Thursday, September 18, 2014
The Union May Survive Intact but Cameron Is Seriously Wounded
According to The Guardian, late polls show Scotland will stay in the United Kingdom. As Scots went to cast their ballots the No side was up six points, 53 to 47 for the Yes secessionists.
Assuming those numbers hold, the onus is going to fall very heavily on London to come through with its 11th-hour promises of a new deal for the Scottish people.
Already Cameron is facing a rebellion in his caucus over what are seen as giveaways to the north that will have to be paid for by the south.
"Writing in the Wiltshire Gazette and Herald, [Cameron's rail minister, Claire Perry] warned against giving Scotland 'a whole raft of goodies' which would have to be 'paid for by us south of the border to try and appease the yes voters.'
"Perry wrote: 'The funding formula for Scotland, the rather cobbled together Barnett formula, already delivers per capita funding north of the border well in excess of that spent per head in other parts of the union, and if there is a proposal to allow devolution of local taxation, as well as maintaining the current level of funding from the UK parliament, than that can hardly be equitable for those of us in the Devizes constituency and all other areas in the non-Scottish union."
Like it or not, all three party leaders pretty much went along with the bribe and there'll be hell to pay if they renege in the aftermath. A win for the No side is not going to end London's problems. They're only just getting started.
The Guardian's Gaby Hinsliff writes that many of Cameron's caucus colleagues wonder if he has any chance of winning the tough battles ahead.
For days now, the grumbling in Tory circles has been growing louder: a low, angry chorus muttering that, whatever happens, it’s all David Cameron’s flipping fault. Although flipping isn’t the word they use. When it first began looking as if Scotland might be heading for independence, his party’s anger with him was understandably intense. Even when the consensus shifted back to maybe no-by-a-whisker, his apparent complacency still annoyed them.
But what’s striking is that even when rumours began flying that it might be a firmer no, you could still find Tory MPs wholly unable to forgive a leader who many feel did too little for too long, before panicking and doing too much too late.
It’s not the fact that he offered Scotland extra powers at the last minute that has annoyed English Tories, so much as the back-of-a-fag-packet inelegance with which the deal was presented, and the fact that he seems to have kept so few bargaining chips in reserve.