Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Path To Scottish Independence

The debate on Scottish independence will begin this week as Holyrood and Westminster prepare to sign an agreement on the holding of a 2014 referendum.  The Prime Minister is expected to sign a deal with Scotland's First Minister tomorrow granting the Scottish Parliament the power to stage the historic vote.

David Cameron will meet Alex Salmond in Edinburgh following months of negotiations about the ballot, expected to be held in autumn 2014.  Salmond's deputy Nicola Sturgeon said the agreement would allow opposing campaigners to focus on the issues at the heart of the debate.

Sturgeon told Sky News: "The good thing about getting the process issues out of the way, which we'll do tomorrow, is that we can get on to that substantive debate about why Scotland would be better as an independent country."

The ballot is likely to be limited to a single Yes-No option.  Suggestions of a second question on further devolution, short of independence, were firmly opposed by the UK Government.

The referendum is expected to be open to 16 and 17-year-olds as supported by the Nationalists.
"If you consider issues over the timing, the question, the franchise, all issues which at the start of the year David Cameron was making noises about...all of these things will now be determined by the Scottish Parliament. I think that is a very good outcome," Sturgeon told the Murnaghan show.  "Over the next couple of years we will set out all of the answers to the questions people rightly are asking about independence.  We will make it abundantly clear what people will be voting for if they vote 'yes'.  But of course the responsibility also lies with those advocating a 'no' vote to say what voting no would mean.  As far as I can see it would mean the continued dismantling of our welfare state and the continued squandering of Scotland's resources."
Moore said the agreement would produce a referendum that would be "legal, fair and decisive".

The Liberal Democrat told BBC One's Sunday Politics show: "I think it's a good agreement. I believe it will now allow us to put up in lights the big issues about the big debate...on what is best for Scotland.
"I believe that when we look at the economy, at defence, at our place in the world, on all these big issues people across Scotland will continue to support Scotland being in the United Kingdom.  Independence is about Scotland leaving the UK, becoming a separate state, taking on all the burdens and risks that go with that and losing the benefits and opportunities that we have as part of the UK.  Any detail about who is voting and who isn't has to be in the referendum bill that the Scottish Government will put to the parliament in due course.  As a Liberal Democrat I don't have a problem with 16 and 17-year-olds being involved in elections or referenda.  I accept that at a Westminster level there's no consensus and you'd need that to be able to move on."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Stephen I do sincerely hope the Good Scottish (our celtic people) vote fo Scottish Independence. I have felt since Margaret Thatcher's time as PM Westminister parliament is only intersted in the wealth of the south of england and the north of england ,wales and scotland can like it or leave it