Scotland: It's good to talk

  • 11 January 2012
  • From the section UK Politics
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Braveheart v Lionheart?

It makes a good headline but listen very hard and you will hear the sound of politicians in Edinburgh and Westminster admitting they'll have to talk.

The prime minister's declaration to Scots was presented as telling them that "you can only vote for independence in the way I want and at the time I want".

The first minister's insistence that any referendum will be "Made in Scotland" was presented as a declaration of, well, independence.

However, on Tuesday the Scottish Secretary made an offer to the Scottish government: We'll give you the power to hold a legally secure vote if you talk to us about how it's staged.

And, this morning, Alex Salmond said he was sure politicians were capable of reaching agreement.

Both sides know that Westminster holds the legal cards and Edinburgh the political cards. It's now time to trade over who votes, what they vote on - and when.

Tonight on Radio 4 I will be kicking off a new series of Decision Time with a discussion on the decision about Scotland's future involving the man who was until recently Alex Salmond's top civil servant his former political adviser two former Scottish Secretaries - one Labour, one Tory and a constitutional expert. That's Decision Time at 2000 GMT on Radio 4.

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