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Wings Over Scotland

News in brief

Posted on October 15, 2012 by

So that’s that, then. There’s going to be a referendum on independence, with no legal challenges. The entire Scottish media’s about to be choked with analyses of the 30-paragraph agreement signed today by Alex Salmond, David Cameron, Nicola Sturgeon and Michael Moore, so we’re going to aim for the most concise one.

Here are the key paragraphs of note:

“The wording of the question will be for the Scottish Parliament to determine and will be set out in the Referendum Bill to be introduced by the Scottish Government.” (paragraph 6)

MEANING: The Electoral Commission will advise on the question, but has no power to decide it. Ultimately the decision will rest with the Scottish Parliament. We predict the question already proposed by the Scottish Government will be used as it stands.

“the Scottish Government will refer the proposed referendum question and any preceding statement to the Electoral Commission for review of its intelligibility.” (paragraph 8 )

MEANING: Further to the above, note that the Electoral Commission’s advice will concern the question’s “intelligibility”, not its fairness. The Commission will report on whether the electorate will understand the question, not whether it is “biased” or not.

“It will be for the Scottish Government to decide whether to propose extending the franchise for this referendum and how that should be done. It will be for the Scottish Parliament to approve the referendum franchise, as it would be for any referendum on devolved matters.” (paragraph 10)

MEANING: The Herald reports this morning that according to “a Scottish Government source”, a “mechanism” has been found to ensure all 16- and 17-year-olds will be able to vote in the referendum, not – as had previously been claimed – only a percentage of them. The agreement ensures that if this is indeed the case, there will be no interference in the franchise from Westminster.

“The Referendum Bill to be introduced by the Scottish Government will provide for the spending limits in the regulated period for the independence referendum.” (paragraph 25)

MEANING: Several newspapers had been reporting disagreement over the spending limits as the last stumbling block in the agreement, with the Scottish Government said to be seeking lower figures than the UK Government. Paragraph 25 appears to put that decision squarely in the former’s hands.

That’s about it for stuff we didn’t already know. In return for accepting a single-question referendum (which it always wanted anyway), the Scottish Government appears to have secured control over pretty much every other aspect of the referendum – timing, wording, franchise and financing. Naturally, the No camp is attempting to portray this as a “comprehensive defeat” for the nationalists. We’ll let you be the judge.

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    28 to “News in brief”

    1. Tearlach says:

      But where is Iain Smart’s take on all this? Snigger…..

    2. muttley79 says:

      A interesting situation develops if you denied that a referendum was going to go ahead at all.  Then when it is confirmed that it is;  that the state you support has signed an agreement and you can no longer attempt ‘credibly’ to continue this line, the question surely arises, whether or not your subsequent views on anything to do with the referendum (including the result) should appear in the media? 

    3. EmbraBoffin says:

      Rifkind says its a defeat for Salmond and Forsyth says Salmond has walked all over Cameron. There’s so few of them you would think Scottish Tory grandees would at least try and agree in public.

    4. Arbroath 1320 says:

      How does the saying go, Oh yeah…..
      We came
      We saw
      We conquered (Part I) 😀
      We paused (until 2014)
      We Conquered (Part II) 😆

    5. Doug Daniel says:

      David Cameron has FORCED the Scottish Government to hold a referendum on independence – the whole point of the SNP – in 2014, the time they wanted to hold it anyway.

      The man is a genius. Thank fuck he’s not in charge of a country.


    6. Craig P says:

      Darien? How come the South Sea Bubble never gets mentioned as a reason *not* to have union?

    7. Steven of Songnam says:

      The government Scotland elected got what wanted and is doing what it promised to do, while the government we did not elect realizes that the referendum is a matter for Scotland alone (kinda sorta, for now).
      This feels nice. Almost like it’s exactly how things should be. I think I’d like Scotland to handle all it’s own affairs all the time, if this is how swimmingly it goes. 😀

    8. peter says:

      in 1983,  i was standing outside a school in paisley encouraging those going into to vote,  to put an X beside the snp candidate. i received abuse along the lines of:  tartan tories and masons to, home rule rome rule.
      nearly there. i’m sooo happy 

    9. Appleby says:

      We’ve been forced to accept what we desperately wanted and needed! Oh no. It’s all over for us. 😀

    10. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Oh woe!
      Woe is me!
      We MUST hold a referendum at the time of OUR choosing.
      We MUST set out the wording of the question.
      We MUST hold the referendum in 2014.
      Best we call the whole thing OFF then folks! 😆

    11. EmbraBoffin says:
      I hope you all take part in the poll
      Should Scotland be granted independence?
      Nearly a 50/50 split

    12. David Kinnear says:

      Sometimes makes me wonder if it’s actually Salmond who controls the Labour and Conservative parties. The Tories seem to do everything that the SNP wants, and labour, it’s real only rival in Scotland, have destroyed  their own principles and left an open space for the SNP to fill in what they lack. It’s as if the chain of command went from Lammot to Cameron to Salmond.

      The other, more realistic possibility is that Salmond ‘Knows them better than they know themselves’ and has been knowing for a long time how politics in the UK are going to evolve. That shouldn’t come out as a surprise, he grew up in a time when he was told that there would never be a scottish paliament, that there would never be an SNP majority…and now he’s come so close to actually making Scotland an independent country.

      It reminds me of this scene in “V for Vendetta” where Finch realized that everyting is connected and everything has gone according to V’s plan:

      He probably knows, partly thanks to some inner informant and partly thanks to his own wits all that’s to come, that’s why he looks so confident when it comes to the referendum, while Labour are so scared that they are just screaming idiocies all over the place.

    13. Tearlach says:

      Ian Smart – on why I got it wrong….

      Its all down to the genius that is David Cameron, giving Eck all he wants, therefore painting him into a corner. Indeed if Gordie Brown had followed this line in 2007, Wendy Alexander would be FM.

      Yes – we have always been at war with Eastasia.   

    14. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Interesting how Mr Smart, is he REALLY smart, can make this deduction and ONLY this deduction.
      . Support for political parties goes up and down but opinion polling, even in the abstract, shows consistent two to one opposition to the idea of Independence
      Surely there is an equal and OPPOSITE argument that we have all been saying which is that there is a TWO to ONE opposition to the status quo!
      Ach silly me he is a unionist who can only look at things through union jacked sun glasses.

    15. Appleby says:

      Mr Smart. If there was ever a more ironic name then I’m struggling to find it.
      A massive troll or a total crackpot?

    16. muttley79 says:

      Difficult to say, can be ignored now that the referendum is officially going ahead……On a serious note I think the ‘Smart’ case illustrates the fog of denial, the colonial mentality, the contempt of the very idea of Scottish self-government, the resultant extreme fear, hatred of the SNP that lurks within the outwardly respectable, middle class, Scottish unionist Labour mind.

    17. Morag says:

      I’m tempted to enquire as to the colour of the sky on his planet.
      It’s not just a river in Egypt….

    18. Andrew says:

      Timing – we win
      Franchise – we win
      Wording of Question – we win
      Electoral Commission – we win (will only advise on intelligibility)
      Funding – we win
      One Question – we win (they didn’t want any)
      That’s make sure it’s 7-0 at full time!

    19. Alan says:

      It was always only one question…

    20. James T says:

      I’m absolutely not convinced of the percentages being rolled out by the media. They say that 53% of Scots want to remain in the Union, while 28% of Scots want Independence.
      From all my family and friends, through to my work colleagues, I did a rough count, and it is almost 50-50. Apart from the odd one or two who are unsure (fear factor about breaking away), I think it’s a helluva lot closer than the media predicts.

      Embraboffin is correct. I think it is 50-50 

      Has anyone else spotted this amongst family, friends and work colleagues?   

    21. uilleam_beag says:

      James, I hardly know anybody who isn’t pro-independence.

      A good number remain dubious and are yet to be completely convinced, but I only know of one or two people within my network who are actually set against the idea. This includes my neighbours back home, classic small-c conservative traditionally Labour-voting, Rangers-supporting Northeast farmers who have swung round from thinking home-rule a faintly comical suggestion to being right-out independistas — in large part due to the SNP’s efforts in actually listening to the rural community over the past decade and more.

      P’raps it’s just the sort of company I keep.

    22. Training Day says:

      @James T

      James, in my professional life and among the people I most closely deal with I have not encountered one yet who will not vote Yes.  That includes a member of the Labour Party who told me he would vote Yes last Friday.  

      That’s just my experience, of course.  But interesting nonetheless.     

    23. Adrian B says:

      I too have been positively surprised since the last Scottish election, just how many people have been so very open about supporting Independence and the SNP. They have not only a greater confidence about this life choice but are surprisingly upfront and matter of fact about the way forward and wish to talk about it. I find it very interesting the mood change that I see from working class people through to professionals. They all care passionately about Scotland as a nation and it’s people. 

    24. Morag says:

      I know one (rather grumpy) anti-change person who claims to have questioned many people and encountered almost none in favour of independence.  I suspect in part it depends on who you talk to, and sometimes on people agreeing with what they perceive to be your position so as not to get into an argument.

    25. John Lyons says:

      Folks, let’s just assume Smart is correct and only 28% wanted independence yesterday before the agreement limited the referendum to one question. He asserts it’ll take years to gain ground.

      Well here’s a poll on the Telgraph, the first one I’ve seen that’s a straight Yes/No.

      54.04% in favour now. That’s a 26% increase overnight. This is also the largest poll I’ve seen on this debate with nearly 10,000 responses when I looked. Imagine what it’ll look like after another 2 years ofUnionist cuts versus Nationalist competence.

      I think Mr Smart is wrong. After all, he has been befoe.

    26. Andrew says:

      I’m not voting in that one as I object to the use of “granted”. It’s meaningless anyway as most of the respondents are unlikely to have a vote in the referendum.

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