David Cameron probably feels a bit like Noah at the moment, preparing for a great flood to come barrelling towards his ark, hoping the seals hold and praying there aren’t any leaks.
But of course as any good DIY-er knows, there’s always a leak. And it’s usually in the place you least expect. The Prime Minister better have a tube of sealant handy because he’s going to need it this week. Whether the Scots vote Yes or No tomorrow, Westminster is in for a rocky ride.
Conservative backbenchers, furious that Number 10 has once again closed ranks, ignored warnings and ultimately had to promise the world to prevent all-out disaster, are barely managing to hold back the bile which will undoubtedly spew forth come Friday morning when the votes are in. A pact, informally agreed between MPs and Number 10, is preventing members from voicing their anger about promises made by Cameron on devolution without consultation.
William Hague hit a conciliatory note when he told members last week that pledges had been made by political parties, not by the government. But it’s nowhere near enough to placate the crowd.
Some of the old guard have already broken ranks (see Chris Chope on the front page) but it’s the ones who haven’t that the Prime Minister needs to worry about. They’re not the usual suspects and they’re absolutely livid.
One senior source warns that the knives are already out for Cameron and possible replacements are ruffling their feathers. Theresa May, Michael Gove, Liam Fox and Nicky Morgan’s names are all floating about in what is described as a very open field. But Cameron is fighting a losing battle trying to stem the tide. If he offers further devolution he’ll upset Westminster; if he backs out of his promises, Scotland will revolt. Sleepless nights ahead all round then.