"Elephant and three Celtic fleas"
- 25 January 2012
- From the section Wales politics
Don't worry. I was doing my bit in Edinburgh last night to try and make sure that the debate about the future of devolution and the UK isn't "too Scottish" What about us in Wales?
Have you thought about what a Yes vote, to independence or devo max might mean, not just for the union or for England, but for us in Wales?
I quote a taxi driver, one whose SNP membership card wasn't displayed along with his ID on the dashboard, but it might as well have been.
"What has Wales ever brought to the table? Nothing! What about Northern Ireland? Nothing! We're going for it here, you do the same - if you want to!"
Here's another stab from the streets of Edinburgh at considering what all this might mean for all Celtic nations.
"I'm voting yes, I think it's a good thing. It's about getting rid of the chip on our shoulder. You're probably the same in Wales, except you've never had quite such a big chip on yours."
OK - it's hardly the sort of mature debate about the break up of the UK that Carwyn Jones is talking about, but if you want a quick illustration of how focused this debate is on Scotland alone, then there it is.
A few days ago, I talked to the former First Minister Rhodri Morgan about exactly those "too Scottish" concerns.
How can Welsh politicians, civil and civic society, the media and anyone who is interested influence a debate whose outcome will profoundly affect them, but seems to be happening well beyond their sphere of influence?
He wasn't sure, but was adamant that a way must be found.
"Where does it leave Wales and Northern Ireland if the people of Scotland vote Yes? Well, in an impossible position.
"We have got to make sure that thought is fleetingly before the consciousness of the average Scottish voter before they finally get into that ballot box."
If it does, then he thinks it unlikely that Scotland will vote for independence.
If it doesn't? "I just don't know".
This morning I listened as my counterpart in Scotland, BBC Scotland Political Editor Brian Taylor talked of former Labour leader John Smith's assertion that devolution was the settled will of the Scottish people.
His word was "settled", pointed out Brian, not "final".
The ground is certainly shifting here in Scotland. You'll find plenty of politicians in Wales who won't accept that any more devolution for Scotland is inevitable, but you'll find plenty who will.
You might, like Kim Howells, point to the speed with which the debate is moving and spy the "slippery slope" you warned against all those years ago.
In his view, the slippery slope just got a whole lot more, well, slippery.
You might, like Tory MP David Davies, picture the Union as the Titanic, and believe it's just a matter of time before it sinks beneath the waves.
Then again, like Plaid Cymru leadership candidate Elin Jones, you may see an opportunity to promote the independence agenda here in Wales.
You might be, you probably are, somewhere in the middle. Whatever you are, your thoughts on what Alex Salmond has to say today and the impact on Wales would be welcome.
In return - an anecdote from a former First Minister on good form. When Rhodri Morgan and Alex Salmond were, as he put it, lowly backbenchers, the Welsh MP tried to impress on his Scottish colleague why independence, was, in his view, the wrong way to go.
It's about size, he said - you can't dismiss it, can't get away from the reality that the UK is essentially 'an elephant and three Celtic fleas'.
It's fair to say, Rhodri Morgan said, that this didn't go down well with Mr Salmond. In his mind, yes, Scotland is smaller than England, but in terms of national identity, it is on a par with England.
A man who made a name for himself with animal metaphors pointed out this was exactly that.
I'm off to Holyrood to listen to Mr Salmond paint his own picture of the future.