Theresa Villiers: “ultimately it is parliament’s decision whether we repeal the 1972 European Communities Act or whether we don’t.”

Andy’s valiant attempt at providing clarity on the role of the devolved institutions in the UK’s withdrawal from the EU doesn’t appear to have worked for some of our local representatives. The Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, couldn’t have been clearer. “In the weeks and months ahead we will be working with both the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive on all these matters,” [Theresa Villiers] told BBC’s Sunday Politics show. “But ultimately it is parliament’s decision whether we … Read more

Unionism’s experience in NI should give Alex Salmond pause for thought on Derry’s Walls tomorrow…

When travelling outside Scotland,  Alex Salmond usually doesn’t miss an opportunity  to  characterise his Scottish National Party as ‘peaceful, civic, and inclusive’.  He did it in Bilbao in January when he was receiving the Sabino Arana award from  the authorities in the Basque Country. He is likely to bathe it in the same virtuous light this Friday when he comes to  Derry  to address the city’s Chamber of Commerce  He will be in a place where anti-British nationalism is based … Read more

“Granted, that reality wears tinfoil but that’s an essential protective measure these days.”

[But the tinfoil works?  Doesn’t it?! – Ed]  That’s what they say…  In the Spectator, Alex Massie takes a look at the state of Scottish politics in the aftermath of the referendum for Scottish independence – and the resulting ‘No’ vote. One of the most notable features of Alex Salmond’s account of the closing stages of last year’s referendum campaign is his hatred of the press and, indeed, the media more generally. Newspapers which run inconvenient stories are ‘anti-Scottish’ and journalists who … Read more

Alex Salmond plans to return to Westminster

If the good people of East Sussex think I’m as big a danger to the Westminster Parliament as Guy Fawkes, then they’re right. Alex Salmond Scotland’s former First Minister, Alex Salmond is attempting to make a return to the Westminster Parliament in May 2015. Salmond who has always enjoyed the House of Commons, will likely play a key role mentoring and building what is expected to be a much larger SNP parliamentary party. He has said he will not be … Read more

Alex Salmond: “For me as a leader my time is nearly over…”

Following defeat in the Scottish Independence referendum, Scotland’s First Minister, and SNP leader, Alex Salmond has announced he will stand down as First Minister in November when a new SNP leader will be chosen.  More at the Guardian’s Scotland Independence live- blog Adds Here is the official resignation statement, via the SNP, from Alex Salmond I am immensely proud of the campaign which Yes Scotland fought and of the 1.6 million voters who rallied to that cause by backing an independent Scotland. … Read more

#IndyRef: In a battle for a nation’s hearts and minds it has to be both…

Now, this is interesting. It’s a fairly aggressive question from the BBC’s Nick Robinson on “why a Scottish voter should believe you, a politician, against men who are responsible for billions of pounds profit?”… Not his greatest moment implying as it does an ad hominen appeal to absent and unaccountable authority (a classic of the cave) rather than a question with its own internal logic. What follows is a long hectoring lecture from the Scottish First Minister on Number 10’s … Read more

The #indyref essential count guide.

The last major debate happened between Alex Salmond and Alastair Darling last night and commentators where flying with debates about who won (yes, some poor buggars thought Darling did win). Yet, very few people seem to know just what exactly the process for the count will be and providing the public service that we do here on Slugger, I thought I would put up the guide as published by the Electoral Commission for the how the count will take place. … Read more

Much can be learned from comparing Salmond and Redmond’s destinies

  One month away from Scotland’s Moment of Truth, it is worth reflecting how eerie the symmetries and coincidences of history can sometimes be.  Followers of Irish and Scottish affairs know this to be a bumper year for anniversaries in both countries.  A millennium ago the celebrated Battle of Clontarf was fought just north of Dublin – a crucial battle in wresting Ireland from Viking control.  Three centuries later the Scots copper-fastened their independence from the English by worsting them in the Battle of … Read more

The Scottish independence debate goes colourful…

        The Herald on Sunday is the first Scottish newspaper to come out clearly in favour of independence. The front page designed by the artist Alasdair Gray makes quite a splash and the editorial arguments are balanced and reasonable. (The case for independence) seems to us to be a more exciting, imaginative and inspiring proposition than the alternative proposed by the No campaign. That it has been remorselessly negative need not detain us here. Its leaders have told … Read more

Damning comparison between Dev’s Ireland and Salmond’s Scottish Free State

Kevin Toolis, a Scot of born of Irish parents who wrote “Rebel Hearts”, one of the best books on the IRA on the ground, returns to a previous theme and makes this devastating comparison between an independent Scotland in prospect and post 1916 Ireland in the FT(£). We do have one good historical model of what it is like to carve out a nationalist state from within the political union of the UK but it is not one the SNP is … Read more

Scotland Essays: The pro-Union cause has four months to unite, learn identity politics and make a new devolution pact now!

The difference between before and after the Scottish referendum is as fundamental and unknowable as the black hole between life and death. Yet the fate of the Union may depend on what people believe now about what may happen then, in that currently unknowable state.  With the polls narrowing near the point of cross over, London- based   politicians and commentators are at last stirring themselves, the Conservative commentator and ex-MP Matthew Parris in the Times (£) being the latest in assuming a torrid fall-out from … Read more

After the Currency Union debate the #IndyRef is dead, so long live the SNP…

Lots of remarkable happenings in the last week or so in Scotland’s #IndyRef debate. Some of it needs taking with salt. For instance, whilst Barroso is correct to say that an independent Scotland will have to apply for membership of the EU, it’s hard to see what grounds anyone in the EU would have for saying no. It’s also true to say that the No campaign has hardly set the world alight. There have been precious few inspiring reasons given … Read more

David Cameron and love bombing the Scots

The tempo is picking up at last with maybe just a hint of panic?  The BBC, the Times£, the FT, even the Sun are splashing David Cameron’s defence of the Union in the patriotic venue of the Olympic Park.  The future of the United Kingdom is up in the air, David Cameron will warn today as he urges every Briton with a friend or family member in Scotland to persuade them to vote against independence.. My argument is that though … Read more

The Scottish referendum campaign: personal relations are affected as the arguments become keener

Both sides of the independence referendum campaign are busy spinning Bank of England Governor Mark Carney’s warning to Alex Salmond  that “some ceding of national  sovereignty” would be necessary as the price of independent Scotland’s desire  to keep the pound. The Nats are treating it with all  the appearance of calm acceptance;  the No campaign, championed  here by former Scotsman editor Iain Martin, that Carney has spiked Salmond’s guns. The Nats’ case has rested forever on the allegation that the Westminster parliament … Read more

Alex Salmond’s case for a surviving Social Union undermined

Polling on Scottish independence shows opinion staying  stuck  broadly against it in familiar proportions, despite the rising volume of campaigning.  But as this will be is an unprecedented once for all exercise with plenty of “don’t  knows”, or “not yet decided” in the frame, there are no grounds for complacency. The SNP’s White Paper on independence is expected next month on which they will be judged. Meanwhile the classic case for the Union is made by Jim Gallagher, a principal architect of devolution. … Read more

Salmond prepares to let Westminster take the hit over post-Leveson press regulation

It may surprise you to learn that a separate Scottish response to the Leveson report on press regulation is looking unlikely. Stage One  was a separate report by an “expert group” headed by  the former Scottish judge Lord McCluskey who recommended “draconian “ powers and a regulator appointed by the Scottish government. If the London negotiations fail to produce the necessary statutory underpinning for a Leveson-compliant Regulatory Body with universal jurisdiction, then Scottish Ministers may consider introducing legislation separately to … Read more

Unionists be warned. Negative campaigning against Scottish independence is not enough

A warning shot against unionist complacency in Scotland… Backing for independence among voters aged 18 to 24 stood at 58 per cent, according to the latest Ipsos MORI survey on voting intentions for the 2014 referendum…There were 34 per cent who supported Scotland leaving the UK, the poll of more than 1,000 people interviewed between 4 and 9 February showed. Support for Scotland staying in the Union fell slightly, going from 58 per cent to 55 per cent over the … Read more

Bold alternative urgently needed to Scottish independence

In Scotland the Better Together campaign has deservedly come in for some stick. The pro-Union cause has so far failed to agree on devo-more, the alternative to independence many politically aware Scots seem to want. (Incidentally if it ever comes to an NI referendum, their website is not the model to follow: remarkably for a Save the Union umbrella organisation it’s trite and one dimensional. They key critique is made by my friend Alan Trench whose Devolution Matters blog is the … Read more

“For the first time, Alex Salmond has been made to look ridiculous”

Alex Salmond has had his worst week in years. The SNP annual conference revealed a split over continuing membership of Nato. Then he was exposed  for, shall we say, stretching a point to its limits by claiming he had legal approval for insisting that an independent Scotland would smoothly inherit EU membership from the former UK. Small wonder that David Cameron, no mean  connoisseur of omnishambles himself, crowed at PMQs yesterday. Iain McWhirter in the Herald, explains why Salmond’s  spinning … Read more

Opening skirmish in Independence campaign

On the day, the YouGov poll commissioned by Alistair Darling was quite an effective spoiler to the launch of Alex Salmond’s Independence campaign, at least for the largely pro-Union press. The YouGov poll of 1,004 people found that only 33% of Scots would opt for independence, while 57% would reject it, findings which are close to several recent surveys but show lower support for independence than others But it’s a long haul to 2014.The treatment of small countries like Greece … Read more