It's not often that I spend my Sunday lunchtime with colleagues from the SNP, but this Sunday the smiles weren't anything to do with the quality of the food or the conversation. It was all down to the interview the Prime Minister had given to the BBC earlier on Sunday morning.
It seems the UK government has blinked.
The mistake is not to offer the Scottish Parliament the power to hold an independence referendum (not that we need it). On its own that would have been seen as a constructive suggestion designed to protect the poll from mischievous intervention in the courts by those with the determination (and deep enough pockets) to try to stop the people from having their say. It would have shown respect for the mandate given by the people of Scotland to the SNP in May.
But what is a mistake, and a monumental one, is to try and attach conditions.
A party with just one MP in Scotland, that has been rejected time after time by Scottish voters, thinks it knows best. And thinks it can tell the Scottish Parliament what to do on timing, on wording and even on the choice that will be offered to the people. No wonder thoughtful Unionists, like Malcolm Chisholm think it is madness.
It is clear that the Tory Party doesn't understand Scotland. Their Westminster MPs don't really care about what happens up here. But one thing they do understand, to the point of obsession, is Europe. So let me explain, in language they will understand, just what they are about to do. And I don't do it to try and make them change their mind, but because the die is now cast: they have chosen their course.
Just a few months ago Tory backbenchers proposed a multi-option referendum on the UK's relationship with the EU. The referendum would ask people whether they wanted the status quo, a return of some powers from Europe or withdrawal from the EU. Can you imagine the furore if the EU Commission had intervened and said you can hold your referendum but only if it is a single question, with certain wording and within a time-frame that we, the EU, will decide? Such an action by the EU would have added millions to the 'UK independence' vote.
And as with Europe, so with Scotland. This is a decision for people living in Scotland: the sovereign people who have the right to determine the form of government best suited to their needs. We entered the Union as an equal partner and we have the right to decide our future in that Union: whether we want some of the powers we gave before repatriated (as some may press for) or whether we want a completely new relationship as equal, independent nations. The Tory government in London is entitled to make the anti-independence case, but they have no right to try to hijack the referendum.
Today, we've seen a spike in hits on the SNP website and numerous telephone calls to the office. Thank you Mr Cameron! I can hardly have imagined a better start to the New Year for those of us who believe in an independent Scotland.
The Tory government is showing no respect for the voters, the parliament or the government of Scotland. They think they can treat us as though we were their Eton fag. They act towards Scotland in a way they would not accept for themselves. They just don't get it.