Wednesday 30 January 2013


Another letter from Nicola...

Dear Tris
Earlier today the Electoral Commission published its report on the referendum question and campaign spending limits.
The Scottish Government is accepting the recommendations in full. So - subject to the agreement of Parliament - the question on the ballot paper in 2014 will be: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” Yes or No.

It’s a minor tweak to the question we had proposed – and is poles apart from what the No campaign wanted. Alistair Darling wanted a question asking “if you want to remain part of the United Kingdom”. Others pushed the idea of asking about a “separate” Scotland (as the Social Attitudes Survey still does). That’s gone too.
We are left with a simple 6-word question, approved by the Electoral Commission, which gives the people of Scotland the opportunity to make a clear and informed decision on our constitutional future.

Seems reasonable to me, even if some are calling it a humiliating defeat for Alex Salmond. Doubtless Lamont will repeat that in the fullness of time, when they let her out of the bunker. 

I've never objected to the Electoral Commission giving its opinion on the question or the conduct of the referendum. I think, though, that the actual referendum, the counting, etc, should be overseen by a more neutral body, something international with no axe to grind in either direction...the UN perhaps, sending in observers to do spot checks, as they do in third world countries. 

I'm happy too with the amount of money that can be spent based on the results of the last election. It is far more than the government had proposed; a sum I thought was a little short. It allows the SNP to spend £1.344m: Labour £834,000. The Tories will be allowed £396,000, the Lib Dems £201,000 and the Greens £150,000.

The SNP has the money to spend thanks to two large bequests and thousands of smaller donations. I'm wondering where the other parties will raise their funds, given the parlous state of their finances. From rich Tories in England, I suspect.

I'm pleased too that the Electoral Commission has proposed that, in order that the referendum be fair, electors must know what they are voting for. So the YES campaign must publish details of what they expect  an independent Scotland to look like.

The down side for the UK is that they must say what will happen if there is a YES vote; and what will happen if there is a NO vote. What would our future be like in the UK. In fact why they think we are better together. 

So the end of the vague promises of Jam Tomorrow proposed by both Cameron, and his Scottish lieutenant Ruth. 

Both sides must be honest and serious about their proposals. This may be interesting because Cameron has completely ruled out any pre-negotiation with the Scottish government, while the Scottish government is quite happy to put its cards on the table. So we will have no idea what their position on many issues will be...

Having for some time now badgered the Scottish government about accepting the suggestions of the Electoral Commission, the UK government now needs to do the same thing.


  1. I fail to see what all the Unionist fuss about the question was about. I do like the shortened question though. Certainly the No people seem to have been dancing on a pinhead for nothing. The monies that can be spent seem okay, providing we don't have the Quebec situation where the No campaign spent far more than was allowed by disguising their campaign spends.

  2. A fair question, a good rule on spending limits.

    Now lets get this show on the road and get this issue settled.

  3. tris

    what a humiliating defeat for Alex Salmond he has been well de-knackered
    face pushed into the dirt another big whopping nail (Bang bang!) into the
    failing failed push for separation which the people do not want.

    What i luv is how the Nats now feigning nonchalance say to each other
    wid a shrug of thier unmanly shoulders.

    Dont matter who cares got a question anyway.

    Shame to point out Alex spent years saying he would decide what was asked.

    Think what we Unionists should do next is ask Alex to ride a Donkey naked
    sitting backwards wid a notice hung around his neck saying

    Scotlands First Numpty

    Iffen he wants a separation vote he will do it .we can get him to do anything we want now

  4. Deano

    The show is on the road the answer is settled
    it is ;YES' to remaining within the uk and a full
    member of the EU.

    We have won its just a case of shutting that auld book once again

  5. I await the day Better Together and unionist side actually lose an argument, in their own judgement.

    If the SNP/Salmond told the EC to ram their report he/they'd be branded a dictator/fascists. But no, Salmond/Sturgeon/SNP say: 'Ok then, we'll use your question' - so its a crushing defeat, a humiliating climb down and just another nail in the coffin of independence.

    If BT/The Union are winning all these concessions, if they're wiping the floor with Yes Scotland and the SNP, why is this not all over already.

    Oh hold on... Because they're not.

  6. Yes Alex Salmond played a blinder here there was no doubt that the commission would change the question so better to say that you wanted do you believe knowing they wouldn't accept this, now we have a simple YES NO question, actually i think its better anyway, Should Scotland be an independent country? Well of course it should and why anyone who classes themselves as Scottish should think differently obviously haven't been educated and have nothing between the ears, Roll on 2014 YES YES AND YES AGAIN

  7. Tris

    I was never really that stressed about the question as seperate etc would never have been accepted. What I think was very important was the yes no and not agree disagree. This means the Bitter Together campaign have to campaign for a NO vote. A No to what. Vote NO get your benefits cuts, vote No get told to move to sub standard housing or the streets if you can't pay the rent, vote No and pop along to your nearest food bank, vote No and be out of europe losing all the protection that people have fought for across europe and that we benefit from, vote No and be involved in never ending war. I now look forward to the no campaign in a time of austerity and the shift to the right in large parts of the south east, where we know our governments are decided from.

    I think the SNP and YES Campaign maybe played that better than I ever them credit for.

  8. Hi Marcia: I was amazed to hear on STV news that the First Minister had been defeated on the question and on the spending limits. And it wasn't the government that was defeated; it was Alex Salmond. You could say sloppy reporting, or you could say not sloppy at all, but done with an agenda.

    The question is almost as was. Try though I may, I cannot see that the "do you agree" will make any real difference. Indeed I seem to remember that the Tories had to go all the way to some university in Arizona before they found one of their friends who agreed with them that it was ridiculously skewed.

    As for the financial arrangements... pffffff.

    The government proposed a situation where the NO parties would have a far bigger spend than the YES parties. The Electoral Commission has advised that the YES parties should have s lightly larger spend than the NO parties. Oh the humiliation for Alex. How can he ever show his face again?

    I hope all parties will abide by the rules. We don't want a situation where anyone can call the procedures into question.

    So that goew equally for the YES Parties as the NO ones.

    I hope that any parties which accept money form another country including those in the uk, will point out where that money came from.

    I also hope that there will be scrutineers of the ballot. The alternative is that there will be doubts... a) that the Scottish government has interfered with the result, or b) that the UK government has done so.

    Personally I wouldn't trust Cameron any further than I could throw the average Fat Boy.

  9. Yes Dea... that will be the third time we have agreed on something...

  10. That's a good idea Niko. One of your better ones really. We could blindfold you and get you to pin a tail on the donkey.

    But you're right. Humiliating, disgraced, as I said to Marcia, it's a wonder the man has the neck to show himself in public... so it is.

  11. Seems so. He doesn't like to be bested. He has spent the last weeks telling anyone who would listen that he expected the Scottish Government to abide by the decision of the Electoral Commission, although it is parliament that makes these decisions, and the EC is only empowered to offer advice.

    Then they (the EC) wrong footed him by telling him he must give full information about what will happen in the event of a yes, or a no vote.

    He's totally stuffed, and Eton Boys aren't used to being told to do stuff that they don't want to by oinks like the Electoral Commission.

    Plebgate II "Calm down, dear and F*** Off".

  12. Yay Niko... it's been decided, has it. Damn. I must have fallen asleep and forgotten to vote.

    Well, best get used to coming out of the EU now, and I should cancel your holiday, because people of your class won't be getting holidays any more.

    A day at Skegness will do for the likes of you Niko....pinning the tail on a naked Alex Salmond!

  13. tris

    You might like to read this analysis of how the unemployment figures
    are being fiddled listening on the wireless today (as you do).
    And well i never this right wing economist said he didnt believe
    the unemployment figures.
    Still i spose i wont be till a new Government and a investigation
    will be told how he fiddling was done

  14. It's laugh a minute watching them turn these things into victories for themselves, Pa.

    Of course the fervent unionists lap it up and laugh and congratulate themselves... but that isn't the audience they have to convince.

    There's a great big middle ground that will make the decision. They are the ones that have to be convinced.

    To be honest, you aren't impressing anyone, and you sound like a loser if you celebrate a minimal change in the wording, and the fact that, although you are getting more money to spend, your proportion of the money has actually gone down...and the financial advantage is now with the other side...

    This is seriously sill stuff.

  15. Yep Scottie8... I believe it is a great question; I don't see a difference in the way it would play with people.

    Do you agree (with something the government proposes)?...well my automatic reaction would be NO.

    Do you think that your country should be an independent country?: Of course I do.

    As usual he's walked all over them.

    By the way, I think this is the first time you've commented here, so welcome and thanks for commenting.


  16. A usual Bruce you have summed it all up expertly.

    Vote no for what... more of the same?

  17. There's a great big muddle ground that will make the decision. They are the ones that have to be convinced.

    Yep! and by the time our Unionist media is finished 'muddling' them up
    they will vote the way the Unionist want

    Skeggy I think not more near St tropez some im told

  18. tris and assorted nat fanatics

    Perception is all in politics and the perception is the snp have lost
    the momentum and control of the separation campaign not an def win
    for Union.........

    But a damn jolly good start still there is a way to go yet and Cameron
    and co could well feck it all up.
    by well by being themselves a odious bunch of tossers

    But all in all I will sleep like a top tonight dreaming of a Union flag
    fluttering in the wind yawn!

  19. Good one Niko.

    I thought of Staples, which they didn't mention and the 5,000 army posts going, with another 20,000 to come.

    And of course whenever you sack one person there is a knock on effect, not just with suppliers but with companies which relied on the wages of the previously employed people.

    I can confirm that when people are on the dole and sent on a work placement they are taken off JSA and put on a training allowance. It's the same of course, but they no longer appear on the figures for unemployed. If they can keep them there for 13 weeks, when they sign on again, they are a "new claimant", which makes the figures look better. Nearly no Long Term unemployed!

    Likewise, remember that a lot of people who have recently be made redundant will never have been unemployed before. Many have partners who are in work and since this lot came to power, there is no longer any money available to pay JSA to people who have partners in work.

    Previously they were entitled to 6 months money regardless of their situation. Now they are not. They can only claim if they have no other means of support.

    So, many people will think to themselves, I'm not going to get any money; the NI stamp thing no longer matters, because there will be the same pension for everyone, why on earth would I go to the DWP and put myself through the humiliation of being told off by an 18 year old who has sent me for jobs that I couldn't and wouldn't do in a heartbeat. The counter staff there are not expert job brokers!

    My mate's dad, a man who had never missed a day's work in his life, had to give up his window cleaning round in his late 50s, because of arthritis. He duly went to the Jobcentre and was sent by a girl, whom he described as young enough to be his granddaughter, to a minimum wage job in a factory that slaughtered chickens, 20 miles away. When he protested that he couldn't do that job (killing things wasn't possible for him and in any case the economics of it was that he'd pay half his wages in bus fares), she ranted that if he turned down reasonable work she would have to sanction him. And her 17 if she was a day.

    Yes, they are cheating with the figures. That's what they do best.

  20. Cameron may have already messed it up, Niko, by telling Angus to F*** off.

    Stupid unionist posh boy with a mouth that runs away with itself!!


    Just for Niko...

  22. tris

    to be honest its the easiest thing in the world to fail an interview
    show up act really keen but pick yer nose dont wash and wear
    your scruffiest clothes(difficult for me as i am trendy).
    stare vacantly out the window and say everything twice
    and scratch yer balls occasionally.

  23. LOL... I know Niko.

    I've interviewed hundreds like that. I just think in most cases it wasn't done intentionally.

    I have had guys light up cigarettes. One girl sat and looked at her nails throughout, like she was contemplating doing them another colour, and actually had to be reminded at one point that she was in an interview. Another chewed her hair.

    I did actually have one that scratched his balls, but I really think he had fleas or crabs or something... We washed the place down after he'd gone!

    You don't earn much money, but you see life in a HR-type job....

  24. Niko you at mixing up momentum with a ref victory for us unionists. They aren't the same thing, lets not be complacent. But yes you are right, they have lost the big mo!!

  25. As if to confirm, the comment above backs up the point; no one is buying any of the tripe coming from Better Together except Better Together fan boys.

    This week, BT produce a poll (that wassn't a poll which was taken in mid-2012 but presented as current) showing support for independence was as low as 23%, it was quickly debunked (namely, the assumption that everyone who didn't say 'yes' supported the union when they don't) and showed support for independence is the same as it ever was but there was an increase in don't knows at the expense of no voters.

    Then we have this EC story coming out, the 'No' sugestions for a question have been as varied as they have been daft. The EC change three words for one word (flying in the face of unionist wishes) and funding goes from a advantage to the tune of £250k for the union side to £63k for the nationalist side.

    Another crushing defeat right there for those dodgy nats; all is well in the alternate universe where Better Together doesn't know the meaning of failure and the idea of not being triumphant goes against the laws of physics.

    BT have to know, surely, that people are becoming a wee bit incredulous at the sheer blindness, the blatent selectivity and denial of demostrable reality they're displaying. Even people who want to be convinced to vote no must be thinking something isn't right with BT and the union.

    Its becoming a bit of a farce.

  26. Niko has a point, Dean. Perception is maybe not everything in politics but it is a huge amount. The vote goes to everyone, and that includes people who believe what the front page of the Daily Mail tells them.

    It's not the news, it's how you present it that is matters.

    As Pa goes on to say though... turning a defeat into a victory is something you can only do so many times.

    With the help of a press that will spin on unionists' behalf the removal of three words from the government's question, the ignoring of the pleas from unionists to put in the word "separation", and a few other emotive words that had been suggested, and a rebalancing of the financial arrangements to favour the nationalists, together with a suggestion from the EC that the UK government must (as well as the Scottish government) make clear what Scotland will look like in 2016 whichever way the vote goes, which the UK government has steadfastly refused to do, is painted as a humiliation for Alex Salmond.

    Well, I mean, really, it's not... and the more cerebral of the unionists must be saying to themselves... wait a minute; that's just not true.

    Now, once people start thinking "they lied", they will be looking for other lies. And once they find a few lies, then they start to doubt everything these people say.

    They tried to fit up Alex over the EU and over the BoE, both turned out to be fictional. Now this. I wonder how long the NO supporters will be able to hold on to the thinking supporters, or doubters.

    If you have to invent all your victories, then it looks as if you have no REAL victories to celebrate.

    As long as people don't see through that, ie perceive you're winning, then you are winning. The trouble is you have to have soem REAL wins amongst the fabricated ones.

  27. Exactly Pa. As I said to Dean. You can spin some things as a victory when they are not, but you have to watch how many lies you tell. Even the least perceptive eventually realise that you're fibbing...