The Prime Minister feels the pressure:
“I have to say that after the events I have been facing over the last few days, assassination would be a welcome release.”
24 hours before the polls open and we have the first MP to call for Dave to resign should Scotland vote Yes. Andrew Rosindell tells the FT, “if it goes wrong… the prime minister will have to decide what the honourable thing is to do”, while another Tory MP adds, “Everyone I speak to thinks his position would be untenable”. No.10 are so concerned that, the Times reports, Michael Gove did a ring-round of Tory MPs to gauge the mood, with one backbencher warning Dave faces a “rebellion on a scale not seen before”. The Sun says the PM faces a “dangerous revolt” even if Scotland votes No, with Tory MPs set to defy Cameron over his £1,300-a-head bribe for Scots under the Barnett formula. The Mail say he will face a “bloodbath” even in the event of a No vote, one Tory MP telling them the “panicked offer” means Salmond has won whatever happens. Tory conference is just two weeks away…
After an hour’s delay parts of Cameron’s speech finally trickle out:
“Because it’s an election, because it’s a ballot, people can feel like it’s a general election. That you make a decision and five years later you can make another decision. If you’re fed up with the effing Tories give them a kick. This is totally different.”
How long before Salmond uses that one…
Parking tickets were not the broadcasters’ only worries as the PM rushes to Scotland – the speech was closed to the public and not taken live. What could they possibly be worried about Dave meeting voters?
Meanwhile Salmond is just down the road; walking the streets, shaking hands and posing for selfies.
If the Prime Minister goes to Scotland to give a speech, but the public are not allowed to hear it, did it really happen?
They’re very, very rattled. A joint statement announces that, in the panic, PMQs is off tomorrow:
“There is a lot that divides us – but there’s one thing on which we agree passionately: the United Kingdom is better together. That’s why all of us are agreed the right place for us to be tomorrow is in Scotland, not at Prime Minister’s Questions in Westminster. We want to be listening and talking to voters about the huge choice they face. Our message to the Scottish people will be simple: ‘We want you to stay.’”
Crisis mode. Accountability out of the window for a last minute flap.
Discussing the fact that Britain’s poorly costed second aircraft carrier will see active service after all, Dave told the Commons earlier:
“In a nutshell really, that’s the difference between a socialist and a conservative. They dream about having money, where we raise it and spend it.”
Really, Prime Minister? Being a conservative is about raising tax and spending? Think that line might need a little work…
Critics say he was rejected twice, allies say he was just doing the introductions. What do you think?
Just two weeks ’til the referendum on Scottish freedom and finally Westminster’s chattering classes are waking up to the bookies halving the odds on a ‘Yes’ victory. The Times’ Red Box has gone into panic mode this week, with Scottish political editor Lindsay McIntosh yesterday warning against bubble complacency:
“The first is seen by many in the political bubble. In it, the Nationalists are losing the practical arguments about the economy, so are on course to lose the vote badly. The other, seen by some outside, shows “yes” quietly stealing victory… Unionists need to brush up on their messaging if they are not to be responsible for a dramatic redrawing of the UK after September 18.”
Alice Thomson this morning goes further, imploring: “Wake up unionists, you could really lose this”:
“If Scotland votes Yes, all hell will break loose – and the unionists’ complacency will be to blame. It’s time for Westminster to focus on the independence referendum.”
Rachel Sylvester also has growing concerns, telling Dave:
“If he becomes the Conservative prime minister who presided over the break-up of the United Kingdom, he will face immediate calls for his resignation from within his party.”
Squeaky bum time…
Chuka Umunna is not the only politico on Ibiza this summer. The Tories have just launched their own Balearic branch of Conservatives Abroad:
“Ibiza is renowned for attracting the world’s party people and last week was no exception as Conservatives Abroad launched its latest new branch – Conservatives Abroad Ibiza.
It’s been a bad week if you are a FOG (Friend of George). First Osborne’s big spending speech was obliterated from the news agenda by Warsi, then Sajid Javid’s second attempt disappeared under Boris’ shadow. Harry Mount in this week’s Speccie explains why the FOBs are beating the FOGs:
“Boris is already forming a loose-knit collection of supporters — FOBs, friends of Boris, to engage in mortal combat with the FOGs, friends of George Osborne, should there be a leadership contest.
52 year old Graham Cox will defend Mike Weatherley’s 1,868 majority down in Hove, after he beat the slightly more photogenic female candidate Kristy Adams at last night’s selection.
That means four of the five Tory selections that took place this week were won by blokes.[…]