Today belongs to Michael Moore. After a torrid few days on the Scottish political scene, he told the House of Commons this afternoon that he was launching a consultation aimed at “empowering the people of Scotland to participate in a legal referendum”.
In the view of the Westminster Government (and as I wrote earlier the highest echelons of the SNP and proper lawyers), the Scottish Government does not currently have the legal power to hold a referendum. We’ve been hearing for days that the UK Government was therefore going to take over the whole thing, dictate terms, basically run the referendum. Maybe that’s what David Cameron wanted to do, but thankfully the Lib Dem insistence on reason won the day. For Mike didn’t have some sort of High Noon style showdown. He announced a consultation, open till 9th March, open to all Scots to complete. I suspect you’ll be hearing a bit more of that on here over the next few weeks.
The document asks people for their views on issues like timing, the question(s), whether it should be supervised by the Electoral Commission and who should have the vote.
While Mike was still on his feet in the Commons taking a good hour’s worth of questions, Alex Salmond, in a blatant attempt to grab the headlines for tomorrow, went live on the news and announced that the Government intended to hold the referendum in the Autumn of 2014. The whole thing put me in mind of that moment in in 1994 when Diana went out in an amazing dress as Charles gave his interview to Jonathan Dimbleby. Except, clearly, Eck isn’t quite as sexy.
I also thought it was a bit rude of the First Minister to so hurriedly announce the date on the news, rather than to his own Parliament. There was no reason he had to do it then – it could have waited until tomorrow.
If the SNP’s preferred date sticks, that’s almost 3 years away. I am almost at the end of my tether after 8 months of bickering and snidiness. If I’m going to save my sanity, this campaign has to up its game in terms of quality, positivity and passion on both sides.
Anyway, as has become my custom, I’ve compiled my tweets of the occasion along with some others into a Storify thingy which is below. Now, I know I’ve made a couple of howlers, when my brain wandered, but I’m sure you get my drift. Successional clearly means successful. You might like my conversation with Tom Harris, Labour’s self-styled attack dog about the need for a positive campaign.
I’m sure that Mike Moore will have won over a lot of respect today for a very people centred, positive performance which compares well with the First Minister’s Diva antics.
[&amp;lt;a href=”http://storify.com/caronmlindsay/michael-moore-s-statement-to-parliament-on-indepen” target=”_blank”&amp;gt;View the story “Michael Moore’s statement to Parliament on Independence Referendum” on Storify&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt;]