Monday, 9 January 2012

The Quadrille Begins

So David Cameron has finally made a move in the long and tiresome when/which/this-parliament/early/later/maybe eve-of-bannockburn/one/two/how-many-questions/binding/non-binding referendum on "independence"/Devo Max/status quo.

When I say "made a move" he has had, apparently, some "discussions in Parliament" about possibly passing constitutional powers to the Scottish Parliament to hold a "binding" referendum. He has also, so it is said, discussed putting conditions on the referendum, including a desire that it happens sooner rather than later.

This modest toe-in-the-water move has been met with roaring outrage by the Nicola Sturgeon. "How dare the elected Government of the UK interest itself in matters of the UK Constitution?" cries Nat Number Two. "It is", says Nicola, "an unwarranted interference by the UK Government in the affairs UK Government". (clue; these are not direct quotes)..... you can hear Nicola's full intellectual writhing here..... and a thing of grace and beauty it is not....

Nicola Sturgeon insists that the SNP has a committed to hold a referendum in the second half of the parliament, but the SNP Manifesto only mentions that they will hold the referendum, and commits no timing to that act. Indeed their Consultation Document on the referendum, published a year ago, suggested that any referendum should be held "as soon as possible".

According to the Nationalists, the Constitution is their Constitution. If they want to hold their one/possibly two question referendum tomorrow, or next year, or 2014, that's up to them. The superior chamber in Westminster must have no say. It is, apparently, anti-democratic for Westminster to make the mildest proposal about a referendum in the UK, but not anti-democratic for the SNP to do the same....

This is a clearly ridiculous position. The SNP has, undoubtedly, a mandate for a non-binding, one question referendum on whether Scotland splits from the UK or not. It has a mandate to hold that referendum at any time during its term of office. But it has no need to wait until 2014 beyond its own calculation that it can manipulate the political situation to make a "break up the UK" vote more likely by its control of the political agenda in Scotland.

And the SNP is not the only party in power in the UK. The UK Parliament is superior in law to the Scottish Parliament and the UK Government has ownership of Constitutional matters across the whole of the UK.

It is sensible that both bodies have a say in matters pertaining to the referendum. The voters understand this even if Nationalist politicians would rather they did not. Reacting with shock-horror at the very thought that the UK Government might express a mild interest in constitutional matters within its own boundaries is to treat Scottish voters as the fools they most definitely are not.

One thing is clear in the interview, Nicola Sturgeon confirms that the SNP wants a single question, in-out referendum (it's at the end of the interview). That makes sense to me and it is as it should be. At least that's cleared up and we can now drop any second/third question nonsense.


  1. Yawn. Your cringe is showing.

  2. revstu

    What do you disagree (or even agree) with?

    Or do you only deal in pre-packaged, cliched, "thinking"?

  3. What is clear is that your lot have no answers to Scotlands needs and even the undeniable desire for much more Home Rule power and Stu's reference to your 'cringe' is well made. Our 'friends' in Westminster including your lot wanted no devolution whatever you claim, resisted it for decades, conceded a voting system designed to continue the resistance, and are now happy to sign up to your friend Cameron's attempt to gerrymander our democracy.
    Yes, they have designed the law to keep control. That doesn't make it right, fair or reasonable. Keep on 'cringing' - it hasn't worked recently!!!

  4. Oh dear.....

    "...your lot wanted no devolution..."

    Fact alert! Nationalist prejudices might get hurt! Stand clear!

    Labour, the LibDems, the Trades Unions, the Churches and other bodies in Scotland worked through the Constitutional Convention for ten years to prepare for Devolution.

    Only the SNP refused to cooperate. Too much like hard work apparently.

    Still, never let the facts stand in the way of Nationalist ignorance.....

    Actually, calming down a bit, it is quite astonishing how ignorant Nationalists are of the facts of almost any facet of the "independence" debate.

    You would think they would inform themselves - even a little - before breengin' in, but nope..... strange....

  5. Scottish devolution referendum, 1979

    George Cunningham Labour MP
    During the passage of the Scotland Act 1978 through Parliament, an amendment introduced by George Cunningham (a Scot who represented an English seat) added a further requirement that the approval at the referendum be by 40% of Scotland's total registered electorate, rather than by a simple majority.

    A total of 1,230,937 (51.6%) voted at the referendum in favour of an Assembly, a narrow majority of about 77,400 over those voting against. However, this total represented only 32.9% of the registered electorate as a whole. The Labour government accepted that the Act's requirements had not been met, and that devolution would therefore not be introduced for Scotland

    Under the terms of the Act, the Act could then be repealed by a Statutory Instrument to be approved by Parliament. However, the government's decision to abandon devolution for Scotland led the Scottish National Party to withdraw its support for the government. A subsequent vote of no confidence led to the resignation of the Callaghan government, and an election was called. The vote to repeal the Act did not happen until 26 July 1979, by which time a Conservative government had come to power under Margaret Thatcher.

    A Labour MP in a Labour government led by Callaghan derailed devolution deliberately. Until Labour own up to its failings in Scotland they will never get back into power either side of the border.

  6. And ten years later Labour led a broad coalition (as I said above) that worked for a further ten years to deliver Devolution... delivered by Tony Blair's first administration..... and the SNP, as usual, refused to do the hard work, stayed apart, didn't cooperate.

    Labour delivered Devolution, the SNP did nothing to ensure it happened.

  7. You'll never learn will you that because you spin a story doesn't mean it true.

    Read the comments and links.

  8. devolution will kill the snp stone dead. maybees that's why the snp were weary of its intentions.

    anyho, the people will decide. either way.

    what is equally true is, labours hegemony in scotland has gone.

  9. CH, a story isn't true or not because I say it's true or not ...or even because you say it's true or not.

    It's true because it's true....or not because it's not.

    And this particular story is true. Labour, leading a broad Scottish coalition, delivered Devolution while the SNP sulked on the sidelines doing nothing.

    You may not know the facts, but the facts they are.

  10. We'll have to agree to disagree over this. :)

    wv: perapsi