It seems that every time I try to take a wee break something comes up. Guess I should pass comment on yesterday's Parliamentary debate on "Scottish Government Failures." Or rather, as everyone else has done, ignore the substance of the debate and comment upon the Lib Dem amendment on the potential for a referendum.
So, Labour, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats have stated their position. They will not support a bill to allow a referendum on independence during this term of office.
The wording of the motion Parliament agreed (by 72-47 with one abstention - Margo) is:
That the Parliament notes that SNP manifesto promises have been broken on a wide range of issues including health, housing, community safety and education; further notes the absence of a credible strategy to address the needs of people facing difficult economic circumstances and to tackle poverty and disadvantage; regrets that the Scottish Government prefers to focus its attention on the powers it does not have in order to pursue its party's agenda of separation; urges the Scottish Government to examine how it might effectively use the powers at its disposal to meet the needs of people by sustaining economic activity and employment and supporting communities across Scotland, and calls on the Scottish Government to concentrate its efforts on economic recovery and abandon its divisive plans for a Referendum Bill for the remainder of its term of office.Now I don't know about you, but that motion suggests to me that they are not exactly chuffed with the SNP Government's record. Which begs the question, why don't they make moves to remove the SNP from power by forcing a vote of no-confidence through?
But that, I guess would mean they would have to come up with alternative ideas rather than just bashing the government, that they'd have to act instead of wax lyrical about principles they (allegedly) have.
If the Unionist parties are so confident that the end result of such a project would be a "No" vote, why don't they let the SNP have their vote? If they believe in the Union and believe that their stance is the correct one - and, crucially, that the majority of the Scottish population agree with them - then, in the now famous words of one W. Alexander, why don't they "Bring it on"? A rejection of not only the SNP's core policy but their whole raison d'etre not only deliver a huge blow to the SNP's credibility as a governing party but kill the question dead for at least a generation.
Rejecting their plans for a referendum only leaves open the question, builds uncertainty over the future (something they seem keen to avoid "in this economic climate") and gives the SNP the opportunity to paint them as "obstructionist" and "undemocratic" when they fail to give the people their say in the constitutional future of Scotland. And that is win-win for the SNP.
I can't fathom these tactics. If, in fact, there are any tactics at all.