You can tell by the response that it’s true. Low-level leaks without credibility don’t draw joint statements of denial like that of Osborne and Alexander. Inconsequential briefings don’t attract instant rebuttals from Number 10.
They have been caught, bang to rights, telling giant lies to the British people and it’s now a mad scramble to recover in case the truth takes hold. And, of course, it has taken root. Every Scot now knows that the men who run Britain will look him in the eye and lie to his face.
What made the Nick Watt story in the Guardian so powerful was first, the detail and second, the way it fitted perfectly the scenario the critics outlined. The clue to understanding the campaign is to think of it as two parallel operations. The main one, the one we get pushed at us daily is the upfront, in-your-face fear programme. It is entirely focussed on winning a No, irrespective of content, effect or implication. And irrespective of aftermath…legacy doesn’t matter. This is confirmed in interviews with Blair McDougall where he talks about the constant attention to the Don’t Knows, especially the section who are known to be nervous and think of themselves as having something to lose. No doesn’t bother with No voters, nor does it take any notice of Yes people (one reason it is totally negative to us), but only and alone it is concerned with the several hundred thousand still wavering and the sub group who are malleable. They are the Worriers not the Warriors. Bank balance or Braveheart? No contest. That is the first strand of the campaign – unflinchingly concentrated on a No win, by a single point if necessary.
The second and deeper part of the project is what they will do after September 18. As soon as the Scots vote Yes, a container-load of power shifts north. It is ours and it’s called the mandate. One more vote than No and the ability to prevent independence is snatched from London’s grasp, the moral authority is vested in Edinburgh and there is an urgent and unchallengeable need to resolve the Scottish question to our, as well as to their, satisfaction. No more lectures, no more insults, no more lies about the finances, no more synthetic emotion and obfuscation. The condescension stops and, the bit I like best, the whole world is watching.
Every other country stays clear of internal national politics so long as no breaches of human rights and international law are concerned. But a legal binding, democratic assertion of sovereignty by the Scots puts us on the same footing as the British representatives. For the first time since the signing of the Treaty 307 years ago, the Scots will look the English in the eye and they will both know they are equals in the eyes of the world. Only it won’t feel like that for Cameron. This will be withering defeat for the man descended from William the Fourth who was the last Hanovarian King of the United Kingdom because the line ran out with him. Similarly, Cameron’s epitaph will be as the last Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
That mandate demands results. It can’t be ignored or delayed and the world community will expect action and fairness. One of Britain’s strongest cards is its soft power in the global community and, having taken such a monumental dent to the imperial paintwork, will be desperate to confirm its democratic credentials in handling Scotland. You can’t tell Afghans, Syrians or Crimeans they are ignoring international norms when you’re playing dirty with your own people.
It is at this point, notwithstanding the tortuous negotiations, that Scotland and the rUK become partners again. The game is over and hands must be shaken. The damage must be minimised and that is best effected by appearing still to share so much. Look, we share a currency, cooperate on defence in NATO, vote together in the EU, live without a border, happily share our island as friends, trade easily, export electricity, aid each other’s carbon targets, support rUK’s UN seat and have even reached a controversial deal on nuclear weapons. As our anonymous minister said: “…. everything would change in the negotiations if there were a yes vote.” What that means is they will say anything- absolutely anything – before the vote and something entirely different afterwards. The door will open for Scotland on to a new world. London must hope they haven’t scunnered the Scots so much with their lies that the mood in the North doesn’t want currency, defence or any other kind of Union with people who treated us so badly.by