Way back in 2006 I first blogged that the Lib Dems should call a referendum on independence to call the SNP's bluff. Last year in March I questioned whether my party had an approved policy on the issue that the MSPs and leadership decided we shouldn't enter in talks with them over after the 2007 election.
Well following the debate in Bournemouth where our MEP in Scotland and a leading PPC said it was time to have that referendum, the party is going to look at the situation. Yeah at the Scottish conference on October 30 there will be a closed session at which this issue will be discussed. Having been of the same opinion for over 3 years on the public record I'm sure it will come as no surprise to my readers to hear that I am happy that the party are going to discuss this issue.
Alex Salmond has scathingly said our 'position on a referendum is built on shifting sands', not so Alex we merely having officially revisited our position for quite some time. Many of us who are in the party are trying to remember when the matter was last discussed, either formally or informally at Scottish Party level. This discussion later this month is just a step on the way to opening that debate and answer that question within the party. The leader Tavish Scott has requested the consultation of the members, possibly in light of some soundings he has already received, and Ross Finnie will be carrying out this review.
If we do consider the referendum is the way forward to get on with politics as normal, the Nats can be assured we'll come out fighting, so their smiles may be only short lived. Of course if we back the referendum motion us plus the Nats comes to 63 two short of the majority they require, add in the two Greens and Margo MacDonald and there may be a vote in favour.
Oh dear, then the SNP would have to stop playing the victim and actually enact one of their key pledges and have to do something.
UPDATE: I notice that Richard Thomson is accusing us of being 'all over the place on tax, all over the place on spending, and now, all over the place on Scotland’s future'.
For starters we have been consistently seeking a fairer tax system when those that can afford it pay more. The resultant spending from that shift was also to help those who are worse off. What did happened is while there agreement in principle over a Local Income Tax there was a disagreement on implementation which the largest party unilaterally felt had to be set centrally, not making it a local tax but a Scottish Income Tax and then took any possibility of a deal off the table, again unilaterally.
As for being all over the place on Scotland's future, as I stated above we have not discussed it in well over a decade as people who have been in the Scottish party longer than my 8 years do not recall such a debate. We also know what we want for Scotland's future as Richard pointed out that is a Federalism within the UK. How we move towards that and more powers may well have been changed, but our goal is still the same as many in the party wanted back in the time of Gladstone before there even was an SNP. I'd hardly call a consistant stance of over a century on home rule a stance on Scotland that is all over the place.