Wednesday, 11 January 2012


Mr Cameron's announcement to the press that he was going to take the fight on the independence referendum to the Nats and set standards and rules so that any referendum would be "fair legal and decisive", instead, presumably of "unfair, illegal and indecisive", were it left to the Scottish parliament to decide have kicked off, rather earlier than we might have expected, the campaign for Scottish Independence.

The Scotland Office has launched a consultative document and solicited responses from those who are interested. James Kelly at Scot Goes Pop drew this to my attention this morning in this post.

He points out that the consultation is a waste of time (well he actually calls it a "farce"). I largely agree. We all know what they think: they don't want Scotland to leave the UK. But over the few days since Cameron's rather sudden first mention of the UK government's intervention, made in the wake of his deputy apparent assertion that those who wanted either independence or the status quo were extremists, there have been a number of changes in tone. 

And as James points out, there is obvious difficulty from a PR point of view, in holding a consultation and then ignoring the results of it. 

Who knows if, or how, the UK government will persuade its supporters to complete the consultation giving the Westminster side, but it is certainly important that those of us who feel differently from the way Cameron would wish us to, do our best to balance the exercise by putting our point of view.

In his post James has generously offered first drafts of his responses to the consultation's questions. (They may be "first drafts" to him; they seemed like carefully honed responses to me.) And he has invited comments from readers.

I think that those of us who want independence for Scotland should take the time to take part in this exercise and the one that the Scottish government will launch. I hope that those of you who have blogs will consider linking to the Scotland Office site.

James has definitely come up with good stuff (far better than I'd have done) and my responses will certainly be influenced by his.

For those who are interested and who missed the broadcast. Mr Salmond was interviewed by James Naughtie  for the Today Programme this morning (Thursday, January 12) at approximately 7.50.

In the interview, which, as ever, he handled in the Alex Salmond way, courteously and intelligently, putting his point of view and never being flustered by Naughtie, he pointed out again that the SNP were campaigning for independence, but that he realised (as do we all) that there is a strong level of support for 'devo max' among the Scottish people. 

He said that the referendum would contain a yes or no option on independence, as has always been promised and as is demanded by Westminster, but did not rule out the possibility that it might contain another question relating to 'devo-max', if that was shown, by the Scottish Government's consultation, and in parliament, to have strong support.

I'd also like to draw you attention to an article at Lalland's Peat Worrier, and most particularly to a response from Peter Thomson, part of which reads:

".....In international law (which trumps Westminster) the sovereign people of Scotland have the legal right guaranteed by UN Charters, Helsinki Accords and the Treaty of Vienna to hold a referendum on the issue of independence. 

Further the UN legislation states the power from which the other is seceding can have no role in the organisation of or campaigning in the said referendum....."

I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on the legal legitimacy of this point of view? I can imagine condition's like these being put in place to protect citizens in a union where dirty tricks could reasonably be expected to be the order of the day. But if they do exist, they must surely be equally binding on a liberal democracy such as the UK...


  1. I saw this link from cynical highlander over at planet zannussi ( Caron's gaffe)..

  2. After listening to the radio broadcast it seems that Alex was cut off in mid flow. Did you notice that?

  3. Tris

    I think that it would be great if the UN had to intervene to make sure the referendum was run fairly.

    Just think the supposed mother of parliament having to be scrutinised like the third rate banana republic they have become, because the people of Scotland have no faith that they would be fair. Or to be fair, even try to be fair. Oh the irony.

    Maybe I am missing something here, but is the fact the we are having an argument about Scotland having no right to hold a referendum on devolution, not a prime argument for the fact that we as a nation should have devolution.

    P.S. Did you see the Lamont car crash on Channel 4 news? Are the ever diminishing band of Labour supporters already looking back at Grays leadership and thinking "these were the good old days"

  4. HI Throbber: It seems to be currently unavailable. Does that mean something? Have the thought better of it? Or is their website just a bit

    I'll check back later. Thanks for the link. :)

  5. Was that at the end Gedguy... If it was, then it must be the playback that has been cut off, because on the live programme Jim said, "Thank you very much First Minister", and Alex said: "It's a great pleasure Jim".

    I particularly remember how relaxed and polite he was. Unlike so many others who've got a bit above themselves.

  6. Oh yes, Dubbs, it would be superb.

    In honesty I wouldn't trust the Electoral Commission to oversee something as important and life changing as this. They seem always to be in the pockets of whomsoever in in government

    Cameron's word itself isn't worth, Jack Frost (he said, remembering ladies might be reading). Over the referendum on voting systems he promised not to campaign against his deputy's cherished (?) baby. Then he did exactly that.

    I'm of the opinion that he will do ANYTHING, not to be the prime minister who managed to lose Scotland (and all the revenue it brings). ANYTHING at all!

    I'd welcome United Nations observer, EU observers, observers form China, and North Korea if the wee man wants to send them over.

  7. Got it now throbber.

    That kinda backs up what Peter Thomson was saying.

    Excellent. Thanks for sharing.

  8. o/t

    I'm having a discussion with some Tories. Can anyone give me a link to when David Cameron advised businesses not to invest in Scotland?

  9. tris

    yes its time to end the Referendum or maybe the end of the beginning of the Referendum.

    I wish you well if not success the months and years ahead will be a rocky road to travel...........and no doubt many cross words will be said but for me win or lose when the final ballot is counted it will be over
    or as someone once said.

    . Hear me, my Chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.

  10. Gedguy

    I think it might be on Moridura's youtube channel.

  11. Whilst looking Gedguy I came across this it just beggars belief.

    Help me boab!

  12. I can't find any reference to that on Google Ged. I'm not sure he said that actually.

    Osborne said that they weren't investing in Scotland, just as Eck was opening three new enterprises that week...

  13. Niko: Thank you. I wish you well too... but clearly not success.

    I hope there won't be any falling out though...

  14. Oh CH... he did say it then? Must try to find that.

  15. Sorry Dubs, I neglected to say that I didn't see her erm... performance.

    I take it she was every bit as bad as she promised to be?

    They have gone downhill rapidly and now there is simply no one who is capable of leading a council, never mind a party... and god help us NEVER a country.

  16. cynicalHighlander,

    Ty. I found what I wanted on Moridura and linked that through to Hansard. As usual when they come up against someone who won't bow to their 'superior' English attitude the vile remarks come out.

  17. Sorry I should have linked it:

  18. cynicalHighlander,

    'Help ma boab'

    The more they keep this up the better for us.

  19. Nice Pieces on the subject Tris thanks, bit late to this but have re-blogged it and linked back to both posts...I may have to move north to get a vote to use but I am not ruling it out on grounds of inconvenience!

  20. You're excused Nom... you had Man Flu!!

    You'll get a tent in my back garden mate.... :)