When the Prime Minister returned to the Velodrome in January 2020, the audience had been expecting a speech oriented towards the coming General Election, but Cameron had a surprise for them.
After graceful compliments to his hosts and the assembled dignitaries, he turned unexpectedly to consider developments in Scotland, now fully independent as a result of the Scottish Nationalists' resounding referendum victory five years earlier. In an electrifying oration, he warned of the centralisation of power north of the Border:
From Wallsend in the North Sea to Bowness in the Irish, a tartan curtain has descended across the British mainland. Behind that line lie all the ancient dukedoms of Scotland. Lennoxlove, Inveraray, Drumlanrig, Blair, Auchmar, Floors, Mertoun and Gordon, all these famous seats and the populations around them lie in what I must call the lairdish sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to lairdish influence but to a very high and, in some cases, increasing measure of control from Holyrood.The address has since become universally known as the "Cauld Fecht" speech.
Opinion is divided as to its long-term merits. One the one hand, it served to alert the world to the dangers in many countries of intensifying nationalism, insularity and political repression and corruption; on the other, by isolating the Scottish leadership, it can be said to have accelerated Scotland's descent into full-blown tyranny.
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