Friday, March 2, 2012
Business chiefs want Alex Salmond to hold an early Scottish independence referendum, FM can’t do that, as his SNP activist base desert him
With the referendum pencilled in by the Scottish Government for autumn of 2014, some people are confused by the date.
Recently the new Sun on Sunday paper was launched by Rupert Murdoch which gave the date as 18TH October 2014.
The paper felt so confident that it published this date after speaking to SNP sources, while there is a ‘consultation’ going on.
Is 18TH October 2014, a credible date?
Well what are happening in 2014?
Commonwealth Games and other high profile events are taking place that the First Minister Alex Salmond and his Cabinet will attend to get exposure by piggy backing on them as part of their strategy to convince people to vote for independence.
And if any Scots win then the photo op comes naturally after that, basking in others popularity is a standard PR tactic.
However, not everyone wishes to wait such a long time for the referendum to take place with engineering leaders adding to the growing calls from business for a speedy referendum on independence.
They argue that uncertainty could undermine business.
This argument seems to me to be weak, and it is unlikely that the SNP will bring forward their referendum.
Quite simply Alex Salmond has no one to work for him.
And even loyal activists are deserting him.
Peter Hughes, chief executive of Scottish Engineering, said the "vast majority" of his members wanted the vote to be held before autumn 2014.
This kind of echos what Michael Moore said a few weeks ago that 2013 should be used as the date, unfortunately the SNP are physically unable to bring their plans forward having set branches too many tasks without having the skills base to action them.
Hughes says a survey of members of the group indicated only 22% were happy with the 2014 date.
74% want the referendum to be held "much earlier".
That won’t happen, Alex Salmond isn’t a listening leader, given my personal experience; he will stick to 2014.
However, I don’t think 18th October is the right date; he sticks a referendum at the ‘end of the party’ season regarding events, when he should stick it in the middle two weeks after the Commonwealth Games to take advantage of the party atmosphere.
Mr Hughes also highlight what is developing as a theme in Scotland, he calls on SNP politicians to answer key questions on independence.
Typically Hughes's comments were welcomed by Scottish Secretary Michael Moore, who said business was making its voice heard "loud and clear".
Moore added that there was an "undeniable head of steam" building up, stating:
"Let's get on with asking the Scottish people a single question next year."
Unionist parties and others are now getting together to put the case for the union to continue, we will see more calls for an early referendum.
Labour leader Ed Miliband is in Dundee today to tell the Scottish Labour conference in Dundee that Scotland and England would be weaker apart, saying:
"If we are going to build an economy that works for working people, we are going to have to build it together."
In football, people like to play a game called ‘keepy up’ where a ball is continually kicked in the air, unfortunately the referendum isn’t a ball and the SNP trying to keep it in the public domain all the time won’t serve their purpose.
Already, the new kid on the block is ‘devo plus’ which opposition parties are gathering round.
One thing is certain, the devo plus option has merit, and if it is delivered by unionist parties, gets on the ballot paper, and independence vote is defeated, the SNP won’t be able to claim they delivered for Scotland.
It will be Westminster.
Then there will be Westminster election to follow and I don’t expect the SNP to do any better than they previously did in 2010, because the SNP is a party only fixate on Holyrood.
They don’t connect with the public on reserve issues, they just don’t connect at all, and you need more than a little ‘Scotlander’ mentality at Westminster, that’s the ‘big hoose’, you need to walk tall there with big ideas and vision.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University