Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics

Alex Salmond is thinking like a European politician.

Posted by Jason O on Jan 10, 2012 in British Politics, European Union

Salmond: A subtle European operator to Cameron's English blusterer.

Salmond: A subtle European operator to Cameron's English blusterer.

The spat between Alex Salmond and David Cameron over a Scottish referendum on Independence is very telling about how British politics works, especially if compared against the Cameron government’s approach to Europe. Salmond is looking to propose three options to the Scottish people: independence, the status quo, or “devo max” , which is basically the Scottish Parliament taking over everything except for defence and foreign affairs. Cameron is trying to block this, because he (rightly, in my opinion) reckons that the Scots will vote for devo max, and devo max moves Scotland so radically close to the door that actual independence will be a relatively minor future step. Cameron wants the Scots to be forced to choose between the status quo and exit from the UK, which is far less likely to pass. Salmond, on the other hand, is being very continental about this, recognising the subtle options open to him, and that by giving the people the final say in a future exit he has a good chance of finally bringing the country with him, step by cautious measured step. But what’s really interesting about this is that David Cameron does not want to give the British people a similar choice on the European Union. In fact, if he is ever forced to do so, he will almost certainly offer more than just a simple in or out question. Who knows, he might even get some advice from Alex.

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