• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

INSIDE TRACK: Global backing for the Union is no coincidence

YES we can.

No you can't. Or to be more precise, No you shouldn't.

Some people of a Nationalist persuasion have suggested HM Media wildly over-interpreted Barack Obama's words on the Scottish referendum.

But, despite the acknowledgement by the US President that the decision will, of course, be up to the Scottish people, his pro-UK sentiment was, in diplomatic terms, as clear as no doubt the Liberty Bell was back in 1776.

What, I wonder, would have been the Yes camp's response if Mr Obama had said to the questioner that, given its history, America appreciated how a nation might desire its own independence and want to break free from the control of Great Britain?

It is now evident David Cameron has for some time been privately cajoling his chum in the White House to say something positive about the UK and, while his remarks were swathed in diplomatic language, the idea has been carefully dropped into the Scottish psyche that America, leader of the free world, is wholeheartedly for the Union.

There's no doubt that as the PM was coolly admiring the President's ear at the G7 joint press conference, inside he was punching the air enthusiastically.

Alex Salmond, with a wistful smile on his face, did his best in a bad situation, emphasising the part of the President's remarks that was non-controversial. But I wouldn't have liked to have been the Bute House cat at the moment the First Minister was told.

No 10 did little yesterday to disabuse people of the notion that "Nobama" had been persuaded beforehand to back the Union.

When asked if there had been prior communication between the British and American leaders to this effect, a spokesman replied that the President was just answering a question.(It should be noted that from time to time at these summit press conferences officials whisper a question in the ear of a chosen reporter; who may or may not oblige.)

Interestingly, Mr Obama's intervention followed just hours after that of Carl Bildt, the Swedish foreign minister, who warned a Yes vote would lead to the Balkanisation of Britain and "unforeseen chain reactions". And only last week, Martin Lindegaard, the Danish Foreign Minister, suggested the notion an independent Scotland would be fast-tracked into EU membership was for the birds.

Now some suspicious minds might think a pattern is beginning to emerge here; that Mr Cameron is calling in favours.

Certainly with 100 or so days to go, Whitehall appears buoyant that things are beginning to turn its way.

Insiders say the shriller Mr Salmond's responses become, the more confident they become that the Yes campaign is wobbling.

The polls, they say, are reverting to their previous healthy lead for the No camp and, when independent experts like the IFS warn of higher taxes and bigger and longer spending cuts in a breakaway Scotland, then they suggest the jitters are now not in London but firmly in Edinburgh.

What Team Cameron is now really hoping for is that President Putin - whom, of course, Mr Salmond so admires - will come out wholeheartedly in favour of Scottish independence.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

238601