Hamish Macdonell

Cameron’s unionism speech was laudable in substance, but it made him look afraid of Alex Salmond

I got a text from a mischievous friend in London this morning.

‘David Cameron has asked me to ask you not to leave the UK. We would miss you all awfully if you did and the Olympics were jolly fun with you on board,’ it said.

I don’t think this was quite what the Prime Minister had in mind when he decided to appeal to the English, Welsh and Northern Irish to use their powers of persuasion to get us Scots to stay in the Union. But if that wasn’t what he wanted, then what was it?

The Prime Minister’s big speech on the Union today is both interesting and difficult for a Scottish audience to hear. For a start, the speech is about Scotland, it is focused on the battle for Scottish independence and it is about us, the Scots, and the decision we will have to make in seven months’ time. But it is not aimed at us: it is aimed at the English, the Welsh and Northern Irish, urging them to persuade us not to vote Yes.

It is almost as if he has decided to go over our heads and talk to others about us, saying: ‘Look, it’s quite obvious they are not going to listen to me, they don’t seem to like me for some reason, but they might listen to you. Could you have a go? Maybe you can succeed where I’ve failed.’ That may be a little harsh because I think Mr Cameron’s intentions are good but the underlying impression here is hard to ignore.

Second, this speech – about Scotland – is being made in London.

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