Smart Alec

By DeusExMacintosh

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond has insisted his government has a mandate to hold a referendum on independence in the autumn of 2014.

It comes after ministers in London said such a move would be unlawful without Westminster’s approval.

But a spokesman for Mr Salmond said Scottish National Party ministers were “entirely confident” of their plans.

The BBC’s Nick Robinson says it could mean an historic Supreme Court struggle between Westminster and Holyrood.

Mr Salmond said the timing would allow people to make a “considered” decision on the country’s future within the UK.

He said: “That’s the first date where you can have a full discussion and preparation for the biggest decision Scotland is going to make for 300 years.

“I think you’ll find the reaction of Scotland is that’s a perfectly satisfactory date for the referendum.

“It makes sure that everybody’s voice is heard in the consultation and all the questions that people have about the different constitutional formats can be answered and then we can have a proper campaign and debate.

“We’ve been thinking about these things for some time. I don’t think this will come as a great surprise to anyone and I think it will enjoy general support.”

In a row that could become a constitutional crisis, Mr Salmond accused the UK government of adopting a belligerent attitude.

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said he hoped to work with the SNP government to resolve the dispute.

Mr Moore told the House of Commons that there would be a consultation on how to hold a referendum. He has not stated when the coalition government would prefer a referendum to be held, but said he would like it to be “sooner rather than later”.

In a statement to MPs, Mr Moore said the government’s “clear view” was that the power to hold a referendum was “reserved” to Westminster under devolution laws passed in 1998 and that the Scottish government could not authorise a referendum on its own.

Mr Salmond said Westminster should “resist the temptation” to interfere in Scottish politics.

“I think the Westminster parties have got to start understanding – all Westminster politicians – that this has to be a referendum made, built, and run in Scotland,” he said.

BBC News

8 Comments

  1. Adrien
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    It comes after ministers in London said such a move would be unlawful without Westminster’s approval.

    Yeah? Whadderyagonnadoaboutit ‘ey? 🙂

  2. kvd
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    “made, built, and run in Scotland” – I really like that line, but the list is even more impressive.

    Plus also, when are we gonna see the comment tags back again? I’ve forgotten most I ever knew about longhanding this sort of stuff 😉

  3. Patrick
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    I’d be interested in SL’s view but I am not sure there is any merit to Salmond’s position at all.

    There certainly wouldn’t have been a few decades ago before the English Constitution was buried under EU dross.

  4. Posted January 13, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Would Scotland become more prosperous, should this happen ?

  5. Posted January 13, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Legal Eagle. The Scotsman wears shoes and socks under his kilt.

  6. conrad
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    This kind of reminds me of Quebec and Canada all those years ago. I think the feeling then was they really needed two referendums. Updated for now, perhaps the Scots should be able to vote for independence, but the rest of the UK should also be able to vote them into independence.

  7. Posted January 14, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    On the Quebec analogy, there were a couple of sticking points. One was the Quebec separatists claimed “and we would still be in NAFTA” to which the US issued the chilly response that NAFTA was signed with the Dominion of Canada: they had not signed anything with anything called ‘Quebec’.

    Second, the Amerindians in the north of Quebec stated that if Quebec seceded from Canada, they would secede from Quebec.

    Both of these little difficulties took a fair bit of the shine out of separatist sentiment.

    Why would an independent Scotland be part of the EU? Member states might not be keen on the precedent (Spain and Catalonia, Basque country; France and Brittany, Corsica; etc). If they did, why would not the rest of the UK take the opportunity to leave the EU in a huff?

    Secondly, why would not Orkney & Shetlands then secede themselves? They are not really Scots and don’t particularly identify with Scotland. If they did, they would take a lot of the North Sea oil with them.

    The Scots Nats might find independence a much bigger can of worms than they think.

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