Wednesday, 25 September 2013

ELECTORAL COMMISSION WANTS CLEAR ALTERNATIVES LAID OUT

THE UK elections watchdog has recommended the Scottish and Westminster Governments set out what will happen after next year’s referendum by 20 December this year.

According to The Scotsman, a report published today by the Electoral Commission suggests both administrations should publish what their next steps would be should their sides triumph in the poll.

The 20 December deadline was suggested by the commission in an attempt to provide some clarity about what would happen in the immediate aftermath of either a Yes or No vote. The UK Government has ruled out pre-negotiating an independence deal before the 18 September poll.

According to YES TO AN INDEPENDENT SCOTLAND The Scottish Government has already published a wealth of material, all of which is readily available from the Scottish Government website:(http://www.scotreferendum.com/scotlands-future/).


For all the fuss the British parties made about the need for the Scottish Government to follow guidance set down by the Electoral Commission, it is they who have failed to clarify the implications of a No vote. 

On the one hand we have vague talk of further devolution, but nothing is ever defined and there is not even the possibility of a commitment to deliver.

On the other hand, we have unionist spokespersons openly talking of rolling back devolution in the event of a No vote. The talk is of removing powers from the Scottish Parliament or even abolishing it altogether. The wishes of the people of Scotland having ceased to be of any concern once they have voted to forfeit their only leverage.

We know what independence means. We have scores of other countries, comparable to Scotland in various ways and to varying degrees, which we can to look to for examples. What is notable about all of these countries is that the sky has not fallen on any of them as a consequence of their constitutional status. For all of them, independence is normal. Not one of them is seeking to give up that independence. If it was suggested to the people of any of these nations that they might vote to relinquish independence they would think the very notion quite insane.

We also know much of the detail of what the early days of independence will look like. It is not possible to know more because the future will be what the people of Scotland decide. But we know very clearly what the present administration intends as the starting point from which the people's project to build a better, fairer Scotland will begin.

Unionists claim that these plans will be catastrophic for Scotland despite the fact that the main criticism is that, for very good reason, they change very little. In one of their trade-mark contradictions, they say that independence will be both a change too far and no change at all.

Some independence supporters also criticise the SNP for not being sufficiently radical in its thinking. They forget that the current administration has no mandate to make the kind of changes they seek. No government will have that mandate until after the 2016 election.

There are two processes involved here which are too often confused and conflated. There is the process of BECOMING independent, and there is the process of BEING independent. The Scottish Government is charged with responsibility for the former. The latter is the responsibility of the people of Scotland.

What being independent means is limited only be our imagination and our determination. We have no way of knowing where a No vote will take us. But the signs are not good.



47 comments:

  1. Can I just say that is one of your best pieces ever, Tris. Clear, to the point and cutting through the sh$te Westminster chuck about with all their FUD.

    I knew there was a reason I kept coming back to the site and it's not just super cute Munguin ;-)

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    1. Well thank you kind Panda... but it was all copied from the Yes to Scottish Independence site that I linked to. So they have to take the credit :)

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    2. Argh I didn't notice because I've blue blackground on my screen and the link is blue :-(

      That said I do keep coming back here so you must be doing something right!

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    3. It's Munguin's cheeky smile what does it!!

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  2. Derek Bateman has had a clue of voting no here.

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    1. Good one... It's on the sidebar...

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  3. All I want is a country of my own, not one run from afar.
    Is that too much to ask for?

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    1. You've just got a virus Jutie. Go and lie down in a darkened room for 75 years and you'll see things the JoLa way.

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  4. Sorry for being so quiet over here last 48 hours or so... but being fighting the good Labour fight over on the Guardian chat rooms... needs must after the glorious comrade leader makes a speech to home crowd understand...


    Apologies all made, I entirely agree that I'd like to know the alternative I'd be asked to vote on. It isn't enough for better together to trot out 'Just say Nae'... I need a reason to vote for a 'NO' vision for Scotland. (do they even have one?)

    As a believer in devo max, alongside the majority of Scots, the devil shall really be in the comparative detail deciding which way I vote.

    Oh, and talk of 'Nationalist viruses' isn't helpful.. Tris, have a word with Johann next time you bump into her at the tescos eh?

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    1. Och Dean. I don't go to Tesco, and it was Lady Goldie I was matey with at parliament, not wee Johann.

      What is your take on Ed promising to freeze increase in fuel bills (a great idea, I think), by imposing that freeze on private for profit companies (not a good idea I think).

      Do you think he will actually do it? And if he does, do you think that shareholders in what are sometimes foreign owned companies will stick around while their dividends get smaller?

      Don't misunderstand me. I'm all for controlling prices of absolutely vital commodities, and I include gas and electricity in that, as I do water), but I think they way to do that is for the state to own them. I don't think you can ask shareholders to invest in something that is being throttled, particularly as so much power has to be imported from the continent to keep London alight.

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    2. CH. Atos were already in the soup over the fact that they failed dismally in an audit that was done. Cameron has already said that they have lost the monopoly.

      Of course it was Labour who brought them in.

      What a decent socialist government would do is look at a scheme to get people who are not sick, off the sickness benefits. The would involve ATOS of any of the other companies employing real doctors qualified in medicine, working in conjunction with the person's GP and any specialists that they are seeing to review the case.

      That would be expensive, but it might stop a lot of the unnecessary deaths from people being forced to try to find work when they are in parlous conditions.

      But of course no one gives a damn about these people. They just want the to be off the books, and mostly they want to show the people who matter... the rich voters, that they are dealing with what they see as a bunch of scroungers.

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    3. Curren is an incredibly stupid woman. For a socialist she bangs on about foreiners like they were some sort of plague. I thought socialist liked other working people no matter where they came from, and that the problem was the fat cat blood sucking Tories.

      Now she can't see that some of the things that Labour and the Liberals did when they were in power have improved the health and education and law and order in Scotland.

      Is she completely stark raving mad?

      Yes. She is so consumed with hatred and actually she also thinks her own supporters are stupid enough to believe what she says and that it is all the fault of the SNP.

      She's reads to me like a right wing Tory, verging on UKIP or BNP.

      And these people call us Nazis... For gods sake...

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    4. Ed has denied that he is a socialist as the SE votes are desperately needed to win a GE, Scotland is lost and irrelevant.

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  5. I'll use that pic sometime CH.

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  6. Tris,

    The policy is entirely solid and deliverable. Not only will it be totally affordable for the energy firms, they won't even need to reduce current levels of 10% pre-tax profit investments.

    Wholesale prices have been far lower than prices charged by the big 6 energy firms.

    It is awesome to see someone actually demanding that the firms realise they have a responsibility to more than just their shareholders. Stakeholder balance mentality is what we need. An appreciation that mere profit, for its sake, isn't enough for a diverse and balanced economy.

    And it isn't like these firms can't afford to endure a price freeze for 20 months, just look at their profits!

    Taking just British Gas:
    £742m in 2010, £544 2011 and £606m

    Oh, and the figures for comparative wholesale -retail gas prices:

    Wholesale Price 2013: Ave of £560m p/th
    Retail Price 2013: £810m

    FACTS: the firms have been ripping people off, the figures show it. Thank goodness Labour under Ed Miliband shall challenge this cartel!

    Especially when 69% of households this year have already admitted that they have had to choose between feeding themselves or turning on the heating to avoid freezing..

    What makes it brilliant going into the longer term is that it combines the freeze with the policy goal of breaking up the 'big 6' to turn the energy market into a genuine competitive market.

    http://civicjungle.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/ed-miliband-and-lab13.html

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    1. You need to talk to CH4.

      Renationalisation or a backhand taxpayer subsidy is the only way it will work.

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    2. I wouldn’t deny, Dean, that the electricity and gas companies can afford to lose some profit.

      I argue that the shareholders, used to a certain level of profit, will not want them to bother with the UK. Most of them run companies abroad. Many of them are I think largely foreign owned.

      They are a load of greedy unprincipled bastards. They don’t give a damn if people are freezing to death as long as they make a massive profit.

      I salute Miliband for taking them on, but he will almost certainly lose.

      Because if they see their profits diminishing then they will refuse to invest a red cent in the infrastructure.

      The English electricity generation is falling to pieces. Scotland is ok, but unfortunately we must share our excess gas and electricity with the grid. So if the companies refuse to invest, either the government has to, or there will be no electricity.

      I think that we have to import most of the gas now. So the price is dependent on what is charged by foreign countries, some in the Middle East, and some in the Old USSR, mainly Russia. So stable not.

      Again Scotland has enough gas for many years to come, but not when it has to be shared over the UK grid. So it is possible that we will be without.

      Renationalisation is a possibility. Or as CH says, massive subsidies, like are given to the train companies, to keep the directors and shareholders happy.
      Once again, I salute Labour for appearing to tackle this, but I don’t think for a second it will work. And Miliband saying he won’t tolerate it is just plain silly.

      Added to that, if he tried to be too left wing, he won’t be elected in England. Simples.


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    3. Excellent link CH...

      I loved this:

      Ms Flint wants to change that, saying: “The energy companies will be forced to open their books. And do all their electricity trading on the open market, in a pool.

      Making electricity in a pool sounds like a shocking idea to Munguin.

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    4. Dean

      Ed Miliband won't deliver on his ambition to tackly the fuel companies as his promises, if they are in fact that, are labour admitting they will not win in 2015 because they know that London and South East will reject these policies. He will however, be able to go to the voters or whoever replaces him, will be able to go to the members of the red tories and say look. The voters have rejected these policies we will have to shift even more to the right to get elected and then the rest of us can truly bury the Labour coffin, and that will be a good thing. So he is not challenging the compaines at all, he is challenging the sheep who might be trying to cling to the left in his party. In fact he is undertaking his own form of social cleansing of the labour party, he is getting rid of the old left in anticipation of the liberal middle who will joing the party as a result of Cleggs one man war against the liberal movement. Maybe Miliband is not as stupid as I though he was but people like yourself will only have the SNP to turn to and they may not want you then where will you go. If it's a No vote Im afraid you better be starting to think about a new party or actually join a socialist movement like the SSP.

      Bruce

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  7. Snp malcontents

    The problem with attempting to use Simon heffer as
    an example of English chauvinism as against snp chauvinism .
    Is the fact his tribe of the English actually excludes the vast
    majority of peoples considered by others and themselves as
    English.
    His version of the English is white Tory male middle class
    and speaks with BBC Received Pronunciation.
    the rest are he believes little more than ignorant scum.
    so while he undoubtedly despise the Scots he also
    feels the same way about many others.


    tris

    Your silliness on independence is well just silly
    one only has to consider the stampede by many

    so called independent to join and give away there sovereignty
    to the EU ( Alex being a prime example)
    let alone the many other supranational entities
    united nations. NATO (Alexs favourite nuclear club ) and others.
    also the inability of sovereign nations to protect their citizens
    from predation by global companies.

    Your flim flam on the ; two processes ' falls apart
    when sane people put that alongside Alex the many promises
    on what he will deliver if Scotland vote for independence

    plus your .

    The Scottish Government is charged with responsibility for the former

    Is totally inaccurate an undemocratic as a one party state
    supporter would be.

    The Scottish parliament read The Scottish parliament
    would be the voice of the Scottish people and vehicle
    through which the peoples sovereignty would be exercised.

    you see tris your view is off unending snp rule

    But as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under snp rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.

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    1. So Niko, YOU don't think that Labour could ever form a government in Scotland? I think they could if they got rid of that ridiculous comic opera figure, and most of the front bench and got some serious politicians that didn't lie every time they opened their mouths.

      As for Simon Heffer, yes, he speaks with a posh accent, and represents a reasonable proportion of the southern English rich people... and there are lots of them. But his views are the same as Nigel Farage and to be honest, many working class Labour voters in the North of England, who plain hate the Scots, because they keep in being told that we get more money than they do.

      The fact that we create more money than they do is never mentioned. They think we have free this and free that because the English subsidise us. They don't we subsidise them. The fact is the English spend a huge amount on London and because they are far more right wing than we are, they have all this privatised health and privatised probation and schools being run by companies now... They waste money on that crap. We spend it on a Nordic welfare state.

      As for giving up sovereignty to Europe...well. I thought socialist were for that. I thought you were for that. In fact of course Europe doesn't tell us when to go to war, how much to spend on military, what our income tax levels should be , whether we provide free health care of charge for it, anything about education, it doesn't poke its nose into law and order, prisons, or old people's care, pension rates, cost of electricity and gas...

      I wouldn't say Europe couldn't or shouldn't be reformed, and in an independent scotland I wouldn't mind just being in EFTA.

      I shudder to think what kind of right wing hell hole Britain would become without some controls on decency from Europe.

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    2. tris

      No Labour will never form a government in Scotland
      as the snp Loch Lomond conference has decided
      what final solution to the remaining unonists will be.

      Slave labor in the butter mines in Banff and buchan
      why i even heard ther was a proposal to use Unionist
      skin to make fancy sporrans.

      As a socialist i am all for a socialist super state
      in which national identity is just a strand of the overall
      supranational state.

      And as for

      ' to be honest, many working class Labour voters in the North of England, who plain hate the Scots '

      You are better than that comment which is one i shall put down
      to lose of your usual composure

      Decency not a word found in the Tory lexicon sticks in the collective Tory throat..

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    3. Well, Niko, Alex always points out that he cannot speak for other parties which may form governments in Scotland. Surely he's not referring to the Tories?

      I'm not sure I'd be wanting a unionist skin for my sporran, I mean not if it was like Iain Davidson's or Terry Kelly's.

      So if you are in favour of a socialist superstate (which I'm not) why did you scorn the giving away of sovereignty to the EU? I repeat of course that we would only cede some sovereignty, not it all, and far less than is ceded to London now, And it would be to a far more left wing organisation than any British government has been since 1979.

      Remember I've lived in England Niko. I've been on the receiving end of people talking about Scots "come dome here to take our jobs". And I know a lot of people resent the better living conditions for poor here. The way the government has found money to alleviate some of the worst of the Tory's/Labour's social security reforms.

      In fairness, there are decent Tories. They may be slightly condescending, and they certainly aren't in the majority in today's party of SPIVS and shysters but they can be found.

      I put that down to a loss of YOUR usual composure, shall I?

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  8. Written to the 9 MSPs who are out to vote against giving gay people like me the right to marry come March. Most I've ever used the Royal Mail...

    Only one Labour MSP is voting for homophobia, the rest are Tories (quelle surprise) and a handful of SNP backwoodsmen... are the SNP split on this?

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    1. Not sure, Dean. I believe they were given a free vote. There are some religious people who can't vote for because of their faith. I think you have to accept that.

      I imagine that it is the same with Labour. I seem to remember Brown had to give them an 'out' over some legislation he introduced in England because a couple of ministers were devout catholics (Browne and maybe Spud?).

      That said, I'm not trying to make a party political point over it. There is a tendency to suppose that Tories will be against this, while Liberals, Labour, Green, SNP will be for it. Probably based on the idea that Tories are conservatives who want the status quo for ever... and the Cof E used to be called the Tory Party at Prayer!

      But it's not a party matter. Ruth herself is gay and I assume she is voting for. But there will be people in her party who just can't vote for equality.

      I think it's terrible that in 2013 anyone should think that religion should be a force in making the laws of the country.

      To me religion is a personal thing, a faith, a personal belief. I don't have it, but I respect people who do. I just don't want it dictating policy.

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  9. Thought you'd be interested in this Tris.

    http://www.clans2014.com/2014-when-good-councils-go-bad/

    I saw the link in a post over on Wings and got to wondering about what sort of response we could/should make. After some time thinking, a few seconds actually, I thought the best response would be to spread the word as far and wide as possible about Bannockburn and the gathering of the clans 2014. Let's turn the gathering into another Calton Hill. I don't mean speeches etc purely numbers wise. Let's get 20,000+ people to the gathering. Let's SWAMP the Armed Forces day, not because I'm anti Armed Forces, far from it, but just to stick two fingers well and truly up the noses of the Tory/Lab Stirling council!

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    1. That is sneaky, underhand and despicable.

      Why do these people have to fight dirty? It seems to me if you ahve something to sell, you don't have to be underhand to sell it if it is any good.

      Count me in for advertising it. And probably count me in for attending it. Not that it makes a lot of difference, but one more is one more.

      I don't disrespect the armed forces, although there's an awful lot of twaddle written about them, and politicians of all colours use them, then discard them as soon as their political point has been made.

      I do hope they realise that they are being used here.

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    2. PS... I sorted your stutter!

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    3. Like you I do not disrespect the armed forces, in fact I have the greatest of respect for them especially when you consider the s**** they are dealt by Westminster.

      I think the file and rank in the armed forces do realise they are being used by Westminster like pawns but being servicemen and women there is not a great deal they can do about it.

      Thththththanks for sorting out my ststststststutter Tris. lol

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    4. Like you I do not disrespect the armed forces, in fact I have the greatest of respect for them especially when you consider the s**** they are dealt by Westminster.

      I think the file and rank in the armed forces do realise they are being used by Westminster like pawns but being servicemen and women there is not a great deal they can do about it.

      Thththththanks for sorting out my ststststststutter Tris. lol

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    5. And the cow jumped over the moon allegedly.

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    6. Ha Ha. I see I didn't sort it too well!!!

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  10. Reading Labour comments re devolution it has been a complete failure as they have lost power in Scotland and wish to have a One Nation health policy as Scotland should not differ from the Westminster policies in any way!

    So vote No and get devo minus- a talking shop nothing more is the destiny of Holyrood.

    Burnham sets out vision for “whole person service”

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    1. I saw that.

      Incredible. They will sell off our health service to the highest bidders. What else, get rid of our universal free prescriptions. I'll never forget one woman I worked with having to decide which medications she was going to take because she didn't have enough money to buy them all...not to mention those who were on the dole, who didn't dare get sick..

      Will they envelop our education system too so that all our kids can spend £9,000 a year on tuition fees?

      Vote no, become part of England.

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  11. http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/sep/26/bedroom-tax-westminster-council-defeat

    http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/regulation/full-details-of-first-bedroom-tax-tribunal-rulings/6528701.article

    Four out of five appeals brought with the assistance of Fife Law Centre have been upheld.

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    1. The first link doesn't work Niko.

      The second one, however is good news.

      I'm concerned though that people who are obliged to have gardening equipment because they have to maintain the garden as part of their tenancy agreement should have somewhere to store it.

      No one wants the lawn mower and weed killer in their bedroom.

      I'm sure Iain Duncan Liar wouldn't like a lawnmower in his living room...oh sorry, his wife's father's living room, nor a fork and spade in his bathroom.

      But I suppose it's all right for the servant classes.

      I wonder how the slap head is getting on living on £57 a week? Oh, I forgot; he declined to put our money where his mouth was.

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  12. tris

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/sep/26/bedroom-tax-westminster-council-defeat


    A housing association tenant in central London has won an appeal against the imposition of the bedroom tax by Conservative-run Westminster city council, in what is thought to be the first such victory in England.

    Surinder Lall, who is blind, argued successfully to a tribunal that a room in his flat classified as a second bedroom had never been used as one and had always been where equipment helping him to lead a normal life was kept.

    In his decision notice, the judge wrote: "The term 'bedroom' is nowhere defined [in the relevant regulations]. I apply the ordinary English meaning. The room in question cannot be so defined."

    The council, which had decided in March to cut what the government calls the spare room subsidy element of Lall's housing benefit, did not attend the hearing and will not appeal, although the Department for Work and Pensions has said it may do so.

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  13. The hearing came as the UN insisted that its special rapporteur, who was highly critical of the government's policy during an official visit earlier this month, said she had acted properly and not broken any rules. The Conservative party chairman, Grant Shapps, had written to the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, criticising Raquel Rolnik's intervention and accusing her of political bias.

    Jane Connors, an aide to the UN high commissioner for human rights, said: "Ms Rolnik serves in an independent capacity and in accordance with a code of conduct adopted by the council. She is not a staff member of the UN, is neither accountable to nor appointed by the secretary general." She added that Rolnik's visit had been planned and organised over many months in consultation with the government and in compliance with rules and procedures.

    Around 80,000 London households are affected by the bedroom tax, of which more than 50,000 comprise or include disabled people. Lall, who qualified as a barrister in 1988 and lost what remained of his sight in the same year, would have had his housing benefit cut by £12 a week.

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  14. Westminster council said it had previously invited him to apply for a discretionary payment from a £190m fund made available by the government for disabled and other vulnerable tenants in order to make up the shortfall, but he was turned down.

    Lall said his case clearly demonstrated that an additional room used for equipment required by a disabled person fell outside the scope of the regulations and should stop local housing departments simply using the term bedroom in tenancy agreements to cut benefits.

    Westminster stressed it had based its decision to cut his benefit on the information supplied by his landlord, which had classified the equipment room as a bedroom until shortly before the tribunal hearing.

    Coral Williams, a solicitor who assisted Lall with his case, said local authorities and social housing tenants should look closely at the decision.

    It follows recent successful appeals against the bedroom tax in Scotland, where arguments about the use of rooms by disabled people have been similarly deployed. Questions have also been raised about the extent to which councils should rely on housing association data when imposing the government's penalty for supposed under-occupation.

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  15. Permission was granted on Wednesday for lawyers representing adults and children with disabilities who are challenging the bedroom tax to take their fight to the court of appeal, after losing a high court challenge in July.

    Unfortunately in a similar situation the Torys used retrospective legislation
    to reverse a detrimental legal ruling and the Labour THE LABOUR PARTY
    voted with them.

    one hopes this may be the portend of the turning of the tide
    but who knows????

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    1. Thanks for that Niko.

      Well, I expect the Tories couldn't expect support from Labour this time, but the Liberals will probably be forced to vote with them, and the Ulster Unionists seem to hate everybody that isn't busy bashing a bible (and having affairs with kids young enough to be their grandsons) so they will probably vote with them for retrospective legislation. Whether Labour, NP and Plaid with Caroline Lucas will be enough to defeat this, who knows.

      I'd love to see it totally defeated.

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  16. Now that the LaConDems are beginning to see their killer bedroom tax begin to unravel have no fear they have a backup plan!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2434182/Now-work-benefits-Ministers-unveil-tough-crackdown-payments-jobless.html

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  17. Now that the LaConDems are beginning to see their killer bedroom tax begin to unravel have no fear they have a backup plan!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2434182/Now-work-benefits-Ministers-unveil-tough-crackdown-payments-jobless.html

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    1. What about people who have paid for years for these benefits. Folk in their 50s who've been paying NI all these years to keep other people on the dole, and when they get cast aside they have to do slave labour for the pittance that they were due.

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