Our old friend Duncan Hothersall was full of beans yesterday about the supposed 'endorsement' of the No campaign by Bill Clinton. In truth, of course, it was no such thing - the comment Clinton made was vacuous and full of creative ambiguity, and as Jeff Breslin has pointed out, was entirely misconceived if it was intended to subtly steer listeners towards the 'correct' conclusion. Both unionists and nationalists agree that it's possible and desirable to be both Scottish and British, thanks all the same Bill, so there's no need for you to worry your pretty little head over that issue. Indeed, the SNP were quickly able to confirm that their philosophy is entirely in accordance with the one Clinton set out, and while they were at it they could also have pointed out that they share Clinton's fervour for motherhood and apple pie.
But if we leave aside what Clinton actually said, and turn our attention to what he almost certainly thinks, then perhaps Duncan has a point. You see, Clinton has form on this. During his presidency, he launched an utterly disgraceful intervention into the internal affairs of a neighbouring state by not only coming down firmly on the side of the federalists in Quebec, but also by disputing Quebec's right to seek independence even if the majority voted for it. In case anyone doubted that this position was part of a wider belief-system, he astonishingly went out of his way to commend Russia's "rightful" defence of its national sovereignty in Chechnya (while quibbling about some of the specific methods used to do this).
This is the problem, Duncan - Clinton doesn't just oppose 'separatism', he also opposes democratic self-determination. He's an unreconstructed 'territorial integrity' dinosaur, who thinks that the vested interest of an international elite in keeping all national borders exactly as they are should trump the democratic will of citizens.
Is that really the sort of friend you want, Duncan?
As you might have guessed, I'm not Clinton's greatest fan - all he really achieved in office was the effective disenfranchisement of millions, who were hoping for a slightly wider choice in 1996 than between two right-wing Republicans. The fact that Dick Morris ran his campaign that year says it all. In a sense, the George W Bush presidency was a monster of Clinton's own creation - after eight years of triangulation, it's little wonder that many liberal voters were sick of being told they had nowhere else to go, and either stayed home or voted for Nader.