Monday, July 2, 2012
Braveheart Alex Salmond says Scots have a ‘right’ to second question on devo max, what right would that be, SNP Government not mandated on devo max
In 2011, the Scottish National Party achieved a landslide victory, in the main because the Labour Party and Iain Gray weren’t seen as credible and they had a mostly incident free four years in government.
The reason the Labour Party weren’t credible is simple, they spent the four years from 2007 to 2011 doing effectively nothing of note, hence come the election; they had no record of achievement to speak off.
In 2012, Glasgow, the council election, Glasgow SNP fought that election with no record of achievement either; the results of that disastrous campaign were self evident. They campaigned on the record of the SNP Government at Holyrood because they had no real record themselves.
It was ‘vote me based on someone’s work’.
The public spoke, Labour majority outright.
We are now at present looking at the independence referendum which the SNP had in their manifesto for Holyrood.
The launch of the independence referendum by Yes Scotland was set in the 'historic' setting of a cinema and many people have commented it was a utter flop, the press, Elaine C Smith and of course myself.
Singing, poetry and ranting doesn’t win referendums.
A recent poll put support for independence at about a third and the poll also revealed that since the debacle in Edinburgh, support has dropped by four percent.
Not only has independence stalled, momentum been lost, it is actually going backwards.
In contrast the Yes UK Campaign called Bettertogether put together a slick presentation, a good video, set in a university which targeted the main focus group that will decide independence, ordinary working class people.
Just as the ‘Declaration of Cineworld’ was all about Alex Salmond’s day meeting the ‘rich and important’ to get their approval, Bettertogether correctly saw their campaign as being all about ordinary people.
Now, many people will have read that Alex Salmond has given his strongest hint yet there will be two questions in the independence referendum.
He opines that the Scottish people have a fundamental "right to decide" on whether Holyrood should have full tax powers, known as devo max.
This wasn’t in the SNP manifesto and it is also out with the province of Holyrood to deliver.
Devo max by it every nature is a Westminster reserved matter, and there is no way that 67 SNP MSPs at Holyrood will dictate to 650 MPs at Westminster.
The dog won’t be wagged by the tail.
Alex Salmond made his comments after giving a speech in San Francisco followed by a Q & A session.
The First Minister says there is a "very attractive argument" for devo max will be seen by many as a carrot to both his own members to keeping working for him and also to sell to the public to return an SNP Government for Holyrood in 2016.
Will Westminster agree to devo max at this stage?
Many people across the political divide see this as Alex Salmond having his cake and eating it.
Others may also opine that he recognises that he will not win the independence referendum now.
It is actually quite simple to understand why the Yes Scotland Campaign will not get enough votes to win independence.
They are not good, remember Cineworld!
So, Alex Salmond can be as open-minded about a second question as he likes, because he doesn’t have the authority or the mandate from either Westminster or the people.
Devo max offers Alex Salmond a way to avoid outright defeat in a straight Yes-No referendum!
I think it is highly likely that there will be a legal challenge; inter government if the second question is pushed.
If this goes to the UK Supreme Court, it will be struck down on the basis that Holyrood operates under the jurisdiction of Westminster via the Scotland Act and additionally there is was no mandate by the people.
Pro-Union parties say a second question is a desperate SNP fallback position which would muddy the issue of Scotland being in or out the UK.
The UK Government wants a simple Yes-No on whether Scotland should leave the UK, to that end it offered Edinburgh a new power, known as a Section 30 order, to make the referendum immune from legal challenge.
But there is a catch: Salmond can only have the new power if he sticks to a single question, the question Westminster thinks he will lose.
In return, Salmond has said he will accept the Section 30 power, but won't accept any strings attached, leading to an impasse.
This means anyone can challenge the referendum in the courts and go all the way to the UK Supreme Court in London.
It is said that Scottish ministers believe a two-question consultative referendum held by Holyrood would be legally "watertight".
These are probably the same people who said the Scotland would have automatic EU membership despite the fact there is no legal agreement with the EU and the Scottish Government, and no one either in the SNP Government has ever enquired about it.
There should be one single question put to the people eligible enough to vote in Scotland to decide whether Scotland stays or leaves the United Kingdom.
As someone who spent two years at Glasgow University Vet School in my youth, I can tell the First Minister Alex Salmond from the veterinary knowledge I picked up, that the tail doesn’t wag the dog.
And Holyrood won’t be dictating to Westminster on devo max.
The longer this nonsense goes on, the longer it will take to start a proper campaign; every day wasted on devo max is one less day to have a focussed campaign.
It’s all or nothing.
What a great pity for Alex Salmond that he is surrounded by a genuine lack of talented people in the Scottish National Party.
But at least he will find out and get more confirmation of my assessment in 2014.
Independence momentum has completed stalled.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University