Instead he has created a further mess of his own.
The Scotland Act gives the Scottish Executive no power whatever to alter the constitutional arrangement thereby established – whatever Salmond and the SNP may say. He simply doesn’t have the power to hold a Referendum on leaving the UK and, if the Rule of Law means anything to it, this Government should simply have told him that and enforced the Law if he defied it.
Instead, Cameron has chosen to put himself on the back foot by conceding a Referendum (on whose authority, by the way?), trying to present as a triumph the ‘insistence’ that there be a straight In/Out question on the ballot paper. Meanwhile he gave a good impression of Neville Chamberlain visiting Munich, dealing with the would-be Fuehrer of Scotland for all the world as though he was a foreign potentate to be appeased.
How did he do this? (1) by conceding a Referendum at all; and (2) by allowing Salmond to postpone it until 2014, thus causing two years of dithering uncertainty about the very existence of the UK as an entity in the future.
Some Scotsman should seriously ask our PM the question: “Does yer mither know yer oot?”