Submitted by Editor on Tue, 17/01/2012 - 08:17

As the debate about an independence referendum for Scotland heated up last week (particularly on the question of who should frame its terms), Spurtle contacted all Broughton's parliamentary representatives for their opinions.

The first – and so far, only –  reply has come from Independent MSP for the Lothians Margo MacDonald:

'Basically, my interpretation of the SNP’s “referendum” is that the leadership of the party has used it as an objective in its own right, instead of its being seen as merely a tactic which may or may not be used as part of the campaign to establish the form of self-government that Scotland needs and wants.

'However, a referendum was promised by the SNP at the last election and the Nationalists are entitled to claim that their voters endorsed the idea of having one so, in accepting that, I have attempted to persuade people of the need for an information and education programme before we get round to having the referendum.

'I do not believe that enough time and energy have been spent on qualifying what an independent Scotland would be able to do in terms of economic management and the development of social policy compared to what is possible under the devolved powers of the Scotland Act.

'I believe the Holyrood parliament has the right to organise the processes of the referendum because a mandate was sought and received by the SNP to this end. None of the other parties contesting either the Holyrood or Westminster elections received such a mandate. Legally, there is an argument about who has responsibility, but in my view it is irrelevant because the people's mandate is superior to a law made in parliament or the law courts. I very much regret the present confrontation.’

                                                                             [Image courtesy of Graeme Robertson.]

See also the opinions of Malcolm Chisholm, MSP and Mark Lazarowicz, MP.