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Showing posts with label second question. Show all posts
Showing posts with label second question. Show all posts

Friday, 2 March 2012

Consultation, devo this and devo that …

The factoid has taken root, and is now stated as fact – Alex Salmond wants a second question, and is happy to accept devo-something as second best – a consolation prize if independence fails to win a majority. The Scottish electorate are now safely marginalised - having shown disturbing signs of being a sovereign democratic voice – and the future of Scotland will be determined by Civic Scotland, Reform Scotland, and the outcome of the referendum consultation. In fact, there is no real need for a referendum at all, since a series of unelected bodies, representative of nothing but the agenda of those who lead them, and the outcome of a self-selecting online questionnaire will determine how we are governed.

When we get right down to it, anyone who wants to start up a body that they claim represents Scottish opinion can launch their own consultation on Survey Monkey. All this is very heartening – we can dispense with all the political parties, manifestos, elected officials, etc. and simply claim to speak for the people, whom we can rely on to remain safely silent.

Well, not quite – the forms of democracy must be maintained so as not to frighten the horses, so a referendum will be held, with a ballot paper so confusing that the outcome will be contentious enough to be dismissed, unless of course it gives the right answer, namely – anything but independence.

The world will be safe for WMDs, Trident will stay in the Holy Loch: death in foreign fields, the Labour Party gravy train and the House of Lords will continue, the poor, the vulnerable and the sick will still be the scapegoats for all our ills: the Tory conspiracy against ordinary people can press on relentlessly to destroy the NHS and the welfare state, and the military/industrial complex can expand the killing machine again. The parade of coffins draped in the Union Jack can continue, fat old men in berets, blazers and badges can revel in the death of the young, and the Last Night of the Proms will acquire a new resonance.

The scales have fallen from my eyes – I see it all clearly now, and can spend my declining years reading old copies of Boy’s Own Paper and singing Rule Britannia. Oh, happy Empire day!



Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Devo plus–a “contribution to the debate” – or something else?

The First Minister, Alex Salmond has gave his official reaction – through a spokesperson - to the devo plus launch yesterday in a press release -

PRESS RELEASE

Commenting on the launch of the ‘Devo Plus’ campaign on more powers for the Scottish Parliament – including responsibility for Corporation Tax and a geographical share of North Sea revenues – a “spokesperson for First Minister Alex Salmond” said:

“Scotland is in a process of independence, and we welcome this contribution to the debate on the need for substantial economic, financial and social powers for the Scottish Parliament.

“With access to all of our resources, an independent Scotland would be the sixth-richest country in the developed world in terms of GDP per head – compared to the UK’s 16th place.  Year-on-year, Scotland is in a stronger financial position than the UK as a whole – taking all Scottish revenues and all spending in Scotland into account, the Government Expenditure & Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures show that, in the five years to 2009/10, Scotland was in a stronger financial position than the UK to the tune of £7.2 billion – or over £1,400 for every person in Scotland.

“The ‘Devo Plus’ launch reinforces the need for clarity, in place of the current confusion, about what No in the referendum from the Tories and other anti-independence parties actually means.  This information needs to be in the public domain well before the referendum.

“People across civic Scotland are considering the powers that we need to have a successful economy and fair society – instead of punitive cuts and a stagnant economy from the UK coalition – and it is becoming clear to people in Scotland that the only way to secure the job-creating powers we need is to vote Yes to independence in the autumn 2014 referendum.  And we are extremely confident of achieving a Yes vote for independence.”

I was going to blog at some length on this in relation to the Newsnight clip of last night, with Jeremy Purvis and Linda Fabiani, but in the light of the FM press release, I think I’ll let my ideas simmer for a bit longer.

Here’s the clip. Linda Fabiani is one of those MSPs who always seems to me to speak with a desperately needed clarity, in the light of the sometimes obscure statement of other SNP spokespersons. She is one of a group of direct communicators, that for me includes Kenneth Gibson, Alex Neil, John Swinney - and a few others - who speak in a language that the ordinary voter can really understand, cutting through the fog of politician-speak and obfuscation aimed at the chattering classes that so often obscures the message from other party spokespersons.

Linda states clearly what I hope is party policy – the SNP wants independence, wants a single question, and regards devo max - or indeed devo anything - as only a recognition that Scotland needs the power to run its own affairs – all of them – that only full independence and a YES vote will deliver.

The only reason they are consulting on devo max, etc. is because as a democratic government of all the people of Scotland, they must ensure that the voter is allowed to make the choices they want to make in the ballot booth.

But let me say that I don’t wholly trust the motives of the organisations pushing devo max or devo plus – they claim to be trying to ‘inform the debate’ but to me they seem to be trying to circumvent the democratic processes of party politics and government in exactly the same way as the Calman Commission did, and with exactly to same motivation – to neuter the elected SNP government and prop up the union.



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