...a blog by Richard Flowers

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Day 2418: Is Scottish Independence Any of Our Business?


In Scotland, the Scottish Nasty Party (prop. Mr Alex Salmon) has plans for independence, or at least plans to ask the one-third of Scots who want independence and the two-thirds who don't to get out and vote in a referendum on the subject.

Scottish Liberal Democrats have joined other opposition parties in saying that this would be a waste of time and money. In a further statement Mr Nicol “and dime” Stephen reminded people that the Liberal Democrats have invited the Scottish Nasties and everyone else to join in a new Constitutional Convention to work out together how to improve the devolution settlement.

This has prompted much debate among my friends on the Liberal Democrat Voice and Mr Jonathan over at Liberal England, has said: "whatever you think of the SNP or independence, if the only way the Union can be maintained is by denying the Scottish people a vote on the subject, then it really must be in trouble," which seems to have rather got Mr James's goat.

"Scottish Lib Dems don’t need Perfidious Albion butting in," he retorted.

Well, taking my life in my fluffy feet by crossing Mr James, I think people of Albion have EVERY RIGHT to butt in where the settlement of the Union is concerned. We are a part of this Union TOO!

If two people were in a marriage, you would not expect to say: "he's thinking about getting a divorce. This is his decision; he doesn't want her butting in!"

I know that, over the years, there has been FAR TOO MUCH of England shouting and Scotland having to listen – especially when the Conservatories were last in power. Nevertheless, that is NOT a good reason for Scotland (or anyone) now to say that England should get no say any more.

Telling England to "butt out" is why there are bits of England that are starting to stand in the corner muttering shiftily!

Entirely too much of the problem is that England is – and increasingly FEELS – left out of the constitutional settlement. Be it British devolution OR European Union, too many people have started to believe that things are just being IMPOSED upon them, when they have no say in the matter. This is DANGEROUS – it allows UNPLEASANT elements like the British Nasty Party to creep out of the shadows and gain support by BLAMING people for things instead of offering real solutions.

Mr Balloon's SELF-INTERESTED desires to turn the Conservatories into an English Nasty Party… or even a Home Counties Nasty Party, and his support for English Votes for Ingsoc Laws [aka E.V.I.L.] only go to make the matter WORSE.

It may be that we need to let the people of England speak, get things off their chests as it were. A referendum on Europe is a SURE FIRE LOSER for any Government, and for ANYONE pro-European, at the moment. But we may need to take that ON THE CHIN as the penalty for not having kept people feeling INVOLVED in the three decades since the last one.

Referendums are not always the answer. Mr Salmon is no WET FISH. He knows that a Scottish referendum on independence is NOT about getting people involved; he just wants an excuse to BANG ON about his hobby-horse for a while without having to get involved in anything difficult like actually RUNNING Scotland.

Like most people (if polls are to be believed) I think that both England AND Scotland are better off together and both would suffer if we went our separate ways. Scottish prudence and invention and English tenacity and eccentricity (with a dollop of Welsh passion and a lot of Irish HARD WORK) are the elements that came together to create the Industrial Revolution and the basis of most of what we call CIVILISATION today. Why should we chuck that all away?

What we need though is a proper FEDERAL structure that gives an equal voice and a fair standing to EVERYONE.

In fairness to Mr James, his article goes on to be a rather more TEMPERATE call for people actually to read the Scottish Liberals' statement and support the idea of a renewed Constitutional Convention.

Meanwhile, the Labour leader Mr McConnell has quit

…in order to become High Commissioner to Malawi!

Which, frankly, is better than the deal Lord Blairimort got when HE quit as the Labour leader.


James said...

If the Scottish Lib Dems were flirting with independence, then I would agree with you. But they are being criticised for NOT flirting with independence, but instead calling for a constitutional convention independent of government and parliament. They've taken the very sensible line that politicians alone can't sort the matter out (to be fair on the SNP, so have they) and been castigated for it.

My complaint is not of English Lib Dems expressing an opinion, but of them swallowing the simplistic analysis in the UK media and then mouthing off about it without seeming to have any awareness what the Scottish Lib Dems are actually saying, what the SNP are actually saying or where Scottish public opinion is. Albion I don't have a problem with: it's the perfidious bit that bugs me.

Michael Follon said...

In this post you write -

'In a further statement Mr. Nicol "and dime" Stephen reminded people that the Liberal Democrats have invited the Scottish Nasties and everyone else to join in a new Constitutional Convention to workout together how to improve the devolution settlement.'

Let me quickly summarise what led to this position. In 1989 the Members of the Westminster Parliament in Scotland for the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties were part of the Scottish Constitutional Convention, one of them was Gordon Brown MP (now the British Prime Minister). They all signed a document, 'A Claim of Right for Scotland', which reaffirmed 'the sovereignty of the Scottish people' and their right to choose the type of government best suited to their needs. From the first elections to the Scottish Parliament up until the elections in May this year they formed a coalition which represented the majority of Members of the Scottish Parliament and as such were in control. The voters at those elections elected more Scottish National Party MSP's than they did for any other Party. The Liberal Democrats were invited to form a coalition which they declined to do and as a result the SNP formed a minority government. The Liberal Democrats are now part of the opposition and are opposed to any referendum on, or which includes the option of, independence.

The Liberal Democrats in Scotland have been in a sulk ever since those elections and have put their own Party interests before 'the sovereignty of the Scottish people'. They are neither liberal nor democrats.