Scottish Labour leader: “I want the referendum to be held as quickly as possible”

Johann Lamont MSP, leader of The Scottish Labour Party, calls on Alex Salmond to have the debate on independence now, and to have the referendum.

 

Johann Lamont MSP is the leader of The Scottish Labour Party

There’s going to be a referendum on whether or not Scotland separates from the rest of the UK – on that point, everyone agrees.

There are differences – stark differences – on timing, procedure and rules. I want the referendum to be held as quickly as possible; Alex Salmond has had five years to bring forward a poll but hasn’t done so. I want the Electoral Commission, with its office in Edinburgh, to set the rules and police the spending limits; Alex Salmond doesn’t.

At heart, this referendum is not about the procedures, and we should not fall into the trap of substituting process for substance.

The referendum does not belong to politicians, or parliaments, or governments. This referendum belongs to the people of Scotland and on an issue this important, we deserve a clear and fair process that will not see the decision dragged through the courts. If the latest proposals from the UK government help there to be a quick, clear and decisive referendum result I would welcome them, although I am yet to see the details.

But one thing I welcome. In two separate interviews this morning, Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the SNP supports a single question referendum. All the Scottish parties now agree on that point. That is good progress and once the decision is make we can get on with the process of improving devolution so we can improve our country.

The decision, when it comes, on whether we abolish devolution and separate Scotland from the rest of the UK is most profound. For many reasons, I believe that the people of Scotland will choose for our nation to remain part of the United Kingdom, but few of them are to do with the mechanics of the poll because the arguments for and against separation will not be won and lost on procedure.

They will be won and lost on what is in the national interest of Scotland.

Together, the different countries of the UK have built a progressive welfare state, shared risks, challenges and rewards and embedded the concept of a welfare state in to the heart of our nations. We have stood together in dark times against fascism and been a beacon to the world of how nations can work together without losing their identities but indeed by strengthening them. I believe there is much more that unites our countries than divides them.

The SNP have never been able to adequately describe the problem to which separation is the answer. Poverty will not be erased by erecting a border – but even if it were, I am as offended by a child growing up in poverty in Liverpool or Newcastle or London as I am to a child in poverty in Glasgow or Dundee or Aberdeen.

Nationalists who seek to paint their opponents – the vast majority of Scots – as being unpatriotic do a disservice to their cause. We love our country and believe in its potential, but loving Scotland doesn’t mean you must be a nationalist. I believe that Scotland is big enough, strong enough, and powerful enough to stand in comradeship with our friends, families, colleagues and neighbours, but will never impugn the motives of those that disagree with me.

Throughout history, certain generations have been entrusted to make profound decisions about the future of their nations. This is such a time, and in the coming weeks and months, under my leadership, Scottish Labour will seek to move forward this debate. Process is secondary to the national question now under examination.

I want a debate on the merits of the argument.

See also:

It’s time to get real over threat to the unionEd Jacobs, January 9th 2012

Now the hard work for Lamont begins – Scottish Labour needs a full redesignEd Jacobs, December 19th 2011

Scots support “devo-max” as new Tory leader distances herself from CameronEd Jacobs, November 7th 2011

Scottish Labour needs to wake up to the threat of independenceEd Jacobs, October 17th 2011

Scottish Labour needs a new Donald DewarEd Jacobs, September 26th 2011

28 Responses to “Scottish Labour leader: “I want the referendum to be held as quickly as possible””

  1. Scottish Labour

    @JohannLamont – "we should not fall into the trap of substituting process for substance" @leftfootfwd //t.co/lL8CPkbW #sp4”

  2. Taylor James Scott

    @JohannLamont: “I want the referendum to be held as quickly as possible” //t.co/dYHEomUk via @leftfootfwd

  3. Frankie Caldwell MBE

    “@ramiokasha: @JohannLamont – "we should not fall into the trap of substituting process 4 substance" @leftfootfwd //t.co/5dTcHexO #sp4”

  4. Samantha Johnston

    “@leftfootfwd: #Scottish #Labour leader: “I want the referendum to be held as quickly as possible”: //t.co/MWn0O3lq by @JohannLamont”

  5. Anonymous

    “Alex Salmond has had five years to bring forward a poll but hasn’t done so.” Is Lamont living on the same planet as everyone else? The SNP tried to bring forward a poll in 2003 and 2009 and were blocked by…oh yes! LABOUR!

    “I want the Electoral Commission, with its office in Edinburgh, to set the rules and police the spending limits” Why should Salmond let a shower of pro-unionist lackeys rig the referendum?

    You couldn’t make this stuff up!

  6. Anonymous

    “Alex Salmond has had five years to bring forward a poll but hasn’t done so.” Is Lamont living on the same planet as everyone else? The SNP tried to bring forward a poll in 2003 and 2009 and were blocked by…oh yes! LABOUR!

    “I want the Electoral Commission, with its office in Edinburgh, to set the rules and police the spending limits” Why should Salmond let a shower of pro-unionist lackeys rig the referendum?

    You couldn’t make this stuff up!

  7. Anonymous

    “I am as offended by a child growing up in poverty in Liverpool or Newcastle or London as I am to a child in poverty in Glasgow or Dundee or Aberdeen.”

    Yes Johann I know you are, and it’s a noble sentiment; but to you draw the line at the UK borders then? Can a starving child in Rotterdam, Bratislava or Lima die with your indifference? I too am offended by a child in poverty in Liverpool but I don’t want to ever see an extremist right-wing government in power in Scotland ever again. You and your party can never ever promise this. The SNP can.

  8. Anonymous

    “I am as offended by a child growing up in poverty in Liverpool or Newcastle or London as I am to a child in poverty in Glasgow or Dundee or Aberdeen.”

    Yes Johann I know you are, and it’s a noble sentiment; but to you draw the line at the UK borders then? Can a starving child in Rotterdam, Bratislava or Lima die with your indifference? I too am offended by a child in poverty in Liverpool but I don’t want to ever see an extremist right-wing government in power in Scotland ever again. You and your party can never ever promise this. The SNP can.

  9. WishforBetter

    #UK : Scottish Labour leader: “I want the referendum to be held as quickly as possible” //t.co/TBFFcAqS

  10. Ed Jacobs

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scottish Labour leader: “I want the referendum to be held as quickly as possible” //t.co/MMXtobmi

  11. Caberninja

    The SNP can promise, however, that the Friends of Salmond (Murdoch, Trump etc) will always have a warm welcome in Holyrood.

  12. Anonymous

    Typical politicians on both sides – incapable of engaging with honest debate and falling back on tactics and spin. If I here another English politician attacking separation with arguments like – “Scotland would be mad to run itself because of the large financial subsidy it gets from the south” – I’ll probably …. shout at the TV or something. How can that be an honest argument from someone who’s supposed to be representing people in England? It’s tactics and spin and that’s why we keep making bad decisions.

    This really is something for the Scottish to decide and I reckon it makes sense for those of us south to help them make the best decision for them, whatever that is – that way they’ll hopefully create a better country which has got to be good for all of us (except maybe the few with vested interests).

  13. Anonymous

    Typical politicians on both sides – incapable of engaging with honest debate and falling back on tactics and spin. If I here another English politician attacking separation with arguments like – “Scotland would be mad to run itself because of the large financial subsidy it gets from the south” – I’ll probably …. shout at the TV or something. How can that be an honest argument from someone who’s supposed to be representing people in England? It’s tactics and spin and that’s why we keep making bad decisions.

    This really is something for the Scottish to decide and I reckon it makes sense for those of us south to help them make the best decision for them, whatever that is – that way they’ll hopefully create a better country which has got to be good for all of us (except maybe the few with vested interests).

  14. Rami Okasha

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scottish Labour leader: “I want the referendum to be held as quickly as possible” //t.co/MMXtobmi

  15. William Bain

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scottish Labour leader: “I want the referendum to be held as quickly as possible” //t.co/w2M1LTng

  16. James Hetterley

    Aww @JohannLamont is cool //t.co/vvWOxqCD

  17. SNP: Cam’s “economic uncertainty” argument is nonsense; we’ll stick to our timetable | Left Foot Forward

    […] also: • Scottish Labour leader: “I want the referendum to be held as quickly as possible” – Johann Lamont MSP, January 9th […]

  18. Garygilmore77

    I’m a Labour Party member and I just want to say that we need to avoid emotive language. I disagree with the use of “erecting a border” and also the rhetoric of fighting fascism.

  19. Garygilmore77

    I’m a Labour Party member and I just want to say that we need to avoid emotive language. I disagree with the use of “erecting a border” and also the rhetoric of fighting fascism.

  20. Simon

    @leftfootfwd (Link doesn't work) Scottish Labour leader: “I want the referendum to be held as quickly as possible”: //t.co/2DRmgBbS

  21. Cameron got it wrong on Scotland, and he probably knows it | Left Foot Forward

    […] anger and heat over process and timing reached fever pitch yesterday, the people of Scotland, as alluded to by Scottish Labour Leader Johann Lamont on Left Foot Forward yesterday, remain like the […]

  22. Gerard

    ‘The SNP can.’
    No they can’t and it is absurd to suggest that is the case.

  23. Gerard

    ‘The SNP can.’
    No they can’t and it is absurd to suggest that is the case.

  24. Norrie

    ‘You and your party can never ever promise this. The SNP can.’

    No the SNP can’t but hopefully the people of an independent Scotland could.

  25. Norrie

    ‘You and your party can never ever promise this. The SNP can.’

    No the SNP can’t but hopefully the people of an independent Scotland could.

  26. Devo-max isn't a solution, it's a whole new can of worms | Left Foot Forward

    […] • Scottish Labour leader: “I want the referendum to be held as quickly as possible” –Johann Lamont MSP, January 9th 2012 […]

  27. Shamik Das

    .@JohannLamont, Scottish Labour leader on @leftfootfwd: “I want the referendum 2 b held as quickly as possible”: //t.co/f8zlbgha #bbcqt

  28. Anonymous

    Fair point, but a “Yes” vote can guarantee that Eton is in a foreign country and its nasty evil sprogs will be damned only to Scottish history.

    //www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cartoon/2012/jan/13/scottish-independence-alex-salmond?fb=native

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