Salmond has watched the argument being framed in the way he wants it without moving a muscle. The press has decided that the SNP want a third option, and Alex is doing his shoulder shrugging “if the people want it” justification. Cameron sensing something is afoot but unable to put his finger on it bombastically wants a take it or leave it/In or Out/Yes or No.
Although no great desire of the SNP, the 2nd question on the ballot has now become a bargaining chip in negotiations. It gives Salmond an opportunity down the line to concede what he never really pressed for with any great conviction in the first place and we have the 2 option referendum which Unionists have postured over and which is in reality the SNP aim. In the meantime Cameron has made the offer of more powers and a brighter future after the referendum returns a No verdict. What it has done is given the Yes side the opportunity to put pressure on the No lobby to come clean on what is on offer- allow the focus to build to the point where nothing is announced and it becomes the subject of ridicule or some limited powers are promised and the huge anticlimactic devo max loses its appeal.
There is of course the argument being bandied about that the SNP have a neck asking for details when they themselves have not set out the fine print yet. This of course is not a genuine argument. It is quite clear what powers a YES vote will bring, and this is all that is being asked of Cameron “what powers will a NO vote bring?”
The question constantly being asked of the YES camp is “what will you do with the powers?” Given that nobody can forecast which parties will form the first government of a renewed Independent Scotland the question is pointless, although the SNP can offer their vision, as of course could Labour or to stretch the imagination the Lib Dems/Conservatives (it is one party now). It would appear that the other parties are accepting that if the Independence vote is won they will not form a government in the foreseeable future- maybe they need to realign their sights.
Talking of governments – it is a bold move by Cameron to offer additional powers given that there is a general election in 2015. Presumptuous indeed! As far as the sincerity that the offer was made with goes it will make little difference – there is no intention to devolve further powers anyway. In fact if Scotland lacks the conviction, self confidence and drive to accept the chance for self government she will be trampled on for a long time to come. It will be the settled will of the people.