Stunt, Beartrap for Labour, call it what you want.
When Alex Salmond set up his speech to the SNP conference he put in a win-win trap for Labour.
Reaffirming the Claim of Rights 1989, which many labour Politicians signed as part of the Constitutional Convention, will be used as a tool to restate (and spin) the sovereignty of the will of the Scottish people.
Restating the obvious but the will of the Scottish people is exercised on a regular basis. UK elections, Holyrood Elections, Local Government elections and even European elections.
Now, when I called his call to reaffirm the Claim of Rights a stunt, on twitter, I was rapidly attacked by some of the Nationalist online brigade. I still hold it to be a stunt (a good move politically- but still a stunt) and here’s why.
The Claim of rights 1989 Text is below
“We, gathered as the Scottish Constitutional Convention, do hereby acknowledge the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs, and do hereby declare and pledge that in all our actions and deliberations their interests shall be paramount.
We further declare and pledge that our actions and deliberations shall be directed to the following ends:
To agree a scheme for an Assembly or Parliament for Scotland;
To mobilise Scottish opinion and ensure the approval of the Scottish people for that scheme; and
To assert the right of the Scottish people to secure implementation of that scheme.”
Looks pretty clear to me.
What people (of all political persuasions in the Constitutional convention) signed up to was detailed explicitly in the second part.
Agreed a scheme for an assembly (done), mobilised opinion to get one (done), implemented the scheme (done) all of this led to the devolution act and the founding of Holyrood.
Now that doesn’t help Alex Salmond, because he hardly wants to point out the Claim of Rights 1989 has been delivered by the Scottish constitutional convention. After all the SNP dropped out of the process early on (toys out of pram springs to mind).
The bit he wants to exploit is ‘the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of government best suited to their needs’. However, the Scottish constitutional convention are the Subject of the sentence (those declaring) which his mob abandoned (that will be conspicuous by its absence I expect).
No one is challenging the right to choose, A referendum on independence won’t be opposed by the Westminster Government (they’ll probably even pay) so why does it need reaffirmed?
Has anyone not held the will of Scottish voters as not sovereign? Has our will been ignored explicitly? No it hasn’t. Now that the Westminster Govt is Conservative we can say we never picked them! This is true, but we are part of a democracy (which is tuff Alex live with it) and sometimes that’s the outcome.
Alex Salmond wants to spin opposition to his interpretation of the Sovereign right bit and make the Opposition oppose (and refuse) so he can say ‘See they don’t see your right to choose as sovereign!’ and then jump up and down like the bombast he is.
He wants to make it sound like Labour / Lib dems are preventing the will of Scots being expressed or don’t see it as important. This is patent nonsense but he’ll try it nonetheless.
If we do reaffirm it (the SCC has in fact wound up having met its aims) it is redundant but to refuse is an own goal. To sign it gives free impetus to let Alex Salmond misuse his bit.
A beartrap! A stunt! definitely.
Proving once again that Alex and his team are sleekit, manipulative and scheming. But Damn they are good at it.