Thursday, May 08, 2008


Salmond likely to be only Beneficiary of Wendy's Plan

Wendy Alexander's attempt to 'call the SNP bluff' over an independence referendum, seems about as sensible as her brother's(Cabinet minister Douglas and onetime close Gordon adviser) fevered advocacy of the 'election that never was' last autumn. It seems illadvised for the following reasons:

1. Given that Brown opposes such a move, it further challenges Gordon's tattered authority in the wake of those grisly election results and this from someone hitherto regarded as an uber loyalist to the leader of the clan. Gordon looked all over the shop at PMQs when he denied the Scottish Labour leader had ever made such a suggestion. An own goal offered to Cameron with no effort onh his part.

2. As the SNP is in power such a call is fruitless as it is only the SNP which can make this decision anyway. It may be the case that such a vote now, according to the polls, would not produce the result Salmond thinks he might get through waiting until 2010. His plan is to continue his so far highly successful period in government until the Scottish public, made receptive by his ardent wooing, feel ready to go the whole way. But the decision is his and not Ms Alexander's.

3. Faced with a referendum right now, who is to say voters north of the border might not, in a mood of cocking a snook at London, vote for it and defy the polls?

4. By causing such confusion Wendy has handed the SNP leader a huge propaganda victory by appearing to support his policy and yet contradicting her leader at the same time.

5. ..and this is the big one... should the Scots vote for independence and sheer away into the North Sea, Labour would lose the value of Scottish Labour MPs-currently 40 strong- and maybe never lead a largely English government again.

It would seem this is too great a risk to take, a futile attempt to win political advantage and evidence that big sister Wend is no better at political strategy than her wee brother Douggie. By exposing her party leader like this Ms Alexander might have to pay with her resignation some way down the line.

I can't really go with this, Bill. Alexander is calling Salmond out - saying put your money where your mouth is. Labour and the SNP in Scotland know that the majority of people in the election last year voted for Unionist parties, and the referendum would go down like a brick.

That would leave the SNP a busted flush - a one-trick pony - and the pony is dead. If salmond hesitates or refuses, he is in danger of being called, errm, 'frit'.

Frankly, I think Brown should push it too, but his natural caution will probably mean it won't happen.
You may be right that it would call Salmond's bluff but what of the risks? Gordon is againstr it because he thinks the risk too high, and I think correctly. It also suggests Labour fears salmonsd is so good at governing that he'll win in 2010. But events will maybe prove which of us is right, so thanks for the comment.
I'm not sure. The reason Salmond wants to hold off is that he expects Tories to win the next General Election and become instantly unpopular in Scotland, and indeed the North of England.

Thus smashing the sentimental atttachment to the Union with a huge knee jerk against London conservatives. This SNP analysis can be worked by Labour to our advantage.
I have to agree with Skipper. A referendum would rock Labour's boat a bit too much which is why Gordon has slapped Wendy down. We are already seeing Labour preparing the way to vote down the SNP's referendum bill (lots of talk about wording etc).

They've dropped the ball here and will look very silly when they vote against a referendum in 2010.

The Scottish people may not want a referendum but they know hypocrisy when they see it.

Labour are between a rock and a hard place. Letting the SNP have their independence referendum in 2010 or an almighty public backlash in the Holyrood elections in 2011.

You're certainly right, Salmond is the only winner...
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