Confused message

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The message from the Better Together campaign becomes ever more confused and confusing.

Alistair Darling (your report, 9 June) says that its three component parties are “now pretty much on the same page”. If so they are mouthing somewhat different words.

The powers Labour can grudgingly agree to devolve fall a bit short of the Conservatives’ belated proposals.

Willie Rennie of the Liberal Democrats, for his part, says (same report): “It is now inevitable that the detailed plans we have all set out to create a fully-fledged home rule parliament within the UK will be delivered”.

Eh? Home rule is generally taken to mean the transfer of all powers except those specifically reserved to the UK government (foreign affairs, defence etc).

If Mr Rennie is reading from the same page as the others he needs new specs. Though the referendum campaign has been ongoing for a good while now and has nearly three months still to run, Mr Darling says that despite the parties being in accord, there isn’t time for them to issue an agreed statement. (In contrast they managed to issue an agreed veto on a currency union PDQ.)

Meanwhile, the Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael says he will be convening, “within weeks” of the vote, a grand constitutional convention to thrash things out; if such a high level of agreement exists there will hardly be time for the coffee and biscuits – though I suspect they will manage to drag it out for a year or two.

The basic confusion, of course, is that if we are “Better Together” why promise to take us farther apart when closer integration would seem to be logical?

S Beck

Craigleith Drive

Edinburgh

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