Wednesday, January 11, 2012

SNP calls vote on independence, trip to the UK Supreme Court regarding referendum legality as Westminster fights back looks likely now!

Dear All

There is a line I like which goes something like this, in a court of law whoever tells the best story wins.

In the last few days the lead has been flying back and forth across the border between the Westminster and Holyrood Governments.

This is over the independence referendum which has been announced to take place provisionally in the autumn of 2014.

I have blogged that it might have been somewhere between March and June 2014, the rational for autumn is that the European election is expected mid 2014.

Either way, the independence campaign will have to run in parallel with that campaign because there is no other choice.

Mid 2014 also sees the Commonwealth Games and other activities being planned so; it is going to be a crowded schedule politically.

We now have threats of legal action from Scottish Secretary Michael Moore, so no one is prepared to budge, we can expect a trip to court at either Scottish level or UK Supreme Court level if this all goes sideways.

And I expect it to since the idea that 16 and 17 years will be given the vote,won’t fly,and will invalidate the entire referendum.

So, what would happen if this mess winds up in the UK Supreme Court as constitutional issues are reserved matters?

Then the Scottish Government will see that they are in the same position as they were in during the Cadder Case, arguing for something that they are not entitled to do.

With not a leg to stand on!

It was wrong for the Westminster Government to try and bounce the Holyrood Parliament into an early election; however this led the Scottish Government to quickly announce a date within 24 hours.

On Tuesday 25th October 2011, I wrote this post.

I came within about circa a month or so, it wasn’t difficult to work out the time frame in a general sense.

In fact, it was quite easy, it only took me a few minutes to analyse this.

Alex Salmond has now moved on to speak of the three-month public consultation plan which details the process leading up to the historic vote.

The nuts and bolts of this, I will blog on when I see the material and give an opinion on that, however, the idea that 16 and 17 year olds will get the right to vote will become unstuck pretty damn quick if the SNP continues to push this.

This isn’t going to happen and be seen as a legitimate referendum vote.

Just as the Northern Ireland Assembly can be suspended, so can the Scottish Parliament and the powers transferred back to the British State.

Holyrood can be shutdown.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said:

"It is rather sad that a First Minister of Scotland keeps his plans for the constitutional future of our nation secret, doesn't tell the Scottish Parliament, but goes on TV because a debate at Westminster might keep him out of the headlines. We deserve better. This is about the future of Scotland, not the profile of Alex Salmond. This issue deserves calm consideration – not a panicked response from a panicked First Minister."

She added:

"We need to know there will be just one question, what that question is, and that the Electoral Commission will administer it. The First Minister should hold cross-party talks – including all quarters of civic Scotland – to discuss these details, including the date."

Scots Tory leader Ruth Davidson said:

"Decisive action by the UK Government has forced his hand. We can discuss times and dates as part of the consultation, but the key issues for me are what is the question and who is the referee? Alex Salmond should be embracing the offer of more powers to hold a proper, real referendum. We are offering a fair, legal and decisive vote. Why wouldn't Alex Salmond want that?"

LibDem Holyrood leader Willie Rennie said:

"Announcing autumn 2014 as high-noon in the fight to protect Scotland's future as part of the UK family doesn't address the issue of ensuring the Scottish people decide the outcome, not the courts."

Fellow LibDem Sir Menzies Campbell said:

"If there are those who are so confident of the case for independence why is it they are unwilling to countenance a referendum now? Could it be the bravehearts are no longer quite so brave as they have been before?"

So, the unionist camp are on the attack now, at present it is a ‘phoney war’, if ends up in Court then all hell will break loose.

I think that we will end up at the UK Supreme Court the way things are going.

Alex Salmond said the referendum should be ‘made in Scotland, built in Scotland and run in Scotland’.

I have no problem with that but Alex Salmond and his advisors should think very carefully whether having this artificial argument is worth the damage to reputation for competence that the Scottish Government has built up.

It took years for Alex Salmond to build up the reputation of the Scottish Government as a competent government and it will takes only days to destroy it.

Once your reputation is damaged by your own hand, it is hard to get it back.

LibDem Sir Menzies Campbell said:

“Could it be the bravehearts are no longer quite so brave as they have been before?"

Brave enough in some quarters Menzies.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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