Sunday, 1 July 2012

SNP ambition (or lack of it)

Last autumn I posted this ...  about the emerging notion that somehow there should be a second question on a referendum ballot, as suggested by Alex Salmond. It is a warning and a question about so-called Devo Max and why the Nats need it and Scotland does not.

Since then the Nationalists have been pretending that the whole question of Devo Max and extra powers for Holyrood was nothing to do with them, it came from a call from the people for more, if vaguely defined, powers, and the Nats were only thinking about it because they wanted the to respect those calls and wishes.

Everybody else, perhaps cynicaly, has been convinced that Eck wants a second question because he knows he would lose a single, yes/no, in/out referendum, and he wants to hedge his bets.  It has certainly been noticeable that the people who keep bringing it up are Nationalists, and no-one else.

Today the FFM moves again. The Scottish people have "a right" to his second question and are calling even louder for that right.

 Funny that, I talk to people all the time about politics. The referendum isn't the first thing they mention: that's usually bread and butter issues like jobs, earnings, housing, schools.

And even when the referendum does come up, it's a low priority. So a two-question referendum? High on peoples' agendas? Not in my experience.

The second question is the "saving FM Eck" strategy. A ploy to claim victory even in defeat.

I'm surprised that Nationalist activists buy it: if successful it means no "independence" in anyone's lifetime. It's an admission of defeat and a preparation for the world of neverendums, where the Nats never quite win, but real politics is stymied and neutered by the constitutional question.....

The limit of Alex Salmond's ambition, apparently....


  1. "It has certainly been noticeable that the people who keep bringing it up are Nationalists, and no-one else."

    Simply untrue. Many individuals and organisations are calling for a second question. Check your facts.

    1. Peter
      Henry McLeish, Dennis Canavan...and they've been Devo Max from the start...who else?

      The whole two-question thing got its impetus just before last year's SNP Conference when Eck briefed journos that he was going to call for a two question referendum.

      He then pulled back and started the whole sanctimonious tease, "we don't want it, but other people do" routine.....

      I detect that you are a strong supporter of "independence".

      Aren't you even slightly perturbed that the SNP leadership wants to muddy the waters and water down the referendum?

      Is a neverendum the limit of your ambition as well?

    2. The first time I saw it suggested was in an article by Jim Sillalars.

  2. Why do people have a problem with this. I suspect it is just a case of mischief making from the Unionists who are becoming more and more desperate now that they are in the position of having to defend their stance of offering the Status Quo as the only alternative to Independence. As leader of the SNP Mr Salmond advocates and campaigns and supports a single YES or NO question on Independence. However as First Minister of the Scottish Government he has to represent the views of all of Scotland and not only the SNP. In that capacity he is saying ..let's listen to what the People are saying and take it from there. The Unionist parties are refusing to listen to ,what is generally percieved from polls etc.,what the majority of the people seem to say that they want. As he said last week at FMQ's 'woe betide a party who ignores the wishes of the people' or words to that effect. The Unionists are painting themselves into a corner on this issue and should be careful what they wish for. A single question which denies people a choice they may have wanted, may push them in the opposite direction from the people they percieve to be denying them that choice.


  4. Salmond has to include a second question to protect his political legacy. If his indenpendce vote fails he has to have a fall back otherwise he really has no option other than to resign as he has led his party to failure. Being a sIngle issue party and spending the entirety of their second term in office exclusively lobbying for a referendum, if their campaign fails the really should - as salmond says - respect the wishes of the scottish people and call a general election. Of course, salmond will never do this, so he has to have a fall back which can't fail hence a second question. It has other benefits such as completely confusing the issue and thus increasing the chance for more votes for yes.

    I'm pretty sure McConnel states a two question referendum would be "entirely consistent with 1999 referendum" in a letter to a newspaper some time ago.

    Should thier be a question about further powers for the Scottish executive ?
    Should in be part of a referendum to split the Uk?