From The Scotsman
Scottish independence referendum: First Minister’s aides in hush-hush meeting with English campaigner
A SECRET meeting was held just before Christmas between two of Alex Salmond’s closest advisers and a campaign group seeking an English parliament, The Scotsman has learned.
Eddie Bone, head of the Campaign for an English Parliament, met the SNP First Minister’s special adviser, Alex Bell, and his private secretary, Ian Donaldson, to discuss working together.
Opponents believe the meeting is part of a wider strategy by the First Minister to push for independence by stirring up English anger over devolution on issues such as tuition fees and government funding.
The story has emerged after a report warned of an “English backlash” in the constitutional debate over the future of the UK with evidence of growing resentment about Scotland south of the Border and Englishness overtaking Britishness as the predominant identity.
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) report also showed 45 per cent of people in England believe Scotland gets more than its fair share in funding, while 22 per cent want the UK to continue in its current form and 80 per cent want a devo-max solution, where Scottish MPs play no part in English affairs.
Mr Salmond is to do a tour of the English regions and today is set to give a keynote speech in London on his vision for an independent Scotland.
The Campaign for an English Parliament prefers a devo-max solution, one of the two questions Mr Salmond is pushing for in the referendum. But Mr Bone told The Scotsman: “If Scotland wants independence, then we are happy with that.
“We held the meeting in December to discuss working together. We asked for the meeting, but they were very keen for us to come up to Edinburgh.”
(It is good to see that some English Nationalists are able to talk to the SNP rather than engaging in the ‘Jock-bashing’ that goes on elsewhere!
The CEP must be careful though, if the SNP does go for its preferred idea of ‘Devo-Max’, and the CEP is viewed as supporting that idea there is a chance that it could alienate some of its supporters and potential supporters who may already feel that the majority, the English, are yet again having foisted upon them something that is not in their interest.
It is yet to be explained to the People of England what, if any, benefits ‘Devo-Max’ would bring to them! Housecarl)