Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Referendum Question Solved

The media is still preoccupied with Julian Assange's latest self-preservation tactic and none, apart from the Scotsman, has reported David Cameron's latest remarks regarding independence for Scotland.

The MP's message was relayed courtesy of 'sources close to the Prime Minister' who warned a substantial increase in financial powers for Holyrood is not an option if Scotland wants to remain within the UK.

The warning, according to Eddie Barnes, appears to rule out both devo-max and other forms of fiscal autonomy.

Only six months ago Mr Cameron, during an infrequent visit to Scotland, assured the electorate that if they voted No in the referendum he 'would look at what further powers could be devolved'.  It seems he's now looked and decided none. Few independence supporters will be surprised by this development.

There doesn't seem much point discussing a second question on the ballot paper if the PM is not prepared to offer further devolution rights to Scotland and I suspect this is his way of ensuring the ballot paper holds one question - Yes/No with no alternatives. This may well come back to bite him.

The SNP insist civic Scotland has a desire for further fiscal powers but if the Westminster government now declares it will refuse to acknowledge these wishes, then there is no point in putting the question before the people in 2014.

I've never been comfortable with a 'devo-max' question being included.  It's too much of a halfway house which leaves Westminster with majority control over my country.

The Yes campaign must use this latest 'message' from No 10 to achieve a successful Yes vote for independence and make clear to voters how fickle the Westminster government will be if we vote anything else but Yes.

That's the referendum question solved.  Let's move on to the financial aspect of independence.  The result will depend upon people's belief that they will be better off in an independent Scotland.  It's the responsibility of politicians to put the facts on the table.

The moral of this post is: Don't trust Westminster politicians.


JRB said...

”The moral of this post is: Don't trust Westminster politicians.”
(least of all Cameron et al)

… but can we trust ANY politician?

Of late, even Alex Salmond and friends are getting somewhat headstrong and in need of reigning back.
Their failure to advise and inform we the public is beginning to smack a little of crass arrogance that they, and only they need know the facts.

CrazyDaisy said...

Morning Madame,

Yes, looks like DC is looking further adrift from the reality of what us Scots aspire to and wish for ourselves & our homeland.

Having spent the last 5 years dipping in and out of Westmidden I can tell you it is far from being the honourable institiution Oxbridge types would have us believe!

It is looking & behaving more like "ROME" by the day. We all know what happned during the Fall of Rome. The last piece of the fall of the British Empire is about to slot into place.

Expect much wailing & thrashing of teeth. Dirty tricks, obfuscation and denial of democracy are being put in place as I type.

Have a bonnie day.


Allan said...

If true we kind of knew this already. What would be interesting is confirmation of something i read (can't remember where unfortunately)where Cameron would not relinquish Fiscal Autonomy even in the event of a Yes vote.

The only real change in the campaign though is that this has the potential to put "Scottish" Labour in a difficult place.

Woodsy42 said...

Isn't 'devo max' exactly the same fudge that the entire UK is being asked to accept between the Uk and the EU? Stay in and trust me to repatriate (or allow repatriation in Scotland's case) of some powers.
Does anyone believe this?

Key bored warrior. said...

A wise person once said, the desire to be a politician, should immediately disqualify you from being one. I agree. However given that we are where we are, and that the fate of our country is no longer in the hands of a parcel of rouges we need to do all we can to hold these people to account. We can do that much better if all the decisions regarding our country are made in this country by the people who live and work here. The EU and the politicians therein are something that makes me very uneasy. They have developed very expensive tastes for my liking, and seem determined to keep doing so. I support the SNP, and Alex Salmond as the best of a bad lot, but they need watching. If history shows that Alex Salmond has wanted Devious Max or anything short of independence and that he is angling for a get out clause, then history and the Scottish electorate will not be kind to him.

Anonymous said...

Don't you listen to that Cameron and the nasty party. They just tell you Scots lies all the time. Go ahead and vote for independence. That'll show him.

Independent England said...

"The moral of this post is: Don't trust Westminster politicians".

Totally agree. I've found that the best rule of thumb is to listen to what they say they are going to do and then expect them to do exactly the opposite.
Scotland should get on and hold its referendum with a simple YES NO question. Hopefully there will be a YES vote.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

The witless appeals to the gormless!

It is an undeniable fact -they would be better kept together.

Demetrius said...

First question, what currency will Scotland have? If its' own then it will be independent. If "tied" to another then it will depend on the other. If the currency of another country or entity then it will not be independent.

DougtheDug said...

"The SNP insist civic Scotland has a desire for further fiscal powers but if the Westminster government now declares it will refuse to acknowledge these wishes, then there is no point in putting the question before the people in 2014."

Sub-Rosa, you've got to remember that both the LibLabCon unionists and the SNP know that there will be no second question. The unionists don't want to provide one and the SNP can't because it not only would devo-max compete with the independence option they could never get it through on a UK bill as the unionists parties control Westminster.

However, the SNP have to keep the option open until the Unionists publicly refuse to add one to the referendum bill because if they don't and agree to a single question referendum as Cameron wants them to then they become party to keeping that option off the ballot paper.

It's all about corporate guilt. The unionists want the SNP to be party to their decision to deny Scots a choice and to stop them having clean hands in the referendum campaign when both sides target the voters who favour devo-max.

pa_broon74 said...


I imagine we'd stick with the pound for all sorts of different reasons; ease, save the expense and initial instability of a new currency. We already print our own notes, we might peg it to UK Sterling and keep one of your pounds for every one of our own in circulation, which is also a good way for encourgaing fiscal responsibililty...

Also, the rest of the uk could not easily survive a decimation of currency use, you'd essentially be slashing the remainder UK's GDP by 10%, which is why its a bluff when politicians say we couldn't use the pound.

On independence I suppose we nationalists could say: "Vote yes for independence-as-in-of-the-kind-experienced-by-the-vast-majority-of-other-countries-who-also-aren't-truly-independent-of-their-neighbours in 2014" but it doesn't have the same ring to it.

People aren't daft, well, most folk, they know what independence means in the context of nationhood and sovereignty.

subrosa said...

I'd agree with your last paragraph JRB. They need to start providing evidence. It takes time for people to absorb and argue with friends/family. We only have 2 years as far as I'm aware.

subrosa said...

Afternoon Sir. I think we should call Cameron's bluff and use his tactics as the main one in the Yes campaign. Few people like someone who doesn't play truthfully and Cameron's now proved he has no intention of doing that.

subrosa said...

Yes Allan that's a good point. Labour are now stuck between a rock and a hard place. Wonder what they'll choose if anything?

subrosa said...

I don't believe in devo-max for the reasons you mention Woodsy. It should be a straight Yes or No and if the Yes campaign get it right then there's an excellent chance of success.

subrosa said...

Excellent comment KBW. Quite a few, including me, have the same concerns as yourself.

subrosa said...

How I wish it was so easy Daggs, but we can make it easier than it is at present by highlighting these tactics.

subrosa said...

It will be if we get it right and are honest with the people IE. Honesty is all folk want.

subrosa said...

Oh Crinkly. :)

subrosa said...

A good explanation Doug and one which I haven't considered in any depth. Many thanks.

subrosa said...

That's a point quite a few people ask me Demetrius. It should be resolved asap.

subrosa said...

Pa-broon, many people are only interested in the money they will have - or won't have - in their pockets if we're independent. Little else matters unfortunately. Short-termism I think it's called.

Joe Public said...

JRB in comment #1 nails the problem.

And for another example, what about the latest crackpot-idea of the SNP, which has demanded that 16- and 17-year-olds be allowed to vote in a planned 2014 referendum on Scottish independence.

Let youngsters gain life-experience & contribute to an economy before influencing the decision on how tax-payers' money is spent.


Nikostratos said...


'Don't trust Westminster politicians.'

Well Cameron guarantees 'YOU' a one question yes/no referendum.
on the other hand slippery Salmond is sneaking about whispering into other ears.

please! please! please! ask for Q2

perhaps your trust in Salmond is somewhat misplaced.

That's the referendum question solved
well according To Alex salmond no its not.
after all its down to the Scottish Parliament to decide.

J. R. Tomlin said...

So Demetrius, you are saying that when the Republic of Ireland continued to use the Pound Sterling for a number of years after it became independent that it wasn't REALLY independent.'

I suspect the Irish would beg to differ.

J. R. Tomlin said...

Nikostratos, when the Scots go to the polls to vote on the referendum in 2014, they will know EXACTLY which side said no second question. So if the majority actually wanted that second question, just what do you REALLY think that will do to their vote? Really.

But one suspects you'd rather not contemplate that, especially since it involves the fact that Mr. Salmond, who you so hate, is one very, very wily politician. He has let the Unionists paint him into exactly the corner he wanted to be in. LOL

Allan said...


So, let me get this straight. You are happy for your party to deny Scotish voters the chance to vote for the favoured option of Fiscal Autonomy/Devo Max and are also happy for your party to talk about "repatriating" powers to Westminster?

Are you all mad in "Scotish" Labour? I ask because whatever happens after the referendum. the following Westminster Election will be utter carnage. I honestly do not think anyone has thought about what happens post referendum (regardless of the result).

subrosa said...

Joe, young people can join HM Forces at 16 so why not vote?

They can also partake in employment when they have to contribute taxes if appropriate.

subrosa said...

Not just me Niko but many supporters of independence.

No. It's the referendum question solved according to me!

footdee said...

posted elsewhere,

last night on newsnicht ,lord wallace of tankerness threatened a coup d`etat against the sovereignty of the people of Scotland by threatening the right of the Scottish parliament to hold a referendum on independence .---------------------he said westminster would refuse to accept the result of any referendum held without their permission ----------------He also threatened to split Scotland up if the answer is yes to independence

footdee said...

Cameron knows full well that full fiscal autonomy will lead to independence once Scots see how much better off we will be with FFA ,

thats why he`s relying on a no vote in order to give no or very limited powers to the Scottish parliament ,in fact i think with a no vote westminster would feel safe to take back powers

subrosa said...

I watched his interview footdee and had to replay it as I didn't believe what I was hearing first time round.

His whole demeanor was shocking - pompous and arrogant. I couldn't believe he was actually a Scot.

That's the message that must be continually repeated - we'll be just as well or better off with FFA. Which ever is the truth.

pa_broon74 said...

I'm all for 16 & 17 year olds voting, its their future after all.

And just how much life experience can one gain in two years anyway. Well, quite a lot as it happens in this country, they can get married, join the armed forces, erm, buy lighter fluid... Ride a moped?

Voting in a democracy is a valuable life experience and its patronising to say 16 & 17 year olds wouldn't or shouldn't be able to exercise that right.

Its not like the grown ups are doing a stellar job of running the country either...


subrosa said...

Entirely agree Pa_broon.

The Aberdonian said...

I do think that a "no" vote will lead to little if any autonomy being granted to the country. They will declare "victory for the union" and slam the door to anything and leave it to ferment until they see how 2015 and especially 2016 pans out----

Saw the Wallace interview. For a Liberal to consider partition after what happened in Ireland. For Liberal to suddenly find their "inner Carson" is so historically ironic if it was not so sad. The difference is that whilst the Northern Isles are of course different in some aspects from the rest of Scotland, they are not Ulster or have any factors to be exploited by London I think----

As for his talk about the "Campbell Commission", in the wake of a "no" vote I can easily bet we will see a "Kennedy Commission", a few years later a "Wallace Commission" later a "Stephen Commission" with the Lib Dems continuing to speak to themselves.

I fear any extra autonomy offered will be so poisoned with something like return of powers/ban on a referendum for 25 years/totally unacceptable financial conditions clauses in it. Caesar in Westminster-Whitehall will have spoken.

The joke about Scottish Labour is that in Wales Welsh Labour is demanding borrowing powers, tax powers and working on trying to set up a separate legal system.

Carwyn is following Rhodri in his approach. Rhodri unilaterally upgraded his post from "First Secretary" to "First Minister" without the permission of his masters in London and got another devolution bill passed.

Why the Scottish Labour Party's lion is a toothless, castrated moggy whilst the Welsh Labour Party's Dragon is virile and rampant is a mystery to me. Was not Wales and Welsh Labour traditionally sceptical about devolution?

subrosa said...

I agree with you Aberdonian, but I'm not to optimistic. Don't think that we'll receive any change if the vote is no and suspect we'll be sidelined for some time.

Yes he was appalling for a Libdem man.

That's something I should perhaps highlight in a post - that Welsh Labour are behaving like most think all Labour members should.

I think they were sceptical initially.

DougtheDug said...


The difference between Welsh and Scottish Labour is not due to any real difference in outlook between the two regions of the Labour party but more to do with what they face in Scotland and Wales.

Labour in Wales can call for more powers and push for more separation from England because they don't face a strong nationalist enemy. The fate of the UK is not tied to how much power the Assembly in Wales gets and Labour can move to build themselves a permanent, strong, Labour run Parliament in Wales without any worries.

In Scotland the Labour party are hamstrung by the presence of a strong nationalist party. They fear to give any more power to the Scottish Parliament because it may simply be one more step on the road to independence.

It's an odd paradox. It was the fear of Scottish nationalism that created the devolved parliament in Scotland and as a byproduct the Welsh assembly in Wales but it's the absence of a strong Welsh nationalist party that allows the Labour party in Wales to happily call for more powers for the Welsh Assembly.

subrosa said...

Thanks for your excellent explanation Doug. Such a shame Plaid Cymru haven't managed to get a substantial foothold isn't it. I think Welsh Labour stole their thunder.

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