Why should only the Scots have a vote It's not often that Scottish Conservatives get the opportunity to make a difference, but on Tuesday it happened and they flunked it.
For a party polling under 10 per cent of the vote, it was a serious misjudgment to ally themselves with Labour and the Lib Dems and to argue vociferously against the SNP proposal for a referendum on the Scottish constitutional settlement. First Minister Alex Salmond must have thought Christmas had come early. The White Paper published by the SNP led coalition outlined three options for the future of Scotland: stick with the current devolved settlement, enhance devolution by extending the powers of the Scottish Parliament in specific areas or take the massive jump to full independence. Salmond wants the Scottish people to decide their own future, while the three other parties are determined not to give them the option. For parties to argue on the one hand pandora rings on sale for "localism", more "direct democracy" and an end to "top down" government, such a stance is risible. For the Conservatives, in particular, it is a difficult stance to justify. On the face of it, you could hardly expect a Unionist party to do anything other than oppose a referendum on independence, but that would be to take the easy way out. There is little doubt that, if such a referendum were held, the SNP would lose by a substantial margin. It seems odd, therefore, that the Unionist buy pandora charms online parties have decided to turn their faces against such a political opportunity. For the Conservatives, it is surely difficult to argue pandora rings jewelry sale that the British people should decide on whether we sign up to a European constitution, and then say that the Scots should be denied a referendum on their own long term constitutional future. David Cameron is right to argue for consistency of policy and consistency of argument. Where's the consistency here? If one really believes in the future of the Union, the best way to protect it is to take part in a debate that ends with a referendum that is binding for a considerable time. The Conservatives argue that, even if such a referendum were won by the Unionists, rather than putting Alex Salmond back in his box, it would give him added impetus. But by not acceding to a referendum, they are giving him impetus anyway. If the Scottish Conservatives had come out and sided with the SNP on a referendum issue, they would have been at the forefront of website pandora the debate. Instead, having jerked their knees alongside Labour and the Lib Dems, they will be on the margins of it. None of the three mainstream parties appears to recognise that a referendum was an SNP manifesto commitment. They argue that the SNP didn't get a majority of the vote or seats, so such a commitment is meaningless. They ignore the fact that, under the electoral system in Scotland, it is impossible to get a majority for anything. Using that weak logic, no Scottish government would ever fulfil a manifesto promise. There is a wider issue, too. If the Conservatives had agreed to a Scottish referendum, it would have opened a Pandora's box in England. Those of us who support the concept of an English Parliament would have been in full cry, arguing that what's good enough for Scotland is good enough for England. The chances of David Cameron offering that are even longer than of Annabel Goldie, the Scottish Tory leader, becoming First Minister of Scotland, but, like Scottish independence, it is not an issue that is going to disappear just because the Conservatives and indeed the other parties ignore it. There is only one answer, and that is to hold a constitutional convention covering the whole of the United Kingdom. While Labour was right to address the thorny issue of constitutional reform, it should never have embarked on such reforms until it knew what the endgame was. Partial reforms satisfy no one.
The Scottish Constitutional Convention of the late 1990s was a model that could be used to good effect for the whole United Kingdom. It is a proposal that would meet with widespread agreement across the political spectrum and beyond. So how about it, Mr Cameron.
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