By Martin Kelly
The Yes campaign has flown out of the blocks in 2014.  Two clever surveys have placed the No campaign on the back foot.
People want the No camp to spell out what a No vote will mean and they also want to see a head-to-head between PM David Cameron and FM Alex Salmond.

The decision to survey people in the rest of the UK was an inspired move by the SNP and we now know that the rest of the UK – the people David Cameron really pays attention to – want him to take part in a TV debate with the SNP leader.

The Cam/Salm TV debate issue is a bit of political mischief by the SNP who know how the public will view the Conservative leader’s apparent reluctance to face his nationalist counterpart.  It’s already looking like Cameron’s running scared and the Yes campaign can only gain from such a perception.

There’s also a wee bit of payback from Salmond who if you recall was blocked from appearing alongside Cameron, Clegg and Brown in the so-called leaders’ debate prior to the 2010 UK General Election.  That rankled with the man who thrives in the high profile theatre of TV’s political cut and thrust.

But what of the claims by Unionist supporters of Cameron’s stance, that their man should not engage the First Minister because Cameron is not Scottish. 

The suggestion is absurd and has more than a whiff of ethnic purity about it.  There is no requirement in the referendum for people to be Scottish, they simply need to be on the electoral register.

Ah, retort No supporters, but Cameron doesn’t live here and he doesn’t have a vote.  True, but not having a vote doesn’t mean you don’t have influence.

If, as claimed by Cameron and his Labour and Lib Dem defenders (since when do Labour step in to provide cover for a Tory PM?) that the independence debate should be a matter for Scots, then why has the UK Prime Minister spent considerable time and effort elbowing his way into ‘our’ debate?

Also, should not Cameron, as head of the current state within which Scotland resides, not inform Foreign heads of state who deign to interfere in the debate that they should mind their own damn business?

The truth is that David Cameron is using his position as the PM of the UK to interfere in the referendum.  From demanding the Scottish Government sought his Government’s approval before he would deign to legitimise the referendum, to refusing to seek clarity from the EU and milking the resultant ‘uncertainty’ for his own ends.

His wheeze to celebrate the First World War at the end of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow was a blatant attempt to ensure an Olympic style celebration of Union Jack inspired Britishness.

Cameron has never been away from the independence debate, nor has his cabinet.  He has commanded an army of Whitehall Civil Servants to draft document after document attacking independence. 

English based Tory MPs sit on the Scottish Affairs Committee which issues regular politically motivated anti-independence reports.

Both leaders are playing their hand to maximum advantage as both are entitled to do.  But by refusing to debate with Salmond, Cameron is looking like the bully who runs when confronted.

He’s not scared of course, he probably relishes the chance to take Salmond on.  But Cameron’s advisers and those in charge of the No campaign know that he cannot hope to win a TV debate with the de-facto leader of independence.  There are simply too many issues on which Cameron would struggle – Welfare cuts, Trident and of course the Bedroom Tax.

An issue as important as the future of the UK will demand that TV debates, high profile prime-time TV debates, are held.

But Salmond versus Cameron will only happen if middle England becomes so irritated at the upstart First Minister that it demands their Prime Minister take him on. 

If his own electorate, on whom he relies on to maintain high office, up the pressure then Cameron risks losing not just the Union but a chance of a second term in office if he continues to back off.

Salmond has Cameron wriggling at the moment.  Expect the nationalists to keep tugging the line on this one and the No campaign to become increasingly nervous.


2014-01-06 23:46

It is more than influence, he has power. Power to decide & control. He must justify his role & his involvement by debating.
2014-01-07 02:51

I remember well the “Leaders Debates” where the BBC quickly changed tune and started calling them PM debates. Funny as the same thing happened yesterday on the politics show where they were called the “Leaders Debates” again and they were debating whether Nigal Farage should be part of it.

Obviously a lot of squirming from the ConLibLab party in the face of the UKIP leader being present on the show but it really showed up the sham democracy we have here in the UK.

If you are not part of a narrow war mongering elite banking squad in London then you can get to f~*^!

We know it`s the ugly truth, we just have to convince enough of the good people of this country to distance ourselves from it and change our future for the better this year.
2014-01-07 10:38

I remember Alex Salmond on Question Time warning English voters not to let “these people” destroy their NHS.

Nevermind independence, perhaps Unionists fear exposure to Alex Salmond might give ordinary people in England too much food for thought.
2014-01-07 13:53


The suggestion is absurd and has more than a whiff of ethnic purity about it.

Of course he must debate with Alex Salmond. Cameron knows it, we know it, you know it and the English know it. It is nothing as complicated as your whiff of whatever, it is pure and simple fear. Not fear of debating nor lack of those skills but justified fear that he doesn’t have any arguments to put forward against the Independence mantra of the YES campaign. Cameron would fail miserably. He has no answers to the hacking of Scotland’s budget that will happen in the event of a NO vote and to avoid being slaughtered he would have to offer up some solid guarantees vav the Scottish Budget, to be enacted in THIS Parliament.

2014-01-07 15:10

It is said that Cameron is not Scottish, as I understand it one’s nationality comes from one’s Father Now David Cameron’s Father WAS Scottish so why is’nt he ??
His name also belies this!
Anyway you look at this argument he is “Feart”
2014-01-08 09:21

The longer this charade goes on for the more emboldened Salmond becomes, the weaker and more vascillating Cameron appears.
Even if a debate were to be held today, Cameron is in a no win situation as is the Project Fear. They simple have nothing to offer and Osborne’s threats of further massive cuts to the Welfare budget even in the face of Scotland’s fiscal surplus to Westminster really boils down to the fact that with Scotland gone to the happy hunting grounds of independence the debt burden facing England simply scares the living daylights out of the establishment.
Without massive structural reform of institutions in whatever remains of our failed UK the pain for middle England will be severe.

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