Ministers accept Electoral Commission recommendations

Today the Scottish Government accepted the recommendations made by the Electoral Commission on the wording of the referendum question and the campaign spending limits.

The question is: ‘Should Scotland be an independent country? Yes/No.’


 

To see the full referendum question report and the advice on campaign spending limits visit the Electoral Commission website.

  • John MacIntyre OBE, WOKING

    Alex Salmond thought that he could rig the referendum by the use of an obviously biased question. The Electoral Commission has rejected Alex Salmond’s question for that very reason – it was biased. The Electoral Commission’s report and recommendations are an indictment of Alex Salmond and his conduct and he should appear before the Scottish Parliament to apologise for his conduct and his attempt to rig the referendum.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

      MacIntyre

      As yet nobody has produced a shred of evidence that definately shows any question beginning with Do you agree influences anybody into giving a pre disposed answer. In fact the very people who claim it does used the very same form of question for the referendum on Devolution. So to throw around unbased unwarrented accusations of attempted rigging and bias is more of a reflection on your lack of morals rather than the First Ministers and a clear accusation directed at the organisers of the devolution referendum which included your own party.

      • John MacIntyre OBE, WOKING

        The Electoral Commission “concluded that the words ‘Do you agree’ potentially encouraged people to vote ‘yes’ and should be replaced by more neutral wording.” In plain English – Alex Salmond’s proposed question was biased.

        • GW76

          Also, they’ve agreed to change it so they’re admitting it.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

          Not according to the electoral commission it wasnt! They said they made their recommendations on other peoples concerns not their own!

          • GW76

            “Views” does not equal “concerns”, they listened to considered opinions from all points of view. Quit dishing out the exlamation marks just because you’re not happy with the outcome

      • GW76

        All the evidence you need is in the report. To harp on about the EC “acceptance” of the Devo question when it did not even exist, and to question anybody’s morals on here is more a reflection of a lack of ability to argure a reasoned case with only alternative being to make unbased personal attacks on those with the gall to disagree.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

          Im using the report to highlight the evidence that the electoral commission didnt find a problem with the wording of the question but acted on the concerns of outside influences and complaints.

          • GW76

            You may think you’re doing that but you’re not. The EC would be remiss in their obligations if they did not seek the views and input of experts and those who would be affected by the outcomes. Just because the result doesn’t suit you does not mean that it was conducted incorrectly. If it were, I doubt we would have had today’s statement from NS.

  • John MacIntyre OBE, WOKING

    Ms Sturgeon has asserted that the Electoral
    Commission has recommended a “minor change” to the question proposed
    by the SNP Government. Ms Sturgeon’s assertion is incorrect. The Electoral Commission “concluded
    that the words ‘Do you agree’ potentially encouraged people to vote ‘yes’ and
    should be replaced by more neutral wording.” The change recommended by the
    Electoral Commission is a major change and its purpose is to remove the
    deliberate bias in the question proposed by the SNP Government.

  • John MacIntyre OBE, WOKING

    Ms Sturgeon has implied that the Electoral
    Commission has recommended that the SNP Government and the UK Government should
    negotiate the terms of independence in the event of a majority “yes” vote. The
    Electoral Commission has made no such recommendation. The Electoral Commission’s
    recommendation is that “the UK and Scottish Governments should clarify what
    process will follow the referendum”. It reflects no credit on Ms Sturgeon to imply
    that the Electoral Commission’s recommendation is anything other than it is.

  • gerrydotp

    Well done Nicola.
    I see Francie’s already stuck his oar in.  I wonder where Josie is?

  • http://www.facebook.com/richard.richardson.5661 Richard Richardson

    It seems that this sites transformation into a party political broadcast platform is proceeding well. Just how can this sort of state funded propaganda for a Yes be allowed? What was the point of capping the campaign spend when we have so many more months of taxpayer subsidy going to the yes camp.

    If this site is to be of any use or in any way balanced it needs to invite the Better Together campaign to blog etc alongside Nicola. That might at least give us an historically interesting record of this long campaign for the taxpayer pound. 

    • John MacIntyre OBE, WOKING

      I tried twice to post a comment suggesting that this blog should contain an introduction from the Scottish Government’s Permanent Secretary, Sir Peter Housden, explaining his reasons for authorising this tax payer funded website for Ms Sturgeon’s political blog rather than the more appropriate SNP website. Neither post made it past the moderator. I will obviously be interested in finding out whether this post, which is a response to your post which has made it past the moderator, is allowed.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

        MacIntyre

        How much of your tax contribution can you prove goes into funding this site?

        • GW76

          Can you prove that none of it is going into funding this site? Didn’t think so

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

            I cant prove youre not George Foulkes does that mean you are?

          • GW76

            You’re the one that was asking for proof in the first place…it appears you have none for anything

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

            And what proof have you of anything?

          • GW76

            There is no onus on me to provide proof of anything, but if you’re going to demand proof in respect of a view of something on which you hold the opposing view, it is not unreasonable to expect that you must have proof to the contrary.

      • http://www.facebook.com/richard.richardson.5661 Richard Richardson

        Amusingly many of the comments that are being vetted by a civil servant in the moderation process are things they could not say themselves. This is from the civil service code:

        Political Impartiality The civil service is required to be politically impartial, and able loyally and with equal commitment to serve Governments of all political persuasions. This means that:  ü you may not publicly defend the decisions and views of your Ministers (as distinct from explaining them), including by writing to newspapers, ü you must even avoid saying or writing anything which could be quoted as demonstrating that you personally (or your colleagues) either agree or disagree with Ministers’ decisions, ü you may not disclose the advice that you have given to Ministers,  but on the other hand  ü you must explain and implement your Minister’s policies with real commitment, whatever your personal views.   

        I have a secret hope that at least one of the moderators secretly agrees that this site has stepped well over the line from explaining policy to becoming political propaganda and is quietly smiling as they press the approved button – having followed the site policy on polite conduct etc as they do the vetting.

        A civil servant is also probably selecting the reaction tweets at the foot of this page. The criteria for selection by a civil servant would make an interesting study for the civil service code. judging by those selected and what they say I’d say that they are being asked to promote the political profile of Nicola and are now active, paid, yes campaigners. They should probably ask their manager about how this role fits with the code.  

        If it is not a civil servant doing this choosing on a government site – who is it and what criteria do they use? Are they objective? if so how come they are always pro Nicola and pro Yes? and how come they can make these choices on a Scottish Government website that is taxpayer funded.

        • John MacIntyre OBE, WOKING

          Whatever lies behind it – well done for managing to get this issue raised.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

      I dont see the Scotsman newspaper offering to “invite” Newnet Scotland to share a forum. So perhaps in the name of balance youd care to make the recommendation to them to do so yourself?
      And please feel free to publish their reply.

      • http://www.facebook.com/richard.richardson.5661 Richard Richardson

        Is the Scotsman taxpayer funded and staffed by civil servants? If so I’ll happily make a few choice comments about their need for impartiality and political neutrality. 

        As they are not an official Scottish Government publication I am not sure that they need to be balanced.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

          It might as well be it gets its headlines directly from civil servants and party members. In fact it gets all of its articles directly from publically funded sources so yes it is indeed publically funded!

          • GW76

            Amazing, the paranoia is so thick you could walk on it. I’d really love to hear your views on the moon landings, climate change and the easter bunny.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

          “As they are not an official Scottish Government publication I am not sure that they need to be balanced.

          Of course theyre not they are an official Westminster Government publication.

      • GW76

        Does the Scotsman use public funds to provide it’s forums?

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

          Can you prove they dont?

          • GW76

            Can you prove that the do? Or is this one of those “baseless accusations” that you’ve been accusing others of…without base?

      • http://www.facebook.com/richard.richardson.5661 Richard Richardson

        Is the Scotsman taxpayer funded and staffed by civil servants? If so I’ll happily make a few choice comments about their need for impartiality and political neutrality. 
        As they are not an official Scottish Government publication I am not sure that they need to be balanced.

  • http://www.facebook.com/scott.allan.7587 Scott Allan

    Did anyone – anyone – seriously believe that three little words “Do you agree” would determine the fate of the nation?  Or that this amounted to “rigging the referendum”?

    Now that the way ahead is clearer, I genuinely look forward to see whether the No camp can find any valid substantial reason, in Scotland’s interest, why Scotland should not bring this unequal union to an end.

    • John MacIntyre OBE, WOKING

      The Electoral Commission “concluded that the words ‘Do you agree’ potentially encouraged people to vote ‘yes’ and should be replaced by more neutral wording.” So the answer to your question is “yes” – Alex Salmond’s proposed question was an attempt to rig the referendum.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

        No they clearly didnt! They concluded that others felt it did!

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

        MacIntyre

        So you obviously feel that the 1997 referendum was actually rigged?

  • dadsarmy

    Well, at last it’s plain sailing for the debate itself – presuming the Scottish Parliament doesn’t reject the referendum legislation (presumably with a few SNP rebels for some weird and unaccountable reason!). I hope the vote can be unanimous.

    Congratulations on accepting the EC recommendations. Even though I liked the original question, reflecting as it did the 1997 Devolution question, I did have reservations with the complaints, that a result could be challenged. Well, basically now it can’t, I think.

    Time for me to go back to my own neglected business, good luck with the campaign. Fight a clean fight!

    • John MacIntyre OBE, WOKING

      When I looked at the online Guardian this afternoon the article on the Electoral Commission’s report was riddled with posts from a certain “dadsarmy”. So I hope your business hasn’t been too neglected.

      • dadsarmy

        Ah well, I have to fight the good fight! I’m glad the wording is agreed, much ado about nothing. Now it’s on to a midsummer night’s dream, well, a mid-autumn all-night glued to the TV dream I guess. Vote YES John, you know you’d want to!

        Anyway, back to year end accounts, nearly done now …

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

    MacIntyre has made a baseless accusation of attempted poll rigging directed at the First Minister for attempting to do exactly what all of the opposition parties in support of Devolution did when they organised the devolution referendum. But rather than direct the accusation across the party political spectrum he single out the Scottish Government which reflects more on his own dishonesty than anybody elses.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

    MacIntyre

    Im not sure how anybody can justfiy making a complaint with regards to bias when its presented in a transparent and deliberately bias manner?

    • GW76

      You can’t complain about bias because its clearly and deliberately biased? What?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

        You clearly cant complain about bias without being bias but most folk can.

        • GW76

          I can’t even understand what you’re saying any more, that wasn’t even English…or are you rebelling against the language too?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

    MacIntyre

    Do you agree that the Devolution Referendum of 1997 was rigged because the question begin with Do you agree?

    • John MacIntyre OBE, WOKING

      No – I don’t agree because the 1997 referendum asked two
      questions i.e. “I agree” and “I do not agree”. In contrast, Alex Salmond
      proposed only one biased “I agree” question. The 1997 questions were:-

       

      Question 1

      I agree that there should be a Scottish Parliament.

      I do not agree that there should be a Scottish
      Parliament.

       

      Question 2

      I agree that a Scottish Parliament should have
      tax-varying powers.

      I do not agree that a Scottish Parliament should have
      tax-varying powers.”

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

    Why didnt the electoral commission pick up on the “obvious bias” of a referendum question being asked beginning with Do you agree in 1997 during the Devolution referendum? Why did they find it acceptable for one referendum and not another? Did the format of the question only become bias between 1997 and today?

    • John MacIntyre OBE, WOKING

      The answer to your question is that the Electoral Commission wasn’t established until 2000-01.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

        MacIntrye

        Or the format of the question didnt become bias until 2013?

        • GW76

          No, I’ve checked, the EC didn’t exist – you could hardly expect them to have objected  in those circumstance.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

    “In the research we looked at whether or not the question is clear, simple and
    neutral. We found that the question is written in plain language and is easy for
    people to understand and answer. It is clear to people what they are being
    asked to vote on. However, based on our research and taking into account
    what we heard from people and organisations who submitted their views on
    the question, we consider that the proposed question is not neutral because
    the phrase ‘Do you agree …?’ could lead people towards voting ‘yes’.”This is a clear consise statement which says in no uncertain terms that they themselves were happy with the question in its form but had to dispose themselves into recommending a change because of OUTSIDE OPINIONS and EXPRESSED CONCERNS! The Electoral Commission allowed its judgement to be based on a baseless accusation of bias from OUTSIDE THE CONSIDERATIONS OF THE COMMISSION itself! No wonder they didnt find a problem with the format of the question in 1997! The outside influences of the Opposition parties didnt compain and make up baseless accusations when they proposed the question!

    • GW76

      They didn’t find a problem with the question in 1997 because they didn’t exist.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

        MacIntyre

        They didnt find a problem with the question at all! They recommended a change because somebody else did! I wonder who?

        • GW76

          They did find a problem – it even says it in the text you quoted.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

            Yes they did but it wasnt with the wording of the question the problem they found was that others were unhappy with the wording of the question.

          • GW76

            So the wording was the problem or wasn’t it? Bearing in mind that “the others” were either experts in the use of English language, or representative of those who would be requested to answer the question i.e. us (as opposed to just you)

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

        MacIntyre

        Did you find a problem with the question in 1997 or did you not exist either?

        • GW76

           Which question in 1997?

    • GW76

      “This is a clear consise statement which says in no uncertain terms that
      they themselves were happy with the question in its form but had to
      dispose themselves into recommending a change because of OUTSIDE
      OPINIONS and EXPRESSED CONCERNS!”

      No, it’s a clear and concise statement that whilst they felt that wording of the proposed question was clear, the language used was not neutral. And of course they sought outside opinions and feedback – it’s called RESEARCH. It’s required in order to arrive at a balanced and informed opinion…

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

        “No, it’s a clear and concise statement that whilst they felt that wording of the proposed question was clear, the language used was not neutral”

        “We found that the question is written in plain language and is easy forpeople to understand and answer. It is clear to people what they are beingasked to vote on.”

        However, based on our research and taking into accountwhat we heard from people and organisations who submitted their views onthe question, we consider that the proposed question is not neutral becausethe phrase ‘Do you agree …?

        It clearly and consisely contradicts youre interpretation by all understanding of the English language!

        Another hack without morality of its own!

        • GW76

          I am “interpretation”?

          If your proclaiming to be an expert on the English language, you will know that it is  “YOUR” not “youRE”

          The only contradiction is your own – the language used was clear and unambiguous, but was not neutral. There is nothing there to argue with.

    • John MacIntyre OBE, WOKING

      The Electoral Commission wasn’t established until
      2000-01. And the following were the questions asked in the 1997 referendum – so
      just what is Mike’s point?

       

      Question 1

      Firstly the referendum asked:

      I agree that there should be a Scottish Parliament.

      I do not agree that there should be a Scottish
      Parliament.

       

      Question 2

      Secondly the referendum asked:

      I agree that a Scottish Parliament should have
      tax-varying powers.

      I do not agree that a Scottish Parliament should have
      tax-varying powers.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

        MacIntyre

        And somehow you find “I agree that there should be a Scottish Parliament” less leading than do you agree?

        ROTFLMAO! Pitiful MacIntyre just pitiful!

        • John MacIntyre OBE, WOKING

          Take a look. In 1997 each question asked two questions i.e. “I agree” and “I do not agree”. In relation to the 2014 referendum Alex Salmond proposed only one question i.e. “I agree”. I hope that helps you to work out the difference.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

    Apparently anybody setting up a blog in support of Independence has the morale obligation to share it and dilute its intent with the opposition to Independence who have never once offered up the same morally obligated intent to supporters of Independence on their blogs.
    How very unionist of them.

    • John MacIntyre OBE, WOKING

      The point is that the Scottish Government website is funded by the taxpayer and shouldn’t be used for party political propaganda on behalf of the SNP. Ms Sturgeon should use the SNP website to publish party political propaganda.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

        All Ive ever seen on this website is the DFM using it to inform and explain Scottish Government actions ideas & future plans. Ive seen no evidence or indeed any mention at all of the Scottish National party only reference to the Scottish Government! The Scottish Government is a very very public body so is fully entitled to access public funds to inform the public of its actions. At least theyre not wasting public funds on party political smear and baseless attempts at accusations. Now that is something we should all be complaining about as impartial political observers dont you think?

        • http://www.facebook.com/richard.richardson.5661 Richard Richardson

          Really? You were saying that a Yes site was fully justified just before?

          if you can’t see evidence of this being a party political broadcast platform rewatch the video we are posting about. There is a huge Yes pitch in there. That is not announcing policy, that was done in a tweet – Yes we accept all the electoral commission recommendations. No need for a video never mind a Yes pitch. 

        • GW76

          “At least theyre not wasting public funds on party political smear and baseless attempts at accusations.”

          See previous blog post re the email as evidence to the contrary. They don’t need to though when half the comments on here are doing that for them.

      • dadsarmy

        Mmm, a quick google finds this (at taxpayers expense):

        https://www.gov.uk/government/topics/scotland

        The government believes Scotland is stronger in the UK, and the UK is stronger with Scotland in it. We are making the positive case for Scotland to stay in the UK.

        Next …

        • http://www.facebook.com/richard.richardson.5661 Richard Richardson

          Well thank you for pointing to a bland ministerial quote in a press release stating government policy – that is very different to this site with a campaign speech and a civil service moderated discussion board attached to what is clearly a campaign site.

          It is frustrating as the site could be great for the debate …if the Better Together people had the same access as the No campaign for presenting their case in their parallel blog.

          A side by side comparison. A positive campaign with a properly moderated discussion has real potential. sadly we are getting the corruption of the civil service and a state subsidy to the Yes campaign instead.

    • http://www.facebook.com/richard.richardson.5661 Richard Richardson

      No – government registered and funded websites staffed by civil servants should not be used for party political propaganda. You seem to have confirmed what is obvious – this is a Yes campaign site. Now where is that taxpayer funding approved by the electoral commission report? Indeed when did it become legal to use taxpayer money for a yes campaign site?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

        Which story presented by the DFM is anything other than informing you of actions taken or being considered by the Scottish Government? Which story is dedicated to the promotion of the Yes campaign? Which article is in direct reference to the SNP and not the Scottish Government? Is the Westminster website referencing the Coalition Government or the Conservative & Lib Dem parties?

        • http://www.facebook.com/richard.richardson.5661 Richard Richardson

          Watch the video we are discussing here. The whole middle section is a stump speech for a Yes vote. it is a party political broadcast, funded by the taxpayer.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

            Only if you choose to view it that way!

          • dadsarmy

            All politicians on government duty are funded by the taxpayer. And I know of no politician who doesn’t take any opportunity they can, to put in some “party political broadcasting”. The House of Commons is full of it on a daily basis.

      • dadsarmy

        https://www.gov.uk/government/topics/scotland

        This is actually THE UK Government website, not just owned by it.

        It’s a NO campaign website!

        • http://www.facebook.com/richard.richardson.5661 Richard Richardson

          Can you not see the difference between that dull Westminster site that is announcing the actions of government and this site?

          Michael Moore has published a press release on the same electoral commission report here which matches this blog:

          https://www.gov.uk/government/news/michael-moore-welcomes-electoral-commission-report

          There is no video, no stump speech for a no vote, no twitter feed, no selected pro Michael Moore tweet “reactions” at the foot of the page and no moderated discussion site to support his press release (note not a campaign blog).

          Surely the difference is self evident and blatant  The UK site you link to is stripped of political campaigning and strictly under the civil service code of neutrality.There is nothing at all in his statement that is pro a No vote. Nicola waxes lyrical on why Yes is the way to go – can you not see that you are linking to a comparator that proves that this is a state sponsored campaign site and your example is a government site focused on the business of government – not campaigning

          • dadsarmy

            Sorry, I gave you the wrong link.

            https://www.gov.uk/government/topics/scotland

            There’s not much but it’s still “political campaigning”.

            The policy of the Scottish Government is Independence, the policy of the UK Government is Union. Reasonable costs on their websites are acceptable I think, and off the top of my head I think the EC expects government spend.

            Both Governments are producing papers to “inform” the public. Both will probably favour the argument in some way, and again the EC have anticipated this. The UK Government has had SAC and FAC to “inform” them, all with taxpayers money, all with Unionist MPs on the committee and scant if any Independence MP representation to ask questions from “another perspective”, and there are other ways the UK gov is spending money to put its case for the Union. The Scottish Government is fully entitled to counter this, to put its case for Independence.

            Unless, that is, you’d like the debate to be one-sided, and the Scottish Government’s attempts to inform us, and to put its point of view, to be suppressed? From the repetitive postings it certainly looks like it to me.

    • GW76

      It’s a reflection of your morals that your view is that it’s perfectly acceptable to use public funds to provide a one sided platform, but it’s not acceptable for private companies to do what they like with their own forums paid for from their own funds.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

        Are there no publically funded sites on the web supporting the union and only the union?

        • http://www.facebook.com/richard.richardson.5661 Richard Richardson

          No government site staffed by civil servants that I am aware of. Point them out and I’ll campaign against their state funding and start demanding via FOI requests to find out their cost.

          I suspect you are trying to drag this into yet another silly BBC debate but I will not bite beyond saying that they are hosting loads of multi sided debates and have their own balance code to comply with.

        • GW76

          You tell us, you’re of the opposing view, so where’s your evidence?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

    Is the Labour party now offering up a place on their blog for the SNP to promote Independence on?

    • GW76

      So this IS and SNP site? Is that why it is a .com domain as opposed to .gov? Why do we have all the Scottish Government branding then?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

        If its not a.gov why are you telling us all its a publically funded site within the Scottish Parliament?

        • GW76

           “Scottish Government branding” – it’s right there.

        • http://www.facebook.com/richard.richardson.5661 Richard Richardson

          because the Scottish Government pay for the registration and the site running costs. look up the domain registration…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

    Does the Westminster public website offer up alternative views to the union?

    • http://www.facebook.com/richard.richardson.5661 Richard Richardson

      I can think of no Westminster site that hosts ministerial blogs, never mind campaigning blogs and certainly none that has an expensive moderated discussion forum to support that blog.

      The closest I guess is the petition site where each petition is moderated before it goes up but that is a lot less labour intensive, does not have live moderation at gone 9pm and has a constitutional role in triggering (largely pointless) debates.. 

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

        So the public are not paying a single penny for any cyber activity being pursued by the No Negative Campaign in any way shape or form? Directly or indirectly? Like for example paying a licence fee to the BBC who actively promote the No Negative campaign on their website?

        • GW76

          That’s just your biased opinion.

      • dadsarmy

        Yes, as far as blogs are concerned, the Scottish Government is to be commended on allowing its policies to be criticised – and those criticisms to be viewable publicly. Perhaps the UK Government could learn from its “Open Government Policy”.

        What I find very strange is that this is being criticised.

        Note: Independence for Scotland is not just a party policy, it is a Government policy, and one supported cross party. In a similar way £9,000 tuition fees are a UK Government policy, as is charging those unable to afford it, bedroom taxes for occasional overnight carers, sons away on army business, and a whole host of other policies. Perhaps the UK Government would like to open up blogs on those issues? No? Why not?

        • http://www.facebook.com/richard.richardson.5661 Richard Richardson

          Again I welcome the blog and I welcome debate. The question though is whether a campaign blog should be funded by the taxpayer and staffed by civil servants.

          The government can and should explain their policy but using public funds to campaign is against the rules and using civil servants to help is an abuse of their role and puts them in breach of their code.

          If the site provided facilities for both sides of the debate to put their case, furthering the aim of an informed referendum, then I don’t have a problem with it but as it is operating now it is a taxpayer subsidy to the yes campaign and an abuse of office.

  • Davy1600

    At least on this site everyone is allowed to post, which certainly was not the case with the “labour hame & Tory hoose” sites. Where if you disagreed with their party line, you were moderated off as fast as they could hit the keys.
    And if you want to see state funded propaganda you certainly dont have far to go with the BBC or did you forget that Scotland is the only part of the UK that the BBC does not allow comments on its political and economic blogs as normal.
      

    • http://www.facebook.com/richard.richardson.5661 Richard Richardson

      This is a government site, with a very expensive and staff intensive moderated discussion forum. 

      That is its potential value for real debate – the BBC site or the partisan sites will not allow/cannot afford full moderation so they both end up having to block because the debate is so polarised and so many posts go beyond the acceptable..

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

        Not according to GW it isnt! It isnt prefixed by .gov!

        • GW76

          See, deliberately misinterpreting what is said to manufacture a point. If you had but the clarity of thought to see what is actually being said, you would have understood I was referring to the fact that in one breath you are stating that this site exists to express the views of Scottish Government and not just the SNP despite the fact that it seems very one sided, then bemoan the fact that a single party doesn’t allow opposing views to be presented on ITS OWN SITE.

          Given your comment taking it down to party level, I asked if you were now saying it IS an SNP site as opposed to a Scot-gov site, which does indeed seem to be the case – which would be supported by the .com domain BUT doesn’t tally with the SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT BRANDING ALL OVER THE SITE.

          You’re talking yourself in knots.

        • http://www.facebook.com/richard.richardson.5661 Richard Richardson

          The site is branded as the Scottish Government, the site name is registered to the Scottish Government (via a firm in Milton Keynes), the Scottish Government pays for it with taxpayers money…..and it is acting as a party political broadcast platform for the SNP and an active campaign site for the Yes campaign.

          If it had a .gov domain name I doubt it could be operated in this partisan way, it would have better senior civil servant oversight. 

  • Davy1600

    How did the “NO campaigns” suggested referendum question (s) get on with ‘electoral commissions’ findings and advice?  How did that panel of experts get on with designing that question ? and what was it again ?
    Surely their could be no bias in something a panel of experts produced !!!!!    

  • dadsarmy

    If I was knee-jerk and petty I might complain about the following being a disrespectful ripoff:
     
    http://www.referendumfix.com/
     
    As it is I think it’s hilarious – give it a shot! Hats off to the NO campaign for that one :-)

  • Atypical_Scot

    Just as yesterdays public question about MI5 and MI6 was in fact superficial to the question of independence, so is the fact that the electoral commission  accepted the wording of an obviously open and clear question to be asked to sentient beings. No need to argue, it was in the bag. Next. Can we now add ballast to the commitment of independence by writing into the constitution that Scotland will not engage in international conflicts without A. Consensus from all other EU members or a referendum? (Granted, a personal bedbug.)

  • chicmac

    Thank you Nicola for putting up this site, it is a landmark in political transparency and a bold attempt to step back from the established norms of the UK ‘democratic’ process setting new standards in political communication. Keeping us up to date by publishing relevant communiques in full and factual information is a much appreciated first for these Islands.  Don’t let the inevitable howls of outrage dissuade you from this.

    In fact I would like to see the idea expanded, to say, a daily “Ask the Government” on a Holyrood TV session (say 30 mins) where ordinary members of the elecorate could phone or text in with questions on various issues and where a Government spokesperson could answer (or say they will find out if it is not within their area of expertise). 

    Of course, for balance, there would also need to be an “Ask the Opposition” programme as well.  On past record that might not be quite as informative, but it is likely to be just as entertaining, if not more so.

    Now that would be real transparency, still,… baby steps first.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

    So if the Westminster government promotes the no campaign its Government policy but if the Scottish Government promotes the yes campaign its SNP policy?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

    MacIntyre

    The opposition clearly opposed the use of 2 questions! So now youre telling us as a result theyve influenced the outcome of the referendum!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

    They didn’t find a problem with the question in 1997 because they didn’t exist.

    Which question in 1997?

    Did you post your previous comments from a state of coma? It would explain a lot right enough.

    • GW76

      No, which question of the four are you referring to? Or did you not know that there were four?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

    It wasnt a problem with the electoral commission as they stated clearly in their report so why continue to lie and say they did state it was a problem for THEM!

    • GW76

      Why continue to lie at say it wasn’t a problem? They’re not allowed to just go on their own opinions – they are obliged to carry out research to come to a considered conclusion, which was that the language was clear but the wording was leading. Their research let them to that conclusion. Deal with it.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CQFS6G6KQR7LFIO5XJNEBEUWIQ MIKE

    The wording of the question has only ever been a problem with the No campaign and only because they werent in a position to dictate the terms and conditions of the referendum. Opposition for opposition sake and nothing else. Theyve used the same format of question by asking people to agree to a question themselves so we can add hypocrisy to petulance in their campaign on top of lying!

    • GW76

      So the EC only consulted experts and members of the public that they knew would lean towards the No’s? Seems unlikely and your “Opposition for opposition sake” comment has just broken another irony meter.

      “Theyve used the same format of question by asking people to agree to a question themselves”

      When?

  • gerrydotp

    The agreed question will be asked, live with it.
    Moving on (as they say) and given that Mr Cameron has very impolitely said that the UK government is not going to discuss the future of the UK or what happens to what’s left of it should there be a yes vote in Scotland, I hope that the Scottish Government starts exploratory talks with the EFTA countries to inform us of some of the other options that Europe offers. Purely in the spirit of conforming to the EC report.

  • John MacIntyre OBE, WOKING

    Let’s get the facts straight. The Electoral Commission
    did not have a role in the 1997 referendum because the Commission wasn’t established until
    2000-01. The 1997 referendum asked two questions and both these questions
    had the choice of “I agree” and “I do not agree”. In contrast, Alex
    Salmond proposed only one biased “agree” question for the 2014 referendum and
    Alex Salmond’s proposed question was rejected by the Electoral Commission
    because of its obvious bias.

     

    The Electoral Commission “concluded that the words ‘Do
    you agree’ potentially encouraged people to vote ‘yes’ and should be replaced
    by more neutral wording.” The change recommended by the Electoral Commission is
    a major change and its purpose is to remove the deliberate bias in the question
    proposed by Alex Salmond.

  • John MacIntyre OBE, WOKING

    Let’s get some more facts straight.

     

    There will be no negotiations on the terms of
    independence before the referendum is held and the people of Scotland make
    their choice – that much is absolutely clear. The Electoral Commission has not
    recommended either post referendum negotiations or what has become known as
    pre-negotiations. The Commission’s recommendation is that “the UK and
    Scottish Governments should clarify what process will follow the
    referendum.”

     

    Ms Sturgeon initially demanded that the UK Government
    should negotiate, before the referendum is held, the terms of independence. Ms
    Sturgeon’s demand was firmly rejected by the UK Government. Ms Sturgeon then
    demanded pre-negotiations and that demand was also firmly rejected by the UK
    Government. Ms Sturgeon’s latest demand is for discussions with the UK Government
    and she is quoted as saying, “This would not be pre-negotiation on the
    terms of independence.”

     

    Ms
    Sturgeon appears to have difficulty in recognising “no” for an
    answer. We can only hope that Ms Sturgeon will recognise the majority
    “no” vote in the referendum when it inevitably comes.

  • gerrydotp

    So for example will the process in the event of a yes vote include having an impartial audit of the UK assets and liabilities, with these being distributed to Scotland and England on a population share basis, and who will oversee this process?  What process would the Better together campaign see for the distribution of assets and liabilities and who would they see as overseeing the process?

  • GW76

    Psst! MIKE…it’s ok, I’ve figured out who you are what you’re up to. Just wanted to congratulate on some inspired sabotage and don’t worry, your secret is safe with me Mr Moore.