Thursday, 9 January 2014

Lordly Intervention

Jack McConnell, the former Labour MSP and third First Minister of Scotland, has entered the independence debate with a suggestion that campaigning on the 18 September referendum should cease - during the forthcoming Commonwealth Games which are to be held in Glasgow from 23 July to 3 August 2014.  

For some reason Jack, now Lord McConnell, believes that campaigning during this period will jeopardise the success of the Games although his arguments seem pretty weak and unconvincing to me, as they suggest that athletes might be exploited or used in some mysterious way by the 'Yes' and 'Better Together' campaigns.

Anyway here's what Jack had to say on the subject:

"A clear statement of intent here would be very meaningful, it would be meaningful for the athletes and it would be very meaningful for the Games organisers."

"We can concentrate on making sure these Games are a huge success and still have a very vibrant, successful referendum campaign that delivers a clear decision for Scotland."

Jack reminded the BBC Good Morning Scotland radio programme how campaigning in the devolution referendum campaign in 1997 was halted in the aftermath of the death of Princess Diana and added:

"We did stop campaigning, both sides stopped, and we resumed immediately after the funeral."

"It didn't detract from the turnout and it didn't detract form the result, it didn't detract from what everybody remembers as a really vibrant, dynamic campaign."

"If we can do that right in the middle of a campaign, in the final days of it, then we can certainly do it eight weeks out at the start of the Commonwealth Games and make sure we put Scotland and the Games first, and put politics second for that two-week period."

Well all I can say is that Jack must have too much time on his hands these days in the House of Lords if that represents the extent of his contribution to the debate on Scotland's independence referendum.  

But what a load of old bollix, if you ask me. 

I can't be the only person in Scotland wondering what happened to the old Jack McConnell, a man of ideas and political substance, but maybe that's what happens to serious politicians when they're packed off to the House of Lords.