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Of coalitions, Lib Dems and referenda

The little known - at least in England - Nicol Stephen, head of the Scottish Liberal Democrats has been interviewed by the Scotsman, and there is much that is deeply telling in his reponses.

He has ruled out voting for a referendum on Scottish independence unless the separatist parties win a majority of seats in the May elections, thus effectively putting the kibosh on a coalition with the SNP. I would have thought that those who are both liberal and democratic would regard an unsuccessful referendum on independence as a good way to clear the air and to defend the Union, rather than falling back on procedure as a substitute for principles. It does not seem beyond the realm of possibilities that Labour / Tory / Lib Dem voting is not absolutely coterminous with support for the Union, and SNP / extreme left voting is not coterminous with opposition to it.

The same item notes that Stephen's numero uno priority for Scotland is young people and he prays the now infamous Unicef report in aid. As I have noted, the survey did not question anyone in Scotland. I can put up with lazy journalists not reading through a 52 page report but instead making do with second hand analysis, but our Lib Dem friend is a corporate lawyer by training, and should be well up to the task of wading through the small print. If not, I fear for the solidity of any M&A documentation he has been involved in.

Ming Campbell has also decided to join in the festival of folly, and in well thought out and serious intervention has called on Salmond to step down from his Westminster seat and concentrate on Holyrood. I look forward to Campbell telling Sinn Fein, Plaid Cymru etc the same.
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Blogger Newmania said... 11:13 am

CU and I were both busy pontificating about this report elsewhere and both popped back in to point out that we hadn`t actually bothered to read it following your work C , another terrific spot . Good enough for

"how punditry works"
I `ve read alot of papers the past few days and I have noticed more than ever how the press is full of tedious blandishments that would never pass muster in a good blog.

The sort of hand wringing "If only they listened to me..." that appears is , I suppose inevitable but the chap who wrote affluenza is an especially nasty rash ..Times , read it and you will feel a need to shower and brun your clothes.


I did like the Standard Cartoon

British kids , drink more, smoke more and have more sex calamity

( Showing two very very happy kids )  



Blogger istanbultory said... 4:01 pm

The SNP case is deeply flawed. It’s up to the Speaker of the Scottish Parliament to decide whether a bill for a referendum on independence can go forward (a non-SNP speaker is hardly likely to side with such a bill) Given the system of PR used at Holyrood, the SNP can not, will never, achieve a majority other than in a coalition. Neither Labour or the Tories could ever strike a deal with the SNP. The Lib Dems would be well advised to leave any such ideas well alone.
And there's another problem in the SNP's approach to independence. 'Independence in Europe' has long been an SNP catchphrase, however, in early 2004, the European Commission indicated that an independent Scotland would not automatically become a member of the EU. Overall, it appears that Scotland would have to negotiate its accession to the EU as a new member state both as a matter of international law and as a matter of EU law.
As for Wales, there is increasing talk of the party going down from its current tally of 29 seats to the low 20s in the May elections. A return to coalition with the Liberal Democrats is on the cards for Labour just as a similar coalition in Edinburgh appears to be in its death throes....  



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