The Man Who Saved the Union
I have written about Michael Moore, Secretary of State for Scotland, in The Independent on Sunday today. He was once such an anonymous Cabinet minister that he featured in this Times photograph (right) illustrating a story about civil service job cuts.
But I think that he might come to be regarded as the most successful Liberal Democrat in the Cabinet, and the man responsible for that remarkable phenomenon, the Discomfiting of Alex Salmond.
Jim Cusick’s report that the negotiations over the division of the UK’s national debt would not begin until after a Yes vote in the referendum is here. Also in today’s newspapers there is also an interesting report of Herman van Rompuy, president of the European Council, saying that Scotland would have to re-apply for EU membership. It is 17 months old, and the Observer is wrong to describe it as “recent”, but it remains pertinent to the debate.
It is always dangerous for London-based journalists, even those of Scottish heritage, to venture into the furnace of Scottish politics, but fortunately responses I have received from Nationalists (in the comments and on Twitter) have confirmed that they are always willing to engage thoughtfully and courteously with the arguments.
I lived in Scotland as a child, but I would not presume to know enough about Scottish public opinion to predict how the referendum will go. As an expat, though, I was struck by a BBC Newsround programme at the time of Cameron’s speech in February. It interviewed Scottish school children and one of the boys said that he did not want Scotland to be independent because he did not think that it had enough soldiers to keep it safe.
Anthony Wells has collected all the opinion polling on independence and it is notable that the last time support for it outweighed opposition was a TNS System Three poll for the Herald in April 2008, when 41 per cent supported independence and 40 opposed. (A YouGov poll for The Sun conducted at exactly the same time found 34 per cent support and 51 per cent opposition.)Tagged in: independence, Scotland, snp
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