Speaking of those caught in the headlights, I have just done a morning catch-up of the Scottish election results, to find that my friend Dave Berry, the SNP candidate in my home constituency of East Lothian, fell only 151 votes short of defeating the incumbent, Ian Gray, the Scottish Labour Party leader. Condolences buddy, you fought a great campaign; the narrower the defeat the greater the pain. I am quite certain that it was only Mr Gray’s national profile that kept him in place, but even at that, there must be a couple of hundred Tories around the county who are scratching their heads this morning and thinking, ‘If only’. That doesn’t mean that I bear any personal ill-will towards my re-elected MSP, decent man that he is. For sure he’ll be ousted from his party post, but when he is he’ll be a victim of the most seismic event in Scottish politics in my lifetime.

The mandate which Alex Salmond will have, even if he falls a couple of seats short of an outright majority when all the results are declared, will lead inevitably to a referendum on Scottish independence. When that happens, I’ll vote ‘Yes’. Will my side prevail? Not a chance. Scotland is still predominately unionist and many years away from embracing the notion that it is possible to turn the clock back to 1706, and return to a full autonomous parliament within a United Kingdom, the outcome I’d prefer. But if I was David Cameron, which I’m not, when the referendum comes, I’d be taking a neutral stance, while quietly encouraging my Scottish troops for the proposition. Why? It’s only relatively recently,within the last 50 years, that the party has campaigned in Scotland as ‘Conservative’, rather than ‘Unionist’. In England, it does not give a damn about the Union, it has does not understand the inherent nationalism of the Scots and the Welsh, (largely because we don’t express it by blowing things up) and now, it stands to gain in Westminster parliamentary terms from an independent Scotland, by eliminating the solid block of Labour and other anti-Tory MPs. If I can work that out, do you think Dave hasn’t?

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