Thursday, 21 August 2014

It's not a vote for Yes, it's a vote for Salmond and the SNP - according to Salmond.

A common line of argument from Yes campaigners for Scottish Independence is:
"It's not a vote for Salmond or the SNP, it's a vote for Yes"
A Vote for Yes is a vote for theWhite Paper
Well I agree that's what it should be.  But oddly I don't often hear the same people saying (as they should)
"It's not a vote for Cameron or the Conservatives, it's a vote for No"
But that's an aside.  It turns out that Alex Salmond says that those Yes campaigners are just wrong. He said this in the Scottish Parliament.   Answering a question from Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, he said on 14th August: 
"I say to Ruth Davidson that, on September 18, if people in Scotland vote for what is in the white paper and the proposals to keep the pound, that is exactly what will happen and any Scottish politician who does not recognise the sovereign choice of the Scottish people will pay a heavy price. Incidentally, that is something that the Conservatives are long used to in political campaigns in Scotland."  theyworkforyou.com
I've put in the full quote to avoid being accused of quoting out of context. I don't care about the barb about the Tories, I care about this:
"on September 18, if people in Scotland vote for what is in the white paper and the proposals to keep the pound, that is exactly what will happen... the sovereign choice of the Scottish people"
Until I read that I really did believe that this was a vote for Yes, not for Salmond or the SNP or the white paper. But now the First Minister has told me - in the most sacred forum of Scottish democracy - that a Yes vote is a vote in toto for the white paper.  The white paper is exactly what will happen.

You can feel free to disagree with me.  But I'm quoting the First Minister.

If you vote Yes but don't agree with what Salmond, the SNP, and the Scottish Government have written in the white paper, then you are going against the "sovereign choice of the Scottish people". You don't want a lower corporation tax on the first day of independence?  No, you can't oppose that because it's against the sovereign choice of the Scottish people.

Maybe Alex Salmond misspoke.  Well, maybe all those other people he delights in quoting out of context in debates misspoke too.  Maybe he was joking.  Like Andy Burnham was.

But whether he meant to say what he said or not, it's essentially true.

There's an odd point of view that many Yes campaigners have, that somehow Scotland will be fundamentally more democratic as an independent country than the UK is.

Obviously, it will be more Scottish, but more democratic?

Let's assume that independence occurs on the timescale the Scottish Government wants, by March 2016.  There are no Scottish Parliamentary elections before then.  There is no suggestion of a second referendum on the outcome of negotiations, or a draft constitution.  There is no democratic control over the process except that exerted by The First Minister of Scotland (SNP), the Scottish Government (SNP), and the Scottish Parliament (absolute SNP majority).   Salmond has said (to his credit) that he would invite non-Yes campaigners into the negotiations, but the SNP will have absolute control of what happens.

Just like the rUK you say, with Cameron in control? Apart from anything else, rUK will enter negotiations with a two party government instead of one party, a two chamber legislature instead of one, and no referendum which they can say represents the "sovereign choice of the rUK people". And there is guaranteed to be a UK election before independence in which the negotiations are certain to be a central issue if Yes wins.

Scotland will be more democratic than rUK?   You can guess what I think.

To close, please remember what the First Minister implies:
"It's not a vote for Yes, it's a vote for Salmond and the SNP"
Or if you still insist I'm wrong (and I wish I was), remember that if you think 
"It's not a vote for Salmond or the SNP, it's a vote for Yes"
then at the very least you must also think:
"It's not a vote for Cameron or the Conservatives, it's a vote for No"


p.s. I'd like to thank Mulder1981 on Twitter for tweeting the picture below, which alerted me to the quote.  I spent a few minutes googling to confirm the quote was correct, since it seemed so unlikely. But it's true.

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