Well, well - the unionist parties are going to start their own conversation about Scotland's future, apparently as an attempt to outflank the SNP.
How exactly is talking about how to bring more powers to Scotland going to 'outflank' the SNP?!? Don't they realise that's exactly what we want?
In accepting that Scotland needs additional powers, like power over inheritance tax, they are accepting the premise that Scotland suffers from our lack of taxation powers. If they accept that we need power over inheritance tax, why not National Insurance? These contradictions will highlight how hollow their arguments against independence really are. I, for one, am extremely pleased that the unionist parties will be making the case for more powers in the future. It is refreshing after a long election campaign, during which they were resolute that any change to the status quo was ridiculous, and to talk of constitutional change was somehow a betrayal to all those who used public services in Scotland...
Apparently, they are going to ask the public and leaders of civic society (perhaps 'leading experts' like Arthur Midwinter I wonder...) to contribute to their debate. But they aren't going to consider independence. So, only people that agree with them need apply to contribute. What will they do if people express support for independence? Will they be prevented from contributing? Will their remarks be omitted from reports? How, in a democracy, can you stifle debate in this way - airbrush out a view held by so many? Can't wait to see them try.
As for outflanking the SNP, well I recall that devolution was also supposed to fulfill that aim and kill the desire for independence 'stone dead'. Oh, would that be the devolution that has delivered an SNP Government?
What the Labour Party, Lib Dems and Tories fail to realise is that they will not be able to 'outflank' the legitimate case for Scottish independence indefinitely. They will have to keep moving towards the growing desire for independence, until there are no powers left to devolve to Scotland other than foreign affairs and defence. We will slowly but surely acquire a status of de facto independence, and we will be holding a referendum about whether to formalise our independence and transfer the remaining powers retained by Westminster. This piecemeal approach will, I believe, eventually deliver independence. Why wait? It will be much better for our nation if we take a collective, proactive decision to become independent so that we can take a coherent approach to making independence a success - and sooner rather than later.
The SNP are not interested in translating support for independence into support for the SNP at the ballot box. We are interested in translating support for independence into the transformation of our nation for the benefit of all who live here. That's why the cynical attempts of the unionist parties to undermine support for the SNP by moving towards what we believe in is no threat to the SNP. Their motives may be flawed, and a reaction to the SNP's electoral success, but the results are a progressive step for Scotland.