Ruth Davidson was asked a number of times in the run-up to the general election whether a Conservative government at Westminster would attempt to block a second independence referendum. She replied that she'd had extensive discussions on the subject with David Cameron, and that she couldn't foresee any circumstances in which that would happen (although of course she went through the motions of adding that it would be a "betrayal" if the SNP brought such a proposal forward, blah blah blah). She clearly made those comments for a reason - most likely that she wanted to demonstrate that the Tories had learned their lesson, and would in future respect the right of the Scottish people to democratically decide their own destiny.
I'm waking up to reports this morning that Cameron has now said that there will not be a referendum in this parliament or while he is Prime Minister. That is clearly intended to indicate that he will haughtily wave his hand and 'overrule' any mandate that the Scottish people may give for a referendum at the election next May. As Professor Robert Black has made clear, there is by no means a consensus among legal experts that the London government's permission is even required to hold a consultative referendum, as long as the question wording is carefully framed. But Cameron clearly wants us to believe that he possesses such a veto, and that he will use it. Forget the "equal partner in the Union" guff, we're back to the hostage situation.
So the hard questions this morning are for Ruth Davidson. Does her word, and the word of the Conservative party, really not count for anything?