IT would be a very simple New Year's resolution for the Prime Minister to make.

No-one would think worse of David Cameron for reversing his position on a debate with Alex Salmond as part of a fresh start for 2014.

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But as things stand this weekend, Cameron appears wedded to the bad old ways of 2013.

It was last March that he first refused to meet the First Minister in a televised debate on the pros and cons of Scottish independence.

Despite signing the Edinburgh Agreement which underpins the referendum, Cameron argued it was not for him to go head-to-head - if Salmond wanted a debate, he should see Alistair Darling, leader of the Better Together campaign.

Evidently, when he said in 2011 that he would "campaign to keep our United Kingdom together with every single fibre that I have", the Prime Minister meant straining every sinew to shove the former Labour chancellor in front of the cameras.

Since then, the clamour for Cameron to change his mind has grown rather than abated.

Cameron's insistence on avoiding a debate is not in the voters' interests, nor in the interests of democracy. It is a shabby evasion of duty.

The Prime Minister cannot have it both ways - sending in long-range messages urging voters to remain in the Union, while simultaneously denying he is part of the action.

The Prime Minister is inescapably involved. Even The Spectator, essentially the in-house magazine of the Conservatives, is unimpressed.

Cameron's refusal was recently described as "feeble, ignoble, unsatisfactory and humiliating" by one of its columnists.

Salmond calls it "simply unacceptable".

He is right; Cameron has this badly wrong.