Monday, 13 August 2007

Plea for honest debate

Well, it was good while it lasted... Jamie and I arrived back from our holiday in Budapest yesterday. We had a great time in a wonderful city. It was the first break we've had since our honeymoon last year. After our wedding last September we were in full election mode and since the election, Jamie has been busy as a new MSP.

After such a relaxing break it has been a shock to the system to come back and find the party is indeed preparing for a potential election. I think it is unlikely that the Westminster election will be in October, but it is best to be prepared. Plus, with the SNP apparently so popular, according to opinion polling, an autumn election would be no bad thing.

I'm also looking forward to the imminent launch of the independence White Paper. I must say though, I'm looking forward to engaging in discussion with people on the doorsteps and the streets a lot more than listening to the inane whining of certain unionist politicians. They have been popping up on the TV screens all day to insist that they don't want to engage in debate about independence, only devolution. Of course they don't. Because they know that if the arguments for and against independence were fully and publicly debated, the case for independence would be become all too clear to even more people in Scotland.

I also think that many of them are afraid that they won't actually be able to muster any arguments in favour of the status quo. During the election we all heard many scare stories AGAINST independence, but no abundance of arguments FOR the union. In fact, the only argument I heard made for the retention of the union was Jack McConnell's strange assertion that if Scotland were to remain part of the union, we could dump our nuclear waste in England. Charming!

I do genuinely hope that the likes of Jack McConnell, Nicol Stephen and their likely successors Wendy and Tavish can raise their game - for the sake of political debate and Scotland's future.

I usually have a lot of time for Annabel Goldie - she is at least one of the more straightforward politicians. But today, when she referred to "Alex Salmond's pet project of independence", I lost all respect for her as a politician. Even if she doesn't agree with independence for Scotland, to label the genuine and honest desire held by a great many people in Scotland for their country to be independent, sovereign and equal as some one's "pet project" is gutter politics. It demeans Ms Goldie and it is an insult to the people of this country.

Oh, to be back on holiday, for just one more week...

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