Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Bourbons

I see that Alex Salmond has been having some fun this week.

The First Minister has been telling off Tory dinosaurs from the Thatcher era - aka Michael Forsyth and Malcolm Rifkind - that their time has gone - that they have nothing positive to contribute to the referendum debate about Scotland's future.

Now I thought at first - that's a bit harsh.

Because Malcolm Rifkind's not that bad a chap really - even if his sidekick Michael Forsyth was a nasty piece of work as Scottish Secretary - and still is for all I know.      

Anyway Lord Michael Forsyth and Sir Malcolm Rifkind have had lots to say recently - and have been getting their knickers in a right old twist over the comments of the current Prime Minister - David Cameron. 

On his recent visit to Scotland - David Cameron said that the the Scottish Parliament could look forward to a new range of powers - but only if the Scottish people vote No in a future referendum on independence.

Which prompted the obvious question:

'Which powers is he talking about - and why wait until after the referendum to put any proposals on the table?' 

But this unexpected development upset the old Tory dinosaurs no end - most likely because for many years they were never remotely interested - in anything to do with a Scottish Parliament.

In fact as far as they were concerned it was Westminster's way - or the highway.

So on reflection I think it's fair for the First Minister to ridicule the pair as 'Bourbons'.

The Bourbons were of course the last  French monarchs and aristocrats to rule La Belle France before meeting their grisly fate at the guillotine - not the famous chocolate biscuits or American whisky of the same name.

Lord Forsyth has warned that the Prime Minister's pledge of more powers for the Scottish Parliament - had “lit the touch paper” for supporters of Devo-Max.

While Sir Malcolm chipped in by saying that it would amount to "independence in all but name".

Well what's wrong with that I have to say?Independence in all but name - sounds just fine to me.

Devo-Max - or independence in all but name - won't frighten many horses and is common in other parts of the world - Devo-Max is similar to the political settlement in Catalonia in Spain, for example.

Another way to put the same point - is that Scotland would have the best of both worlds.

So the questions on the referendum ballot paper could be - something along the lines of - Do you support:

1 The status quo
2 Independence
3 Independence in all but name - also known as Devo-Max

On second thoughts - maybe Sir Malcom Rifkind has his uses after all.