It also features an interesting interview with David Cameron, full of staunch unionist soundbites, which I think add up to less than they seem to:
"I don’t care whether pandering to English Nationalism is a vote winner. The very fact that in my two years as leader I haven’t ripped open the Barnett Formula and wandered round
England waving a banner shows you that I am a very convinced Unionist and I’m not going to play those games."
Cameron has been notoriously slow to commit himself to any substantive
policies, but his party is now signed up to a constitutional
convention, a process which may well rip open the Barnett Formula and
the question of funding for the different parts of the UK.
"If I’m fortune enough to win the next election I’m unlikely to have a majority of Scottish seats. I will want to work in a way that enhances the United Kingdom.
"I know that Alex Salmond is sitting there thinking ‘Oh yippee if the Tories win it will help me break up the UK.’
Well, my message is forget it. My Unionism goes very deep."
If Salmond is counting on anything it is not the Cameron’s sympathy but the impact of a Conservative victory on Scottish
Perhaps Cameron’s most significant comment was on English votes for English laws:
"It is not one of my top five issues. But this is something I
would like to sort out. It would help add to constitutional stability and it needs to be done in a careful way. We haven’t
decided what path to go down, but the Rifkind plan does not create two classes of MP. It is no good saying that the answer to the West Lothian Question is to stop asking it. We will at the next election be putting forward a plan for dealing with this issue."
It will be even more difficult for Cameron to resile from that position given that the Tories are, along with every other major party, now committed to more powers for the Scottish Parliament. The tone of his comments today is perhaps intended to reassure Tories who are unhappy with this development. The volume of the unionist rhetoric reflects the extent of the devolutionist shift.