Today the United Kingdom wakes up to the Prime Minister backing the continuation of a strong UK and Alex Salmond calling for an end to Scotland having to jump when London says so.
Whilst Alex Salmond, leader of the SNP, dangles the prospect of a richer, freer and more socially just country in front of his fellow countrymen and women, David Cameron tells them that by rejecting independence they would remain part of a stronger, safer and richer Union.
The PM has said that it would be wrong not to allow the people of a part of the UK to have their say on independence, but Mr Salmond wants a wider debate than that.
This is made clear when you consider the main sticking points in organising a referendum on this issue.
On the one hand the PM wants a quick referendum of the adults living in Scotland asking for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer as to whether they favour full independence or not.
On the other hand Alex Salmond wants a slow build up to a referendum in 2014 involving everyone over the age of sixteen asking for the answer to three questions; whether the people want full independence, the status quo or something called ‘devo-max’ (basically more power for Scotland without losing any of the benefits of the union they wish to retain).
So David Cameron is putting the case for a United Kingdom, but Alex Salmond is simply putting the case for more power and money for Scotland and the people that live in it, however that is achieved. One can imagine that many in Scotland would find the ‘devo-max’ approach very appealing. You belong to a club but only obey the rules you find favourable.
This ‘pick-n-mix’ approach is all very well for Scotland, but a referendum including ‘devo-max’ should involve everyone in the UK, not just the Scots as it involves us all politically and economically. And it would also be a good time to ask the question on more regional devolution, like say an English parliament.
Devo-max, indeed any further devolution for Scotland, would allow some people in the UK to have a disproportionate say in the affairs of the whole nation. The Scots would have not only MPs but also an even more powerful Scottish parliament lobbying on their behalf. The rest of us, especially those in England, would be left feeling further disenfranchised.
Alex Salmond is trying to keep this as a Scots only affair, but in truth he is misleading us all, anything other than the total separation of Scotland from the UK is a matter for the whole of the UK. And if voting is a serious affair generally where we only to allow adults to vote then this whole matter needs to be treated in the same way.
So David Cameron is right, an adult only vote with a referendum yes/no to independence being the only options.
And if the Scots go with total separation then come all the questions of who gets what in the divorce. And would one side still be paying ongoing maintenance to the other afterwards?
And if it should occur I want to be the first to put forward a new UK flag that incorporates the colours of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.