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I'm still thinking about the poll, I'll come back to it.

I personally don't think it's all that ethical to suppress a referendum with a Lib-Lab-Tory pact. If the SNP gets enough votes to form a Lib-SNP-Green coalition then I feel the Lib Dems have a responsibility to acknowledge that the will of the people deserves an outing, so long as they can (and I'd imagine they can) find common policy ground with the Greens and the SNP on other issues.

So, I support a referendum if the party advocating it gets significant support in the election. My gut feeling is that a referendum would likely not vote for independence this time around. I think it would be close, but I do feel there's quite a body of people who aren't yet up for the upheaval of the status quo. I'm not saying they are happy with the union, but they haven't reached boiling point with it either. But, I don't live up there and I only know a certain number of Scots.

Longer term forecasting is difficult because it relies on 2 or 3 variables. One is the actual election results. If the SNP falls short of predictions, then the issue will fade for a while, I think Alex Salmond would retire and the SNP will go through some quiet reorganising. On the other hand, if they exceed predictions but are thwarted by a Lib-Lab-Tory pact I can see the issue just getting hotter and hotter.

So, assuming there is an SNP surge which leads to a referendum, but the referendum says "no" for now. Then the jokers in the pack are Brown and Cameron and their platforms and policies and of course which one wins.

That's a story for another comment.

I think an English First Minister leads directly to the end of the UK parliament. Sooner or later there is going to be a conflict over money and priorities, particularly if the English FM is a Tory and the UK parliament as a whole is centre-left. I don't see that resolving without major changes.

Also, as you note, the UK parliament would have little direct connection with the voters. This would leave it with little popular support in confrontation with a government that deals with the things that matter, day to day.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Jan 16th, 2007 at 06:48:36 AM EST
From Martin Kettle at The Guardian

In England meanwhile such claims are even more fantastic. I keep reading about how English opinion won't put up with this or that. But the fact is that this is precisely what English opinion does. Even to talk about there being an English debate about separation is to exaggerate. In England any debate is confined to professional Anglo-Scots members of the political class, to constitutional reform obsessives and to mad people, mostly on the Daily Telegraph.

He's being overemphatic for comic effect, but not only did it make me laugh, I think it holds quite a large kernel of truth, at least at the moment.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Jan 16th, 2007 at 09:30:44 AM EST
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Since I live in Scotland and am increasingly engaging with politicians re policies - particularly re microbusinesses - I thought I might chuck in my view.

There are antagonisms which are impossible to heal, I think, without a lot more water under the bridge.

Labour and Tory is one - but I could expand that to ANYONE and Tory. ie Lab/ Lib/ Tory is a non-starter, IMHO.

Labour and SNP is another.

SNP and LibDem are both decentralising parties, and tend to get on quite well - Perth & Kinross is a good Council example.

So I would go with what is essentially the only viable option if the seats permit - an SNP/Lib Dem/ Green alliance.

I think the anti-Labour vote will see such an alliance in.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Jan 16th, 2007 at 10:39:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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