Questions raised by referendum call
Scottish Secretary Michael Moore and co having given in to most of the SNP demands for the referendum, we can but be grateful that the Electoral Commission has come up with a fair question (your report, 31 January).
Such important matters can rarely be left to elected politicians to resolve fairly, it seems.
IT IS unfortunate that the Electoral Commission did not address the issue of people who are not eligible to vote in the independence referendum being able to make substantial contributions to either side over the next 18 months.
There is no justification for allowing millionaires in the south of England, whether Scots or not, being allowed to bankroll the Yes or No campaigns, or for London-based companies or trade unions to finance either side, either directly or indirectly through party political donations.
As the Electoral Commission has ducked the question, can we have a legally binding undertaking from Alistair Darling and Blair Jenkins that they will not accept donations of more than £100 that originate from outside Scotland as Scotland’s referendum should be financed by the people of Scotland themselves.
At the very least, in the interests of transparency both sides should publish the constituency in which a donor is registered to vote and detail the headquarters’ address of any organisation.
Warrender Park Loan
THIS has been a good week for the Yes campaign.
On Tuesday, I attended the first Jimmy Reid memorial lecture given by Alex Salmond to a packed Govan Parish Church in Glasgow. He gave a very reflective speech and answers to questions on what an independent Scotland would do for the causes supported by Jimmy Reid all his life – poverty, inequality and alienation.
Yesterday we got agreement on the question to be asked in the referendum: I think the form – “Should Scotland be an independent country” Yes/No – is an improvement on the original not least because to go with the Yes campaign you vote yes rather than agree.
Now the question and process have been agreed, we should focus on what kind of Scotland we want to live in – whether independent, or in the UK.
We need a vision for the future. Alex Salmond began that task in Govan, but we need much more detail of what a socially just Scotland would look like.
As for the “Better Together” campaign, I despair at the poverty of its alternative. Outside Govan parish church, the Labour party folk were giving out leaflets attempting to scare people saying independence would stop us building warships in Govan shipyards.
While I am all in favour of keeping shipbuilding on the Clyde, I would rather they were building ships for peace than war. However, at a time when the Tories are cutting jobs and services to the poor and are about to tax council tenants for having an extra bedroom, Labour is in bed with them to keep the Union.
If I were Alistair Darling, leader of the Better Together campaign, I would be worried after such a week as this.
BRIAN Wilson’s ramblings (Perspective, 30 January) remind us of the stupidities of the Scotland says No Campaign, which he chaired in 1979, determined to stop even the tiny bit of devolution on offer then.
Yet here we have him once again declaring Scotland’s opposition parties will come up with an alternative outlook for Scotland if independence fails in 2014.
Liberals have said that they have been in favour of self-government for 150 years but they have done nothing about it.
Labour in Scotland was founded on the principle of self-government but when it got its greedy hands on the possibility of power at Westminster its principles soon disappeared. Even the Tories made empty promises of more devolution, which were just lies.
We have reached where we are today because Scottish voters have rejected British politics and voted for a Scottish alternative.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
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