I suppose that we should be thankful for the blundering intervention made by the Cambot at the weekend. After all, if it wasn't for Cameron, then the issue of Independence would have continued on its dull way and we would still be in the dark about the Scottish Government's "preferred" date for a plebicite.
In amongst all of the news and announcements (which have all had the air of the "war" episode of "The Day Today" about them) there's three things that stick in the mind. The first is that Cameron really could have produced the political own goal of the decade had he gone on with his original plan of insisting on a sunset clause for the referendum. Cameron's actions have I think really highlighted the effect that the SNP's majority has had on Holyrood polititians - by making them look like amateur idiots by leaving them to dig their own graves. After all, most of the people obsessing about the forthcoming plebicite are those people backing the union (and Willie Rennie, who seems to have indulged in some grave robbing. How else can you explain the resurection of the phrase "Home Rule" - a phrase that carbon dating has placed at originating in the early 20th Century)
The second is that the Coalition have talked about the Scottish Government generating uncertainty - uncertainty that Salmond has ended by announcing a more specific timescale for the plebicite. Yet can anyone point to tangible evidence of uncertainty? There may be uncertainty in the minds of Tory supporting businessmen in boardrooms around the City - who may well be the people agitating for Cameron to do something. Yet in the real world, life goes on.
Lastly, can someone tell me where Labour are, and not just Milliband the Younger? Young Ed will have been mildly annoyed at being obliterated off the front pageswith his own "bring it on" moment, but he had nothing to say about yesterday's events. Yet Milliband has been an everpresent compared to Johann Lamont, the new-ist Labour leader in Scotland. Lamont made a statement calling for the vote to take place soon and on a clear question, claiming "It's necessary for the people of Scotland to be given the opportunity to
decide their constitutional future sooner rather than later in order
that the uncertainty around the economy, around business and all the
rest of it is addressed,".
That dear reader is Lamont's position, and all that she has said on the subject this week. Who'd have thunk it, Scottish Labour adopting the same line as the Tories. Does that make them the new Tartan Tories? The only thing that can be said with any certainty is that Labour appear to have vanished without trace on this issue. I would like to think that they have gone away to re-think their position. Labour prideed themselves as the party that came up with the radical policies, including Devolution itself. The logical extention of that version of Labour is adopting a line that pushes Devo Max or Fiscal Autonomy. Unfortunately, the prevailing thought at the top of Labour is akin to the wing who proved to be the roadblock to devolution in the 1974/79 parliament - the Scottish decendents of George Cunningham - the MP who proposed the 40% rule.
By accident rather than by design, Cameron has almost single-handedly ended the Independence phoney war. Except, as Cameron showed in Brussels last year, he doesn't do games involving strategy very well...