Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Does anyone recall something called "the respect agenda"? Run that past me again?

David Cameron's reference to the Megrahi release in his conference speech (courtesy of the Caledonian Mercury) -

"There are some red lines which we must never cross...the sight of that man responsible for the Lockerbie bombing being set free to get a hero’s welcome in Tripoli. No. It was wrong. It undermined our standing in the world. Nothing like that must ever happen again."

Leaving aside the irritating Blair-like 'stream of consciousness' party trick of trying to make it sound as if the sheer gravity of the subject has only just struck him mid-passage, it has to be said that Cameron is moving on to very, very dangerous territory with this rhetoric. It simply isn't possible for London politicians to credibly claim that they "respect" the devolution settlement unless they also accept that decisions that they personally feel are wrong not only can happen again, but almost certainly will, and indeed should. The powers transferred under the Scotland Act were not conditional upon being used in a way consistent with arbitrary "red lines" dreamt up by a Tory leader to win cheap applause at his party conference.

Was it legitimate for Cameron to attack his political opponents for a controversial decision? Absolutely. But to suggest that it must 'never' be 'allowed' to happen again, in order to protect 'our' interests...well, that sounds suspiciously like a threat, and one rooted in the hubris of an almost colonial mindset.


  1. Poor old David Cameron he just cannot seem to stop the flim-flam. All those lies he told everyone to get the keys to number 10 and look at the total mess he is making of it. By and large he has to leave it to Nick Clegg but when he doesn’t he opens his mouth and sticks his foot in it. At least he is consistent, so 10 out of 10 for effort!

    The respect agenda was just like everything else a whole lot of puff designed to get people to vote for him. What a shame it did not work on the Scots, nobody here believed him and nobody here voted for him. This speech is clearly just a whole lot more of the same, empty threats designed to get cheap applause from the converted. One quickie visit to Alex Salmond after winning an election does not make a respect agenda in my book especially when the very next week he is off to the USA to help bolster a flagging US President and curry favour with a whole pile of Senators up for re-election by ripping the properly constituted Government of Scotland up for toilet paper. Maybe he thinks our memories and attention span are as short as his own?

  2. Bravo. Well said.

    From day one Cameron has been an empty vessel making much noise.

    It does sound suspiciously like a threat. Perhaps he would like to make it clear to us what steps he intends to take to ensure that this never happens again?

    Mr Cameron's respect agenda came and went in the first week of his premiership. He visited Scotland and spoke to the first minister and the other party leaders then he went to America and ripped Scotland to pieces to curry favour with their leadership in an election year.

  3. Tris, perhaps he's hankering after a wheeze along the lines of the old "Luxembourg Compromise" - ie. Scotland can exercise its devolved powers, except where that runs contrary to the "overwhelming national interest" of the UK. And who would get to decide when the overwhelming national interest of the UK is at stake? Well, the UK government, of course! That would fit in with the logic of what he was saying today, but I presume it's all just bluster.

  4. Strange and rather pointless tactic to use his speech to have a pop at the SNP on Megrahi. People in England are not likely to particularly care about it and people in Scotland are likely to be rather annoyed by his patronising tone, irrespective of whether or not they agreed with the decision itself.

    Poor advice from whoever suggested it.