Saturday, 28 January 2012

This was the week that wasn't...

This should have been a momentous week in Scottish politics. Should have been but wasn't. Instead, it's been a week of dreary bickering, first ministerial egotism, bombast and clumsy vote-rigging. The launch of the Scottish Executive's referendum consultation paper revealed (to no-one's great surprise) the SNP wanting weans to vote, to delay the referendum for a thousand days, a laughably biased question and a plea to 'civic Scotland' to come up with a second question.

Within hours a self-selecting group popped up, declared themselves to be 'civic Scotland' and started briefing that they were the voice of Scotland and they demanded a second question on the ballot. The problem these folk have is that they have no democratic mandate from the people of Scotland. 'Civic Scotland' in the '80s and '90s was a rainbow alliance of political parties, churches, trades unions and community groups which drew its democratic credentials from the votes of the political parties. Any grouping without support from political parties better explain where its democratic mandate comes from.

However, the biggest problem this new grouping has is its relationship with the Scottish Executive. The SNP make no secret of their belief that: 'He who pays the piper calls the tune', and it's beginning to look like a deal has already been struck amongst some of those organisations which rely on Scottish Executive funding and their paymasters.'The Scotsman' carries a story today warning that there are fears that 'civic Scotland' is being leaned on by the SNP. The truth of the matter is that 'civic Scotland' is not being leaned on by the SNP; they are being directed by them. A second question along the lines of Reform Scotland's DevoPlus  has already been agreed by some of the folk in 'civic Scotland' as has a timetable for announcing such a decision - making the meeting planned for Monday nothing but a sham. Those organisations who genuinely care about  Scotland would be well advised to steer well clear of this travesty of democracy.


  1. Wasn't Gordon Brown a believer in votes for 16 year olds Graham?

    1. (Replying to Conan because for some reason the post button isn't showing up Grahamski)

      So lets get some facts straight.

      The question is the same form of wording offered by Westminister in the 1997 Scottish Referendum

      'I agree that there should be a Scottish Parliament'


      'I agree that a Scottish Parliament should have tax-varying powers.'

      There was a turnout for the 1997 referendum of 60.4%, no problems reported on having two questions, Scots were more than able to handle it.The question isn't biased at all, it's simple, clear and sets out a clear prospectus.

      An Autumn 2014 date has been set for the referendum so that it takes account of due process, gives plenty of time to discuss and debate the issues in parliament, in the public realm and with civic Scotland. This is entirely proper for such a momentous decision and in accordance with SNP promises before the last election.

      Civic Scotland or probably better defined as the 'third option group' is as yet an undefined group, however the people who have spoken out did so prior to the Scottish Government's consultation paper and already seem represent Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, STUC, Churches,third sector, think tanks and prominent business individuals. This represents a wide range of public opinion that once there is a formal 'Devo Max' campaign will widen no doubt.

      That Grahamski and the Labour Party arrogantly believe that they alone hold the democratic balance in representing the publics views is merely symptomatic of Labour's demise.

      Labour are simply caught in the nat headlights and the public sees that.

      What is correct to say is that it will be difficult to include any devo max question if no political party commits to delivering it with a democratic mandate from the referendum.

      Labour are failing to listen and it's evident that the thinking left are disgusted with their tribal antics, Labour are tanking make no mistake. They look more out of touch than ever, unable to articulate a basic vision for their country without deference to a Tory Westminister.

      This will be their undoing, by failing to support popular public opinion out of what appears to be simply tribal hatred of the nats will simply force progressive moderates to vote for independence, let's face it, the case for the union has not materialised, nor will it.

      In short the nats appear to have played a blinder, the only thing that can defeat independence will be Devo Max.

      Labour's continued stalling is simply decimating their stock.

      Expect a U Turn by Willie Rennie in 2013 and that he offers to deliver the outcome of deliberations from civic scotland but that he will tie into a UK narrative with referendums also promised for England, wales NI.

      Expect Scots to simply refuse to back such a longshot.

      Expect Independence by 2015.

    2. "travesty of democracy." - only Labour could describe a second question in a referendum thus. People are pointing and laughing at Labour, they are a complete joke.

    3. Conan, if Gordon Brown supports votes for 16 year olds he is wrong. Won't be the first time I hear you muttering....

  2. Come now Graham, don't lose interest like last time, answer Bruce.

    1. Thanks for that. You've guaranteed the lifespan of this blog to be at least five weeks.

  3. Naughty boy (Is that you Wardoggy? If so, welcome),

    The questions in the 1997 devolution referendum were laughably biased, that doesn't mean that your lot can get away with such sneakiness.

    The two questions in the 1979 referendum weren't mutually exclusive. You could vote yes to both of them without contradicting yourself. Quite clearly you can't vote FOR separation AND staying in the union. That is just plain nuts.

    So far those folk who have decribed themselves as 'civic Scotland' are organisations funded by the Scottish Executive, some churches and the STUC. I hope the STUC and the churches don't get themselves involved with a SNP front group dedicated to doing their paymasters' bidding.

    In politics the political parties are the only organisations who can legitimately describe themselves as having a democratic mandate for the simple reason they are the only ones who seek one. That is not to say that other folk and groups don't have an important role in our democracy.

    Thanks again for your concern about the Labour Party and your advice.

    1. Why did 't you raise this bias at the time of the 1997 referendum?

      The two questions were potentially mutually exclusive, there was a chance that the tax raising powers received a majority and the vote for a parliament a marginal 'no' - nowhere on the ballot did it suggets that they were mutually linked.

      Again, why didn't raise this at the time?

      YOu suggestions that parties funded through public expenditure ar unable to be independent in operation, views and actions is simply ludicrous and not worthy of further exploration. The group is fronted in part by an labour ex-fm, the ex leader of the liberal democrats and has conservative representation too. Just because you don't like it Grahamski dones't make it bad. In fact your railing against this suggests that it's very right because lets face it, 'democrat' isn;t a word that springs to mind when I think of Labour Party members.

      "In politics the political parties are the only organisations who can legitimately describe themselves as having a democratic mandate" - complete garbage.

      Votes for Women
      Apartheid Protest
      Civil Rights
      etc etc

      You really need to try harder than this if this blog is going to have any staying power. You should be using to explore the possibilities, instead it appears to have started off as a rather narrow anti-nat complaint site.

      3/10 Must try harder.

    2. "3/10 Must try harder." I will do my best on my next post...

  4. Given the snp wont full Independence(er! dont they)
    why are they pulling out all stops etc over Devo max which allegedly no snp(extremist) supporter would deign to vote for.

    They have spoken more about Devo max than independence Salmond goes er! i will vote for Independence and then spends the next 15 minutes going on about Devo max

    Its a blinking conundrum and no mistake!


    Just why do 'THEY' hate you quite so much I mean its so vitriolic i could light a cigarette of me pc screen from their comments.
    I have had a few run ins with em but they tend to treat me like their mentally retarded brother.

    1. Thanks for your post. I think the SNP are desperate for a second question for a number of reasons: it prevents the catastrophic (for the SNP) situation where the Scottish people unequivocally reject the SNP's core objective, separation. It causes confusion and splits amongst those who oppose separation and for me the most important thing, it gives Mr Salmond a licence to demand more powers even if folk reject separation.

      I don't pay any attention to the nutters and their bile on-line. I've spent over thirty years involved in politics in Scotland and the SNP alone amongst Scotland's parties have always had a nasty and personalised dimension to their campaigning.

    2. It's wonderful how the hard of thinking find allowing civic scotland a voice in the debate is a sign of wekaness. Despite the fact that Labour's stock amongst the thinking left is tanking because of their inexplicable stance. The SNP need not include a second question, simply by allowing debate and having the unionist parties oppose that debate, they will have won the moral argument and when pushed into a yes / no question, which way do you think moderates will vote?

    3. Cripes, anything to avoid talking about separation, eh? I'm not surprised, after your dear leader making an ass of himself on the Andrew Marr Show, then the deputy leader being turned over on Politics Scotland you guys should have been delighted to see the week end.

      Unfortunately for you this week has started the way last week ended with the SNP 'civic Scotland' front having its wings well and truly clipped. The BBC reports: "..they stressed it would not push for any particular outcome or argue for a second "devo max" question on a referendum ballot paper..." Eck will be raging.

    4. Niko, I don't hate anyone, now away back to your colouring in...

  5. So a Glasgow Councillor has crossed the floor and joined the SNP citing that he wants to live in an independent Scotland with no nuclear weapons and no illegal wars. How much longer before Grahamski defects?

  6. Grahamski,

    Conans just being nasty have a look and then decide whos telling the truth

    Hootsmans editor armed and dangerous(extremely)

    1. OOh that's when you had a todger or aren't you a 'man' of your word.