Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Scots away!

Well, maybe not. We haven't heard much about this in England recently but, according to the SNP's leader, the referendum on independence for Scotland was to be in 2010. Now things seem to be changing:

The white paper sets out what the SNP sees as the three main realistic choices for Scots.

These are:

  • The present devolved set-up;
  • Redesigning devolution by extending the powers of the Scottish Parliament in specific areas;
  • Or full independence.

The white paper also includes the draft wording of the ballot paper for a referendum.

This asks voters whether they agree or disagree "that the Scottish government should negotiate a settlement with the Government of a United Kingdom so that Scotland becomes an independent state".

However, Mr Salmond said he was relaxed about the possibility of a multi-option referendum, even though he admitted that "might not" be his preference.

Then again, the subtext in this Independent article is that it's all a power play:

Scottish independence was put back on the agenda yesterday by Alex Salmond, the First Minister for Scotland, in a White Paper paving the way for a referendum on the break-up of the Union.

Opposition parties accused Mr Salmond of using the White Paper for " nationalist propaganda", while the SNP leader himself claimed the " tectonic plates" were moving in Scotland and said he wanted a referendum for voters by 2010 on the Union.

But Mr Salmond may already be close to achieving a compromise, which will see more power devolved from Westminster.

I'm more inclined to believe this. Salmond is well aware that the majority of the Scots aren't behind him on independence. Moreover I think he knows they enjoy being the tail that wags the dog as far as British politics are concerned. Why seek independence when you can have the best of both worlds?

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