London has called and Labour's support for an independence referendum is now looking decidedly dodgy.
Let's be clear about this the British Government DOES NOT support the sovereign right of the Scottish people to choose independence. The proof is here:
Up till recently it seemed that the Scottish branches of Labour, Tories and Lib Dems didn't either because all refused to countenance a referendum on independence and yet this is the only point of genuine conflict.
Scottish Labour (if there is such a beast) in the shape of Wendy Alexander seemed to have changed their tune for a brief moment but they have rapidly returned to form with Brown now clearly pulling the strings.
All the parties would supposedly support more powers for the parliament, I say supposedly because the Tories simply cannot be trusted in this area as their last period in Government showed quite clearly.
If all parties support more powers then the SNP can easily accept the Calman commissions recommendations whenever they are published, but as they will still be far short of independence this won't resolve a thing.
We would also then have to rely on Westminster implementing any changes and not fiddling with the powers of the parliament in a detrimental fashion. In fact Labour have already fiddled the electoral system in the Welsh parliament so they can't be trusted in this respect either.
Gordon Brown has already signalled that he wants a number of inconvenient powers removed forom the Scottish Government, an obvious example would be planning rules which allow the Scottish Government to block new nuclear power stations.
The Blair Government ignored elements of the last broad based Scottish Constitutional Convention (this body which included the Liberal Democrats and 'Scottish' Labour recommended broadcasting powers be returned to Scotland but this power was removed at Westminster, also the bill suddenly gained lots of new bits where it was explicitly claimed that Westminster had full power over any future change to the constitution in Scotland even though this violates international law and specifically Scotland's rights to self determination).
Given that episode Westminster can easily ignore their own hand picked cabal of safe unionists whatever froth is recommended (in fact they are so pro-Government they will probably say the status quo is just fine!).
The only way to guarantee as much power as the parliament requires is by voting for independence. Those who oppose that choice don't support the sovereign right of the Scottish people to decide their own destiny and as such don't deserve one vote in Scotland.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
London has called and Labour's support for an independence referendum is now looking decidedly dodgy.
Monday, May 12, 2008
(sent through Wendy's blog)
Dear Ms Alexander,
Does your party still support the Claim of Right for Scotland? Gordon Brown and his followers appear to think power resides with the UK parliament, not the Scottish people (see below for the proof of that statement).
That was always the view of the Conservatives and that was why they acted the way they did while in office. Yet Labour along with the Liberal Democrats signed the Claim of Right and also demanded control of Scottish broadcasting from London.
Now it appears that your own leader thinks Scotland's views can be ignored:
Put that if Alex Salmond took Wendy Alexander's advice and held a referendum on independence, it would take place before the Calman Commission reported, the PMS said that for there to be a legally binding referendum, it would require legislation in the UK Parliament.
Asked if the PMS was suggesting that the Prime Minister would seek to block an early referendum after saying that any binding referendum would need legislation in the UK Parliament, the PMS replied that he was not suggesting anything; he was setting out a factual position.
My organisation, Independence First wrote to the last Scottish Executive and British Government seeking their views, what returned was illuminating and alarming.
The Scottish Parliament replied: “The Scotland Act 1998 sets out the statutory framework for the Scottish devolution settlement. Schedule 5 to the Act defines matters which are reserved to the United Kingdom Parliament.”
“The devolution settlement and constitutional matters generally are reserved matters under the Act. The Government of the United Kingdom is responsible therefore for considering any fundamental changes to the existing devolution framework in Scotland.”
The Scottish Office in London replied “It is worth noting that in the UK political system the UK parliament is sovereign and it is for Parliament to decide whether or not to hold a referendum on any particular issue - and what the terms of any referendum should be.”
Thursday, May 08, 2008
So please credit us with a little bit common sense. Labour tried the doom ‘n’ gloom approach last time and it failed. The sky didn’t fall in with an SNP Government and it won’t fall in with independence in Scotland or Wales.
Scotland isn’t a colony yet why do people seem to think that both Scotland and Wales can be treated like one? It won’t wash. If England believes it can ’survive’ independence (and I’m sure it could) don’t pretend we can’t. It cheapens the whole debate and shows contempt for your supposedly ‘equal’ partners.
Monday, May 05, 2008
Congratulations to all my colleagues in Independence First and the Scottish Independence Convention and the SNP, Greens and SSP etc for moving us to a place where the unionists can no longer stop an Independence Referendum.
There remain questions, will Labour try to run their own rigged referendum? Will Wendy do another U Turn?
The Lib Dems and Tories must have severe egg on their faces now. After all the Libs said they wouldn't get in Government with the SNP because of a referendum (on Brown's orders delivered by Sir Ming), yet here's their auld pals going for it!
Similarly the Tories have joined with Labour in a commission which refuses to discuss independence and rules it out as an option and yet suddenly Labour pull the rug out from under it and say not only is independence an option (a message from back benchers, UK MP's and the STUC conference) that there will definitely be a vote on it before the Wendy Commission even brings forward any proposals.
Fantastic stuff. As I say congratulations to everyone who was on the right side of this debate in the past. Our goal has come much closer, I for one will be having a few drinks tonight to celebrate.
Independence vs dependence? Normal powers against an outdated unloved undemocratic union? We can't lose.
Scotland's churches must continue to make their voices heard in the debates that affect all our lives, Minister for Parliamentary Business Bruce Crawford said today.
Speaking ahead of a Church of Scotland organised event to discuss the National Conversation on Scotland's constitutional future, Mr Crawford applauded the Church for upholding its tradition of 'helping shape the conscience of the nation'.
He said: "We recognise that decisions about Scotland's future are too important to be left to the political parties alone. For that reason during the second phase of the National Conversation we are talking to the main civic institutions of Scotland - and the Church of Scotland is one of the main voices of Scottish society.
"The Church cares about people and is not afraid to speak out on the issues that affect the people of Scotland and further afield. The Church was a keen supporter of devolution even when it was unfashionable. More recently it has been steadfast in its opposition to Trident and in speaking out against the unfair treatment of asylum seekers at Dungavel. It is no exaggeration to say that the Church has helped shape the conscience of the nation.
"This is just part of an impressive track record that makes their contribution vital to our ongoing National Conversation. That is why I am delighted that the Church has organised this event to talk about how Scotland might look if it had responsibility for areas currently reserved to Westminster - issues like employment, taxation and the economy, benefits, international development and foreign affairs.
"Around our shores, in Ireland to our west, Iceland to our north and Norway to our east we have three of the most successful nations in the world - countries that sit at the very top of world wealth and quality of life league tables. These nations, using their own wit and talents, have become rich countries and rich societies. Independence has been central to their success and I have no doubt that an independent Scotland would more than match them.
"I like the fact Norway is free to choose to invest more than the UN-recommended amount in international aid. I respect the role the Irish play in UN and EU peace keeping efforts across the globe. These are just a couple of the reasons why I believe that Scotland should embrace the positive, internationalist independence that Norway, Ireland and others enjoy.
"It is clear the status quo is no longer an option and the people of Scotland and all political parties support change. The only proper way to allow Scotland to move forward is through letting the Scottish people choose in a referendum. We are clear independence is the best future for Scotland - it is now time for others to state their position and put both options to the test."
The seminar to discuss the national Conversation has been organised as part of the 'Church Without Walls' event being held by the Church of Scotland.
It is on May 3 and 4 at Ingliston showground in Edinburgh.
Friday, May 02, 2008
The SNP has managed to unashamedly be both proud of their country and progressive. Their 2007 manifesto for the Scottish election was available in Polish, Urdu and Cantonese, yet they are a nationalist party.
Their patriotism has driven them to ensure that old people get free care, students don't have to pay tuition fees and prescriptions get cheaper in Scotland, even as they become more expensive in England. This is nationalism as a positive social force, uniting people around the implementation of progressive policies in the name of Scottish self-determination.
Yet the same sense of pride that the Scots have used to move their national agenda to the left of New Labour, we in England are only too eager to surrender to the far-right. Unable or unwilling to distinguish between xenophobia and progressive patriotism, some on the left are destined to fight old wars in which class is the single defining characteristic. In the post-ideological period in which we live, national identity has become more significant than class or religion. For the English, this process has been exacerbated by a programme of devolution that many believe has treated them unfairly.
During the next election, there is a strong possibility that the issue of England will be a prominent feature on the agenda, if only because the Tories hope to use it to embarass our Scottish prime minister. If a Conservative government hostile to Scotland's social spending is elected, the momentum for Scottish independence will increase. Should the Scots decide to break with the union, there is every likelihood that the English will suddenly find themselves independent too.