Saturday, October 31, 2009

Heading Over the River for Failed Rebellion....Apparently

According to the Times some senior members of my own party view me as being in a minority of 'referendum rebels'. They are saying in the press that to change the party stance on a Referendum for Independence is a 'betrayal of those who voted for the party in the 2007 Scottish election'. Interesting choice of words ahead of events in Dunfermline later.

Strange that on the day that we are discussing the party's constitution and making line by line changes to parts of it one phrase from the preamble sticks out that the 2007 election pledge is actually a betrayal to our constitution.

"We [the Scottish Liberal Democrats] believe that sovereignty rests with the people and that authority in a democracy derives from them. We therefore acknowledge their right to determine the form of government best suited to their needs."

Of course the next line goes on to say that:

"We commit ourselves to the promotion of these aims and beliefs in the Scottish and UK Parliaments."

As Alistair Carmichael says:

"These discussions are not abstract or academic. They are a hard political choice for the party. Do we support Alex Salmond’s rigged referendum or do we keep faith with those voters to whom we gave a very clear commitment at the 2007 Scottish elections?"

Of course and this is the point I argued back in 2006. If we had taken courage in our convictions that Scotland is better with a stronger parliament but within the UK we should have made sure that was asked of the people, either before 2007 or by getting involved with the SNP working on what we agree with and forming the words of their referendum White Paper so that it was not rigged. Giving the people the right to determine their own future is what we stand for.

In my opinion, and sadly many who may vote for us, what 2007 was a betrayal of was our party's constitution and the name Democrat that exists in our title. Calling those of this view a minority of rebels may prove dangerous, it often is a sign that the leadership is actually quite scared that they are losing the argument.

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