What some in the UK Government seem to have forgotten is that, because this is such an important issue for the Scottish Nationalists, they have analysed and prepared for every twist and turn of the debate. In what is now a game of political chess, Mr Salmond has correctly forecast his opponent’s moves before they have even decided what they are going to do.2. Alan Cochrane on the Telegraph website (here):
What appears likely to happen now is this: Mr Salmond will pass his referendum bill through the Scottish Parliament and he will challenge the UK Government to take it to the court. If it does go to court, he will then accuse the UK Government of subverting the democratic will of the Scottish people and, as far as many Scots are concerned, he will have a point.
The UK Government has approached this late, it has approached it half-heartedly, and it is now being outplayed at every stage.
The braggadocio was still there — he doesn’t leave home without it — but there was no doubt that Alex Salmond blinked first yesterday in his referendum stand-off with David Cameron and the Coalition government over breaking up Britain.Twenty-four hours after being reported missing and leaving all of his defence in the capable hands of Nicola Sturgeon, his deputy, Wee Eck returned to the fray yesterday and, although there is still a long way to go, there were clear indications that he is beginning to cave in to Westminster’s demands.He announced what he had thus far refused to do — that he wants to hold his referendum in autumn 2014, nearly three years from now.He said he would not be dictated to by London but he also detected a change in tone from Westminster. In which case, he added: “We won’t have too many fights.”Just to show what a good democrat he is, he announced his preference for autumn 2014 — St Andrew’s Day on Nov 30, perhaps — not to Holyrood, not to his party’s activists — but to Sky News, in a desperate publicity stunt to ensure that he was not upstaged by events at Westminster. He had also convened a Scottish cabinet meeting, which his aides insisted was “scheduled” and coincidental with the pressure being put on him by David Cameron to come clean about the referendum.
Does the answer lie somewhere in between? I doubt it ...