The SNP won the Scottish Election on a platform that an Independence Vote would be held in the second half of the Parliamentary Term. Alex Salmond insists that this timetable is a matter for Scotland and the Scottish Parliament alone. And of course the proposed date of Autumn 2014 allows the SNP to run an extended campaign on their own political territory to the detriment of their already weakened and divided opponents.
But why does Alex Salmond have to have everything his own way?
After all, just as the timetable for the Independence Vote is in the hands of the Scottish Parliament, the timetable for the next General Election is in the hands of the Westminster Government. And there is nothing stopping the Coalition deliberately choosing Autumn 2014 itself.
After all, it would allow the General Election to overshadow the Independence Campaign and thereby to an extent nullify the Campaign War Chest that the SNP have built up. It would also allow the rest of the UK to have some input into what would otherwise be left as an almost exclusively Scottish matter.
No doubt there are those who would argue that doing such a thing would be seen as “disrepectful” – but surely no more so than threatening to dissolve a Political Union more than three centuries old?
Alex Salmond has made it very clear that he will take no account of the wishes of his opponents in setting the Independence Timetable. So he will hardly be in a position to complain if the same tack is taken with the SNP in turn.