Thursday, 16 February 2012

Cameron must localise his argument on Scotland

The assertion by former US House Speaker Tip O'Neill that 'All politics is local' should be adhered to by David Cameron as he heads to Scotland today.

The pre-briefing, or at least the advanced coverage, of the Prime Minister's speech has centered on worries that Scottish independence would see Britain losing its seat on the UN Security Council. Alex Salmond has effectively rebutted this by referring to his LSE speech last night and saying:

"I was arguing about progressive policies to boost growth in the economy, to bring jobs to the people and prosperity. He's talking about being on the security council of the United Nations. No doubt that's important, but believe me that doesn't mean much to somebody with disability fearing the loss of their benefits, a young person looking for a job in Scotland."

It is a good line from Salmond and an approach he has used effectively all his career in positioning him and the SNP as being close to, and understanding the concerns of, the Scottish people.

David Cameron should avoid getting bogged down with arguments about concepts that are beyond the horizons of ordinary families. If he does then he will allow Salmond to define his opponent as remote and out of touch which are two of the most damaging characteristics recognised by voters in any politician. Particularly an English Prime Minister trying to win a vote on Scottish independence.     

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