25/10/2011 Newsnight Scotland


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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.


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