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Wings Over Scotland

Weekend papers roundup

Posted on November 14, 2011 by

Lots of stuff going on in the papers on Saturday and Sunday which we didn't have time to feature individually. The Daily Record covers Lord Forsyth's latest bright idea, namely that SNP MSPs should be forced to pay for the referendum should it be judged unlawful, a bizarre notion given that if the referendum were to be so judged it's hard to see how it could go ahead at all.

Conversely, the New Statesman runs a balanced and realistic piece on "Who owns the Scottish independence referendum?", identifying some of the possible legal implications but also coming to a practical conclusion about what will actually happen. Meanwhile – in fact from earlier last week but having hitherto escaped our attention – Aidan O'Neill QC pens a rather less balanced and less realistic view for The Guardian on the same subject, which ends up insisting that not only would any referendum have to be run by Westminster but that it would have to be conducted across the UK. The article is strikingly detached from the real world, but is notable for some excellent and highly-informed reader comments. (After the first one.)

The Scottish Left Review has a somewhat daunting but detailed account of the conduct of Labour-led Glasgow City Council, in the light of Newsnet Scotland's revelation that the head of the City Building ALEO (arm's-length external organisation), set up by the disgraced former council leader Steven Purcell and the subject of allegations of cronyism and patronage, is set to receive a £615,000 payoff funded by the taxpayer after just five years' service to the company.

Scotland On Sunday features the story that Labour flak-magnet Tom Harris (of whom more shortly) is trying to push a so-called "Clarity Act" through Westminster in order to grant the UK Parliament de facto control over the referendum, based on Harris' erroneous claim that "The Scottish Government has a mandate but it is for a specific question on independence."

The same paper also details Michael Portillo's advocation of full fiscal autonomy for Scotland, the first time (so far as we're aware) that a significant Tory figure has called for a version of "devo max" as their preferred option for Scotland's constitutional future. These are interesting times.

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1 to “Weekend papers roundup”

  1. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Do you see any parallels between Scotland and Quebec? When I was younger I recall there being a referendum there. What's interesting is that when the secessionists there lost there wasn't another referendum a few years later, it sort of killed off Quebecois nationalism.
    I bring this up for a few reasons; firstly the narrative from the Scottish nationalists is that support for Scottish independence will grow and grow, where as Quebec shows that support for secession can ebb or remain static.
    Secondly I think that much of the dispute about whether Westminster or Holyrood 'owns' the referendum stems from that precedent: presumably the unionist parties hope that if they can call a referendum right now then they can similarly kill Scottish nationalism, or at least delay Scottish independence for 20 years or so.

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