Electoral Commission Obstructionism on Indyref2 is Just a Foretaste 157

The Electoral Commission has sought to apply the handbrake to the gathering momentum for a new Independence referendum, by a submission to the Scottish Parliament which is a model of bureaucratic obstructionism. This is simply a foretaste of the attitude of the “neutral” and “independent” organs of the United Kingdom state, such as the BBC and Electoral Commission, in the coming struggle for Independence, in which the British state will be using all possible levers to defend its own existence.

It should not be forgotten that it is the Electoral Commission which insists that the postal ballots be mixed with the ordinary ballots before counting, so there can be no record of any discrepancy between the postal ballot result and ordinary ballots. If the ordinary ballot was 60% yes and 40% no, but the postal ballot was 90% no and 10% yes, this information is deliberately and systematically destroyed by the counting method insisted on by the Electoral Commission. I have for years been attempting to get a coherent official justification for this deliberate destruction of obviously vital information in guarding against fraud, and have never received one. So I openly proclaim I do not start here from a position of trust in the Electoral Commission.

The Guardian is reporting triumphantly that the Electoral Commission’s submission to the Scottish Parliament on the legislation for Indyref2 throws a 2020 date into doubt and requires at least a nine month lead period for the referendum. This is (for once) a broadly accurate report from the Guardian.

In particular the Electoral Commission argues at para 7 of its submission for a period of “at least six months” between the passing of the legislation and the start of the campaign. This is so that campaigners and administrators can learn and thoroughly understand the rules before the campaign gets underway.

This is ridiculous bureaucratic bullshit. In the EU referendum campaign, the period between the legislation coming into force in December 2015 and the vote – not the campaign start, the vote, – in June 2016 was six months and one week. For Indyref2 the Electoral Commission is claiming it needs six months before the campaign even can start. Yet we have already had a Scottish Independence referendum and the rule changes proposed by either the Scottish Government or the Electoral Commission are minor. The main rules are already known, we have done it before and I have understood all of the proposed changes within three hours of studying them – it does not need six months. More fundamentally, since when has legislation come into force with a six month grace period while we get used to it? I don’t recall that happening the last time they lowered the drink driving limit.

The Electoral Commission then at para 11 suggests that the campaign period, following the six month “understand the rules” period, is a minimum of ten weeks. This is preceded by a six week period for designating lead campaigners. It is not quite clear if the Electoral Commission thinks the six week designation period can be during the six month know the rules period, but the implication is not. So it appears the Electoral Commission is proposing a minimum of six months plus six weeks plus ten weeks – ie 10 months – between the entry into force of the referendum legislation and the date of the referendum.

But that is not the limit of the Electoral Commission’s obfuscation. It is demanding the right to change the referendum question, in line with unionist demands. The perfectly straightforward “Should Scotland Be an Independent Country?” – which delivered a result the unionists are loudly declaiming as definitive – was approved by the Electoral Commission. They now “firmly recommend” they should have the power to insist on a new question after 12 weeks consultation with focus groups, opinion polls and political parties, which mumbo jumbo the Commission characterises as “new evidence”, which is an interesting definition of “evidence”. What the Electoral Commission means is that it will insist on a question for which the Tories have long argued, as here:

Had the question been more precisely, “Should Scotland leave the United Kingdom?”, the “No” vote would have been much stronger.

I suspect that the Boris Johnson cabinet has in fact made the prospect of leaving the UK a much more appealing prospect, and this much touted question effect may have radically diminished, but the unionists and Electoral Commission wish to try. If anyone is yet unconvinced that the Electoral Commission is deliberately seeking to postpone an Indyref, note that they state they need a period of 12 weeks to consider the question.

I have one further point to make that has been picked up by neither the Scottish Government’s proposals nor the Electoral Commission’s proposals. That is the restriction on who can fund.

Why is that the UK and not Scotland? The only people who can vote are residents of Scotland. Surely this is a Scottish democratic exercise and the same people should be allowed to donate who are allowed to vote? Why should English residents be permitted to fund and sway the campaign in Scotland? For the purposes of this referendum, England is as foreign to the process as anywhere else, and if English residents can fund a campaign, then why ban French, German, Spanish, American or Russian residents?

The United Kingdom routinely holds its General Elections in five weeks from dissolution of parliament to the new PM moving into Downing Street, and occasionally in less than a month. Those elections feature long and complex manifestos containing myriad policies, generally published about three weeks before the polling date. The notion that a second Scottish Independence referendum would require ten months, and that it would require a new question, is nonsense that further calls into question the motives of the Electoral Commission.

We have become used to the brazen anti-Independence bias of the BBC. It is hard to live with the cognitive dissonance that comes from distrusting the institutions we have been brought up to respect, but we should treat the Electoral Commission with no more trust than the BBC.

There will not be a repeat of 2014. The British Establishment were fairly relaxed about that Independence referendum because they did not believe they could lose – remember Yes started around 30%. They had the fright of their lives, and we saw the ramping up of BBC bias, the breaking of purdah rules with “the Vow”, and some peculiar postal vote turnouts in response. This time all that will be much exaggerated and we will definitely see a far higher presence from the UK government’s online covert players – 77th Brigade, GCHQ, Integrity Initiative etc. We will see more activity from security services including by agents planted inside the Independence movement which could include agents provocateurs and false flag incidents. And we will see state institutions like the BBC and Electoral Commission acting in an increasingly biased fashion.

That is why it is essential that, if we go the referendum route again, we have international observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) who will monitor all of these aspects, crucially including media monitoring. I hope to announce a new initiative on this shortly on which I will request your assistance.


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157 thoughts on “Electoral Commission Obstructionism on Indyref2 is Just a Foretaste

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  • Sharp Ears

    Please be careful Craig. ‘They’ are out to get you.

    Craig Murray
    3 hours ago
    Amazon has removed over 50 customer reviews of Murder in Samarkand, every one completely independent, written over a ten year period, and virtually all 5 star. There were over 90 reviews a few weeks ago.


    PS Remembering Aaronovitch’s actual falsification of comments on the entry for his ‘book’.

    • Twirlip

      I see from the followup tweets that a troll (“Harry Johnson” – is he by any chance known here under another name or names?) has quoted some earlier words of Craig’s out of context. https://twitter.com/HarryJo10476684/status/1163787374301786114 “… a self-declared enemy of the state who has often written he wants to destroy the United Kingdom …”

      I knew that this would happen: https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/08/40-of-scottish-labour-voters-support-independence/comment-page-1/#comment-883445 Perhaps Craig knew it very well too, and he chose that form of words out of sheer mischief, to keep the trolls on their toes and dancing! 🙂

      • Twirlip

        I’m hoping for the reply “You might very well think that; I couldn’t possibly comment.” 🙂

        • Twirlip

          My purpose was to say “I told you so”, that’s all. Is that so terrible?

          I would be surprised that this even needed explaining, were it not for the fact that you were always strangely paranoid about me on the Lifeboat News – you seemed to imagine I was a sock-puppet for a troll here named “Habakkuk”, or something – so I’m not really surprised that you have seen fit to insinuate some dark motive on my part! But please don’t keep on doing it That sort of thing is clearly against the rules, for one thing. (I’m glad of that. It’s one way this place is more civilised than TLN.)

          Incidentally, I’m glad to see that you are posting on TLN again. (There was never any need for you to stop doing so, and there was a great outpouring of support for you when you left.)

    • King of Welsh Noir

      This is upsetting news, not least because of the ‘stealth’ nature of the censorship: most people would have no idea it had gone on. Twitter does something similar, by all accounts, removing followers on the sly and Google clearly tweak their algorithms to make dissident voices harder to find. Very depressing.

      • Twirlip

        In the last 21 years, I’ve ordered hundreds of books from Amazon (to my shame), but Murder in Samarkand is the only one for which I’ve placed two separate orders, both of which were accepted, and both then cancelled. (One, in 2016, was for a new copy, from Amazon themselves. Finally, in Aprl 2017: “We regret to inform you that we have been unable to source …”. This year, I tried to buy a used copy from Amazon Marketplace. Right away, this time: “You have received a message from the Amazon Seller … I’m afraid we only had one copy of this item and someone else bought it from another web-site which we also use just before we received notification regarding your order.”) I suppose it could just be coincidence; and I haven’t totally given up hope of getting hold of a copy.

      • nevermind

        Google is biased on researching ‘electric buses’, btw.
        There are 52 manufacturers in Europe, two at the top led to US companies, whilst the third? EMOSS in the Netherlands, came back with an error message.
        This will get worse.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    It’s not just that any IndyRef II campaign will begin from a statistical tie in Yes / No terms, it’s the nature of the campaign. Who will front it? Who will pitch in for Better together?
    Ruth the mooth will likely front it but with how much enthusiasm in a No deal Brexit?
    Grumpy Broon will likely sulk in his lair. “I told you this would happen”.
    Swinson’s pronounciation of “Brexit” has developed a distinctly Wiltshire twang to it. Kind of like a love child of Frazer Nelson and Vicky Pollard.
    The brother in law of the Duke of Westminster has signaled disinterest in repeating his 2014 performance, post Brexit.
    The children’s author was mightily pissed off with Farage’s “ordinary decent people” speech on Brexit night.
    Ricky Leotard (IF he is still in office as Branch Manager) entirely lacks gravitas.

    If only Sturgeon hadn’t poisoned the well by suggesting that Boris Johnson was somehow uniquely toxic, ’cause Johnson won’t be in office during the campaign and his successor can be painted as an improvement, perhaps an agent of reconciliation.

  • Goose

    Like the “fixed” boxing fights in Italy, with outcomes prearranged and having to K.O. your opponent to win.

    I read that the postal voting results were seriously out of sync with the results ‘on the day'(one rumour had ‘no’ at a staggering 80% for postal?). I know there was also controversy(even involving the police briefly) over Ruth Davidson’s boast about what pro-Union supporters at ‘sample openings of referendum ballot boxes taking tallies’ of postal votes before the count, had seen.

    Sturgeon’s hesitancy since 2014 is understandable given the lessons learnt about all the dirty tricks and powerful vested UK and US interests in play in keeping the UK united – Nato and defence interests. Former Nato general Secretary Lord (George) Robertson, said in the months before the 2014 referendum ‘the forces of darkness would simply love [Scottish Independence]’… Scottish independence would have a “cataclysmic” impact on the world, … a tad hyperbolic, no? But it illustrates that the establishment would be far from neutral or relaxed about another vote.

    I’d guess Sturgeon had a figure in her own head as to where she’d like independence support to be consistently polling at? At or around 60% to be really comfortable would be my guess.

    Johnson, no-deal and a likely heavily falling £ pound could be the perfect storm,

  • Brian Powell

    Craig, which department or departments are most likely to have influenced this ploy? I wondered of FOI requests could be sent to them for any letters, texts emails between the EC and departments.

  • Dungroanin

    Wasn’t the tory leadership also a large postal vote?

    The Electoral Commission as has been noted is nothing more than another memory bin or skeleton cupboard or carpet to sweep blatant illegality into and under. Much like the SFO for fraud.

    Just as many policies historically were tried out on the Scots before being rolled out across England. The Scottish referendum was the testing ground for the EU referendum.

    It has been obvious to me that the world striding PR DS outfits who manipulate elections everywhere were allowed to use their skills at home. The SCL/CA aristos, secret agency and military grandees conspired to deliver both referendum results by hook or crook. They further interfere daily with the news narratives through their Integrity Initiative and controlled msm, as we all know for a fact now.

    The establishment having been robbed of the hard brexit on March 29th and threatened by a Corbynite government that would threaten their 40 year neoliberal con on the country are trying to force through a hard brexit and deprive the country of a general election by creating a national crises – that is the purpose of the ‘yellow hammer’ leak (a narrative construct).

    It is perfectly easy to have free and fair elections – hell India with it’s billion voters, manages it! But then of course the Electoral Commission doesn’t have a say there.

    • RandomComment

      The establishment having been robbed of the hard brexit on March 29th

      I don’t believe this is true. The establishment never wanted to leave in the first place. This is the huge irony of the whole situation. Think about it logically, why are we still here wondering what will happen now?

      • Dungroanin

        So Rees Mogg and the ERG are not the establishment?

        Why are we where we are? Because Labour were able through parliamentry wizardry to demand that a ‘meaningful vote’ be held on a WA, and also managed to insist that ‘no deal’ would not be allowed.

        See the wood?

      • Doghouse

        The fact is a referendum opted to leave. Some considerable time later the date to leave passed and not only is Britain still in, but we were left little option but to take part in Euro elections after that date. The conclusion is exceedingly simple…..
        …..somebody – some group – with massive power and influence, doesn’t want Britain to leave.

        Translate that to the future Scottish ref and everyone would be shouting – quite rightly so – that the Union is up to every dirty trick to keep Scotland from independence. Heck, that has started and there isn’t even the sniff of a referendum date, what a furore if years later the date for independence had passed like an empty bowel movement….

        It’s all like some insane comedy.

        • Dungroanin

          “Somebody”, “Some group”

          Bercow? Corbynite Opposition?

          Parliamentary democracy is the suspect you are looking for.

      • Johny Conspiranoid

        Perhaps there is a split in the Establishment starting around 2016. If the EU is drifting into Russia’s orbit then the US would be intereted in breaking it up and so would their lackeys in the uk.

        • Dungroanin

          The split was there at the entry point when we barged into the EU back in the early 70’s.

        • David

          Yes, look at the old US FOIA documents, Churchill and all that – he sent off his son-in-law Edwin , Baron Duncan-Sandys, to negotiate the (covert) “civilian arm of NATO

          Although it has been a great success in its original mandate, it was seen even at the beginning as a massive cleave to the UK’s political landscape, equally 50% of (1950s) tories and labour MPs & toffs hated it, whilst 50% loved it, according to just Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill.

          EU is not “drifting”, certainly not eastwards! On the whole, for the UK, as an enterprise – misquoting Douglas Adams, “Mostly Harmless” is probably the correct summary. It does a great amount of economic good over the whole continent, a slight bit of mischief here & there, always at least tries longer-term solutions than the whizzbangs in the Cabinet Office can even begin to focus on.

          If I was in charge of BREXIT, thankfully not, I’d propose a ten percent withdrawal per year over the next decade, make the “cliff” into a nice gentle friendly slope – why have neither of the two split-UK tribes considered an EU style approach – slow and carefull?

          • N_

            If I was in charge of BREXIT, thankfully not, I’d propose a ten percent withdrawal per year over the next decade
            Then you’d find out what it was really about as you wondered where all the money had disappeared to in a single night’s heist, as the more naive officials in British town halls learnt when money marked “Iceland” suddenly went “pop”. Whoopsadaisy! And did anyone get jailed? Did they f***!

            Some will pocket enormous fortunes whether it’s on Halloween, All Saints’, All Souls’, or some day that nobody other than about five people expected.

            Meanwhile half the population aged 75+ who are addicted to opioids will be in agony when their supply stops – even those who voted Remain.

            “Do or die” says the Tory filth press.

  • Puzzled Puss

    This news simply confirms what many have long suspected: that the Electoral Commission is neither neutral nor impartial. I would prefer a truly neutral third party to be approached to take responsibility for oversight of Indyref2.

  • RandomComment

    As a pro-EU movement, Scottish Independence should definitely put its faith in the neutrality of the OSCE rather than the neutrality of the Electoral Commission.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Since the UK and BREXIT are live issues for the EU – and – Scotland to a large measure has a desire for independence – would there be sense in having EU observers for the second Scottish referendum?

    Then again, when one considers Spain/Catalonia – are they really likely to be independent arbiters/observers?

    What solution?

    • N_

      “What solution?”

      Just paint signs in blood on English residents’ doors and get crack commandos to take down the Union Jacks from all the Scottish war memorials and replace them with the saltire or the royal Scottish lion in the middle of the night. Sorted. Oh and get some of the more hotheaded Greens to superglue the locks of the British Legion clubs.

  • Michael Laing

    Would this be the same organisation that buck-passed, dismissed and ignored the many reports of blank-backed ballot papers, binned ‘Yes’ votes, unrecorded ballot box serial numbers, unsealed ballot boxes, and various other irregular incidents at polling and counting stations after the previous referendum?

    Given that, of numerous on-line polls prior to the referendum, including many posted by anti-independence web-sites and publications, I never saw a single one which didn’t show a huge majority in favour of independence, I have always had great difficulty in believing the official result.

    I have rarely encountered anyone before or since the referendum, either in person or amongst my on-line contacts, who wasn’t a ‘Yes’-supporter. If ‘No’ genuinely has majority support, it certainly isn’t from amongst anyone I know.

    Another thing which puzzles me is how it could be that, given the evident huge enthusiasm for ‘Yes’ and the disinterest bordering on contempt for the ‘No’ campaign, its astroturf campaigning groups and Jim Murphy ranting on his beer crate, the lowest turnouts were in ‘Yes’-supporting areas. Surely those who were most passionate about the outcome of the referendum would have been the most likely to vote in it?

    • Hatuey

      Not only is what you’re saying wrong, the opposite is true.

      There’s lag In polls, it takes public opinion some time to catch up and process events, but generally speaking the polls were quite uniformly bang on with their predictions in 2014. Of course, you need to factor in the standard 3% margin of error.

    • kathy

      “Would this be the same organisation that buck-passed, dismissed and ignored the many reports of blank-backed ballot papers, binned ‘Yes’ votes, unrecorded ballot box serial numbers, unsealed ballot boxes, and various other irregular incidents at polling and counting stations after the previous referendum?”

      Sounds like the same ones who ran the first Scottish referendum.

  • yesindyref2

    Craig, bearing in mind from the EC website

    : “”The Speaker’s Committee is a committee in the House of Commons, made up of members of parliament (MPs).”

    ” Selecting our commissioners

    The Speaker’s Committee is involved in selecting our commissioners. It considers the candidates, and makes recommendations to the House of Commons.”

    then look at this page:


    where it has:

    “Ex officio members
    Member Party Role
    Rt Hon John Bercow (Chair) Speaker Speaker of the House of Commons
    Rt Hon David Lidington Conservative Minister for the Cabinet Office
    Sir Bernard Jenkin Conservative Chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee
    Rishi Sunak Conservative Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)”

    That’s Lidington who’d block a Referendum, and Jenkin who voted against transferring powers to Scotland, and patronisingly thinks we and Wales were lucky to get a vote on Breixt, what do we expect …

  • yesindyref2

    Anyways, just to make the point, it is about this from the draft Referendums Bill:

    “(2) If the subordinate legislation is subject to the affirmative procedure, the Scottish Ministers must –
    (a) consult the Electoral Commission on the wording of the question before a draft of any instrument containing the subordinate legislation is laid before the Scottish Parliament, and
    (b) at the time when any such draft is so laid, lay before the Parliament a report stating any views as to the intelligibility of the question which the Commission have expressed in response to the consultation.”


    “(7) This section does not apply in relation to a question or statement if the Electoral Commission have-
    (a) previously published a report setting out their views as to the intelligibility of the question or statement, or
    (b) recommended the wording of the question or statement.”

    and the SNP response was to the effect that it was up to Holyrood. In other words [censored]

    Seems to me they’re on top of this one. The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA), is the one that regulates such things currently, the SNP for some odd unaccountable reason are to some extent, replacing that with the Referendums (Scotland) Bill, which has been passed by the PO Ken McIntosh: “In my view, the provisions of the Referendums (Scotland) Bill would be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.”


    So, even if a challenge was issued through the courts within the macimum 28 days before Royal Assent, it would be even less likely to succeed that the EU Continuity Bill would have at the time (apart from one curious section).

    And that would be a well-deserved, up yours to the EC, who then become the Scottish Parliament’s lapdog.

    Lie DOWN!

    • jake

      “The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA), is the one that regulates such things currently, the SNP for some odd unaccountable reason are to some extent, replacing that with the Referendums (Scotland) Bill, which has been passed by the PO Ken McIntosh: “In my view, the provisions of the Referendums (Scotland) Bill would be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.”

      Technically the PPERA didn’t apply to the 2014 referendum. The 2014 referendum didn’t come about by an Act of Parliament(UK)but by a Section 30 on the basis of the so-called Edinburgh Agreement. Although, therefore, PPERA didn’t apply in the strict sense, it was an undertaking in the Edinburgh Agreement that spirit and provisions of PPERA would complied with in the Scottish 2014 referendum legislation.

      • yesindyref2

        I think the aim is to have an updated version of the Edinburgh Agreement ready, even if unilateral.That as much as the S30 was what made the “gold standard” apparently. This bit of course is what gave the Scottish Parliament the overall control of how Indy Ref 1 was held, and regulated:

        “Both governments agree that the referendum rules should be based on PPERA, with particular Scottish circumstances, such as the establishment of the Electoral Management Board and subsequent role of the Electoral Commission, reflected in the Referendum Bill. ”

        meaning it was even then, totally up to ScotParl to decide what the detailed role of the EC was.

        Naturally any updated Edinburgh Agreement would be similar, and so the Referendums Bill gives the framework in advance.

  • Hatuey

    Great to see you are on this, Craig. And you can count on support from me.

    I do not believe the 2014 vote was rigged in terms of fiddling with postal votes. But I think the bias of the media rendered the election void. The OECD were highly critical of an election last year in Turkey on the basis that the media was biased and it’s hard to imagine they’d think any different here.

    They’re obviously hoping to create as much time and space as possible between Brexit and any future indyref2. They know Brexit will cause mayhem and will lead to an immediate surge in support for independence.

    Their timeframes and projections don’t worry me, though, if they are assuming the economics of Brexit will have improved by say 2021 — that’s highly unlikely and things may well be a lot worse by then.

    • grafter

      The Electoral Commission is a total fraud. The Scottish Parliament should tell them to fk off.

      • michael norton

        if The Scottish Parliament took your eminent advice and told the Electoral Commission to fk off, due you think this would help?

        • N_

          Most at the Scottish Parliament probably admire their fellow public servants at the Electoral Commission for how they’ve kept such straight faces while coming out with such a crock of crap to justify their enormous budget.

          • Hatuey

            N, I don’t think I’ve ever commented on your “Marxist” label thing. The truth is I thought it was some sort of joke but I remember thinking that when I read the communist manifesto.

            Anyway, do you think defining yourself as a Marxist like that gives you credibility or do you think it undermines your credibility?

            As much as the world is a mess and virtually every country seems to be teetering on the brink of socio-economic meltdown, I don’t see anyone anywhere turning to Marx and communism….

            The Cockapoo Owner’s Club in the U.K. probably has more members than the communist party.

      • Hatuey

        The electoral commission is a toothless bore. It done virtually nothing to address the brazen lies of the EU referendum and done even less to punish the Tory party over-spend in the 2015 election.

    • nevermind

      Much knowlege here on rules regs and rigmarole, but please, never ever trust those who conduct and count electoral/referendum votes.
      Their interest does not lie with voters but the powers to be, those that employ them and pay their wages.

      Watch the sealing of ballot boxes and how they are sealed. Follow those who move the ballot boxes and record those who go in and out of the ‘overnight depositories’. No politician or cllrs or persons unknown should have access to it.
      Ask those in indyref.2 with official access to look for paper piles and other flotsam that could hide fake ballot papers and take high res pics of these.

      To store ballot boxes overnight does not require a hive of activity throughout the night, if there is much coming and going, people carrying bags or boxes, challenge them and find out what it is they are carrying, only ballot boxes and recognised staff should have access to an initially empty storage facillity.

      Postal votes should be outlawed and proxy votes by family or friends be made easier. Anyone who has not been in Scotland for the last twenty years, prefering to live elsewhere could/ should not have a vote as they made their choice to live in another country, ideally.

      I have no vote in GEs or referenda, and I have not voted in Germany for half of my life, nor do I desire to as my affairs and life are here, as is my family, so why should expats from decades ago have a say in Scotlands day to day affairs.
      That would cut out a long list of living/deceased voters who could easily be added with a no vote.
      And I have not even said the word on pretential employment along religous/ nationalistic lines and those chosen to do the count.

  • Bill Boggia

    I am glad you have a plan Craig – I look forward to seeing how we can help. It sounds like a total stitch up.

  • Sharp Ears

    Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary under Johnson, has set up a review into the rising cost of HS2. £7billion has been spent so far and the overspend on the £55billion cost is expected to be £30billion. It’s only money!

    Lord Berkeley (who he?) is on the review body.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Gueterbock,_18th_Baron_Berkeley – a civil engineer and Labour peer.

    • Northern

      No doubt the review will find that the whole project was a huge waste of tax payers money but nobody should be punished for mismanagement of public funds. The whole thing was a massive white elephant from word go and seems to just be a way for various preferred government contractors to line their pockets (or just make the books add up depending on who you look at), justified by shaving minutes off journey times to London. As though the only thing anybody in the North would want to do would be to get to London quicker. Testament to how rotten the procurement process has become in this country over consecutive governments of all stripes, when it comes to infrastructure projects, even the middle east (never mind the Chinese) make us look like a laughing stock. Several decades worth of lack of investment is not going to be fixed by a rail way line, no matter how fast it goes.

    • Sharp Ears

      Since the HS2 project was first mooted, at the end of the Labour government, there have been six Secretaries of State for Transport. There has been no continuity. A crazy system imho.

      The Lord Adonis 5 June 2009 – 11 May 2010 Labour

      Philip Hammond 12 May 2010 – 14 October 2011 Conservative

      Justine Greening 14 October 2011 – 4 September 2012 Conservative

      Patrick McLoughlin 4 September 2012 – 14 July 2016 Conservative

      Chris Grayling 14 July 2016 – 24 July 2019 Conservative

      Grant Shapps 24 July 2019 – Incumbent Conservative

  • Republicofscotland

    The British state body the Electoral commission, simply cannot be trusted to be impartial on the matter of the timing and question of when a independence referendum can be held.

    Its lack of sheer accountability on donation surrounding the Tories and Aaron Banks with regards to the EU result, shows quite clearly that its not fit for purpose and should in no way be allowed to dictate the question or time period of a Scottish independence referendum.

    A proper watchdog, would ensure donations from individuals are registered to pay Scottish Income tax, prohibiting funds channelled from outside Scotland. The EC fails in every department.

    Like the Treasury which in 2014 ws anything but impartial on Scottish independence, the Electoral commission will always favour the state, and the status quo.

    One has to ask why the 9 month waiting period? Is this waiting period time to allow the Westminster government to be ready to launch a full scale propaganda/Westminster power grab new anti-Holyrood policy war against Scotland and its people?

    The Scottish government must be able to launch a indy campaign with dates announced with the same question as 2014, of which the Electoral commission approved without being hindered by the, incompetent, pro-union Electoral commission.

    Sturgeon must be ready, and able to stand her ground during the coming unionist onslaught from all quarters.

  • daydreamer

    Not that I’m suggesting that the Electoral Commission should be trusted in any way, but I wonder if some of their ideas about indyref2 are primarily informed by the EU referendum. They may in part hope that unlike the EU referendum (and indeed the previous indyref), future referendums results might be seen to be reasonably democratic, whichever way they go.

    I also wonder what the Electoral Commission’s position on using a general election as a de facto referendum on Scottish independence would be, and what power they would have to do anything about it happening. Not that I can see this taking place while Sturgeon is in charge. Not very Nicola, the old UDI routine. Can’t see her being given a S30 order either (or at least not without Corbyn or someone similar in number 10), so we’re stuck for the moment.

  • Alex

    Could someone point me to the “triumphant” parts of the linked Guardian article? Maybe I missed as I’m no native speaker…

  • Bob costello

    It is becoming more apparent ( if ever it had to be) that a referendum is not the preferred route to independence and an election mandate is the best way. Unfortunately Nicola Sturgeon is doing everything in get power to prevent this

  • David Llewellyn

    Hi Craig
    Yesterday IO lodged a petition at Holyrood to insist that any party sitti9ng in Scottish parliamentary elections should be registered in Scotland and that their funding should be done within Scotland as there should be no l;egitimate reason that the financing of our democracy should be done in a foreign country to finance foreign parties.

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