Scottish Independence and the Red-Green deal

When the Scottish Liberal Democrats refused to form a coalition with the SNP because they couldn't agree over the SNP's flagship policy of holding a referendum on independence, most thought that the referendum issue was dead in the water.

Ordovicius has picked up on a story from the Scottish Sunday papers suggesting that a referendum could be back on the cards because the Conservatives may back the proposal. The Conservative thinking being that a referendum on independence held and lost would bury the issue for another generation.

However, as J Arthur McNumpty points out on his blog, this isn't official Tory policy, and is unlikely to become official policy whilst Annabel Goldie remains in charge of the North Britain branch of the Conservative and Unionist Party. All we have is one man, Scottish Tory Vice-Chairman Richard Cook thinking out loud.

Nevertheless, as we have seen in Wales this week one man thinking out loud, such as Adam Price on the Red-Green Grass, can change the political scene if enough people take heed of those thoughts, so the referendum on independence could still happen.

Because a referendum in Wales seems to be the lynch pin of a red-green coalition deal, this development in Scotland could be crucial. Any referendum in Wales held within six months of a Scottish referendum on independence would get confused with the Scottish issue. Most people in Wales get their news from the London based media, and too often Welsh issues, when reported, are reported as an addendum to what is often seen as a bigger story from Scotland.

I'm sure that some of the sceptics in the Labour party would angle to exploit such confusion by trying to get both referendums held on the same day.

If Plaid wants to broker a deal on the referendum issue, for that deal to be meaningful, it would have to include a fairly clear timetable that keeps the Welsh issue clear of the Scottish issue, rather than an open ended promise for a referendum sometime during the next four years.

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