By Mike Small
Dear reader, as proof of my competence and man-of-the-people status I am heroically this morning eating a bacon roll. Georgia Graham yesterday reported earnestly to high-brow Telegraph readers: “Nick Clegg gave Ed Miliband a lesson in how to eat a bacon sandwich, tucking into a roll live on air.
The Deputy Prime Minister was handed the sandwich on his regular call-in show on LBC radio. He said he would try and eat it with “dignity” and asked for some ketchup.”
I can reveal that I had mine with brown sauce.
In between ‘Look a Princess!” media coverage which treats Kate Middleton like a brood-mare, the level of political debate in English politics is astonishing. Why are we discussing bacon sandwiches? Partly it’s because you couldn’t slip a sliver of grilled pork between the policy agendas of these people. Lineup 1000 people and ask them what Ed Miliband stands for and I guarantee you no-one could tell you. This is a political culture void of anything to talk about bar it’s bitchy infighting and celebrity feudalism.
The much venerated Simon Jenkins wrote a pile of nonsense in what’s probably still Britain’s best newspaper yesterday. Here’s some choice extracts:
“A yes vote would clearly instigate a crisis. Scotland would need a new constitution and a distinct legal personality. But that is just a start.”
A constitution! A constitution?! The affrontery.
“Salmond has already said he wants to share the monarchy, citizenship, an open border, a common currency, trade and energy policy – in other words, a sizeable chunk of what constitutes a modern state.”
Doh! This is like some massive constitutional penny has just dropped. Has Jenkins been in Narnia for the last three years?
“Edinburgh is awash with debate over how much more devo-max can mean short of independence.”
It’s not Simon, it’s really not. The one thing no-one is talking about all is the non-existent Devo Nano proposals.
Catalonia, the Channel Islands, Sicily and Monaco are cited. The trouble, say the Nuffield authors, is that when you set aside nationalist rhetoric, “conceptually it is hard to distinguish devo-max from an independent country that has entered into a confederation with a larger neighbour”.
Well these Nuffield scholar are very scholarly and all but they seem to be a) considering Devo Max proposals that don’t exist and any that have been put forward in the past have always been absent of control over absolutely key areas of sovereignty, such as control over natural resources, foreign affairs and defence. This is nonsense.
“Assuming Cameron and co mean to keep their pledge of “more autonomy”, they are effectively telling Scots: “Reject an unreal independence and we’ll concede an unreal union.” Either way, you will get all you can reasonably expect.”
That’s a massive assumption based on vague mutterings. Few would trust ‘Cameron and Co’ as far as they could fling them. Jenkins finishes with a flourish: “The pity is that it takes a stupid referendum to force London to concede it.” How stupid of us to have a process that’s been ongoing for the best part of 100 years, based on an agreed process and a mandate from our elected government.
Oh look, a princess!
Tomorrow, scrambled eggs.