During last week's currency wars I was reminded of something It wasn't a bad description of Salmond the politician either. His handling of the media, unflappability and strategic skill have always served him well, and while he derived a lot of economic kudos from his background (
Context was also crucial. As the leader of a small opposition party Salmond's ability to "hold the line" on a particular policy was relatively straightforward, and even as First Minister from 2007 the detail of his independence proposition received relatively little scrutiny. But since 2011 the dynamic has changed: everything now posited by the
Which, in a roundabout kind of way, brought us to the events of late last week. The "currency union" policy had never been particularly convincing, so full of intellectual contortions and over-triangulation. Such an arrangement, we were told, was in the "best interests" of both an independent
Unfortunately the logical conclusion of those arguments was not independence but the status quo, or at most a reformed version of the status quo. The SNP's response to the Unionist parties' triple block was similarly muddled, with Salmond warning of an "Osborne Tax" on English businesses. If the First Minister is seriously concerned about uncertainty, disruption and financial sector jitters, then why on earth is he pursuing independence at all?
But then the SNP's currency union policy was not forged on the basis of economics, rather it was a political - or more accurately a tactical - decision. Faced with a choice of the euro, a Scottish currency or the status quo, the last of those emerged as the best of a bad bunch. For that reason alone it was never sustainable, and while before 2011 no one really noticed, under the unforgiving gaze of the referendum it held for a while and then withered.
This morning the First Minister will stand before an audience in
Salmond isn't alone in hardening his stance, for the President of the
That will, to say the least, prove challenging, for whatever Scots think of those two figures, they do not generally share the
And undecided voters are the key group in all of this. Judging by the unscientific measurement of Twitter, Osborne and Barroso's interventions have made a lot of Yes voters even more determined to vote Yes, and although Better Together are bracing themselves for a short-term hit in the opinion polls (they believe the "bullying" line will resonate for a while), it's difficult to believe that by September the
Once again, meanwhile, SNP and Yes Scotland voices have appeared shouty and shrill in response to interventions from
That hit the nail on the proverbial head. In a speech at
But such is the consequence of arguing that independence will change everything while at the same time keeping everything pretty much the same. When it comes to the monarchy this is credible enough, on EU membership almost believable, but less so in terms of currency, energy and university research funding. Repeating mantra like that "common sense will prevail" in all those areas simply doesn't cut it.
"It's not going to change," one pro-independence source told me of the position on currency and the EU. "It's not going to change in the next seven months - we'll hold the line."
But holding the line is no longer as easy as it was when
During last week's currency wars I was reminded of something
It wasn't a bad description of Salmond the politician either. His handling of the media, unflappability and strategic skill have always served him well, and while he derived a lot of economic kudos from his background (