Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ruth Davidson's credibility lies in tatters

Ruth Davidson was asked a number of times in the run-up to the general election whether a Conservative government at Westminster would attempt to block a second independence referendum.  She replied that she'd had extensive discussions on the subject with David Cameron, and that she couldn't foresee any circumstances in which that would happen (although of course she went through the motions of adding that it would be a "betrayal" if the SNP brought such a proposal forward, blah blah blah).  She clearly made those comments for a reason - most likely that she wanted to demonstrate that the Tories had learned their lesson, and would in future respect the right of the Scottish people to democratically decide their own destiny.

I'm waking up to reports this morning that Cameron has now said that there will not be a referendum in this parliament or while he is Prime Minister.  That is clearly intended to indicate that he will haughtily wave his hand and 'overrule' any mandate that the Scottish people may give for a referendum at the election next May.  As Professor Robert Black has made clear, there is by no means a consensus among legal experts that the London government's permission is even required to hold a consultative referendum, as long as the question wording is carefully framed.  But Cameron clearly wants us to believe that he possesses such a veto, and that he will use it.  Forget the "equal partner in the Union" guff, we're back to the hostage situation.

So the hard questions this morning are for Ruth Davidson.  Does her word, and the word of the Conservative party, really not count for anything?

52 comments:

  1. Cameron took a huge gamble in legislating the first indy ref in 2014 and he almost lost it. Remember, support for YES started below 30%. With support for independence now almost 50%, there is no way he will ever agree to another indy ref. It is not going to happen. Not that we we need his permission, but it does mean that we need a stronger political position to overcome the inevitable legal challenge from WM. It could get to a ridiculous stage like Catalonia, where supporters of the union are persuaded by the media to boycott Indyref 2, allowing Cameron to challenge it's legitimacy. James, this is precisely the reason why we cannot jump too quickly to Indyref 2. We need a big backing next time, at least 60%. For those who think 51% is enough - forget it. We need to take the people with us and that means at least 60%. Anything less and they won't let us go and then it gets really nasty. I hope we don't go there.

    As for the tank commander, well she has already demonstrated a willingness to say anything to get her off the hook, secure in the knowledge that the media will not hold her to account. She is simply not a big enough player and not worth their attention.

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    1. Luigi : If we wait until we have 60% support, it is quite possible (likely even) that we will never hold a referendum, and that Scotland will never be independent. I just despair when I hear comments like that - it's like trying so hard to score the perfect goal that you never actually shoot.

      By the way, I also think you're wrong to say that Cameron would not accept a referendum if there was a mandate for it - in my view this is a bluff.

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    2. Cameron has just guaranteed Scottish independence - though he and other idiots behind him may just possibly succeed in making the process a destructive one. Clearly - from the Scotland Bill nonsense onwards to today's Bourbonesque remarks - they have learned nothing. The referendum will come, when it is blindingly obvious that there is a clear demand for it in Scotland and when that has obvious Scottish electoral legitimacy. Whenever it takes place, a simple majority will be sufficient. It cannot ensure civilised behaviour from Westminster - little ever can - but "t'will be enough - t'will serve."

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    3. In response the Catalans have made the coming Spanish General Election a plebiscite on Independence. The various Yes parties are standing under a common umbrella. If Cameron truly manages to block any referendum then next Holyrood election, which could be a snap poll called in response to the failure can be declared to be an Independence plebiscite. Vote SNP in constituencies and SNP/Green/Left Alliance on the list, here, here and here. IF London/Madrid decline to pay ball you have demonstrated your commitment to democracy, won a mandate and can expect at least some International support for UDI. You have to have exhausted your other options first though. You then dare London/Madrid to send in the troops. You may have to fire loyalist prosecutors first though.

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    4. i think that the question of whether we call another ref should be delayed till the spring. if politics is like a chess game, then it is labours move. this labour leadership election is a complete goat rodeo, never interupt your enemy while he is making a mistake, if corbyn gets elected then overthrown by the labour back benches, who knows how how that will pan out? not good for labour support in scotland but good for the snp no doubt.

      re the indy ref, i tend to agree with both of you. we need to be certain about winning indyref2, if the polls show 60% supporting yes by spring, then we should call it for sept 18th 2016. thing is, i kinda agree with james, where is this other 10% going to come from? (assuming, as i also do that it is about 50/50 now)

      25% (15% tory+7%lib+3%UKIP) will never vote snp or yes

      25% voted labour in may, while latest polls show labour at 19% and snp vote increasing ( 60% in one poll) for Holyrood, im not sure how many of these ex labour now snp voters would support indy? One thing that is conforing though, if these labour no supporters are at least willing to vote snp then they cannot be considered hard core unionists and might be converted? It might be worth crowd funding a poll, in the spring, to try and clarify this issue james. I think we need a clearer picture, but for now ill hedge my bets and say 55% yes supporters should precipitate indyref2

      schrodingers cat

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    5. Some will cite the case of Catalonia and argue NO voters would en masse refuse to participate in the plebiscite and that it’s legitimacy would be further undermined by the non-participation of the Electoral Commission (the less charitable might offer that given their behaviour during indyref1, the EC’s absence could only enhance the legitimacy of indyref2).

      But indyref2 would NOT be “just like Catalonia’s”, for we already know from indyref1 what a winning threshold would be, nor could it be seen as illegitimate if just over 200,000 more voters (a 5% swing) vote YES than did in indyref1, regardless of the turnout for NO.

      We know with an 85% turnout last time that the practical limits in terms of voter participation for NO had been reached. If it looked remotely likely that number was set to increase, an indyref2 would not even be contemplated for YES would not be 5 to 10 poins ahead at the outset.

      If the yes vote exceeds ~1.8 million the integrity of the outcome of an indyref2 vote is beyond reproach regardless of the turnout for “NO”

      (which is not remotely likely to exceed the difference comprising the total participation of indyref1)

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    6. Only if you accept the numbers from the referendum, does anyone still give them credibility?

      Wait till the independent inquiry into the running of the referendum and the count come out...oh wait no one in Scottish government asked for one did they...hmmm

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  2. Another case of: Is that a fact or did you hear it from a Conservative Politician? And anyway, since the actual amount of total contributions from Scotland per annum to the London Exchequer comes under the Official Secrets Act which all politicians have to sign before they can begin to work as MPs, Cameron's determination to hold on to his cash cow (or even the goose that laid the golden egg) cannot be underestimatd.

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    1. Under the official secrets act? I would have thought it was relatively simple to work out: take the figures from GERS under the "independent Scotland with geographic share of the oil" column. Subtract the figures under " actual spending/income in Scotland as part of the UK". The difference is equal to payments made to UK treasury minus the Barnett payments to Scotland. We know the Barnett block grant from a couple of years ago was 27 billion (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/block-grants-to-the-scottish-parliament). I'm not doing all the maths for you, but the figures are all available.

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    2. Under the official secrets act? I would have thought it was relatively simple to work out: take the figures from GERS under the "independent Scotland with geographic share of the oil" column. Subtract the figures under " actual spending/income in Scotland as part of the UK". The difference is equal to payments made to UK treasury minus the Barnett payments to Scotland. We know the Barnett block grant from a couple of years ago was 27 billion (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/block-grants-to-the-scottish-parliament). I'm not doing all the maths for you, but the figures are all available.

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    3. Which conveniently doesn't include our exports going through English ports or tax from companies trading in Scotland but having head office in England...that's just what we know about too

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    4. "Which conveniently doesn't include our exports going through English ports"

      Yes it does. GERS takes into account the monies retrieved at the point of sale. There is no such thing as export tax.

      "or tax from companies trading in Scotland but having head office in England"

      Oh dear. Yes, it does. Either you've not read the GERS methodology or you're saying the Scottish Government are incapable of doing simple calculations. I'm hoping it's the former.

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  3. I think Cameron is just trying to stir things & that he knows he couldn't stop us if he wanted to. With a right-wing media firmly behind him he knows that if the SNP, in particular, bite his press will be favourable whilst the SNP, and most of Scotland, are demonised or marginalised once again.

    Also if he keeps the indyref2 question just bubbling under the surface he may well be using it to distract the population (England mainly) from noticing whatever else he is doing; once again the media will conveniently help him out in this regard. I can't believe he really is stupid enough (I know he may well be arrogant enough) to think he can dictate to Scotland when Indyref2 will or won't happen.

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    1. But Indy supporters WANT Indy Ref at some indeterminate time in the future to keep bubbling away to keep pressure on Unionists vav current devolution machinations as well as a political ploy to hammer them at HR2016. Alex Salmond tweaked their tail about this last Sunday. And the Tories not being the brightest political stars in the sky are easily led by the SNP to do its job for them.

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  4. It's not the first time that Cameron has changed his mind and left Ruth looking silly. I recall the "line in the sand" which she dutifully trotted out, having heard him say it, and which she just as dutifully forgot once he had rubbed it out.

    Like the words from the old song: Et la mer efface sur le sable, les « lignes » des amis désunis.

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  5. I appreciate that we cannot wait around forever, and maybe my bar is too high - I will concede 55%, nothing less!, but I do think we need to be patient here.

    I would hate us to be bounced into going too early for indyref2, losing narrowly and allowing the establishment to lock us in for an entire generation. For me, that would be unforgiveable. IMO, Cameron will not sanction another indy ref - he got too much of a fright last time, and besides, do you really think his party would allow him?

    I can really see a media-inspired unonist boycott of indy ref 2,especially if they think they cannot win. I hope not, but this could get really messy.

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    1. What happens when Yes wins an indy referendum that has not been sanctioned by Westminster and which tthe Unionist side does not recognise? UDI is not a practical option. But the Tories are ensuring that when the second referendum does happen - and it will, of course - the Yes side will win.

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    2. I'm not sure UDI is impractical. But anyway Holyrood could begin to pass laws on matters which aren't devolved, according to Westminster. Holyrood could pass a law saying WMD were illegal on Scottish soil and on Scottish waters then blockade the firth around Faslane. Indeed I would like it pass non-devolved laws now. Test the waters?

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  6. The Tories really are the gift that keeps on giving for the SNP. This is perfect for them. There is now absolutely no reason not to have a full and uncompromising referendum commitment in the manifesto for next year. And the party gets the breathing time it needs to come up with the answers to issues such as what will happen to the currency and how will the economy grow enough to support current levels of expenditure etc. Whoever is the Tory PM after Cameron will be the person who sees the Union go.

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    1. You mean apart from the fact we just had a fair and decisive referendum not 10 months ago? We decided. The answer was no. Let me know what part of that word you're not understanding and I'll put it in context for you.

      What's going to happen to the SNP is this: Unless they stop beating the Indy drum and start sorting out the mess they've made of Scotland over the last 8 years, they will be out on their ear. There's only so much the electorate will stand and we're close to breaking point.

      At some point in time, you, others and of course the SNP are going to have to accept the democratic will of the people of Scotland. The sooner this happens, the better for everyone.

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    2. Ahem. Jeff is a unionist.

      I'm trying very hard not to giggle.

      By the way, fancy a small wager on the SNP being "out on their ear"? The bet to be void if there is no referendum commitment in the manifesto. I shall of course require your real name and contact details.

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  7. Sorry James, I didn't actually realise that Ruth Davidson, or any other Tories for that matter, had any credibilty.

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  8. James,

    Gordon Wilson in the National Today (page 2), commented that support for independence is falling. Is this actually true? As it goes against what the polls are saying.

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    1. I was struck by this too - I wasn't aware of any such evidence. What's Gordon Wilson referring to?

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    2. Perhaps the latest subsample [63!] where SNP, not independence, was at 43%?

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    3. He says "The time is not yet ripe. Support for independence is falling while support for the SNP itself is rising". Still scratching my head.

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    4. Unless there is some poll that I don't know about, the chances are he's just misinterpreting margin of error noise, ie. the odd 1% or 2% drop from one poll to the next which is probably caused by normal sampling variation.

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    5. Glasgow Working ClassJuly 28, 2015 at 6:50 PM

      After two years of the Nat sis lying to the Scottish people you were trounced in the referendum. You seem hell bent in denying the democratic wish of the Scots that is why I call you Nat sis. You do not care about the economy or the future prosperity of the nation. Just narrow minded petty nationalism and your hatred of the English that drives you.

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    6. Unless there is some poll that I don't know about, the chances are he's just misinterpreting margin of error noise, ie. the odd 1% or 2% drop from one poll to the next which is probably caused by normal sampling variation.

      Shouldn't a former party leader be a bit more savvy about opinion polls? I'm always amazed that the SNP went directly from him to Salmond. That kind of leap in quality usually takes more than a single step.

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  9. In order to prevent a referendum taking place in Scotland,the Tories would have to control the voting process in some way which would mean passing legislation in Westminster and getting a Scottish government to agree.
    Just saying that they do not recognise the result if it is Yes won't cut it with the international community since they made it clear recently that we had the right as a nation (even Cameron said initially "It is a matter for Scots") to decide our future constitutional arrangements.
    Asking Unionists to abstain would be a very risky strategy as it would guarantee a Yes vote and many would recognise this and vote No anyway giving credibility to the result.
    Unless the Tories completely withdraw from Human Rights agreements,they will be bound by this fundamental issue and will have no alternative but to recognise the result.
    What they do afterwards might be a very different matter and I am sure that negotiations will be difficult and protracted as the London Treasury tries to hang onto as much as possible.
    At the end of the day,we all have to live together in these islands and a constitutional settlement that suits everyone will have to be negotiated which will leave relationships between the family of nations on a more even footing.
    Not going to happen under the current regime unless their hand is forced.

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  10. The people are sovereign. When we have a media-neutral, vow-less referendum, we will see. With 56 MPs to 3 MPs, it should be achievable.

    Cameron et al want to push this into the long grass until 2020 and beyond, hoping the SNP will decline in WM (and ergo legitimacy is waning).

    2016 HR elections and 2017 local elections are crucial for the SNP. If SNP support grows with those elections, indyref should be easily achievable.

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  11. i despair that we even need a referendum. The British State has seldom gifted Independence to anyone they considered to be of use, that Ireland had to fight for it, Cyprus, Kenya. Those granted Independence were considered to be a strain on their purse, like those islands in the Caribbean and they often did not want independence. So where does that leave Scotland. We are the only country I know to refuse the prize, but I do wonder if we actually did.

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  12. "For a nation to be free, it is sufficient that she wills it" Lafayette.

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  13. Mr Mundell,the Tory Scottish secretary,recently said that the Scottish people could have another referendum if they wanted one.

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  14. Ladies and gentlemen, despite numerous conversations in the press,and on social media ,debating the various merits and end results of UDI vs Indy 2, unless strict adherance to the supposed laws that pertain to the governance of the the UK is seen to be observed, the likelyhood is in the event of either of these scenarios actually happening then D.C. And his tory cronies, backed up by 'new labour', will find some way to nullify Scotland's sovereign will and declare any Indy favourable result unconstitutional and therefore illegal . When Holyrood inevitably objects and threatens to 'go it alone anyway ' ,it will be at this point that , as many of you have vaguely mentioned when reaching the end of your discussions,things will 'start to go wrong for us' or even 'get a bit messy' . What does actually mean for Scotland? The dissolution of the holyrood parliament? The implementation by westminster of their idea of ' home rule' , as seen in Ulster away back at the start of "the troubles"? British troops on the streets of Scotland's cities enforcing a curfew as laid down by a recently imposed decree of martial law on our OWN soil? "IMPOSSIBLE" , you shout ! Ahh, well, if you have been paying attention to other news reported this week, the government is introducing new plans to place british troops on the streets of the UK in a bid to combat or deter the rising possibility of future civil unrest. Now, the report i saw, pertaining to 'operation Temperer ',used 'the blatant rising threat of islamic extremism' in this country as justification for their actions ,however, by the second paragraph that excuse had been dropped and the more honest and simplified description of ' social disobedience and civil unrest ' as the reason behind this blatant threat of the legal and lawful militarisation of our cities and streets . Make no mistake, the westminster/whitehall establishment has bern dealing with nationalistic insurrection and demands for independance from its colonies for over two Centuries ! So if you think that they would hesitate for one second to create and fabricate reasons to usurp and qwell the population of Scotland then take a good look at the union's human rights track record since the beginning of the British Empire, then tell me this will all end in roses and kisses all round .....so when this much denied future comes to pass on our doorstep ,we will be left with one burning question. Exactly how far are we willing to go to gain our independance from london's rule, because believe me, they wont give up quietly and let us go without one hell of a fight , and thats exactly what we are gonna have to give them to be free!

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  15. When the welfare reform starts to bite next year see how many will be anxious to get rid of Westminster.
    However the UK system is based on precedent, he the Edinburgh Agreement has created a precedent and no one can impede another referendum. The Smith Agreement furthermore states clearly if I recall well at art. 18 that Scotland can attempt independence whenever it deams appropriate.

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  16. Your separatist dreams lie in tatters. We voted no and our Prime Minister has decided the majority opinion of Scotland should be upheld and respected. Please accept this.

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    1. I smell fear, great fear. Fee fi fo fum I smell the fear of a BritNaz bum.

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    2. i think your dreaming aldo independance is coming no matter what needs too happen to achieve it

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    3. No, Aldo, your Prime Minister has decided that the majority opinion of Scotland should be overruled. No democrat can possibly respect that - which is doubtless why you do.

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    4. "Your separatist dreams lie in tatters. We voted no and our Prime Minister has decided the majority opinion of Scotland should be upheld and respected. Please accept this."

      Upholding and respecting the majority opinion of Scotland, from the party that defeated no less than 18 Scotland Bill amendments which had the support of 80%-95% of Scottish MPs?

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    5. James Kelly - short memory or just ignoring a result because you weren't in favour?

      "your Prime Minister has decided that the majority opinion of Scotland should be overruled"

      Actually you, the SNP and other Indy supporters have decided that the majority opinion of Scotland should be overruled.

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    6. Don't be silly. That's like saying the Conservative victory in 2010 "overruled" the Labour victory in 2005. The referendum wasn't a vote to abolish democracy for the remainder of time.

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  17. To answer the original question. No The word of Ruth Davidson and the Tories (of various hues) is worthless. That Westminster simply cannot be trusted to act in Scotland's interest on any issue is reason enough to continue moving towards independence.

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  18. Why are we surprised, or even interested, that a Conservative "promise" has been/was always intended to be broken? I challenge anyone to name 5 promises they've made that have actually been kept - in the spirit, not the letter.

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  19. Sorry, that last "unknown" is me :)

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  20. Surely all that is required is for a manifesto promise to renegotiate the Treaty of Union, and put the result to an IN/OUT referendum ----a la Cameron and the EU.
    He cannot repudiate a renegotiation that follows exactly in his precedent on the EU.
    No more 'vows' or false promises. The Unionist Parties will need to be honest in their proposals. Federalism, status quo, independence.
    A simple choice.

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  21. Glasgow Working ClassJuly 28, 2015 at 6:59 PM

    You cannot renegotiate the treaty. It is in or out and take the concequenses.

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    1. So oor Dave is lying about renegotiating the EU treaty, before having the in/out ref?

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    2. Glasgow Working ClassJuly 28, 2015 at 8:33 PM

      And your point? The SNP do not want to renegotiate the Union Treaty they want out. The SNP want to stay in the EU so they can put the begging bowl out to Frankfurt. Cameron wants to get back to what we the people voted for in 1976, eg: a trade agreement and not corruption on a mass scale from Brussels.
      An organisation that cannot audit its accounts. And here was me thinking the SNP would want public accountability for every penny spent!

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  22. "Glasgow 'Working Class'":
    It strikes me that you are an imperialist troll for the 'Union' who would not know a working class person if he or she were to evacuate their bowels and loose their bladders upon your Primrose Hill-bourgeois- variant- embedded-in Jocklandistan-take-on-'thangs'-Jock.

    Nary a mention or citation of historical personages and events - of which there are many - which run counter to your Loyal Orange Order style of "socialist" interpretation of Scottish proletarian history (be it urban, rural, or island).

    Not a whiff of any counter-example for it would fatally flaw your British Unionist propaganda vaguely connected to the Scottish historical realities by a trembling ba' hair turning grey and falling out of its wrinkled sac of a genitaliac locus.

    From your trolling lair in, perhaps, Brit GCHQ devolved to Brigton at GCC City Chambers, how about I supply you with one example to blow your Brittannic HMS Drivel out of your shrinking waters?

    John MacLean.

    There are countless other examples collectively and individually over aeons.

    How about you do your homework for a change before letting your lips flap and your fingers Morris Dance all over the keyboard at paw?

    Yours in the spirit of the 1820 Martyrs et al
    A non-forelock tugging Jock

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  23. Glasgow Working ClassJuly 30, 2015 at 10:24 PM

    David. Glad you got that lot of inner anti English drivel and hatred aff yer chest. But dare I say it what wis yer point. I do know that some people admire bullshit when young but your bullshit is exactly it. And if you had to mention tugging the forelock then of course that is your personal problem and not those of Scots. And your unnecessary mention of the Orange suggests you are a not only a national bigot but a religious bigot. Luckliy for MacLean he never realised the propensity for mass slaughter of Marxists.

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