Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Question sorted, delighted I'm sure, date unknown

The SNP's Annabelle Ewing MSP is doing sterling work on the Politics Show just now, declaring her delight with the neutral wording of the Electoral Commission  referendum question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

I notice Nicola Sturgeon has issued a statement from the same "delighted" script.

The Scottish government's pattern of bluster followed by a swift doublespeak about turn -  "we have always been at war with Eurasia" -  has been a  regular feature of the negotiations over the referendum.

Each time there is an about turn it is presented as some kind of tactical masterstroke that government wanted all along.

There was the smokescreen of two questions, there was the bluster in the talks between the two governments on the Section 30 agreement and then the barely veiled threat that the Scottish parliament, SNP majority, would be the final arbiter of the question. It still is, by the way, so hopefully the rest of the party are as "delighted" as Sturgeon and Ewing.
In truth the SNP had nowhere to go other than accept the neutral recommendations, otherwise the cumulative erosion of  public trust, which rests on all governments sooner or later, would have swung into the negative zone.

Salmond is always jinking and feinting to try and unbalance his opponents and keep the spotlight of uncertainty on himself. It used to look nimble in day to day politics, but when he playing with the entire future of the country I suspect people don't look on swerving and dummying so kindly.

Now the question is sorted, now the spending limits have been pencilled, and now the campaigns are underway, the First Minister should  stop fooling around and just name the day.

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