WESTMINSTER panic at the continuing support for Scottish independence has prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to make plans to visit Scotland this week.
It comes as 20 successive opinion polls have shown a majority support for independence and after reports that a five-point plan to ‘’save the union’’ has been drawn up by Tory minister Michael Gove.
Mr Johnson’s planned trip suggests that the Tory government’s arrogance has blinded it to the fact that Scotland just doesn’t like the Prime Minister.
The Sunday Times’ recent ‘Disunited Kingdom’ series of polls showed just how little we’re impressed by his performance and particularly by his response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Just 22% of the Scots polled thought the British Prime Minister had done a good job in dealing with the virus, compared with the 61% who thought Nicola Sturgeon had responded well.
You might think that faced with figures like that Mr Johnson might be consigned to a supporting role in any attempts to reboot the Better Together pro-union campaign, but you’d be mistaken. A trip across the Border is imminent, according to most media outlets today.
According to those same reports he will point to the response to the pandemic as an example of how we are ‘’stronger as one United Kingdom’’, dismissing the fact that Scotland has already stated its verdict on Westminster’s performance and has repeatedly supported a second independence referendum being held.
The Prime Minister has been advised to drop his opposition to indyref 2 and instead add a third option of ‘’home rule’’ to the poll. Writing in the Times today Alun Evans, director of the Scotland Office from 2012 until 2015, urged UK ministers to begin work on a type of devolution-max immediately. He made a similar call in September 2015.
At that time he argued that ”only a big, bold generous offer to the people of Scotland” would reduce the pressure for independence.
The suggestion of a so-called federal UK was dug up yet again yesterday by the former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown
In the run-up to the first independence referendum in 2014 then Prime Minister David Cameron ruled out a third question on so-called ‘’devo-max’’.
The suggestion of a so-called federal UK was dug up yet again yesterday by the former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Reports last weekend revealed that Michael Gove had been consulting Mr Brown on the best way to stem the tide of independence support. The former chancellor has been a one trick pony on this subject, arguing to anyone prepared to listen that the UK needs to become more ‘’federal’’.
He was at it again on Monday, writing in the Daily Telegraph that federalism was the only way to stop the UK becoming a ”failed state”. The British media is only too willing to give Mr Brown a platform for these views, despite the fact that he holds no elected office and no power to actually introduce any of his ideas.
True to form, Mr Brown was all over the media yesterday arguing the case for reforms he signally failed to push through when he was in Number 10.
When he was challenged during one interview on broken promises of extra powers for Scotland contained in the infamous 2014 Vow which he had brokered his response was ‘’read the small print’’.