David Cameron: Boy Politics

Apparently the Foreign Office have leaked another memo. According to the Scotsman, this one “is understood” to outline the “possibility” that if Scotland votes for independence, the government of rUK could expel Scotland from the EU.

Oh, and William Hague is snorting that British embassies won’t promote Scotch whisky any more if Scotland votes yes to independence. Now that is the action of a William who’s been glared sternly at by David and told to come up with something, fast.

David Cameron and William Hague and the rest of the Westminster crowd are past praying for.

But Ruth Davidson may be a Tory, but she ought to know better than this:

“If Alex Salmond is so sure of his position, then why does he not produce the hard evidence that backs up his assertion that a separate Scotland would gain automatic succession to the EU.”

This is boy politics, Ruth. It’s not serious business.

It’s not as if the Tories are a very pro-EU party. This constant harping on “OMG maybe we’ll see you get kicked out of the club if you divorce us!” is inconsistent with general Tory mistrust of EU membership. This line that Cameron and Hague are promoting at Westminster is playing to the Daily Mail voters whom they don’t expect to see the inconsistency: they claim that EU membership is unpopular, while at the same time campaigning against Scottish independence with this tactic of “leaking” memos against EU membership for Scotland.

Everyone knows that the EU does not expel member states from membership. Countries have been admitted to the EU even though they had not really met the human rights benchmark. (As it happens Scotland scores slightly higher on the EU human rights benchmark than the rest of the UK. But it’s only half a point or so. Nothing to brag about. You note I’m not.) Cameron may be genuinely ignorant of this, but William Hague and Ruth Davidson are both smart enough to know that this is just a lie they’ve been instructed to tell in the hope that some Scots might believe it and wonder why Salmond hasn’t shown for sure that Scotland will still be a member of the EU after independence, if that’s what we vote for. (The kind of people who, in the US, go on wondering why Obama hasn’t shown his “real” birth certificate.)

Scotland goes to the polls in autumn 2014. Ruth Davidson, in your capacity as leader of the Conservative Unionist party in Scotland, you have a double responsibility: To find a way (difficult though it may be) to tell David Cameron that actually, yeah, we can tell these “leaked memos” are a Tory campaign against independence being run from Westminster, and if he truly wants to keep Scotland in the Union, this is self-defeating. And to find a way – rather then endlessly going on about the boy-politics that Cameron and Hague and Osborne are dreaming up at Westminster – to present a coherent and positive case for Scotland staying in the Union.

Not a case of Scotch. (Tell William that idea – Scots will vote against independence because British embassies won’t market the whisky! – is really not going to work. Many Scots are just vain enough about the other national drink that they’ll tell you good whisky is its own advertisement.) An actual positive looks-like-you’ve-thought-about-it case.

Go on. At least try.

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Filed under European politics, Scottish Politics

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