"We may well have a situation whereby a Conservative victory at the next election could be the biggest threat to the Union since Bonnie Prince Charlie."
This was from a curious article written by Leslie Clark, the President of the University of Aberdeen Conservative and Unionist Association which popped up over the weekend. Or more accurately it wasn’t the article as such which was curious, more the fact that "Scotland on Sunday" believed the views of The President of the University of Aberdeen Conservative and Unionist Association would be of any interest whatsoever to its wider readership; after all, they don’t normally give space for undergraduates expounding their views on world peace, global warming nor indeed the Barnett Formula.
So why were the musings of Leslie Clark, with accompanying dinner jacket and the obligatory can of student cider given such publicity?
My opinion is that there is an increasing unease among grassroot Toryism regarding the direction taken by the party’s leadership on the devolution question. Those grassroots, particularly in Scotland and Wales, remain very firmly in the One-Nation Unionist camp, whilst the party’s leadership in Scotland and Wales and in the rest of the UK have wholeheartedly embraced the devolution experiment and may even, for purely selfish party-political reasons, be intending to extend it in some form to England. Little articles like this therefore could well be leaked by the Tory Establishment to remind the troops on the ground how precarious exactly their position is within Scotland and Wales; in other words, to talk up the doomsday scenario of full independence for Scotland, so that any other constitutional solution which "preserves" the Union will be, as a consequence, readily gobbled up as the least worst option.
So are the Tories the biggest threat to the Union since Bonnie Prince Charlie?
No, that’s hyperbole; but there are worrying signs that Cameron’s lust for power coupled with Salmond’s tactical ability could weaken greatly the constitutional basis on which our nation has been built and thrived.