Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Willie Rennie: SNP moving the goalposts to win at all costs


I have shamelessly filched this from Willie Rennie's Facebook fan page with the aim of encouraging you to "like" it if you haven't already. 

It's quite an interactive environment, with discussions, polls,  pretty pictures and lots of information about what Willie's been up to.

And for what it's worth, I'd actually back Willie's sons against him on any computer game you might care to mention. Twiddling knobs and waving about controllers isn't really his thing.

Anyway, this is Willie's piece on the SNP's plans for independence to win in the referendum even if it comes second. Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University said yesterday that he could see an "obvious problem" with the Government's intentions.

"The Scottish Parliament has been in recess for the last couple of weeks, a chance to spend more time in the constituency, catch up with family… and play football on the Wii with my son.

I don’t get the chance to play that often and as a result he is a great deal more accomplished at the swoosh of the wrist needed to even pass the ball.

I lost, convincingly. But this week the SNP Government offered me solace in defeat.

In football, just as in politics, I believed that who scores the most goals, or secures the most votes, wins - but it seems I have been mistaken.

Let me explain. The SNP have confirmed that they will include two questions in their referendum to split Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom. The first, a straight yes/no on if Scotland should be independent, the second on if Scotland should enjoy more powers in partnership with the rest of these islands.

This got me thinking – what happens if the answer to both questions comes back yes, but with more people voting for more powers? Who wins?

The answer given by the SNP should send a shiver down the spine of anyone who believes in democracy.

In this scenario, where yes to independence gets 51% of the vote and yes to more powers gets 99%, the SNP have said that independence would win.

This kind of electoral jiggery pokery proves that the SNP will do anything to tear Scotland away from the secure and strong partnership that the UK offers.

 ‘Who gets the most votes wins’ has been a universal principle since landowners lost the chance to influence tenants with the introduction of the secret ballot in 1872.

Although Mr Salmond will not be standing over the shoulder of every voter in the polling booth, how much will that vote count for if the SNP simply move the goalposts and declare victory?

The two question conundrum is just another in a long list of questions that the SNP have failed to adequately answer. How much will independence cost? How will we defend ourselves? What role will we play in international organisations?

I will continue to seek answers to these questions as the constitution, the future of Scotland, needs clarity not confusion.

Mr Salmond’s electoral strategy is at odds with every democratic principle that exists.

That said, if my son wants to introduce it at our re-match then I won’t quibble too much."

8 comments:

Richard said...

Hello Caron,

One of your commenters on a previous post made a very good point, which I haven't seen you respond to yet. Namely, the fact that supporters of independence are going to be very likely to support Devo Max as well if given the choice, albeit as very much a second choice.

Under those circumstances, how can it be democratic to try and use the votes of independence supporters combined with supporters of devo max and nothing more, to claim that devo max is the more popular of the two options, if independence is capable of commanding an outright majority on its own?

Regards,

Richard

Caron said...

But how do you know, without a preferential voting system, who actually wanted what and in what order?

It's very clear that the option wanted by most people is Devo Max in the example, but under the SNP's plans, the second question wouldn't count and would be an optional extra depending on the result. That isn't fair.

If Professor John Curtice says there is an issue, who are we to argue with him?

Richard said...

There's plenty I could argue with John Curtice about, and indeed have done face to face :-)

My preference would be for a ballot where preferences are ranked. However, that also represented 'SNP jiggery pokery' and 'attempts to get independence by stealth' according to some.

The fact is, it doesn't really matter how the questions are asked or how many questions there are - the only way to beat independence is to come up with an option which is more popular. Right now, that option probably doesn't exist because while lots of people - perhaps even the greater number of voters - say they want 'more powers', there's no consensus on 'which powers' those should be. As a supporter of a party which has supported 'Home Rule all Round' for as long as yours has, surely you must be a bit concerned that no-one in your party's ranks can say with any precision how they would like a Federal UK, or even a more highly devolved Scotland, to work in practice?

It all might end up being academic in any case. If it's left to the Scottish Government to try and define what 'Devo Max' might be, they might well just go ahead with a straight yes/no vote. Under the circumstances of the pro-union parties having declined to come up with a plan for further devolution and consent to get it through Westminster, who right now would bet against a majority of Scots deciding to go straight for independence?

I really am trying to look at this as objectively as I can. Right now, your party, along with Labour and the Tories, just don't seem to realise the nature of the opportunity the SNP government is offering to you to allow you to get your own way...

Fourfolksache said...

Oh dear, what a stushie!
A two question referendum is EXACTLY the same as last time!
One do you want more powers (last time more than none!)
Two, do you want further powers (in this instance all powers- last time limited tax varying powers)
Salmond has said he wants to have YES/YES as before. What’s the problem.
Currently we have the discredited Calman bill (more powers) constructed by three parties continually represented as a consensus but rejected at the May election???
And if the vote was 70% YES and 51% YES then the result is a YES/YES!!!
If it is 70% YES and 49% YES we have more devolution but not total independence. And just as now 14 years after the last referendum if we wish to extend devolution further we can. The main reason for this would be because competence would(as now) possibly be proved and confidence increased!
Labour (or some Labour) want to frighten the natives and have rejection of an independence only vote!

cynicalHighlander said...

How sad unionists are that they are unable to assess a simple question without confusing themselves no wonder Scotland has been held back all these decades.

Re J Curtis the BBC favourite 'expert' has shown his political allegiance in the past which twists his deliberations in most of his 'analysis' of polls Caron

ps What happened to my previous post from 2 days ago?

Caron said...

CH, what post was that? I don't have any unmoderated comments - although the upshot of your query is I found a comment from Tris from ages ago in the spam.

Nothing from you, though - maybe Blogger has eaten it?

Surely you Nats must see the necessity to have a clear, unambiguous result that nobody can dispute? That may not happen the way the referendum is being planned.

cynicalHighlander said...

What is ambiguous in it?

Independence or Devo-Max or No change.

If Independence is greater than 50+% then Scotland wins and No change loses.

Devo-Max only comes into play if Independence doesn't reach above 50%.


Simple if you think about it.

The muddying of the waters is by unionist politicians and their helpers as they wish to try and discredit the SNP.

Don Mc said...

Caron, the problem here is that Salmond has never said there will be two questions on the referendum ballot. He stated he would consider it but it would be for a Unionist party to define and campaign for devo-max, not the SNP who will be campaigning for independence.

See, Salmond's plan seems to be quite simple. In 3 years time, the opinion polls may very well show that a "Yes to independence" is looking pretty much a done deal. What will the Unionists do then to save their precious union? Retire gracefully and accept defeat? Campaign that bit harder for a "No" and keep their fingers crossed? Or demand that a compromise option is included, let's call it, purely for argument sake, devo-max or indi-lite?

Now, after all the stushie that the likes of Rennie has kicked up over this, there is hardly a single Unionist MSP who would have any credibility calling for the inclusion of such an option.

And the kicker? It wasn't the SNP that denied the people of Scotland the choice of devo-max, it wasn't Salmond who denied the people of Scotland the opportunity to remain in the UK with increased powers, it was Labour, it was the Tories and it was the Lib Dems. Salmond will endure a couple of days of accusatory headlines now (isn't that just normal), the Unionists will big it up for a couple of days but this will almost guarantee a "yes" vote on a single question ballot. And the Unionists have so much contempt for the SNP, and Salmond in particular, that they can see the trap he's laid even after they've all fell into it.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails