Scotland’s man of destiny fluffs his big night

Last night’s 2-hour debate between Alex Salmond, the Scottish independence chieftain and Alistair Darling, the understated and cerebral general on the pro-Union side, was long billed as a decisive encounter in the 30-month long campaign that will culminate in a referendum on 18 September.

The Scottish National Party SNP is very much in touch with the times in one key respect. It believes presentation trumps substance in this age of media imagery and spin. Much effort has been invested in presenting Alex Salmond as a man of destiny capable of transforming Scotland.

‘Yes for Scotland’ even announced that a coach had been hired to instruct this already supremely self-confident politician about how to come over as the man of the hour. In the end, he came over as a curious mismatch, a cross between a jokey and avuncular Boris Johnson, the mayor of London and a slightly menacing Richard Nixon.

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Independence debate: Alex Salmond got found out by Alistair Darling

This, incredibly, was the main tactic employed by the SNP leader last night in the crucial section of the leaders debate when Salmond and Darling cross-examined each other. Salmond fared even more poorly than he did against Dewar 15 years ago.

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Boris Johnson: I will stand for Parliament in 2015

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, put an end to years of speculation and prevarication this morning by announcing he is planning a return to Parliament.

Mr Johnson, the former MP for Henley, said he is searching for a seat he can fight at the 2015 election and “in all probability” will stand.

A return to Parliament will be widely interpreted a staging post in a campaign to replace David Cameron as Tory leader.

Mr Johnson said if he is selected he will serve out his term as Mayor, which ends in 2016.

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Baroness Warsi resigns on a lack of principle over Gaza

Senior Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi has resigned from the British government over what she called its ‘morally reprehensible’ stance on Gaza.

Wow. That must have taken real courage. Its not as if the anti-Israel agenda is the most seductive and widely held bigotry in the world today; the hallmark of the quintessential political light-weight; an emblem of moral desiccation; a point of “principle” to get you instantly relegated to fourth division-level seriousness.

The Guardian glowingly reported her as saying in her resignation letter that the governments, “approach and language during the current crisis in Gaza is morally indefensible, is not in Britain’s national interest and will have a long term detrimental impact on our reputation internationally and domestically”.

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Streets of Knightsbridge jammed with Arab-owned supercars as wealthy playboys flock to London

Influx of foreign-owned sports cars and 4x4s is becoming an annual event in wealthy Knightsbridge and KensingtonIt is thought Arabs come to the capital from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE to escape the baking hot summer monthsCars spotted include a six-wheeled Mercedes AMG, a gold Range Rover and several brightly-coloured Rolls RoycesLocal residents are worried that the cars owners may not respect parking rules and could drive dangerouslyCouncil admits it is extremely difficult for parking penalties – with cars from UAE amassing £30,000 in fines last year

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Boris Johnson: Britain will be great and glorious outside the EU

Britain would have a “great and glorious future” if it left the EU, Boris Johnson has declared.

The country has “nothing to fear” from life outside the European Union with a free-trading relationship with the continent if renegotiation fails to deliver significant reforms.

David Cameron’s immigration target of “tens of thousands” of net migrants “made no sense” due to the EU’s open borders. Instead, London requires a rigorous American-style system that discriminates on talent, the Mayor of London said.

Mr Johnson will tomorrow endorse a report by Gerard Lyons, his chief economic adviser, which has concluded that quitting the EU would be better for Britain than remaining on its current terms.

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