By Hazel Lewry

On Budget day there was a news item, buried by the budget news, which was spun by the Unionist press as a capitulation by Alex Salmond: the SNP had agreed not to obstruct the Scotland bill.  This is presently only an agreement in principle, but it should be anticipated to progress in good faith.

Should good faith be absent the Scotland bill can be stopped in its tracks at Holyrood.

The only aspect of the bill that is even remotely palatable is that it transfers powers one way only, from Westminster to Holyrood.  The bill was described by the SNP leadership as a “missed opportunity”.  One that can be appropriately exploited over the run up to 2014.

This transfer of powers from London to Edinburgh is also notable as it was announced while the House of Lords were still tabling amendments.  Few if any of the Lords’ amendments have been good for Scotland, most are concerned with repatriation of powers to Westminster, or ensuring a single party could never again get an overall majority at Holyrood.

When the Lords weren’t focused on the majority aspect at Holyrood they appeared to be expending most of their energy in attempts to modify Scotland’s constitution in such a manner that Scots could never again be viewed as worrisome for the ermine clad brigade.  The incumbents of the second chamber did not seem to consider such tinkering might actually be beyond their remit.

The agreement in principle between Salmond and Cameron also implies that during the course of at least this Holyrood administration there will be no more attempts at power grabs by Westminster.  That such an agreement appears in the course of the Lords’ deliberations declared the irrelevance of the Lords to the process.

The Lords might object, they may cause the bill to fail in a fit of umbrage, but in doing so they will remove the gunpowder from the Unionist press broadside, a broadside that would be guaranteed to be effective if the SNP refused the bill.

If this were chess, it might rightly be considered that the Independence movement just caused the opposition to sacrifice the queen and barely gave up a pawn.

The pawn potentially being sacrificed is the upset that will be caused by the announcement amongst more “hard core” nationalists, those who will react predictably to the initial media reporting without waiting for all the data to arrive.

The current Scottish government has one primary focus, the betterment of Scots and Scotland.  Their flagship policy in that respect is independence.  It has been since 1931.  The government are aware there are some amongst its supporters who may react quickly but the ministers at Holyrood also know those people will vote for the end game, independence, regardless.

In the longer term the SNP is putting everything into the 2014 referendum, not the 2016 elections, and a win in 2014 should see everything forgiven by 2016 anyway.  The SNP will, after all, have achieved the only true goal these presently upset “hard core” nationalists care about, they will have delivered independence.  

In the short term, the run up to 2014, Alex Salmond’s government loses nothing while gaining much from this agreement in principle.  It removes the distraction of the Scotland bill from the debate without sacrificing any of Holyrood’s autonomy.  It wins substantial new powers of various degrees of worth, none of which it is forced to use.  It gives nothing back to London.

Lords Foulkes, Forsythe and Wallace, who are antagonistic towards Holyrood’s aspirations and continue to debate the issue, look foolish in the extreme.  David Cameron just pulled the rug from beneath them so quickly that as of close of business after the announcements they still hadn’t realised they were standing on a trap door.

Not only has Holyrood reduced the Lords to an irrelevance, but Edinburgh and not London, regardless of the news spin, has defined the game.  Holyrood has set the rules.  Holyrood has the next move.  The Westminster queen in this strategic chess game has been sacrificed and after only half a dozen moves the opposition is seriously wondering how to save the game.

Expect the SNP to abstain from passing the Scotland bill when it reaches Holyrood again, which would mean the Unionists forcing it through – as they must or lose all credibility.  The Scottish Government can abstain on the premise that the bill is totally inadequate and a missed opportunity to do more for Scotland, even as they take the high ground and allow it pass.  There is no downside for the Scottish administration here.

The bill contains many new powers, some will be used and some are unlikely to be used.  No one should expect the tax powers to be implemented, there’s simply no advantage to using them and they look to be obsolete by the time of the referendum.  What the agreement on tax powers does do is it moves the independence process forward.  It forces HMRC to separate Scots accounts and we get a true fiscal picture for the first time.  It simplifies the process post referendum.

The SNP will strongly suspect we’re being undersold on our tax credit status to the Union, but have to agree with GERS as a basis.  Now GERS will be substantially more accurate.

In the lead up to the big debate, with the polls showing £500 would comprehensively settle the issue no matter the dirty tricks brigade – that alone is a pot of gold just uncovered at the end of the rainbow.

There are borrowing powers included in the bill, of almost three times the original proposal. These borrowing powers are incumbent upon the UK treasury to underwrite, and as a share of the UK debt are insignificant. Debt is rarely a good thing but these borrowing powers do give Holyrood the opportunity to add anywhere up to ten thousand semi permanent jobs to the Scots economy as the nation’s infrastructure is improved.

It really is difficult to see a downside to this agreement in principle.  The real game has now begun, the pieces are in play, London is down a queen and it’s Edinburgh’s move.


2012-03-23 00:24

There are parts of this game yet to be played but this, at least, is a much more reasoned assessment of what the SG gameplan might be in terms of the Scotland Bill.
Like others on Newsnet, I was mystified by Holyrood giving Westminster the nod to proceed with the Bill but assumed there was more to it than the ‘capitulation’ portrayed in the media.
Indeed, the fact that Forsyth is spitting feathers suggests that Westminster may have made a tactical error. As repugnant as his views were, are and will always be, Forsyth is a canny political operator and he knows something is up.
I hope those on here who jumped in with both feet yesterday talking of betrayal will now take a breath, reflect and wait for the next move.
AS, as we know, is the canniest operator of them all and will have a strategy. Let us wait for him to play it out.
J Wil
2012-03-23 00:31

I think the article makes a good clarification of the political motives afoot.
Vincent McDee
2012-03-23 01:26

There has been umptenth unsustantiated versions of the Devolution, calman, minus, lite, plus, max, luxury, king size and whatnot.

Now there is the one which counts reflecting precisely what we can expect from Wastemonster: not much at all.

From now on every support for Independence can be measured against this bill, something that, in my opinion, is going to make very easy for us the door to door explaining of what to expect in the future.

Because now we DO have a future.

We just have to make it happens. Lets go back to work.
2012-03-23 02:19

There is enough in this Bill, particularly the borrowing powers, which, though inadequate, raise it above the “air guns and speed limits” joke which it was under the original Calman.As well as exposing the despicable attempt of the Holyrood united Unionists to block further moves forward, the final Bill agreed has enough to be welcomed which, though inadequate, can be used and worked on for the next phase of the “Great Game”
Robert Louis
2012-03-23 05:25

Quote from article above;

“The pawn potentially being sacrificed is the upset that will be caused by the announcement amongst more “hard core” nationalists, those who will react predictably to the initial media reporting without waiting for all the data to arrive.”

Nice to know that ‘hard core’ nationalists are not considered important to the process of independence. Alan Cochrane couldn’t have put it any better.
2012-03-23 10:59

Oh please.
2012-03-23 12:25


The “hard core” nationalists are crucial to the debate.

It is simply that sometimes upset can not be avoided in some manner as any movement progresses.

I too was “upset” for several hours until I had gathered and finally come to a point where I thought I could better understand the process.

The “upset” referred to was what I feel was a calculated “loss” – albeit a temporary one on the part of the SG. They knew it would come not through THEIR actions but as a result of MSM spin. MSN spin is a province of Westminster and the anti-independence parties, not the SG.

I have no doubt that part of the agreement was the suddeness of the anouncement so that the news could b “buried” on budget day, it was about the only concession that Cameron got.

That single concession caused the upset, and even though I was one initially upset, I fully understand and support the motives behind the rush anouncement.

Effectively, from my perspective, DC just binned the work of much of two governments for the last few years.

AS and co. know with every fiber of their being that without the “hard core” footsoldiers the end game will not have a good conclusion.
2012-03-23 12:36

I think Alex Salmond is as hard core as they come!
2012-03-23 20:17

I have not got a clue what the debate on hardcore is about?
I must have missed a briefing update from cybernat central.
2012-03-23 23:45

‘I must have missed a briefing update from cybernat central.’

Ha ha, lmao,
seriously though, the bit about HMRC having to seperate Scots accounts could be one of the cleverest moves yet in releasing ‘brain shuddering’ information to the uninformed middle ground voters,
not what was going through my head yesterday as my brain did its own wee bit of shuddering 🙂

Also how do the BBC try and manipulate the story when (if) the SNP abstain and let the opposition vote through the Bill.
Could be an eyeopener in a big way,

2012-03-23 06:49

I’m a ‘predictable, hard-core’ nationalist, but your article has helped this person of little brain to understand things better. 🙂
2012-03-23 06:55

Robert,if by hard core nationalist you mean someone who wants independence,no  thing less,then I am one of those.I do not believe that hazel was suggesting that we were not importsant to the process of independence.I believe that everyone,wants independence and will work for it.I would also argue that being a fundementalist is not incompatible with an acceptence that all power returned to Scotland is a step in the right direction,ie towards full independence.In that spirit I voted Yes for devolution,alth  ough it was never my settled will.Of course the Scotland bill is inadequate,but what is satisfactory is that the transfer of powers appears to be in one direction.No powers are being returned to Westminster.
2012-03-23 07:27

The BBC reporting of this is very subdued: “Deal Gives Holyrood New Tax Power”:…/…

which in itself should indicate that it cannot be construed as a triumph for the unionists, otherwise they would be shouting it from the rooftops.

The BBC article also mentions that the role of the Supreme Court in Scots Law is to be reviewed, which is also a plus for Scotland.

Lamont kids no-one but herself: “The Scotland Bill is evidence of Scottish Labour’s radical approach to the constitution. This is an important development of devolution and I am glad that the SNP government has dropped its opposition to this progressive move.”

By Salmond apparently accepting this, he also does away with the unionist argument that he was rejecting the new powers simply in order to pick a fight with Westminster.
2012-03-23 07:31

Hazel is broadly right in her assessment and it is a good reading of the runes as far as the SNP’s position is. Ca canny as they say.
Form the outset I was vehermently opposed to this odious Bill. This was substantially re-inforced when I attended a Scotsman conference December 2010 where Prof. Andrew Hughes-Hallet comprehensively rubbished this proposal.
I similarly couldn’t see operationally, how a Scots government could conceivably work with the prospect of constant tinkering and interference by a manipulating Westminster. I still can’t.
However, I am on the outside of this looking in. It maybe that since most of this Bill not intended to be implemented until after the referendum will be itself irrlevent thereafter.
What does worry me though is by acceptance in principle, that organisations such as HMRC will commence preparing for devolved taxation and start charging by reduction in the block grant an un-negotiated amount to ‘provide’ a service for the Scots government. A service we would never use.
It could amount to tens of millions and must be resisted or at the very least highlighted and monitored.
Meanwhile, I remain implacably opposed to the Scotland Bill in principle.
2012-03-23 08:10

I understand why they did this…

Knew it too yesterday…

Still dont like it.
2012-03-23 10:03

I’m with you on this one Sleekit, having vehemently opposed this trojan horse bill since its inception.

What I really don’t like is they way the SNP made the announcement. No prior information, no warning, no explanation. If this is an indication of how the “hard core” independentists are considered by the party then it does not bode well for the party post independence.

Poor show SNP.
2012-03-23 10:21

Actually the explanation had been posted on the Scottish Government web page on the day of this being released.

Here’s a link:…/…

It was published late morning on Wednesday.
2012-03-23 20:52

Damn! My telepathy totally let me down there!

I’ll re-phrase:

Poorly communicated SNP.

2012-03-23 08:21

Pretty fair dissection Hazel. For the moment the bill and its infamous committee have had their teeth drawn and its left the lords in a bit of a tiz. The thing keeping it all bubbling over nicely for the SG is the timetable to the referendum. But its a hell of a gamble. Right now the SG look to all the world as fair minded, consensus driven and responsible, in the meantime providing the commentators with a hard to hit target, the bonus being they can hold up the powers in a Scotland bill, during the campaign period, in direct comparison to the powers gained under full independence. A slick move, but like I say a hell of a gamble.
2012-03-23 08:29

None of this disturbs the 2014 timetable, and so long as this measure is not a substitute for independence I welcome any steps in what I consider to be the right direction.

Like the wider SDA, I am a “hard-core” nationalist in that I don’t see any arrangement short of full constitutional independence and a seat at the United Nations as capable of safeguarding Scotland’s position internationally  . The UK, and even Europe, are completely outmoded in that respect. The world has changed quite a bit even while we have been debating this, and it will not wait for us to catch up..

I wouldn’t take Lords Forsyth, Wallace or Foulkes too seriously. Their upbringing and life experience have not prepared them for coping with the need for drastic change, even when it is drastically overdue. It is psychological fact, experimentally provable, that people’s opinions and attitudes tend to persist long after the circumstances that caused them have ceased to exist. They are people who have identified so strongly with the British state that they simply cannot adapt to the reality that the cosy world they knew has now disappeared.

In addition to which, George Foulkes is evidently not a Labour Party insider, as was evident in his reaction to my recent article on how devolution came about. He was clearly not in the loop, and none of those directly involved attempted to contradict the story. He was “kicked upstairs” to get him out of the way, and his opinions have to be regarded in that light.

In strategic retrospect we may well find that Professor Calman has been underestimated. Meantime, I go along with Hazel Lewry’s reasoning. We live in interesting times, and I look forward to seeing the further course of developments.
2012-03-23 12:02

James 2012-03-23 08:29
“None of this disturbs the 2014 timetable, and so long as this measure is not a substitute for independence I welcome any steps in what I consider to be the right direction.”

“Like the wider SDA, I am a “hard-core” nationalist in that I don’t see any arrangement short of full constitutional independence and a seat at the United Nations as capable of safeguarding Scotland’s position internationally . The UK, and even Europe, are completely outmoded in that respect. The world has changed quite a bit even while we have been debating this, and it will not wait for us to catch up.”

Constitutional Independence, what does that mean James?
2012-03-23 21:18

I should think it was obvious, Alex. Constitutional independence is what is written, with the ultimate power of decision making resting with the Community of the Realm of Scotland.

As unionists keep reminding us, no state is totally independent in every respect nowadays – e.g. the supply of vital raw materials needed to sustain an industry, or functions of government like Security and Defence. This applies as much to the USA as it does to Scotland.

Every country in the world is in the same boat, but that is no reason to hand the power of decision making on your national interests over to outsiders. Cooperation there must be on shared interests, but on the basis of equality of status, not subordination as at present.

As you may know, the SDA’s contribution to the drafting of a future Scottish Constitution is still with the Constitution Committee and is being steadily refined. Meantime, you might be interested in the statement of fundamental principles like your question on the SDA website: …/Constitution%20fundamentals.pdf
2012-03-25 12:29

I hope the Constitution Committee has read ´The Historical SCOTTISH Constitution´by Duncan H. MacNeill (Albyn Press).

2012-03-23 08:40

Good article and explanation Hazel. Maybe those losing their heads the other day will be able to think more logically after reading this.
2012-03-23 08:55

I didn’t read some of the responses yesterday but it sounds like a debate about strategy. I will read up on the proposals once I get a chance but at firstm clance see it is a high risk strategy for the SNP. While the article may be correct, in that it may well be neutral plus for the SNP, not everyone votes SNP but would like more powers. Many are yet to be convinved by the independence argument. Looking at the information provided what these changes do do is give the unionist parties something to argue for, it gives them room to say ‘ we are listening ‘, it gives them an argument, all be it a weak one as far as I am concerned, but an argument all the same. Most people, yet, are not taking a huge interest in the debate. There is more to come and we can expect the scare stories to re-appear such as benefit fear while saying that look we are listening. I trust AS to have a strategy but as I posted elsewhere on the site, you write off Liebour at your peril. I’ll just follow the debate for now but this is still the start, I don’t think the unionists lost their Queen with this, they maybe gave up a knight to test the defences.
2012-03-23 09:01

Quoting brh206:

they maybe gave up a knight to test the defences.

Or a few insignificant lords, perhaps?

2012-03-23 09:56

It’s also a statement from the SNP that they are listening – but Scotland always will come first!

2012-03-23 09:25

Trying to figure out what Westminster are getting out of this. They have grabbed a headline but have not managed to get the things they wanted – like being able to site site nukes here. Also their Supreme Court nonsense is out of the loop in terms of Scots Law as well I trust.

The trouble with the Scotland bill was that they expected Labour to win and of course pass it unmodified like the good lackeys they are. So they were stuck with it. Play hard ball and the SNP were going to block it. So what was left – make the best out of bad job. Take out the real nasties and claim how sweet and reasonable Westminster is and maybe get a few Union votes in the process.

The stinger for them of course with the public is the perfectly reasonable requests that were turned down including crucially broadcasting – their means of brainwashing us into voting NO. If they say no to things now then why would they change their mind after a referendum NO when the heat is off. They have with this action shown their true colours that can be used against them in the referendum campaign.

The Westminster Junta do not give a monkey’s about Scotland. They only want our oil and whisky revenues (£60 billion+ in bond as well). Everything they do must be measured against that goal. Does this help or hinder them? At least they have kept control of their propaganda apparatus and a couple of headlines and the Bill is out of the way and that suits them and us.
2012-03-23 09:49

Quoting art1001:

Trying to figure out what Westminster are getting out of this… At least they have kept control of their propaganda apparatus and a couple of headlines and the Bill is out of the way and that suits them and us.

I think you answered your first sentence with your last one.


2012-03-23 09:51

Thanks for the clarification Hazel.
I along with many others,I am sure,assumed that the bill was dead in the water due to the repatriation of powers to Westminster.
Assuming that it is a gain for Scotland rather than a loss then it is to be welcomed.
2012-03-23 09:54

Hazel, what it exposes, is that the much vaunted protective capacity of the “Other Chamber” – the HoL, counts for absolutely nought, if the UK Govt. don’t need it to be useful for them.

The picture it all paints is that the UK Govt. is in a deep hole and looking for a way out, not least over their commitment to the USA for Trident facilities.

What is also significant, is that whatever hard-nosed negotiations are ahead, there is an ongoing relationship to be maintained post-independence and rUK will need to keep it coldly amiable to assuage their own anti-brigade.

All of this of course, needs to be handled with well-bred caution by the SNP. No worries on that.
2012-03-23 10:00

Something equally significant for the negotiations ahead is that it looks to me that the Scottish negotiators got the better of the Westminster ones.
2012-03-23 12:42


It was interesting the debate appears to have ratcheted severely after Cameron’s US visit.

I’d also never seen a Union Jack with such a large St George’s cross on it as I did during the Obama-Cameron press conference. Barely any blue visible at all.

Makes one wonder ?
2012-03-24 00:00

Hazel – I’ve been thinking my rabid paranoia has been getting the better of me over the past while as I look at the carefully folded Union Jack in Cameron’s TV shots, which does it’s very best to emphasise the red and white. Also the corporate colours of the BBC News studio is predominantly red and white and virtually every BBC production scene has a Union Jack wherever it can be put up. Subliminal, or what?

H Scott
2012-03-23 10:07

The agreement was announced by the UK government under cover of Budget day so they ensured minimal coverage in UK terms.
Of course Scottish unionist politicians and media are making a great fuss but you have to ask: if this is such a radical package why is it not subject to a referendum as is the convention in the UK for significant constitutional change? And if so important, why not any mention at all of it on the BBC’s network six o’clock news programme on the day of the announcement?
2012-03-23 10:23

It comes under the category of “bad news” – now doesn’t that speak volumes!
2012-03-23 11:02

Absolutely right Scott. And an excellent article Hazel. I have to confess I was confused yesterday but was sure Eck wasn’t!
I’m not confused now!!!

2012-03-23 10:59

Hazel I couldn’t agree more. Here’s what I posted elsewhere on the site:

“What is fascinating is that the news of the deal was released today – Budget Day. It would have taken the agreement of both the UK Government and the Scottish Government for this to happen.

It was a good day to bury the news.

It never even got a mention on the BBC 6pm news though it was the lead item on BBC Scotland news at 6.30pm.

I think that both sides realise it is now largely irrelevant and the debate has moved on so just clear it out the way and get on with fighting the independence referendum. It was becoming a distraction with a number of items not even coming into force until 2016.

The SNP can now say this is the best that you’ll get from the UK Government unless you vote for independence.

Their acceptance of less than they originally wanted is purely a tactical decision. They are keeping their eyes firmly fixed on the real prize – independence”

I hadn’t got as far as the SNP abstaining when it gets to Holyrood. It would be a masterstroke if they did but I suspect that in the agreement which Salmond and Cameron reached to get the bill through the SNP may have agreed to support it in Holyrood. Genius if all they said was that they would not oppose it.
2012-03-23 12:47

The absention came from dissecting Lamont’s comments, that the SNP had agreed not to oppose. She said nothing about them supporting it, and there’s no circumstance I can see that would stop JL crowing loudly had the SNP stated they “agreed to support”.

Expect them to abstain.
2012-03-23 13:08

I think you’re right.

2012-03-23 11:39

Hazel, an excellent well balanced assessment. The SNP have tactically achieved a bird in hand rather than two in the bush with minimal reduction in the tactical situation. The big task for the pro-independence camp is still to make the bulk of Scots aware of the true benefits of Independence. Most Scots are still not aware of how much better off we will be in charge of our own affairs. Incidentally, when this years GERS report was thoroughly analyzed for the SDA by a forensic accountant the £10+ billion deficit turned out to be only £3.4 billion.
2012-03-23 12:19

See now, this is a bit more measured.

It all went a bit Call Kaye/Jeremy Vine there for a moment…

As long as nothing is being handed back, no ‘oversight committees’ on Scottish devolved decision making etc etc etc.

Only other thing to say is this, and specifically to Mr Forsythe and the other so-called lords is: ‘boo hoo, my heart bleeds for you.’

2012-03-23 12:30

I’m not well acquainted with the game of chess.I can just about manage a game of donimoes though.I think were winning,but still a lot of the game to play.
2012-03-23 12:56

I reckon the most important thing is that it shows for all to see exactly which powers westminster is not prepared to devolve.
2012-03-23 13:02

What is a hard core nationalist in the minds of us punters (within italics it looks as if irony is Imiplied in the article)-I fail to know what that is………is it somebody who wants Independence?

Nothing “hardcore” about that in this day and age- perfectly legitimate political stance in Scotland and a well known one with many people either for it (the humans) or against it (the “hardcore British nationalists).

2012-03-23 18:45

I think the words Hazel had in mind were ‘panic’ merchant’ sliding towards ‘drama queen’

For a time I wondered what the hell was going on till the calming influence of the less intellectualy challenged soothed my fevered brow.

We can all be taken in by stark headlines.
2012-03-24 00:05

As opposed to supercilious sychophants swallowing the party line or is that just Labour?
2012-03-24 00:37

“supercilious sychophants” was that not a song in Mary Poppins?
2012-03-24 00:46

Yes indeed. The proper words are “a spoon full of sugar or vinegar makes the medicine go down.” Or a spoon full of the “less intellectual” soothes the fevered brow. Whatever that means!

2012-03-23 13:47

I may be wrong but I think the Bill will also contain the right to hold a referendum. Now we may think that this is not Westminster’s to give but if it does then we won’t have dingbats taking Holyrood to court on distracting and pointless legal points.

I don’t think the Bill gives much in the way of new powers and most of the tax ones do not kick in until 2015/16. In that respect it may be a Bill that never gets used. The most important thing is that the re-reservation of powers and the Lords’ mad amendments are kicked into touch and Holyrood is free to get on with the referendum. Who could at this stage want more?
2012-03-24 00:47

It does but at the moment it hands all control to Westminster. However keep the faith bro.

2012-03-23 20:27

We need to support our government as they negotiate the path to independence. If anyone expected a total stand off then they have not read the history of any nation’s journey to independence.
Morag Lennie
2012-03-23 21:12

I can’t keep upside of all the different names that have been ascribed to me, and people of my ilk, over the years I have been a member of the SNP. Donkey’s years ago, I was a Big Banger, then A Fundie, now I am hard core. I don’t think I like where this is going.INDEPENDENCE NOTHING LESS.
2012-03-23 23:50

Now the fog is clearing a bit, it is becoming clearer to all who were a bit tetchy the other night that things have not went pear shape.
So, lessons learnt people, and a bit more discipline in the ranks please. We are being watched.
2012-03-23 23:53

Well to be honest steveb the debate occurred due to a poorly communicated position. Also I would perhaps suggest it’s a wait and see what transpires situation.

Someone suggested I appeared to be the only person concerned about the agreement. I make no apologies I’m still concerned. This shouldn’t be an SNP site it should be a Scottish Independence site. Embracing all independent minded individuals.
2012-03-24 00:30


“This shouldn’t be an SNP site it should be a Scottish Independence site. Embracing all independent minded individuals”.

Too true sir.
2012-03-24 01:02


Perhaps the most important thing newsnet does is allow an area which in combination with other more established / traditional sources allows an informed public the capacity to reach independent opinions when taking the whole into consideration.

Consider just this one item – the evolution of the story through the resolution for some internally – and I include myself – has been interesting.

The MSM anouncements/spin created consternation.
The picture only emerged after the SG website was viewed and the statements in the detail in the MSM were disected.
When this was added to the content of comments made by the Union parties leaders it became an “intriguing situation”.
The fact that the Lords were still deliberating was potentially a “first” in extradorinarily major slights for that once august body.
The “hissy fits” by certain lords added credence to the interpretation.

Lastly, the SNP have no true friends in the MSM – it’s entirely possible they made statements or issued press releases as they had it on the website. They can’t force the MSM to do their bidding and they can’t cry out too often without either making themselves a target or becoming that “little boy who cried wolf” one time too many.
2012-03-24 01:14

deepwater I understand what you are saying. However the SG website and the statements from the SG remain ambiguous. Do we trust agreements with Westminster?
I will acknowledge the situation is highly unusual.
As I said the “hissy fits” are performed by individuals who are part of the UK Government.
I will wait and see. However I won’t follow blind faith.

2012-03-24 13:00


Islegard2012-03-23 23:53

Someone suggested I appeared to be the only person concerned about the agreement. I make no apologies I’m still concerned. This shouldn’t be an SNP site it should be a Scottish Independence site. Embracing all independent minded individuals

No you are not the only person concerned by the course the SNP have now adopted with regard to this Bill.

For the Scottish Government, or any government for that matter, to abstain on a major piece of legislation thus allowing it to pass, as has been suggested here, then that government has abdicated its responsibilitie  s to the people who elected it to ensure that fair and workable legislation will be enacted on the people’s behalf.

The SNP will campaign for independence but it must also govern with the possibility of a NO vote in mind and so ensure that no legislation is allowed on the statute books which will damage Scotland in that event as this Bill if it becomes an act is likely to do.

The SNP and its supporters have extensively and cogently criticised this Bill and its various provisions. How will it explain allowing it to pass? And how will it ensure that its explanations are given a hearing?

This strategy as described above is based on an assumption that the position of the Scottish Government and its case for that position will be communicated to the people of Scotland. That is a very shaky assumption given that the MSM’s reporting is partial – in every sense of the word – and shot through with the sins of omission and commission. The MSM have shown little or no interest at any stage in the passage of this bill through committees and Parliaments. No interest in undertaking any rigorous analysis of its contents or deconstruction of its clauses and possible effects. That is unlikely to change which will make it ever harder for the Scottish Government in the course it appears to be pursuing.

People will see in the headlines and hear in the sound bites the words: ‘new’, ‘significant powers’ and ‘tax raising’. To many that will sound like that devomax thingy everyone says we want. To others it will be a reason to procrastinate on the decision on independence. To wait and see how well or otherwise things work out with these new powers once they come into force. Not realising that the chance to vote again for independence is unlikely to occur again in their lifetime or for many lifetimes to come.

And for the pro-union camp it resuscitates an all but moribund campaign weighed down as it was by some of the most ridiculous arguments imaginable in favour of the Union.

The Scottish Government in reaching this decision have made a political calculation. Let us hope when they made the calculation that two and two did make four.

People will respect political conviction but less so political calculation on a matter of principle.

I hope I am wrong in my analysis but I remain to be convinced of the correctness of this decision of the SG with regards to this Bill.


2012-03-24 11:31

I’m having difficulty working out where Islegard is coming from on all of this.
“It does but at the moment it hands all control to Westminster”
How? It doesn’t hand anything to Westminster that Westminster doesn’t already have.
And we will have had our referendum before any of it is timed to come into force which means what is presently redundant will then become completely irrelevant
2012-03-24 12:21

Snecked I’m not going to go through it all again. I’ve followed this closely from Calman all the way through every lords amendment being made.

If they have managed to block any hand over of any power or responsibility that is good and I will be the first to say that is quite an achievement. My stand point comes from if they haven’t and it includes the referendum.

I’m not going to apologise for being concerned about a deal no one seems to know anything about including the lords working on it.

I suggested a long time ago that the SNP would maybe accept this bill and I was given a hard time from the usual suspects on this site. Yet I was right.
2012-03-24 12:54

Snecked, I am kinda with Islegard on this one. I was most unhappy at the poor communication from the SNP and the announcement coming out of the blue.

There are still in my mind, a lot of unanswered questions:

Have we negotiated away our rights in Antartica?

Is the supremacy of Scottish law in Scotland still under question?

Have we allowed westminster to have ultimate control over planning?

And so on….

Many have said, ah, but it won’t matter after 2015. Well, what if we were to lose the referendum (by fair OR foul means)? Where would we be then? Right up the creek as far as I can see.

And obvously Legerwood as well – whose post came in as I wrote this.

2012-03-24 23:52


They cannot block the referendum which is consultative. Where did you get that from? You appear to be reading from a unionst handbook.

X Sticks
None of the issues you cite are affected in any way at all by this development
Have you actually read the details?
All of it has to be accepted clause by clause by the Scottish Parliament anyway

You will notice the issue has already sunk without trace in the media. That tells you all you need to know. The unionists set a trap for the SNP and then walked into it themselves.

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