Mandy Rhodes | Holyrood
The Nationalists’ gathering is the last in the national party conference season and follows on from all the other main party conferences in Brighton, Manchester and Birmingham during which one man, Alex Salmond, was singled out for special mention.
Whether it was in Miliband’s famously noteless ‘One nation’ diatribe or David Cameron’s more explicit rallying call to his troops to rise up and prepare for the referendum battle, the SNP, a party that not so many years ago would have been relegated to the ranks of militants and cranks, is now the common threat that unifies UK parties of quite different political hues under the collective banner of ‘Better Together’.
The Prime Minister closed his conference almost with a wagging finger to Salmond, warning that he was coming to Scotland to “sort that referendum on independence”. Five days later he flew into Edinburgh and signed a document that not only paves the way for what all Nationalists live and breathe for; the right to vote on independence, but also gives Alex Salmond a legally watertight referendum, the right to extend the franchise, to confirm the date that he had already decided and gives his government the final say on campaign funding.
Told them, then, David…
Read the full article at the Holyrood website
John Humphrys | YouGov
John Humphrys asks: who has the harder task of convincing the Scottish public on how to vote in 2014 on Scottish independence?
For a mighty political struggle, in which passions have run so high, the final deal was a surprisingly amicable affair. The strongly unionist British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and the fiercely nationalist First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, were all smiles in Edinburgh when they signed an agreement paving the way for a referendum on Scottish independence in late 2014. Now the real battle over the substance starts in earnest.
Ever since Alex Salmond’s Scottish National Party won its huge victory in the Scottish Parliamentary elections last year, a referendum on independence was only a matter of time. The United Kingdom’s coalition government in London said it wanted to assist the Scottish people if they wanted to hold a referendum but they weren’t going to do so on any terms. A whole range of obstacles, both constitutional and political, had to be cleared out of the way first.
Read more at YouGov
Andrew Whitaker | The Scotsman
ALEX Salmond has been given until the end of 2014 to hold a referendum on the future of the Union, as part of the historic deal between the Scottish and UK governments that is set to be signed in Edinburgh today.
A “sunset clause” has been agreed as part of the deal that transfers the legal power to hold the referendum from Westminster to Holyrood, putting in place the strict condition that the vote is held within just over two years.
The First Minister and the Prime Minister, David Cameron, are today due to sign off the deal, which will see Scots asked a straight Yes or No question on Scottish independence, with no option for extra powers on the ballot paper.
The wording of the question and the decision on whether to allow those aged 16 and 17 to vote will be left to Holyrood. It is thought that 16- and 17-year-olds will be allowed to vote in the referendum.
Read the full article at The Scotsman website
Andrew Denholm | The Herald
Unions have called for resources and guidance to be made available to schools and colleges on a “non- partisan and non-party political basis” to help inform young people.
The calls come amid expectations the voting age will be lowered for the 2014 poll to decide the future of Scotland.
Alex Salmond and David Cameron are expected to agree the details of the referendum when they meet in Scotland on Monday.
However, the prospect of a younger band of voters being eligible for the first time has thrown open a debate about the role schools might play in preparing pupils for the historic poll.
On Wednesday, former Scottish Secretary Lord Forsyth of Drumlean said the issue had huge implications because it would “bring politics into our schools”.
Last night, the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) said greater discussion of politics in the classroom was welcome, with teachers “quite capable” of dealing with the issue impartially.
Read more at The Herald
Auslan Cramb | The Telegraph
David Cameron has promised to campaign against Scottish independence with “everything we’ve got” as negotiations over the independence referendum enter their final stages.
The Prime Minister will meet Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, on Monday to agree arrangements for the vote on the future of the UK in autumn 2014.
Mr Cameron told the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham that the Olympics highlighted the depth of feeling for the UK, adding: “Whether our athletes were English, Scottish, Welsh or from Northern Ireland, they draped themselves in one flag.
“Now, there’s one person who didn’t like that, and he’s called Alex Salmond. I’m going to see him on Monday to sort out that referendum on independence by the end of 2014.
“There are many things I want this coalition Government to do, but what could matter more than saving our United Kingdom?
“Let’s say it, we’re better together and we’ll rise together, and let us fight that referendum with everything we’ve got.”
Read the full article