Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mike Moore launches independence consultation in statesmanlike Commons statement

Today belongs to Michael Moore. After a torrid few days on the Scottish political scene, he told the House of Commons this afternoon that he was launching a consultation aimed at "empowering the people of Scotland to participate in a legal referendum".

In the view of the Westminster Government (and as I wrote earlier the highest echelons of the SNP and proper  lawyers), the Scottish Government does not currently have the legal power to hold a referendum. We've been hearing for days that the UK Government was therefore going to take over the whole thing, dictate terms, basically run the referendum. Maybe that's what David Cameron wanted to do, but thankfully the Lib Dem insistence on reason won the day. For Mike didn't have some sort of High Noon style showdown. He announced a consultation, open till 9th March, open to all Scots to complete. I suspect you'll be hearing a bit more of that on here over the next few weeks.

The document asks people for their views on issues like timing, the question(s), whether it should be supervised by the Electoral Commission and who should have the vote.

While Mike was still on his feet in the Commons taking a good hour's worth of questions, Alex Salmond, in a blatant attempt to grab the headlines for tomorrow, went live on the news and announced that the Government intended to hold the referendum in the Autumn of 2014. The whole thing put me in mind of that moment in in 1994 when Diana went out in an amazing dress as Charles gave his interview to Jonathan Dimbleby. Except, clearly, Eck isn't quite as sexy.

I also thought it was a bit rude of the First Minister to so hurriedly announce the date on the news, rather than to his own Parliament. There was no reason he had to do it then - it could have waited until tomorrow.

If the SNP's preferred date sticks, that's almost 3 years away. I am almost at the end of my tether after 8 months of bickering and snidiness. If I'm going to save my sanity, this campaign has to up its game in terms of quality, positivity and passion on both sides.

Anyway, as has become my custom, I've compiled my tweets of the occasion along with some others into a Storify thingy which is below. Now, I know I've made a couple of howlers, when my brain wandered, but I'm sure you get my drift. Successional clearly means successful. You might like my conversation with Tom Harris, Labour's self-styled attack dog about the need for a positive campaign.

I'm sure that Mike Moore will have won over a lot of respect today for a very people centred, positive performance which compares well with the First Minister's Diva antics.


Bob said...

Unionist BBC sidelined in favour of STV - brill !
Fed up with the BBC taking the mick and slandering the SNP with edited videos etc.
Newsnight Scotland is the worst. Always a quick pre recorded interview with the SNP then 20 minutes live slagging them off with their Unionist pals in the LIBLabCon
Michael Moore was just grandstanding. No change there. In a job the Libs said was irrelevant until they got the smell of the limo. He says we need a legal framework but says we'll get it but we must kiss his bum first. On yer bike lol

Anonymous said...

You imply criticism of Alex for announcing roughly when the referendum will be called to the press rather than the parliament.

I agree it should have been parliament.

However, the Westminster Cabinet was not even informed when Dave made his announcement to the press, as you demonstrated when you pointed out that the Liberals managed to save Cameron from the worst excesses of his Flashman self by toning down both the rhetoric and the actual conditions upon which he intends to move forward.

At least Alex did it AFTER the Cabinet meeting.

I hope the Westminster cabinet will take cognisance of the international requirements of a referendum on independence.

The threat of Cameron calling it himself, would probably be illegal under the United Nations law which appears to state that in cases of independence the governing power in the greater state may have no part in organising the referendum. presumably for fear of interference... or put simply, cheating.

Anonymous said...

I can imagine Caron and her ilk wringing their hands back in 1776 - "Ooh no, Mr Washington, we can't declare independence, it won't be legal unless we have approval from the Westminster parliament!"

cynicalHighlander said...

The panicking Unionists of Labour/Tory/LibDems are obviously against human rights in clutching at straws over the 'legal' issue.

Dr Matt Qvortrup: Scotland does not need permission to go it alone

WHEN Michael Moore stood at the Dispatch Box at Westminster yesterday he had a simple message; Scotland’s constitutional settlement rests with Westminster and Scottish independence would require the consent of London.

With all due respect, this argument is neither consistent with international law nor is it compatible with the constitutional doctrine of referendums in the United Kingdom.

It is strange as well that Unionists are allowed 3 people against 1 SNP in any debate, British 'fairness and honesty' in action.


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