Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Salmond's Independence Shocker - we won't get a say on final separation deal #sp11 #spdebate

Well the final leaders' debate of the 2011 election has just ended. I will write more about the detail tomorrow, but I want to concentrate on something that Alex Salmond said that shocked me to the core.

I have always been reasonably relaxed about the idea of a referendum on independence. After tonight, I'm not so sure. I had always assumed that if Scotland voted for independence negotiations to begin, then we'd get another chance, once they were concluded, we'd have another say on whether we'd back the deal.

It gave me the absolute creeps to hear that we wouldn't. I can't believe that Alex Salmond thinks that's legitimate.

As Tavish Scott pointed out, we're living in serious times. The latest STV poll puts the SNP well ahead, projecting 61 seats and the Greens 8. There's your parliamentary majority for the referendum. If you're going to vote yes, you'd have to trust the people who were doing the negotiating.

I don't know how things work in your house, but if we decide between us to buy something, I might well go off and do the research. But I would consider it a courteous thing to do to take the results of my research back to the others in the house and get their opinion before I made a final commitment. If I think it's that important to make sure everyone's on side when I'm buying a holiday or a washing machine, I darned well expect the Government to get my say so on a new constitutional settlement. Not to do so would be downright rude and would demonstrate enormous disrespect and arrogance for me and everyone else in Scotland.

If you are thinking of voting SNP or Green on Thursday, you might be fine with the idea of our country being separated off without us having a say on the deal, but on the other hand it might make you a bit scared, like it does me. Either way, you should be aware of what you're getting into. Maybe a majority for a referendum in the Parliament isn't such a good idea.  The very least I'd expect of the Liberal Democrat MSPs is to make sure a second referendum is held before anything final was done.


Douglas McLellan said...

Errr. Two referendums? That had never ever crossed my mind. I can just about see where you are coming from but i can't see what a second referendum would be on.

The first one would be on indpendence - yes or no. What would the second one be on? No other country that has had recent independence referendums has had a second vote. Why would we be different?

Caron said...

Well the first is on the principle, but the second must be on the terms of the deal, surely. What if it costs too much? Or if there's some issue with the way things like the taxation system/database are going to be split and how much we were going to be charged for it.

We have to have the right to stop a deal which could be disadvantageous to us. The SNP are so passionate about separation at any cost that they can't be trusted not to sell us down the river.

cynicalHighlander said...

You LibDems are so frightened of your own shadows that you need Westminster politicians to look after you. Creating stumbling blocks where there are none 'What if it costs too much?' please grow up.

priggy said...

I understand that 2 referendums are possibly whats needed and would make it properly democratically legitimate.

I can't help but think though that if leaving the union requires 2 referendums doesn't that make the joining of England & Scotland into the union not legit. The union only had a parliamentary majority & a shaky one at that considering i hear many MPs in Scotland abstained or at least didn't vote. Plus there was great opposition at the time.

Indeed probably the LibDems of the time were saying there should be a federal union or no union at all. There was widespread opposition to a union with England over economic grounds and other reasons.

Can you really say that the union is democratically legit?

Anonymous said...

Your idea is silly. If you said there was going to be a second referendum then you are giving the Westminster Government greater leverage in the negotiations, because they know that any deal has to be approved in that referendum. It would also give the Westminster Government the incentive to procrastinate in the negotiations in the hope that opinion in Scotland would change.

tris said...

Why not 3 or 4 just to be sure?

priggy said...

@cynicalhiglander I doubt the problem would be "if it costs too much" That problem would probably be debated in the 1st referendum.

The 2nd referendum would be to debate and to see whether the settlement provided by the negotiators was what we actually wanted.

cynicalHighlander said...

@priggy What I was responding too was Caron's quote which is just the 'cringe' factor which has held Scotland back for decades. Tavish panicked/knee jerked on the debate and Caron carried it on here.

There is the EU, Monarchy and lots of other things to be discussed but the LibDems don't believe in democracy which is why they chose AV as a referendum topic with only a Yes/No answer nothing else.

Anonymous said...

Well, when we agree to buy something one of us goes and does it while the other trusts that the one will try to get the best possible deal.

Simple really.

Evil Del said...

Of course there will be two referendums (sp). There might even be three.

1. To decide if the Scottish Government should negotiate independence.

2. To accept the negotiated settlement.

3. UK wide referendum to agree separation of Scotland from United Kingdom.

Alexander Belic said...

I can kind of see your argument here, in the independence referenda of the USSR states, each was asked if it supported the "Independence Bill" it's parliament had drafted. If the election does give us a majority of pro-independence MSPs it might have been worth considering that a group enter negotiations with Westminster representatives, and reach a deal to be put to the people in the referendum. However discussions of that nature are currently reserved.

The majority of countries that have had a successful independence referendum though have negotiated with the rump state after the declaration though, and with Scotland already having clearly defined borders as laid down in the Act of Union, its own distinct justice and education systems etc negotiations should be pretty straightforward.

tris said...

So, Evil Del, what would happen in a situation where Scotland votes FOR independence, but then England votes to not let Scotland go.

That would be a conundrum. One can only hope that by that time the UK has a prime minister with a little more between his ears than the current one.

No. That would be like suggesting that one day there was a UK government that would have the nerve to give a referendum on EU membership, and the UK voted to come out, but then the rest of Europe had to vote on it.

Referenda need not cost much, and certainly not to the tax payer. It is the publicity which costs, and that of course as we have seen in this referendum currently before us between...well, nothing really: one crap system and a miserable little compromise, the money has been spent by the Tory party with money from big business. Unless it has been stolen from the UK, no one should have spent tax payers’ money.


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