Scottish Government wants a new one-shot quango to stooge manage independence referendum. I tend not to stray too far into reporting political news, principally because there are so many scandals involving the legal profession and its many tentacles, I am kept busy indefinitely on that subject. However, reading about how the Scottish Government are attempting to create a new quango with yet more stooge appointments, simply for the purpose of pushing the referendum on independence agenda, in a time when basically, Scotland is broke, deserves some attention.
If anyone came along & knocked on your door, telling you they were going to demolish your house to build a new road, you might say, oh, I’m going to fight this, take legal action, and either win, preventing your home being demolished, or walk away with a suitable compensation figure after a lot of haggling and letters.
If however, someone came along, knocked on your door and said, we are going to demolish your house to build a new road, and oh, by the way you cant take legal action, you have to appeal to this new quango we’ve created which is run by the company who are building the road, you might be forgiven for thinking you are being led up a one way garden path by the road builders. So alas, are we all being led up the same one way garden path with the plans exposed by the BBC on the Scottish Government’s planned referendum on independence, to be announced later this week.
Electoral Commission to be kept out of Scottish independence referendum on. Normally, the Electoral Commission, oversee elections in the UK. This has worked fairly well as we all know for many years. Yes, a few nags and niggles, but as always, we get who we vote for, regrets or not. However, the Scottish Government do not want to use the Electoral Commission for their independence referendum plan, which is certainly no surprise to me, because this time the SNP wont be able to get away with stuffing the ballot with a title “Alex Salmond for First Minister” as they did in the last Holyrood elections. That was certainly unfair on all concerned, and everyone being wise to that, I’m sure it will never be allowed to happen again, hence, no Electoral Commission please, we know your tricks .. you will spot any fiddles in the questions tout de suite so cant allow that.
So, as appears to be tradition, when an organisation might not give Ministers the result they want, they call in, or better still create a new body to give them the result they want .. and hence here we are now reading about a new Scottish Referendum Commission, which will be doubtless stuffed with quango style appointed people who have one track minds to hand over the one result the current Scottish Government want – a “Yes” for independence, at any cost, and as garbled a set of questions to the electorate that no one will be able to fathom out.
I’d say that is a fit up, but don't take my word for it, look through the Freedom of Information disclosures obtained by the BBC and released yesterday.
Personally, I am left wondering what they are going to call this referendum quango .. how about the Scottish Legal Independence Referendum Commission ?
Surely it could be modelled on the entirely dishonest failure & quango fat cat ridden expenses lined Scottish Legal Complaints Commission .. who are serving the legal profession unbelievably well, considering it was actually set up to give the public a chance against, well … the same rogue lawyers Mr MacAskill professed his Scottish Government owed a big debt for their election ‘success …
At a time of huge public service cuts, rising unemployment, our banks still on the rocks, and the national debt (mainly thanks to those on-the-rocks banks which had to be saved) sky high .. I could think of a lot more better use for public funds, and legislative time at Holyrood. Anyway, arent we all supposed to stick together in times of crisis ?
A selection of those FOI disclosures obtained by the BBC, well worth reading (click for larger size) :
BBC News reports :
The Scottish government plans to set up a special body to run a future referendum on independence.
Ministers do not want to use the Electoral Commission which overseas Westminster elections.
The plan was revealed in minutes of meetings which were obtained by the BBC under Freedom of Information.
The draft bill on the independence referendum - which could take place as soon as 30 November - is expected to be published on Friday.
Email from the Scottish government, 13 march, 2009 - "We are now looking at what the question in an independence referendum might be and at some point will need to show we have properly assessed it for intelligibility, neutrality, etc."
Electoral Commission minute, 22 September, 2009 - "Scottish government officials confirmed... that there was currently no provision to consult any organisation as to the intelligibility of the referendum question."
Electoral Commission minutes, 6 November, 2009 - "There seems little regard to the remit and role of what the Scottish Referendum Commission would actually do."
The Electoral Commission has a statutory role to run referenda called by Westminster, but has no formal role in those called by the Scottish Parliament.
In the minutes obtained by BBC One's Politics Show, civil servants told the commission they planned to set up a new body - the Scottish Referendum Commission - to run the election.
The paperwork also revealed the concerns of the Westminster commission over the wording of the questions and that the timescale towards the poll was too short.
A minute from September last year said: "Scottish Government officials ... confirmed that there was currently no provision to consult any organisation as to the intelligibility of the referendum question".
No Scottish minister would comment on the FOI minutes, however, a spokesperson said that Scottish voters already had quite recent experience of a multi-option constitutional referendum.
The Electoral Commission said that when the government sets out the referendum on full independence, it would "consider it and submit a response" using experience of planning for referendums in the UK.
It added: "We are not able to comment until this public consultation is opened."
and the latest today on this can be read here : Referendum ballot 'rigging' claim