Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Scottish independence: MSP Patrick Harvie does a very impressive interview on Newsnight Scotland; the currency of independence is truth

Dear All

You may have caught Green MSP Patrick Harvie on Newsnight Scotland last night on the issue of independence and the second question.

It was a great interview.

If you haven’t seen then pop off to the BBC iplayer and have a look!

Patrick Harvie says what many have come to understand that it was “difficult to see” how a second question could be included on the referendum ballot.

The simple reason is that there is no political mandate for this and an additional question on an undefined and undeliverable ‘devo max’, ‘devo plus’ or ‘devo lite’ has to be authorised by Westminster legislation.

Westminster decides and votes on what any additional powers for the Scottish Parliament will be as the sovereign authority not Holyrood.

The Green Party’s co-leader also said backing for a second option for voters in 2014 are “vague” and lack “clarity.”

As well as myself, who is firmly against the second question, independent MSP Margo MacDonald has called on Alex Salmond to abandon the proposal because she knows what everyone else knows he “can’t deliver it”.

The polls for independence haven’t just stalled, they are going backwards, the trend isn’t towards independence as the Yes UK campaign has opened up a 20 point lead.

20 points!

Devo Max is seen by many in the SNP has having a second bite at the cherry to get something out of this to show the members and the public for future elections, and no I am not talking Westminster 2015 but rather Holyrood 2016.

Alex Salmond, the SNP leader has previously hinted he would back a second question.

He called the second question very attractive but the reality is, it’s a pipe dream divorced from real politics.

By talking up devo max under the guise that civic Scotland is interested, Patrick Harvie shot that down in flames by saying that there was effectively no civic Scotland debate with the people.

Harvie has now warned the “window is closing” on an option giving Holyrood more powers, the window was never open in the first place.

He said:

“Two things that are needed on this are clarity and political momentum, but the window is closing on this. There is an appetite for a debate on this within the party and some members have expressed concerns about the more powers question being vague. It’s difficult to see how the required level of clarity could now be achieved on this. We’ll reflect on these issues at the conference, where there will be a lot of Greens who are not yet convinced.”

Scottish Labour’s external affairs spokeswoman Patricia Ferguson said:

“Alex Salmond is desperate to find a way out of this dilemma, but the growing support for a single question is fast becoming overwhelming.”

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said:

“Alex Salmond is now the last man standing in his backing for a second question. First he was abandoned by Margo MacDonald and now the Greens have seen how confusing it would be. Even those in charge of running Alex Salmond’s separatist campaign have said it would make sense to offer people a single, straightforward question on whether Scotland should leave the United Kingdom.”

Patrick Harvie’s interview if you haven’t watched it is a must see, it is one of his best; it deals in reality which is the currency of independence.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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