goes on to explain that neither is he in favour of a simple yes/no in/out question, saying that the problem with it is that most people are unhappy with the Union as it currently stands, and want to change it. A simple yes/no doesn’t offer anything to those people, who Davie says are the majority. That’s why, he continues, he’s determined to offer people a real choice and not bounce them into an early navel shape vote, an innie or an outie.
But there will be no jubilation from supporters of Devo Max, Devo Plus, Devo the Musical, or Devo Please Sir Can I Have Some More, because Davie wasn’t talking about Scotland’s referendum. He was talking about a UK referendum on the EU, that other Union we’re a part of.
He may or may not hold this other referendum at some unspecified time in the future. Possibly about the same time as he gets round to telling us what extra powers for Holyrood he may be pondering whether to consider thinking about musing on. It may be just in time for the wedding of your as yet unborn great-grandchildren, which would make a lovely prezzie and save him the bother of buying a waffle maker from Argos.
But as for the Scottish referendum, Dave still wants it to be held yesterday, and there will be none of this shilly-shallying about nuanced choices. The possibility of Scottish independence is cramping the poor lamb’s ability to think. It’s in or oot, and say so straight away. Only then will Dave be willing to ponder extra powers for Holyrood, maybe. It’s all in the stars, it will happen when the time is right, and Mars has aligned with Uranus.
There are only three possible explanations for Dave’s Janus like stance on questions about a Union, the first and most obvious being that Dave’s as two-faced as post-coital mongrel dugs and as convincing as that Olympics advert showing David Beckham filling in a crossword.
Remember all the green posing when he was in Opposition, that lasted as long after the election as it took to say ‘windfarm planning regulations’. So it’s not like Dave’s never faced in different directions, it’s just that the time between his opinions as to his short term interest are getting shorter and shorter. We’re now in negative time, when Dave changes his mind even before he’s made it up. Some might think it’s hypocrisy, which lay-people can easily confuse with quantum paradoxes in space-time.
Alternatively it might mean that Dave thinks that Scotland’s future is not that important a question and we don’t need time to think about it. We know that Scotland is just a little country after all, and its future can’t possibly compare in importance to the future of the Westminster Parliament which understands things like quantum paradoxes in space-time, and how to claim for them on your John Lewis expense account. How selfish of us to think otherwise.
It also follows that Dave believes that most Scots are not unhappy with the Union as it currently stands, and don’t want to change it. All this voting on Scotland’s constitutional future nonsense is down to a few agitators like the guy he calls the “Mad Scotsman” and his organised gang of swivel eyed SNP voting Cybernats.
He can’t understand why we don’t all vote for that nice Action Krankie wummin, who presents such a terribly modern image of 21st century Conservatism. She’s even openly Glaswegian. He forgets we’re Scottish, and recognise a token when we see one.
What we can take from the above is that Dave has just told us how he’s going to interpret a No vote in 2014. We can’t say we’ve not been warned.
There’s another possibility. It could be Dave was just pulling a vague promise of an unspecified referendum on Europe at some unspecified time in the future out of a nether orifice, in order to stop his Eurosceptic backbenchers from greetin in his lug every time someone mentions Brussels or Angela Merkel. Over 100 of his backbenchers don’t trust him on Europe. There’s a whole lot more of us who don’t trust him on Europe or anything else, but Scotland didn’t even figure in his thinking.
None of these scenarios are mutually exclusive. This must be some of that ‘Best of Both Worlds’ stuff that the Bitter Together campaign was telling us Scotland gets under Westminster. It’s a beautiful example of the British Parliamentary system at its very best. Westminster muddles through, it’s the British way.
Muddling through essentially consists of doing what’s in the short-term interests of your own career, and by the time that anyone notices that you’ve just stuck some sellotape and a lick of paint over a structural failure – usually when the entire shoddy edifice come crashing down about our ears – you’ve already buggered off to a safe sinecure in the House of Lords and a lovely pension.
We’ve seen how that works with banking regulation, press regulation, the Home Office, and the massive Defence overspends on flashy toys that don’t work that are now causing squaddies to be made redundant in order to cut costs, to name but a few.
The response from the EU to Dave’s referendum plan has been a Gallic shrug, and that was from the Germans. No one cares that much whether the UK stays or leaves. They’ve been as impressed by Dave Cameron’s tenure in office as Scotland has, and they certainly understand that this is just the latest episode of Dave mouthing off again.
It’s highly unlikely that Angela Merkel will start a Besser Zusammen campaign to persuade the UK to stay. We won’t see François Hollande telling us that he loves us, which is a pity, because it sounds sexier when you have a French accent and don’t sound like an Edinburgh banker.
The lesson from this is that the anti-independence Bitter Together campaign should rename itself Bettehrr Togezehrr, and adopt Je t’aime as its campaign song instead of something that sounds suspiciously Big-Country-ish. Then we might be distracted long enough by mental images of Serge Gainsbourg making out with Jane Birkin to stop laughing at it. At least for a few moments.
Scotland on Sunday reported yesterday that Herman Moorester is being sidelined out of his job as Scotland’s voice in the UK Cabinet because Dave cannae be doing with him. Or words to that effect. Scotland doesn’t need a voice in Cabinet, it needs an ear and it jolly well ought to listen. Dave is shouting at Scotland so loudly to hold a yes-no referendum immediately that he’s hoping we won’t hear about his Euro-referendum promises over the din.
Dave thinks the anti-independence campaign needs a more aggressive messenger-person, by which he means one who’ll be shoutier with us, but more compliant with him. This was exactly what Ruth the Action Krankie promised in her Scottish Tory leadership campaign, which hasn’t exactly turned out great for Dave’s party’s fortunes, but Dave is probably bright enough to realise that as far as Scotland is concerned his choices are either shouting a lot, or banging his head repeatedly against a brick wall. It’s understandable he prefers the former.
Meanwhile the Lib Dems are worried that we’ll think they’re sexist because they don’t have any women in the UK Cabinet. That’s not what they ought to worry most that we’ll think of them, but straws must be clutched in a crisis. So they’re quite happy to shuffle the Moorester off sideways in order to promote Jo Swinson as Token Woman. She’s a Cleggie loyalist with a proven track record in doing what she’s told, so it’s a win-win.
Jo built her political career on campaigning against student fees, then voting in favour of them for students in England. She also appeared at one Lib Dem party conference wearing a pink T-shirt with the legend “I’m not your Token Woman” when speaking out against positive discrimination for female candidates.
She’s now planning to purchase a T-shirt saying Token Wummin in tartan lettering, which would be a legitimate work expense. Jo has studied long and hard at the feet of Westminster’s wizards in quantum paradoxes in space-time, so she’s long overdue a promotion on merit.
All this takes place against the backdrop of the implosion of the UK financial sector, as we discovered that the inter-bank interest rate the Libor rate was in fact just a lie, and that Westminster politicians may have colluded in its manipulation by giving it the nod on the sly. It was all for their own short-term interests, and this time they don’t have the excuse of “It’s probably quantum.”
It’s not been a good first week for the Better Together campaign, and doesn’t look set to improve any. First of all Dave Cameron throws a Euro-wobbly on the referendum conditions, now their front man Alistair Darling has some serious questions to answer, which will distract him from demanding clarity from the Yes campaign while supplying nothing but fog of his own.
Al was Labour Chancellor and Treasury Chief during part of the period when the Libor rate was being cheerfully pauchled. Before becoming Chancellor, Al was Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, and had responsibility for stuff like business regulation. What a sterling job he did. It remains to be seen which banks’ pockets the sterling ended up in.
After scandal upon scandal originating in the highly paid and exceedingly self-regarding banking sector, the Libor deception may be the straw which breaks the camel’s back in public attitudes towards bankers and the Westminster politicians who collude and connive with them. Only this isn’t so much a straw as a bombshell weighing in at trillions of pounds.
These are the same folk who want us to trust them and believe their promises that Scotland is Better Together with them. Better with that lot? You’re having a laff. There’s another fact about quantum mechanics that the clever clogs of Westminster have overlooked, things can suddenly flip from one state to another. Scotland is quantum too, and in 2014 we’ll demonstrate it with a change in state.