Sunday, January 8, 2012

Legal or not?

(Scottish blood runs in my veins) Cameron has stepped into the Scottish independence debate by saying it's up to Westminster as to whether or not a referendum would be legal.

David Cameron went on the offensive over Scottish independence today - pledging to publish legal advice reported to show Westminster must give permission for a referendum.
The Prime Minister said it would give "clarity" to the people of Scotland as he renewed his determination to see a vote held "sooner rather than later".
And he accused First Minister Alex Salmond of seeking to delay a vote because he knew Scottish voters did not "at heart" want a full separation.
Mr Salmond wants the poll in the second half of his current term - which ends in 2016.
Mr Cameron told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show that the uncertainty over when a referendum would be held and what the question would be was damaging the Scottish economy.
"We owe the Scottish people something that is fair, legal and decisive so in the coming days we will be setting out clearly what the legal situation is," he said.
Technically I suppose he's right, though the way he's going about it will no doubt get right up the nose of Scottish Nationalists as he seeks to goad Salmond into falling in with his timetable rather than the Scottish First Ministers timetable. In fact I cannot see anything more likely to boost the nationalist cause more than a Tory UK Prime Minister telling them what they can and cannot do.
That aside though, it doesn't matter what Cameron thinks about referenda, he's hardly got a great track record on them himself, but if the Scottish government decide to hold one it doesn't matter about the legality or not, what will matter is the result. If a majority of the Scottish people decide that going it alone is what they want to do, what exactly is Cameron going to do about it? Send in the troops?
My own personal opinion on the matter is that if the Scots want to go their own way, that's a matter entirely up to them, my only (slight) peeve is that the English and other don't get their own referenda to decide as to whether or not the Union is worth keeping. I suspect a federal UK could work, but if others want to go it alone, then that's up to them, not the Prime Minister and Cameron stepping in to say that we'll tell you what the rules are is not helping at all, it just gets peoples backs up.
As it is, for all Cameron is currently the Prime Minister for the entire UK, Scotland has it's own parliament and runs most of its own affairs, his interference I suspect is nether wanted nor welcome.
I could only wish that England could do the same.

1 annotations:

English Pensioner said...

My son-in-law is Scottish by birth and ancestry, but works in London because no suitable work in his field was available in Scotland. He would return home if he could. What about his sister, currently in Australia, but likely to retrun home one day?
Surely they should have a vote on independence, even if they are not living there? Considerably more so I would suggest than ex-work colleague with a good Essex family, who was posted to Scotland for his work and stayed in his retirement because he couldn't afford to move back.