As the Scottish Government’s consultation on proposals for a referendum on independence comes to a close, Respect MP, George Galloway, has expressed his support for a second question being put to the Scottish electorate.
In his exclusive Holyrood column, Galloway, a former Labour MP in the city of Glasgow, argues that Scotland needs full economic powers.
He writes: “The Scottish Government needs power over the economy, pulling the levers for the worthy rather than the wealthy, which is why I favour a second question option on the ballot paper, however it’s phrased and whatever it’s called.
Devo-max? Independence lite?
However it’s described, it should be full economic powers short of secession.” While he is known to be against independence, he says he actually agrees with First Minister Alex Salmond on the economy.
“I’m a pretty well-known opponent of independence and I’ll certainly be campaigning hard against it. Alex Salmond, until recently a consummate operator, has sullied himself – and surely damaged his party in the polls – with the leaked emails about kissing and not telling with Murdoch. When you trawl the gutter, you harvest the filth. But where we do agree – and I thought I’d never say this – is on the economy.
“This Lib Dem-Tory Coalition is carrying out a neo-liberal experiment on the country which has failed wherever it has been tried. This cannot just be about austerity, or efficiency, it has to be about growth. The only way we can avoid a triple-dip recession is by investing in infrastructure, like house building, creating thousands of jobs, so that people have money in their pockets to go out and spend, rather than the policies of this government, which is to strangle growth by putting more and more people on less and less benefits.” Galloway’s remarks come as a committee of MPs has concluded that the First Minister’s preferred wording for the independence referendum question is “biased”.
Commenting last week on the UK Parliament’s Scottish Affairs Committee’s interim report on its ‘Referendum on Separation for Scotland’ inquiry, committee chair Ian Davidson MP said it is “beyond doubt” that the proposed question is “biased” and accused the Scottish Government of attempting to “rig” the vote.
“We cannot have a contest in which separatists are both player and referee. That goes against every notion of fairness and transparency.
It must be for the Electoral Commission, an experienced and neutral body, to oversee the process and, crucially, to test alternative questions and words to make sure that any referendum question will be clearly understood,” he said.