McChange Of Plan

“Tonight on Newsnight Scotland, Scottish Politics takes a surreal turn, as Labour demand a referendum on indpendence”

Erm, right. I didn’t think that would happen.

So what’s Wendy Alexander up to? Apparently she’s listened to people. Now, it’s a fine time to finally listen to the people, after the SNP have been in power for a year. Maybe this is Brown finally cracking to a demand Wendy has made many times since taking power, certainly it doesn’t fit that Wendy would just come up with this and then be able to announce it.

Wendy claims the SNP are talking too much about independence without wanting to have the referendum. She’s even slated them for delaying the referendum, but in a way that showed she was basically unaware that the referendum was committed to 2010 in their manifesto. Further, Salmond himself was quoted a few days ago as saying that independence is not the matter in hand just now. Only thanks to Wendy is that the case.

There’s no turning back now, there will be a Scottish Independence Referendum. To steal Mr Dewar’s words. I Like That.

Shame the question will be a complete pain though. How on earth are Labour going to help draft a question? How can they do this positively? Wendy herself has ruled out a referendum on Calman Comission’s proposals, but she can surely change her mind on that – I’d hope for the sake of political sanity that she does.

The SNP, of course, already have their question out there, and more in the white paper that kicked off the national conversation. Indeed they’ve described a potential devolution max option which may well be what Calman and his commission deliver.

No-one wants to campaign for the status quo, and Labour are on a hiding to nothing if they have nothing positive to offer Scotland. A failed yes/no to independence referendum will not be an achievement for Labour, nor will it be the undoing of the SNP. It just confirms the position for a generation. No more, no less.

Meanwhile as I type this News 24 (up to the minute news from the BBC) are repeating a fascinating HardTalk interview with Alex Salmond.

BBC News 24 11:30PM Tuesday 6th May 2008 - HardTalk With Alex Salmond

I’m guessing they recorded it on Friday or Saturday. It seems a fragment of history already.