Scotland and the referendum saga
And he’s signalled it’s full (slow) speed ahead with his existing plans. The SNP government’s cabinet will sign off on plans today for the later, probably two-question referendum it always wanted – some more detail on the plans will be shared in the next two weeks.
I suspect Alex Salmond will announce no referendum before 2013 is out, or something like that. It would allow him to make Mr Cameron’s talk of an earlier referendum (i.e. – must be in 2012 – a plan discussed in the coalition but never meant to be part of this week’s presentation) look a little petty. What’s in a year?
The coalition will say uncertainty remains bad for business. The SNP will say they’ve done a lot to sort out the uncertainty. Who will win that debate?
As the referendums expert Marr Qvortrop said on C4N last night the track record of mother countries trying to affect the pace and content of separatist referenda isn’t great. But supporters of the coalition strategy, including Labour figures I’ve spoken to, think yesterday will have served a purpose anyway because it woke people up to the SNP plans and motives.
The Scottish secretary shares a bit more light on the coalition approach this afternoon in the Commons. Will he challenge the voter age change (qualifying voting age down to 16) the SNP plans to bring in? How will he handle the time-limited “lending” of referendum powers to Scotland by Westminster without making it sound like a deadline?
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