Okay, decoding this a bit more.
1. Around the 2:30 mark: “Well, I think one of the most important political consequences of the referendum is for the Labour Party. This is the heart and soul of their electoral base, Scotland. If Scotland goes independent, I think that changes British politics — English politics — forever, and possibly consigns them to the dustbin of history. It’s that important. So my sense if you’re a Labour politician in England — you’d better come up with something plausible to say to the Scots which says not independence, but, you know, extensive devolution to meet the needs, which are clear, of the Scottish people for more management of their own affairs — effectively a state-within-a-state. I don’t see how this ends in any other way than Scotland winning more power, either through the independence route or through devolution. And it’s crucial for the Labour Party to understand that. They can’t sit this one out on the sidelines, because they may lose everything if they do.”
2. Around the 7:00 mark: “The Scots-Nats want to tell you nothing will change. They want to tell you you can have your cake and eat it too. That is, you can have all the virtues of not having Tory politicians in London bossing you around. And that would be a positive for Scotland, there’s no question. But I think over time, the two societies will move ever ever further apart. That’s I think what the Canadian example tells you. You start with the assumption nothing will change, and bit-by-bit-by-bit you discover that everything changes.” [Questioner: "Is the logical conclusion of what you are saying, that further transfers of power will end up with independence in Quebec, as in Scotland?"] “Well, the Canadian example seems to show that you can devolve power down and get those ‘Tory politicians from London’ out of your hair, and run your own affairs short of being an independent country, and it’s a kind of way-station — you stop there for awhile. But I think the logic eventually is independence. Full independence.” [Q: "For Quebec as for Scotland?"] “I think eventually that’s where it goes.”
So basically, he’s advising a course of action that he believes will fail, the internal logic of which is full independence.
I think I can see why he didn’t quite inspire the Canadian centre-left.
1. Canada vs. the US — as has been usual for the past five years or so, Canada is right.
2. Re that Vikileaks thing — it was mobilizing libertarians that actually was key to getting C-30 reconsidered, not going after the minister’s (messy!) private life. The #TellVicEverything campaign was cleverer and more effective. The other part, well, if we have bad luck, it’ll mean we’re that much closer to a massive data-dump on MP’s sex scandals and the end of the Canadian ceasefire on the issue.
3. Dave hasn’t learnt his lesson from Canadian history. Don’t do it, Dave! (Really, don’t.)
4. Re the Trudeau thing — Coyne got it right last night on At Issue: the Liberals simply do not believe Stephen Harper is a legitimate prime minister. (11:50 mark.)
This is a mistake.
“This doesn’t have to be the end of the road,” he said.
“When the referendum on independence is over, I am open to looking at how the devolved settlement can be improved further.
“And, yes, that does mean considering what further powers could be devolved.
“But that must be a question for after the referendum, when Scotland has made its choice about the fundamental question of independence or for the United Kingdom.
“When Scotland has settled this question once and for all – and ended the uncertainty that could damage and hold back Scotland’s prospects and potential.”
Dave, Dave, Dave. You’re opening the door to years — nay, decades — of uncertainty on this question.
Take it from your Canadian friends who actually do somewhat wish you well — don’t do it!
Diamond Jubilee medals are out, so naturally some have to make a stink:
Some Quebec MPs are returning their Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medals in protest of the federal government’s spending on monarchy celebrations.
At least six Quebec MPs — all four Bloc Quebecois members, along with two New Democrats — are reportedly refusing to accept the jubilee medals going to all 308 members of the House of Commons.
I get that the Bloc MPs would say no — although apparently Lucien Bouchard accepted a Golden Jubilee medal in 2002, so who knows? — but the two NDP MPs surprised me.
Seriously, guys? Maybe the rumours are right, and you ARE crypto-separatists?
I love it when old stories come back.
Here’s one: the Tory ad team, which is truly a brilliant set of individuals, have put out their latest: “Bob Rae is Back“
They’re such a great team. What’s the root of their genius? They say in their ads what Liberals are themselves thinking. First Rae’s record as NDP premier of Ontario, then “Now, he’s plotting to take over the Liberal Party”:
My Liberal friends on the right-ish side of the party have been screaming that for months. Hell, Warren Kinsella continues to grouse about it.
Then the ad goes through a list of tax hikes under Rae. And ends with: “If he gets the chance, he’ll do for Canada what he did for Ontario. *slam-sound* DON’T LET HIM DO IT AGAIN.”
I think this is their best work yet. It handily beats out “Not a Leader” or “Just Visiting” — but then, it needs to, as Rae is a better pol than Dion and Ignatieff combined.
For Britain, a Canadian taxonomy:
Alex Salmond began with the Modified Lévesque Opening. The Scottish separatist leader said he will produce a referendum ballot in late 2014, shortly before the next British election, that will contain two or three questions. …
Mr. Salmond has told me he’s fully aware of the phrase “sovereignty-association,” and he appears to be well-studied in René Lévesque’s use of deliberate ambiguity as a tactic for maximizing the Yes vote.
This week, Prime Minister David Cameron fired back with the Dion Gambit. Scotland, he declared, will be granted the authority to hold a referendum, as long as Westminster’s conditions are met. And there should be only one question, a strict Yes or No one in which a clear Yes majority will result in certain and immediate separation from Britain. Only this question, whose possibility is contained in the Scotland Act, would be constitutionally allowable.
That was a politically bold and sensible move, probably inspired by Mr. Cameron’s readings of Stéphane Dion’s Clarity Act: By turning the referendum into a brick-wall question of secession, London gave Scots a sense of clarity, and also rendered a Yes vote as dangerous and unlikely as possible.
But Mr. Cameron, possibly overplaying his hand, added another condition: The referendum must be held by the end of 2013. Otherwise, Westminster could organize its own referendum on Scotland.
This allowed Mr. Salmond to respond with the Lucien Bouchard Defence. He will hold the referendum, he said, in 2014. Scotland has the right to hold one, he said – not to declare separation but to give its government a mandate to enter into negotiations with Westminster. Mr. Cameron is not quite in checkmate, but it will require a bold sacrifice. A London-organized secession referendum would be unprecedented. A sequence of court challenges and political gambits is more likely.
It’s amazing, how closely Britain’s situation mirrors Canada’s. It’s to the point that we can name the different moves and counter-moves.
Cameron’s got a Canada expert on staff. (Or he’s done his own homework.)
Speaking at Prime Ministers Questions, Mr Carmeron said too many members of the Scottish National Party were ‘happy to talk about procedure’ but did not want to take the step of actually holding a vote.
“I passionately believe in the United Kingdom,” said the Prime Minsiter, “I passionately believe we are stronger together than broken apart.
“I believe we should have a debate because I think there are too many in the SNP who are happy to talk about the procedure.
“Its not a referendum, it’s a neverendum.’
That, or maybe he and Harper had a chat.
It’s kinda cool, seeing that Canada is the leading case on how to contain a secession movement in a liberal democracy.
David Cameron is to take a high-stakes gamble with the union this week by telling the Scottish first minister, Alex Salmond, he can have a binding referendum on Scottish independence – but only in the next 18 months, after which any referendum can be no more than advisory.
He is also likely to tell Salmond he will be forbidden from asking a third question on the ballot paper, over a form of devolution stopping short of independence.
Cameron will publish a consultation paper, probably this week, revealing clear legal advice that the independence referendum will be binding under the Scotland Act only if both parliaments agree to its going ahead. He will say the uncertainty created by the prospect of independence is harming the Scottish and UK economies, and a delay until 2014 is not possible. …
The prime minister said that the uncertainty surrounding Scotland’s future was “very damaging” for businesses. Speaking to Sky News on Monday, Cameron said: “If Alex Salmond wants a referendum on independence, why do we wait until 2014?
“It is at least rational to put to the Scottish people: would it be better to have a more fair and decisive question put earlier?”
Happy New Year, dear readers!
I am writing this from my Vector Linux box, that old Dell Inspiron 2200 from 2002 — it’s still working.
Just now, my regular laptop is burning system restore DVDs, after which it will be all re-done afresh — a new beginning for the new-ish laptop in the new year.
But I’ve been thinking some about the state of things, and renewal, and all that.
The Mail has quite a depressing article about the potential for trouble in 2012 — it could be the worst year since 1932, they say.
I tend to agree with them — the world is in a tough time, and it’s possible or even likely that there’ll be the temptation to engage in political experiments over the next decade. Possibly even political experiments as disastrous as those that came in the 1930s.
But although ideas have terrific and terrible consequences, political culture does tell. The ideas of socialism in Russia brought the Soviet Union and the Great Terror; those same ideas in Britain, Canada, and America brought the Welfare State and the social safety net, and battles to erect them and remove bad elements of them have been — and will be — fought at the ballot box and on the floors of our respective legislative chambers.
So I do not expect terrible things to develop in the English-speaking liberal democratic world — times will be tough, sure, but we’ll get by. I’m more interested in (and fearful of) how things will develop in the rest of the world.
We’re living in interesting times — 2012 may be a significant year.
Now that I think of it, perhaps it’s better suited to be Easter music?
Well, whatever. I like it.
So say the Brits.
The Prime Minister first realised that he almost certainly would have to wield the British veto after his meeting with Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy early on Thursday evening.
Sarkozy told Cameron that there could be no compromise on the City of London because, he claimed – absurdly – the euro’s problems were the product of a lack of financial regulation.
When Cameron walked into the room with William Hague, Merkel’s face fell. She seemed to realise that the presence of the Foreign Secretary meant the Prime Minister really was contemplating something that none of his predecessors had ever dared do – using the veto.
After this meeting, Ed Llewellyn, Cameron’s chief of staff, briefly took soundings on whether a treaty change that did not offer any protections for financial services could pass through the Commons without a sustained Tory rebellion.
The answer to that, he quickly concluded, was no. If Sarkozy would not budge, the veto was Cameron’s only option if he wished to avoid a civil war in his own parliamentary party. …
Downing Street is clear who is to blame for Britain being put in this position: the French. One person familiar with the negotiations says: ‘It was effectively the French saying no. It was a showdown between Dave and Sarko, and Dave didn’t blink.’
Even the Liberal Democrats are joining in this French-bashing. An ally of the Deputy Prime Minister tells me: ‘We don’t like the outcome but we don’t blame David Cameron. The real enemy, as usual, is the French.’
Cameron, though, is aware of how difficult the decision to back the veto was for the Liberal Democrats. The Coalition is now looking for a major domestic policy announcement that Clegg’s party can make in the next few days to reassure its MPs and members.