MIKE ROBB looks at the debate surrounding the ‘question’ in the forthcoming independence referendum.

 

Whether we like it or not, the independence referendum will dominate political debate in Scotland until the question is settled.

Just when we should be focussed on growing the economy, protecting jobs and creating opportunity for our young people, the SNP will ensure the next 24 months are all about the politics of conflict and separation.

So if we are going to have one (a referendum) we should make sure we get it right and settle the issue once and for all.  What I want to see is a definitive mandate from the people of Scotland, which makes absolutely clear to the Scottish Government what they want.

There are all sorts of permutations of 2 or 3 questions which we can debate.  The problem is agreeing the wording and then interpreting the outcomes.  Based on current opinion polls, its likely that a 3-question referendum which posed the options of status quo, independence and “more devolution” would result in a majority for the last option.  But that would allow the SNP to continue to pursue an independence agenda on the basis that the majority had not actually said “no”.

I’m pretty sure this is why Salmond keeps talking up the 3-question argument.

At the same time, a simple 2-question referendum, “status quo” or “independence” does not provide much of an option for the many people, like me, who want to see more economic and social levers brought under direct Scottish control.   That vote – and it might be substantial – could split or abstain, with unpredictable results.

I was reminded last week, that the 1999 Devolution Referendum found a way round this kind of problem; the first question was about the principle of devolution (a straight yes or no) the second, which was only relevant if you answered “yes” to the first, asked whether you wanted additional powers to be devolved, in this case the 3p income tax variation.

So how about a two question referendum like this:

Question 1:  do you want the Scottish Government to negotiate the separation of Scotland from the UK as an independent country (Yes or No)?

Question 2: if Scotland remains part of the UK, do you want the Scottish Government to negotiate the devolution of more economic and social powers to the Scottish Parliament (Yes or No)?

With this approach, we get a clear mandate for or against independence.   No debate.

If there is a majority vote against independence, but for more powers – which is what I’ll campaign for – it gives the Scottish Government a mandate to negotiate that, but removes the option of independence as an eventual outcome.  The political debate would then be about the economic, social and other policies which best suit Scotland without the emotional distraction of nationalism.

Such an outcome would nicely cook the SNP goose, just in time for the 2015 Westminster and 2016 Scottish Parliament elections.   If you agree with me, how do we make it happen?

Mike Robb is a Labour Party activist from Edinburgh, now based in Inverness.  He makes a living as an IT consultancy owner, advising fast growing SMEs around the UK on IT Strategy. He tweets as @mgrobb

 

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53 thoughts on “The Question Question

  1. I would prefer two questions:

    1) Do you wish to see the transfer of all powers from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament except Defence and Foreign Affairs?

    2) If ‘Yes’, do you wish to see the transfer of Defence and Foreign Affairs from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament so that Scotland becomes an independent country?

  2. Seems the question is to be:

    ‘Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country? Yes or No.’

    Clear cut, short and sweet. I really can’t see people having trouble with this question; unless they’ve been cut off from the world for years and it is suddenly sprung upon them straight after their return when in the pub!

    1. That is the question suggested in the consultation. It is not necessarily the question that will be on the ballot paper.

      I’m sure lots of people will have an opinion on the wording, and it may change in response to that.

      1. Yes, I’m sure there are those that would prefer something like:

        Do you think Scotland should be a seperate, seperated state, made seperate by means of a process of seperation, divorce and break-up. Yes or No?

        But then that would be just a little silly 😉

      2. The question IS settled
        -live with it John, nothing you or any London string-pullers can do anything to change it.

  3. According to the papers today it’ll be a straight yes/no question: “‘Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?”

    In terms of clarity it’s hard to argue, and it’s less biased towards secession than I’d feared. Sounds winnable for us Unionists 🙂

  4. But whats to stop the Scottish Parliament asking for more powers any time it wishes??????
    Why do you need a vote to indicate if you agree or not we have a Representative Parliament if enough msps vote to negotiate with Westminster for more powers they have the authority already to do so.
    seems a waste of time to me.

    The snps position as i understand is Independence gives everything under Devo-max and more so a vote yes which is higher than the no vote makes any
    larger vote for Devo-max void and the Independence yes triumphs over all.

    1. Well, the Scottish Parliament asked for more powers – via Calman – and didn’t get what it asked for. And the Scottish Government asked for more powers – just after the election – and didn’t get those either. And Ron Gould’s recommendations were not implemented either so far as I can see.

      The good book says that ilkane at axes gets, but evidently that’s not the principle governing further devolution. Stanes and ethers are to be our lot.

    2. Nikostratos, and what is to stop the Westminster Parliament refusing or delaying handover of powers?

    3. If 50%+1 vote for any or both options we get any or both options , seems straight forward to me

  5. Mike Robb,

    Why, exactly, do you want to cook the SNP goose?

    Many early socialists saw Scottish indepenence as a possiblity, and in a positive light.

    For you, it appears, to be a negative.

    Who was right, you or them?

    Seriously, can you spell out a case for the continuation of the UK? This is our favourite, nationalist question, and it has never had a reasonable answer. Perhaps you can call it, for no-one else has…..

    I am, always, willing to listen.

    (This post is awaiting moderation)

    It is a seriously messed up place, IMHO.

  6. If in the Scottish Government’s referendum there were to be a question on some form of enhanced self-government within the UK and if a majority of the Scottish electorate were to say Yes to that, what would happen if, as is seeming to be increasingly conceivable, the English said No? That would not cook the SNP’s goose, would it?

    Events have moved on, however: the question selected by the Scottish Government appears to be worded in such a way that the UK government will not be likely to tolerate it unless an agreement is reached between the two administrations, making the referendum binding and restricting it to a single question.

    If most electors really do favour enhanced self-government within the UK but are denied that option by London, will they opt to support the constitutional position which will represent the status quo in the autumn of 2014? Will they be prepared to settle for a vague promise that something like Devo Max might be considered separately at a later date?

    They will be reminded, no doubt, of what happened after people accepted the promise given by certain politicians in 1979 that a better devolution scheme would be brought forward in due course if the one which was then on offer were to be rejected. What happened, of course, was that, pressure having been removed, the whole issue was put on to the back burner and then dropped.

    Quite a few supporters of Devo Max might well prefer independence to the prospect of coming away empty-handed, I venture to suggest.

  7. So if we are going to have one (a referendum) we should make sure we get it right and settle the issue once and for all.

    Oh the comfort of the certainty principle !! What is it with these grandiose certainties – nothing is certain in life or politics- remember 1979 and the referendum which allegedly put devolution to bed. Look where we are now. For many years we lived with so-called certainties on the issues of constitutiuonal reform in Scotland. Now trends and aspirations move, mutate and merge at often lightening speed in the online world. Call it tipping point or whatever but ideas now aren’t put to bed – there will be no conclusion in the way you imagine whether or not the vote goes against independence – the genie is out the bottle and it will stay that way

  8. If people want a Devo Max question on the referendum ballot paper they have three months to get their act together and come up with a form of question that could be included. But it is up to them to do that – the SNP isn’t going to do it.

    There has been so much conspiracy theorising about the SNP’s position on Devo Max that it has actually inhibited the debate for those who support it. This really is your last chance – the door will only be open for another 3 months. After that the consultation period will be over.

    1. Apparently Alex Salmond now says his preference is for there to be a question on Devo-max on the ballot paper.

      I wish you lot would make your mind up! It was only a couple of weeks ago Nicola sturgeon said the exact opposite!

      This referendum is about independence. We should clear that matter up (one way or another) and if the answer is no, then we need to ALL sit down and look at what powers the Scottish Parliament should have. Its not going to happen overnight.

      1. Come on you can’t be serious.

        How many times can we go over the same ground?

        The SNP’s position has been consistent throughout. Our preference is independence and we will be campaigning for independence. If others want to campaign for Devo Max then fair enough and we are willing to put that on the ballot paper. But we will be campaigning for independence come what may.

        This is really not difficult to understand. Maybe if people in Labour were capable of taking a single thing the SNP says at face value things would be a bit clearer. I realise it is difficult for you and I realise you have built Alex Salmond up to something like a cross between Machiavelli and Dr Fu Manchu but he’s really not!

        If you want to wait until after the referendum to discuss options for greater autonomy for Scotland while remaining in a formal Union with the rest of the UK then that is totally your choice. I don’t care one way or another frankly beause we will be campaigning for independence and I think we’ll win, which will make any talk of Devo Max moot won’t it? And deservedly so because if people don’t have the confidence to put it to the test it doesn’t deserve to be put forward as a viable option.

        1. That’s is a plain falsehood. The SNP’s position on this has changed so many times over the years its impossible to keep track. Look at the last three consultations on the referendum for completely different positions. Look a few years back for an SNP supporting only Home Rule. Don’t claim consistency when the facts show you have been anything but.

          1. Not like Clement Atlee throwing out a petition for home rule after WWII or Callaghan and cohorts undermining devolution in 1979.

          2. I don’t believe anyone has claimed Labour has been consistent though. Indy claimed the SNP has been consistent. They haven’t.

          3. No Duncan it is not a falsehood – that is demonstrably not the case. There haven’t been three consultations on the referendum bill. There have been two. This is the second consultation on a referendum bill – and the position is the same!

            Consultation paper 1 (published February 2010).

            While the Scottish Government’s favoured policy is independence, it acknowledges that there is support within Scotland for a range of positions on increased responsibilities for the Scottish Parliament. In order to reflect this as fully as possible, the Scottish Government is consulting on a referendum which would put two questions to the people of Scotland: firstly a question about the extension of the powers and responsibilities to the Scottish Parliament short of independence, and secondly a question about whether the Scottish Parliament should also have its powers extended to enable independence to be achieved.

            Consultation Paper 2 (published January 2012)

            While the Scottish Government’s preferred policy is independence, it recognises that there is considerable support across Scotland for increased responsibilities for the Scottish Parliament short of independence. One option, full devolution (or “devolution max”) was set out in some detail in the Scottish Government white paper Your Scotland, Your Voice published in 2009[1]. The Scottish Government has consistently made it clear in that paper and its 2010 consultation paper on a draft referendum Bill[2] that it is willing to include a question on further devolution in the referendum. That remains the Scottish Government’s position. It will listen carefully to the views and arguments put forward on this issue in response to this consultation.

            That is exactly the same position. It is the position I outlined. It has been consistent and you really ought to withdraw your accusation of falsehood.

        2. Indy,
          Do I have to give you links to videos of your senior politicians saying different things to each other?

          As Duncan says, labour havnt been consistent, but then we’re not claiming to have been (and I agree thats not helpful for us where we are now).

          But you are claiming that the SNPs poisition has been unchanged. It has not. It has changed even in the last 4 weeks. First it was “We want Devo-max on the ballot paper”, then it was “We want a simple yes/no question on independence” and now its back to wanting Devo-max.

          And since this site is about Labour people discussing our policies and strategies, I think its perfectly fair of me to say we shoudl deal with the independance referendum, and then look at the further powers. Naturally, if the vote is for independence the second thing wont matter – but then I’m not as stupid as you seem to think I am.

          1. Unfortunately for you (and Duncan) the exact position of the SNP Government is a matter of public record. Anybody can go and read the two consultation papers on the draft referendum and see for themselves what the Scottish Government position has been. They can also consult the various other papers which have been published in connection with the National Conversation and the white paper published prior to the draft referendum bill. It is all available online.

            Your confusion arises because you – and other Labour members – seem to be incapable of believing that the SNP would agree to have a question on Devo Max on the ballot paper because it is not our preferred option. You just can’t believe that the SNP would do something which you would see as being against our party interest. Therefore you believe the SNP’s approach on Devo Max can only be explained by some kind of trick or plot. Well, knock yourselves out coming up with your next conspiracy theory but you are wasting your time. There is no plot, there is no trick. This may be really really hard for you to believe but for the SNP the right outcome of the referendum would never be defined as what the SNP wants – it would be defined as what the Scottish people want. If they want Devo Max but not Independence then that is what they should get. We are prepared to test each option because we have confidence that we can persuade a majority to vote yes to Independence. This is also something you clearly cannot understand.

          2. Indy, your party are in support of that question being added to ballot paper, then not, then again they are.

            Whether it’s in the interests of the SNP is neither here no there. The point is they have been inconsistent in their position on the inclusion of a question on devo-max (whatever that is).

            That is what is called a fact. Just as Duncan and John have said, Labour have been inconsistent on this and that is a fact.

            Do you really find it that hard to disagree with your party, espcecially when it comes to independence?

          3. Indy,
            How do you explain Nicola Sturgeon – deputy leader – deputy First Minister – saying that the SNP (not her – the Scottish National Party) had a preference for a single question.

            And how do you explain how we now have her boss saying something different?

  9. Having attended the BBC debate last night it was clear to me that even the SNP notion of Independence is really nothing of the sort.

    On Economics in particular – there is now the proposal that Scotland would remain part of a “Sterling Zone”. Unlike some others I think this is a reasonable request that the UK Government would sanction but it does leave Monetary Policy set by the Bank of England.

    I believe this would inevitably lead to a shift from “it’s all Westminster’s fault” to “it’s all the Bank of England’s fault”.

    The Bank of England has used QE and Interest Rates to try and soften the blow of the Global Banking crisis and subsequent Eurozone crisis for the benefit of the UK and the UK alone. We have been on the “inside” of this policy.

    There would be very little incentive for the Bank of England to use its influence to help out a Scotland economy if it lurched dramatically away from a rUK economy if times were bad; and equally there would be a HUGE incentive for it to use its influence if the opposite were true.

    The only other option would be entry to the Eurozone, shifting monetary policy further away both geographically and politically.

    Neither of these options fill me with confidence.

    1. There would be no difference as regards currency/interest rates from the current position. You say there would be very little incentive for the Bank of England to use its influence to help out a Scotland economy. Well, there isn’t now! So what difference would it make?

      I am hearing various politicians saying ah but Scotland wouldn’t have the influence it does now. Exactly what influence does Scotland, as a country, have at the present moment on Bank of England decisions? None. Because politicians don’t set interest rates etc – that is done independently. So we have no real influence now, we would probably have no real influence with independence. Ergo the position would remain unchanged.

      What would change, however, is that the Scottish Government/Parliament would have the freedom to consider different options in the future – whether that be the euro, a separate currency or whatever. Decisions on that would be dependent on a whole range of factors – including of course who the Scottish people elected to government.

      1. As the Central Bank for the UK the Bank of England has a responsibility to set policy for the interests of the UK economy.

        Were Scotland to be independent this responsibility would not include Scotland and as I outlined may cause policy at the Bank of England to alter DUE to the Scottish economy doing better then the rUK.

        Thats a pretty big change from now.

        1. I’ll pinch a quote from elsewhere which I am sure he won’t mind.

          The Bank of England IS NOT English.
          It was nationalised as the UNITED KINGDOM’s state bank in 1946.
          It was made an independent company by the Gordon Brown in 1998.
          Ergo, it is not English and Scotland owns part of it.

        2. Well if that happens the Scottish Government will no doubt act accordingly and look at what other options are available. Other parties would do likewise, positions would be adopted, matters would be debated and decisions would then be taken in the normal democratic way.

          But in the initial post-independence period it would be sensible to maintain the current arrangements. I am sure everyone would agree that there should be a minimum of disruption during the transition to independence and this is one way of ensuring that.

      2. Indy, just on a couple of your points.

        Firstly “Well, there isn’t now!”

        This is incorrect as I’m sure you’ve heard some elected representatives called Members of Parliament. They do not set interest rates but the BoE answers to Parliament and therefore to our MPs. Correct me if I’m wrong but don’t we send MPs to Westminster? In an independent Scotland if we used a foreign currency, we would not be sending any MPs to Westminster and therefore the BoE would not be answerable, in any way, to any Scottish representative. They would, as has been pointed out, only take into account the needs of the remaining UK countries when deciding what interest rates etc should be.

        Secondly “we would probably have no real influence with independence.”

        Not probably Indy. We would absolutely have no influence with independence. Why can’t the SNP be honest and say that? Do you seriously believe that it is a question of probability? Also why the need to use negative tactics to diminish our influence in the UK just now? If you believe Scotland can be a an influence on the rest of the world on independence why do you feel we are resticted from exacting that influence now?

        Simple questions Indy but what are the answers and when will we get them?

        1. Interest rates are set by the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee. The MPC sets an interest rate it judges will enable the inflation target to be met. The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is made up of nine members – the Governor, the two Deputy Governors, the Bank’s Chief Economist, the Executive Director for Markets and four external members appointed directly by the Chancellor. The appointment of external members is designed to ensure that the MPC benefits from thinking and expertise in addition to that gained inside the Bank of England.

          Members serve fixed terms after which they may be replaced or
          re-appointed. The current members are:

          Sir Mervyn King, Governor
          Charles Bean, Deputy Governor
          Paul Tucker, Deputy Governor
          Ben Broadbent
          Spencer Dale
          Paul Fisher
          David Miles
          Adam Posen
          Martin Weale

          How many of them represent Scotland specifically? I believe the answer is none of them.

          1. The number who represent Scotland is exactly equal to the number who represent England, the number who represent Wales and the number who represent Northern Ireland. None of them. They are not there as representatives. This is a ludicrous, empty argument.

          2. Again this is a neither here nor there point you’re making. The answer to Westminster and currently we send MPs to represent us. On independence we would not send MPs to Westminster but the BoE would still have to answer to it.

  10. I’ve heard lots of talk about ‘neverenda’ recently in regard to the Greens/Margo/Scottish Socialsts/SNP etc.

    Out of interest, if Scots did vote Yes to independence, would the (independent presumably) Scottish Labour Party offer a referendum on re-joining the union in future manifestos, ergo potentially creating an alternative potential neverenda situation?

  11. i cant really understand labours rejection of devo max

    we need to put to bed the constitutional question for good, a failure in a straight yes/no referendum will do what?
    it will ensure that the nats will be campaigning for a devo max referendum in the 2015 holyrood election. I know I will be

    devo max offers the unionists an option which i dont think should be refused. the problem as i see it, is what the definition of devo-max actually means. consider the following

    devo max total- holyrood has complete control of everything, tax, defence, etc, everething except……….the FM has to have lunch once a year with the PM

    this idea looks whimsical, and it is intended to be a tad rediculous to make a point

    the above definition of devo max doesnt need consultation with other parts of the UK, it being acceptable to everyone. It as the advantage of enabling the UK to continue in some form at least, and thus ensuring the continuation of the status of the UK PM in NATO, the G8 and the UN

    so as rediculous as the above definition of Devo max is………..it would still be the prefered option of all unionists if the only alternative was full independence, which would surely bring into doubt the UK’s status in these organisation

    1. Can someone tell me if we had a referendum that called for the first constitutional convention to be set up? Or the Calman commission? No?

      I believe the whole issue surrounding this referendum has opened peoples minds to modernising the relationship within the UK. Not just Scotland’s relationship with rUK. I think for the first time we are seeing, and will see more of, a movement towards greater accountability in every corner of the UK. This therefore should be looked at on a UK-wide basis.

      I believe the people of Scotland will vote to remain within the UK but will want our relationship modernised. I think people in Wales, England and NI will also be looking for a modernisation of the UK. People want to keep the UK but they want it to evolve into a union that will best meet the needs of people in every part of the country.

      This means we should not be pushing an ill-defined idea of what a modern union should be into a referendum that has nothing to do with increasing powers of devolution. This is a referendum between devolution and the possibilities of devolution vs independence and the possibilities of independence.

      The SNP are deliberately trying to frame the debate as independence vs the status quo. This is not the case, it is a decision people have to make between devolution and all we can achieve with greater accountability yet still sharing resources and risks against independence and a future that the SNP have yet to define adequately.

    2. I wouldnt say that Labour has rejected “Devo-max”, I think its merely a case of there isnt much point until we decide whether we are in or out of the UK.

      Oh, and by the way, independance for Scotland certainly wouldnt call into question the UKs status in any othe those organisations. For the Uks status in the UN to change, the UK itself would have to vote for the change! It has a power of veto, dont forget! And I dont think NATO will be chucking out a country with one of the largest armed forces in NATO after the US?

  12. I agree with Salmond on this, I think the Bank of England board would welcome a currency union with Scotland as a hedge against speculation. Although Scotland becoming Independent would be largely fiscally neutral to England, the loss of the oil fields would probably incite the market speculators to the detriment of the pound.
    On the question(s). It could not include “separation”. It should not include “united Kingdom”, since Scotlands independence would end the tready that formed that State.

    1. I’d like to see some evidence that the board of the Bank of England would think that. The bank is wholly owned by the Treasury Solictor on behalf of the UK Government, and all board members, including the Governor, are appointed by the Government.

      Also, why should speculators take more interest in the pound after independence? It doesnt make sense? It ceases to be a petro-currency, after all, and that should see a devaluation, which can only benefit the export industries of England.

      Secondly, the United Kingdom would not end if Scotland became independant. You miss out the “other” Treaty of Union, 1801, which is still in effect – or at least while the 6 counties remain part of the UK.

  13. Duncan – that is actually my point. Scotland has no representation on the committee that makes decisions on interest rates now so it won’t make a tuppence worth of difference if Scotland has no representation on the committee that makes decisions on interests rates once we are independent.

    If – as Judderman suggests – the Scottish economy diverges significantly from the UK economy post-independence then the situation can be looked at again. But in the immediate post-independence period it makes sense to continue with sterling.

    1. But the point is it’s nothing to do with representation. The MPC is tasked to manage monetary policy for the benefit of the UK. If Scotland leaves the UK that stops including us.

      1. Hallo? If it is nothing to do with representation then what are all the arguments about us sending MPs to Westrminster about?

        Can you not just stop pretending about this? MPs don’t decide interest rates. Backbench MPs have no influence at all and any front bench MP who wanted monetary policy to be made to suit Scottish interests rather than London and the south east wouldn’t be a front bencher for long.

        The Bank of England sets interest rates and so on and if any Scottish MPs tried to demand that the Bank of England did so to suit Scotland rather than the whole of the UK they would be laughed out of court. That’s why even SNP MPs haven’t done it.

        So Scotland, as a country, has no real influence on decisions made by the Bank of England now and Scotland, as a country, would probably have no real influence on decisions made by the Bank of England in future. I say “probably” because I am sure there would be meetings of some sort but I doubt it would make much of a difference to anything.

        So effectively we are saying as regards interest rates/monetary policy the status quo would prevail post-independence. If, at some future point, the Scottish Government decided to change that then they would seek a mandate through the normal democatic process but in the immediate future things will carry on as they currently are.

        1. It’s like you’re sticking your fingers in your ears and saying lalala.

          The Bank of England is subject to UK law. The reason we know this is that the MPC was created by the UK government. The Westminster government again reworked the way the bank functions in 2008, in response to the FSA failure and the banking crisis. That’s how we know the UK government controls the bank of England. In the event of independence, the Scottish government won’t control the Bank of England, they won’t be able to pass laws to make changes. The UK government will continue to control it, they will continue to pass laws to make changes.

          This is a very simple point. Why do you insist on pretending it isn’t true?

          1. I totally accept that the Bank of England is run and controlled to suit the needs of the UK and would continue to be post-Scottish independencen. I really don’t know what you are arguing about.

            You appear to be arguing that Scotland would lose the influence it currently has on monetary policy once we became independent. I don’t think Scotland has any influence on monetary policy now. The fact that we send 59 MPs to Westminster is neither here nor there. A) They don’t have any power to set interest rates etc. 2) They don’t have any power to influence things in Scotland’s favour any other way. There are 650 MPs so clearly the 59 Scottish ones have no power to influence things as a bloc.

            So, again, the situation now is that Scotland has no representation when decisions are taken by the Bank of England and no power to influence decisions in Scotland’s favour. The situation with independence if we remain in a currency union would be pretty much the same.

  14. No G. My party has consistently said that IF there is sufficient support for a question on Devo Max it COULD be put on the ballot paper.

    That is not the same as saying WE want it on the ballot paper.

    We want independence not devo max. It’s not us that wants to ask people about Devo Max therefore or campaign for that option. Rather, we are just saying we’ll make room for those who do.

    I genuinely don’t understand why this is so difficult for you to grasp, it has been explained often enough.

    1. Your party has not consistently said anything of the sort! That is a flat out fib.

      1. No it is not. I have flipping well shown you the wording on the consultation paper – it’s almost word for word the same. Of course if you want to go back to 1992 or something then the SNP probably said any number of mental things. But since we became a mainstream party, got elected and started the process of consultation with the National Conversation and the Devo Max option came to the fore we have consistently said that if there is sufficient support for Devo Max it can go on the ballot paper. This is all on the public record. You simply cannot argue with it and I don’t know why you are even bothering.

  15. The SNP has consistently said that it will campaign for Independence but that as there is a considerable body of opinion in Scotland who want enhanced devolution it would be undemocratic to stop them having this choice.
    Is there anything you find difficult to understand about that?
    It is however for the supporters of that concept to draw up a detailed plan and explain exactly what it means before it goes on the ballot paper.
    This I believe is impossible and I don’te nvy Kenyon Wright the task he has set himself
    Personally I believr that devo max or whatever you want to call it will not survive electoral scrutiny once it becomes apparent that it will not stop our soldiers going on illegal invasions or give us the oil revenues.

  16. Before commenting on these matters, I recommend that people make some effort read up on the UN on succession of states and governments, and the sovereignty of the successor state, which derives from international law and statehood, not from the predecessor state; it is by no means a simple matter. Successor states cannot be simply pushed aside and denied access to what they previously shared ownership of.

    http://untreaty.un.org/ilc/documentation/english/a_cn4_216.pdf

  17. 46 comments, all very interesting. Appreciate the effort to contribute, but not sure whether to be impressed, amazed or deeply worried!

  18. Maybe a parallell that could be drawn on this whole Devo Max thing is if we go back into the mists of time and the Constitutional Convention when the SNP said we want a question on independence as well as devolution on the ballot paper and they said no and we then went off in a huff. This is the same situation in reverse, only instead of saying no we are saying yes OK you can have your question provided you can come up with something that makes sense and has a broad range of support. It remains to be seen whether that happens of course, it’s not in the SNP’s hands

    With hindsight, from a unionist perspective, the Constitutional Convention should have said yes OK you can have your question on independence as well as a question on devolution because if there had been a question on independence in 1997 you really would have cooked the SNP goose and had enough goose fat left over to do your roast tatties till kingdom come. But hindsight is a great thing isn’t it.

  19. Same old, same old.
    There is only one very big fly in the ointment of any other question than the one proposed by the SNP. That is quite simply that there is no other than the Westminster Government that can pose any other question than Independence yes or no. That is because it is only that Westminster Government is the only organ that can give, or take, any extra or less powers than Holyrood has now. Would you trust a Westminster Government that are, at present, promising such things as, taking the Pandas away from Edinburgh, or the dafter one of saying the United Kingdom Embassies would stop allowing Scotland to promote whiskey, (turns out those embassies charge the Scottish up to £3,000 for doing so already but do not charge the UK when they promote English produce and goods). What of all the other stupid things these United Kingdom Government have promised to punish we upstart Scots for? So perhaps the author of this article will care to explain to us all why The Scottish branch of the UK labour party is not saying anything about the crazy claims made by such as The guid laird Wallace, who is spouting that the Westminster Parliament has the legal right to over rule the independent Scottish law that is based upon the fact the people of Scotland are Sovereign, that as Scotland is now a constitutional monarchy, that means any elected person those sovereign people elect to represent them carries their delegation to use the people’s sovereign right? So with more pandas than Tory MPs and only 11 libdems from Scotland Westminster is not mandated to govern Scotland while Holyrood is. Yet today in Holyrood those Labour MSPs reafirmed the sovereignty of the Scottish people. You cannot have it both ways. So there it is. Only Westminster can define DevoMax or and other Devo you can think of and if so can we ever trust them to actually provide it if we voted for it?

  20. It daes ma heid in every time a polititian starts wi “I’m as patriotic as any nationalist and they dont have a monopoly on standing up for Scotland” Aye well, why keep saying it unless you are uncomfortable with your political position. You could just as easily claim to be a patriotic Briton but of course Britishness is not a nationality is it. Best for those who still support London rule
    to just state that preference . Make no mistake,there will be an awfy lot of saltires on display on Independence/Referendum day. The Union Jack is a political flag that often evokes visions of Empire, Conquest and Militarism and it might be a red rag to many radical Scots who for example are opposed to Trident in Scotland.

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