Well his successor in the Linlithgow/Bathgate/Whitburn portion of West Lothian Michael Connarty may have also come out not scared to pose the tough question, but it was published on a day which raises doubts. In yesterday's Edinburgh Evening News he says 'Labour should not be afraid of a referendum on independence' and that the independence option should have been put to the people at the time of the devolution referendum to make it clear it was a settlement. Although the original source of the story was the previous day's Times Scottish Edition with the Evening news just playing catch up.
Of course the SNP quickly jumped on that story issuing this press release. I wonder if anybody at Nat headquarters actually checked with the Scottish edition of the Time if the article in Tuesday's addition was actually an April Fool before publication. As they clearly give no second thought to the notes quoting the source and date.
However, this all lead into yesterday's SNP called debate on the Scotland Act (1998). Where Peter Wishart, SNP Member for Perth and North Perthshire, pointed out that Mr Connarty was unable to attend, but kept referring to those mentioned in the Times article including David Hamilton the MP for Midlothian, who was actually present in Westminster Hall, who tired on several time to interject into Mr Wishart's opening of the debate.
He got in early by retorting.
I hope that the hon. Gentleman does not think that I am part of his national conversation. The first conversation that I have with him will be the last.
When Hamilton did finally get the former Runrig singer to give way again he retorted to his taunts about being involved the SNPs great conversation by saying.
On three occasions the hon. Gentleman has said that I, the hon. Member for Midlothian, am involved in the conversation. Is that the national conversation that he and his party are promoting, saying that they take all views into consideration? However, the hon. Gentleman says that he will not consider moving powers from Scotland to Westminster. How can it be open dialogue if he is refusing that? He was better as an organ player than he is as a politician.
Hardly the words of a man who had been quoted as saying the day before 'We should have a referendum sooner, rather than later'.
The SNP of course are claiming the debate as a success for their so called conversation. One thing the debate did clear up in their intransigence in just that conversation. The SNP believe they know what the Scottish people want and are not prepared to discuss options which don't result in independence. The other parties are looking at ways to strengthen the powers provided in the Scotland Act. The pro-independence parties which of course is led by the SNP failed to do two things last May.
1 win a majority of the seats in the Scottish Parliament
2 win the majority of the popular vote in that election. Indeed they were some way off it.
The SNP are confusing being the largest party with being the majority. Thank heavens we have proportional elections for the Scottish Parliament, or else the Nats would have a John Major sized majority possible. Would have pushed through the referendum already and would now be floundering as the referendum would have failed and they'd have no idea where to go instead.
If this was the Times April Fool on Scotland then the Nats have fallen for it hook line and sinker, even to he extent of quoting it in debates. However, considering Connarty's other recent statement regarding referendum I think it possibly was. Then the yoke is firmly in the face of Mr Wishart et al.