Scoville Units Unite

11 Dec

Nicola Sturgeon

After seeing her performance on the TV debate I was offered tickets to a Q&A with her at Dundee Uni hosted by 5million questions.

So I popped along with @mariettarosetta (Anna) and her dad to see what was going to be discussed.

The turnout was impressive in a large lecture theatre, although I suspected a large portion of the crowd was made up of the sizable local SNP. This was later confirmed when Nicola knew the names of a number of the audience and questioners.

This may seem a bit disjointed but it’s a short thing about various notes I made about Sturgeons quotes/responses. Stuff in quotes is probably paraphrases as I was scribbling down as fast as I could, trying to note the spirit if not the exact quote. I also added my own comments at the time so hope they aren’t interspersed although I may have cocked up.

220px-Nicola_Sturgeon_2

Firstly she answered a question about no poll bounce by saying the white paper was written for the public, not the media. She expected no bounce as you have to read it, so it’s too soon to find out reaction/effect. She expects it to aid to a small drip feed in the polls over the coming months.

On John Majors doubts over independence she hadn’t expected him to read it and be converted.

She described the document as Common sense, reasonable, rational.

A number of points were made about the Better Together negativity, and their attacks on weaknesses of the White Paper. She pointed out that If independence happens those in the No camp opposing currency union will be scrambling to argue for it, like other things they oppose now – they’ll want what’s best for Scotland.. Which seems a fair point.

When asked if she was left – right – centre, she affirmed that she sees herself as centre-left, stating that the SNP are Social Democrats

On the tax gap she pointed out the £32 billion tax gap in UK. It does seem bizarre that considering the state of the UKs finances what seems like minor amounts claimed by the No camp to exist are black holes whilst the UK sinks ever further into debt.

There was a query about tuition fees and the way students from England pay to attend Scottish universities. To paraphrase, she doesn’t want anyone to pay tuition fees, if Westminster stopped charging we would immediately but can’t as the unis would be overwhelmed and Scottish students couldn’t attend. Westminster is stupid for forcing graduates to leave to go to home countries and not stay using their skills in Scotland which has just educated them.. Which seems a reasonable explanation of the governments position. Forced into a policy they claim to oppose by another government body.

On the turnout and expected result she expects turn out to be higher than 70%, people who don’t/have never voted are saying now they definitely will vote.. Which is definitely encouraging. No matter the result, a higher turnout and a decent gap between options should cut down the call for further referendums in the near future.

A question was asked about democracy which covered some of what I intended to ask. Her reply was: there will be a constitutional convention. We want power fed down from Holyrood to Councils – devolve power to local communities.

I hadn’t read the paper yet so didn’t know of the SNP plans for a Constitutional Convention which is definitely encouraging

A modern constitution

Independence provides an opportunity to modernise Scottish democracy on the basis of a written constitution setting out the way the country is governed and the rights of its citizens. The Scottish Government believes a constitutional convention will ensure a participative and inclusive process by which the people of Scotland, as well as politicians, civic society organisations, business interests, trade unions, local authorities and others, can have a direct role in shaping the constitution.

The Scottish Government will be just one of many voices contributing to the debate and helping to shape Scotland’s written constitution. However, there are certain provisions that the Government believes should be considered by the constitutional convention, such as equality of opportunity and the right to live free of discrimination and prejudice, a constitutional ban on nuclear weapons being based in Scotland, and certain social and economic

She stressed that it’s Not [governments/SNPs] to write, its for the country, only UK, NZ and Israel have no written constitution., also Saudi Arabia and Qatar which is frankly embaressing. It’s clear the SNP are too scared to even address the Monarchy though, so all the calls for a modern democracy seem a bit like posturing. Any and every constitutional convention should demand an elected head of state as a basic democratic principle.

An audience member summed up the Better Together campaign as basically FUD. Looking at their page today, the recent stories are:
UK Single Market keeps costs down, say supermarket bosses – shown to be lies
The Grassroots team is now recruiting – recruitment
Independence Black Hole Getting Deeper – fear
White Paper: The experts’ verdict – uncertainty
UK’s first Green Parliamentarian and Former Scottish Greens Co-Convenor backs Better Together – recruitment
‘Turning inwards would reduce chances for Scots to change the world’ – doubt

No positive case for the Union. No mention of Alasdair Darling

When there was a question about Better Together publishing their white paper, she pointed out that the UK government had produced over 800 pages about independence so they don’t think they have to. This is a point which seems to be missed. Whilst Unionists demand the SNP pay for the paper as it’s an SNP document and the taxpayer shouldn’t subsidise it, the SNP are acknowledging that the UK government documents are seen by Better Together as their side of the argument. Why not highlight this?

Finally she closed by saying that the vote for independence is not a vote for the SNP, there would later be a general election where she provoked laughter by saying I dont care what way you vote in an independent scotland, before realising what she said.

The event was covered in the Courier quoting Sturgeon on expected turn out. Also a piece about the generational gap between referendums. There was also a photo in one of the print editions showing me. Infamy.

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