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Scottish referendum - The Ex-Communicator

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January 10th, 2012


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08:24 pm - Scottish referendum
I think there are some journeys which politicians like to draw out forever, because it is the journey that gives them their cause. Leaving the EU is an example, and abolishing abortion is another, capital punishment. Yes, there is a hard core who actually want that thing to happen, but there is a mushier larger group who mainly want to complain that it hasn't happened, but probably not face all the tougher implications of gaining their ends.

Alex Salmond wants to drag out the movement to Scottish independence as long as possible, always moving towards it, never reaching it. Because if he reaches it, then his job is done, and his role is obsolete. Conversely Cameron won't lose much if he loses Scotland - the Scottish electorate aren't ever going to vote for his government anyway, so as far as he is concerned they might as well flake off. So it's not surprising to see Cameron pushing for an early referendum, which would trigger complete breakup of the UK, and Salmond manoeuvring to reframe the referendum so it does not mandate full independence.
Michael Moore, the Scottish secretary, confirmed that the UK government's legal advice was that the Scottish parliament currently had no legal authority to stage the referendum in any form... And, in a deliberate move to prevent Salmond staging a multi-option referendum, Moore said the UK government would temporarily give Holyrood the legal authority to stage that referendum but only if it was a single "yes" or "no" question about independence, and only if the referendum was run by the UK Electoral Commission.

FWIW I would hate to see the breakup of the UK. I think the workers are stronger united, and the people of Scotland would be better off joining their forces with the rest of us to restore the country. But I guess it's their business in the end.

(17 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:hfnuala
Date:January 10th, 2012 08:39 pm (UTC)

View from an outsider up here

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I think Alex Salmond genuinely wants independence and is being very clever - the Tories are tone deaf when it comes to Scotland and this is winning more and more people for outright independence every day. Salmond knew this would happen.

I can't stand the nats, despite being broadly pro-independence, as they are the worse sort of populist party with no inner compass beyond independence and I despair when I think of them actually running this country one day.
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From:communicator
Date:January 10th, 2012 08:49 pm (UTC)

Re: View from an outsider up here

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What you say there 'no inner compass beyond independence' is my feeling too. I think their internal differences will make it hard for them to stay united if their unifying goal is achieved.
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From:nostalgia_lj
Date:January 10th, 2012 09:38 pm (UTC)

Re: View from an outsider up here

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I *think* it's in their constitution that they break up if we get independence?
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From:communicator
Date:January 10th, 2012 10:46 pm (UTC)

Re: View from an outsider up here

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Gosh, that makes it an even tougher transition. Do you think it would split into a Labour-type party, and a more right wing one?
From:huskyscotsman
Date:January 10th, 2012 09:40 pm (UTC)

Re: View from an outsider up here

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I think you're still being too cynical, though. I'm pretty sure Salmond at least would dearly love to win a vote for independence—who wouldn't want to retire a hero? (I could believe that some of the rank-and-file might be taking a longer view on things, though.)

My reading is that both sides know the vote is unlikely to pass, so the SNP are stalling for time to strengthen their case and to angle for a multi-question vote, where they'd be pretty much guaranteed to win greater powers; and the Tories are trying to kill it off quickly before their enemies have a chance to prepare, like they successfully did with the AV vote.
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From:communicator
Date:January 10th, 2012 10:23 pm (UTC)

Re: View from an outsider up here

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I think you are right that retiring on dissolution of the Union would suit Salmond. I think he'd like that much better than a quick result. I have been expecting him to prolong the process for as long as possible. He wants to be always fighting for independence, and always winning small battles towards victory.

And I think the motives of the Tories are also more muddy and shifty than their overt story. I don't think they like Scotland that much, or want to keep it, so they have nothing much to lose either way.
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From:calapine
Date:January 10th, 2012 10:44 pm (UTC)

Re: View from an outsider up here

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I have been expecting him to prolong the process for as long as possible. He wants to be always fighting for independence, and always winning small battles towards victory.

But you need those small battles in order to to eventually win. Going from a full union to independence would have been a very difficult prospect for most Scots, but seeing the advantages a devolved Parliament has given us makes the case for full independence more convincing, for instance.

Of course he's going to draw it out over the course of the parliament - time is needed to make the case to the Scottish people of the value of independence, and this is the first time there's been a real chance of us attaining it. I don't believe he's drawing it out because he likes the fight, but because it's the only way that there's a chance the vote can be won.
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From:sheenaghpugh
Date:January 10th, 2012 09:50 pm (UTC)
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With respect, his job wouldn't be over at all; he'd have a country to govern same as he has now, and he's never been a one-policy man. I may say I never voted for him, up to now, but I might well soon, because he's the only party leader who is at all impressive.
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From:communicator
Date:January 10th, 2012 10:12 pm (UTC)
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His current job would be over, and he'd be faced with a completely new one. He's not in too much of a rush for that day to come, I don't think. Though, of course, he can't stop or reverse the process either, so he'd rather take it at a measured pace. I think as huskyscotsman says, his best outcome would be to retire a hero, like Moses never reaching the promised land, and his timing reflects that.
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From:sheenaghpugh
Date:January 10th, 2012 10:18 pm (UTC)
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Or it might just reflect the fact that he wants to hold the vote at the time he judges to be most favourable (not to mention in the year that happens to be the anniversary of Bannockburn, apparently).
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From:atreic
Date:January 10th, 2012 10:25 pm (UTC)
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FWIW I would hate to see the breakup of the UK. I think the workers are stronger united, and the people of Scotland would be better off joining their forces with the rest of us to restore the country. But I guess it's their business in the end.

Yep, that :-(
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From:communicator
Date:January 10th, 2012 10:43 pm (UTC)
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I think we've got more in common than differences
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From:matildabj
Date:January 11th, 2012 12:09 pm (UTC)
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My own, very humble opinion (having not lived in Scotland since 1991) is that the SNP have garnered such strong support because they present a genuine alternative to Labour if you want to vote for a left-of-centre party. Their policies are more radical, even without the independence aspect. I don't think Salmond is a one-trick pony at all, I think he actually wants to be President of an independent Scotland.

Before they go, I hope they'll give out passports to those of us south of the border who want to move.
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From:communicator
Date:January 11th, 2012 01:24 pm (UTC)
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I think the Labour vote has altered only a little - down by 0.7% I think?* - but the anti-Labour vote has become consolidated with the collapse of the Lib Dems and Tories in Scotland. So the anti-Labour vote is more effective now. You could put an alternative spin on it by saying that Labour in Scotland benefited from a divided opposition, and are now facing a more organised challenge.

*Yes, I just checked wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Parliament_general_election,_2011

The labour vote was down by 0.45%, and the SNP up by 12.5%, so basically they have benefited from the collapse of the right not the left.
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From:tehomet
Date:January 14th, 2012 11:41 pm (UTC)
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Although I do take your point about the workers needing to unite, and I respect your views, I can't help hoping that independence will come to Scotland. Even if not in this generation, then maybe the next.


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From:communicator
Date:January 14th, 2012 11:42 pm (UTC)
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Seems to be the general consensus! As I say - it is up to the Scots not me, but I'd be sorry to lose them.
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From:tehomet
Date:January 14th, 2012 11:48 pm (UTC)
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I was reading on another forum this morning about this very issue, and the English people were banging on about how Scotland gaining independence, although not desirable, would solve the West Lothian problem of Scottish MPs having input into purely English issues. *headdesk* Never mind x number of centuries of oppression by the English of other nations! There's none so blind as those who see the entire world as revolving around them, the shagging Imperalists! /venty macventerson

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