There’s a quiet confidence in Unionist circles that Alex Salmond will be defeated in the Scottish independence referendum. But Unionists know that Salmond needs to be defeated decisively. If the ‘Better Together’ campaign wins 55-45, the Nationalists will be back for another go in ten years time.
But, as Alex says, the anti-independence side needs to be careful about what it says. Non-specific talk of more devolution for Scotland if it chooses to stay part of the United Kingdom is dangerous as it enables a future SNP leader to claim that the Scottish people were hoodwinked into rejecting independence. (Already, the ‘Devo-Plus’ campaign are blasting out emails declaring that the choice in 2014 will be ‘a straight question between independence and a form of Devo-Plus’)
One other thing that the pro-unionists forces must bear in mind is sentiment south of the border. Exacerbating the problems caused by the West Lothian question would do real damage to the fabric of the Union.