Monday, 15 October 2012

A Historic Day For Scotland

Salmond and Cameron at Wimbledon Final

Today is being described as 'historic' in some of the media, however one reason I would describe it in that way is because David Cameron has been forced into another 'must keep it as brief as possible because I don't like the place' visit. Another reason is because the signing of the deal signals the start of a 100 week battle over the UK's constitutional future.

The drawn out process of the ballot question has turned many away from the independence debate.  Few voters are interested in the political detail and really want to start discussing how Scotland would manage without the support of the rest of the UK.

David Cameron's decision to give Alex Salmond most of what he requested has upset some of his critics. Why is it newspapers tend to quote Michael Forsyth when one is needed in connection with the independence referendum?  Maybe he's the only one who answers the telephone to journalists.

Later this week the SNP hold their conference and I'm sure, away from television cameras, some good discussion will take place. One which must be resolved is the matter of campaign spending limits and the Yes campaign must insist the decision is made in Scotland not London. Alex Salmond wants to limit spending by each of the parties to £250,000 in the last four months of the campaign, with the official Yes and No campaigns limited to £750,000 each.

The Electoral Commission propose to allow registered parties to spend up to £1.5m during the last 16 weeks of the campaign, in addition to separate spending by each official referendum campaign based on their vote at the last Scottish elections.  This will give the three pro-UK parties of Labour, the Tories and LibDems a significant advantage because they are all London based and have much bigger coffers than any Scotland-only party.

Perhaps Mr Salmond will manage to discuss this unfairness with Mr Cameron today, but if not, then the bias towards the No campaigns has to be seriously questioned.

We now have 100 weeks to discuss Scotland's future.  One point I do mention to friends is that it's not up to Alex Salmond or the SNP to state the policies of an independent Scotland.  That must be done once the referendum is won and it should be undertaken with consultation with the public.

The past couple of years has seen the SNP provide public consultations to a few of their proposals in the form of online registrations.  That style should be included, but I would like to see an independent Scotland return to the face-to-face hustings style as well.

The countdown begins.


JRB said...

“… it's not up to Alex Salmond or the SNP to state the policies of an independent Scotland. That must be done once the referendum is won and it should be undertaken with consultation with the public.”

Sorry subrosa but I fundamentally oppose such a myopic view of independence.

The ‘independent’ countries of this world range from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and include such jewels as the North Korea; Syria and even the Vatican City.
So ‘independence’ clearly covers a wide spectrum of states and political doctrine.

It is therefore only right that we the people be made aware of what to expect, of what is the vision of those who would take us into ‘independence’.

Similarly those opposed must also clearly define their view of a non-independent future.

subrosa said...

I don't think I'm being myopic JRB; in fact quite the contrary.

How can only the SNP set policies for a newly independent Scotland?

Of course, in the next 100 weeks it can give evidence of current policy results in order to show what belonging to the Union proves, but it can only outline an independent Scotland, not forecast firm policies.

The SNP do need to give their view of finance, military, welfare, health, education -
just a few of the areas which need discussion - but their view is not necessarily correct.

What I'm saying is we can talk til 2014 about what a new Scotland 'may' look like but once negotiations begin with London, it may turn out differently.

JRB said...

Subrosa, I did not, and do not, ask for the SNP to set future policy.

But I do ask that ALL who would have us vote Yes clearly state their aims, ambitions and interpretation of what they see as an independent Scotland.

Similarly I do ask that ALL who would have us vote No clearly state their aims, ambitions and interpretation of what they see as non-independent unionist Scotland.

subrosa said...

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear in the post and should have put the word 'future' in somewhere JRB.

Your wish is the same as mine but unfortunately the No campaigners refuse to discuss anything - other than their disapproval of Yes campaign proposals.

What I should have included is that if folk think a No vote will bring any change here (such as something like 'devo max'), they're sadly mistaken.

If the Nos win then Scotland will be sidelined for generations. Our parliament will become what Tony Blair called it - a parish council.

Key bored warrior. said...

It has been said again and again by many people not just the SNP, that we should model our selves on Norway and the Scandinavian block. The immediate reaction from the unionists is to shriek, "it's £5 a pint in Norway." That is the level of their debate. What ever we become after independence it will what we want to become that is the beauty and the gold medal of independence. We will not be getting told what to think, what to do, and pay some other for that privilege. Another favourite shriek of the unionist is to demand "what independence means." Obviously ignoring the 196 countries in the world today, 142 of them created since the UN was created. Being an independent country is the natural order of things. Being a dependent country is not. It sucks your confidence and self respect away, not forgetting your revenues and assets, and dilutes the ability of your country to forge it's own indigenous industry and commerce. The EU protects that Westminster does not. Just ask the Germans and Danes , or the French.

Woodsy42 said...

Speaking as a foreigner - Once the independence question has been settled you may find the SNP loses much of its relevence. In the longer term independence doesn't equal SNP because much of Salmond's support might be from people seeking independence in spite of his other policies.

Brian said...

I consider it very unfair that sixteen year-old Scots will have a vote in the English Independence Referendum but I will not. ;)

dognamedblue said...

was watching one of the news channels, bbc I think, & they said the real stumbling block for scottish independence when it comes down to it is oil revenue
the estimated profits from scottish oil revenue are estimated to be £96 billion
the population of scotland is just over 5 million
imagine how successful scotland would be if we invested just 1/2 a million £'s in every man woman & child from that oil revenue

Dick Puddlecote said...

"A Historic Day For Scotland"

Imdeed it is, minimum alcohol pricing was canned! Huzzah! ;)

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

I don't want an independent Scotland to be 'like'any other nation. Once released from the somnolence of a quasi democracy it should aspire to be the best amongst equals.

A nation committed to its people and they to their nation.

Can the phony political predictions and promises of the naysayers in Better Together claim in any way to have the same aspiration. Or are they limited to the stench and steam of bullshit whose only status is one of an accelerating degradation?

In truth the Hobsons of the status quo are offering no choice at all.

subrosa said...

KBW, we can use the unionists answer to our advantage though because of this awful nonsense about English folk feeling they have to call themselves British.

Do Swedes, Norwegians, Danes and Finns call themselves primarily Scandinavians? Of course not and they all work together fine.

I must admit I don't have your faith in the EU, but that's another topic.

subrosa said...

I'd agree with you Woodsy.

subrosa said...

Now now Brian, don't get peeved. :)

subrosa said...

There are some super websites about that dognamedblue. One of the ones I enjoy is I think.

subrosa said...

Ah I didn't know that Dick. Great news though.

subrosa said...

No and they won't offer choice Crinkly, because they have nothing to offer and will be full of false promises of further devolution.

Jo G said...

I found it interesting that on the day of the signing we had quotes from the cringeworthy Johann Lamont claiming that Salmond was kidding himself on that he was "making history". In fact it appears Ms Lamont needs to sharpen up for indeed history WAS made that day which is perhaps all news programmes referred to the agreement as an "historic event"! One really wonders if Ms Lamont was simply born stupid or if she has to work at it!

The other irony, particularly in the BBC Scotland coverage, was that they were visiting a particular school and speaking to some potential voters in the referendum. Those young people said several times that what they wanted was an end to the propaganda and a REAL debate. Sadly BBC Scotland in particular didn't get the message. Their entire coverage was propaganda based from start to finish. This is unhelpful to say the least and thoroughly dishonest.

Last week the Herald ran three articles in two days which were aimed at smearing the SNP and Salmond. For commenting on this below the articles I received an email from the Herald threatening to remove my pre-posting approval status on their site! When I defended the position I had taken - I simply asked for balanced reporting - my status was indeed withdrawn! This is the kind of strategy being followed by mainstream media concerns. It is disgusting. What happened to free speech at the Herald? What happened to balanced political coverage at BBC Scotland which has, written into its own code, the requirement to remain politically impartial? Such an approach is positively sinister and an affront to the democratic process both, I daresay, would claim to believe in.

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