Nicola Sturgeon has no mandate for a second independence referendum

TH11Tom Harris says the First Minister’s much vaunted “cast iron mandate” for a second independence referendum does not stand up to close examination, and this leaves Nicola Sturgeon in a tough spot.

 

John Curtice, the esteemed pollster, is the latest commentator to repeat the rarely-questioned line that Theresa May dare not risk saying No to the nationalists if they call for another independence referendum. To do so would be to risk sending support for separatism soaring, apparently.

Well, maybe, but maybe not. After all, many of the same commentators wrongly predicted that support for independence would soar in the event of Scotland voting differently from the rest of the country in the EU referendum. Still, it’s worth re-examining the case for Nicola Sturgeon’s claim that she has a “cast iron” mandate for holding another referendum less than three years after the last one.

There’s undoubtedly a majority in the Scottish Parliament for another referendum – and another one after that if we get another “wrong” result, and another one after that… But mandates don’t come from politicians, they come from the voters. So what “mandate” did voters give Nicola Sturgeon and what was the mandate for?

The SNP could have, had they wished, made an unequivocal manifesto promise to hold a referendum in the event of Scotland “being taken out of the EU against its will”. So why didn’t they do that? It’s odd that I have asked this question on a number of occasions in the last nine months, but no one has yet even tried to answer.

When David Cameron presented his 2015 general election manifesto, the commitment within it was unambiguous: “We will hold an in-out referendum on our membership of the EU before the end of 2017”. Why didn’t the SNP manifesto say something along the lines of “If Scotland votes Remain but a majority of the UK votes Leave, we will hold a referendum on Scottish independence”?

Against such unequivocal language, what actually appeared in the SNP manifesto looks strangely ambiguous: “We believe the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another independence referendum…” Well, of course you do. That’s always been the SNP’s opinion, consistently held over many years. So what? Why announce in a manifesto that the party hasn’t changed its mind as to which legislative body should have the right to hold referendums?

The ‘commitment’ in the SNP’s 2016 manifesto was no commitment at all: it was a complaint, a grievance, a statement of the obvious. But it was not a promise to take any action whatever, and we should ask why. Why was a more explicit commitment to a referendum not made?

Then there is the other aspect of the claimed “mandate”. In 2012, David Cameron accepted Alex Salmond’s mandate to hold a referendum because he had won an overall majority at Holyrood the previous year. Lest we forget, Nicola Sturgeon fell short of that achievement in 2016. Not only that, there is the other matter of the so-called Edinburgh Agreement, in which both Scottish and UK governments agreed to abide by and respect the result of the referendum. Was this agreement respected? No, it was not. So why would the UK government enter into yet another one?

Ah but, say the nationalists, circumstances changed after September 2014, circumstances that no one could possibly have foreseen. Who, after all, could possibly have predicted that UK voters would wish to leave the EU while Scotland voted (for the UK) to remain? Well, since you ask, Alex Salmond. It’s right there in the SNP’s White Paper, “Scotland’s Future”, published a year before the 2014 referendum, near the top of page 210: “If we remain part of the UK, a referendum on future British membership of the EU could see Scotland taken out of the EU against the wishes of the people of Scotland.”

The nationalists did their best to warn us of this possibility during the campaign. Scots understood those warnings, understood that the Tories would call an In/Out referendum if they won a majority at the next UK general election. And then they voted No. Nothing has changed since then.

If Salmond and Sturgeon believed that another referendum could be justified in those circumstances, why didn’t they think to mention that before we went to the polls in 2014? Shouldn’t they have inserted words to that effect in the Edinburgh Agreement? Wouldn’t that have been more honest?

And let’s look at this argument that a “material change in circumstance” warrants a rerun of a referendum. Let’s imagine that Yes won in September 2014. The fall in the global price of oil that materialised shortly afterwards would still have occurred, blasting a hole in the finances of the soon-to-be independent Scottish Government. That, surely, would have constituted a “material change in circumstance”.

Would such a change have justified a second referendum to give Scots a chance to change their minds? No. Because, as the then First Minister promised us repeatedly, the 2014 vote was a “once in a generation opportunity.” Or were we wrong to believe him?

And the other significant reason Cameron authorised the 2014 referendum was a very simple one: there had never been such a referendum before. Today is different. There was a recent independence referendum, one in which a decisive majority of Scots said No.

The current First Minister added her name to the Edinburgh Agreement, formally stating that she would accept the result. Her party warned us of the possibility that Scotland might be taken out of the EU if we voted No, and we voted No anyway. The SNP chose – for reasons no one quite understands yet – not to include an explicit commitment to holding a referendum in their 2016 manifesto. And anyway, that manifesto did not receive enough support to win the SNP an overall majority at Holyrood.

I sympathise with the First Minister. She probably understands these arguments as well as anyone. But she has a party to satisfy, an army of activists with no patience for legalities or mandates or logic.

Sturgeon is in a difficult position. My heart bleeds. No, really.

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128 thoughts on “Nicola Sturgeon has no mandate for a second independence referendum

  1. Tom’s point, as ever, is well made. Debating the SNP’s mandate for a second divisive “once in a lifetime” referendum, however, is a little pointless. Instead we need to focus on (1) the damage #indyref2 would do to the Scottish economy and (2) the state of Scotland’s fiances if it were to be independent.

    It’s now widely accepted that Scotland’s finances are not in a good place. Furthermore, after 10 years of the SNP, employments is not in a good place and the future prospects are not good due to the decline in education standards.

    Having won these arguments hands down, we need to focus on:
    1. How the SNP would deal with the deficit. Cuts? Tax hikes?

    2. How the international money markets would view Scotland. Given that Scotland has the biggest deficit in the EU, I would not expect particularly good news.

    3. What Scotland’s EU membership terms would be. Even optimists predict that we’d be out of the EU & UK until 2023, but there is uncertainty about whether or not we’d have to accept the Euro and Schengen, or what level of payment we’d have to make to the EU.

    Don’t expect honest answers from the SNP on these points. In fact, don’t expect any answers.

    1. Tom as ever gibbered blustered and bullshitted his way to another piece of online drivel.

      “It’s now widely accepted that Scotland’s finances are not in a good place”

      Eh Scott heads up son that’s not a “Union benefit” that’s an argument to get Scotlands finances to a place where they will
      improve.

      “after 10 years of the SNP, employments is not in a good place and the future prospects are not good due to the decline in education standards.”

      Unemployment is a factor within both Independent and non Independent States. The Union doesn’t protect any job from potential loss.

      Whether Scotland is Independent or not the Education standards within Wales will still be dire so clearly education standards are not protected by Union either.

      So having won those argument we get onto.

      1. The deficit belongs to the UK Scott. Its UK Government spending that causes it. What cuts? Without the UK deficit there wont need to be any. What Tax hikes? We will gain FFA that’s an automatic gain in the revenues we are forced to reserve to Westminster.

      2. The UK has lost all of its Triple A ratings Scott. Whereas

      http://www.businessforscotland.com/independent-scotland-could-be-aaa-rated-standard-poors/

      Scotland doesn’t have a deficit Scott the Scottish Government always balances its budgets.

      3. The EU? Seriously? Did you miss Brexit Scott? The terms of staying with the UK is to see us OUT OF THE EU SINGLE MARKET Scott and down the same trade hole as the rUK.

      And of course you added the standard lie about the Euro and Schengen. There is no uncertainty Scott. ITS CERTAIN that NOBODY has to adopt the Euro or Schengen. That is a cold hard FACT.

      Gibbering for England again Scott.

      1. Your Preamble:
        Why is unemployment higher in Scotland than rUK? Are the Tories not performing better than the SNP in that respect? See:
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-38313420

        Education standards are falling in Scotland in both relative and absolute terms… after 10 years of the SNP. This expert explains why:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5b0BJEPw9Pw&

        1. Hmm, so if Scotland does not have a deficit what is Nicola Sturgeon talking about in the clip below?
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVynXGj4eyA&index=3&list=PL6m9oh0noHHhpCUqnWzSWq0VXeEe6AOo-

        2. Oh dear, you cite an outdated and discredited blog from a discredited organisation. In 2014 nobody said we’d get an AAA rating, and (more importantly) nobody is saying it now.

        3. The clip below is from an expert who is sympathetic to Scotland gaining “fast track” entry to the EU. She could not be clearer about the conditions:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Az0dJPLxJoA

        Conclusion:
        “Gibbering for England again Scott.” Aye, for nationalists, everything is about England.

        1. “Your Preamble:
          Why is unemployment higher in Scotland than rUK?”

          That’s not my preamble at all. You made that all up by yourself.

          You cant accurately compare unemployment figures across the UK because they fluctuate one way then another. You can take a time period to represent a false overall view of unemployment in general between any part of the UK.
          But even then its irrelevant because you wouldn’t be comparing employment and unemployment between and Indy Scotland and a Scotland in Union ONLY a Scotland in Union.
          So what you’re doing is highlighting failures of Scotland in Union.
          Good of you.

          “Education standards are falling in Scotland in both relative and absolute terms… after 10 years of the SNP. This expert explains why:”

          Not compared to Labour controlled Wales Scott but once again you’re highlighting failures of Scotland in Union not an Independent Scotland.

          “1. Hmm, so if Scotland does not have a deficit what is Nicola Sturgeon talking about in the clip below?”

          She’s referring to the UK deficit. The one created by UK Government spending as I told you in my previous post.

          2. Sorry who discredited Standard and Peers?

          3. Your expert didn’t assert anything factual Scott. She spoke in terms of possibilities maybes and mights.

          I see your expert and raise you 2 of my own.

          https://stv.tv/news/politics/1381214-independent-scotland-could-be-fast-tracked-into-eu/

          Conclusion:

          Still cant stop gibbering for England.

          1. Preamble: All the usual hypocrisy from you Mike. Unemployment in Scotland can’t be compared with rUK, but education can? Yep, Wales is just behind Scotland in Education – but it’s scores are rising despite having fewer powers. Scotland’s are falling fast under the SNP.

            Point 1: Nope. Watch Nicola Sturgeon’s car crash deficit video again. Scotland spends more than it earns and an independent Scotland would have to address that.

            Point 2: You didn’t cite “Standard and Peers”, you cited the Nats at BfS.

            Point 3: That’s actually the same expert and I referred to that report in my post! It says Scotland would leave the UK & EU in 2020, and maybe join the EU in 2023 or 2024. What impact would 4 years outside the UK & EU have on our economy?

            Your conclusion: Yeah, for nationalist it’s all about England… not Scotland.

  2. The main reason you’re all scrambling to prevent a second referendum is that you’re seriously concerned that you’ll lose this time. Nicola Sturgeon stated in every debate that if votes from rUK would drag Scotland out of the EU against its will then she’d consider that as grounds to hold another referendum. And then they got more votes than when they had a majority government. The mandate is clearly there, the will is there. And if you want to bet that No will win the next referendum then get yourself over the PaddyPower as you could make a very good return on that gamble!

    1. Did you not bother to read the piece, Keith? The manifesto gave no such mandate. Plus a majority of Scottish voters in recent polling oppose the holding of a second referendum. Only 27% supported it.

      There is no mandate, no appetite and no justification.

      1. “But mandates don’t come from [opinion polls], they come from the voters.”

        How are we doing on the voter front again?

      2. The Scottish Parliament didn’t hold an EU referendum Duncan it didn’t have the power or authority to the Westminster Parliament did.
        The mandate was in the Scottish Governments 2015 election manifesto.

        Polls are not mandates Duncan manifestos are.

        You people done gibbering about an event you have no power to prevent?

      3. Incorrect. 27% is the figure for those who want a second referendum in the next year or two. A further 23% want it held in about two years.

        What’s 27+23?

        Granted, that same poll gave “no referendum in the next few years” 51%. However, it did not split this into “no referendum for at least 20 years” and “no referendum forever”.

        The poll that did? It found that 32% want a ref before leaving the EU, 19% want it after leaving, 25% want it in at least 20 years and 24% never want another one.

        What’s 32+19?

        The bottom line is about half of scots want a referendum before the next Holyrood election. Using the 27% figure to imply a majority opposes it is quite dishonest, unless you can show me a poll which explictly says that 73% of scots do not want a referendum.

        1. I never claimed 73% do not want a referendum. My statement was entirely accurate. A majority (51%) do not, and 27% do. No dishonesty there, just fact.

          1. Why are you still using the 27% figure, then? I’ve just explained to you it’s effectively 51-50 in one poll and 49-51 in another, both of them conducted fairly recently, as far as a referendum during this Holyrood term is concerned.

            You claim it’s 51-27.

            That 27% figure is for a referendum WITHIN two years. It was accompanied by a 23% for a referendum AFTER two years.

            Do you really see no connection between those two options?

          2. A majority are opposed to there being a second referendum. Add up all the rest if it makes you feel better, it’s still a minority. I think the 27% figure is relevant because it is the proportion who want a new indyref now. It’s strikingly low, and should be heeded.

          3. You might not claim it directly, but I saw a QT panellist last night claim that three in four Scots do not want a referendum. I wonder how they came to the 3 in 4 figure, especially with a 50-50 poll released on the very same day.

            Perhaps they heard people banging on constantly about only 27% wanting a referendum immediately, even though it is clear that the referendum won’t be until late next year, to avoid addressing the actual tied positions.

          4. I believe the 27% figure was people who want a referendum within the next two years. So the vast majority do not want one next autumn, according to that poll.

      4. I did bother to read it and disagreed with it Duncan. Opinion polls are irrelevant. And the SNP manifesto states:

        We believe that the Scottish
        Parliament should have the right to
        hold another referendum if there
        is clear and sustained evidence
        that independence has become the
        preferred option of a majority of
        the Scottish people – or if there is
        a significant and material change in
        the circumstances that prevailed in
        2014, such as Scotland being taken
        out of the EU against our will.

        There’s your mandate. That was their pledge. They were elected.

        1. Why is “have the right to” in there, Keith? Without those words it could have been a mandate for a second indyref had they won a majority. With those words it’s just a statement of long-standing opinion.

          1. I don’t see any manifesto commitments from any party in the UK to deny a second Independence referendum Duncan.

            So where is the mandate to do so?

          2. In the Edinburgh Agreement. It said all sides would honour the result.

          3. Weasel words now. They were crystal clear that they wanted the option to hold a referendum and people elected them. That’s their mandate, stop being so pathetic.

          4. They didn’t win a majority, and they didn’t commit to a referendum in their manifesto. Zero mandate, and your brainwashed attitude won’t convince me otherwise. Go and get help.

          5. Duncan wrote: “They didn’t win a majority, and they didn’t commit to a referendum in their manifesto. Zero mandate, and your brainwashed attitude won’t convince me otherwise. Go and get help.”

            So now the Scottish Government can’t attempt what to fulfil what’s plainly written in their manifesto and confirmed on TV debates because is didn’t achieve a majority?! Jesus wept. This coming from Labour, carping at the side lines, reduced to 3rd largest party?!
            I think if anyone needs to receive help Duncan it’s you. Brainwashed indeed. Keep your snide remarks to yourself Mr Editor.

          6. “Weasel words… Stop being so pathetic.” Physician heal thyself.

          7. If you say the ‘the SNP don’t have a right to’ and the manifesto says ‘have a right to’ does that mean you are clearly losing the argument and are about to be gubbed?

          8. An odd hypothetical, but since I never said anything remotely like “the SNP don’t have a right to” I’m not sure why you’re raising it, other than to have a go because you’re yet another tiresome Nat.

        2. You might also have added that the Greensalso stood on a manifesto including an independence referendum, thus producing a majority in parliament.

      5. You don’t actually believe what you write here?
        You can’t seriously as you’re clearly a clever man..but…

  3. “Because, as the then First Minister promised us repeatedly, the 2014 vote was a “once in a generation opportunity.” Or were we wrong to believe him?”

    I don’t know. Do you believe everything he said? If you don’t, why do you choose to believe that to the exclusion of other comments?

    This is actually getting silly. It’s like Scottish politics stopped in September 2014 and nothing of note has happened since. The SNP wiped us out in the 2015 GE and we’re third (yes folks, third behind the Tories) in Holyrood.

    Of course the SNP have a mandate to call another referendum, if that’s what they want to do, and to deny it makes it look like we can’t deal with reality. Actually I’m beginning to think we can’t, especially following last weekend’s debacle.

    “But mandates don’t come from politicians, they come from the voters.” Yes, and…? How many voters do the SNP have compared to us, the Tories and the Lib Dems?

    And the icing on the cake is that we’re now backing the Tories on Brexit and waving two fingers at the overwhelming majority of Scottish voters who voted remain. Our message to them? “Tough”.

    We’re committing political suicide – willingly, it seems.

    I think we’ve arrived at a Phoenix moment, the point where we need to burn to be reborn because the Labour Party in Scotland is not only not fit for purpose, it doesn’t actually *have* a purpose.

  4. “The SNP could have, had they wished, made an unequivocal manifesto promise to hold a referendum in the event of Scotland “being taken out of the EU against its will”. So why didn’t they do that? It’s odd that I have asked this question on a number of occasions in the last nine months, but no one has yet even tried to answer.”

    If there is no mandate Tom then there wont be another referendum and there wont be any point in bringing up the subject over and over and over again will there?
    The only reason you’re doing so is because you believe there will be another Independence referendum and the only reason you could possibly believe there will be another referendum is because you believe the Scottish Government has another mandate.

    The UK Government hasn’t shut the door on a second Independence referendum on the grounds of “No mandate” Tom. Why is that?

    This article is just one of no doubt many you will post as part of your campaign to keep Scotland subjugated within this fascist criminal right wing dominated rogue state.
    Those who are claiming there is no mandate to hold a referendum are already campaigning for a No vote.

    “The nationalists did their best to warn us of this possibility during the campaign. Scots understood those warnings, understood that the Tories would call an In/Out referendum if they won a majority at the next UK general election. And then they voted No. Nothing has changed since then.”

    Is that in spite of the entire No campaign yourself included telling the people of Scotland over and over that a No vote was the ONLY WAY to ensure our continued EU membership?

    Seems most of the people listened to you instead Tom and look where it got them. Seems the sensible course of action now would be to stop listening to people like you.

    ” Let’s imagine that Yes won in September 2014. The fall in the global price of oil that materialised shortly afterwards would still have occurred, blasting a hole in the finances of the soon-to-be independent Scottish Government. That, surely, would have constituted a “material change in circumstance”.”

    In what way? Scotlands finances within the disunion has Scotland receiving 0.0 pounds and pence as a result of Oil and gas revenues and 0.0 pounds and pence as a result of VAT on Oil and Gas sales.
    So the change in circumstances you refer to would see Scotland GAIN in Oil revenues and GAIN in VAT sales no matter what the value of Oil fluctuates to.

    “Would such a change have justified a second referendum to give Scots a chance to change their minds?”

    Why would a GAIN in revenues justify a second referendum Tom? Yer gibbering.

    “There was a recent independence referendum, one in which a decisive majority of Scots said No.”

    Indeed and it occurred BEFORE THE MATERIAL CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES occurred. Now we’re going to have another one because of those “MATERIAL CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES”.

    Should have kept your promises Tom not broken them.

    “The current First Minister added her name to the Edinburgh Agreement, formally stating that she would accept the result.”

    The result was accepted Tom nobody has declared UDI.

    “Her party warned us of the possibility that Scotland might be taken out of the EU if we voted No, and we voted No anyway.”

    Indeed because most Scots ignored the truth and believed your lies instead and here you are packing them in once again as part of your Indyref 2 campaign for an Indyref you’re telling folk wont happen.

    I’m glad people like you are on the other side Tom. If I were a don’t know people like you would push me to Yes anyway.

    “Sturgeon is in a difficult position.”

    Nicola Sturgeon must be laughing her arse off at the carnival of headless chicken Yoons running about self contradicting and debasing themselves in panic over the simple threat of an Indyref 2.

  5. Tom Harris’s point about the democratic legitimacy of calls for a second referendum on independence may well be “well made” , but he helped to bring about the circumstances in which the SNP can now propose further destabilising moves towards Indyref 2. Mr Harris may well deprecate the First Minister’s insistence that she has a “cast-iron mandate”, but Tom Harris is skating on very thin ice when he questions anyone’s integrity- he has the misfortune to have the £350 million lie and the subliminally racist myth of Turkey’s imminent accession to the EU around his neck as Scottish chair of Vote Leave.
    You want to talk about political consistency, then what about the fact that Mr Harris voted consistently in favour of European integration, including the Lisbon Treaty when he was an MP? Tom Harris does not get to question Nicola Sturgeon’s democratic credentials when he was a front for the most cynical, mendacious and short-sighted political campaign in living memory (and I include the 2014 referendum!).
    The SNP may well be single-minded political opportunists with independence as their ne plus ultra, but at least we know what they are all about. If you want to talk about commitments, what was the £350 million? An aspiration? What about Turkey’s accession to the EU, was that a grievance? Saying we (meaning the UK) voted no, does not make the fact that 62% of Scots voted yes vanish into the ether. They are there and, like all the other Remainers, they will not put up or shut up. Theses are simple political realities that Tom Harris’s piece cannot begin to recognise.
    Finally, the SNP may well learn a lesson from the Vote Leave campaign that Tom Harris fronted in Scotland – if you are going to lie in order to achieve a desired political outcome – lie big – I mean the side of a bus big. Lie consistently. And should Tom Harris decide to go anywhere near Better Together 2- The Return of the Fear, hang the big lies round his neck. Tom Harris and the Brexiteers are the SNP’s biggest recruiting sergeants. There may well be no political mandate for Indyref 2 if we stick to the post Indyref facts, but as with Trump and Brexit, when did facts last get in the way of contemporary politics?

    1. “There may well be no political mandate for Indyref 2 if we stick to the post Indyref facts, but as with Trump and Brexit, when did facts last get in the way of contemporary politics?”

      Except there is because of 2 factors.

      1. The Scottish Parliament has a majority of pro Independence seats.
      2. A VERY SPECIFIC MANDATE was sought and won in the 2015 Westminster Parliamentary elections.

      These are 2 indisputable factors that give the Scottish Government a legitimate DEMOCRATIC mandate to call for a second Indyref on specific grounds.

      Not that it will matter to any UK Government within a Parliament that has a notorious history of ignoring Democratic mandates with the use of Military force including within the UK itself.

      At the end of the day the UK Government will either accept Democracy or they will act despotically. They are perfectly capable of either option.

      Lets hope we’re not once again on a path to civil war and everything that entails.

      1. What “VERY SPECIFIC MANDATE” was sought and won in the 2015 Westminster Parliamentary elections, Mike?

  6. Some selective quoting going on above…..below is the relevant text quoted from SNP Manifesto 2016 election. This is what the Scottish Government was elected on. The key phrase is “taken out of the EU against our will”. When you read what was actually written the mandate could not be any clearer.

    “We believe that the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there is clear and sustained evidence that independence has become the preferred option of a majority of the Scottish people – or if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will.”

    Every time you write something which is misleading and distorting you lose respect. I retain a soft spot for Labour…I wish you were different…..but you are still stuck in your web of spin. The truth isn’t what you say it is…..so stop pretending that it is.

    1. Surely the key phrase is “should have the right to hold” – the rest is justification? Why didn’t it say “We will hold”? The question is a very valid one. The SNP chose to make their manifesto woolly on this. They cannot post-hoc pretend it said something else.

      1. Maybe they didn’t think the Tory party would actually be this stupid, and it wasn’t something they thought they would have to enunciate?

        Or maybe they thought there would be another hung parliament, which seemed to be a common belief in the run up to the 2015 GE?

        Just a thought.

      2. The Union was formed under a far less Democratic mandate Duncan. In fact it has no Democratic mandate at all. What you’re doing is denying the very legitimacy of the Union itself with your incessant gibbering.

        1. The Union was voted on in 2014 and democratically endorsed. You simply cannot rationally make any argument against the democratic basis of the union any more. But here I am talking about rationality with a gibbering idiot.

          1. So now you’re saying the Union had no Democratic legitimacy UNTIL 2014.

            You’re a gibbering idiot pretending to be rational to yourself.

  7. I would just like to note the fact that prior to 1999 the mandate to call for a Scottish Independent referendum would have been legitimately won simply by returning a majority of Scottish MPs to Westminster who supported Independence with the call to hold the referendum within their election manifesto.

    Since 1999 that mandate is winnable simply by having a majority of MSPs within the Scottish Parliament who support Independence and have the intent to call for a referendum within their manifesto. That’s what happened in 2012.

    What we have now is a majority of MSPs within the Scottish parliament elected in 2016 supporting Independence and a manifesto with a commitment to hold another Indyref in the event of ” A material change of circumstances” which occurred.

    Presto! Legitimate Democratic mandate. And all the gibbering foot stamping baby faced bubbling in the world aint going to change it.

  8. “Based on less than half of the vote? Ludicrous.”

    We had an EU referendum because 27% of the electorate voted for the manifesto promising one.

    Can you do nothing but Gibber?

  9. “Based on less than half of the vote? Ludicrous.”

    You’ve de-legitimised every single UK Government who won an election with less than half the vote including every Government when Tony Blair was PM.

    Is that spittal running down your chin?

  10. A majority are opposed to there being a second referendum. Add up all the rest if it makes you feel better, it’s still a minority. I think the 27% figure is relevant because it is the proportion who want a new indyref now. It’s strikingly low, and should be heeded.

    Except there isn’t going to be an Indyref now so it is being heeded.

    The majority want an Indy ref to be held within the next 2 to 3 years. So no doubt it will be held within the next 2 to 3 years as the majority want.

    1. No, the majority DON’T want an indyref to be held within the next 2 to 3 years. You can’t just make stuff up to suit yourself Mike. Go and lie down, it’s nap time.

      1. Are you basing that assertion on future polling results Duncan? Getting them prepared in advance?

      2. Let me get this right.
        Are you saying that electoral mandates are determined by polling?
        Tell you what. Why don’t you try appealing the General election result and replace the Tories with Labour?
        Or while you’re at it just overturn the EU result on the basis of pre election polling?

        1. No, I’m saying electoral mandates are determined by manifestos, and in the SNP’s 2016 manifesto it explicitly predicated a second independence referendum on polling.

          You might want to read it.

          1. The polling intimates that a majority want a referendum within 2 years.
            It also has to be understood that Brexit hasn’t even started.
            Just keep an eye on the polls after negotiations become nasty and the UK’s postion post Brexit becomes clearer.

          2. No it doesn’t. 51% in that Panelbase poll don’t want a second ref at all.

            You’re allowed your own opinions, you’re not allowed your own facts.

  11. Utter Garbage. Why didn’t she say we’ll definitely have an indyref if Scotland votes to stay and the UK to leave. 3 reasons: 1) it leaves the decision in the present which is entirely sensible. 2) it still provides a strong mandate for one if you do call it – nobody voting SNP (or Green for that matter) could have been under any illusion that a 2nd indyref was a distinct possibility under this scenario 3) it allowed as much scope as possible for the 2014 vote to be respected.

    The SNP genuinely don’t want another indyref so soon, partly because under normal circumstances it is disrespectful to the 2014 decision and therefore counter-productive to boot. A date 2 parliaments on from the last vote was always preferred which is more than enough time for the mandate from the 2014 referendum to have naturally lapsed as circumstances evolve. As it has come to pass a judgement has to be made whether the 2014 mandate has already lapsed given the monumental changes that have occured/are going to occur since the 1st ref in these anything but normal times.

  12. If any Yoon party wanted to prevent a second Indyref from happening then they should have sought a mandate from the electorate within their election manifestos to deny a second Indyref. Now none of them have a mandate from the electorate to oppose the Scottish Governments legitimate mandate to hold one.

    Aint that the truth?

  13. “In the Edinburgh Agreement. It said all sides would honour the result.”

    No there isn’t. There is nothing in the Edinburgh agreement that gives anybody the power to deny another Indyref.

    The result was honoured we’re still in the Union. If it wasn’t we wouldn’t be needing another Indyref to get out.

    Just once Duncan give up on the willful gibbering.

  14. If Teresa May botches the EU negotiations and ends up with the worst of all possible deals would you support the idea of a second EU referendum Duncan?
    Give the UK another chance to rejoin the single market?

    Or would you oppose the idea on principle?

    1. I think the deal should be subject to approval. I’m not averse to a confirmation referendum once the deal has been set out. I wouldn’t have been averse to the same had indyref opted for change rather than status quo as well. The independence deal was far from clear at the time of the vote so there is a distinct parallel. Status quo decisions require no confirmation; change decisions can do.

      1. Except the Scottish Indy referendum result didn’t end with a status quo Duncan it ended with a “MATERIAL CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES”.

        When people voted No in the Indyref they voted for a UK that was in the EU and a STATED position of PRESERVING our EU membership.

        You yourself stated it several times as part of your No vote campaigning.
        You yourself claimed several times that a ONLY a No vote would preserve our EU membership.

        So as you’ve NOW STATED that “change decisions” can result in “confirmation referendums” I can legitimately take that to mean you support the principle of another Indyref in order to confirm our EU status remains intact.

        1. That’s quite a logical contortion, Mike. The EU referendum ended with a material change in circumstances, which is what I just said. The independence referendum did not. It ended with an endorsement of the status quo. The argument that everything that happened after the independence referendum happened because of it is just silly.

          1. Brexit was a material change in circumstances that ended the status quo that people voted for in 2014 Duncan.
            Along with the broken promises of Devo Max Federation and Home Rule.
            Oh and the part about “leading the UK” and the equal status within the UK bit as well.
            Ach I nearly forgot the value of the Sewel convention on top.
            Oh bugger and of course EVEL.

            You can no longer recognise the UK of 2014 Duncan never mind refer to it as a Status quo.

          2. All of these things happened *after* indyref, not *because of* it.

          3. Nobody was offered the status quo for their indyref vote Duncan. Both campaigns promised change.
            You’re willfully lying yer arse off yet again.

          4. The Smith Commision was the direct result of the referendum.
            Labours feebleness during it partially led to it’s demise.
            The Better Together Campaign continually asserted that No didn’t mean ‘no change’
            In truth Labours refusal to accept the clear wish for far greater autonomy is partly responsible for many Labour voters wanting independence.

          5. Your proof of “many Labour voters wanting independence” is where? To my knowledge support for independence has dropped significantly since its brief post-Brexit boost. Please post your evidence.

  15. For all the load of bolloxs that Tom Harris is spouting in this article and having Duncan doing more turns and spins than Torvill & Dean in trying to back him up, it is quite simple.

    The SNP have a mandate in their manifesto for another Independence Referendum, and their are a majority of Msp’s who are Pro-Independence in the Scottish Government who can back and vote for another referendum if required.

    And their is nothing the Labour branch office can do about it, and after last-wk-ends debacle of a conference, any labour supporters left must be asking themselves “why bother”.

    Now that its between Scotland and the Tories, the Scottish labour leadership have chosen the Tories, lets hope the labour members & supporters chose Scotland.

  16. “All of these things happened *after* indyref, not *because of* it.”

    That’s the point Duncan. The material changes of circumstance the No campaign promised to deliver for a No vote didn’t materialise instead we got a material change of circumstances nobody voted for.

    You voted No on the basis of a vow to deliver more devolution not less on retaining our membership of the EU not to lose it to have the UK Governed by a Labour party not the Conservatives.

    You didn’t get a single material change in circumstances that you voted for.

    Instead you got Brexit EVEL a Conservative Government for the foreseeable future and a reduction of Devolution when we lose our powers over agriculture and fisheries due to Brexit.

    Neither of us got what we voted for Duncan. And yet you don’t want another chance to change all of that. What does that say about your intelligence Duncan?

    Don’t you want the opportunity to get all the things you voted No for in 2014? To campaign for them again?

    1. Are you seriously claiming we have less devolution now than before the No vote? I knew you were deluded, but I didn’t realise quite how much.

      1. Not yet but its going to be reduced because of Brexit. That’s the major flaw with Devolution Duncan its not all one way traffic.

        1. So in fact you have to acknowledge that the Scottish Parliament has additional powers, or “more devolution” as you put it, since the indyref. Well done.

          1. Even by your low standards that is a contemptible argument.

          2. The further powers over partial income tax and Air passenger duty, only highlight the majority of taxation reserved to London.
            In fact Labour have walked straight into a Tory trick on tax.
            When will Labour people realise just how they are being played with this regard by the clearly more able Tories?

          3. Your argument is that the Tories want the SNP to win an independence referendum, is it? Otherwise why would they be playing the “tricks” you claim?

      2. What material change of circumstance since the 2014 vote did you approve of Duncan?

        1. The changes after the referendum were not the result of the referendum. Try to comprehend that. The vote in the referendum was for no change. The re-election of Tory and SNP government caused more austerity, and a raft of damage to public services, for all of which I did not vote, but none of which I am stupid enough to blame on the result of the indyref.

          1. “The changes after the referendum were not the result of the referendum.”

            I just said that.

            The changes after the referendum were NOT the changes we were promised as a result of the referendum.

            Neither of us got any of the changes we voted for.

          2. ” The vote in the referendum was for no change”. Not true, Dunc.
            I don’t recall the exact wording your NObot chums used, but it was something like……..”Safer, better, change”.
            Am I correct?

          3. “No change” was not supposed to be on offer. We were supposed to get “THE VOW.” Instead we got the Labour Party fighting tooth and nail in Smith to limit the powers we got and to make the others unusable. Now we have the prospect of Westminster/Whitehall making a power grab to get the ones returning from Europe. Your vow was a pig in a poke.

          4. The Tories devolved partial income tax, knowing that without the 30 odd taxes reserved in London radical change is impossible.
            London retains monetary power .
            What it has done though is allow it to occupy a position where some Scots who want tax cuts will vote Tory.
            The same voters who don’t care about the constitution but moved between Labour and Tory during the Blair years.
            It has allowed the Tories to displace Labour and we have all stood watching them collude in their own downfall.
            I’m not suggesting that this is much of a motivator in the indy debate. Other than that Labour moves further from power in Londo. Which will be a factor.

  17. “Even by your low standards that is a contemptible argument.”

    I have to admit I too was impressed with it.

  18. “The re-election of Tory and SNP government caused more austerity, and a raft of damage to public services, for all of which I did not vote, but none of which I am stupid enough to blame on the result of the indyref.”

    Wales foolishly elected Labour again and they’re worst off than the rest of the UK by a large margin in every department.

  19. I don’t think i’ve ever witnessed such a collectively poorly argued case as those unionist politicians, very often rejected by the voters, such as Tom Harris etc as I have recently.
    The collective hair splitting over the wording of the SNP manifesto and the definition of a parliamentary majority is breathtaking.
    The Scottish parliamentary d’Hodnt system is ,as we all know,designed to block both an independence referendum and a left wing Labour party. It was chosen specifically to block radical change by Blair and Brown.
    The fact that the parliament has a majority for a referendum is both remarkable and indisputable.
    Furthermore every single parliamentary region in Scotland voted to remain in the EU.
    Add that to almost every Scottish MP representing an indepent future and you begin to wonder if unionists don’t believe in democracy.
    Those arguing otherwise have neither the moral high ground nor Scots voters interests at heart.
    They never learn and are increasingly becoming as irrelevant as this website.

    1. “I don’t think i’ve ever witnessed such a collectively poorly argued case as those unionist politicians, very often rejected by the voters, such as Tom Harris etc as I have recently.”

      You haven’t? Try Labourhame archives.

      I dare you.

  20. I don’t think it matters what we think. Both sides are now gearing up for it. I don’t trust our political leaders on this . I think deals are being done on timing etc behind closed doors. Both sides have been at the who said what game again over the last few days. I voted no in 14 and remain last year. The EU vote was a UK wide vote. I think the result is a disaster. At the moment I am what you could call a don’t know on the next Indy Ref. I wont listen to any of the pro or anti rubbish that will be thrown at us by both sides. I will make my own mind up for me it might come down to can we survive outside the UK. The we will be their best pals act wont work for me. I will consider do they want to be our best pal. On the EU I will want to see concrete evidence Scotland will be admitted to the EU and what are the conditions for joining. I hoped and wanted until May everything would be geared toward the local election. Now it looks another Indy Ref will be called. When it happens local election issues will not get a lookin. And yes I will be voting and working for a Labour victory. It will also be very interesting to see what Holyrood does about demands from Orkney for more power to be devolved from Holyrood to them will the SNP administration in Edinburgh do it . Interesting times ahead

    1. Why put yourself through the wringer on the issue when all you have to do is consider the choice being between self determination and Devolution.

      Then try and list all of the advantages of Devolution over self determination.

      If that doesn’t conclusively decide it for you then Vote No again because nothing will.

      If you can convince me you found 1 I will vote No with you.

  21. Its the disingenuous, dishonest, arrogant drivel being espoused by Messrs Harris, Hothersall and Scott on this thread that confirms my view that Labour are incapable of telling the truth. No lie is beyond them. Labour fully deserve to be shunned by the Scottish electorate.

    1. Absolutely correct.
      I’m almost embarrassed to read such a lack of insight and political ability.
      Labours current nadir is proof of it and still falling and yet the penny doesn’t drop.

    2. ” No lie is beyond them”. The sad truth is lies are all they have left.
      Principles, vision of an egalitarian society, aspirations for the bulk of the population—-all gone, decades ago. The pull of easy money, a seat in the H of Lords, manipulation of public opinion through a compliant media. They thought they had it all, invincible and above the scrutiny of the people they were supposed to represent.
      So what can Scottish Labour do?
      They could fight for a better future for Scotland……Or…..They could join with the Tories, and lie and try to cheat Scots out of the right to determine their own future. They seem to have made their bed. Hell mend them!

    3. Give credit where credit is due. Duncan does allow our posts to be viewed when he could so easily block them.

      In that respect he does show that he isn’t consumed by corruption only influenced and seduced.

      1. Mr Hothersall’s willingness to let the likes of us post pretty much what we want does deserve a lot of credit. Not many sites on either side of the debate are willing to give such leeway. I do appreciate it.

  22. ” I think deals are being done on timing etc behind closed doors.”

    Eh no. That would be akin to the US doing deals with regards to nuclear limitations with North Korea behind the scenes.

    Or Israel doing deals with Palestine on territory behind the scenes.

    Seriously unbelievable.

  23. Everyone and their dog know that Sturgeon does not have the power to call another independence referendum.

    Sturgeon and her SNP followers are “plastic” nationalists.

    Plenty of the SNP crew voted to leave the EU. Nevertheless, the majority of today’s SNP promote “plastic” independence; they want to drag Scotland out of the UK union, to then be totally submerged in the much bigger EU one! Talk about being twisted.

    The SNP position on the EU referendum is a total joke. If they were truly interested in more power being invested upon the Scottish people they would have wanted out of the EU.

    Sturgeon’s “there will be another referendum if Scotland is taken out of the EU against her will” is a third rate con trick.

    In 2014 Scotland voted to remain part of the UK.

    In 2016 we voted as the UK whether to remain in, or leave the EU.

    It was not a national, regional or a constituency vote.

    It was a UK wide vote, every vote stacked and every vote counted.

    Therefore, how Scotland voted made not one shred of difference.

    Face the facts.

    There isn’t going to be another independence referendum.

    It’s over.

    1. It was an unconstitutional vote because it didnt consider the FACT that the UK is nothing but a Parliamentary union between Nation States and is not a Nation State in its own right.

      It can be over for you Andy nobody says you have to vote in any Indy ref or participate in any campaigning.
      Problem is you cant make that choice for anybody else so quit yer worthless gibbering and go find yersel a foreigner to abuse.
      Bet its the only time yer happy with life.

    2. We’ll see very shortly whether your confidence is badly misplaced.
      You don’t seem to understand the politics at play.
      Time after time this inability to read the electorates direction of travel is slowly killing the Labour party.
      It’s as if just hoping it will all go away is Labour party policy.
      How peripheral does Lanour have to become before the Penny finally drops?…and i’m not talking about post Brexit pennies either.

      1. Sturgeon does not have the power to call another independence referendum.

        It’s over.

        1. The mandate has the power to call for another Indyref Andy. The mandate is the ONLY power that decides whether or not a referendum is called.
          In Democracy a mandate is everything.
          But like I said no reason for you to worry about another Indyref you can sit it out and throw darts at a picture of the Pope.
          Do any of the fun stuff you like as an alternative.

        2. She has the political high ground for one.
          Your suggestion that London blocks it just plays into the hands of your opponents.
          When will Labour unionists ever learn?

    3. If the people of Scotland demonstrate that they want another referendum, are you seriously arguing that Westminster/Whitehall would deny them it? Part of me hopes they do, but they would have to be very, very, very stupid. Say hello to the ostrich from me, Andy.

  24. The UK government will block a second independence referendum and there’s nothing Sturgeon or her hypernat followers can do about it.

    Like I said; It’s over.

    1. You’re delusional if you can’t see that the battle will be over the timing. Not the IF but the WHEN.

      1. That’s about as convincing as “your cheque is in the post”.

    2. She doesnt have a Democratic mandate to block any referendum that has a Democratic mandate Andy So she wont be able to anymore than Cameron could block the mandated referendum in 2014.

      All thats over is your relationship with all reality.

      1. “She doesnt have a Democratic mandate to block any referendum that has a Democratic mandate”

        The UK government has the biggest mandate of them all – the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.

        A referendum that was a “once in a lifetime event”.

        Face the facts Mike, it’s over, your dream is dead.

        1. Except it isnt 2014 its 2017 Andy and there has been a material change of circumstance coupled with an election on a manifesto commitment to hold another indyref in the event of a material change of circumstance as you know only too well.
          There is only 1 mandate Andy a mandate to hold another Indyref because the people of Scotland were once again betrayed and sold a pup.

          Face the facts Andy yer a gibbering fool.

    3. Well Andy, if the UK government denied the Scottish government the right to another referendum you must! like the UK government know what will happen / don’t you ??

      The Scottish government can resign on mass and cause another Scottish general election, and therefore stand for re-election with UDI in their manifesto and have the same happen with our MP’s down at Westminster, and there’s nothing labour or Westminster could do about it.

      And with labour only having 23 Msp’s and 1 MP and with your current poll ratings I doubt you could do anything else but end up with even less Msp’s.

      I would like to say the ball’s in your court, but honestly labour doesn’t even have a ball.

      1. “The Scottish government can resign on mass and cause another Scottish general election, and therefore stand for re-election with UDI in their manifesto”

        Desperate stuff Davy, really desperate stuff.

        1. Almost as desperate as yersel yelling NO you can’t have another referendum !!! the UK government says No, nae chance, nada, never ever, we tories (pick a colour) wont allow it, your too poor – too stupid – too wee, no way hosa.

          Your only problem is with all that, is unlike like labour we will actually fight for Scotland’s right to decide and not kowtow to your Tory masters.

          You should trying standing up for Scotland – at least once.

          1. Davy; your grasping at straws.

            The SNP had their big chance in 2014 and they blew it.

            Referendum is a “once in a generation opportunity” – Alex Salmond.

            https://stv.tv/news/politics/292026-alex-salmond-referendum-is-once-in-a-generation-opportunity/

            Scotland voted to stay part of our beloved United Kingdom and in turn, the people of the UK (which includes you) voted to leave the European Union.

            Remember Davy, we always have been and always will be, Better Together.

  25. Tom says

    “We believe the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another independence referendum…”

    The use of an ellipsis there to hide what the full statement was seems to have been done to support his argument. The full paragraph puts a different slant on the issue.

    “We believe that the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there is clear and sustained evidence that independence has become the preferred option of a majority of the Scottish people – or if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will.”

    That is absolutely unequivocal. We should have the right to hold a referendum if Scotland is taken out of the EU against our will.

    1. “….if there is clear and sustained evidence that independence has become the preferred option of a majority of the Scottish people…”

      Well, that’s not happened!

      “…if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014…”

      Like a crash in the oil price?

  26. With the exception of Duncan and Andy, are there any Labour supporters on this site or is it a Nat cha room I’ve stumbled into. I have seen every half truth and lie that the separatist have cobbled together

    1. That sums up the present Labour party perfectly.
      Only happy when it’s talking to itself, and losing elections.

    2. From what I’ve seen for the past week Terry, most Labour voters are feeling utterly dejected by these kinds of semantic arguments so favoured by Tom and Duncan, so will not support them in any comments section.

      If it’s support you are looking for bring either a better political argument or better politicians, something sadly lacking in today’s Labour party in Scotland.

      1. You’re a long-time Scottish nationalist, Patrick, who endorsed the ludicrous anti-BBC nonsense from the UWS professor and refuses to condemn the SNP for their failures in government. Why should anyone in Labour listen to you?

        1. Considering the Scottish Govt works within the unitary UK state and has succeeded in protecting Scotland from the worst effects of UK policies (such as cuts in Health, Policing, etc), it is disingenuous to claim it has “failed”. It is the success we support, not Labour’s nit-picking outwith the UK context. If the Scottish Govt had “failed”, things would be worse than they are in England. The fact they are demonstrably better (and even more so than in Labour controlled Wales) illustrates the “success” of the Scottish Govt.

          However, clearly being part of the unitary UK framework will eventually drag Scotland into the mire the English/Welsh public services find themselves in. It is inevitable as the fiscal gravitational forces inherent in a unitary system exert themselves. As Labour die hards on this site continually point out, despite the best efforts of the Scottish Govt, things are becoming strained. If you want it turned around, I’m afraid independence is your only option. Decades of Union have singularly failed, according to Dr Scott and his links above.

          1. It truly is surreal. You start with the absolute conviction that independence is the solution, and then you frame the problem to fit.

            A bit of reality to inject into your delusion:

            . The Scottish government hasn’t “protected” Scotland from UK government cuts. It *could* have done, but it *chose* not to. The Scottish government didn’t even spend all of the Barnett consequentials from UK NHS spending on the Scottish NHS. And it certainly didn’t use its tax powers to reverse Tory tax cuts. It left tax rates precisely where Osborne, and now Hammond, set them, with one tiny gesture of leaving a tax band where it was rather than increasing it. In reality it is a record of almost complete inaction against Tory cuts.

            . Things are not “demonstrably better” in Scotland than in England. You have to cherry-pick statistics and ignore evidence to make such a claim. Waiting times are worse, school attainment is worse, student debt is worse, economic growth is worse, centralisation is worse, policing is worse. Lift your head and acknowledge reality.

            . Things are “becoming strained” because we have in power a nationalist government that will not, that cannot, use the powers they have to raise taxes or improve public services because their entire politics is predicated on blaming “Westminster” for all ills, and on claiming devolution will never give them the powers they need. We are ruled by an ideological cult which demands powers over welfare but refuses to use them, demands powers over income tax but refuses to use them, and endlessly, endlessly picks grievance rather than choosing to deliver for Scots.

            You say the answer to all that is independence? I say you’re nothing but a nationalist shill. Independence is your sole aim, and you will literally say anything and do anything, including harming the life chances of millions of Scots, in order to meet that sole aim.

            Shame on you.

          2. “The Scottish government didn’t even spend all of the Barnett consequentials from UK NHS spending on the Scottish NHS”

            Don’t really get this. Why should the actual amount spent on Scotland’s NHS be

            a) reliant on the budgetary needs of another Health System

            b) reliant on the forecasting of increments entirely based on the Westminster (English) Health Secretary’s success with HM Treasury

            Please explain.

          3. Sorry its taken so long to give a detailed answer to your rather “exasperated” reply to my original post. I now have time to sit down and give it some attention. No-one else will read it probably, as the thread is long in both posts and the tooth, but none-the-less, I owe it to myself to, if nothing else, refute your assertions.

            Having just said I’m going to “refute” your assertions, ironically my first action will be to confirm one. I did indeed “start with the absolute conviction that independence is the solution”. That is because I have studied the issue over many, many years and long ago came to the conclusion the Union was not working in Scotland’s favour and had not done so since long before I was even born (which was before Kilmarnock won the league). I did not “frame the problem to fit” as I merely responded to your own post and its assertions regarding the Scottish Govt’s record.

            As to tax, the Scottish Govt only has a partial control of income tax. EVERY other meaningful tax and lever of power that could be used to alter the fiscal landscape and increase funding for public spending is reserved. As such, the power to vary income tax alone becomes a bear trap. The only way to get more money for Scottish public spending is to hike up income tax which would lead to cries of anguish from both Tory and Labour alike (you know you would), claims of “we told you independence would lead to this” by the usual suspects and the possibility of Westminster maliciously acting to undermine any gains and, by association, the Scottish Govt. And anyway, the amount needed would necessitate a punitive rise in personal tax (as all other indirect taxes of note are reserved) and would almost certainly lead to a flight of both people and capital. I personally would be happy to pay more tax for public spending but I realise the Scottish Govt (of whatever hue) of a devolved country would be mad to tinker with it. I believe you know this.

            I also believe Labour’s shrill claims over this tax issue are hollow and hypocritical. If increasing tax to offset “austerity” is so important to Labour, why are Labour Councils up and down Scotland refusing to raise the Council tax? Labour bemoan the “failure” of the Scottish Govt to raise income tax but when given the opportunity to raise taxes themselves “fail” to do so. Can you at least admit there is some cognitive dissonance in those contradictory standpoints?

            As to the NHS, I speak as some one who has worked in the NHS for well over 30 years. I know the NHS in Scotland is fairing far better than South of the Border. One reason I know this is because my department has quite a few “refugees” from the hell that is the English Health Service (as have many, many depts across NHSiS). They came to Scotland to escape that nightmare and tell us, however bad we may think things are here, they are nothing compared to what is happening in England. I also believe you know this.

            But don’t just believe me. This is what Professor Allyson Pollock of Queen Mary University of London had to say on Good Morning Scotland on 6/2/17;

            “…. ,I think there’s a very important background message to this story, which is that the NHS in England was abolished by the Health And Social Care Act in 2012. So what’s happening is that in England the NHS is now rapidly being dismantled and privatised – both the delivery and opened up to user charges and changes in funding.

            And that has a big impact for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which still have their NHS. Because the funding for the NHS in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales comes through something called the Barnett Formula. So we already have a problem, because Scotland is going to suffer under the Barnett Formula – known as the Barnett squeeze – so the amount of money that it gets from the Treasury is being reduced. ….

            …. So actually, we… whatever happens in England, and the dismantling is happening very rapidly, if you think there’s a crisis in Scotland it’s nothing like what’s going on – and I’m here south of the border, both at times in London and in Newcastle – it’s nothing like the scale of the devastation that’s being now wrought in England”.

            Unionists like to pretend this is not happening because it detracts from the SNP-bad Health scare they are concocting but, never-the-less, it IS happening. And the SNP Govt in my and many other people’s opinion has done a great job in at least stalling the spread of the “English Model” into Scotland (Scottish Labour with Andy Kerr as Health Secretary encouraged it). In my opinion, without independence, that “English Model” will inevitably destroy Scotland’s NHS. So I wont be buying into Labour’s frantic, disingenuous, SNP-bad ploy here.

            As to Policing, you do know that Scotland has not enjoyed such a low crime rate in living memory don’t you? Its been all over the papers and such-like. Police numbers are at an historic high and the prisons are bursting at the seams (despite several SNP-bad moans from Unionists that the SNP are soft on crime). Police numbers in Scotland have been over 17,000 for many years now while numbers in England have been slashed. In 2010 there were about 144,000 Police Officers in England and Wales. By 2016 there were less than 123,000. That is like losing the whole of Police Scotland with thousands more to lose. So, again, I wont be buying into Labour’s SNP-bad ploy here.

            Education has suffered recently but, again, I wont be buying into any SNP-bad ploy here either. Curriculum for Excellence has only just been put in place after years of necessary disruption to implement it. The years of necessary disruption will have had unfortunate consequences but this would have been no different under Labour or Tory Holyrood administrations. Both of these Parties supported CfE. Indeed, Labour initially brought it forward but movement was “glacial”. The SNP at least grabbed the bull by the horns and pushed it through. The recent “average” stats (NOT bad) are a result of the disruption ANY major change would have wrought in my opinion, and I see no reason to believe things would have been any different under Labour.

            As to Welfare, I take it we are ignoring the hundreds of millions the Scottish Govt are spending in mitigating the worst excesses of the Westminster Tory Govt and their Welfare changes. People know this is happening but Labour persist in pretending it isn’t in the hope there may be some voters unaware of it. Of course, if Scotland were independent, we wouldn’t have to waste money on a “social defence budget” (as I call it). We wouldn’t have a Tory govt we have comprehensively rejected at the polls since the 1950s imposing it on us. “Democratic deficit” anyone.

            Your final paragraph was, frankly, insulting. I don’t say the answer to all that is independence. Independence gives us the ability to address our problems with policies specifically tailored for Scotland with no “higher power” screwing it up for us (whether deliberately or inadvertently) as it seeks to tame the economic behemoth of its own making in SE England. Independence is not “my sole aim”. A Scotland that can thrive as ALL our small, independent neighbours do with their higher standards of living, low poverty rates and better public services is my sole aim. The Union has had over a century to deliver this for Scotland and has singularly failed to do so. Why do you persist in believing it will if we just keep plugging away at it? I am not threatening “the life chances of millions of Scots”. I am advocating a different path that I believe will increase them. What you offer is the path that actually HAS harmed the “life chances of millions of Scots” which is evidenced by many decades of high poverty rates and subsequent emigration that saw Scotland become the ONLY country in Europe (and perhaps the World) that saw its population fall in the latter half of the 20th Century. Do you really think that happened because things were just so incredibly wonderful in a “dependent Scotland” under the Union?

            What Unionists offer Scotland is the “snake oil” of the Union. Despite any evidence of it actually working, they still peddle it assuring all who will listen it will work …. eventually. Shame on them Mr Hothersall.

        2. How would you know so much about me Duncan? have Labour been keeping files on people or do you have your own?

          That is very creepy Duncan!

          BTW the Wings over Scotland poll showed that even among Unionist Labour voters, their was a large percentage of people who now recognise that the BBC’s political output is biased and unbalanced.

          Yet again, labour activists/politicos,not in touch with the feelings of her grassroots..if there’s still such a thing as Labours Grassroots in Scotland.

  27. It is true that the SNP are just looking for an excuse for another referendum, but as part of the Leave campaign, Tom has to take some responsibility for giving them that excuse.

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