Friday, 3 December 2010


This week saw the launch of the long-awaited Scotland Bill which Michael Moore, Scottish Secretary, described as 'reflecting the settled will of the Scottish people'.

I'm not so sure it's settled in the least although it's certainly progress.  Who would have thought that, after less than 4 years in power, the SNP would manage to provoke unionist parties into proposing such an extension of Scottish constitutional powers since devolution - even although Alex Salmond calls it 'Calman Minus'?  There is no doubt these changes were a result of the SNP performing well in government; in fact so well that the unionist parties, in a desperate attempt to curtail any progress to the SNP's Independence Bill, suggested Westminster could look at ways to increase powers to the Scottish Parliament.  The result was the Calman Commission and the unionist parties pledged their support for its findings.  A watered-down version of the findings are included in the new draft Scotland Bill.

Many who want full fiscal powers for Scotland have criticised the proposals as 'too little' and 'tinkering at the edges', however I too think Alex Salmond must be pinching himself. 

Newsnet Scotland is promoting a suggestion that those who support Scottish independence to write 'independence' on the coalition's AV referendum ballot slip on 5th May.  I wouldn't put it past the powers that be in Westminster to now combine all ballots onto one paper but I will take part as long there is no indirect damage to my Scottish general election vote.

Another suggestion, which could be very effective alongside this campaign, is made by that tenacious writer of letters to Scottish newspapers, Alex Orr.  In today's Scotsman he makes a very good case for a Scottish referendum on the Scotland Bill.

... Given the fact that the 3p adjustment necessitated a referendum question, it is only right and proper that the Scotland Bill proposals should be put to the Scottish electorate in a referendum.

Few would or could argue with that, especially after the noise opposition MSPs made last week about the SNP government allowing the current 3p tax policy to lie in the long grass.  Surely they would think it only fair the people have their say?


William said...

That 'settled will' again.

The problem of constitutional change is that once the genie is out the bottle it's very difficult to put it back. It's not like economic or social policies which can easily be reversed. Salmond knows this, of course. Every inch the SNP gain is an inch they probably won't have to give back.

I think there's a real case that Unionists have been let down by supposed Unionist parties. They all seem to be sleepwalking into disaster. There's a very real risk that Scotland will end up a de facto independent state and the Unionists will still be standing on the sidelines with their hands in their pockets. It's very depressing indeed.

subrosa said...

I don't find it depressing William because the unionists deserve all they get. Trying to out-smart Alex Salmond wasn't a good idea as many of them will now realise.

Only the unionists have themselves to blame for this. Only the SNP will gain.

Key bored warrior. said...

William, never mind your depression will go when Scotland springs the trap, very soon...Please induldge my pedantry for a wee minute. Why do people refer to "the genie being out of the bottle" when he was never in the bottle to start with. If you mean the genie in Alladin surely he was in a lamp which was rubbed,"What wouldst thou have? I am ready to obey thee as thy slave, and the slave of all those who have that lamp in their hands; I and the other slaves of the lamp." The only other genie in a bottle I am aware of is a disgracefull propaganda film brain washing children that we are about to be drowned because of melting ice bergs. It is -5 here today.

With regards to Calman, it is a trojan horse waiting to undermine the Scottish economy and dreamed up by the maandarins of the Treaury in London who know the truth on Scotlands fiscal surplus and have for decades, otherwise we would be independent by now. Was it not they who kept McCrone a secret only to be unearhted by some skillfull digging by the SNP?
They are dancing to Salmonds tune now and it will become more hysterical as may approaches.

Dubbieside said...


I read somewhere that as the AV referendum will be run on the Westminster boundary seats, the paper could not be combined. Maybe there is someone out there who knows what the position is.

Like you I would not spoil my paper if it effects my vote for Holyrood, but will defiantly do it if the papers are separate.

Even if this campaign forces a joint paper, against all the advise after the last fiasco, it will still be a victory, however small for the independence movement. It would mean they blinked first, maybe a small blink but still a blink, could be the first of many.

P.S. Did not realize you had issues with BC. Sorry if I upset you.

William said...

SR, the thing is that being outwitted by Salmond, well, y'know, he's not Isaac Newton, is he? I still cherish his appearance on Have I Got News For You? where he tried to 'expose' a prop they were using as not being real. 'It's a gag, Alex' he was gently told.

Of course unionists (parties) only have themselves to blame but I'm not sure unionists (people) are culpable. I certainly voted for a unionist party on the basis that they would defend the structure of the UK in the long-term. The fact that all seem to have acquiesced with the 'creep, creep' policy is hardly my fault.

KBW, I was thinking of the gentle song by singer Christina Aguilera. I was also thinking of Christina Aguilera. Well, it's a cold day.

Key bored warrior. said...

William, Aha you meant that Genie well now I get it, be sure and put it back when you are finished, well it is a cold one ;o)

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

I'm all for independence, but I do have reservation over the voiding of the AV ballot papers by scrawling "independence" on them.

First you have to ask - what it will achieve?

Void ballots may be counted and declared but I've never heard of them being categorised as to why they were voided.

Second, having publicised this action makes it liable to be reacted against and the method used could have a negative effect as follows.

We're told supporters of independence are around 35% in polls. What we don't know is whether that figure applies to population or voters; but for the purpose of this exercise assume voters.

If the total of eligible voters is around 2 million, generally around 40% don't bother to vote, which leaves 1.2 million who do which would mean 420,000 voiding their papers, and that is an absolute maximum and assumes all SNP/Independence supporters are political anoraks. Base the result on the amount of bloggers and you may only get 100,000 or less spoilt ballots.

Now, we all know the bias adopted by the Media against the SNP and independence. So if they do decide to highlight this result,(and that's a big if) how would it be presented? Only 10% of Scots want Independence! That's at the very best, it could read only 1.8% etc.

Develop the equation into Union figures and it has no effect whatsoever.

I'm not against spoiling the paper, just don't be specific. Mark it-Not fit for purpose - and give the establishment no ammunition.

Dramfineday said...

"Surely they would think it only fair the people have their say?"

Good to see the optimism returning, all that fresh air and snow digging has done you good (the answer is no buy the way you'll do as you are telt).

subrosa said...

William, he's the best we have by a mile at the moment. Aye I remember that. :)

Sorry I wasn't implying unionist voters were to blame. The Scotland Bill was the work of their leaders. I must try to remember to put 'parties' after the word unionist. I'll try to do better.

subrosa said...

I certainly don't think any paper with 'independence' scrawled across it will be counted RA, so it may achieve little.

Yes, I think publicising it so early in the game is an error.

Do hope those at Newsnet are reading your comment. I still believe Alex Orr has an excellent point about insisting upon a referendum before the changes in the Scotland Act are brought into law.

subrosa said...

Auch Dram, I'm told I'm a born optimist and usually a cheery individual. It's a heavy cross to bear. :)

Anon said...

If the SNP promise to reduce income tax, that could be a vote winner.

The SNP could cut the bureaucracy in the NHS perhaps?

- Aangirfan

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Yes it would Rosa.

It would mean the Act would have to be debated in Scotland.

The problem would then be, the length of time needed by the Westminster supporters in Holyrood learning and memorising their scripts.

Dubbieside said...


Most of the other things being suggested have one flaw, they need unionist agreement, which as we all know will not be forthcoming.

The writing independence on the AV ballot box is only a very small thing, but just imagine if a lot of people did it and the spoilt papers numbers were much larger than the rest of the UK, people would know that something was stirring in North Britain.

Who was it that said a journey starts with a few short steps.

P.S. They would only show as spoilt papers not why they were spoilt, but thats not the issue.

cynicalHighlander said...


Unable to copy and paste but spoilt papers have to be counted and identified how they have been spoilt.

Dubbieside said...


That makes it even better then.

subrosa said...

Good suggestion Aangirfan although the problem I forsee is that the unionists would require 'Proof' that it would work.

Of course there is proof in abundance but for some reason the SNP PR machine just doesn't connect with these matters.

Their website is like something from the 90s and unless anyone is truly interested in independence they certainly wouldn't browse it. I've mentioned this several times with no reply.

What a shame they don't have a website with a main interactive link.

With the intelligence that I know the SNP possess, I do wish they'd stop this eco-nonsense and relate to what people want.

subrosa said...

I hate to be a party-pooper CH but would the numbers matter?

Why not combine a high profile action for a referendum on the Scotland Bill, which is far more important to Scotland?

subrosa said...

Dubbie, why can't the SNP 'court' Libdem supporters? After all the libdems have done nothing for Scotland, either before or after devolution.

cynicalHighlander said...

Nothing ventured nothing gained SB as I was going to put NONE but PR anyway so INDEPENDENCE just as good if not better.

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