1 May 2015

Murphy's unanswered question...

"Mr Murphy, you have raised the prospect of a second independence referendum on several occasions now during this campaign. This week, you have launched a desperate end of days poster campaign, based on this claim. But can you tell us now, do you believe that Holyrood currently has the legislative competence - the legal right - to call a second independence referendum?" 

It is a question which none of the press pack seem to have put to the Scottish Labour leader, but as I blogged about here last week -- it is becoming a central question in the party's ailing general election campaign which Murphy will not and cannot afford to give an honest answer to. 

Why not? Because on Jim's own analysis of the Scotland Act, supported by his former Westminster colleagues, and his Better Together allies, even if the SNP sweep to power in the Scottish Parliament in 2016 or 2020 or 2024 with a political mandate for a further referendum, unless the Scotland Act is amended, Holyrood doesn't have the legal power to hold the poll. This analysis remains debatable as a matter of constitutional law -- but during 2011 and 2012, Murphy, David Cameron and his Liberal Democratic allies maintained a united front and spoke with one voice: no consent from Westminster, no referendum.  (The same analysis can be applied to the spectre of full fiscal autonomy, which could only happen, if a Westminster majority voted to endorse it. The SNP cannot - even if they wished to - realise and deliver this policy alone).

On Jim's own legal analysis, Westminster had - and still retains - a veto.  Which, to put it another way, is to say that Jim believes that an SNP majority, of whatever scale in Westminster or in Holyrood, cannot force another referendum through. Which, to put it another way, is to say that Jim is being economical with the actualité in his frantic and dishonest efforts to suggest that another referendum is pending - whatever Nicola or any other senior member of the SNP maintains about their political intentions. Which, to put it another way, is to say that the central plank of Scottish Labour's election campaign in its dying days is predicated on a falsehood, a fiction, a fib.

It might be nice if one of the tribunes of the press took him to task on it. 


  1. You could always try asking him on Tay2 on Sunday at 11am till 1pm hosted by Ally Bally who will have all the Scottish leaders together in his 'Scotland's Talk in'.

  2. He could say that a Holyrood government with a mandate would have a 'moral' authority for a referendum that could not be reasonably refused in a democracy.

    Which would be good to have on the record.

  3. Radio 4 Today 2nd May.. had an interview with a Siin Fein.. head of Policy? from Belfast.... He was asked why the Sinn Fein elected mp's did not take their seats at wm.. and apart from their acknowledged refusal to swear allegiance to the monarchy... he stated "" that Irelands future was not to be found at wm... in fact the British had always taken from Ireland and caused it nothing but problems.. so the future was to made in Ireland ".... now if only the SNP Indy mp's adopted this kind of thinking then all this legality of a foreign state dictating what we can or can not do would be over...
    It need to be a clean sweep of the old & desperate.