12 May 2008

A Triple U-Turn, Double Salchow and Back Flip

Wendya Alexander's latest announcement: she will not stand in the way of the SNP's Referendum Bill in 2010. That to me suggests that Labour will abstain, guaranteeing passage of the Bill. However, she can still amend it to death, as - and the Tories' David McLetchie has confirmed this - the SNP's proposed wording on the referendum question is just about legal, insofar as the Scottish Parliament would ask it. Wendy currently favours "Do you want Scotland to be ripped out of the UK kicking and screaming?", or something like that. This would be ultra vires. So she could strangle the Bill by making it breach Schedule 5 of the Scotland Act: she could, by getting Tory or LibDem support, support the Bill in such a way that she destroys it. So although she could let the Bill through, we have to wonder in what state it will complete its passage. Any welcome should be cautious.

Of course, it's doubtful that the Tories or LibDems would play ball: the Tories (with the exception of Michael Forsyth) are saying a flat no, just as they did in 1997. The LibDems are so opposed to a referendum that they refused even to sit down and discuss Coalition with the SNP, ostensibly on the grounds that they didn't want a referendum to be discussed. And this whole debacle has soured relations between Labour and the other Unionist parties. It's also made the Calman Commission an exercise in pointlessness.

And we don't even know if Wendy will be the Leader by January 2010? What stance would Andy Kerr take? Or Iain Gray? Or Malcolm Chisholm?

Nor do we know what Labour's view will be tomorrow. Any bets on a quadruple U-turn?


Anonymous said...

IF I were a betting man I`d have a fiver on Cathy Jamieson...

Ted Harvey said...

Well at least that's more respectable than taking seriously the prospects of the Baillieston Banshee Margaret Curran... unless of course she wants to do some more back stabbing of her 'leader'. A bit like she did to progress her career when she gave her then-boss Jackie Baillie the treatment... and she was sure no suitable replacement that time either.