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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The lead-up to the Referendum Deal – panic sets in among Iain Davidson’s Committee

The deal is now done - these clips of 17th Sept 2012 show the mindset of Iain Davidson's committee in the lead-up to the critical negotiations. It is a mixture of macho posturing and sarcasm by Davidson, worried queries by others, and a pervasive sense of control of the process slipping away from them.

Michael Moore's opening summary of the vital importance of the referendum and the process is concise and effective .To my complete surprise and admiration, he demonstrates a calm understanding of the process of negotiation, and expertly blocks and circumvents the lunacies of the committee's approach. These Scottish MPs arguing against the independence of their native land are not a pretty sight. Moore has risen enormously in my estimation. Unionist or not, he is a superb politician and, on this showing, a diplomat, and one who despite his solid unionism, could play a significant role in the New Scotland.

As a staunch unionist, totally opposed to independence, we must not underrate him. But he will be a worthy, honourable opponent, and he deserves credit for his role in these fraught negotiations.


  1. Ye Gods - four rabid, aye loyal, unionist Labourites and an English Conservative making up the Scottish Separation Committee!

    Irvine Welsh would have been troubled to even think that would be a possible storyline.

    Good to see you back in print Peter.

  2. You forgot the LibDem, but everybody does ...



  3. Sheez, Davidson is a nasty piece of work isn't he. Never an opportunity to make a snide comment passed over. I do see what you mean about Moore displaying diplomatic skills not previously apparent.

    I love your line in your intro, "...a pervasive sense of control of the process slipping away from them." Very true, and a delight to watch.

  4. Hi Peter

    I have to say that I no longer watch any of the meetings of this absurd committee. As far as I see it, they have no remit to discuss many of the issues that they now consider. Nothing of this is related to "examine the administration, policy and expenditure of the Scotland Office and relations with the Scottish Parliament." (Taken from the UK Parliament's own web page).

    However, that being said, the clips were interesting, and as you say, Moore did OK! I may have to amend my opinion about him.

    I will watch developments with interest, although I also note that Alex Salmond is today saying that claiming an agreement on the Referendum may be somewhat premature! (Given that the consultation results are not yet released, I would personally be surprised if any agreement is reach before that!)


  5. In fainess to this committee, they have also addressed a wide range of items and experts within that remit, and it has been valuable in a number of ways.

    We have the bizarre situation that the SNP is boycotting the Committee, ostensibly because their representative, Eilidh Whiteford, was insulted by the Davidson. (She was, outrageously) The real reason is that they either could not, or would have been reluctant to answer the range of questions asked and to confront the views of 'experts' summoned by the Committee.

    This is understandable, given that it would have blown their negotiating position on Sect. 30 and ultimately on their white paper releases in 2013, setting out their full prospectus for independence.

    I have to say that the SNP strategy has worked, despite my initial misgivings. The Committee at one and the same time have managed to frame important elements of the debate, and elicit vital information while managing to make themselves look petty - and apprehensive - in the process. Thye have been out-manoeuvred by the SNP at every stage.

    The mini-fiasco over the 'deal that wisnae', with SNP minor politicians and apparatchiks crowing over a deal that wasn't yet finalised to the considerable annoyance of the FM, simply illustrates the vital negoitating principle and discipline and that nothing is agreed till everything is agreed, and no comment is the iron rule till then.



    PS: I may pull your comment and my reply out on to a blog, Tony.