Friday, May 27, 2016

Alex Salmond seizes the initiative and boosts the chances of a second independence referendum in the event of Brexit

Alex Salmond is certainly a man who knows how to lay down a marker.  When he was asked during tonight's televised EU debate whether Brexit might lead to a second independence referendum, I'm sure many people were expecting him to give a cagey answer.  Instead his message was utterly uncompromising -

* A second referendum would be justified.

* It would happen within two years.

* There would be a mandate for it because a) there is a pro-independence majority in the elected Scottish Parliament (thus liberating us from the fatuous obsession with the questionable results of a single ICM opinion poll), and b) the SNP's share of the vote this month was greater than that received by any other lead party of government in the whole of western Europe.

As always, he made clear that he was expressing a personal view, and we know it's likely that there is a genuine difference of emphasis between himself and the more cautious Nicola Sturgeon.  So there's still wiggle-room for the SNP if Brexit occurs and for some reason they decide not to push for a second indyref.  But it's hard to believe Salmond would have spoken so emphatically unless there was a collective desire within the party to at least keep the option of a post-Brexit referendum firmly open - and that's what has been achieved.

Ultimately, this has always been a question of narrative more than arithmetic.  In the immediate aftermath of the election, the SNP were temporarily on the back foot, and they allowed both unionist politicians and unionist journalists to weave a narrative that the prospect of a second referendum had somehow receded.  That claim never had any rational basis, but it could easily have become a self-fulfilling prophecy if it hadn't been challenged in a telling way.  With perfect timing, Salmond has seized back the initiative and probably repaired pretty much all of the damage at a stroke.  His comments are currently the lead headline on the BBC news website, so they're going to be heard loud and clear.

And yes, I know some of you will be muttering to yourselves that Brexit isn't going to happen and this whole strategy will prove to be a dead end in a few short weeks.  But I don't know of anyone - bookies, academics, pundits - who rates the probability of a Leave vote as lower than 15%.  So it's a non-trivial chance, and we have to be prepared for it.

On the debate more broadly, I'm not sure whether the official campaigns were allowed to nominate their own representatives, but I presume that's unlikely (would Remain really have risked alienating Tory England by nominating Salmond, for example?).  If it was actually the BBC who made the selections, I can imagine that the Leave campaign may have been pretty unhappy with the line-up - it essentially framed the choice as being between pro-EU progressives and hard right Europhobes.  They could really have done with Kate Hoey being there in place of Diane James.  Even Tom Harris would have been better - we political obsessives may know all too well what he's really like, but most people don't, and he's just about capable of passing himself off as a progressive with a bit of effort.

56 comments:

  1. Do you think Alex Salmond would have sex with my wife so that I could have his child?


    Mandela

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    1. You'd need to see Stuart Hosie about that.

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    2. We'll get him cloned instead eh? I miss Big Eck

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    3. Glasgow Working Class 2May 27, 2016 at 10:29 PM

      If you want a sheep in a lambs clothing then yes let him shag yer missus.

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    4. 23 fixates on other people's sex lives again. Disturbing.

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    5. 23 has a worrying obsession with other people's sex lives. HGW/XX23 perhaps?

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  2. I don't think Alex Salmond has made an "innocent" statement in his life. He is a very shrewd political operator, and although he is by nature a gambler, I'm pretty sure tha Nicola Sturgeon and he have a close understanding. There is a mutual trust between them, and they have the tremendous advantage of being Scottish Nationalists, where the party's aim of Independence comes before career for most, if not all its elected representatives. Even if AS didn't inform NS about what he was going to say, the MSM know they are on a hiding to nothing if they try to manufacture a wedge between these two in particular, and between SNP representatives in general.
    Alex Birnie

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  3. James.

    For your more innumerate followers, me, could you explain this?

    who rates the probability of a Leave vote as lower than 15%.

    How do you calculate that?

    I thought that, from reading your site that it was about 50:50.

    Help?

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  4. The Ghost of the Scottish Referendum is haunting the current Referendum. On the BBC Radio 4 News today the lead item is pension or the threat to them if there is a leave vote. Will Labour activist phone up pensioners and tell them that their pensions will stop on the 24th June if they vote to leave?

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  5. I was shocked at Alex comments on Norway and the Fiscal argument siding with the UK government and the bank of England for remaining in the EU, these comments Alex made will come to haunt us in the next Independence referendum.

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  6. The most amusing part of the whole debate was in response to Alex's comments on a second Indy ref. Liam Fox responded "Nicola Sturgeon said it was a once in a lifetime opportunity", when in fact it was, of course, the guy sitting 6 ft away from him that said it. Are politicians really that dumb that they can parrot this kind of inaccuracy without realising, or are they just so used to spouting misleading 'facts' that they don't care about being accurate even on small things like that? I know by the fact I'm posting here that I'm not the 'average Joe' with respect to politics, but when someone does that it just destroys their credibility in my mind on all other subjects no matter how well they may appear to be argued.

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    1. They just lie knowing that their quislings will defend them unto death.

      There are still proudScotbut traitors spamming comment threads justifying the lies that pensions would not be paid post Yes. Or that scummeron never promised a 2nd oil boom and that Scottish jobs would be protected after a no vote.

      These people are the reason why a tiny party of thugs can take over a country if the media falls under their control.

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    2. But that is the point. Before the age of the internet, they all used to tell us a load of crap about who said what and what was decided at an early time. We did not question it because a politian told us that and there is no way that they would like to the general population. They only did what was best for us. We now know and understand, that they have been lying for years/decades. Only now with the internet and with the help of sites like Scot goes Pop and Wings we understand we live in a very different United Kingdom than we were lead to believe in the past. I still think that is why a lot of pensioners voted No in the referendum. A lot of them (not all I grant you) could not see the deceit of people like Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling and the rest of their crew that made up Better Together.

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    3. No one said it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. No one either said or suggested that there wouldn't be another referendum for a lifetime, or even for a generation. Salmond said it COULD be on the basis of referendums in 1979, 1997 and 2014. He never said it should or would be. Yet another unionist lie and myth.

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  7. Cameron thought that he would get his "Vow" in early by returning from Brussels in a Chamberlainesque manner waving his opt outs for all to see.
    The vow and convincing Scottish middle class voters that their money was safer in Westminster's hands worked for him not long ago so why not again?
    However,it is the old "Fool me once...." situation and I doubt many people now take him seriously.
    That leaves the outcome in a fairly uncertain place but whether an exit vote would trigger another Scottish referendum is not certain.
    Only if Gove and his fellow travellers gain power in an "independent" England and set about radical reform of human rights legislation,would that happen.

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    1. Just to say, I think Scottish voters are thrawn enough to decide for themselves. That is the painful consequence of allowing independence of thought. I doubt the genie will ever be put back in the bottle.

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    2. Maybe not but people can and do slip into snooze mode Waiting for Indy in many a case.

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  8. Good to hear Alex Salmond being upfront and positive about a second Scottish referendum. Keep the kettle boiling; keep the britnats whining.

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  9. But it's hard to believe Salmond would have spoken so emphatically unless there was a collective desire within the party to at least keep the option of a post-Brexit referendum firmly open - and that's what has been achieved.

    Is it that hard to believe? He has form for making grand pronouncements which are apparently made up on the spot, like the class sizes incident in 2007. Freed from the responsibilities of being FM, I'd expect him to become more careless about this kind of thing.

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  10. As Eck once said "Bring it on"

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    1. I thought it was one of the short-term Branch managers called Wendy Alexander who said that.

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  11. The UK will vote to stay in the EU and that will be the end of it. No referenda + no elections of note, for 4 years.

    Aldo

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    1. I disagree. If it's close, Boris and Farage will never let it lie.

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    2. I was just dying for Alex to ask Liam Fox last night "well, if we vote to stay in the EU how long do you think it should be before any second EU referendum?"

      Sadly, for some strange reason, nobody ever seems to ask these sorts of awkward questions.

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    3. Wow. That is the first thing I ever read from you which I could agree with. Are you sure you are not an imposter?

      The only fly in the ointment is turnout. If - and I suspect that will be the case - the turnout is low then the Brexit zealots may carry the day. However I would think there would be a dificulty for Nicola in posing IR2 if the Scots enthusiasm for the EU is manifest in a council election scale turnout.

      Have you seen any EU flags in anyone's window?

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    4. "The UK will vote to stay in the EU and that will be the end of it. No referenda + no elections of note, for 4 years."

      Ah. When I said that I didn't know of anyone who rated the chances of Brexit as lower than 15%, I forgot about Aldo. Yes, probabilities are always either 100% or 0% in Aldo-world.

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  12. Barring a terrorist incident in the week of the referendum, involving the dumping of freshly printed Syrian passports...

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  13. Even No voters will see that, thanks to the on-going shite being shovelled upon us all courtesy of Westminster and the britnat media, the disolution of the so-called united kingdom can only be of benefit to all the people of these many islands.

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  14. I don't think there will be another independence referendum in the next 5 years.

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    1. Is that based on an assumption that Brexit won't happen?

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    2. Even if it does happen. I don't foresee many people wanting another referendum so soon after the first one.

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    3. Ah, OK. In that case I think you're wrong.

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    4. I think Sturgeon is genuinely dreading Brexit. Not just for the reasons she's giving, but because it will put her under massive pressure from SNP members who want Indyref2 despite the obvious problem that the anticipated Brexit boost for Yes may well not be enough to make winning likely.

      She will have her work cut out placating the party factions who don't share her cautious approach.

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  15. Alex Salmond's announcement is all very well, but have we heard David Bowie's opinions. Oops... forgot.

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  16. He probably achieved what he set out to and that was get right up the noses of the Yoons. Judging by their reaction and their whines he did just that.

    I am surprised that both campaigns in England haven't started saying if you vote for the other lot you will get Alex Salmond. Well not yet at least although the Stay in gang want him to shut up.

    I don't think that thickie Fox has caught up with the fact that AS is no longer the leader of the SNP.

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2May 27, 2016 at 10:33 PM

      Eck thinks he is the leader but sadly he will die some time.

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    2. Get the crayons out of your mouth, 23.

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  17. Did you hear the report on Salmond on Radio 4 Six O'Clock News tonight? It was the most blatant piece of partizan propaganda I've heard in a long while. The reporter went to a Tennis Club in Edinburgh and spoke to some of the (posh) members who as expected were all unionists. There was no attempt at balancing their views with separatists who would have agreed with Salmond.

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    1. I switched it off. I wondered why they didn't just pretend they were in Dundee and get some actors from central casting to play the pops.

      Hell, its the MOT. Maybe that was what they did.....

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  18. Glasgow Working Class 2May 28, 2016 at 2:01 AM

    Salmond has not ever offered anything progressive for working class people or any legislation to help anyone. He is a narrowback Nat si like all Nat sis who probably worship Wullyum Wallace. Watching the deep hurt in his face when we voted Naw was a tonic. He has had his time like most Nat si fookers.

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    1. Has anyone noticed the correlation between the time of night and the level of enraged bitterness expressed by 23? The later it gets, the more spittle-flecked and sub-Spanneresque the bile becomes.

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    2. Pretend Working ClassMay 28, 2016 at 12:26 PM

      2 in the morning. The fine wines have run out, and our lady friend seems to be on her fourth G&T. I'm looking forward to the hangover posts when she wakes up.

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  19. All it needs, to start the ball rolling, is one SNP/Green politician to say that no-one should be prosecuted for non-payment of the bbc tax.

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  20. Glasgow Working Class 2May 28, 2016 at 11:53 AM

    I assume by anyone you mean all the faithfull Nat sis although it is likely as you post under various names you are actually talking to yourself.
    Salmond is a nonentity and has spent his life moaning with hard done to stories.He is an embarrassment to hard working people. I turn the chanel over when the blob appears.

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    1. Don't you have enraged ravings to write to the Dreary Heil, 23? Can't do that if you insist on chewing your crayons.

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    2. Pretend Working ClassMay 28, 2016 at 12:27 PM

      Oh dear, it looks like the hangover has really kicked in.

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    3. Pretend Working ClassMay 28, 2016 at 12:29 PM

      Sorry to see our lady friend turning her back on Chanel. But then there's a wide range of perfumes available from Emporio Armani.

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  21. In what substantive way did Salmond boost the chances of a second IndyRef? And as for the big beasts of the SNP embracing the tropes of Project Fear mark 2 that is a dreadfully short-sighted piece of political opportunism. If the UK is 'too small etc.,' to leave the EU (an arrangement of some 40-50 years) and the change is 'too risky' and moreover all of the doomsday forecasts from the usual political and media establishment are the truth with a capital T then it will be mighty hard to argue in the context of an IndyRef 2 that Scotland leaving a 300 year old Union is 'no biggy', 'risk free' and so on (last time out the SNP could not even offer a moderately intellectually/politically robust answer on what money would be in people's pockets - a fatally weak aspect of IndyRef 1).

    Secondly why do the SNP think everyone in Scotland (including independence supporters) is automatically in love with the profoundly dysfunctional and undemocratic EU? (Read Peter Mair's 'Ruling the Void' for more details on just how bad the EU actually is.)

    After all isn't there polling evidence that the SNP support contains up to 30% of people for leave/Euro-sceptics? Why isn't the membership of an independent Scotland in the EU a matter for the Scottish people in a democratic referendum or did I miss something?

    If Indyref 2 did happen is a Yes vote one for SNP land? That's simply not not smart politics. After all everyone that is going to vote SNP now has - the independence cause has to now also appeal to people that don't particularly like the SNP. The best argument for independence is the democratic one. Better for the SNP to say 'yes we believe in the EU but the political direction of an independent Scotland is always in the hands of the Scottish people" - that's the fucking key point of Scottish independence!

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2May 28, 2016 at 7:16 PM

      Nonsense the key point in gaining independence is to hand it away to the EU. A brexit will guarantee Scottish independence in the Union.

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    2. Control called, HGW/XX23. No more reports written in crayon. It's embarrassing.

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    3. Pretend Working ClassMay 29, 2016 at 5:58 PM

      Oops - the champagne cocktails seem to be kicking in.

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    4. Glasgow Working Class 2May 29, 2016 at 9:21 PM

      Well you Nat sis can afford it. Idle bloodsucking pariahs. Try workin.

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    5. Like 23 would know anything about a decent day's work...

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  22. 1) Brexit will not happen.

    2) Even if it did, the unionist case is strong. We do most of our trade with the rest of the UK and leaving the UK to stay in the EU would mean adopting the euro, Schengen, German-led austerity (see Greece), and a hard border with the rest of the UK. We may not even secure EU membership in our own right - leaving Scotland completely isolated.

    The case for union is absolutely cast iron - in or out of the EU.

    You would, in all likelihood, be defeated a second time.

    Aldo

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    1. The ego has landed. We should trust Aldo's soothsaying about as much as Mystic McTernan.

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