Readers might be forgiven for experiencing a sense of deja vu on watching last night's Newsnight Scotland, which featured a rather animated interview with Alistair Darling. Because not for the first time, the No campaign chief seemed to be experiencing a considerable amount of difficulty in getting his story straight.
Let's examine a couple of intriguing snippets.
At 6m 46s into the show, in response to a question about why Scots shouldn't vote for independence as a means of protecting themselves against Westminster Tory governments with ideologies alien to the Scottish electorate – always a difficult and awkward one for Scottish Labour politicians – Darling retorted:
"Because you are not voting for five years. Remember, in five years' time, if you voted for independence, you can't go back to the UK after that – you have changed irrevocably."
(Our emphasis.) Alert readers will recall that the word "irrevocable" is a popular one with the anti-independence camp. But a few minutes later, presenter Gordon Brewer was pushing Darling on the issue of a potential currency union between an independent Scotland and the rUK, and (at 15m 16s) Darling replied with something else that readers of this site will have found to have a rather familiar ring:
"D'you know what – a currency union, as we see in Europe, takes you to an economic union and then ultimately a political union and guess what? You're back where we are, in a United Kingdom. Why go through all this rigmarole, all this trauma, as the nationalists are suggesting, to end up in the very place you started out from? So I'm entirely consistent."
That seems unequivocal, then. If Scotland votes for independence there's no way that it could go back to the UK, but we'll definitely end up back in the UK. Honestly, we don't understand how anyone could be confused.
There's a serious point here, of course. Supporters of independence have no desire to ever go back to the UK. No country which has ever become independent of the United Kingdom – and there have been many since the end of World War 2 in particular – has ever asked to return, and nor would Scotland.
But when the head of the No campaign is prepared to contradict himself completely in the space of an interview – and to do it repeatedly, including in pre-prepared speeches, removing any possibility that it's a simple blunder in the heat of interrogation – you have to ask yourself how you can possibly trust anything else he says.