Thursday, 19 May 2011

The independence-lite wriggle, now well known

Ever since the election, what is all over all the papers, about the independence plan? Salmond fudging what it means and watering it down to a level that might not frighten away the voters. His party's reason to be is now a trap for him, he has to exercise the power to put a question to them that he may not want to.

So now the SNP calls independence a state of voluntary dependency on the rump UK for many services, which nobody else calls independence. As this is in every paper every time the SNP's plans are spoken of, how can they possibly expect any folks to think they really mean independence when they say it? Folks will vote on something less than it, knowingly, and knowing that if they vote Yes, Salmond will say, it's independence my face is saved.

See the section on Scottish law at the end of my submission to the SNP's consultation last year on the referendum plan: it forms the second post here. I wrote:

" Give us* "committal not noncommittal"
and * "any fact of law disproves its own opposite,"

as the standards for lawyers and government, or else your new state will be a void entity. For what basis will its sovereignty then have? For independence itself is a committal fact. ... unless law shall be about committal facts that disprove their own opposites, then there are no such things as independence or the Union! The referendum could only be truthfully described as being between "a state that may or may not be independence" and "another state that may or may not be independence".

I wrote that as a proof that lawyer noncommittality and the culture of lawyers manipulatively not taking definite positions of fact, can't be sustained in the law culture of the new state, because the assertion even of the new state's existence would be a definite factual assertion. Surely the SNP had to be seen to worry about that? The factual genuineness of independence once achieved? No, we now know that is what they most want to run from.

So perhaps that is another reason for them to find my submission fearful hence to be kept out of the public record of the feedback they received. Because they actually need to keep the vote between 2 states "that may or may not be independence". That is what they really want, so they can say the result means anything they like. If they want to tell you it's not independence in order to get you to vote Yes, then after the vote tell the world that the same state of being is independence after all, then of course they don't want the factual certainty I wrote of.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

The next referendum must be protected from the last one's failings

So as the AV referendum ends, defeated by the irregular disparity allowed to happen between each campaign's reach to voters, and the media and money power behind No, so from the same day the SNP's majority victory makes the independence referendum a live issue considered certain to happen. Salmond wants to wait a few years for fear he would lose it now, but some Conservatives, including Michael Forsyth in the Scotsman today, have spoken of raising the bill in the British parliament to call the referendum now, in hope of a Unionist win.

All the more reason why public availability of all the info that was submitted to the Scottish govt in its consultation on the referendum, matters for purposes of informing the voters in their coming decision. Why, as is the point of this blog, none of the submissions to that consultation must stand censored, and mine stands made public in the second post made at the beginning of this blog.

The SNP's landslide is also all the more reason why accountability for its actions matters. This is one to keep an eye on, especially for (1) the voters believed to have voted SNP as a presently preferred government without being convinced on independence, or (2) the voters who prefer another party's picture of independence, e.g. Green or SSP, than Salmond's economically conventional picture.

When the new MSPs get sworn in, they should all be asked what safeguards they support for the referendum's fair conduct, in the light of what we have just experienced this week. It is also an issue for MPs, as from today, with the declared possibility of a referendum bill in the British parliament. I have just mailed my Lib Dem MP and asked if he backs the following measures, to be enacted as conditions of any referendum being legitimate. See if they raise a smile:

* That both sides should be required, and fully funded with parity, to send a booklet mailshot on their position to every household in the country that is voting. This surely was established constitutionally as a precedent for a campaign's fair parity, by the referendum in 1975 when the government arranged for these 2 mailshots to happen.

* That any factual claim made by one side's campaign about the other's position, the other campaign should be entitled to an equal scale of distribution to voters, in all ways, of their answer to the claims, as the original claim had.

* That if, either during polling hours or after them, the winning side lets it be known, either voluntarily or by an admission under questioning, that one of the factual claims made in their campaign, against the other side's position, had been false, then the result should not stand as valid.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

SNP support AV, now we know

It has taken right to the last week for there to be a clear message from Salmond that the SNP, rather than just some voices within it, back Alternative Vote.

Everyone should watch Dan Snow's video on AV and campaign broadcast.

SNP folks who intend to spoil their papers in order to make a point about wanting an independence referendum, will make life harder for their own party and for getting the referendum they want, as well as making us less able to stand up to British governments so long as we are in the Union, however long that may be. There is obviously no point doing that. They need to vote Yes, as we all do.

Instead of making capital out of the British government's decision to hold the referendum clashing with our election, the SNP should have joined with the Greens and SSP, as well as the unionist parties concerned, in being keen to endorse a Yes vote to AV sooner. Like, in time for the postal voters.

flyer by megaknee
flyer, a photo by megaknee on Flickr.