Now’s neither the day nor the hour

It’s a puzzling paradox.  Having put the prospect of a referendum on independence on the furthest edge of the political horizon, the SNP seems rather in a hurry to launch the Yes campaign.

According to newspaper reports today, the “Yes, Scotland” campaign will be launched later this week, with two and a half years of activity to persuade the populace to back the shift from devolution to independence.  Part of me is thrilled;  you don’t spend much of your life, believing, hoping and at various points, campaigning for Scottish independence not to be excited that its prospect is within reach.

Which is why the timing of the campaign to secure a Yes, vote is crucial.  As is its launch.  And I fear the SNP, caught up in its own sense of indefatigability as well as in the minutiae of its own issues, has called it wrong.

From the party’s and the leadership’s perspective, there are sound reasons for launching the campaign this week.  The team is in place, as is the war chest, the messaging and the furniture of modern campaigning.

But there are also narrower political considerations.  Euan McColm suggested, in the aftermath of the local government elections, that “Salmond’s ‘unstoppable’ juggernaut seems to have its first roadblock”.  Certainly, the momentum has slowed;  Labour proved that it is not down and out;  in some areas, the SNP did spectacularly well but in others, it failed to make the gains it and others expected.  What better way of re-gaining the initiative than to launch the biggest campaign for hearts and minds we have ever seen?

Then there is the small matter of Leveson.  The First Minister heads there shortly, apparently willing to share with the Inquiry all that he has so far failed to discuss here in Scotland.  There is a chance that what the FM has to reveal, under oath, draws a line under the Murdoch thing and shows that he, his Government and Scotland are so far removed from shenanigans “down there” to enable everyone to move on.

But there is also a risk that what is revealed at Leveson sparks a potential firestorm around the FM which grows in heat and intensity during the long grass of the summer recess.  For the media strategists, this week offers a clear window where the launch cannot get buried by other issues or agendas.  This is true only if you take a very narrow view of what matters in domestic politics, and sadly that is what we have been doing in recent years here in Scotland.

But I’m not sure, people will agree that the timing is right.

You don’t have to stray far this weekend in the news agenda to find the doomsayers.  While there are hopeful signs that a way ahead for the Eurozone has at least been signposted, it remains to be seen if Greece’s participation in the currency can be maintained.  And if it leaves, what then happens to the other economic dominoes waiting to fall – Spain, Portugal, Ireland and even Italy – is almost too scary to contemplate.  Some are suggesting we need more bank bail-outs;  others are calling for them to be allowed, this time, to fail.  Only Germany appears willing to hold the austerity line;  remarkably, the UK has snuck in the back door of the G8 summit and emerged out the front at the side of President Obama, giving the impression that a strategy for growth was theirs all along.

Having read my fill of analysis of what is going on and consulted a few who know about such things, I am none the wiser.  It’s all too complex but like most other ordinary punters out there, I can discern that in the big scheme of things, we’re not in a good place and it could be about to get a whole lot worse.  As we saw last week, with downgrading of banks’ ratings and plummeting share prices, things move fast.  We may or may not be where we started, with Greece still teetering on the brink and Spain still staggering along.  By Friday, we could, however, be in a very different place in geo-economic and political terms.

There was good news for Scotland this week, with unemployment falling faster here than in the rest of the UK and announcements on jobs.  And the outcome from the G8 looks like a victory for the Scottish Government’s call for investment to create growth in the likes of its “shovel-ready projects”.  But the Scottish Government has been largely silent on recent developments on the international economic and political stage.  When we need it to assume the mantle of a government with pretensions to full potency, it prefers not to actually.

Yet, I reckon people would be very interested in hearing the Scottish Government’s view of what is happening in Europe, and what the implications are for Scotland, now, and as we might be, as an independent country with a seat at the European table.   And I’m guessing they’d like a little honesty about our current and future prospects – from all politicians.

In 2011, the SNP received an overwhelming mandate from the Scottish people to carry on doing what it had done so well.  With the other parties posted missing in action, only the SNP had offered leadership – and competent leadership in which they could trust.

Now, with the economic ringwraiths circling at macro level, as well as micro for many households, many people want to be reassured that we have a Government absolutely focused on the job at hand.

What matters to many of the so-called persuadables right now is the threat of joblessness, of mortgage hikes, of drowning in a sea of personal debt proving too stubborn to shift, of having to put the heating on in May because it’s so cold and can we really afford to be doing that, of how to service and MOT the car at the end of the month, of what can be cut back from the food shop to keep the cost down and how to afford new shoes for the kids and a night out for the anniversary.

And this is just what is keeping those with means and some level of security awake at night.  The worries and concerns of those sitting below this waterline are even more fundamental.

But whatever their circumstances, chances are, few people outwith the political bubble are excited about the imminent launch of the Yes, Scotland campaign.  Two and a half years might not seem very long to the SNP’s team, when there’s so much still to do to achieve independence, but for ordinary voters, it’s a lifetime away. And they’d really rather their Government concentrate on what’s bothering them this week than their own political priorities.

The timing of the launch of the Yes, Scotland campaign is important, particularly if the timing is wrong.  And choosing to launch at the end of this week is the wrong time. Now’s neither the day nor the hour to see the front o’ battle lour, to shamelessly misquote Burns.

44 thoughts on “Now’s neither the day nor the hour

  1. Sorry I’m VERY late to this. That pesky work stuff has got in the way.

    While very interesting, I can’t help thinking that this discussion belongs firmly in chattering class land – at least until tomorrow.

    At that point, we may have the first clue about what this campaign is going to look like and possibly be in a position to judge when a good time to fire the starting pistol might be. One thing is for sure, it would be foolish to make that call based on experience of previous political campaigns because all the noises are that this is going to be totally different.

    I might also argue that the campaign has been ongoing for a number of decades already. The next two and a bit years are simply going to bring this into sharper focus.

  2. Reading this thread on Burd’s perfectly sensible timing issue, I can’t decide if this brave new social media world is a great democracy enabler or just a platform for self-involved and half-baked policy wonkery (mea culpa too, I realise).

    Seems like we’re talking to ourselves a lot, and often about relatively fine details of procedure or policy. Perhaps that’s not a bad thing and unavoidable – have computer, will comment.

    Back in the real world, most folk would probably vote for a Devo Max-like option, if it were on the indyref ballot paper, simply because it’s the one in the middle (no disrespect intended, honest.)

  3. Barbarian “If he says he was hacked, his position is seriously in peril.”

    I genuinely don’t get this-if Salmond was hacked surely he was a victim of a crime-how does this imperil him?????????????

  4. ”Richard and Judy” show , yesterday aside(yes they tweeted this to one and other) . I think ”now” is the correct time to launch an independence campaign.So many unionists don’t want it to be now ,tells me ,nae screams at me that this is the right time.

  5. Kate, I think you’re (almost) falling into that old trap of assuming governments can only do one thing at once. Just because the Scottish Government is launching this campaign, it doesn’t mean they’re suddenly forgetting about jobs and the economy. Besides, if we don’t all agree that one of the main arguments for independence is our economy, then we’re in a bit of trouble!

    As for anyone who complains about Salmond being on TV talking about independence instead of other bread and butter issues, it’s perhaps important to remember what the First Minister’s stated responsibilities are:

    Responsibilities: Head of the devolved Scottish Government; responsible for development, implementation & presentation of Government policy, constitutional affairs including Referendum Bill and for promoting & representing Scotland.

    When people (such as Barbarian) talk of “the SNP” appearing on chat shows etc, I think they’re confusing “the SNP” with “the First Minister”. It’s actually his job to do this sort of thing. If we weren’t seeing him all over the place, he would be doing a pretty rubbish job…

    As for Europe, I reckon there are plenty of people in the SNP who would be more than willing to tell the media their opinion on it and how it affects Scotland. Unfortunately, politicians need to be asked before they can spread their words of wisdom. When was the last time Newsnicht or Scotland Tonight did a piece on how something in Europe particularly affects Scotland and said “we asked the SNP to come on, but unfortunately they declined”? I certainly can’t remember it.

  6. Allan

    Wrong on numerous counts.
    We are not a new member.
    New members are not compelled to immediately join the Euro. Some have no intention of doing so.
    There is NO legal advice that suggests we would not remain member of the EU.
    International law dictates that on the division of a union both parties retain the treaty obligations of the original unit.
    The notion that the EU would even comtemplate forcing out the only European country with significant oil and gas reserves and command of the North Atlantic is absurd.
    This is the sort of half-brained stuff you will find in the Express or the Mail.
    You meet a better informed sort of person on these blogs

    • I don’t think you need legal advice on that one. Scotland isn’t a member of the EU, the UK is. In any case we in Scotland might want to decide ourselves if WE want to be in the EU.

      • Sorry. You’re wrong. Scotland, as a component of the UK, is a member of the EU. In the same way as Greenland was while it was joined to Denmark. It had to negotiate withdrawal.
        We would be in precisely the same legal position as the rUK vis the EU if we decide to absolve the union
        I we decide we wish to withdraw (it is a voluntary union) we would do so after a referendum of our people.

    • Dave, I disagree with you. Legal opinion is divided on this issue also.

      • Jo
        All genuine legal opinion and precedent is perfectly straightforward and not to be confused with the obfuscation being provided by enemies of independence

  7. Peter

    Well said.
    There are those who would like this debate to be the wrong way round.
    Independence is the normal state of affairs. It does not equip anybody with a crystal ball. I’m tired of bullshitters popping up with pretendy questions that would not be able to be answered by any government anywhere and then suggesting that the SNP uniquely can’t tell the future.

    Nowhere has the SNP suggested it would “take Scotland immediately into Europe and the Euro”. I has merely pointed out that we are already in Europe, there is no mechanism or precedent for expelling Scotland and that Scotland would be in exactly in the same position politically as the rest of UK if the union was dissolved.
    The last time I looked SNP policy was to retain the pound sterling in the immediate aftermath of independence. The monarchy and the currency are being thrown in as distractions.

    There are those in the SNP naive enough to swallow the bait but when I see mock concern being expressed about these issues I usually am confident that those agonising publicly among us about them are not if “one of us”

    • From the Scotland Forward document from last year –

      “Membership of the European Union is hugely importaint – not just to us, but to the rest of the EU too. We own much of its oil and gas reserves… With independence we will remain part of the EU.”

      As far as I’m aware, there is no conclusive legal advice either way as to whether we would continue as a sucessor to the UK, or would have to re-apply.

      This also brings issues regarding the Euro – new members are obliged to join the Euro while if we were remaining through the UK the opt out would probably be looked at again with pressure for this to be re-negociated.

  8. Interesting post considering that the SNP have never really put forward the main arguments for Independence to the Scottish people (or at least to people who work and who’s lives are too busy to be reading policy documents) and, as you say, since the start of the year they have been going at speed to try and get this campaign under way. Maybe the’ve seen the runes and they are not delivering the news the SNP didn’t want to hear.

    You are absolutely right that this moment in time is not exactly the time to be launching a campaign that has it’s issues. The currency issue is still to be resolved, while there is (as you blogged yesterday and the Sunday herald mentioned today) a split regarding the future role (should there be a yes vote) for Mrs Saxe-Coburg and her family. The nightly news also brings more and more bad news about Greece and the Euro, which makes the SNP’s policy of taking an independent Scotland straight into the EU and the Euro look like sheer folly with each passing day. Not that it wasn’t any way (as anyone who remembers the looks given to the former Irish Taoiseach Cowen by the Germans & French wen Ireland went bust). I identified these issues (as well as the economy) as the weak points in any pro-Independence campaign last year – they remain the main weak points 9 months further down the line.

    Of course politics is driving this, the SNP’s momentum slowed just before the council elections and this is an attempt to regain the initiative. Yet, while last year it was the opposition that were obsessed about Independence, since Cameron’s intervention in January it has been the SNP that have been driven with regards to Independence. maybe people feel they have taken their eye off the ball on that regard which is maybe a cause for the luke warm council election results for the SNP.

    One last thing, I don’t think Salmond will be out of the woods just yer with regard to Levenson. After all as I have been pointing out, the SNP have been lobbying for ecconomic powers to be brought north – powers that would be advantageous to Murdoch should he decide to re-locate from Wapping. Similaraly, as Private Eye pointed out, this kinda puts a new spin on the SNP’s lobbying for broadcasting regulatory powers to be brought north.

    • It is all too clear that you are among those who are too busy to inform themselves before commenting. Try to get your head around this simple fact at least. The independence referendum is about independence. The clue is in the name. It is not about the monarchy or the currency or anything else. It’s about independence. Only independence. Got it now?

      • Peter, if you aren’t going to be contructive when you reply just don’t bother will you!

      • My comments are probably the most constructive thing on this whole page. But you seem to have difficulty dealing with the facts that I present. The referendum is NOT about the SNP. The referendum is NOT about Alex Salmond.

        A vote in the referendum is NOT a vote either for or against the monarchy.

        A vote in the referendum is NOT a vote for or against any particular currency or monetary policy.

        The referendum is is solely and exclusively on the question of Scotland’s constitutional settlement.

        Deal with these facts.

    • I’m sorry to see so much inaccuracy in your comment, Allan. First off:

      the SNP’s policy of taking an independent Scotland straight into the EU and the Euro

      Three problems with this. Firstly, we wouldn’t be taken “into” the EU – we’re already in it. Regardless of how it happens, the fact is the only way to change our status in regards to the EU would be to take us “out” of it – a decision which would require a referendum all of its own, and thus is far too important a change to piggy-back onto an independence question. Secondly, I fail to understand how someone such as yourself who is an active member of the Scottish political blogosphere could have failed to notice that the SNP’s policy in regards to currency is to retain Sterling, at least in the meantime. We may at some point join the Euro, but that would only be when it suits Scotland, and even then only after a referendum on the issue – a “double lock”, so to speak.

      Thirdly, and this is not nearly as widely acknowledged as it should be, an independent Scotland couldn’t possibly jump straight in the Euro, even if it wanted to. Entry to the Euro requires two year membership of ERM II, and to do this, Scotland would either need Sterling to enter ERM II (just nae happening) or to have our own currency. There’s simply no way Scotland will join the Euro for at least a decade, by which time it’ll either no longer exist, or it’ll have weathered the current storm and come out the other side stronger. There is simply no policy for Scotland to join the Euro in 2014, and even if there was, there is no mechanism to allow it. It’s disappointing to see you perpetuate such an obvious myth.

      Of course politics is driving this, the SNP’s momentum slowed just before the council elections and this is an attempt to regain the initiative

      Wrong again I’m afraid, although perhaps the fact I was at the conference this year means I’m more clued up on this than you are. Quite simply, this launch has been planned for weeks, if not months. Certainly, it was planned long before anyone knew that Glasgow would decide to re-elect the party which has treated it with such contempt over the years. Indeed, if anything, the idea was to use the local elections to carry on the momentum into the launch of the campaign. It’s a bit odd that while everyone else sees this as proof that the SNP arrogantly assumed it would take Glasgow – thus allowing it to go into the launch on a massive wave of expectation – you seem to be arguing the complete opposite. The truth is that a “yes” campaign simply couldn’t be launched until after the council elections were over, but those that argue the opposite from you are nearer the truth than you are.

    • Allan, the SNP has no policy to “take us straight into the Euro.” It is simply not true to assert this as SNP policy.

    • Peter.

      The vote is about Scotland’s future, but tied up in that future is whether we want an elected head to that independent country, or wish to retain the current constitutional monarchy, and whether we wish to enter a trading bloc/monitery union or not. My issue has always been that there is no sign that there will be a referendum post independence for either issue.

      Doug.

      Regards the position regarding the EU, officially we might be “staying” within the EU. The problem here is that the EU is not particularily popular at this moment and it may be better for Salmond to promise a referendum on this subject post independence (Wilson promised a referendum on the EU in 1974 without actually changing the terms of the UK’s membership substantially – at times perception is more powerful than reallity). It is interesting that Jon Cruddas is advocating that this should be in the Labour manefesto for the next Westminster elections. You are right on the terms of entry to the Euro and also on the currency issue too (as an aside, would we be using the Scottish Pound then? Much beloved of London taxi drivers and newsagents all over the “home counties”). My appologies.

      Regards the timing, I still think that the end of May three weeks after elections is a strange time to be launching a referendum campaign that is due to last 2 and a bit years. I suppose the rationale is that this will be the last opportunity to launch (and get a foothold on the news cycles) before the Jubilee/Euro2012/Olympics kicks in. If this has been in the offing for months, fair enough and appologies for thinking otherwise. Though part of what I was arguing was that this would be an opportinity for the SNP to get back on to the front foot – which after the less than expected election results is what they need. Just as long as long as there are no more of those “events dear boy”.

    • I am afraid there is no way to put forward a detailed case for independence which does not require some level of reading of policy documents. They can be put into layman’s language as far as possible – but this is not the X-factor. Neither is it an election where you are simply being asked to choose the party you like the best. You will be asked – as an individual – to vote on the future of your country. It is up to you how much time you take out of your life to examine the different arguments for and against independence. But the SNP – and the Scottish Government – would be failing in its duty if it did not provide you with both the time and the information to reach a reasoned conclusion before voting.

      It will require both voters and media to go up a gear as it were. Independence should not be decided on passing issues like Leveson or on the personality of any individual politician. There will always be such issues, that is the nature of politics. But independence is not part of that short-term context. It is a long term decision with major ramifications for every single person and every single family in the land.

      A lot of the discussion in the press and so on just reinforces for me that it is going to take time to establish the real issues and give people the chance to examine them properly. For example the idea that the “yes” camp is split on the monarchy. Well, so is the “no” camp. There are Labour and Lib Dem members who support a republic rather than a monarchy. Why is it not an issue for them? The reason I suppose is that they do not propose to enable the people of Scotland to have the power to take decisions on the. future of the monarchy. The Yes camp does propose that. And there is no “split” on that. Different people may have different opinions on the head of state but everyone who supports independence wants the Scottish people to be able to decide. So that is the question for you – not whether you support the monarchy or a republic but whether you want the constitution to remain reserved?

      And the same applies to every other reserved area.

      • A very good way to think on it and to put it. And absolutely agree about everyone moving up a gear to get their heads around what is being proposed. Not sure all the options are in place to allow that, without the media in particular reducing it to scare stories and fluff and nonsense that turns folk off.

  9. I think you are talking about 2 different campaigns here – the media campaign and the doorstep campaign.

    There is never going to be a “good” time to launch the media campaign because there will always be something that could potentially land the SG or individual ministers in the soup, that’s the nature of government.

    And there is a practical reason for launching the media campaign at the same time as the doorstep campaign because it will alert people to the fact that it is happening, Makes it easier when you chap someone’s door if they know that there is actually going to be a referendum and have some idea of the issues they will be asked to vote on.

    Finally I don’t accept that issues around jobs, economic uncertainty and so on are disconnected to independence. They are intimately connected. Far more so than the twin shibboleths of NATO and the monarchy which so much media attention has been paid to.

    If for no other reason, we need to take better control of the media agenda to move the independence debate on from those slightly weird obsessions and onto bread and butter issues like jobs, benefits, taxation which actually matter to people far more than the head of state does or whether we will be a full member of NATO or not.

    • Indy, you make very good points which I totally agree with. Especially on what matters to people. I just don’t see this week as being the optimum time to launch a Yes campaign. And suspect we’ll have more launches before we reach the referendum.

  10. Hmm, just had an experience which makes me wonder. The ‘Scottish Democratic Alliance’ don’t appear ready to debate that’s for sure. Scary.

  11. When you make a bold claim such as this article attempts then the onus is on you to support that claim with, at the very least, some kind of reasoned argument. Where is it? The notion seems to be that at some unidentified time in the future the anti-independence campaign and the media and the world in general is going to step aside to give the Yes Scotland campaign a fair wind.

    Not going to happen!

  12. Yes. I km now all about “constructive criticism”. What has that to do with any of your posts?

  13. I’m have a bit of difficulty following a logical line here. Is the proposal that a short campign will suit the independence side. If that is so why are the unionists campaigning for a short campaign and a referendum next year?
    It’s because they know a short campign will suit the union and they know that the independence side, with the whole of the popular media ranged against them, have to use the earlier part of a campaign to nail the lies before it goes on to paint the vision.
    We have to be talking about what we will do with independence as we approach the referendum. By that point independence has to be accepted as the sensible constructive proposal by intelligent people. We will have to leave some people behind but if we establish firmly that the union lies we destroy the union case with informed people.
    This is a war of attrition and it will take every minute of the two years we have.
    In my fifty plus years in the SNP I have seen many strange things. I have seen nationalists who start to doubt as soon as our progress is less than smooth (I was going to say sh*t themselves but thought that perhaps a little coarse). I have seen those who start to believe what the anti-SNP media says about the SNP and then start to undermine our effort.

    There is no point in reacting to any of Barbarian’s posts which merely seek to reduce serious political issues to gutter level but I think you can take it if Barbarian agrees with the Burd the Burd is wrong.

  14. Thanks for reminding me my MOT is due – I’d forgotten about that – now, what were we talking about?

  15. If not now, then when? A campaign with a 2+ year duration is going to be a lot different from a regular election one (more a slow burn?), and picking the ‘perfect’ time is nigh on impossible. Seems like the game is afoot to me. Unionist side face the same conundrum, surely.

  16. Disagree with this one. There are a lot of arguments to be made and a lot of people to reach, every second counts and should not be wasted. The SNP government doesn’t own the Yes Campaign anyway so whatever they’re doing or not is a separate issue – the message is not vote Yes to independence so the SNP can govern, and that is one of the messages that will win the campaign.

  17. If I can believe the Daily Mail (which of course I am not at all sure I can!) the three Unionist parties have already had the “No campaign” meeting at Alastair Darling’s house and formed a behind-the-scenes alliance to campaign for “no in 2014”. If true, then the “yes in 2014” campaign has to start already – if one side is campaigning so does the other.

    As one of the undecided voters whom both sides are trying to convince (and so far both sides are doing right badly at convincing me of anything) I’m exhausted already at the thought that we have two and a half years to go.

    The White Paper will be published in November 2013. We’ll have about a year from then during which we can have a serious discussion about independence. That’s when I think the campaign could fairly start.

    But unfortunately it looks like everyone is diving in early. Oh well.

  18. Disagree furiously with this in its entirety.
    Do you think there will be some magic time when the media will not be trying to persaude people that “their Government concentrate on what’s bothering them this week” ?
    That is the stock unionist line at all times.

    Two years is short enough as it is to drag out all the unionist lies and distortions and do them to death.
    We have to effect a fundamental change in attitude in an ill informed and unreliable proportion of our electorate.
    Independence has to become the presumed destination of Scotland over all other sentiment in these minds.
    To leave this process to a late stage would be folly. As we approach the referendum the main topic among significant people should be what different things we will do when we are independent, not whether we should or will be independent

    • It is all very well to speak of “significant” people. The problem is those you perhaps consider “insignificant” are possibly in the majority and they must be engaged. A look at the UK right now should, one would think, inspire all Scots to consider alternatives available to us. Humming “Things can only get better!” will not work. Things undoubtedly can only get worse in just about every area we could mention. The debate has been deliberately stifled and that is the main strategy of the Unionists along with the odd prominent scare story about no one wanting to invest in an independent Scotland. The media is happy to help with the stifling. If anything proves that it is the contempt with which those who bothered to participate in the consultation process have been treated by the Unionist Parties and by the media. If Scotland’s sovereignty is about its people then the response of those politicians and the Scottish media to our answers means we are in big trouble.

  19. First it was “never never never never surrender,” from the unionists camp on a Scottish referendum. Iain Gray famously said “we know what the result will be.”

    For five years the unionist camp battled to stave of the referendum in their machinations in Holyrood. Except that is for the Dumbarton Rock brained one who in a Hairy Caterpillar moment of indignant bravado bumbled, “bring it on!” only to be slapped hard. “The Scottish people are interested in jobs not the constitution,” they howled.

    Then when we the voters of Scotland decided we want to give the SNP their mandate on the constitution, democratically at the ballot box, the unionist camp starts to bray in unison, “have it now, have it now, have it now.” Conveniently ignoring the stated fact that THE REFERENDUM WAS PUT IN THE BACK END OF THE PARLIAMENT FOR THE VERY REASON THAT THE SNP WANT TO DEAL WITH THE ECONOMY AND JOBS IN LABOURS CREATED DEPRESSION. And they are doing so deliberately. And effectively. Check the lemon sooking faces of Labour in Holyrood, when the FM announces yet more jobs and good figures for the economy. Their hatred reeks from them, hate for the SNP and hate for their country. They so need Scotland to fail under the SNP. Unionism demands it.

    What ever timing the SNP chose will be wrong, What ever question the SNP chose will be wrong. What ever Alex Salmond says at Leveson will be pounced on and slavered over, twisted, turned, spun and lied about to try and unseat him.

    And all of it, all the propaganda the lies the hypocrisy, the secret meetings in Darlings house, the self interested hysteria coming from the Scots who sold their souls and their country to Westminster, the Wille Bain principle. All of it just shows the unionist for the dishonest hypocrites they are, and adds grist to the mill of the YES vote. The harder you knock us the stronger we become.

  20. Starting the “Yes” campaign now will simply piss people off. Whatever happens at Levenson is going to damage Salmond anyway. If he says he was hacked, his position is seriously in peril. If it wasn’t, then why the hell did he not say so? The impression is that the Scottish Parliament is irrelevant to the SNP, and judging by McAlpine’s behaviour that impression is getting stronger. And continuing to side with Murdoch is a bad idea anyway, certainly as long as there are legal rumblings. The media are going to crucify Salmond at his appearance, whatever he says. He could have killed the whole debate if only he had answered the bloody question.

    The campaign should start no earlier than 6 months before. In fact, the Referendum should have been held last year. Another two and a half years is not going to miraculously change things. In fact, the longer they wait, the greater the chance that things will go wrong, and there are signs that this is already happening. Arrogance is creeping in.

  21. So launch the campaign when capitalism’s not in crisis – tricky one.

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