Wednesday, 4 March 2009

My Response to Brian Adam (and Jeff)

Hat tip to PJ who pointed out that Jeff had passed comment about the Lib Dem amendment to put aside a referendum bill for this Parliament. Jeff as the first part of his blog's name* would suggest takes the Nat approach that it is win-win for the SNP. However, he seems to have waylaid the middle 'tactical' part of his original remit.

I can assume that my public pronouncements on the subject of a referendum mean that I am clearly counted when the Nat Whip Brain Adam says:

"Mike Rumbles said he wanted the party to decide their policy - a party in which we know many members favour a referendum, as do the vast majority of Lib Dem voters."

Now while I am counted in the many, of the party, from the number of our voters I have met the vast majority have not given any preferred stance on this issue. Indeed it has never been a issue that any who have expressed a preference for the Lib Dems have proffered as one of their top three concerns.

However, the tactical side of me would suggest that looking at the First Minister's handling (or lack of) of the impending recession now is just the time to call a referendum if you wanted to maintain the Union. My reasoning being that in times of crisis people tend to stay to the status quo rather than take a risk on change. Therefore to volunteer to shelve it is actually a brave step that the battle will still be won when things have stabilised.

I also notice that rather ironically Jeff is abiding by the UK Government's predictions of when the recession will be over. Of course that is one of the most optimistic predictions, mid-2009 didn't I just read yesterday that deflation would be at it's worse in September. Also this belief in Labour propaganda is surprising for someone who has attacked them for having myopia on a number of issues (including the economy).

However, give Jeff his due he does agree that there is no appetite for a referendum right now. Something I said on Saturday while backing John Farquhar Munro's call to not shy away from a referendum is that unlike last summer when Mike Rumbles stood on the party deciding the policy there are more pressing policy considerations to be taken right now. Something the Nats seem to have forgotten in their pursuit of the one goal that identifies them.

I'm glad that Tavish has clarified that he isn't against a referendum just sees that the time is not before 2011. The Nats can moan all they like about be obstructed at every turn but they'll need to do something about something that really matters.

*SNP Tactical Voting (in case you're not a MacBlogosphere follower)


  1. This is going to be a pivotal period for the SNP if both the policies by which they have effectively defined themselves, LIT and an independence referendum, are shelved.

    I agree that this may not be a political or economic climate that is conducive to a referendum - particularly when the implications of independence have not been adequately communicated. But this still leaves the SNP with a bit of an image crisis - they can't gain enough support from the electorate to form a majority government and are ineffectual at carrying out their key manifesto promises as a minority government.

    However, in avoiding the inevitable it does give the SNP much needed time to get their house in order.

  2. PJ in some ways the SNP can use this to their advantage by saying to the electorate that the other parties refused to give them a say in Scotland's future.

    Don't know if that will work, it's a long shot, but as the SNP are making a good job of government (well better than the last lot) perhaps it may just be the approach that people accept.

    We'll know on polling night.

  3. I had assumed Jeff was being slightly disengenuous in adducing the Government's economic forecasts, which few people afford much credence.

    But he know that he can use this as a stick to beat Labour with - either the unionists' economic case against a referendum lacks plausibility or Labour's forecasts are wrong - Jeff wins either way :0)

  4. Subrosa the counter argument of course is that this has given the Scottish people's present the priority rather than fixating on the question of Independence.

    You may be right there Stuart but only Labour are trying to point a rosy picture of when this is going to end. But then we know they only saw this when the bus almost hit them whereas Vince Cable had seen the issue even before the bus company had released the timetable.

  5. Just to confirm Stuart W is right, I was being disingenuous.