Dateline 2012, SNP headquarters
It was all Salmond's fault of course. Instead of introducing the referendum bill in January 2010 as originally proposed, he had to play silly buggers by setting up a second consultation period in February 2010. As a result, the Scottish Government did not get around to introducing the referendum bill until June 2010. And although, to the amazement of the political pundits, it managed to survive its committee stage, it did not emerge from parliament as an act until January 2011. All that business of setting up the new electoral commission and the appointment of counting officers, as well as printing the ballot papers and arranging the accommodation, meant that there was no prospect of holding the referendum for at least 6 months after the bill became an act. When the SNP were crushed in the May 2011 general election, the new Labour administration - with the support of the other unionist parties - wasted no time in repealing the referendum act.
So there we are. Stuffed. We had a chance. But we turned down the first opportunity in 300 years of allowing the Scottish population to vote for independence. And for what? So Alex could play political games? And who knows when the next opportunity will come along. Given the current state of the parties, we can forget about the 2015 election. As in 2011, who would believe our promises?