Wednesday, June 27, 2012

SNP pull out of prestigious indy debate at The Spectator, no one in the history of the Debates has ever asked to ‘rig’ the panel, it’s a disgrace!

Dear All

Yesterday I was checking the blog and found that someone had popped in from The Spectator magazine which is edited by Fraser Nelson, I remember him from Glasgow University.

Anyway someone had posted a link to the world famous The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University blog which is read by thousands.

Since I was semi regular poster on The Spectator, I decided to read the article by Fraser Nelson.

It seems that the Scottish National Party had been invited to a prestigious Spectator debate and then bottled it because the SNP wanted two of their people on the panel.

In real life, it should only take one.

I could have done it no problem, but given the genuine lack of talent in the Scottish National Party, it seems that the SNP wanted to go in ‘mob handed’.

Here is the extraordinary article by Fraser Nelson in full for educational purposes only.

“The Battle for Britain is heating up this week, with the pro-union campaign launched in Edinburgh this morning and a Spectator debate on the union on Wednesday. We have, as ever, a strong lineup – but the Scottish National Party is noticeable by its absence. I thought CoffeeHousers may like to know why not.

We planned the debate ages ago, and from the offset wanted SNP to be on board. As Scottish separation would have implications for the whole of the UK we asked someone to make the case for English separation: Kelvin MacKenzie. And someone to speak up for the union: Sir Malcolm Rifkind. The Nats didn’t like this one bit. We tried to accommodate them, but their condition – that we allow two SNP members to be on the same team – was one we just could not satisfy. We had to go ahead without them. We called Margo MacDonald, who quit the SNP and now sits in Holyrood as an independent nationalist. She said yes immediately and was not in the least concerned about the other panelists, seeming to have complete confidence in the strength of her own argument. As Margo’s fans will know, she has the ballast of about five ordinary parliamentarians.

The SNP’s refusal to take part in the debate was, to me, deeply puzzling. I admire Alex Salmond almost as much as I disagree with him, and The Spectator has awarded him two top gongs in our Parliamentarian of the Year awards in recent years. Is the SNP really so scared of Sir Malcolm? Was there some dislike of the idea of debating on enemy soil? Or did they bridle at our inclusion of an English voice in the debate about Britain? We organize lots of debates at The Spectator. This is the first time anyone has asked to have two representatives on a six-person panel. It seems that the SNP is, to use one of Salmond’s beloved Scottishisms, feart.

Is Sir Malcolm really so scary? Is the prospect of an English audience too intimidating? Or accepting that they are in agreement with Kelvin about the union? Perhaps the prospect of real, non-rigged debate is in itself something that the SNP has reason to be wary of. I’m not sure. But to see what made the SNP demand safety in numbers, do come and join us in South Kensington on Wednesday night for the debate. Tickets are still available, here.

PS: The debate was always going to be a six-person contest over the motion 'It's time to let Scotland go'. Here is a list of the speakers:

For: Gerry Hassan, Kelvin MacKenzie and Margo MacDonald

Against: Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Rory Stewart MP and Iain Martin”.

The Spectator Debates are prestigious, to be asked on is a coup in itself, as Fraser Nelson said, no one in its history has ever tried to rig the panel to suit their own ends.

Many will see this as another sign of why things are going badly for the independence campaign, I see their confidence falling, I see no vision, I see no ideas, I see no preparation to make Scotland an independent country, I see basic and also complex questions which cannot be answered at any level.

I see a lack of genuine talent in the Scottish National Party.

It appears the analogy that ‘one man can make a difference’ doesn’t apply to the SNP; they need to go in ‘mob handed’ in a rigged contest set up to suit their purpose.

I could have done this debate no problem, I have the skill, the vision and the big ideas, I would have defeated Malcolm Rifkind.

It seems that some in the SNP leadership may have a geniune fear of taking on the heavy weight senior Westminster politicians who have real gravitas.

One man can make a difference when his name is George Laird.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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