Thursday, January 12, 2012

Rennie highlights Salmond's disrespect for Parliament

It seems that our esteemed leader, Mr Rennie and I had similar thoughts about our First Minister's grandstanding on the news last night, bursting forth with information about his preferred date for the referendum.

My second thought* was along the lines of "what a bloody cheek, he should have told Parliament first."

And so I tweeted:

This is a special pet hate of mine because I used to get very, very annoyed when Labour ministers used to announce their plans on Andrew Marr or some other media outlet. It just smacked of disrespect for the Parliament the Government was accountable to.

Like Snow White's stepmother, enraged by the cool performance of another, Salmond clearly decided drastic action was necessary, not quite thinking through how it should properly be done. It's the same sort of mentality that a referendum overseen by a group of people chosen by his government will do fine, regardless of whether it's actually legal or not. When you have an office, you have to be really careful not to exceed its powers.

Salmond's news interviews, where he appeared in front of a cosy fire and saltires at Bute House, and his announcement of the referendum date appear not to have been expected by his MPs who were in the Commons listening to Moore. It had all the impression of being done completely on the spur of the moment. Why the need for the high drama? Why not just make a statement to Parliament on Wednesday lunchtime?

I was quite glad to see that Willie Rennie thought Salmond had not shown Holyrood its proper courtesy.

Yesterday he raised a point of order in the Chamber.
On a point of order, Presiding Officer. Yesterday, Scotland’s ministers at Westminster set out the United Kingdom Government’s proposals for a fair, legal and decisive referendum in two statements: one to the House of Commons and one to the House of Lords. They took 47 questions from members of Parliament. In Scotland, the First Minister announced his date for the referendum, not to the Scottish Parliament but to Sky News—although Brian Taylor disputes that fact outside.
Given that the decision relates to what the First Minister called the biggest question for Scots in 300 years, and given that the Scottish Government is always concerned about the respect agenda, has the Scottish Government made a request to make a statement to this Parliament today? Is there any reason why you, Presiding Officer, would not be able to respond positively to such a request if it were made by the Scottish ministers?
Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick said she'd not had any request for a statement.

Willie said afterwards:

“This shows the SNP’s disrespect for the Scottish Parliament. Instead of choosing to make a statement to the Scottish Parliament on Scotland’s biggest question for 300 years, Mr Salmond instead chose to make his statement to the media.
 “With the SNP’s majority in Parliament, it is obvious that they feel they can do anything.
 “The bulldozer is out of the garage.”

* my first thought was to be reminded of Princess Diana going out wearing a very sexy dress the night Charles admitted adultery to Jonathan Dimbleby in a clear (and successful) attempt to steal the limelight.


Anonymous said...

I think your headline should read 'Rennie highlights his total lack of judgement yet again'.

You both know perfectly well that Salmond was expressing his PREFERRED TIMELINE for a Referendum in advance of publishing a CONSULTATION document.

Therefore, whatever the language used, there is no question that 'the date of the Referendum was announced' anywhere other than in your head. All that has been done is an expectation set.

And by the way, why should Salmond announce anything to the Scottish Parliament when, in your party's view, the Scottish Parliament doesn't have the competence to legislate for the Referendum?

Rennie's intevention yesterday was sheer petulance probably borne out of frustration that Michael Moore was getting all the attention after he had been chosen by your Tory bosses to make a clown of himself on Tuesday.

I don't think Cameron could believe his luck that he found such a willing and able stooge.

Fourfolksache said...

Come on, he was left with little choice but to respond immediately - not wait til the next day? I don't like this sort of statement being made with telling parliament first either. To be fair I think he should have preempted Moore's speech and could have told Holyrood properly.
But Willie Rennie of cartoon camel fame criticising Eck - give me a break!

tris said...

Did Mr Cameron, the esteemed leader of your coalition not do exactly the same thing, without even referring to his cabinet, or apparently his deputy?

Nick Clegg said that he preferred a middle road between status quo and within minutes Mr Cameron announced an in or out referendum, which he would force on Scotland.

And then of course, like with most of the rest of his policies (some in response to Liberal demands, I'd admit) the prat had to do a bit of serious back pedalling.

We always knew that it was going to be in the latter part of the parliament. The autumn of the ante-penultimate year, when there was not another election, was really the only one possible. So no great announcement.

Admittedly, it could have been in the spring. :)

(All this twaddle about the battle of Bannockburn is, I suspect, dredged up by the gutter press.)

Having said that, I don't think that any announcement by any government, anywhere, should ever be made (except in emergency) except in parliament.

But I bet there isn't a party that has been in government that can say that they never used the press rather than parliament to do that!

Bob said...

Pretty weak Caron. He was in China when the coalition suddenly started making their announcements and demands for the date of the referendum. The day he gets back he gives his preferred timescale. No date.
If he hadn't made any announcement you would be doing a post denouncing him for failing to name a date. And if he'd said he would wait until he could make an announcement in Parliament you would be asking why all the mystery etc. Just speak up Alex etc....
Are you not making a rod for your own back ? Shall I google for some examples of when the Lib Dems failed to make an announcement to Parliament during their coalition with Labour ?
Goodness knows what Nick and dave get up to on our behalf in their little discussions. Nothing in the London Parliament about the ongoing Iran/ Werrity/ Fox chit chats. I don't remember dave telling Parliament before he told the BBC etc about his 18 months timescale.

Dubbieside said...

Why should anyone listen to a non entity like Rennie.

How many people voted for him in May 2011? take your time now Caron it was between zero and none. This political giant did not have the B***s to stand under his own name, but limped in seventh out of eight on the assisted places scheme.

Alex Salmond has a mandate, Rennie has none.

P.S. Since you were so full of praise for the £3 million of jobs that Moore arranged for Scotland in Brazil, I cannot understand your reluctance to share with us just where these jobs are.

P.P.S. Read this and weep, a Lib Dem with some intelligence.

An endangered species in the Lib Dems I think.

Anonymous said...

Willie Rennie's mandate is nothing


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