It seems that our esteemed leader, Mr Rennie and I had similar thoughts about our First Minister’s grandstanding on the news last night, bursting forth with information about his preferred date for the referendum.
My second thought* was along the lines of “what a bloody cheek, he should have told Parliament first.”
And so I tweeted:
This is a special pet hate of mine because I used to get very, very annoyed when Labour ministers used to announce their plans on Andrew Marr or some other media outlet. It just smacked of disrespect for the Parliament the Government was accountable to.
Like Snow White’s stepmother, enraged by the cool performance of another, Salmond clearly decided drastic action was necessary, not quite thinking through how it should properly be done. It’s the same sort of mentality that a referendum overseen by a group of people chosen by his government will do fine, regardless of whether it’s actually legal or not. When you have an office, you have to be really careful not to exceed its powers.
Salmond’s news interviews, where he appeared in front of a cosy fire and saltires at Bute House, and his announcement of the referendum date appear not to have been expected by his MPs who were in the Commons listening to Moore. It had all the impression of being done completely on the spur of the moment. Why the need for the high drama? Why not just make a statement to Parliament on Wednesday lunchtime?
I was quite glad to see that Willie Rennie thought Salmond had not shown Holyrood its proper courtesy.
Yesterday he raised a point of order in the Chamber.
On a point of order, Presiding Officer. Yesterday, Scotland’s ministers at Westminster set out the United Kingdom Government’s proposals for a fair, legal and decisive referendum in two statements: one to the House of Commons and one to the House of Lords. They took 47 questions from members of Parliament. In Scotland, the First Minister announced his date for the referendum, not to the Scottish Parliament but to Sky News—although Brian Taylor disputes that fact outside.
Given that the decision relates to what the First Minister called the biggest question for Scots in 300 years, and given that the Scottish Government is always concerned about the respect agenda, has the Scottish Government made a request to make a statement to this Parliament today? Is there any reason why you, Presiding Officer, would not be able to respond positively to such a request if it were made by the Scottish ministers?
Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick said she’d not had any request for a statement.
Willie said afterwards:
“This shows the SNP’s disrespect for the Scottish Parliament. Instead of choosing to make a statement to the Scottish Parliament on Scotland’s biggest question for 300 years, Mr Salmond instead chose to make his statement to the media.
“With the SNP’s majority in Parliament, it is obvious that they feel they can do anything.
“The bulldozer is out of the garage.”
* my first thought was to be reminded of Princess Diana going out wearing a very sexy dress the night Charles admitted adultery to Jonathan Dimbleby in a clear (and successful) attempt to steal the limelight.