Sunday, 16 October 2011

A Surprise Discovery

I set off earlier today to write a blog about Same Sex Marriage. It occurred to me that it would be helpful to have a wee look at what the SNP Manifesto had to say on the subject.

The answer is not a sausage. I have no criticism of that except to note that it is surprising to note that a Party holding itself out as being to the left of David Cameron finds itself now running so hard to catch up. Still, I suppose, they did need Brian Souter's money

However that is not to say that I did not make a surprise discovery in the process.

It was of course the Queen of Hearts who famously observed that "What I tell you three times is true".

Since the Election in May, I have seen the First Minister questioned on numerous occasions as to why the SNP are not immediately proceeding to hold an Independence Referendum. On each occasion, he has assured his interlocutor that this was because the SNP said in advance of the election that the Referendum would take place "In the Second half of this Parliament.".

Now, I have heard this so often that I assumed that I believed it to be true. Only it's er........................not.

The SNP Manifesto has remarkably little to say about Independence or an Independence Referendum. Indeed, it has less to say on the latter subject than it has on the topic of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

What it does say is this (at page 28 of a 42 Page Document.)pg30.jpg

I have consciously provided every word so that there is no prospect of being accused of selective quotation. Those able to negotiate the inspirational prose, let alone the contribution of Angela Constance, who, being an SNP backbencher, is, unsurprisingly in favour of Independence, will have noticed that there is no mention of the second half of the Parliament as being the anticipated timing of this event. Nonetheless, since the election, the First Minister has repeatedly made this assertion in a series of interviews and been accepted at his word by journalists of different political perspective, indeed nationality, presumably on the basis that, no matter what their personal scepticism about the SNP, they did not believe the First Minister would be telling them a bare faced lie.

(By way of diversion at this point I urge you to consider the commitment to cutting excise duty on whisky in an Independent Scotland which sits oddly with the minimum pricing commitment elsewhere in the document but which taken alongside the commitment to the European Union, also elsewhere, would involve a commitment to an Independent Scotland cutting excise duty on all spirits. You obviously don't win a landslide without being all things to all men.)

Anyway, to move on. The suggestion that the referendum was never intended to take place until the second half of the Parliament is, quite literally, made up. I trust that someone else, charged with the task of interrogating the First Minister around his conference this week might actually put that to him.

Now I'm on the trail, I'll return to the issue about there being questions in the Referendum relating to different matters entirely and what, if any, mandate exists for that. As you will have seen for yourselves, it certainly doesn't exist in the SNP Manifesto.

1 comment:

  1. I have never heard the FM say it was in the SNP manifesto, although others who should have known better did say that. But it certainly was said by Alex Salmond on TV before the election. It was even reported by Labour's newspaper of record in Scotland on 2 May, see here.