You be the political commentator – the date of the important vote

A politician stands for election and promises an important vote. He does not specify a date for this vote in his manifesto. He had promised to bring forward a bill for an important vote at the last election too in his manifesto but did not bring the bill forward for reasons that are never made explicit (but based partly on political reality, and partly on legalities). During the election campaign he changes his position on the vote twice but a couple of days before the election says it will take place during the second half of the parliamentary session but he has not announced the date of an important vote. He wins the election. Clearly, there will now be an important vote (assuming that the legalities can be dealt with).

After the election he is asked in Parliament when this important vote will take place on a weekly basis by a man with a boring voice. he refuses to answer. He is asked when this important vote will take place during interviews with journalists. He refuses to answer with any specific date.

Another politician from a different parliament (which has the power to clarify the legal problems relating to the important vote) wants the important vote to take place soon. However, being incompetent and insensitive the politician rather than limiting his comments in an interview to suggesting that his government will provide legal clarity to ensure a vote will take place the politician makes various comments which imply a degree of interference in the important vote.

As a result of the intervention by the politician from the other parliament a statement to the other parliament is brought forward to discuss the legal position.

At the time that statement takes place the politician who won the election promising an important vote holds a meeting and then goes to the television stations announcing when the important vote will take place. The important vote will be delayed to avoid clashing with two sporting events which take priority over important votes. Strangely his statement is not accompanied by an accompanying press release from his government. Indeed, a press release is not published by his government until the following day as can be confirmed by checking the date in the bottom left hand corner of the webpage for the statement. In other cases when the politician makes a statement his government publishes a press release at the same time.

You are the political commentator. How do you analyse the above situation?

(a) The politician who won the election promising to hold the important vote has been bounced into announcing a date for the important vote and the announcement of this date came as a surprise to his officials?

(b) The politician who won the election promising an important vote was not bounced into anything. He had planned to announce this date all the time and in a masterful display of tactics waited until the very moment it would have most impact?

(c) The politician who won the election to hold the important vote had been bounced into announcing a date for the important vote, and had then made the best of it by scuppering the publicity for the announcement by the other politicians?

You decide.


About loveandgarbage

I watch the telly and read when not doing law stuff and plugging my decade and a half old unwatched Edinburgh fringe show.
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4 Responses to You be the political commentator – the date of the important vote

  1. RevStu says:

    “but did not bring the bill forward for reasons that are never made explicit”
    This isn’t true. The SNP explicitly said the bill wasn’t being brought forward because it had no chance of being passed, a fact openly acknowledged by the opposition parties.

  2. baffiebox says:

    Id probably opt for (c). It did seem like the announcement came out of the blue to everyone but Im not really understanding what “it” is that is supposed to have happened that would have the SNP on the back foot enough to time it as they did. The 18-month revelation from Cameron on the Sunday? I dont see it. The Unionist parties were in disarray at the story and resulted in no increase in pressure on Salmond. Had Salmond been bounced into a date within the 18-month limit then I could understand that interpretation, but he hasnt. If he was bounced into the decision, the best his opponents could really claim is that they bounced him into a pretty effective counter-attack that caught them by surprise, grabbed the headlines and defied Westminster’s authority all in one.

    My guess is that they reviewed the advance copy of the consultation and order on Monday afternoon, noted that there were numerous conditions attached (even if the sunset-clause is a placeholder), and figured the best way to object to the conditions was to explicitly challenge Westminster’s authority on the date condition. The whole timing thing Im guessing was just the time it took to get the broadcaster in place for an interview. Ideally, I think he’d have done it before the statement was due to start but were unable to push it that quickly and settled for the interview immediately after.

    Honestly, it takes some stretch of the imagination to consider that they had Salmond on the back foot. Especially when it now looks like he’ll get the date he wants, in direct defiance to Westminster. Pretty typical of Unionists to consider getting Salmond to name a date, the date which has been their preference all along, is a political victory. Bonkers. They’d be better keeping their cheers for when they actually manage to get Salmond to concede on something that actually matters.

  3. Erchie says:

    Not only that, but the Unionists fucked around with Margo’s right to die Bill to ensure they had control of the Committee steering the Bill

  4. Indy says:

    I think that a final date had not been set (and has still not been set – Autumn 2014 is only the preferred date). What is more important is that the SG’s consultation on the referendum bill is to be published this month. I think what happened is that the UK Govt, getting wind of this, decided to pre-empt the SG consultation with one of their own. I suspect that they only informed the SG of this very recently, possibly only within the past few days. The SG retaliated by announcing the date of the referendum during the Westminster debate after Michael Moore’s statement. Which was a short statement – and it’s a short consultation document as well because it was written in a hurry. I think the SG consultation will be a lot bigger and more substantive as they have been working on it for much longer.

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