Last night I finally got around to watching Wednesday afternoon’s Politics Scotland show. Yes, I know, I call myself a political blogger and I choose to watch Celebrity Masterchef when it was going out live. Disgraceful!
Anyway, Wednesday’s programme contained a gem of an interview with Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie and the SNP’s Joan McAlpine.
In it, Willie made the very obvious point that the Scottish Parliament is being given a whole load of new powers, the biggest devolution since the Act of Union in 1707. You would think the SNP Government, which wants independence, would be delighted. Instead they are stalling and prevaricating about it. He pointed out that we can’t have more responsibility and expect there to be no risk whatsoever. And if the risk of the Scotland Bill is too big, then what on earth is independence?
It seems from what Joan McAlpine was saying that we might end up with the farcical situation where the SNP vote for the transfer of powers because they don’t want to be seen to be voting against it, but they’ll not agree the timing, the Commencement Orders.
Asked how Michael Moore would resolve the impasse, Willie said that it was clear that he was prepared to be reasonable and deal with the complicated issues in a spirit of constructive engagement. He then made the very valid point that:
“their idle threats to thwart this bill which, as I say, is the most substantial transfer of power in 300 years actually goes counter to what they claim which is more powers for the Scottish Parliament. I just think they’re mucking about with this and they need to be a bit more mature.”
If you want to watch the interview, you can do so here.
The SNP need to stop faffing and make a decision to either back the Bill or not. If they choose not to, they make a mockery out of their claim for independence. With power comes responsibility and uncertainty – although the Bill contains mitigating measures to help Holyrood cope with fluctuations.
The SNP seem to want to have their cake and eat it over this. They just can’t. So they have to make a decision that they, and only they, will be accountable for.