In today's Daily Mail (well, in the Scottish version) the main story is about the SNP's commanding lead in Labour's private opinion polls in the lead up to May's Holyrood election.
According to the Mail:
If it wins, the SNP has vowed to introduce legislation that would see a referendum on independence within 100 days.That's highly misleading - it's the legislation, not the referendum itself that's planned for the first 100 days.
But Labour (according to the Mail) thinks that Messrs Brown, Darling, Reid and Alexander will be tied up fighting this referendum at exactly the same time as Brown takes over from Blair.
We are then told:
One minister with a Scottish constituency said: "This could wreck Gordon's blueprint for his first 100 days in office.Forget for the moment that any referendum may well not take place until after Gordon Brown is on the dole queue; is it really the opinion of a Scottish minister that the question of the continuation of the UK is "parochial politics"? The mind boggles.
The polling from Scotland looks grim. Rather than focusing on the issues he wants to, Gordon could be sucked back into what essentially is parochial politics.
A "No" campaign would have to be spearheaded by him and other ministers from Scotland."
The Mail continues:
Key policy areas, such as plans for pay-as-you-go road tolls and ID cards, could prove impossible to implement if a Nationalist-controlled Scottish parliament - or an independent Scotland - refused to co-operate.But if Scotland were independent, why would it have any input at all on whatever entity remained at Westminster? The previous paragraph is ludicrous. It would seem that the Mail's Deputy Political Editor just doesn't get it. If Scotland is independent, the UK won't somehow continue to exist as if nothing had happened. I see this article as another example of the Presumption of the English Norm: that if Scotland becomes independent, nothing will really have changed. Oh yes it will, and I sometimes think that the shock to England would be much greater than that felt in Scotland where at least the issue is discussed in a sensible way.