A final year PhD candidate at the University of Stirling, my thesis is looking specifically at the constitutional future of Scotland and Wales in light of nationalist parties governing in those respective devolved institutions. I co-founded the website Better Nation and I hope that we’ll stumble upon one eventually. Just don’t mention sport.
In her speech, Lamont declared that the Scottish Government’s policies of free prescriptions, free personal care for the elderly, free bus passes and free university tuition were unsustainable; their desire to retain a freeze on council tax inconsistent with these benefits. In short: Scotland was skint, and couldn’t afford to continue with these universal benefits.
So, the panel commissioned by Holyrood's opposition leaders to come up with a “clear, understandable and decisive” referendum question which is “unbiased, fair, and seen to be so” has reported their findings.
Lord Sutherland, Matt Qvortrup and Ron Gould suggest the question should read: “Scotland should become an independent state – Agree or Disagree.”
While partisans and activists continue to fight the campaigns on the doorsteps and on street stalls (and, more vociferously through social media outlets,) the campaigns - at least in the national media - appear to be on a summer hiatus.
Which has meant that writing about the campaigns themselves has been somewhat limited.
The absence of partisan debate has allowed the non-aligned an opportunity to engage with the constitutional debate - an opportunity which was grasped eagerly at an event I attended on Saturday.
The Scottish Parliament, on Thursday 31 May 2012, took a “historic” vote. By 69 votes to 52, Holyrood passed a government motion supporting independence.
Independence is coming, and we can all go home now.
What’s that? It was just a parliamentary vote? Doesn’t really count? Oh... this is awkward. You mean we still have to have a referendum? Darn. And there was me hoping this constitutional debate was nearing conclusion.
The Scottish Office has confirmed that a sizeable chunk of their 3000 or so respondents used a Labour website portal.
And, in Edinburgh, Cabinet Secretary Bruce Crawford revealed that not only did the Scottish Government’s referendum consultation allow anonymous submissions, but that – shock! – they had received quite a few of them ahead of Friday's deadline.
While the headlines will talk of the SNP failure to take over Glasgow City Council (as had been widely tipped), it hasn't really been a bad day for Scotland's governing party.
The SNP retained their position as Scotland's largest party in terms of councillors elected, won outright control of councils in Dundee and Angus, and have substantially increased their representation at council level which, with some results still to come, will probably end up at around 400 or so, easily the most of any party.
The Nationalist-Unionist axis is clear, but within that spectrum there are distinctive levels: Nats who would settle for “devo-max” or “full fiscal autonomy within the framework of a United Kingdom”, Unionists who would bend as far as “devo-plus”, or for whom the Scotland Bill as it is currently constituted is “a line in the sand”.
With the party's history – the focus on traditional, conservative values, rejecting the idea of a nanny state and actively encouraging individual enterprise – this was undoubtedly a step to the left.
Whether this was a decision made by new leader Ruth Davidson or a memo from No 10's resident "compassionate Conservative" (and I suspect the latter did have some involvement) it represents a clear departure from what we've come to expect from the party.
A is for Alex. Said he: "A referendum there will be."
B is for Britain. Should it stay or should it go? We shall have to see.
C is for Cameron. "Save the Union," he says, "Things are dandy."
D is for Date. Autumn 2014 - our day of destiny.
Indeed, David Cameron’s vetoing of a further EU treaty to codify the Greek bailout, among other things, may have implications for any future independent Scotland’s membership – of both the EU and the Eurozone.
The issue won't be settled before a referendum late in the SNP's second term. And even then, irrespective of how the public vote goes, it is unlikely to be resolved as neatly as either side would have us believe.
Obviously, the debate over Scotland's constitutional future isn't new, nor is the debate over holding a referendum. The SNP spent their period in minority government campaigning through A National Conversation for a referendum, which was intended to be held in 2010 and which never materialised.