Who will fill a coward’s grave…

We learned two things today. One, that David Cameron is a coward. Two, that the No campaign isn’t nearly as sure of itself as it likes to pretend.

The latter is the more significant because it could have a lasting impact as Scots realise –all  Scots– that the Unionist  champion hasn’t the stomach for the fight. He says he has of course, but here in turning down a televised debate, is proof positive that Cameron’s clever words cannot be trusted and when presented with a challenge, he will blink and back down.

This, remember, was the man who used an appalling personal tragedy to pledge a commitment to the health service, a pledge he has systematically broken.

He is a bunker PM, happy to sit in the Quad in London dictating political strategy to Osborne, Moore and Alexander, dispensing instructions to each and every department of state to devise schemes to defeat independence, and when asked to step outside, asks his mate to fight for him while he holds the jackets.

All nationalists should cheer with derision the man who holds all the powers over them and who sits at the pinnacle of the Union but hasn’t got it in him to face up to the cameras alongside his opponent…this, the man who was ready to send others into a real war in Syria. But even a war of words is too much for Brave Dave. He has wriggled out like a Bullingdon Boy squirming when the Master comes calling after complaints from the police over a wrecked dining room. “Not me, old boy. It’s Boris you’re after.”

Having the measure of your opponent is half the battle. Knowing that any vainglorious statement he makes about straining every sinew for the Union is bluster, opens the door to more vigorous and enthusiastic campaigning for a Yes.

He was prepared to intervene and threaten like an Eton bully with his gang of legal lackeys when he wanted his way over the legality of the referendum but where is the follow-through? Faced alone  by a bigger boy, a smarter opponent, contemplating a humiliating beating this time, he did what all bullies eventually do – he backed down.

This should put air in the independence movement and bring home the truth – that for all the patronising, dismissive comments and promises to fight to the bitter end, they haven’t the will. If their leader folds as easily as this, their case is a house of cards.

And consider, too that if the head of the British Government wishes to slink away from the confrontation, then he should delegate his deputy in Scotland, Michael Moore, to take his place. A moment’s reflection on the quality of the Scottish Secretary will resolve why that isn’t going to happen. But it should. Cameron could have made a plausible case that “Scotland’s man in the Cabinet” is the right opponent, representing the UK government, a Scot holding a Scottish seat. It is a naked mark of how short the Unionists are of genuine political talent that proposing Moore is a non-starter…for Cameron and for the broadcasters.

Of course, Salmond should now debate with Darling. He will be able to ask him which of the current unionist government’s policies he approves of and ask him how much power he himself holds in the British Government. If none, then what he is he doing debating on an issue which can only be resolved by the British Government?

Historians will marvel at how a Conservative Prime Minister allowed a Labour backbencher to take his place in what may prove the defining event in the campaign to save Britain. They will deduce that Cameron lacked the skills and heart for the job of taking on the First Minister and that Salmond was handed a victory by default. The pressure is now piled inexorably on Darling who has been given a soft landing by the media so far and who looks flustered the more he is questioned.

And never again should any Yes supporter accept questions demanding information and answers from those whose chief spurned the single best platform for providing information.

To be clear, the undisputed line-up between protagonists in terms of convention is as follows. First Minister v Prime Minister, (poss. Equivalent Secretary of State for Scotland); Chairman of Yes Campaign (Canavan) v Chairman of No Campaign (Darling); chief executive of Yes Campaign (Jenkins) v chief executive of No Campaign (McDougall). It is not disputed and it is the protocol the BBC would normally follow.

Lastly, as a journalist, let me make a plea to all those engaged in my trade. Any attempt by editors or commentators to pretend that Cameron’s actions today were not an abrogation of responsibility will shame the independence of their paper. I accept that an editorial line is taken by editors for one side or another, but if anyone commenting  contrives an excuse about it not being the PM’s job to lead the movement to save the union, he or she is doing a disservice to the media and to the Scots. There can be no excuse for Cameron on this issue and attempts to defend him will underline – if it is needed – that both journalist and newspaper are biased beyond redemption and should never be trusted again.

Meantime independistas have been handed a new poster slogan: Cameron is a Coward.

50 thoughts on “Who will fill a coward’s grave…

  1. Scots wha Hae! They know that the ‘Nonsense will end 2014’

    • Breaking News UKPM union party leader won’t debate as Nats do Tory hatchet job for them.

    • A silly article, too biased to be taken seriously. Cameron is not going to appear as it would help the yes vote, that is him being a politician, he is not well liked up here. Just as Salmond does not want to face Darling as it would help the no’s. “The no’s are not confident”, basic arithmetic proves him wrong. Only 0.2% on Carlton hill, slightly underwhelming. Take a look at the bookies odds, they are rarely wrong. If the yes campaign do not want a humiliating defeat they need to get their act together quick.

  2. Could it be that Darling was set as a willing idiot to fail?
    A Labour big hitter, failing is a Manna from Heaven for the Tories, especially if there is an off-books deal that in the case of a YES vote Cameron will be the man who save the UK? At least he kept this great social union together; the £ STG , UN Sec Council seat, seat on the G7, and a way out of the budget debacle of Trident’s replacement which he can blame on the Scots and then do what the Yanks want, get a better armed conventional military force to be YooSesAAA’s boots on the ground?

    Just because I am paranoid doesn’t mean that I am wrong.

  3. Great blog Derek. Powerful words given your background.

  4. Sorry, no edit button here, I forgot the removal the N British Pseudo Labour Party Expeditionary Force from Westminster, forcing Milliband et seq into becoming the red pill in the RedPillBlue option (aka Liberals and Democrats; same parties, same financiers, just a nuance of a difference based on marketing polls and soundbites)?

  5. Cameron will nevet take part in a debate live on TV with anyone. He knows there is no positive reasons for staying in the union.
    I would like to see a debate between Sarwar and Saffron. 🙂

  6. Great piece, but I disagree that Alec Salmond should sully the position of Head of Government of Scotland by engaging with the nonentity that is Darling: http://logicsrock.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/cameron-ill-run-away-with-every-fibre.html

  7. Cameron’s get out has been always that “it is a matter for the Scots to decide” but behind the scenes has been orchestrating the No campaign through the civil service and his wealthy Tory backers.I think he knows that a face to face with AS in a live debate would be game set and match for the Yes campaign because they have No case,only fear and doubt.
    Well said Derek.

  8. A Bulli-ngdon boy!

    A’ puff ‘n’ nae crust.

    I thought yellow was the libdems colour, must be rubbing off.

  9. Derek, you are becoming indispensable. Keep it up. Bravo.

  10. Looking forward to the next time Cameron decides to show his face north of the border, which ever crowd he is addressing should ,as a one, turn their backs on him.

  11. Excellent as ever, Derek. As you say, the protocol is clear and unambiguous. Cameron would never debate with Alex Salmond as he knows he would fair badly. Not simply because AS is the better debater, and more knowledgeable of the facts, but mainly because DC has NO case to put. Just like the No-Better-Together Project Fear there is no overwhelming positive case for remaining in this fast decaying “Union”.

    September 2014 can’t come soon enough.

  12. Quoting Juteman

    ….”I would like to see a debate between Sarwar and Saffron”

    Me too Juteman and ” Scotland’s Darlin’ ” would mop the floor wi’ him

  13. Brilliant as ever!

  14. Someone should tell Dave Boy the tale of the coward Iain Gray that ran away from some Scottish pensioners and into a Subway Shop.
    A 15 point Labour lead turned into an SNP landslide, Scots hate cowards Cameron.
    PS Davy boy you said on BBC the head of Yes should debate with Head of No so that would be Darling and Denis Cannavan ,not Alex Salmond.
    Is this how you defend the union with every fibre of your body ????
    I would hate you in the trenches with me ya big Jessie.

  15. @Juteman,
    You’re a sadist, but I agree!

  16. Of course,also,Cameron is a PR man and knows that the sight of a Tory Toff Prime Minster on TV telling Scots that they never had it so good would go down like a lead balloon.He would definitely make the case that a No vote is a vote for more Tory governments.I Imagine that people like Darling have been trying to make sure this doesn’t happen so that they can continue to hide this from us.
    The Labour party in Scotland mantra “Better a Tory government in London than a Labour one in Edinburgh”.
    They may be right.
    Thanks again Derek.

  17. The debates will come thick and fast next year. From the ordinary man in the street to the men in ‘charge’ of the country…. It will get interesting as more and more people get to know the positive economic case for Independence versus the FearMongers

  18. The Kids bedtime story about Scottish Independence will have its first book – “Brave Dave – The leader that didn’t lead ” –
    Powerful stuff in deed Mr B

  19. Many great points here. I especially liked – “And never again should any Yes supporter accept questions demanding information and answers from those whose chief spurned the single best platform for providing information.” I look forward to hearing many such responses to Brewer’s bullying questions on Newsnight.

  20. Derek, your blog has just got better and better, you have a wonderful way of putting across what many of us feel, but perhaps don’t have your mastery of distilling the facts into a powerful message, you have joined Wings and the rest as the first thing I turn to each morning.
    I really do wonder how your erstwhile colleagues feel when they read – and they do – your daily offerings.
    I’m just a gadge who believes that my country should run its own affairs, never mind the minutiae, that principle is enough for me, let us make our way in the world, just as every other nation does, the price of stamps in 2030, or the lunacy of border barbed wire, has no bearing on the coming vote.
    What I would say is that I strongly believe that YES Scotland need to get a grip of you, and get you on to a platform, preferably on television, though that may prove difficult, but your words will undoubtedly sway the undecided, and those are the voters that will win this thing for us.
    And we must win. Thanks for these blogs, they restore my faith in the common sense of the Scottish people, and it’s nice to know that there is, or was, some right-minded folks in BBC Scotland.

  21. We’ve no got any Bears left in the wild , but Cameron knows there is a trap ready and primed with his name on it. Who in thur Condemlab-Hunting Club is man enough to walk through the wilderness thats Scotland to debate their cause…could it be “The Twinklle-Toed Wully Rennie”?

  22. Hi there,

    That the leader of the British government should refuse to defend his own state must be on a par with anything we have ever seen in the way of desertion on a battlefield. After a brief “trial” they used shoot deserters, did they not?


  23. I thought it was a moderate comment?

  24. Thanks Derek your blogs make my day and you can put how i feel into words i could never do, more power to your pen.

    I do think that if anyone said that they will vote yes right now then there mind cant be changed but i do think that people that would say no right now could change there minds, we are fighting for the dont know’s and the no votes while the no camp are only fighting for the dont know vote.

    We have way more people that we can work our magic on (the truth).

  25. So brave sir Dave bravely ran away!

    Anyone else get the feeling that Alistair Darling is about to have his own arse served to him on a plate?

  26. The Prime Minister of Scotland is scared of the First Minister of Scotland. And he didn’t even say boo – just wanted a wee chat. Cameron the Coward.

  27. http://drderekbateman.wordpress.com/

    Getting a bit confused (seriously) now Derek – although obviously at odds with comments so far.

    You said previously that you were fed up with politicians, a sentiment with which I completely agree. Now you seem to be implying that you think a head to head debate between two politicians, which might have a considerable influence on the outcome of the referendum, is a good idea! Haud me back.

    I’ll be down Kirkcaldy High St again tomorrow and it’s my personal intention to step up this kind of activity and no doubt many others will be doing the same. I can’t speak for anybody else of course, but I’m not too keen on busting a gut over the next year only to find that there’s a big swing at the last minute because of one, or even two or three, head to head debates and that the independence of my country could be decided on that basis.

    Given the uniform MSM support for the NO side the YES representative would have to win twice over before the MSM will even admit to a draw – witness the farcical media (mis)representation of debates between the FM and JL at first ministers questions – no doubt you’ve read, among others, some of Mr Cochrane’s visceral rants.

    Here I was thinking that, like myself, you wanted to see more debate/discussion (I prefer discussion) involving non-politicians. If the BBC has anything to do with it such discussions will be avoided where possible in favour of the usual head banging inter-party thuggery – the general idea being to make the overall debate seem petty and mean minded.

    Hope I’ve misunderstood – clarification would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Wayne.

      Obviously I can’t speak for Derek, but my take is that although many of US have little regard for our political “class”, they do have an important role to play in such a critically important event. I think that a “set-piece” debate would only work (with whomever can be brought together) with a really unbiased moderator and a process that allows for, and emends, answers to questions.

      The debacle that was the STV “debate” between Nicola Sturgeon and Anas Sarwar was ruined by the failure of the moderator to get Sarwar to answer even ONE question. His constant obfuscation, interruption, and talking over Nicola was intended, in my opinion, to ruin any serious discussion. This should have been prevented.

      On balance, David Cameron is in a no-win situation, caused by his own lack of real political acumen, and by a rather clever strategy by Alex Salmond from the word go. He IS damned if he does/damned if he doesn’t. And, frankly, it serves him (and the rest of the No-Better-Together crew) right. Negativity and a failure to even try to have proper discussions with eventually come back to haunt them.

      • Hi Apinal

        It would be,of course, neither possible nor desirable to exclude politicians from the debate but I would like to see more discussions with no politicians present.

        I’ve seen two discussions on the BBC – one with people who have moved here from other parts of the UK and another with those who have come from beyond the UK. Both were excellent with the participants asking genuine questions – i.e. they were looking for information as opposed to making a point or trying to catch somebody out. The politicians present did their usual petty thing, and it would have been better if the moderator could have been from one of the participating groups rather than from the BBC.

        A head to head debate makes sense in a US presidential election where the electorate have to chose between two individuals but makes no sense whatsoever we are choosing a government and even less sense (so we’re into negative territory) when we are talking about independence for a nation.

  28. Excellent piece of journalism Derek, although I am not convinced that Salmond should now debate with Darling. Why talk to the monkey just because the organ grinder refuses to speak? You are right Cameron is the coward who can send troops to battle, but when it comes to the a war of words, he refuses to take the podium. He will go down in history as the cowardly PM who refused to fight for Britain.
    I would like to thank you for your time and energy in arguing for Scottish self determination, your skills are most welcome and you are a tremendously powerful asset to our cause. More power to your PC.

  29. Well said mr Bateman ,the fact is Cameron knows it would be al over for no if he had agreed ,cowardice disnae cover it ,darling? A complete fud , we are winning yes 2014

  30. Another reason for Cameron not debating with Alex Salmond is that it would have been viewed UK wide and of course attract a wider Scottish audience, at the moment I expect there is little exposure of the YES side of the campaign south of the border.

  31. I’ve got a coat hanger with more hingers, backbone AND effectiveness than ‘Brave Dave’. wonder if his wife gets fed up with all the jackets left lying?

  32. Excellent article Derek. The BBC ‘letting you go’ is turning out to be a bit of a blessing, though you must begin to these excellent pieces into the mainstream press too.

    With Boris breathing down his neck (he’s heading back to Westminster by the sounds of it) Cameron is in a lose lose situation.

    He refuses to debate: LOSE!
    He debates and gets hung out to dry: LOSE!

    He’s operating on the premise it’s better to look foolish than open your mouth and demonstrate you ARE foolish.

    There’s a spring in the YES step just now which will become a positive bounce with the White Paper in November and by Burns Night we’ll see a change in the mood of the Scots as the Time Tunnel narrows and we can see chinks of light in the far distance denoting our stop. – Decision Time.

  33. I was reminded of this movie scene by Cameron’s actions…

  34. Cameron’s response is just so wrong, on so many counts. Conflating independence with the SNP, condescension to the Scottish people in refusing to debate our democratically elected First Minister who has a far greater mandate in Scotland than Cameron in UK. All that, and a coward to boot. Tell it like it is, Mr Bateman, your words will resonate better than all ours.

  35. Cameron’s response to Salmond is just wrong on so many levels. He conflates independence with the SNP, he patronises Scots by refusing debate with our democratically elected First Minister who has a bigger mandate in Scotland than Cameron has in UK.

    And a coward, to boot. Tell it like it is, Mr Bateman, your words resonate better than ours.

  36. “the no camp are only fighting for the dont know vote.”

    No, they’re just trying (and failing) to hold on the the No vote.

  37. Outstanding analysis, Derek, and I`d echo those thanking you for putting into such fine words what we all feel so strongly. I`ve no idea if you had anyone or any particular media outlet in mind when you wrote that last, paragraph, but Scotland on Sunday`s Euan McColm referred to this article as a “hateful piece of idiocy” and later as “hateful, poorly written, poorly considered bullshit.” in a twitter exchange last night, so I guess you`ve got your answer.

  38. I think Scotland has no choice but to jettison England ASAP, it is dead wood – However I do sympathise a tad with the Scottish Tories from the point of view that there is actually a massive gulf between English and Scottish Conservatism and it is one that the English Tories have never bothered to try and even understand far less address. I am guessing AD has indeed been hung out to dry by London and maybe it is time the ScotCons changed their name took a long hard look at what the country truly needs and left Cameron to it.

    • If they had been in Europe, old fashioned Scots Tories would have been called Christian Democrats, but that would have been confusing because it would have implied that they were Catholic. Labour had the Irish Catholic immigrant vote, and Unionism wasn’t about Scotland. Free market fundamentalists they were not.

      At the time I wasn’t impressed with Harold Macmillan, but he kept together in a single party that included not only these groups but also English nationalists of the Primrose league.

      • As someone once said “A name is a powerful thing” but as someone else also once said (Gospel of Mark?) “A house divided against itself cannot stand”. Many small factions only cause division and in that respect at least for now Scotland has the political advantage being under majority control. Of course it would suit Cameron down to the ground to be able to undermine that. At the same time unless he does engage in the debate he has already lost the battle because if he fails those supporters he has they will desert him. Is he really so full of himself as to believe that the ‘No’ campaign can win without making an effort? Or is he all front and totally incapable of holding his own without his cronies and spin doctors to do his thinking? The media is losing its own credibility by depending the stereotype to sell the argument and its quite possible that the only thing which may stand is Scotland’s way now is her own apathy when it comes to getting up and voting. Shouting and arguing on social media will change nothing without footfall at the ballot box and crosses in boxes; but it wouldn’t do any harm for some of the debate taking place there to cross over into the real world because it seems to be sadly lacking in the halls of modern politics.

  39. Excelent indeed, fair response. and a platform I to must follow. afine sourse of news.

  40. Breaking News UKPM union party leader won’t debate as Nats do Tory hatchet job for them.

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