The Liberal Democrats, despite holding what I have no doubt is genuine anger, have had a good weekend. 

David Cameron has naively harrumphed the UK out of Europe and Ed Miliband is stuck just outside Brussels waiting for a bandwagon to jump on. All the while Nick Clegg and Vince Cable have argued vociferously and pleasingly unapologetically in favour of the EU, not to mention Paddy Ashdown writing passionately in the Observer (and Will Hutton too, if he counts as a Lib Dem these days?). 

They have, whisper it, looked voteworthy for the first time since the tuition fee volte-face (or should that be vote-farce?), a party that is ready to step away from being the coalition’s punching bag and, bloodied but blooded, argue for what it believes in again rather than apologise for the miserable little compromises that it has made in the past.

And what of Salmond and the SNP? Well, the non-appearance of anyone from the party’s camp on The Politics Show at the weekend spoke volumes really. When the SNP has nothing to say on a subject it tends to mean that it is on the back foot. The party policy is to join the Euro at some point in the future and assume that the UK’s position inside the EU will guarantee Scottish entry. Both policies are not quite in tatters but they are more than fraying at the seams as they drown in a sea of confusion. Even the mighty David Torrance, writing in The Scotsman today, could only ask more questions than he could answer. 

It won’t be enough for the SNP to tease the Scottish public with different European and currency options this side of the referendum though. The Saltire will have to be nailed to the European flag or not and, I’d suggest, that it still absolutely should be. ‘Scotland in Europe’ only carries a little less weight than it did a decade ago.

It’s easy to postulate that Scotland is more pro-EU than the po-faced Middle Englanders who still defend a Britain that died long ago, while making crass jokes about the French and Germans. It’s harder to find polling evidence that backs that up. 

Either way, if rUK is pulling one way then there is a clear benefit to the SNP if it can pull another and take a majority of Scots with it. There’s not even necessarily anything wrong with taking principle out of it. Anything that leaves Scottish Labour in the now familiar territory of trying to oppose the UK Tories and the SNP who are at opposite ends of a spectrum should reap dividends in the battle of who speaks for Scotland.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the principle of being pro-EU. Far from it.

The Scottish Government may have no time for the EU fisheries policy, it may have no time for the Common Agricultural Policy, it may not be interested in eye-watering EU membership fees and it may well ultimately shun joining the Euro and even the EU (that hasn’t had its accounts signed off in donkeys years), but I would wager that it would always want to have a seat at the table with a little saltire on it, be open-minded enough to make the best of the bad deals out there through being in the room, be keen to champion Scotland as open for business and I’d wager that it would want to be as close as possible to the countries that it’ll seek to sell its £2bn/year of renewable energy to. 

The bottom line is, shared problems require shared solutions and, though far from perfect, a European union remains the ideal model for finding optimal solutions to those problems while a shared currency remains the optimal means by which to ensure equality and fairness for workers across the continent. A rising tide lifts all boats.

Furthermore, and this is where we come back to the Lib Dems, the SNP has no space on its left flank to allow Willie Rennie and his Scottish Liberal Democrats to be seen as Scotland’s pro-European party. 

However, if the former continues to shun media invites and the latter continues making passionate arguments in favour of the EU, what is one to do?