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Cameron lives to fight another day - for now


Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks in front of 10 Downing Street, in central London September 19, 2014.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks in front of 10 Downing Street, in central London September 19, 2014.


Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks in front of 10 Downing Street, in central London September 19, 2014.

This weekend David Cameron's feeling of relief must be as palpable as last weekend's sense of panic.

In the last ten days of the referendum on Scottish Independence the British establishment descended on Scotland in scenes reminiscent of the opening sequence in Francis Ford Capolla's Apocalypse Now. Only short of the iconic background music 'The Ride of the Valkries' their mission was full of intent and determination.

The United Kingdom may have won the war, but the victory is not without consequence for David Cameron.

He now faces many new battles at home and abroad. England's relationship with these islands and their wider European neighbours is now in an effective political and diplomatic tailspin.

At one point during the campaign the Tory Leader cancelled his regular parliamentary question time in Westminster to canvass alongside Labour Party Leader Ed Milliband.

The joint effort was a last ditch attempt to restore some impetus into the increasingly desperate 'No' campaign. Dave and Ed took to the high ways of Scotland like some super-charged political Bert and Ernie.

In hindsight Cameron may have been better off staying at home, as his presence actually proved more of a hindrance than a help.

Cameron is an anathema to a sizeable portion of Scottish people, who will simply never relate to the clipped dialect of his Etonian upper-class predilections.

One might argue that he is the physical embodiment of all of things that people from Scotland dislike about the UK. Fuelled by the fear of losing, he valiantly buried his carefully coiffured head into the politically shifting sand. He campaigned like his political life depended on it and appealed to the good people of Scotland to see sense and vote no.

Meanwhile in the background the dark arts machine at Whitehall were in super spin cycle mode in the undergrowth.

They enlisted celebrities into the fray, and began warning media organisations of the cataclysmic threat to jobs and services if a 'Yes' vote were realised.

This reached its apex in a story about the Royal Bank of Scotland threatening to pack up its kit bag and take the high road over the border to London.

The result of Thursday's vote in percentage terms was democratic and definitive, but it raises new challenges and consequences for Cameron. Everything from Scotland's flags to its fiscal policy has been debated over the course of the campaign.

Attention will now quickly turn to the introduction of 'devo-max' and all eyes will closely monitor its introduction in terms of speed and its veracity to establish just how authentic the pledges made by David Cameron in the white heat of the campaign really were.

In politics there are effectively only two ways to campaign. One is to offer people hope, the other is to instil fear. Scottish people may not have been swayed by David Cameron's pleas for unity, but the threat of economic regression did have a real effect.

Ultimately more Scottish people chose their pockets over their pride, in doing so they have afforded David Cameron political longevity, and unlike Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, he lives to fight another day.

Irish Independent