Wednesday, April 4, 2012
UK Government consultation reveals that most Scots want a single question in referendum and ballot sooner than 2014, SNP running out of options
The public has spoken, but will the Scottish Government listen?
An overwhelming majority of people who took the time to reply to the UK Government's consultation on the independence referendum for Scotland believe voters should be asked a single question on Scottish independence.
This is the preferred stated position in public of the Scottish National Party by Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.
But the SNP keep talking about devo-max which a referendum cannot deliver.
Devo-max requires the consent of individual MPs at Westminster which is unlikely to be forthcoming any time soon.
Westminster not the Scottish Government would decide what devo max means and what is the limit of it.
Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said 2857 people responded to the UK Government consultation and stated that the opinons came from a broad cross section of the public, businesses and academics.
The result is 75% response in favour of a single question.
The UK and Scottish Governments and all main political parties have already expressed a preference for a single question referendum.
However the Scottish Government's consultation is keeping open the option for the possible second question, to test support for "devo-max" or "devo-plus".
Devo-max gives the SNP a fall back position if independence is rejected, it is more for their own supporters who have to be shown something for their efforts and be motivated for next election which is likely to be held in 2015.
That will be a Westminster contest which the SNP tend to do badly in, the reasons are plainly obvious why the SNP fail to connect with voters on that national level.
Anyway Michael Moore said:
"If all the political parties and the vast majority of respondents to our consultation agree that they would prefer a single question referendum then we must be able to agree that it will be a single question referendum."
I wouldn’t say that yet, the devo-max issue is still live in the minds of SNP strategists, if indy fails and they get nothing, followed by a crushing defeat at Westminster, many SNP MSPs will be one term candidates only.
At present some have already lost their seats but don’t even know it.
The UK Government has published a 26 page document summarising the responses to the consultation and setting out the level of support for the Government’s proposals on how to facilitate a legal, fair and decisive referendum.
The consultation responses revealed:
75% agreed with the UK Government that there should be a single question on Scotland’s constitutional status.
70% agreed with the UK Government that the referendum should take place sooner rather than later.
63% support giving the Scottish Parliament the power to legislate for a referendum.
86% agreed with the UK Government that the Electoral Commission should have a role in overseeing an independence referendum.
71% expressed the view that those resident in Scotland should be entitled to vote in a referendum.
Mr Moore said people gave reasons both of principle and practice for supporting a single question referendum:
In principle, independence and devolution are separate issues and should not be confused.
In practice, there is no agreement on what a second referendum question would be about, and there would be an unclear and disputed outcome if a second question received more support than independence but independence was pronounced the winner.
The news is probably what the SNP were expecting the continual delay is a double edge sword.
On the one hand the SNP need the extra time because they have no one to work for them and on the other dragging it out weakens their position as people get fed up with a diet of independence at the expense of no work getting done by the Scottish Government.
And that is what people will pinpoint; why is the Scottish Government completely paralysed by inactivity.
In appearing to want an agenda for change, the SNP has painted themselves into a corner by keeping the status quo going until after August 2014.
Despite having an SNP majority, this parliament may turn to be one of the worst parliaments in Holyrood’s history.
And the SNP second term record will be very much under the microscope as people ask; what they have been going for the last 3 years?
The answer is quite simple, they have been playing celebrity politics and if they don’t change their poor attitude soon, they are about to be politically slapped hard across the face by an unforgiving public.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University