Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Sturgeon sticks firmly with the policy of an independence referendum at the end of the Brexit negotiations

For those that heard Nicola Sturgeon's speech, the title of this blogpost may seem like a statement of the bleedin' obvious, but I gather from a tweet written by Ipsos-Mori's Mark Diffley that some MSM outlets only took a few minutes to completely misrepresent what she had said -

"Funny seeing how this is being reported as #indyref2 being withdrawn - not what I heard at all"

As I said the other day, I was fully ready to say I thought Nicola Sturgeon had made a terrible mistake if she reversed policy on an independence referendum, but I'm delighted and relieved to say I'm not going to have to do that, because the speech ticked absolutely every box I was looking for -

* Ms Sturgeon stressed that the SNP won the general election in Scotland and that this reinforced the mandate for a referendum initially received in the Holyrood election of May 2016.

* She upheld the policy that a referendum should be held at the end of the Brexit process.

* By stressing the mandate to hold a referendum within the current Holyrood parliament, she strongly hinted the vote should take place before May 2021.

* She gave a clear timetable (autumn 2018) for making a decision on the timing of a referendum, which removes the concern that today's decision is going to later mutate into an 'indefinite postponement'.

* She undertook to step up campaigning for independence even before a referendum is called - the complete reverse of assumptions that the topic is going to be "parked".

* Although she acknowledged that the Tories losing their majority reopened the possibility of a soft Brexit (which presumably would remove the need for a referendum altogether), she didn't pretend that this was a remotely likely outcome - I think her exact words were "however slim".

* Most importantly, she didn't renounce the decision on a referendum taken by the elected Scottish Parliament a few weeks ago, and she didn't revoke the request made for a Section 30 order on the basis of that vote.  (She did note that the resolution of the request has become less urgent, but it remains active.)

As far as I can see, the one and only change in the SNP position is that the referendum bill will not be brought forward in the immediate future, but instead a decision about its exact timing will be taken next year.  That is a change of process, not a substantive change of policy, and I have no great problem with it.  (Although it's heartening to see Patrick Harvie and the Greens acting as a counterbalance against the unionist parties and media by keeping the pressure up for the speediest possible progress.)

G A Ponsonby said the other day that he had no concerns at all about what Nicola Sturgeon was going to say, but he had great concerns about what the media were going to pretend she had said.  I now see his point entirely.  The media and unionist parties have a problem, though - they clearly want to say Nicola Sturgeon has performed a "humiliating U-turn" on an independence referendum, but they also want to say that Nicola Sturgeon has "ignored the wishes of the people of Scotland" by "doubling down" on an independence referendum.  I have a feeling some people out there are intelligent enough to spot that those two claims are not actually consistent with each other.

52 comments:

  1. how many years will this take?

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    1. As long as the Brexit process end point, dictated by EU. 2 years from Act 50, plus any extension granted by them.

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  2. "Incorporation of Seceded States" - in about 23mths time the EU will publish a new set of guidelines, and everyone will lose their shit

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  3. As 'democrats', what possible reason can the Yoons have for the Scottish people not having a vote at the end of the process?
    I'm pretty sure they will be allowed to vote No if they wish.

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  4. Perhaps now the unionist media will shut up about indyref2 and give us all a break.
    The focus,as the FM has rightly said,is now on Brexit and what's not in it for Scotland.
    Over to you Davidson & Co.

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  5. There will be n extension to the Brexit process. It's a very strict article. It's not in the gift of an ailing,failing government to demand more time because of internal problems.

    Article 50 was triggered in March 2017 and will end in March 2019. That's why the SG know by autumn 2018 what the deal will be. The rest of the 6 months is just carrying out the extrapolations. Personally I think we will know the deal by Christmas.

    Nicola should have left that bit open. Surely if we know it's already a hard Brexit this year then waiting another 10 months achieves nothing.

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    1. Nobody has ever left the EU before, and the 2 year 'rule' was plucked out of the air by a bunch of bureaucrats at the time of writing, without any point of reference whatsoever.

      If you think that they'll spend 2 years going down the negotiation route, and then just shut the whole thing down because of a line someone wrote in a rulebook, I think you're being naive.

      Unless things reach a complete impasse they'll keep negotiating to reach a settlement for as long as it seems to be in their best interests to do so.

      And given how complex this unentanglement is, I think 2 years is optimistic.

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    2. I hear ya, Unknown. It would make sense to allow the negotiations to naturally reach a best-deal-for-all conclusion. There's a couple of reasons why that won't happen though: The EU needs the UK to be worse off out, so it's in their interests to stick to the 2yr deadline - it puts pressure on the side with the weaker hand to capitulate and accept the deal presented to them. Theresa already knows this, which is why she's already sound-biting "no deal is better than a bad deal". Secondly, any extension to the 2yr deadline needs the agreement of all 27 member states. All of 'em. Every single one. I'm not saying that that's impossible, but for the same reason the EU needs the UK to be worse off at the end of all this, it's maybe unlikely? You're right about the 2yr timetable being a bit of an arbitrary air-plucked number, but I'd say that it's something they'll review and amend well after Brexit has completed rather than during, and even then they're unlikely to change it because, once again, they need splitters to be worse off so it kinda suits them to leave it as is. The most important thing is that the UK is worse off.

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    3. If Brexit is over by Christmas, then the UK will have walked out of negotiations, and will have no deal. Nothing will hold Nicola Sturgeon to her timetable announced today. We'll just have an earlier referendum.

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  6. I think Patrick Harvie asked an excellent question, and I would have liked to hear a clearer answer from Nicola. I'm still concerned that, should Westminster grant a s.30 order, they will seek to limit the franchise to exclude EU citizens. The timing of any referendum is therefore paramount.

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  7. That speech today from Nicola Sturgeon was much, much better. It was finely crafted and highly intelligent. Yes supporters will feel relieved that there has been no ditching of another independence referendum, while soft Nos will pick out the cautious message and the delay of the bill in Holyrood. Staunch and diehard unionists are never going to vote for independence, and so will not be satisfied.

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  8. I was listening to radio Scotland and the presenter said "and now the headlines. Nichols Sturgeon drops plans for a second independence referendum".

    I was livid and thought 'what the hell is she doing'?! But then I remembered this was the BBC and I had better hear what she said myself.

    I am still angry, but more so at the BBC for their anti-indy agenda that we seem powerless to do anything about.

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    1. I've only seen the BBC live report stream but I was, like you, even now, incredulous that they could comment so clearly at odds with what they quoted.
      I'm not sure though about the legislative timetable - don't really have a scoobie if 'not just now' for the legislation makes any difference.
      I do think though that finely crafted, sincere and thought-through speeches are an utter waste of time as almost no one will pay them any heed.

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  9. Given the pace at which the current Tory party negotiates it is fortunate that 2020 is now freed up as an election free year. However, overall I think this is a sound move by Nicola. It gives her breathing space and the UK/EU to sort out a clear path. If, as expected, that path is less than rosy for the UK then there will be time to present the case and offer it to the people.

    In the meantime it will be an opportunity for the SNP to top and tail and few domestic policies and let the media, who seem to have, with the exception of the likes of the Daily Hate, a new found desire to take the Tories to task...including making fun of Leadsom's desire to see more patriotic questioning of the Government.

    What we have over the next three years is very bit as much an opportunity as a threat.

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    1. I was thinking the same after she finished her speech.

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  10. When we exit this EU gravy train of waster idle politicians, beaurocrats and their floozies on the side the Scottish will then turn to the overbearing unnesesary ammount of politicians at Holyrood who are fleecing hard working taxpayers.
    Radical change is needed... Less politicians more business and workers.

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    1. Yes, dearie. Away and polish your piccolo; there's a good little Tory bootlick.

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    2. That's the plan. We'll get rid of the Scottish MPs at Westminster, and stop the lords from lording it over us. Glad to see you've finally seen the light.

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  11. Anent the Section 30 Order affecting EU nationals ability to vote, by that time a good many of them will be 'settled' EU nationals with the ability to vote in the UK and I am pretty sure that the vast majority of them will vote 'Yes' in an Indyref.

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  12. The policy was not “that a referendum should be held at the end of the Brexit process”, but that it should be held in the six months leading up to that, i.e. before the UK leaves the EU. The First Minister’s statement of 13 March said “if Scotland is to have a real choice – when the terms of Brexit are known, but before it is too late to choose our own course – then that choice should be offered between the autumn of next year, 2018, and the spring of 2019.” That has now changed with today’s statement, which says only that we are to get a further statement during that period, with no mention of a pre-exit referendum. So the intended referendum has been changed from before to after the UK leaves Europe, a substantive change. Some might regard that as tactical, but it is still a retreat from the earlier position, and I fear it may have the effect of weakening the bargaining strength of the Scottish Government to try to bring about a binding referendum at all. Thought experiment: Disregarding all the ludicrous unionist hot air the statement has already produced, has today’s statement left the British establishment happier or unhappier?

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    1. "So the intended referendum has been changed from before to after the UK leaves Europe"

      That's not clear at all, actually. We don't know Britain's exit date yet. (And if there's an extension beyond the spring of 2019, would we have the thrill of taking part in one more European Parliament election? Could be Ruth's Waterloo...)

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  13. On Newsnight during an interview with Ian Blackford Evan Davis stated that support for Independence had fallen to "around" 40%. Where did he get that figure from?

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    1. Unless there's a new poll out tonight, that's a complete invention. There hasn't been a recent poll that's put it as low as 40% - before the election support was holding up astonishingly well.

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    2. I would suspect deliberate obfuscation. Most quotes of Support are with Don't Knows excluded. Likely the 40% he's quoting is with don't knows still counted to show the Support as lower.

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  14. He made it up Rupert it's BBC!

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  15. @November13 Thought so. All the recent Polls I've seen are around the 45-48 area.

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    1. It's been as low as 43%, but not 40% (unless you count a TNS poll from several months ago).

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    2. Thanks.

      What he said was "Current polling has support for independence in Scotland at about 40%". He also made reference to the dodgy June 15 Daily Record/Survation poll saying 60% didn't want Indyref2 (5 mins into programme).

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08ww2kz/newsnight-27062017

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  16. Looks like the Nat si leadership are moving to rear with their drink cabinets and about to fall into their trenches full of their own anti English bitterness. The bitter nat si pariahs who peddle anti British hatred and probably against their own ancestors have been sussed.... How nice it is to see such bitter hatefull scum squirm in their excuses.

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    1. Strong and stable

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    2. Brexit means brexit

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    3. My pitch is very simple. My name is Theresa May, and I think I'm the best person to be Prime Minister of this country.

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  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. In tough times, everyone has to take their share of the pain.

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  19. "I have a feeling some people out there are intelligent enough to spot that those two claims are not actually consistent with each other."

    Touching, but the mass idiocy prevalent in England, seems to be catching hold in Scotland.

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    1. I am seeing buyers remorse in England. It will be fascinating to see whether Scotland catches up soon enough.

      BTW, I agree with the whole of the article atl. And your average person is as intelligent as you or I. It is silly to think otherwise, lest you be surprised at volatility. Stupid would be not recognising that folk do, in fact, think. Though the speed of their dance-steps seems to have caught out almost every so-called 'intelligent' commentator.

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  20. Anonymous June 28, 2017 at 10:06 AM,

    BTW,

    Most non MSM commentators and some MSM commentators fundamentally disagree with you about what she said or didn't say. Try reading the article above these comments before you decide or attempt to determine for others that you have the right of it.

    You don't.

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  21. "Although she acknowledged that the Tories losing their majority reopened the possibility of a soft Brexit (which presumably would remove the need for a referendum altogether)"

    That's just wrong. It's actually wrong in two ways. The Tories losing their majority will have no effect whatever on Brexit 'negotiations'. They are the government. The EU negotiates with the government. It has not the slightest interest in the size of that government's majority. It is of significance only internally.

    The notion being peddled is that, being weakened, the Tories can be forced to negotiate a 'soft' Brexit. That is complete nonsense. In the first place, there is no such thing as a 'soft' Brexit. There is only Brexit. And it is NOT going to be soft. And, even if there were such a thing as 'soft' Brexit, it wouldn't be for the UK Government to choose. There isn't some kind of pick 'n' mix menu of option that the UK can select from. There's what the EU is prepared to grant. Nothing more.

    For political reasons, it suits Nicola Sturgeon to go along with the fantasy of a 'soft' Brexit. Theresa May can't be shown to have refused or failed to deliver something unless that something has been demanded. By insisting on something the British PM can't deliver, but must pretend to be able to negotiate, the FM gains relative power. It's just basic politics.

    The other way in which the quoted statement is wrong is far more serious. The idea that the need for a referendum can be "removed" by anything other than independence is a dangerous fallacy that should be mercilessly shot down whenever it appears. Indeed, Nicola Sturgeon did just that when she stressed that the issue of independence is much bigger than Brexit.

    Let's have no more such drivel.

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    1. I'm afraid, Peter, that my "drivel", at least on the latter point, is a statement of the obvious. Nicola Sturgeon reiterated yesterday that the question of another referendum would never have come up so quickly after the last one if it hadn't been for Brexit. Over the course of the second half of last year, the SNP position gradually softened, and eventually it became clear that the red line was no longer remaining within the EU, but remaining within the single market. I don't necessarily agree with that, but I don't see the point in pretending that it isn't the SNP's position, because it clearly is. Remaining fully within the single market (which I agree is highly improbable, and I said so in the blogpost) would remove the SNP's current justification for an early referendum.

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    2. Peter's argument is also proven wrong by the fact that the panic election was held because the Supreme Leader of the Tories felt the need for a bigger majority, directly contradicting Mr Peter. Also, the stability of governments has effected negotiations with countries like Spain and Greece.it also defies common sense.

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    3. It was not a panic election it was an attempt to get a larger majority and a few extra years in power. They now have that few extra years but not a larger majority, We are leaving the EU gravy train and Spain and Greece can do the same if they have the bottle tae say f aff herman and the frogs.

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    4. The troll "GWC2" calls scottish people "jocks", made death threats on this blog while posing as a Yes supporter, advocates arming Leave campaigners, arbitrary deportations and public mutilations, claimed Jo Cox's husband was a fascist, uses racial, homophobic and ethnic slurs, pretends to be Labour (badly) while espousing far-right racist hate-speech, praises Theresa May and the tories and displays a perverted poisonous obsession with Scotland's First Minister.

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  22. I must have heard the same as James ,for I heard that the new independence referendum is still on and it wont be until we know the result of "Brexit" just as it was always going to be.I've read many posts on facebook and some letters in the "National" moaning about how Nicola Sturgeon has caved in to pressure from the Unionists and cancelled it or put it back indefinitely.In my post to them in Facebook,I wrote shut up and go listen properly to what was said,and don't read unionist "newspapers (sic)" for they only strive to cause upsets and try and divide us and so conquer as the unionists have done for centuries."Fooled again and again and again",split us up and do their work for them again.Calm down and cool your jets,ask yourself "Do you want to win independence for Scotland?" if yes then let our leaders do the job we elected them to do.Now if your not happy with how its being done why not get yourself suited and booted get yourself voted in and lead use your smarts the clever ones that is,obviously if you know how it should be done get out there and do it.Now me I'm not so clever but I'm smart enough to know that that there are plenty smarter than me and that is who I voted for and trust to get the job done.

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    1. You nat sis have to face reality and contribute towards that end.We are leaving the anti democratic corrupt EU... The Scots want the British Union.... You Nat sis have failed.

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    2. Your reasoning is to give Scotland over to the anti democratic EU. Scotland is a Nation and in a Union with her neighbour and you hate the neighbours.

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    3. GWC2 impersonator at 11:10 pm! What does FTP mean?

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    4. The troll "GWC2" calls scottish people "jocks", made death threats on this blog while posing as a Yes supporter, advocates arming Leave campaigners, arbitrary deportations and public mutilations, claimed Jo Cox's husband was a fascist, uses racial, homophobic and ethnic slurs, pretends to be Labour (badly) while espousing far-right racist hate-speech, praises Theresa May and the tories and displays a perverted poisonous obsession with Scotland's First Minister.

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    5. The troll "GWC2" calls scottish people "jocks", made death threats on this blog while posing as a Yes supporter, advocates arming Leave campaigners, arbitrary deportations and public mutilations, claimed Jo Cox's husband was a fascist, uses racial, homophobic and ethnic slurs, pretends to be Labour (badly) while espousing far-right racist hate-speech, praises Theresa May and the tories and displays a perverted poisonous obsession with Scotland's First Minister.

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  23. Frackin thick piss-ertist

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  24. I don't thing that there has been much interest in what Sturgeon says, for quite a while.

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