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majority of the party. Thank you Tonight on Newsnight Scotland:
should the independence referendum have a second question on more
powers for the Scottish parliament? The SNP's triumphant party
conference marked the beginning of the referendum campaign but will
the opposition parties decide to back a second option on devolution
max, or will they risk everything on a straight yes or no to
Good evening. There is no equivocation about the result the
SNP want from this referendum but for the unionist parties, it
presents a dilemma. The Government has offered them a second option on
some form of devolution max. Increased powers for the Scottish
Parliament is consistently the most popular constitutional option in
polls. So would any of the opposition parties benefit from
backing what seems to be a popular option, or would they merely be
giving Alex Salmond hid second best option if independence is rejected?
In a moment we'll hear from the leaders of Labour and the Lib Dems,
The SNP's conference at the weekend was a chance for party members to
give themselves a collective pat on the back. But the nationalists know
it is just the beginning of the road in the campaign for
independence. And there is still a long way along that road to go, not
least deciding what is going to be on any referendum paper. Would be
one question or two? The SNP say that they are happy for the
opposition parties to decide on that well. We are defining
independence and it is independence that we are primarily concerned
about. If others put amendments to the bill for example, to have a
second question, then they clearly have to tell us what their second
question is and how they define it. And at the weekend, the First
Minister Alex Salmond repeated the offer. What is definitely going to
be on a ballot paper is a yes / no question to independence. What I've
said Islam open to including a second question on what is called
devolution Max. -- what I have said is I am open. But we need detailed
so people can be judged on that question as well. It signals what
could be one of the twists and turns in the road towards a
referendum, after all to questions could be something of a win at
winner for the SNP. Scotland's government could still get
increased powers. The SNP at least will think that is going to the
right direction. What will the opposition parties do? Will they
opt for devolution Max? For having learnt the lessons from a Scottish
Parliament? Labour, it appears, are not falling for that one again.
SNP have got to explain what it is there are trying to do. It is
lovely -- a lovely phrase but it is not clear what it means. What we
need when it comes to a referendum, and we should get on with that
referendum, is a clear choice. Do you want to be part of the latter
Kingdom or not? The SNP have a mandate to get on with that
referendum. The four contenders for this challenging post are here...
And what of the Conservatives? Their leadership contenders all
seem to agree on this one and none of them think a second question is
a good idea. I'm player I think it should be a clear question, do we
wish to renew the 300 year-old partnership with the United Kingdom
or do we wish to separate from it? I agree, they should be a straight
yes or no. I would go straight yes or no and I want to five -- fight a
positive campaign. We seem to have find ourselves in a position where
we are waiting for Alex Salmond... At the moment, his looks like it is
only the SNP who is in favour of the devolution Max option. The
Scottish Liberal Democrats have come up with their Rome question
and it is mainly Bix -- of this, what happens if 50 % vote for
independence but 99 % for -- a vote for devolution Max? What happens
then? The SNP insists it would still be independent --
independence. The SNP has to decide how the winner is chosen. Given the
SNP have the majority, they potentially control what that
decision rule is. The constraints they face include if the opposition
parties can persuade more public that what the SNP have in mind,
which is saying how far people are willing to go, rather than finding
the most popular option, if the public find that perverse because
indeed it might well mean that by the less popular option might be
declared the winner, the SNP must have to think again. One question
or two? Which party would be? It doesn't sound like a difficult
decision but it is one that is mired in politics. The road to the
referendum may yet reveals some more potholes along the way.
I'm joined now by the outgoing Labour leader, Iain Gray, the
leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie and by the
SNP's Derek Mackay. What to make of this invitation to you to come up
with some sort of second proposal? A package used a phrase, twisting
and turning, and this is part of the twisting and turning, the
ducking and diving but we have seen from the SNP not just since the
election but for the past five years. It is odd, isn't it? The
situation is pretty clear. They made a proposition as part of the
manifesto in the election that there would have a referendum on
whether Scotland should be part of the letter came to mourn not. They
won a majority in that election and so he would think that this would
be their opportunity to do that. It is they who seemed so reluctant to
go ahead and do it. He would be against... You would prefer to have
a straight yes / no. I would but what is more important is what to
the Scottish voters expect? What to be a vote for? In the election,
they voted for a party which had as of their main planks a referendum.
That government should get on and do that. Your reply to the SNP
invitation for you to come up with some other proposal to put us a
second question would be, thank you very much, why did you get all
that? There are two things to say. I don't know what this proposition
is... They seem to be saying that you should decide. They're the ones
that talk about it. I don't know what it is. Sometimes, I have
difficulty working out what they mean when they talk about
independence because it seems to change from day to day. Sometimes
it means he will shed events with the rest of United Kingdom,
sometimes it doesn't. As the first thing. The second thing is that
Willie Rennie has made an important point and we saw that in a package,
this brings up the prospect that actually the second most popular
option could win. We just had an election for First Minister. By
came second. Perhaps they should I think that would be a nonsense.
Why would we even bother? Even if we were considering it.
You would rather the nationalists had a straightforward yes/no
referendum. We have to prove to the Scottish
people we're not playing jiggery- pokery. They have to be straight.
So far they have shown no evidence that they have a proposition which
reaches that requirement. If this is of no interest - we have
just heard from the leaders of Labour and the Liberal Democrats,
and from all for prospective candidates of the Conservatives -
then why do you keep banging on about it?
And page three of our manifesto - endorsed by the people of Scotland
- we said we would discuss full economic powers in the referendum.
What is clear is that there are no ideas coming forward from the
London parties. Ian Gray may be the leader of the Labour Party, but
only some of it. At least three major figures have come out and
said that the second question is a good idea and they won the Labour
Party to campaign for it. Malcolm Chisholm, Lord Of George Foulkes,
and the former First Minister. So you want to decide Labour policy
as well as the SNP's policy? We trust the people of Scotland
with the options that are out there. Let us say that Labour agree with
Ian Gray but they have a few rebels like Malcolm Chisholm. He put an
amendment for, then you just say, or, and the interest of democracy,
blah blah blah. But officially, Labour, Tories, Liberal Democrats
won nothing to do with it. You think that is a valid way of
proceeding? We will see what happens...
Know, we did be valid, would you consider it?
If all the parties to an ultra Unionist line I think the debate
with progress. They have just told you what line
they're taking. That is the current line. With all
due respect one of the leader has here won't even be a leader of his
party for much longer. Independence is what we will be camping the for
and what we will win. -- campaigning for.
He should stop misrepresenting Our position. We are fully behind the
Kalman propositions and the bell. We have been full and key players
in the Scottish Parliament. More than the SNP, for a long time.
The Liberal Democrats have already deserted the bill to set up a new
commission for more powers for the Scottish Parliament. That is why we
must take it to the people. What about this business, a two-
question referendum, I think you, Willie, made the point, if 99% vote
for demolition maximum but 51% vote for independence, who wins? --
evolution. If a majority of people vote for
independence that is what we will get. That is the democratic,
transparent choice. If the majority vote for independence it would not
be democratic to say you will not get independence.
Let me make my point. This is not like 1997 would you couldn't vote
for tax-raising powers unless you are in favour of a Parliament
itself. These are alternative views. When you contrast alternative views,
the single one with the most votes wins.
It was not long ago preferential quoting was being endorsed. The
Unionist parties then came along and said that was not good enough,
not clear enough. So it will be a straightforward yes/no question to
independence. That is a black and white question and the people give
us their verdict that will be the answer. I am afraid it is a
straight forward yes or no question. People will know what our
prospectus is and they know what they will get. I do not see what is
a on clear. This is a farcical. If you had a
professor of politics on this show he would not be able to explain. It
is a ridiculous proposition. We did not support a multi- choice
referendum because it would not provide a clear result. Now this
new proposal still would not give us a clear resolve.
What is not clear about a yes/no question?
How can you have a referendum in which the second most popular
question wins? Ridiculous. Hang on...
I am willing to trust the people. Welly: you represent a government -
- a party that is part of the Government. Where does that leave
the British government? Should day be bound to take the SNP
interpretation of what the result means?
To be fair, the SNP got their majority and their mandate for a
referendum. It is up to them to deliver it and it is their
responsibility to make sure it is absolutely clear. You can imagine
the circumstances, it is a real possibility now that they might win
independence, if there is any doubt whatsoever about the result, their
hand would be weakened going to negotiate with the Treasury in
London. So Alex Salmond will want to make sure that this mandate is
absolutely clear. But he is failing, and defeating his own case. It is
in his interests to sort this out otherwise his hand is very we.
-- very weak. Ian Gray, if the SNP do not have a clear or questioned
in Westminster such a step in. That was a recommendation 11 a week.
I do not think that Westminster should step in. The SNP have a
mandate to provide a referendum were a clear question. Derek called
me a Unionist. I am not. I believe in evolution. He is the one who
wants to end it and replace it with ultra-nationalists and. -- Alter
nationalism. People will think, you are just at
it. You have one your mandate and you are already trying to confuse
the issue. If you are convinced with your own case why not get on
with it and put it to the people of Scotland?
The good news for the SNP and the people of Scotland is independence
is getting more popular by the day. Opinion polls show this. Ian Gray
is incorrect. I am not an ultra- nationalist. I am Pro evolution.
Alex Salmon said during the course of the election that he would bring
the referendum for. -- pro- devolution. The referendum is on
its way and a clear verdict will follow. The question will be simple
and straightforward. A yes/no answer. I am confident that the
people of Scotland will say yes. Completely different subject, Ian
Gray, Alex Salmond earlier on said that the allegations about Ian
Davidson mean he should resign as chair of the House of Commons
Scottish Select Committee. Do you agree?
A serious allegation has been made but I have not spoke to Ian or
anyone who was at that meeting. Another committee member has said
that they have no recollection about the incident taking place.