When you draw lines in the sand, you had best be prepared to have them move when you draw the lines on shifting sands, or for them to be washed away altogether when the the tide rolls in. Indeed you had best be prepared for a bigger more powerful person trampling all over your drawn lines and completely erasing them.
The origin of the expression ‘to draw a line in the sand’ is somewhat unclear. It has been used throughout history by Greeks, Romans and more latterly in American politics using the Alamo as its point of reference.
The implication of this expression with its warlike roots, is that it is a point of no return and the line is final without room for negotiation. This far and no further!
Most recently is has been used a number of times in the Scottish Independence debate.
Ruth Davidson used it to make clear her position that there would be no further movement on Scottish devolution.
David Cameron did likewise initially, when attempting to lay down his law on how the Referendum should be conducted.
Others have lined up behind them from various Brit Nat perspectives.
The only problem being is that when you attempt to close down negotiations you leave yourself nowhere to run or turn to.
They have all had to scrub out their lines of sand, or have had the erasing done for them.
Nothing will be final, until the vote is counted, and the Scots have spoken.
Therefore the language is an attempt at bluff, and an attempt to constrain the remits of constitutional debate.
It must have been galling for Ruth Davidson to find her own boss had trampled of her sand drawings, when he came North to plead for clemency. Suddenly the status quo was off the table, and it was accepted clearly that it was no longer good enough.
So a promise then from Mr Cameron that he would Consider further powers for the Scottish Government if we said No to Independence.
Alex Salmond was instantly on top of that one….What further powers are you talking about Dave? When will these intangible powers be implemented?
Ruth was left with egg all over her wee baw face. She has now been left arguing that she agrees with Dave, but that Dave hadn’t actually promised anything at all.
We all knew that he hadn’t, but it was nice if naive of her to confirm that he had merely used the word Consider, which amounted to promising nothing at all. Therefore in Ruths mind, nothing has changed, only that her Line is slightly less prominent in the sand than it was before.
She would be foolish to think that her line is still there.
I believe she knows it is gone, but is looking for face saving wriggle room.
The admission that the current devolution settlement is no longer adequate, changes the whole ball game.
But there is still hope for Ruth, she is now framing her line in the sand around the Scotland Bill, which allegedly will deliver more powers to Scotland, and this is actually what she was really referring to, and now states that it is this Bill Dave is really referring to, when he talks of more powers.
If this is indeed the case, then they are both off their heads thinking Scots would be stupid enough to give up Independence for the powers to set speed limits,and legislate on air rifles.
The Scotland Bill going through the House of Lords at present,Is a dead duck. There is not a snowballs chance in hell that with the powers they are trying to remove and reclaim from the Scottish parliament, it will ever get approval when it returns back here.
Its not a talking parrot, Its a deceased duck, and they would be quackers if they believe it will ever speak to us!
In fact Ruth is not alone in being totally insignificant to the debate, the Labour leadership in Scotland is seen as barely worth the referencing by the British media. They are mere bit players, waiting for the big boys to come in.
As if on cue, we saw Darling make an appearance on Sunday politics, backing up Daves stance. Suddenly things like the transference of Income tax which had been an impossibility while he was chancellor, has become possible, and easily possible at that! My how times change.
In effect he was admitting that he lied then, but its ok now!
It is also obvious that the main Unionist forces combine coordiantion between the likes of Osbourne,Cameron,Darling,Moore and Wallace, with sideshows to muddy the waters coming from the likes of Forsythe and Foulkes.
So Darling was called into action to back up Daves cake tomorrow promise. Unfortunately he hadn’t a bloomin clue what he was talking about either, and made a complete mess of his interview, and Izzie Fraser had him on the ropes without batting an eyelash.
Out of all this muddle we are beginning to see some sort of hazy shapes and alliances being formed on the Brit Nat side. We are seeing some confused attempt at cohesion on their shifting sands, so we should expect them to eventually get better at it,when they can ever agree what on earth they are talking about?
These shifting sands of Independence are also showing up some very interesting bedfellows.
As Ruth Davidson did rightly point out, It would be quite something to see these two most hated of enemies, Murdoch and Sheridan, sharing a platform in favour of Independence.
When Independence draws even these polar opposites together, it is quite an amazing time.
It came as quite a surprise to see old Ruperts sudden support appear on twitter.
“”Let Scotland go and compete. Everyone would win.”
What is going on here? Why this sudden conversion?
Could it be that Ruperts Scottish heritage has suddenly inspired some patriotism in him for this old Country of his forebears?
Not a chance!
Rather I would suggest, is the possibility that old Rupert,who knows he has never been liked by the British establishment, and his papers have been going down the tubes in his absence,is sticking one back at the Brit Nats by giving his support to Scotland.
He has always been quick on the uptake in reading the mood of the nations politics in the past, by changing sides regularly on how he perceives popular opinion going.
He bed hopped regularly for years in England between labour and the Tories, always going with the flow of popular opinion. He has not often called it wrong!
In fact, he has been watching these shifting sands of Independence, and obviously reckons that even at this early stage, Independence is going to be the clear winner.
So by making the brief public statements he has, he is subtly telling his Scottish editorial how he wants them to follow. They will be taking cognizance of it, for sure!
The shifting sands do not stop there in the printed media world either.
Recently we have heard the Record saying that they are going to be more balanced in their coverage of the Independence debate. I can’t really see it myself, but it is tactic to try and increase their Scottish Nationalist readership. It has just been announced that Joan McAlpine is moving from the Scotsman to the Record in the next couple of weeks.
One column a week from Joan is not going to fool Nationalists that the Record has changed its spots, but it is the slightest of moves in the right direction.
So the Record are tacitly admitting that they need to be more Scottish Independence friendly in order to try and arrest their downfall in circulation.
The Herald is divided between its editorial policy.. with the Sunday Herald showing signs 0f being more favourable to Independence, while the sister paper still is marginally against.
We can expect to see more movements in the shifting sands over the next two years, and it is worth watching which way the tide is flowing.
One thing for sure, and lines drawn in the sand will quickly be washed away.
The status quo is gone, and the debate has moved on to a new contest,loosely it might now be described as Independence v ?
Izzie skewers Darling