Scottish LibDems hell bent on oblivion.

Michael Moore, LibDem Secretary of State for Scotland, says that two referenda are required for Scottish independence.
Here’s the BBC report.

If we have an advisory referendum set up by the Scottish government I think there is a strong likelihood, and it is certainly my personal view, that you would need a second referendum on the formalities of agreeing what has been sorted out between the governments.”
Mr Moore also said he would not be including any of the powers demanded by Mr Salmond in the new Scotland Bill

Alan Trench agrees on the specific constitutional referendum issue but raises the astonishing folly of the Scotland Bill element of the statement.

….The second is a piece of folly, however. It’s his statement (reported in a single line in the BBC News story) he doesn’t propose to amend the Scotland bill as requested by the Scottish Government (though what amendments exactly it wants to see aren’t wholly clear)….. This position is absurd, constitutionally and politically. A bill that isn’t so amended will fail to secure the legislative consent of the Scottish Parliament. Either the bill therefore goes nowhere, since it can’t get Holyrood’s consent, or the Secretary of State intends that the bill be passed by Westminster and brought into force despite Holyrood’s refusal. That means tearing up the Sewel convention – and the constitutional underpinning of a system of devolved government. One couldn’t calculate a move more likely to play into the hands of those wanting to see Scotland become a separate state.

Exactly – and why on God’s earth are beleaguered Scottish Lib Dems doing the Tories’ dirty work? Death wish? Beats me.

Alex, of course, is enjoying himself. From the Herald.

A spokesman for the First Minister said Mr Moore`s comments were “wittering and irrelevant nonsense”, and said he “comes up with a new off-the-cuff position every time he talks about it”.
He added: “Last month he said he was totally against Westminster bringing forward a referendum. It was, rightly, entirely a matter for the Scottish Government, and in the last Holyrood parliament his party was totally against having any referendum.

 

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  • Arguing for two referenda is technically correct, in my view – but share your sense of wonder about the Lib Dems.

    I’m not so sure Salmond is enjoying himself as much as he would like us to believe though. I’m wondering if his majority shouldn’t be filed under the category, “Careful what you wish for”?

    Why is he, for example, arguing to toss about the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court when the solution to this ‘problem’ is the independence that is supposed to be his party’s raison d’etre?

    And why has he picked alcohol abuse and sectarianism as his priorities in government? Just about everyone agrees these are Bad Things but they are also problems that the Scottish Government is unlikely to be able to make much of a dent in, lacking as they do the will to be draconian to the necessary extent. Are they going to restrict alcohol consumption on Scandinavian proportions? Or desegregate schooling in Scotland? Almost certainly not. To me they smell like policies designed by people who are still behaving like they are in opposition and, more importantly, realise that the union will continue in some form or other. Problem is, no one thought to tell the grassroots.

  • JPJ2

    I am unaware of any country having to hold two referendums on independence.

    If the UK government seeks to hold that position and cannot be moved, the SNP are likely to respond in any number of effective ways:

    *Insist that negotiations take place before a referendum to make the need to hold a second referendum obviously ridiculous (a refusal to negotiate would be indicative to the Scots of the unreasonable nature of the UK Tory led government).

    *There would be nothing to stop the SNP telling the electorate that they would treat the next Holyrood election as a vote on independence (don’t forget that the unionist parties were claiming up to the election that there was no need for any referendum as if the Scots wanted independence all they had to do was vote SNP!!)

    Alternatively, it would make a yes vote in a first “negotiation” referendum much more likely precisely because it would not be final 😉

  • Nordie Northsider

    Yesterday’s Guardian had a pretty devastating piece on how the reworked constituency boundaries will effect the Lib-Dems. Projections are that one fourth of their seats could disappear in one stroke. Scotland is particularly interesting, with big hitters like Charles Kennedy and Danny Alexander pitted against each other and other MPs losing parts of their strongholds to others. When you consider that boundary changes were the Tory’s quid pro quo for allowing Clegg the ‘victory’ of holding an AV referendum, the full scale of the shafting becomes painfully clear.

  • Obelisk

    If the SNP referendum is passed the Union will have probably have been fatally compromised.

    The UK government probably could insist on a second referendum on whatever separation package was negotiated, but to what end.

    Flush from his first victory, Salmond would simply argue they are forcing this second referendum on Scotland as a way of re-running the poll and thwarting indepedence. If such a scenario were to occur, I wouldn’t be surprised to see an even bigger majority for independence in a potential second referendum.

    If Scotland votes yes the first time, Westminster should respect the result and negotiate with Scotland on the basis of separation. Anything else will simply be used by the SNP to portray Westminster as even more uncaring to Scottish Opinion that is already the case, and would simply prolong a battle which at that point would already have been lost.

  • dwatch

    Scotland to split from UK and ‘be a nation again’?
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43077321/ns/world_news-europe/

  • Dewi

    Interesting link dwatch esp. this:

    “And the unionists, Curtice argued, needed to find “a positive argument for staying in the union,” rather than rely on negative campaigning, as well as a leader to sell that message.
    “Who is going to lead the campaign? Who is there who has the ability to campaign effectively? It’s not entirely obvious,” Curtice said. “The SNP starts from behind, but you can see the structural weaknesses of the unionist camp.””
    Cameron to lead the No campaign?

  • HeinzGuderian

    One simple question…………..why doesn’t Salmond call a referendum now ?

    One simple answer…………because only the most ill informed cretin,thinks he could possibly win !!

    Shuggy is quite correct. Friend Alex is prancing about in the Emperors New Clothes !! 😉
    (aided and abetted by a few Court Jesters)

  • HeinzGuderian

    VERY interesting link Dwatch,esp this;

    Polls currently suggest only One Third of Scots back Independence.

    “We’d be in exactly the same position as Ireland is at the present moment,” he said.

    Well quite Alex.quite !!

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru

    Slightly off topic, but since no one has actually pointed it out (except my post on Nicholas Whyte’s blog), the same guardian boundary outline has an analysis for Northern Ireland that is public.

    https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AonYZs4MzlZbdG84dXJXV0N5bURnZ1UwVjFJMEpkOFE&hl=en_US#gid=4

    You can have fun pondering the new 16 NI seats. “South Neagh” looks tasty.

  • HeinzGuderian @ 4:40 pm, with that Q&A, has it aright. The consultation was held early last year. In September (when the SNP were trailing badly in the opinion polls) Salmond announced the referendum would be delayed. Currently, the proposed date in 2015 (i.e. the equivalent in the life of this electoral cycle as the original intent for the last one).

    This is also known as “playing funny buggers”.

    Everyone outside the SNP is determining not to be suckered this time round. So, both Cameroons and lefties are trying to force the pace. Note that there are several trade-offs being established: the Supreme Court and taxation, for starters; others to be arranged as soon as possible (tuition fees, round three?; parliamentary constituency boundaries?; son of Barnett formula?). [Ulster-born] Michael Moore is merely reading from his script, and (as Alan Cochrane in today’s Torygraph is saying): it was nice to be present as the wholly bogus “respect agenda” between Edinburgh and London was given a decent burial.. Calman rides again (Dewi, please note).

    Whoever inserted the metal into Moore’s backbone deserves congratulations. Pressuring Wee Eck is a job worth doing: he is none too good with the detail.

    By the way, am I alone in finding amusement in Nordie Northsider @ 10:01 am asserting that Charles Kennedy and Danny Alexander are “big hitters”?

  • Nordie Northsider

    ‘By the way, am I alone in finding amusement in Nordie Northsider @ 10:01 am asserting that Charles Kennedy and Danny Alexander are “big hitters”?’

    Well, one of them is Chief Secretary to the Treasury. A position of no importance, clearly.

  • Nordie Northsider @ 5:47 pm:

    One is stand-in for Beaker (which might suggest the role of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew for Gids Osborne). The other was a big hitter, which was why he was defenestrated from the leadership, but is now trying to give it up.

    Roll over, Beethoven:

  • dodrade

    The two-referenda model was followed in Quebec in 1980, the first to give a mandate to negotiate independence and the second to ratify agreed terms. In the end the first referendum was lost 60/40 so the second one never occured.

  • Dewi

    ehh – remind me who blocked a referendum for the last four years Malcolm et al? It really is quite comical hearing the braying of the Unionists for an early vote..was that in their manifestoes? – I’ll answer meself…no!. SNP said 2nd half of Parliament and will abide by that.

  • Dewi

    Oh and by the way Heinz – you are a little out of your depth…

  • Dewi @ 7:41 pm:

    Strictly the response to your need for a “reminder” is — the Scottish people, on 3rd May 2007.

    On the basis of 33% of the constituency vote, and 31% of the list vote the SNP took 47 (36%) of the 129 seats. Short of suggesting that gave the SNP the right to bulldoze their Referendum Bill through Pàrlamaid, against the democratically-expressed will of the people, where’s the beef?

    The Referendum Bill was ready for presentation last September, so HeinzGuderian @ 4:40 pm had a valid question. You are not answering it.

  • Dewi

    I’ll answer it Malcolm. The SNP throughout the last Parliament wanted to call a referendum – the Unionist majority, as was their right, blocked it. This time the SNP stated quite clearly that they would hold a referendum in the 2nd half of this Parliament. The SNP won and keep their promises.

  • Dewi
  • Nordie Northsider

    Malcolm – could you respond in English next time?

  • Dewi @ 8:15 pm:

    Which ignores two points:

    ¶ By maintaining their intentions to vote down the Referendum Bill throughout the 2007-11 Pàrlamaid, the other parties were keeping their promises. The SNP, which had pledged to press the Bill, did not.

    ¶ Consider the SNP manifesto for 2011. The headline “promise” was nothing to do with “independence”: it was to make Scotland “fairer”. Salmond’s preface to the manifesto did not mention “devolution” or “referendum” or “independence”. To her credit, Nicola Sturgeon (clearly to the left of Wee Eck) does manage to mention “a culture of independence”. Only on page 28 (of 41) do we arrive at “Independence”. The specific promise is: We think the people of Scotland should decide our nation’s future in a democratic referendum and opinion polls suggest most Scots agree. We will, therefore, bring forward our Referendum Bill in this next Parliament. No, not specifically the second half of the Parliament, nor, as the current rumble has it, the September before the next Scottish parliamentary election.

    On those bases, it is reasonable to conclude that:

    (a) Salmond and the SNP expect not to be able to carry a referendum on independence;
    (b) that it is, however, a useful rallying point for SNP activism; so —
    (c) the wishful thinking is that by 2014 the public mood will be so hostile to the failed ConDem administration and all its works that the people might, just might vote for anything that isn’t Westminster.

  • Sorry! Insert /b.

  • Dewi

    ok – so let’s do it…

  • HeinzGuderian

    It would seem you are the one in need of inflatable armbands Dewi………..;-)

  • Dewi

    Heinz – you are a boring twat.

    Malcolm:
    1) Why bring forward a bill if all other parties have pledged to vote it down, Why waste time?
    2)Manifesto yes but during the campaign the timing was clearly stated by Salmond. Anyway don’t you want time for the Parliament to consider the alternative Calman proposals? (perhaps not…)

  • dwatch

    “And the unionists, Curtice argued, needed to find “a positive argument for staying in the union,” rather than rely on negative campaigning, as well as a leader to sell that message.”

    Dewi, Unionists in Scotland are Tories, unlike Unionists in NI, do not have the same concern re Scotland ever becoming a republic even if they won a referendum. There are more English republicans in the British Labour party than Scottish republicans in the SNP, and more Scottish Protestants who support SNP.

    Protestant loyalty to Monarchy in Scotland compared to Catholic anti Monarchy in Northern Ireland is extremely important in keeping Scotland from ever becoming a future republic. http://www.royal.gov.uk/MonarchUK/QueenandChurch/QueenandtheChurchofScotland.aspx

    If SF and their supporters believe if the SNP win a referendum, it will be a stepping stone to a a NI assembly referendum and a United Ireland to celebrate 2016 they can keep dreaming.

    Anti Monarchy Catholics are only 16% of the population in Scotland compared to 43.76% in Northern Ireland.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CBsQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FRoman_Catholicism_in_Scotland&ei=4hrvTbTkCNGJhQfS0O2jCQ&usg=AFQjCNG2qVnkGsn2pGR9wMZWuWPfYTmFWw

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=6&ved=0CDQQFjAF&url=http%3A%2F%2Fnews.bbc.co.uk%2F2%2Fhi%2Fuk_news%2Fnorthern_ireland%2F2590023.stm&ei=7hzvTbH-CsOHhQeT-7XBCQ&usg=AFQjCNGDc-isq7bUts22qY9S8Nmf5IWysQ

  • Dewi @ 4:07 am:

    [1] Because that is what the SNP were pledged to do, within the life of the 2007-11 Pàrlamaid.

    Eleven months back Salmond was promising the Referendum for the Spring of 2011. There was even an available date: 3rd March (which was good enough for Wales, but clearly didn’t fit the SNP game-plan).

    [2] If Paris was worth a Mass, then Calman deserves a full debate. Calman is, after all, the fullest available expression of the will of the Scottish people. It was what Scotland, with knowledge aforethought, voted for in 2007 and again in 2010. It is part of the ConDem pact; and it is being implemented by the UK parliament.

    What has changed?

    Well, for a start (see Scott McNab in The Scotsman of 16th May) the influx of new SNP MSPs seem to have more backbone than Salmond. Wee Eck is under pressure for his “independence lite” policies now that the hard men and women are here. Bringing forward the Referendum is definitely in the unionist interest if it strains the Salmond leadership: partisan politics are no love-in.

    Then again (see David Maddox in The Scotsman of 17th May) the SNP now has a 300-strong army of SpAds and other apparatchiks — all on the government pay-roll — to infiltrate and propagandize across Scotland. Nice.

    Meanwhile, it looks as if Michael Moore (remember him? he was your headliner) has bitten off more than he can chew. The Tories are most dischuffed about his “two referendums” notion; Ed Miliband kicked it into touch.

    There is gossip (again that Maddox piece, but elsewhere back to March) that Moore is not long for this life. He will be reshuffled and replaced by Alistair Carmichael and a harder line. In effect, after the West Lothian Question we could have Carmichael’s Orcadian and Shetlander Question. The Scottish LibDems may be in trouble, but Carmichael and Willie Rennie (the former MP for Dunfermline and putative party leader at Holyrood) are not pushovers.

    Bottom line: the unionist parties, despite SNP persiflage, still have the majority of Scottish opinion behind them — hence the Salmond “independence lite” pussy-footing. It needs a person of importance to take on Salmond & Co. A decade ago Robin Cook was musing his re-entry into Scottish politics. Labour’s failure to produce a figure of similar stature, and an unbroken sequence of damp-squibs, explains a lot. At least the Tories had Annabel Goldie, if not the foot-soldiers to support her.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Play the ball Dewi,play the ball.

    The vote for the SNP was a vote against Labour,NOT a vote for Scottish Independence !! For pity’s sake boyo,even the most disinterested observer could have worked that one out !!

    Please stop pushing this Scottish Independence tripe. 66% of the people of Scotland DO NOT WANT IT !!

    The Union is here to stay Dewi…………get used to it. Och ayee. 😉

  • Dewi

    You started it Heinz.
    Malcolm:
    “[1] Because that is what the SNP were pledged to do, within the life of the 2007-11 Pàrlamaid.”
    I repeat, with the majority in the Parliament against, why waste anyone’s time?
    On 2) It is going to be interesting who fronts up for the Unionists. No one really springs to mind immediately. (SNP won Orkney on the regional list btw…)

  • drc0610

    Malcolm, I’m really not sure what your getting at.

    Everyone knew the SNP’s position before the election, referendum late on in the parliment. Now they’re sticking to that positon your trying to criticise them for it? I dont think that view holds much weight outside London.

    Whereas the Tories and Labour (possibley flush with how the AV vote went) are going against they’re previous position (No referendum) are somehow doing the right thing.

    I’m sorry the Unionist parties are goign to have to catch up with the reality. They lost the election, massively. They dont have a mandate. They dont get to set the time or the question. No matter how much the Telegraph whines about how unfair it is.

    “Everyone outside the SNP is determining not to be suckered this time round. So, both Cameroons and lefties are trying to force the pace”

    I’m sorry they already have been. Eck is ahead of the curve by avoiding being painted in the particular corner you so wish to place him. That your still trying to do so shows a certain disconnect with events.

    re points a, b, c, I dont think anyone would disagree with any of them them. That’s the point, the SNP are saying judge us on our record. Strangely enough they’ve realised building suppoprt for a referendum is not something you can cobble together over a couple of months with a few celebrities. It will take a demonstration that they are the best option for the people fo Scotland. They may achieve this, they may not, but it’s in their hands.

    ps if Labour repeat they’re antics of the past parliment they will only help SNP’s cause. The Lib dems and Tories have made themselves largely irrelevent.

  • HeinzGuderian

    I did Dewi ? ( out of my depth…….boring twat ) 😉
    I could have sworn this was your thread ?
    Sorry if you don’t like my opinion,but that’s just the way the shortbread crumbles.

    Let me run this one past you,controversial as it may seem. Why not come back to this topic in 2014,when the SNP get round to holding their referendum on independence.
    It may be a little more,( what’s the word I’m looking for ? ) relevant,then !! 😉

  • To drc0610 @ 10:37 am, all I can say is “So?”

    Brass tacks: I have no beef about Scottish “independence”, provided someone, somewhere (which means the SNP) tells me what it amounts to. Itemised it comes out as:

    We asked people to tell us why they support independence – to set out the ways Scotland can be better as an independent country. Here are some of their reasons.
    ¶ higher levels of economic growth and more jobs
    ¶ working to end child and pensioner poverty
    ¶ moving to universal free childcare to match the best in Europe
    ¶ increasing life expectancy and reducing health inequalities
    ¶ speeding up the delivery of a Scottish high-speed rail network
    ¶ becoming Europe’s green energy powerhouse
    ¶ focusing more on Scotland’s engineering and manufacturing industries
    ¶ delivering a carbon neutral Scotland
    ¶ making Scotland an international centre for science and innovation
    ¶ contributing to international peace-keeping and peace-building not illegal wars
    ¶ freeing Scotland from nuclear weapons

    I struggle there to see anything that isn’t on the agenda of other parties.

    I see nothing that is specifically “independent Scotland”.

    I see nothing cultural.

    I see nothing that is definitive or a firm commitment (“We asked … they said …”).

    In short, that’s vox-populism. I’m old enough to remember (just) a deeply-unpleasant guy called Pierre Poujade in the death-thoes of the French Fourth Republic. Poujadism, translated to Scotland in the early 21st century, seems to be the sum total of that definition of “independence”, little more than clichés of Tartan Toryism with a thin veneer of social consciousness.

    Fortunately there is a more muscular tendency in the SNP, now much more represented in the Pàrlamaid. For such, Salmond is increasingly the problem, not the solution (for example, where does defence fit under “independence”/”independence lite”?). Until that conflict is reconciled, I’ll keep firm hold of nurse, for fear of meeting something worse.

    To exemplify, consider Angela Constance, now a full-blown SNP minister, promoted as poster-girl for the SNP’s “vision” of “independence”:

    “When you get paid at the end of the month you don’t give that money to your next door neighbours and let them decide what you can spend. At home you and your family are responsible for your own priorities and your own choices. But as a nation we currently let other people make those decisions for us.

    In all parts of life people aspire to Independence. Our young people want the freedom to make their own decisions, just as many pensioners relish keeping their independence as they get older. We value independent investigations, we want our courts and police to be independent, many people aspire to leave jobs in big companies to go independent as their own boss…” etc. etc.

    drc0610 @ 10:37 am may not see “what I getting at”. I am trying to get a few definitions, to talk hard choices and policies. I’m trying to avoid the “Janet and John speak” that Constance (above) and Salmond (passim) seem to think is all that is required for political discourse.

  • Dewi

    Heinz – apologies – I didn’t get your armband thing – thought it was a peculiar kind of insult.

    From your source Malcolm:
    “Independence is about making Scotland more successful. At its most basic, it is the ability to take our own decisions, in the same way as other countries.”
    It’s a normal aspiration of countries. But if you are like me this is a little more inspiring:
    “It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life”
    http://heritage.scotsman.com/declarationofarbroath/The-text-of-the-Declaration.2600645.jp

  • andnowwhat

    Dewi;

    Do you think that the effects of the upcomimg cuts will be an issue on the referendum ie. Scotland possibly being more affected by cuts in benefits etc?

    I’m talking about in 2014 when the cuts have really bitten.

  • Dewi

    andnowwhat – the referendum tactics and strategy are going to be fascinating. Here’s an excellent article from Alan Trench in the Scotsman:
    http://news.scotsman.com/politics/Alan-Trench-Winwin-strategy-may.6781494.jp

  • Dewi @ 12:03 pm:

    Much as I admire your Cameroonie habit of partial back-quotation, what does “the ability to take our own decisions, in the same way as other countries” amount to?

    I’m sorry to keep asking the same question, but it is the essence of the “independence”/”independence lite” debate we should be having.

    Consider a couple of “for instances”:

    It took two difficult decades before there was a final settlement of the financial quibbling between the UK Treasury and the Saorstát/ Poblacht na hÉireann, culminating in the Economic War. We don’t want that again.

    If “independence” in any form is to be taken seriously, it ought to be about time we had some concrete proposals from the SNP — something a bit less blue-sky and back-of-an-envelope than that nonsense about oil revenues (see also below). Indeed, the only outline (back to Calman) has been rubbished by the SNP, but is being implemented by the ConDems.

    Perhaps at this juncture we shouldn’t mention that the UK has just bailed out Scotland’s three biggest banks at a total cost of £470 billion — i.e. three times the whole Scottish GNP. Or about forty years, at current extraction rates, of that oil revenue your good self employed in a previous thread.

    In the matter of defence the SNP pledge is remarkably fulsome:

    The SNP wants Scotland to be a normal country making its own decisions about defence and peacekeeping. Only when priorities are set in Scotland can we prevent our brave servicemen and women being ordered into illegal conflicts. The historic regiments of Scotland have been destroyed through amalgamation and downsizing; an independent Scotland will redress this…
    Historic regiments will be re-established as part of the SDS.
    Military facilities, including strategic airforce stations, should not be downsized at the present time.

    Really? The SDS (the SNP’s term) will be maintained, even extended, at present UK levels? Irrespective of cost? Reconcile that with going non-nuke.

    Surely a more rational aspiration (your word) would be a defence establishment on a par with a comparable European nation: the Danish Forsvaret has a potential deployment of just 1,400 (to defend also the Faroes and Greenland, let us remember) at a cost of around £2¾ billion. Even that modest “aspiration”, which falls far short of what the SNP is currently peddling, is around 8% of the entire Scottish budget.

    Promises and “Janet and John” stuff (see my previous post) come cheap, but are not convincing. All I ask of the SNP and its apologists (present company not excepted) is they come up with some hard facts and firm numbers. I’m doing my best here, but getting zilch in return.

  • drc0610

    Fair enough Malcolm,

    re the list of aspirations, I’d agree that there is nothing in them that requires scotland to be independent to achieve but (and it’s a big but) Labour have failed to deliver on these for 30 years. Moreso in recent years when they appear to have put the interests of the London Labour party ahead of their constituents in Scotland. The West Lothian question has had an unforeseen affect on the Labour party and is probably the biggest reason for its’ recent malaise in Scotland.

    Which is where the SNP surge is coming from as it is becoming clear that for whatever reason the UK isnt working for scotland. Strangely enough people are voting for a party that offers them what they want and then gives it to them. Which may come round to hurt the SNP as if they do too good a job of devolution why would you then need independence? Salmond has to balance the pragmatic and hardline sides of his party.

    I think independence on one level is clear enough, the devil being in the detail, how you split up the army, the budget, how much of the uks debt is scotland’s debt? These are never going to be solved with a 30 sec sound bite. And this is the biggest stumbling block to scots backing independence, you’ve got no idea what your voting for. Why jump into the unkown when the SNP are doing a not bad job of runnign things (far better than Labour did for the past 30 years anyway). (It’s also why you need 4 years to make the case for it)

    Which i suspect is where the SNP’s gradualist approach and indepence-Lite comes in. The SNP may have stumbled on the best solution for everyone.

    SNP get’s control of tax and spending, defence get left with the UK. West Lothian question solved, No more hard pressed english tax payers money being sent north for scrounging scots. Scots pay their own way and stand and or falls by their own efforts, no more blaming the english. What’s not to like?

  • Dewi

    “Surely a more rational aspiration (your word) would be a defence establishment on a par with a comparable European nation: the Danish Forsvaret has a potential deployment of just 1,400 (to defend also the Faroes and Greenland, let us remember) at a cost of around £2¾ billion. Even that modest “aspiration”, which falls far short of what the SNP is currently peddling, is around 8% of the entire Scottish budget.”
    I’m not avoiding the point Malcolm and I’d agree personally with that approach – but the point is that the nature of defence would be determined by an Independent Scotland – and those discussions would occur then surely? Doesn’t the UK’s defence strategy evolve and change – it’s up to the Government and Yes/No to independence doesn’t depend on a specific defence startegy but surely the ability to make one.
    I’m on more shaky grounds on the banks admittedly but just to state the obvious – banking regulation is not a devolved matter and surely the UK regulatory framework is ultimately to blame? An analogy would be blaming Newcastle City council for Northern Rock’s collapse? Fair?

  • Dewi @ 2:01 pm:

    Here you are saying that the nature of defence would be determined by an Independent Scotland, which is fair enough. However, that is not what the Salmondites are saying.

    Let me retrace a few steps.

    Immediately after the Scottish parliamentary election, Professor James Mitchell of Strathclyde University, very close to the SNP leadership, was to the fore redefining “independence” as “inter-dependence”. [That Scotsman article comes some days after Mitchell’s study went public: it is, at the moment, the nearest thing I have to a first-hand version.]

    By a non-coincidence Jim Sillars, once one of the hardest of liners, was at it, too, also in The Scotsman, on 14th May:

    The membership should take a sober look at the opinion polls, the ones that said the SNP was galloping to a victory, but also recorded support for independence in the low 30 per cents. If one was right, so was the other. It would be easy to rehearse the reasons for this low level of support, and register yet again my opposition to past policies of parking independence at elections. But we are in the same new world now as Alex Salmond, one created by an unexpected but welcome majority in the Scottish Parliament. A world in which those constraints become a factor we have to live with as a party; constraints that are likely to produce a policy that defines an independence differently to that which brought many people into the party, and for which they have campaigned for over many years.

    A further non-coincidence: when all this hit the ventilators of those “fundies”, Nicola Sturgeon was promptly wheeled out to assert the SNP’s continued orthodoxy. Hmmm …

    So issues such as defence, economic regulation (as long as Scotland is inside the sterling umbrella), diplomacy, and other trivialities are accepted as part of this “inter-dependence”. Let’s lightly skim over any thoughts of an equal relationship between 50m English and 5m Scots.

    It would follow in my logic that, with “inter-dependence”, there must remain a Scottish presence in the Westminster parliament. If so, the West Lothian Question hasn’t gone away.

    My posture here is quite comfortable with either independence or “inter-dependence”. I just wish we were being told the truth, the whole truth, and something other than the media-friendly, forked-tongued Cute Hoorism that Salmond so readily spins.

    By-the-by, Hamish Macdonell at the Caledonian Mercury is worth keeping an eye on. Today he argues that the SNP dominance will reduce the importance of the Holyrood chamber, and compares Salmond with early Blair (ahem!):

    t will be no surprise if, as happened during the early Blair years in London, press attention moves away from the actual business of parliament and focuses instead more on personalities, on cliques, cabals and gossip from inside the corridors of power as journalists look for something interesting to report.

    That means the factions within the SNP will become more studied, and therefore more significant.

  • Dewi

    Mitchell very good – best bit:

    “The problem the SNP faces is more linguistic than conceptual. There is an understanding that relations are interdependent, even that some form of union (or, more accurately, unions) will continue to exist within the UK.
    This is not, as some have suggested, independence-lite simply independence as it would be in reality.”

    Saying that independence lite equals interdependence equals European nation-state normality…

  • HeinzGuderian

    Malcolm,I’m afraid you are flogging a dead horse.
    The Brave Heart Brigade have their tartan tinted glasses super glued firmly in place,and no amount of well thought out,coherent logic is going to change that,alas.

    I guess we only have Three Years to wait,until Alex musters up the Brave Heart,to dip his toe in the independence water.

    I,for one,cannae wait !! 😉