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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

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